Posts Tagged by OC
|March 25, 2016|
Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. Most people have a weak spot for a particular food or place; my weakness is restaurant dining in general. But when you’re on a diet, eating out can be devastating to all your hard work if you don’t make the right decisions.
This weekend I tried the new CUT Fitness Menu at Bluewater Grill in Tustin, CA. The menu was designed in partnership with Tamra Judge from Real Housewives meant for the restaurant diner looking to order something that fits within their personal diet or fitness goals.
Before any food ordering comes to play, we ordered drinks. Sure the healthiest drink is water, but if you’re trying to have a fun cheat day, what’s the harm if you don’t overdo it? Just know that cocktails are usually higher in calories than a beer or wine, and a blended drink is usually higher than cocktails.
I ordered the cucumber mojito. What caught my eye was that it’s made with VeeV Açaí Spirit. If you haven’t heard of Veev, it’s a spirit made of the Açaí berry which is thought to be one of the world’s super fruits with an incredible amount of antioxidants. Are those same antioxidants present in the spirit? I don’t know, but if there’s a chance this alcohol is better for me, I will happily order this over another drink.
The cucumber mojito was so light and refreshing! It wasn’t overly sweet and you could barely taste the alcohol. Also, how could you resist anything served in a mason jar with the lime and cucumber on top? It was picture perfect.
My boyfriend ordered the bloody mary. Since Bluewater Grill is known for their seafood, having it garnished with a shrimp was the perfect touch. Personally, I hate bloody mary’s… sorry world. So yes I tasted it; but no, I will not tell you what I thought because my answer will be the same same for all of them: gross.
But the shrimp was good! It was a cold cocktail shrimp. Also, my boyfriend is a shrimp nazi; aka prior to eating any shrimp, he inspects the hell out of it to make sure it was cleaned properly because the vein grosses him out. He said it was the cleanest shrimp he’s ever seen! That means a LOT coming from him.
Looking at the CUT Fitness menu, the first thing I noticed was the way they added commentary-type descriptions to the food. They didn’t focus on the calories like other restaurants. They listed “Good For: …” This made it really easy to order. For example, I eat a balanced diet of carbs, fats, and proteins; so anything that said “Good For: Low-Carb Diets” I stayed clear of.
Between my boyfriend and I, we ordered:
- Appetizer: Oysters on the Half Shell – “Good For: An Aphrodisiac”
- Appetizer: Ahi Poke Lettuce Wraps – “Good For: Building & Repairing Muscle”
- Entree: Herb Free Range Chicken Breast – “Good For: A Well Balanced Diet. Proteins, Carbs & Healthy Fats”
- Entree: Grilled King Salmon – “Good For: Strength & Muscle Building. High in Protein”
Oysters are a great appetizer option because even if you add the sauces to them, they will always hands down be better for you than any dip or creamy soup. This is one of those things that people often buy when they want to “splurge” because yea, a cup of soup might be cheaper. But by “splurging,” you’re actually ordering healthier. So indulge away!
When you order this at Bluewater Grill, you can pick what oysters you want on the platter. We ordered the sampler which had two each of Hood Canal from Washington, Chef’s Creek from British Columbia, and Sol Azul from Baja. The Hood Canal oysters were my favorite. They was the largest of the oysters and had a mild flavor. They weren’t overly fishy or briny. The Chef’s Creek oysters were my second favorite. They were very similar to the Hood Canal except they were slightly sweeter. If they were larger, those would have been my favorite… I like them large, haha. The Sol Azul oysters were more briny than I would like.
The Ahi Poke Lettuce Wraps were amazing. One bite and I was sold on these. They were a little messy… but they did give us chopsticks and we completely forgot they gave us those. They used romaine lettuce as the “shell” of the taco. It had ahi, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro inside. Ginger, sesame oil, and Bragg’s aminos were used to create the sauce. It was mildly sweet with a salty kick. The flavor was less intense and had more depth than a soy sauce. I could eat those all day! I’m definitely going to re-create that sauce and use it in my own cooking.
The chicken was recommended to me, which I why I ordered it. I was a bit hesitant initially because Bluewater Grill has so much great seafood, I didn’t really think chicken was the way to go. I was also hesitant because if you follow any meal prepper on Instagram, you’ll notice chicken with herbs is a stable. Why? Because chicken is high in protein, low in fat, and generally inexpensive so you can make it in bulk for cheap. It’s a go-to “diet food.”
But I gave it a shot and boy did I have it all wrong. First-off, this chicken was free-range which is not the cheapest chicken in the market. It was juicy and the herbs added so much more flavor than I’ve been able to accomplish in my meal prep.
It was served on top of a bed of locally grown spaghetti squash and sautéed brussel sprouts. I was shocked when they said it was local. I can expect a small one-location restaurant to use local ingredients, but I didn’t expect it from Bluewater Grill. I was pleasantly surprised.
As far as taste, I don’t know what they did to that squash but it was amazing. If you overcook spaghetti squash it can get mushy and be very watery. If you under cook it, it doesn’t come anywhere close to pretending to be real noodles. Not only was it cooked perfectly but the sauce or seasoning they had on it was rich and exquisite. The brussel sprouts were also heavenly and bursting with flavor. I cleaned my plate for all it was worth.
The Grilled King Salmon was what my boyfriend ordered. It was served with quinoa, asparagus, and a lemon that was grilled with paprika and some other form of sorcery. Again, if you’re a meal prepper or follow any on Instagram, the ingredients are pretty identical to what those body builders might eat. What made this stand out from what I would normally make when I’m meal prepping is the flavor. That lemon… the magic that occurred in the kitchen to that lemon was the key to this dish. Next time I’m going to ask for an extra lemon. Whatever they did to it, it was slightly sweeter than a normal lemon and it really was the cherry-on-top to the salmon. A good salmon doesn’t need seasoning or a dry rub. If made right, all it needs is some salt and lemon. It was textbook perfect and definitely the star of the dish.
Lastly, we finished off with some dessert. They did offer fruit and whipped cream if we wanted a lighter dessert… but I figured since we made good choices for the rest of the meal, indulge! Start my meal off with a cocktail; finish off with some dessert. The basic structure of a perfect cheat day.
We ordered the Chocolate Lava Cake which was served warm with a molten chocolate center that oozed out when we cut into it. It was plated with a berry drizzle that wasn’t listed on the menu, but a great addition.
Overall from this experience, these are the things I learned:
- Bluewater Grill has officially been added to my list of favorite places to dine out. Their regular menu is also pretty diet friendly since you pick the fish you want and how it’s prepared.
- When I meal prep, I need to channel my inner Bluewater Grill and step it up on my seasonings.
- There is a lemon god and he wants me to grill my lemon with paprika and put it on everything.
- Brussel sprouts can taste good if you prepare them right.
Things for you to remember when you eat out and want to eat healthy:
- Calories aren’t always the answer. The quality of ingredients used are just as important. Pay attention to the descriptions.
- Sometimes the items often overlooked are the healthiest options. Oysters at a seafood restaurant; ceviche at a Mexican restaurant; etc.
- If you order drinks or a dessert, just be conscious of your decision. Don’t go with the flow and let your regular restaurant routine take over. Think about your choices. If you choose to go for it, enjoy it! By thinking things through, you won’t regret the decision you make.
- Look over the menu before going to the restaurant. Take mental note of the healthier options so once you get there, you can easily decide what you want based off the list you mentally prepared.
|July 23, 2013|
We all need a cheat day in our lives every so often. I’m not going to lie and say I ate healthy at the OC Fair. And while I thought it would’ve been a cool idea to scope out the healthiest fair food, let’s be honest – when you go to the fair, you want to eat those once-a-year treats. (And I sure did enjoy the occasion!)
While I’m not going to preach to you about eating healthy at the fair, I’ll give you some other great tips about cheat day survival at the fair. And of course – what I ate!
Firstly, if you haven’t been following your eating plan very well, it may not be the best time to put the OC Fair cheat day into your week. Before you nom on all the fair goodies, prepare yourself by strictly following the diet or eating plan you’re on and be sure you didn’t cheat on your fitness regimen. I would also not suggest doing any sort of juice cleanse to prepare either. Just stick to your normal diet. If you try a cleanse leading up to the cheat day and then feed your body the absolute opposite right after, you might end up with an upset stomach and it’ll ruin your day.
Next thing to do is get your metabolism in check. It’s always good to start the day off with a little fitness, but on a cheat day it’s necessary. You want your body burning all day to minimize the damage to your your dieting efforts. Wake up and go for a run or hit up one of the classes at your gym.
Now for my cheat day! The OC Fair has a “Rise and Shine” discount for $3 entry before 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, which I took full advantage of. The fair can get expensive when you add it all up. If you don’t work Fridays, they have a “Taste of Food” promotion from noon to 4pm where many of the food vendors offer a smaller portion of one of their menu items for $2. This would have been a great way to sample everything. I did this last year and would highly recommend it.
If you are like me and can’t make it out for Friday lunch because of work, what my boyfriend and I did was share everything. Every drink to every meal – this is how you can try more food places without eating 6 different meals in one day.
We started off with the FryBQ Ribs from the diet-ruining-famous Chicken Charlie’s. I had been wanting to try these forever! They were very good. You’d think after being fried that the meat would be pretty tough, but it was surprisingly tender. The sauce was also good. It had a little more tang to it than other BBQ places at the fair, similar to a St. Louis sauce. Really, my only complaints are that you can’t order the ribs by themselves. You had to buy them with the fries which puts you over $10. Also, the sauce was like finger paint on your hands. It dyed them red like Flaming Hot Cheetos do.
We walked around a bit after foodie adventure #1. There are a TON of great things for foodies at the fair. This year there were so many more demos and chefs to talk to and watch. We stopped at Chef Ray Duey‘s booth where he was demonstrating fruit carving. There wasn’t an official demonstration time because he was just there for the majority of the day so you could walk up and just start talking to him while he carved. (Hopefully he was carving a new food fountain because the one on display was starting to stink.)
Next up we stopped for some drinks (shared of course). We ordered the Lime-A-Rita at a small beer stand. It was $12 and much larger than the sugary frozen margaritas near the Hanger. Still pretty sweet so if it’s sugar you are trying to escape, good luck.
We made our way to the farm animals which was a slight disappointment for me. There were so many animals and competitions but they had signs everywhere that were “farmer’s market” themed. So the whole time I was there I was thinking I was going to get to meet some farmers and network some contacts that I might be able to purchase grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken. Wrong! Wishful thinking. Shows you were my mind was… burgers.
We played some games (which are harder than they look) when I saw someone walk by with chicken teriyaki served in a pineapple. First thought in my mind was, “I need that!” So of course, we scoped it out and found Pineapple Express. We came to find this lovely cheat day item was also owned by Chicken Charlie’s. They originally gave the pineapple to us in one of those flimsy paper nacho cups but we lost a huge chunk of chicken on the ground. When we went back and told them we dropped a bunch of chicken, so they gave us more chicken (how nice of them!) and they put our pineapple in a larger brown box so if anything fell, it fell into the box. But I wonder why they didn’t serve it like that in the first place… The chicken was way too salty for my taste but I am not sure if I just had a bad batch or if it’s consistently just a salty recipe. I wouldn’t order that again.
Although I personally opted for the less healthy options and ate the greasy foods, if you’re looking to enjoy the fair in a healthier way, try some of these items. These are general items you can find at almost any fair.
- Grilled Kebabs
- Giant Pickles
- Corn on the Cob (skip the butter)
- Frozen Bananas
- Fresh Fruit
- Peanuts and Jerky
After the pineapple, I was on a mission. Whether my boyfriend knew it or not, the whole day I had plans to hit the Vitamix booth. Slowly but surely, we went from building to building with the intention (or my intention) to end at the wonderful world of blending. We got there and I got straight to it – how much does it cost? what are the specials? Being the foodie that has watched their demos with googly eyes time after time for years, they didn’t need to sell me. I think my mind was already made up before I even got there, although I did take time to walk around the building again just to be sure. It is a pretty pricey blender after all.
Comparing their deals to the ones you normally see at Costco – they were similar. At the fair they were only selling the 5200 classic model but said you can pretty much order anything with them. What I DIDN’T know was that you can buy reconditioned models. The reconditioned models are the blenders that have been used for demos at expos, fairs, and Costco locations, etc. so they have not been used for more than a month or so but many have only been used for a few days straight. Also, they gut the whole blender so really the only used part is the motor. They also offer an extended warranty, more than the online reconditioned warranty. (Yes! You can buy the discounted refurbished ones online too!!!)
Obviously, with all my refurbished Vitamix excitement, you can probably tell that’s the option I went for. But other deals that were special to the OC Fair (and probably your local fair if they are there) is they offered the Dry Grains container free as a bonus with your purchase. This offer wasn’t valid for the reconditioned buyers, like myself, but it was a very tempting offer. Also, whether you are buying a recon or a new one, they offer a 5 month payment plan. The interest only came out to about an extra $20 bucks for me. That alone was well worth it. Especially because at Costco you have to purchase it using a debt or cash which is definitely a damper on the wallet. I’m a credit card girl all the way.
Anyways, on my way home I stopped by the market and decided to BLEND EVERYTHING! So expect a bunch of smoothie, soup and sauce recipes from me 🙂
PS – No really. I even thought about blending the tamales we have and making tamale soup. Let my Vitamix addiction begin 🙂