By The Restaurant Dieter

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 6)

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.

When at the Jewish deli, indulge

My excuse: Living in Atlanta, I don’t get to real Jewish delis very often, and I love these hammentashen poppyseed cookies.

I admit I had to ask the clerk at the Bagel Palace Deli & Bakery to spell the name so i could write this post.

I probably more aware of Jewish culture than many non-Jews. I studied Holocaust literature and even stumbled into pledging the traditionally Jewish Sigma Alpha Mu in college.

From my fraternity brothers, I learned to swear in Yiddish, appreciate the Jewish girls in the little sisters auxiliary (before I owned up to my preference for men) and bake bread by making challah. For Jews and Italians, it’s all about the family and food. Even when it’s somewhat warped.

“What do you mean we’re dysfunctional? Eat something! You’ll feel better!”

I swear: If you eliminated that little disagreement over Jesus Christ, Jews and Italians would be one culture.


All hail the turkey sandwich

I’m old enough to remember when turkey was a once a year thing, served only on Thanksgiving. If we had meat on a sandwich when I was a kid it was bologna, salami, ham, the incredibly tanned and bland olive loaf(!) or Spam. Fried, of course.

Then sometime around the time I was in college, turkey blossomed as an every day food. Now I’m not sure what I’d do without it. I buy two pounds of Boarshead low sodium turkey breast or chicken breast deli meat a week.

If it doesn’t wind up in a sandwich, I eat it straight out of the package. On the Weight Watchers Simply Filling food plan, you don’t even have to track the precise amount of lean proteins you eat.

Admittedly, the turkey sandwich can get old. In my 30s, I remember losing a ton of weight on a diet that consisted of a cold turkey sandwich and baby carrots every day for lunch. Then at night — after 45 minutes on the Stairmaster — I’d have another turkey sandwich, this time grilled with no-fat cheese and a microwaved baked potato.

No wonder that didn’t last.

Today, I eat fewer turkey sandwiches. But like a lot of folks watching their weight, it’s a staple. We’d starve if it wasn’t on most menus.

It’s something to be thankful for the other 364 days of the year.

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