By The Restaurant Dieter

Author: restaurantdieter (Page 4 of 25)

Can a person watching his weight eat at these restaurants that the foodies are honoring?

The James Beard Awards have become the Oscars of the restaurant world in the 30 years the foodie world has doled them out. Atlanta typically fares pretty good — at least in the nominations phase. This year is no exception.

Staplehouse in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward was nominated for Best New Restaurant. I’ve eaten there, although not for a regular review. I was with friends who did all the paying and ordering. It was amazingly well-cooked food, and some of it was healthy if not quite low fat .

For example, a dish of roasted mushrooms, farro piccolo, sunflower and egg was earthy and filling in that way that whole grains are. (A half cup of uncooked farro is 170 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 6 of protein.) But it managed to taste rich and decadent at the same time, thanks to the oozy egg. Our table liked it so much that the host ordered a second. It is still on the constantly changing menu. Most of the rest of what we consumed that night is not, but it was all good.

Among the others mentioned, here’s what I can tell you

The nominees will be narrowed to finalists March 15 with winners announced May 2, according to

Yes, you can eat healthily at the Delta Sky Club. Here’s how.

Finally, something to drink: mint-cucumber water and unsweetened ice tea

Finally, something to drink: mint-cucumber water and unsweetened ice tea.

In my fantasy, a new branch of the Transportation Security Administration has taken over at U.S. airports. Instead of screening for terrorists, it screens for the kind of awful food that repels most people and makes dieters fat.

“Please empty your trucks of all huge cookies over 3 inches in diameter. All of them,” the stern TSA agent says when the restaurant supply truck arrives. “Fast food, too. I’m sorry, but there is no Chick-fil-A allowed beyond the screening point.”

Alas, Delta Airlines is subject to no such screening in real life, so the food at its many Sky Clubs is a mixed bag. The menu has undergone some experimentation in the last year or so, and more healthy choices have been added. I can remember a time when it was pretty much cocktails, beer and wine, soda, salty snacks and cookies.

Vegetables are always welcome

Vegetables are always welcome

The most recent visit took me to the Sky Club on Concourse T of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for an evening flight. The club had recently been renovated. One area had been renovated to look like a little cafe with a buffet.

There were several new choices to cheer:

  • Cucumber and mint water and unsweetened ice tea. So many people have given up any soda, so this is a great addition.



  • Hummus
  • Lettuce
  • Cauliflower florets, celery sticks, broccoli and baby carrots
  • Lightly salted popcorn
  • Oranges, apples, bananas
  • A Texas caviar made of black-eyed peas and vegetables

Less helpful were:

  • Soft cookies
  • Those incredibly tempting salty snacks
  • The pimento cheese

    The vegetables in this antipasto salad are sitting in a thick coating of fat.

    The vegetables in this antipasto salad are sitting in a thick coating of fat.

  • The soups. Like most commercial soups, they are salty and set that salt craving binge in motion. One bowl and you’re binging the rest of the night.
  • An antipasto salad that was all vegetables, though soaked in a ton of oil

At breakfast, there are now hard-cooked eggs (though strangely perfectly formed and kind of tasteless), better-tasting yogurt and a citrus salad besides the huge, bready and nutritionally vapid bagels.

Hat’s off to Delta for all the changes.


Hard-cooked eggs at a Delta Sky Club



Weight Watchers weigh-in: A bad day registers a gain, but a good walk helps

The weather app said the temperature in New York was 18 degrees, but would feel like 1 degree with the wind chill. It did.

The weather app said the temperature in New York was 18 degrees, but would feel like 1 degree with the wind chill. It did.

The day before my most recent weigh-in was one of those days when one questionable decision leads to many. The result was on the scale: For the first time since October, I’d gained weight from one Weight Watchers weigh-in to the next.

I was up 1.6 pounds. It all started with a single doughnut hole. It ended with me snacking on shredded wheat squares out of the box just before bedtime, which a really bad idea with a weigh-in the next morning.

The new, more forgiving and Oprah-fied Weight Watchers is trying to squelch the self-recrimination that some people feel when they have a less-than-desirable weigh-in. That makes sense to me. Nothing encourages an emotional eater to eat more than guilt does. It’s more important to set it aside and refocus anew.

Which is what I did with a walk around New York, from our place on the Upper West Side to the Bryant Park-Public Library area and then to Times Square for a show. My weather app said it was 18 degrees, but felt 1 degree with the wind chill. So I bundled up and it was fine. And by mid-day, I’d already walked almost 4 1/2 miles.

We walk a lot when we are in New York

We walk a lot when we are in New York

Is UberEats friendly to folks trying to lose weight?

Getting lunch delivered sounds good, doesn’t it? In the way that Uber has disrupted taxi and limo service, UberEats hopes to do so with lunch delivery. For folks on Weight Watchers or other dieters, there’s nothing to celebrate just yet.

The service is available only in the most moneyed part of Atlanta — basically just south of downtown, up the Downtown Connector, and then up either Ga. 400 to Buckhead and I-85 almost to the Lindbergh area. So if you work in Decatur, you are plain out of luck.

Uber says ordering is “just as easy as requesting a ride.”

  1. Open the Uber app and select the meal icon at the top.
  2. Enter your location and tap VIEW MENU.
  3. Place order and your meal will be curbside in minutes.

For those trying to eat healthy, the menu choices are limited. For example, nothing listed for Feb. 10 was particularly diet-friendly; for Feb. 12, there was an Asian salad that would be OK with the fried won tons removed and only a modest amount of the sesame dressing.

Naturally, there is no fiddling with the menu or the way a dish is prepared. All you can do is watch the weekly offerings and hope for the best.



New York’s famed Carnegie Deli ‘will reopen in 2016’

Carnegie Deli says it’s determined to reopen in 2016. That message to its adoring fans comes via the restaurant’s website itself and, ironically, the website Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.

“We would like to set the record straight. Carnegie Deli will reopen in 2016. We are ONLY temporarily closed,” according to the report. The midtown New York institution closed in April because of an unauthorized gas hookup and has had a string of troubles since.

Carnegie’s reputation in part comes from superhuman portions  — typically 1 pound of meat per sandwich — and sharing charges that discourage sharing. Yes, I have in fact eaten a whole sandwich there. And yes, the restaurant’s motto is, “If you can finish your meal, we’ve done something wrong.”

Just for sport, The Restaurant Dieter Googled the phrases “Carnegie Deli” and “Weight Watchers” and this is all that came up.

This little piggy cried, "Wee! Wee! Wee!" …all the way to Carnegie Deli.

Posted by Carnegie Deli on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

You’d be justifed for wondering how an item about Carnegie turned up on this website. Well, it turns out that Carnegie Deli does in fact have some good salads on the menu. And you can always go with a friend and take the tiniest bite of his Reuben. Heaven.

Weight conscious diners: You must tip generously

When you’re trying to lose weight and eat out a lot, there’s no better friend or foe than the server. He or she can make sure that your requests are relayed to the kitchen and honored.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did an informal survey asking how much people tip. About 550 people voted, with 253 saying 18-20 percent; and 158 saying 20-25 percent.

The Restaurant Dieter is willing to bet that the higher tippers include folks who rely on servers to have their backs. Like the excellent server below.


Consumer Reports: What’s under the plastic wrap at your grocery store?

The journalism of Consumer Reports is best in class, takes a lot of money to produce and deserves to be paid for. So The Restaurant Dieter will only hint at the great information in the March 2016 issue. In a major article titled “Under the Plastic Wrap,” Consumer Reports takes on the issue of supermarket and prepared meals and finds:

  • It’s not always fresh and unprocessed as you might assume.
  • It can be salty. Whole Foods’ breaded tilapia has 612 mg of sodium, vs. 733 at Red Lobster and only 420 for Mrs. Paul’s in the frozen aisle.
  • There is no nutritional information on the labels, because the Food & Drug Administration doesn’t require it for fresh prepared foods.
  • There is no information about portion control. With all the great tips for portion sizing suggested by Weight Watchers, this may not matter as much to some.
  • It’s not cheap.

You can support by joining. It’s a mere $35 a year right now and there is information about food online and in every issue of the magazine.

What’s it like to stay and eat at Georgia’s top hotel?

The Lodge at Sea Island, Ga., has been declared the best hotel in Georgia by U.S. News and World Report. It is surely the most luxe hotel The Restaurant Dieter has ever stayed in.

When we checked in, the clerk walked us all the way from the desk downstairs to our room on the second floor and gave us an extensive tour of its features. We were feeling pretty smug and important until the journey took us past the plaque on one room noting that Jordan’s King Abdullah had occupied it during the 30th G8 Summit in 2004.

On his tour of the room, the clerk showed us the form to request a nighttime snack of cookies and milk. To test them, I wrote in “chocolate” by the milk, which is, of course, how it arrived at the end of the evening.

We wound up not eating at The Lodge, instead going to its sister resort, The Cloister, which holds the U.S. News & World Report second slot for Georgia, and Southern Tide casual fish restaurant.

I wasn’t in a Restaurant Dieter mood — yes, sometimes I chuck it — and ordered the lobster pot pie. Lucky for me, it wasn’t that good, and I left most of it. The Restaurant Dieter’s husband had a meaty piece of grouper, but wound up with a fever of 103 the next day. The Grady Hospital ER doctor with us prescribed Cipro. Just sayin’.

The only meal at The Lodge was breakfast. The omelet was perfectly cooked, not too much fat, and full of spinach, mushroom and tomato. I managed to kick the hash browns aside, fortunately.


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