Why aren’t grilled vegetable plates common in America?

Why can’t restaurants in the U.S., including those saying they offer healthy food while they load their so-called healthy choices with unhealthy levels of salt (I’m talking about you Protein Bar) offer this wonderful, healthy simple dish?

While it’s been impossible for me to maintain my restricted diet while on vacation in Italy this past week and a half, one pleasant menu surprise here is that nearly every restaurant, large and small, has a plate of grilled vegetables on its menu.

On Thursday, we stopped at a tiny, nondescript place that likely would be thought of as a greasy spoon in the States, only to find a menu full of salads and sporting the ubiquitous grilled veggies, which I ordered. What I received was delightful, including eggplant, squash and even some spinach along with mushrooms and carrots, all grilled without any harmful sauces and what seemed like very little salt.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can't U.S. places offer the same?
Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?
Continue reading “Why aren’t grilled vegetable plates common in America?”

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Where Can You Find Food to Eat At Restaurants?

Bravo to owner Bronko, please add more dishes I can eat so we can visit again.

Eating out is an ordeal for anyone on a restricted diet. I have cut back tremendously on the times each week I eat out with my wife and stopped going to several old favorites that don’t offer any low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar dishes that I find acceptable.

Before we eat out these days, I always try to scrutinize menus in advance to see what my options might be. Doing that helped my wife and I have a wonderful evening a few weeks ago at a completely unexpected locale, a Romanian restaurant in Chicago called Little Bucharest.

We were headed to a play in a section of Chicago I wasn’t familiar with in terms of restaurant options. So I checked on Google maps and found several places near the theater, only to be disappointed by one menu after another that was mostly pub food — unacceptable fatty beef, ribs, fried foods, etc.

My Romanian salmon
My Romanian salmon

Little Bucharest, however, had a broiled salmon dish on its menu that sounded acceptable and even tasty. It was served over a bed of leeks, peppers and potatoes. There was a light sauce, which I probably shouldn’t have gotten but it wasn’t on the fish. It all tasted great and we were treated to a musical group playing there as well, creating a memorable evening for us.

Bravo to owner Bronko, please add more dishes I can eat so we can visit again.
John

Little Bucharest Bistro on Urbanspoon

Can You Eat Healthy at a Bowling Alley?

So imagine my surprise to find a bison burger on the menu! Bison is much leaner than beef. The menu did have the expected chicken breast sandwich and some salads that didn’t sound all that dull, assuming I brought my own oil and vinegar instead of using the dressings suggested.

I found myself last October wondering if I would be able to get anything I can eat in my restricted diet at a bowling alley. I had bowled on an office team last spring that won our league championship and the team was planning a reunion night out of bowling. We were going to a different place than we had bowled at previously, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to eat anything there.

While I looked forward to seeing the team together again, I was worried I’d be watching everyone else drink beer and eat pizza. But luckily, the place we were going, Chicago’s Diversey River Bowl, was big enough to have put its restaurant menu on its Web site, so I checked ahead of time to see what I would settle for, imagining a dull salad or maybe yet another chicken breast.

A night at the bowling alley
A night at the bowling alley

So imagine my surprise to find a bison burger on the menu! Bison is much leaner than beef. The menu did have the expected chicken breast sandwich and some salads that didn’t sound all that dull, assuming I brought my own oil and vinegar instead of using the dressings suggested.

I gladly ordered the buffalo burger. It arrived with mayo which I scraped off, a reminder to be very specific when ordering anything. Other than that, I loved it. At eight ounces it was two ounces over my daily six-ounce red meat limit but I didn’t care in this case, it was too good of a surprise to pass up.

I did pass on the beer, but had what’s become for me a rare diet soda, so I was just as happy with that. Continue reading “Can You Eat Healthy at a Bowling Alley?”