Healthy Restaurant Eating

By The Restaurant Dieter

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 5)

Review: Eat light the rest of the day before going to Revival in Decatur

The only way to eat mindfully at Decatur’s Revival is to eat light the rest of the day. This is not a restaurant with a lot of light-and-healthy choices. It’s a splurge, and a really good one at that.

Revival is an interesting name for this restaurant situated in an old Decatur home just off the downtown area. It’s been the location of at least two failed restaurants. This effort seems likelier to be successful. It’s by Chef Kevin Gillespie, who also owns the new American dim sum restaurant Gunshow in Atlanta.

The inspiration here isn’t the unlucky building, though. The name comes from the Sunday suppers of Gillespie’s youth. It’s southern with all the trimmings.

Diners can order a la carte from the menu, or choose their own entries as part of the family style dinner for $42 a person. Family style includes entree, the sides and choice of dessert. We chose family style, and it was a lot of food.

The amuse bouche was a pork belly — I gave mine away — with pickled green tomatoes.

The salad, if eaten alone, would have been a pretty healthy choice. It was kale, lightly bruised in a dressing of cider vinegar and egg, with apple chunks, pickled onion and locally sourced Thomasville Tomme cheese. It came with exceptionally tender corn bread and honey butter. Of course I had one.

The salad at Revival was was kale with apples, picked onion, Thomasville Tomme cheese and a boiled dressing of apple cider vinegar and egg

Revival’s corn muffins with honey butter

Two of our number had a juicy pork chop; the third the duck and I had the fried chicken. I limited myself to the one small breast piece, and gave away or left the rest. As with any southern restaurant, the sides starred as much as the main courses. The beans in the beans-and-rice were firm; the flavor and texture had not been cooked out of them. The mac ‘n cheese was gooey good. The greens were smoky and rich.

For dessert, three of our group had the fried apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The pastry itself was buttery, flaky, wonderful. I had a ginger cake with cream cheese ice cream. The latter is a strange flavor by itself, but it worked well with the cake. I tasted both desserts, enjoyed them, and shared or left most of mine.

That’s the secret to eating here. Leave some to take home, share with companions or consign to the food recycling gods.

Revival’s ginger cake with cream cheese ice cream



How to maintain weight without dieting

How to avoid gaining weight without dieting:

  1. Exercise
  2. Eat mindfully
  3. Don’t fret about it every minute of every day.

At least that’s what I’m learning from this experiment. I’ve started to weigh myself at home and am learning that by doing the things recommended in Why Diets Make Us Fat, my weight is consistent: 208 most days.

Breakfast: why eating nuts works

Research suggests that nuts, the enemy of calorie counters, actually contribute to healthy weight and even weight loss. Since I’ve stopped counting calories and Weight Watcher points, I’ve been eating more nuts. They have a satisfying mouthfeel, crunchy and substantial.

The trick is to avoid eating salted nuts. Salt is a trigger food that leads to overeating.

My go-to breakfast is plain yogurt, some 100 percent real maple syrup, fruit (fresh if possible), some kind of high-fiber sugar-free cereal and unsalted nuts. It’s really satisfying and seems to set me up for a successful day. The rest of today will be all restaurant eating, and I think I’m well prepared.

Eating at the Delta SkyClub

Once again I find myself in the Delta SkyClub. I had enough restraint to limit myself to one red velvet cookie. Even with all these choices and more.

A good reason to exercise

A friend of my husband asked him recently, “What happened to The Restaurant Dieter.” The answer was in my last post. I diet no more.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try to eat healthy and take care of myself. It just means that I’m not counting those Weight Watchers points anymore.

Christmas is challenging time for most folks who struggle with weight. Besides the availability of rich and sugary food itself, emotions run high — both happy emotions and not-so-happy emotions.

What to do? Today it was 25 minutes on the treadmill. Did the trick.


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.

Thanks Delta: free food but good choices


IMG_4530Free food is a trap. Who doesn’t love it? Wanting it must be baked into our genes, some kind of holdover of our caveman era.  For years, Delta’s SkyClub had bad, sweet, gelatinous yogurt and carbs like huge, bready bagels and muffins for breakfast. But recently it switched up the menu, offering hard cooked eggs, unsweetened fruit and Chobani yogurt.

A mere 4 Weight Watchers points and I’m ready for the day.

Thanks Delta.




Le Bernardin lives up to its stars, once again

In today’s New York Times, restaurant critic Pete Wells joins the long line of NYT reviewers awarding four stars to Le Bernardin.

The review talks about how the restaurant has managed to stay on top after 18 years under the guidance of Chef Eric Ripert. It is a combination of change — in menu and atmosphere — but staying true to fundamentals. And the essence at Le Bernardin is fish, fresh and wonderfully cooked.

It’s been at least four years since my last visit, but I remember it well. I was relatively new on Weight Watchers and uncertain if a meal at a famous restaurant would sabotage my efforts.

It did not. Each dish might be sauced, but the flavors were so rich that a tiny bit augmented the fish perfectly. My next weigh-in went great.

Wells review notes how quickly the menu changes, with one excellent dish replacing another. And last summer, the restaurant itself got a facelift.

It may be time for another visit.

Dear restaurant owners: Let us eat cake! Wait, strike that. It’d be diet murder.

Hummingbird cake leftovers.  For now anyway.
The Restaurant Dieter writes about eating healthy so often that the regular reader must be thinking: “How come he’s not down to 160 pounds and retiring this blog?”
The suspicious reader must be thinking: “Diet, schmiet! This guy must be sneaking cheeseburgers constantly and not telling us.”
The truth is somewhere in between. I’ve mentioned in posts sometimes when I’ve chucked my Weight Watchers points and eaten, say, a wonderful tartufo covered in a shell of rich, dark chocolate at Cafe Fiorello in New York City. But it’s also true that those diet indiscretions garner far less ink on The Restaurant Dieter than the low fat, healthy eating to which I aspire.
It’s also true that I rarely order desert at a restaurant, but it’s not totally because of The Restaurant Dieter. It’s because the desserts at most restaurants are flat out boring.
The typical list includes: a creme brûlée or flan; something with fruit and a crust or crumble topping; some ice creams and/or sorbets; nowadays, fried doughnuts with some dipping sauces; sometimes a cheesecake and some kind of toffee cake or bread pudding. The only cake is something flourless, dense, molten, chocolate. A colleague who reviewed restaurants for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution once referred to the genre as “chocolate gush cake.”
But cake — those glorious ones turned out by legions of women for church suppers in the South — have disappeared almost completely from restaurant menus. I’m talking about the kind of cake that graces the pages of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Cake Bible” or Ann Byrn’s “The Cake Mix Doctor.” A golden cake with fresh strawberry slices and whipped cream. A red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. A coconut cake or dense, flourless walnut torte like the kind my mom used to make for my birthday.
Cake lovers have had to make do with the cupcake trend, but that’s rarely at a restaurant that serves more than sandwiches and luncheon food.
This weekend, The Restaurant Dieter was invited to dinner at a friend’s house. A couple of bananas were siting on the counter and the temptation for a really good piece of cake proved too much. We had to bring something, I rationalized.
Heading out (to Weight Watchers, no less!) I left the “The Cake Mix Doctor” on the kitchen counter, with a post it note pointing out that the Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting used a couple of ripe bananas. The Restaurant Dieter’s spouse is a whiz with cakes and enjoys making them.
At dinner last night, we finished half of the cake. The friend — also watching her points — kept a piece and sent us home. The Restaurant Dieter’s spouse had a piece this morning as a second course to an omelet.
“It’s basically banana bread with a little icing,” he rationalized.
For the record, The Restaurant Dieter himself hasn’t had any today. Yet.

Tuna nicoise: lots of protein

The egg and the tuna make it a great choice.

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