McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — a salt bomb to avoid

McDonald’s has been working hard to improve the image of its food offerings, wanting to get away from seeming processed or simply bad fast food and I give it credit for those efforts. But sadly I think it’s still missing the point, at least for someone like me worried about salt, fat and sugar in my diet.

One of McDonald's new grilled artisan chicken sandwiches.
One of McDonald’s new grilled artisan chicken sandwiches.

The McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich is its latest attempt. artisan conveys a sense that this chicken is somehow more special than its regular chicken sandwich. So I was really hoping to see that in its nutrition information. What I saw instead though was a mountain of salt.

The regular variety has 1110 mgs of sodium, half a day’s worth for a healthy person, almost a full day;s worth for someone like me dealing with heart disease. It also sports 7 grams of fat, not all that bad, and 11 grams of sugar. Continue reading “McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — a salt bomb to avoid”

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Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?

I wrote an enthusiastic post about the relatively new fast food chain Naf Naf Grill back in 2014 when I discovered the low-salt content of its pita bread and the low-fat content of its beef in a pita offering. I’ve been touting it to friends and family ever since.

The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.
The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.

So I was shocked and dismayed recently when I checked it’s site and found the numbers have changed drastically for the worse. I’ve written Naf Naf and posted on its Facebook page to get answers but haven’t heard a word yet, very poor customer relations. Continue reading “Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?”

A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.

Highwood, a far northern Chicago suburb, has been known traditionally for its Italian restaurants but the foodscape there is becoming much more diverse these days. Lucky Fish Deli is just one example, a fun seafood shack that can make you feel like you’re in some sleepy East coast fishing town. Indeed, the decor was inspired by a trip the owner took to Maine, according to one story I’ve read.

Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.
Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.

The seafood was excellent. I went with a half-dozen oysters, which came out clean, fresh and cold as they should be served. I think the waiter said they were bluepoints. I was a little surprised there weren’t several varieties to choose from, but was very happy with what was available. Continue reading “A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.”

Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place

Charity auctions are a favorite activity of mine. In fact our theater company, the 2nd Act Players, is planning our first-ever charity auction this September. Check our website for more details as we get closer to the Sept. 10 date. But getting back to food, I recently won a gift card to Taco Nano, which bills itself as a fresh Mexican-style place in the Chicago northern suburb of Northfield.TacoNanoLogo

Going there for dinner on a Friday night, my wife and I were surprised by the crowds. It’s obviously a popular place but is it healthy? As a small place, it isn’t required to post nutrition information on its offerings and doesn’t. So eating there was a shot-in-the-dark nutrition-wise. Continue reading “Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place”

Hospital food is inhospitable to healthy eating

As I write this today I unfortunately find myself in a hospital. A routine surgery I had last week has produced a massive infection in my ear (where the surgery wad done). The infection got so bad, I came to the emergency room at roughly 5 a.m. and am now being kept overnight here in Evanston Hospital.

My Evanston Hospital lunch, stripped of all salty dressings and sauces.
My Evanston Hospital lunch, stripped of all salty dressings and sauces.

After spending about four hours getting some excruciating treatments done in the ER, I was moved to a room and hoped to be able to eat since I’ve been up since 4 a.m. I quickly learned words mean something different here, unfortunately. I spoke to the only nurse who has visited me for the last five hours and she said she ordered me food. Continue reading “Hospital food is inhospitable to healthy eating”

The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad

Sometimes, you just want a great salad for lunch, one that isn’t loaded up with a lot of the unhealthy items most restaurants put on them so they can think they’re being creative and charge you more in the process.

Portland's Garden Bar, one of its five locations.
Portland’s Garden Bar, one of its five locations.

That’s why I prefer make-your-own salad bars, I can pick — and pay for — only the ingredients I want, avoiding any high in salt or fat. Knowing my salad bar preference, my daughter found a really good one for us to have lunch at during my recent Portland, Ore., trip — the Garden Bar.

The Garden Bar isn’t exactly make your own. Ingredients are under glass and a staffer makes the salad to your specifications. Or you can choose one fo their pre-planed salads. Both the people I was eating with went with pre-planned house salads, I made my own since the menu salads often have one or more items, like nuts, that I don’t eat. Continue reading “The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad”

Nick’s Famous Coney Island — a Portland gem

My recent trip to Portland, Ore., to visit with my daughter included some great places she picked out for us to eat. Knowing that I grew up in Coney Island, she decided to take me to a Portland classic locale — Nick’s Famous Coney Island Food & Cocktails.

IMG_2867Portland is a funky town, no doubt about that, and Nick’s fits right into its artsy cum blue-collar waterfront vibe. The bar has been on the same street for 85 years, most of those in the same spot and it looks it with its old-style bar and stools on one side and its dark interior. It reminded me of a place that could have been along the Brooklyn waterfront circa 1950.

We were there for the hot dogs and I was not disappointed — nor was my vegetarian daughter who tried their veggie dog offering. Note, of course, that hot dogs are not on my usual low-fat, low-salt diet.

But this was a vacation treat, much as Nathan’s is when I’m in NYC. Plus, oddly enough I was just getting over a bout of food poisoning the week before I visited that caused me to drop nine pounds in seven days, so I thought a food splurge was in order. Continue reading “Nick’s Famous Coney Island — a Portland gem”

Harvest at the Bindery — a Portland veggie gem

Harvest, in Portland, Ore., is not the type fo restaurant I would normally eat at. It’s a vegetarian place, everything on the menu is plant-based. Other veggie restaurants I’ve gone to have disappointed me with their reliance on nut-based sauces of meat substitutes. I don’t eat nuts and don’t like their taste.

The luscious morels and grilled asparagus at Harvest. Bravo!!!
The luscious morels and grilled asparagus at Harvest. Bravo!!!

But eating at Harvest  with my daughter and her boyfriend on my recent trip to Portland opened my eyes to what a veggie restaurant can do with a great menu and creative chef.  Continue reading “Harvest at the Bindery — a Portland veggie gem”

Try the new Senor Pan Cafe in Chicago

It’s not often these days that I go to a restaurant the week it opens, but that was the happy case when my wife and I discovered Senor Pan’s Cafe on North Elston Avenue in Chicago recently.

A touch fo Cuba on the wall at Senor Pan.
A touch fo Cuba on the wall at Senor Pan.

Several Senor Pan’s exist in the city, this is the newest and from what the owner told us the night we ate there, the most family-friendly and casual. It’s Cuban cuisine, which amazingly given my love of food, I had never tried before. Continue reading “Try the new Senor Pan Cafe in Chicago”

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