Tag Archives: restaurants

Tips for Eating a Healthy Breakfast at a Diner

15 Mar

You can get a nice, healthy breakfast at the "Seinfeld Diner" in New York City.

My boyfriend loves eating out at breakfast time. I’m not talking about a nice bowl of oatmeal from Starbucks, no, no. This boy lives for a nice,  “healthy” breakfast from a diner. As you can imagine, this makes for an interesting situation since I am the self-proclaimed healthy eating police.

We typically only spar over eating out at breakfast time while on vacation, but the other day I decided to throw him a bone and suggested that we try out some yinzer (for those of you not from the area, a yinzer is a “special” species of Pittsburgh local) morning hot spot near our house.

As usual in dinerland, it was glaringly obvious that the average patron wasn’t looking for a healthy breakfast. Thankfully they were armed with egg white omelets on their menu, clearly prepared to take down people like me, who refuse to go to such establishments because they don’t comply with our healthy eating standards. Wise move, diner management, wise move.

Tips for Finding a Healthy Breakfast at a Diner:

  • Ask for Egg Whites. Something tells me there’s more people looking for a healthy breakfast at a diner than you’d think, because surprisingly, most offer egg white omelets. They’ll charge you an extra $1 or so for it, but can you really put a price on not being a fatty?
  • Don’t Get Cheesy. Cheese is good, we all love it, but like all good things, it must be kept in moderation. Diners don’t understand the term “moderation.” Therefore, if you’re really trying to have a healthy breakfast, you need to avoid the cheese altogether. Trust me, you’ll live, and you’ll look fab.
  • Just Say No to the Slime. Diners always feel the need to fatten up your toast by buttering it for you, so ask them to serve it in its natural form. I just don’t get it, if I order a cheese-less vegetarian egg white omelet, with wheat toast, wouldn’t common sense state that I’m probably a healthy eating freak? Butter confuses me. I mean why, would anyone in their right mind want to spread fat all over their food? Sick.

Tips for Eating Healthy at a Buffet

22 Jan

If you’re working on eating healthy, you probably think heading to a buffet is the last thing that should be on your agenda. Surprisingly this is not always the case, as buffet food offers you something that a normal restaurant does not, the chance to choose exactly what goes on your plate.

People are usually shocked to discover that I love buffet food, since eating healthy is obviously like my favorite thing ever. I like it because I can mix-and-match unlimited amounts of salad, veggies, fruit and other healthy foods, with a couple of little fat bomb splurges. For example, if I wanted a piece of pizza at a normal restaurant, I’d have to order an entire full-serving of it. On the flip side, buffet food allows me to harvest one piece from the serving tray, take a couple of bites and be done with it. Craving satisfied in two or three little bites!

Follow these tips for eating healthy when faced with a buffet food situation:

  1. Stock up on salad, which will be found at any buffet, anywhere. Instead of getting a separate plate for salad, put it on the plate with the rest of your food. Get enough to cover half your plate, making less room for fatty items.
  2. Head for the veggies. If the buffet food menu includes steamed veggies, force yourself to try at least two spoonfuls of them. The more the merrier though. Sure, fat Aunt Patty’s plate looks a lot more appetizing that yours, but would you want to see her in a bikini? No, you wouldn’t.
  3. Portion Control. You’re at a freaking buffet, so of course you’re going to eat a few fatty food items, just choose them wisely. You have the power to control your serving sizes, so do that! For example, if you love wings, take this opportunity to satisfy your craving with one or two, instead of a dozen.  Remember, it’s better to graze than to oink.
  4. Create a Rainbow. A good way to tell if you’re eating healthy is to take a look at your plate and see if a number of different colors are represented, a.k.a. creating a rainbow. A plate filled with buffet food is no different. Assess the situation on your plate, if you’ve got a lot of one color, say white (potatoes, biscuits, rice, crackers), you’ve got a problem on your hands. Since you can’t return buffet food to its serving dishes, you’ll need to add some colorful foods to it before returning to the table.
  5. Stock up on Fruit. Many buffet menus include fruit in the dessert portion of the evening. Admittedly fruit doesn’t always look that good when sitting next to ice cream, cookies, cake and pie, but whatever, you need to take one for the team. Sure you can still have your fatty chocolate brownie, but you need to balance this out with some fruit. If you don’t, you’ll be one step closer to looking like fat Aunt Patty in a wet t-shirt contest. Chew on that.

If You Haven’t Been to Savoy Pittsburgh, What Are You Waiting On?

11 Nov

I decided to take a break from eating healthy tonight and try out Savoy with my boyfriend. We bought a Groupon for this new restaurant awhile back and decided to finally use it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but all I can say is wow!

The restaurant is absolutely beautiful. It’s designed in a way that makes you feel comfortable and never want to leave. Everything from the white leather chairs, to the spotlights subtly changing the color of the walls make it beautifully unique. The staff is also so friendly and welcoming. They make you feel right at home.

Now, onto the food. First lets start with the bread basket, as even this is worth mentioning. There were four or five different types of bread, that were all amazing. We especially loved one that was cheesy and another that had tiny bits of olives in it. Now onto the appetizer. We had the Mediterranean Platter and it was basically every food fantasy I’ve ever had, combined together. It was also huge! Mediterranean food is my favorite, and this is by far the best appetizer of its kind that I’ve ever had. It was filled with hummus, pita chips, olives (and lots of them!), feta cheese and lots of veggies.  Mmm. Finally, our main courses were also completely fabulous. I had the Angel Hair Pasta with shrimp and my boyfriend had the Pork Three Ways. Both incredible.

Although we initially went to Savoy because we had a Groupon, we will definitely be back without one. This is definitely one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Pittsburgh.
Savoy Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Customer Service Skills Can Make or Break a Restaurant

17 Oct

A restaurant needs to have good customer service or they'll find themselves with a bunch of empty tables.

I can’t say that I know much of anything about the work that goes on behind-the-scenes to run a successful restaurant, because I don’t. The only things I really know are from a customer’s prospective — I want a restaurant to be clean, have good food, great ambiance, and have outstanding customer service skills. All of these factors work together to form a customer’s opinion of a restaurant, and if even one is off, it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Over the weekend my boyfriend and I went to the Sweetwater Grill, in Sewickley. The restaurant seemed very clean, the food was great, the ambiance was warm and inviting, but the customer service skills left me feeling a bit salty. Our server was very friendly, but it was her first night on the job, so she was understandably nervous. As a result she mistakenly put the wrong order in for me, and when our food came out it wasn’t even the item that I had ordered. I hadn’t asked for any substitutions, nothing on the side, it was simply the entirely wrong menu item

In what turned into weirdly a bit of a big ordeal, the manager asked if I would like them to take it back. Really, is this a valid question? If I wanted what they gave me, I would have actually ordered it. So they returned the grab bag dish to the kitchen and took their sweet time making what I really ordered. No rush to fix their mistake. When the salad that I had actually ordered finally came out, they were apologetic and nice about it, as they should be. Thankfully for them, I’m pretty nice, so regardless of what you might be thinking I did, I actually took the situation in stride and was very polite. By then, even though my boyfriend had been eating really, really slowly, he was almost finished, so each of us pretty much had to eat alone.

When the check came, I assumed my salad, or at least our appetizer would be discounted or even on the house, as a ‘sorry for the inconvenience,’ but no. There was nothing but a full-priced bill. I’d consider this a pretty bad display of customer service skills. I also found it odd that a restaurant would make a server’s first day a Saturday night shift, which kind of seems like a recipe for disaster. Regardless, restaurants are a dime a dozen, so when they make a mistake of this magnitude, most go out of their way to make up for it, to try to immediately correct the customer’s perception of them. One unsatisfied customer is just one person, but word spreads fast, especially when you have a blog.

Sweetwater Grille on Urbanspoon

How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

28 Jun

No one feels like cooking everyday, but if you’re eating healthy, you might be avoiding restaurants like the plague. When you dine out, eating healthy is out of your control, right? Wrong! If you learn how to eat healthy at restaurants, you can go as far as to turn your kitchen into a 2nd closet, if that suites your fancy. You don’t have to eat like hogzilla when you’re at a restaurant. Be smart with your menu choices and you’ll find a way to be eating healthy at every (alright, almost every) restaurant in town.

How can you pass up healthy eating when it looks this good?

How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

1.) These words are bad, say no to them: creamy, fried, tempura, battered, dressing, butter, crispy, saute, marinated, stuffed, breaded.

2.) These words are good, say yes to them: grilled, steamed, fresh, low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb.

3.) Salads are deceptive. You’re not necessarily eating healthy because your meal is sitting on a bed of lettuce. Salad dressing can be a fat bomb. Always order it on the side. Order low-fat or low-calorie when you can, and dip the salad into it with your fork. You use less this way.

4.) Exercise portion control. Everyone knows that restaurants typically serve a ton of food. More food than you would eat at home. Instead of stuffing yourself silly, get a to-go box and save your leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

5.) Cool it on the fruit drinks, beer, and cocktails.  For example, each glass of raspberry lemonade that you drink at the Olive Garden will pack on 110 extra calories to your meal.

6.) Check the nutrition information in advance, when possible. Most chain restaurants have their nutrition information available online. Google the restaurant you’re planning to visit, before leaving home to choose a couple of healthy options. For example, I recently practiced this method when visiting the California Pizza Kitchen. Eating healthy is a bit difficult at this restaurant, but definitely possible. I recommend the Roasted Vegetable Salad, with fat-free vinaigrette dressing (on the side). Guys, it’s okay for you to do this too! I know a ton of guys who follow this method, including my own boyfriend.

7.) Hold the cheese. I know, I know cheese tastes fabulous, but it’s not so fabulous for your waistline. Even if you don’t ask for the cheese to be withheld from your meal, pick some of it off. You’ll save yourself some mondo calories.

8.) Split dessert, if you must have it. There’s nothing wrong with letting yourself have some unhealthy food, as long as you keep your portion size in check. Instead of having each person at the table get their own dessert, split one with a few others. You’ll get a taste of deliciousness, and you’ll be able to fit in your pants tomorrow. Double win!

9.) Don’t order vegetables blindly. Restaurants want food to taste good, so often times they’ll make even the healthiest items a fat fest by cooking them in butter. For example, a side of fire roasted corn at Smokey Bones has 280 calories and 15 grams of fat. Eww. When in doubt, ask how these vegetables are prepared, and if it sounds shady, requested yours steamed.

10.) Instead of freaking out if you get caught up in the moment and accidentally splurge on a calorie-infested dinner, learn from your mistakes. Then enjoy it! You can’t gain weight from one pig fest, so it’s fine to eat something really, really bad, that’s really, really good from time-to-time.