A List of Safe Restaurants

A place to get your questions answered from expert dietitian Jeff Novick, RD

Moderators: JeffN, carolve

A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:36 am

This is always a popular topic as it can be a very frustrating experience. It can be very difficult to eat out without compromising the guidelines.

So, being we can all benefit from our shared experiences, I am going to create a list of Restaurants, both locally and nationally, where you can dine out and have a "safe" experience.

Now, I know there are differing opinions on the guidelines and how people apply them and debating that is not the point of this topic and such posts will be deleted.

For this thread and this list, I am going to use only those restaurants where you are guaranteed a 100% safe experience without compromise.

So, safe = no added oil, salt, sugar, white flour, etc. etc.

If the restaurant is willing to make adjustments to the menu item to make the dish safe, please share the adjustment needed.

When the thread is done, I will go through a make a final list of the ones I find to be the safest. Regardless, the thread will give insight to those places many of us have found to be valuable in our quest for health.

I'll start. :)

1) P.F Chang's - National Chain

http://www.pfchangs.com/index.aspx

BUDDHA'S FEAST
Vegetable medley with five-spice tofu served steamed or stir-fried

This dish will be made as plain as you want it, served with or without the tofu, and comes with steamed brown rice.

Thanks!

In Health
Jeff
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby Chumly » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:52 am

Ruby Tuesday's - salad bar & plain baked potato
Moe's - bean burrito
Gezzo's - bean burrito (they have whole wheat wraps)
Chin Chin - an Atlanta chain that has steamed vegetables (with or without tofu) and brown rice

Michael
Chumly
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:05 am
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:56 am

Sweet Tomatoes (Soup Plantation) -

http://www.souplantation.com/

Large Salad bar with many safe options, plain vinegars for dressings, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, fresh fruit.

In Health
Jeff

PS, If there is a link to a website, please include it so those not familiar with the restaurant, can learn more about it.
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:03 am

Chumly wrote:Ruby Tuesday's - salad bar & plain baked potato


http://www.rubytuesday.com/

Chumly wrote:Moe's - bean burrito


http://www.moes.com/Food.php?ii=1

Chumly wrote:Gezzo's - bean burrito (they have whole wheat wraps)


http://www.gezzos.com/index.php?p=menu

Chumly wrote:Chin Chin - an Atlanta chain that has steamed vegetables (with or without tofu) and brown rice


http://www.chinchin.com/menu-mushu.php

Thanks

In Health
Jeff
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby DianeR » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:10 pm

One chain we've discovered that works (at least the place we went to) is California Pizza Kitchen. We ordered the vegetarian pizza, but went cheeseless and subbed carrots, bean sprouts, and regular tomatoes for the oily eggplant, corn, and sun-dried tomatoes. I shudder to think all those times we ordered the regular veggie pizza, and figured that going cheeseless was good enough. We didn't know about the oil on the different veggies, but didn't care enough to ask either. (We found out what was possible by talking to the manager first.)

Sushi places sometimes have a nice selection of veggie sushi. Just skip the avocado and ask for low sodium soy sauce. (I've also skipped the soy sauce before and touched a bit of the wasabi paste to my sushi -- that works just fine.)

Local places (for those in the DC area) --

Zaytinya -- on the phone, they claimed that they could accommodate us, but then we show up and they say everything has olive oil. We kvetched a bit (we had needed a reservation of quite a few days in advance and we were shooting for a play ... we just couldn't go out and wander about Chinatown looking for food). We managed to get the cauliflower and mushroom dishes without the oil or nuts, plus salad with wine vinegar on the side. Turned out nicely.

We have another play coming up next weekend and are going to try Rasika. (We've gone before but not obsessing about oil.) They have said they will accommodate us, but we have to give two days notice I believe it is. Not a problem, since one has to make reservations about a month in advance anyway. I hope it works. They make everyone's list as one of the best Indian restaurants in the country (heck, one of the best restaurants, period).

Indique (Indian, next to Cleveland Park metro) -- we talked to the chef and got steam sauteed veggies with Indian spices inside a roti (the only Indian bread that works). It was good. Advance notice required.

In the Georgetown/ Kennedy Center area --
Notti Bianche -- give advance notice. We were given a custom risotto which had others looking on in envy. We were told that the next time the chef could devise something else.
Fino -- only one thing possible; gnocchi with red sauce (which they can make without oil)
Taj India -- had several things that they could make without oil. We couldn't have the rice because they put oil in that :? but subbed in something else.

It is hard to find Italian. But our neighborhood place (Umberto's in Cabin John shopping center), has several dishes and they do not seem put out at all with doing no oil. It is now our "go to" place when we haven't planned far in advance and don't feel like veggie sushi. Maybe because Umberto's is actually run by folks from El Salvador? Anyway, if you go, split an entre and a veggie (be sure to specify no oil or cheese for both); it will be more than enough food. The house chianti is good (and inexpensive, too).

A final question -- the hummus and veggie sandwich at Cosi is 7 grams of fat, 59 calories of fat out of 397 (with 532 mg of sodium). Is this acceptable, a treat to be consumed rarely, or actually pretty good? Cosi's are all over, so it would give us a nice option.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. --
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
DianeR
 
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:29 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby SactoBob » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:29 pm

DianeR wrote:One chain we've discovered that works (at least the place we went to) is California Pizza Kitchen. We ordered the vegetarian pizza, but went cheeseless and subbed carrots, bean sprouts, and regular tomatoes for the oily eggplant, corn, and sun-dried tomatoes. I shudder to think all those times we ordered the regular veggie pizza, and figured that going cheeseless was good enough. We didn't know about the oil on the different veggies, but didn't care enough to ask either. (We found out what was possible by talking to the manager first.)

Diane,
Do they list the ingredients for the pizza dough? All the ones I have seen contain oil - in some cases quite a bit. Also, is the crust 100% intact whole wheat. Where can you find out what is in the dough?

*****
Edit - I did an online search and answered my own question. There is a listing for the California Pizza Kitchen pizza dough.
http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/eati ... -dough.htm

Here they are:
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for coating

So if this is their only dough, it would be out for anybody doing McDougall since it has no whole grain and does have added oil. Sorry, but I thought that you would want to know because of your husbands situation. Dr. Esselstyn is really adamant on the oil question for heart patients, and with good reason according to his experience. Since this is out, I did not consider the added sugar and salt.

This is the reason that we rarely eat out. It is very easy to overlook something, and very worrisome to leave my health in the hands of people who really don't understand what I need.
Last edited by SactoBob on Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
SactoBob
 

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:38 pm

DianeR wrote:
A final question -- the hummus and veggie sandwich at Cosi is 7 grams of fat, 59 calories of fat out of 397 (with 532 mg of sodium). Is this acceptable, a treat to be consumed rarely, or actually pretty good? Cosi's are all over, so it would give us a nice option.


Thanks for all the above info.

Right now, I am only looking for those restaurants that would meet the strictest guidelines and be safe for everyone and not just for occasional treats. For instance, you could eat the choices listed above at PF Changs and/or Sweet Tomatoes all day long and never compromise 1 iota.

Perhaps the list of a second tier, will come next.

:)

In Health
Jeff
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby DianeR » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:04 pm

Jeff, we will skip the Cosi sandwich. We haven't tried it yet, fortunately.

SactoBob, I am distressed about the oil in the CPK pizza dough. We talked to the manager and made it quite clear my husband could not have any oil at all. Why wouldn't she know and/or mention the oil in the dough? Ugh. There is a honey wheat ("with whole grain") dough, but I doubt it is better. Something tells me that they won't change the dough, even if they will change what goes on top of it. I'm glad we only had the pizza once.

I guess this means I have to learn how to make a decent, oil-free, whole grain pizza crust at home :cry: Assuming such a beastie exists ... Now I have to break the news to my husband.

Thanks, guys!
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. --
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
DianeR
 
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:29 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby DianeR » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:15 pm

I just emailed CPK. I will report back what they say.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. --
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
DianeR
 
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:29 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby SactoBob » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:19 pm

Here are the ingredients for the honey wheat dough:

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not "quick rise" type)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105° to 110°F)
1 cup unbleached bread flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons clover honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

So this is out too. I don't trust restaurant managers etc. with my health, because my take is that they don't understand what I need and how important it is to me. To me, they are guilty until proven innocent - and even then I remain skeptical.

To most of them, you are just a customer that they don't want to lose. Most customers just want to be told that the food is healthy, and aren't interested in what we are doing. When I do eat at a restaurant, rarely, I will only order something that I can plainly see if oil has been added - such as steamed veggies, a baked potato, a green salad with lime on the side, etc.

I'm sure this will not taste as great to your husband as the foods he used to eat, but he will readily adapt to eating whole plant food if he tries, and he has great motivation to try. What is sad to me is that people, and especially people with health problems, think that they are doing well while dining out when they are getting clobbered with oil and salt and sugar. I think that Jeff's list will be really great, and may be as valuable for showing what is outside, as well as inside, his recommendations.

Do you have Jeff's DVD on label reading? That is another eye opener.
SactoBob
 

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby ETeSelle » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:31 pm

Yeah, unfortunately the server, manager, etc. really has NO idea what is in anything. And the ingredients list isn't handily posted in the back so they can check it when people ask. :-( They just make stuff up instead.
Starting: 207 lbs/ BMI 33.4
Current: 123 lbs / BMI 19.9

Read my Star McDougaller Story and my Testimonial thread

Trust me on this: One day you'll wake up and realize that it no longer feels like "being strict." It just feels GOOD. :)
User avatar
ETeSelle
 
Posts: 5515
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:09 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby ETeSelle » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:32 pm

Jeff, other than it being white rice, veggie sushi is fine, right? Veg rolls usually have a TINY bit of avocado, but that's about it.
Starting: 207 lbs/ BMI 33.4
Current: 123 lbs / BMI 19.9

Read my Star McDougaller Story and my Testimonial thread

Trust me on this: One day you'll wake up and realize that it no longer feels like "being strict." It just feels GOOD. :)
User avatar
ETeSelle
 
Posts: 5515
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:09 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:37 pm

ETeSelle wrote:Jeff, other than it being white rice, veggie sushi is fine, right? Veg rolls usually have a TINY bit of avocado, but that's about it.


Japanese Restaurants can be excellent choices. Most of them here, in S FL and most of the ones I see around the country, now have brown rice available. Avocado is allowed on the program and small amounts as part of a brown rice veggie sushi roll, would be a acceptable.

In Health
Jeff

PS To everyone... again, please keep this thread only about the restaurants you have found safe and why, with the specific menu choices and any adjustments you have found they will make, and not a debate on the choices and whether they are safe or not.

In the end, I will compile a final list from the input I get here.

Thanks
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby DianeR » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:47 pm

Pizza at CPK is out. Headquarters got back to me and said they use oil on their crusts. Sorry for any false hopes I raised. It is sad that one can't believe managers. I mean, this woman actually went back and talked to the chef before telling us what she told us. Maybe the person in charge of putting things on top of the pizzas is different from the one making the crust??? Oh well.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. --
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
DianeR
 
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:29 am

Re: A List of Safe Restaurants

Postby JeffN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:48 pm

DianeR wrote:Pizza at CPK is out. Headquarters got back to me and said they use oil their crusts. Sorry for any false hopes I raised. It is sad that one can't believe managers. I mean, this woman actually went back and talked to the chef before telling us what she told us. Maybe the person in charge of putting things on top of the pizzas is different from the one making the crust??? Oh well.


This is a common occurrence. This is also why I am recommending a link to the restaurant and any personal experience in investigating these issues.

By "safe", i mean known safe. :)

Thanks!

In Health
Jeff
JeffN
 
Posts: 5504
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:56 am

Next

Return to Jeff Novick, RD

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests