He’s Finally Taking Me Out……

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One of my main plans on this blog was to write reviews of various eating establishments as I usually eat out on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, a number of things have stopped me from doing so recently.

  1. My dad died earlier in the year and I haven’t felt too much like going out.
  2. I was made redundant from my second job and this has impacted on my family financially and put a stop to eating out.
  3. My partner and I booked a meal out locally for Valentine’s Day and he came down with a stomach bug so the meal was canceled and I ended up drinking wine and watching TV on my own. 

Finally, I am getting the opportunity to eat out tonight! It is my sister-in-laws birthday and we are traveling to Manchester and staying overnight at her home as she lives about a two-hour drive away from our home, which is between Lancaster and Blackpool in Lancashire. This will allow us to have a drink while we are out.

I am not entirely sure where we are eating yet, but no doubt it will appear on my blog over the next few days. It is more likely to be a pub meal than a fine dining experience, I would think. I can’t wait!

 

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Not a Fan of Tasting Menus

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The latest trend in high-end restaurants is to have a set tasting menu. This consists of around six or seven smaller plates of food that focus on using just a few quality ingredients and presenting them in a beautiful way. Although this is now fashionable, I have to say that I am not a fan.

The first reason is the way the menus are presented. They describe a dish as lamb * lentils* carrots, or lobster* fennel* tomatoes. Is this not simply a list of ingredients? I always want to ask what cut of lamb is it? How is it cooked? Is there a sauce? In what way are the vegetables served? These are the pieces of information I need to know before I order. I would much prefer to see a dish described as ‘Slow-cooked lamb shank on a bed of puy lentils served with julienne carrots and a red wine reduction’. Without having to ask further questions, I know exactly what to expect from my meal. 

The second issue I have is the set menu situation. A tasting menu is a list of dishes and you are given all of them in the order in which they are presented on a menu. There is not a choice of three appetizers or a selection of main dishes from which you can choose. You are simply given exactly what is listed on the menu. Part of the joy of eating out for me is perusing the menu and deciding what I fancy to eat that day. A tasting menu takes away that element of pleasure from me.

Another issue is the cost. It costs a small fortune for two people to try the tasting menu at a top restaurant. When I was looking into eating at one of the establishments that serve this type of menu recently, I calculated that for my partner and I to go out for the meal, it would cost a week and a half’s salary. Diners can also opt to have wines specially selected to accompany each course. To do this, you can expect to double the cost again. I would much rather choose one bottle of wine I liked and drink that. 

My final issue is more about the type of establishment that serves tasting menus rather than the tasting menus themselves. I find them a little pretentious and I feel uncomfortable. I would rather dine in a restaurant that is a little more relaxed and where I can feel free to be myself; talking and laughing with my dining companions. 

Of course, tasting menus are not all bad and I can see why they have become so popular. It is an opportunity to sample some of the finest dishes made by top chefs that are created using the highest quality ingredients and presented in a beautiful way. When you put it like that, a tasting menu is a very tempting dining option. However, this style of dining simply isn’t for me.

Gordon Ramsay to Open a New Atlantic City Restaurant

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Although Gordon Ramsay already has one restaurant in Atlantic City, he is now set to open a second. His new restaurant is the Gordon Ramsay Steak and will be at Harrah’s Resort. This will replace The Steakhouse at the resort and will join Harrah’s other restaurants; a Spanish and Mexican restaurant called Veracruz and Martorano’s, an Italian. This will be a great addition to the food scene in Atlantic City, which already includes Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. He is partnered in this restaurant by Caesars Entertainment.

Ramsay already has two Gordon Ramsay Steak restaurants operating in the United States. The first was opened in 2012 and is located in Paris on the Las Vegas strip. The second restaurant, which opened in 2017, is in the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.

Customers who visit the new restaurant can expect chic décor and a fantastic ambiance for socializing and eating food of the highest standard. The menu is expected to include the finest cuts of meat, including American Kobe and 28-day-matured beef.

If the menus of the other Gordon Ramsay Steak restaurants are anything to go by, then it is also likely that there will be influences taken from Ramsay’s British roots. Beef Wellington is one British classic that diners are likely to see on the menu and it is possible that the dessert menu will include sticky toffee pudding.

This new restaurant is just the latest in Ramsay’s ventures as he already owns over 40 restaurants in various locations across the globe. Thirteen of these are in the United Kingdom and the United States is home to a further twelve.

Aside from these businesses, Gordon Ramsay has achieved success and fame on both sides of the Atlantic as a celebrity chef and appears in many television series. These include ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’, ‘Hotel Hell’, ‘The F Word’, the United States version of ‘Masterchef’, and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/gordon-ramsay-steak-to-open-at-harrahs-in-atlantic-city-20180126.html

Image: Flickr- labelled as free to use for commercial purposes with modifications allowed

Healthy Eating in Italian Restaurants

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Most people enjoy a good evening out in a restaurant.  It is a great opportunity to let somebody else do the hard work of the meal preparation and the washing up, giving you the opportunity to relax and simply enjoy the food.  One of the most popular types of restaurants that people choose to visit is an Italian restaurant.  However, these are famous for their calorie-laden pizzas and rich pasta sauces. This can be difficult for those who are on a diet or are simply health conscious. In spite of this, much Italian food follows the principles of a healthy Mediterranean diet and lots of healthier options are available.  If you are looking for healthier options when enjoying an evening out in an Italian restaurant, then here are some ideas to give you inspiration for making healthy food choices.

Vegetable Based Dishes 

First, the Mediterranean diet is famous for making use of lots of brightly coloured vegetables, such as courgettes, tomatoes and peppers.  If you are choosing a pasta dish, then opt for one that is served with a sauce based around these ingredients rather than a richer, more unhealthy choice such as a cheese sauce as this is laden with fat and calories and will also lie heavily on your stomach for a long time after your meal leaving you feeling lethargic and bloated.

Meat Options

If you prefer a meat dish, then the healthier option is to look at chicken dishes rather than red meat dishes as these are usually lower in calories, whilst still providing ample amounts of protein.  If the meat is served with a sauce then try to choose a healthier option as previously described to reduce the fat and calorie content of the meal.  Many restaurants will also serve food without the sauce if requested.

Accompaniments

When choosing accompaniments to a meal, ask for salad rather than chips, potatoes or cheesy garlic bread, as many people find themselves overfilled by such carbohydrate heavy accompaniments.

Desserts

When it comes to desserts, it’s probably wise to avoid these altogether.  Many Italian desserts, such as pannacotta, are made using cream and are high in both fat and calories. However, if the temptation is too much, consider a fruit salad or a meringue.   Meringue is low in fat and calories, despite being made from a large amount of sugar.  Ask for any dessert you do choose to be served without additional cream, ice cream or custard.

Eating Out on a Diet

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Dining out while dieting is where many people hit a stumbling block in their diet. The temptation to opt for a dish that is high in fat and served with a rich, creamy sauce can spoil the effort that you have made to lose weight for the rest of the week.  However, it is not necessary to avoid dining out altogether.  Here are some tips for dining out whilst dieting.

A Glass of Water

Taking the simple step of drinking a glass of water before you leave home can reduce your appetite making you less likely to overeat while you are dining out.  Similarly, drinking water with your meal will help to prevent you from overindulging.

Choose Your Venue Carefully

There are some cuisines that are more likely to offer a menu with lots of high fat and high-calorie meals. For example, fast food restaurants and fish and chip shops are places that are best avoided whilst you are on a diet.

Choose Meals Wisely

Take your time to read the menu and choose a meal that you will enjoy but that is also a good option for while you maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  If you are unsure of whether a meal contains ingredients that are high in fat and calories, then ask your server for advice.  Try to select a venue where there is a wide choice of food available on the menu or one that offers a salad bar.

Avoid the Sauce

The majority of sauces are high in calories and fat, so avoid these if possible. If the sauce is optional, then don’t order one.  If you find food too dry without a sauce then choose one that is vegetable based, such as a tomato sauce, rather than sauces that are cream based, such as peppercorn or brandy sauce. Similarly, ask for salads without the sauce. 

Side Orders

The accompaniments served with the main part of your meal can make a big difference.  If your meal comes with a choice of potatoes, then avoid fries and opt for boiled potatoes or a jacket.  A salad is also a good dieting choice as an accompaniment to your food.  Other additional items to avoid include side orders of garlic bread or onion rings.

Desserts

It is probably best to avoid desserts while trying to lose weight.  However, if you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist, then opt for a fruit salad, meringue or ice-cream.  Do not order extra cream or custard to accompany your dessert as this will only increase your overall fat and calorie intake.

Drinks

The drinks you choose can also make a significant impact on your calorie intake when eating out. Although most drinks are low in fat or fat-free, they are often high in sugar and calories. If you are drinking soft drinks, then opt for the diet options. In terms of alcoholic drinks, spirits are the best choice. Drink these either straight, with soda water or with low-calorie sodas. This is great news for G&T lovers!