Low Carb Restaurants

Moved to AncestralChef.com

August 14, 2012

I have moved to blogging at AncestralChef.com.

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Low Carb Cruise Photos

May 15, 2012

Just returned from having a great time on the low carb cruise.  Highlights included finally meeting Jimmy Moore, who is simply one of the nicest, friendliest guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!  (He’s also a talented karaoke singer as well as a whiz at the poker table!) I also heard from an impressive panel of speakers and made friends with a fantastic group of people (low carb, paleo, and generally health conscious people). Plus, there was lots of sun and fun.

Jimmy Moore

It was great not having to cook for a whole week but still being able to eat healthily.  So, here are some of the foods I got to try on the ship and off the ship…

1.  Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

And here’s the finished product…

Half a Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I had this at the Pork Pit in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

2.  Tender Roasted Prime Rib of Beef

prime rib

This was from the dinner menu on the ship.

3.  Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand

Again from the dinner menu on the ship.  Chateaubriand is a thick cut of beef from the tenderloin.  According to Wikipedia, it was created by a French chef named Chateaubriand, who worked with Napoleon and Louis XVIII.

4.  Mexican Fish Tacos (Minus the Tortilla)

Mexican Fish Taco

Luckily the fish was so tender and flavorful, I wasn’t even tempted to each the tortilla.  This was at a quiet little restaurant in Cozumel, Mexico, called La Candela.

5.  Spicy Mexican Salsa

Spicy Mexican Salsa

This was also from La Candela in Cozumel, Mexico.  The salsa was made from various peppers, garlic, and other spices.  It was delicious.

6.  100% Dark Chocolate

cacaobeans

We toured a small, family-run chocolate factory and learned about the entire chocolate-making process.  Then we got to make some chocolate as well.  Unlike most chocolates you buy in stores, the cacao beans used to make their chocolate were fermented.  This gave them a great non-bitter flavor and made them taste good even with zero sugar!  Unfortunately, they didn’t sell 100% chocolates, but when we told the owner we really wanted 100% chocolate with no-added sugar, he made 2 bars especially for us while we waited!  Sadly, they don’t ship to the US yet.

Chocolates Kaokao

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foodtruck
I walked out of the subway this morning and found myself walking toward a food truck bearing the sign “healthy comfort food.”  I’m always intrigued by anyone claiming to sell “healthy” foods, but most of the time, their idea of “healthy” falls quite a bit below my standards! 

However, I am happy to say,the Now Eat This food truck is not only tasty but also reasonably healthy.  That said, I do wish they would tell you the carb count along with the rest of the nutritional information.

MENU:  The primary aim of their menu appears to be low calorie food with an emphasis on gluten free and sugar free.  For example, you can get gluten free meatballs with penne pasta (349 calories), faux fried General Tso’s chicken (310 calories), or a cheesy turkey black bean enchilada with low carb tortilla (302 calories). 

In addition, they also have one low carb option, which I went for:  chicken & andouille jambalaya with no carb Shirataki rice (they do add black beans, which have carbs).  This dish is pictured below.  The meat was pretty decent quality and the sauce was tasty (with just a bit of spice).  I was a bit worried about the Shirataki rice, but it actually tasted pretty good and soaked up the flavors well.

photo(36)

DRINKS:  They sell only zero-calorie drinks, including iced tea, Zevia, and other calorie-free sodas.

THE STORY:  The food truck was started by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito (and I assume that’s his picture plastered across the truck).  They also sell his cook book at the truck!  Although this sounds like a blatant promotion for Rocco, I do appreciate the fact that 100% of the proceeds from the sales at the food truck go toward educating New York City schoolchildren about how to cook and what is healthy to eat.

WHERE TO FIND IT?  If you’re in NYC, then the best way to find it is via facebook or twitter as the truck moves around from day to day.  I found it today at 52nd and Lex.  They are also now on Seamless, although I’m not positive what delivery radius they have.

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The DBGB Pastry Chef hard at work!

“DBGB is a loud bustling conconction of youth and movement”

DBGB Kitchen and Bar is another one of Daniel Boulud’s many New York creations. But whereas many of his other restaurants in new york bear that quiet undisturbed air of upscale sophistication usually enjoyed by the older generation, DBGB is a loud bustling conconction of youth and movement. The common restaurant-speak description of DBGB is gastropub, and if you’re unclear exactly what that term means, you need only visit DBGB to find out: great food at affordable (non-Daniel) prices paired with a large selection of beers rather than wines.

“A whole page of the menu is dedicated to sausages.”

Last night wasn’t my first time at DBGB, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. The menu looks like it was plucked from a diner and then revamped with high-end goodies traversing the breadth of Europe. In fact, you could do a nice food tour from the comfort of your DBGB chair. A whole page of the menu is dedicated to sausages, the deliciously low-carb food enjoyed by Germans and Brits. But if bangers and wurst aren’t your thing, a variety of other sausages with flavors from Thailand, Italy, Tunisia, and Spain are also offered. The appetizer section is stuffed with other low carb delicacies (e.g., salads, steak tartare, tuna crudo). More adventurous appetizers are also listed: veal tongue, beef bone marrow, tripe, pigs feet, and a variety of cold cuts ranging from ham hock to pigs head terrine (unfortunately, low carb dieters will have to bear the anguish of abstaining from the breads that come with these dishes).

Asparagus and Fried Egg Appetizer

I started with the extremely safe, but clean and fulfilling asparagus and fried egg. The only non-low carb part of the dish was the breading around the egg, which is very easily removed and does not constitute much of the dish. The egg-mustard sits at the bottom of the dish and adds a light smattering of flavor to the egg and asparagus. It’s not overpowering, and it’s not too heavy.

Beef Bone Marrow Appetizer

If you’re more daring, the beef bone marrow appetizer is a great teaser to start your meal. It’s not a large dish if you’re avoiding the little toasts that accompany the bone marrow, but it’s a great place to try this plentiful and nutritious but yet uncommon dish.

House-made Papardelle “Bourguignon” with Slow-Cooked Brisket (it doesn’t look so pretty because I had already started eating when the photo was taken)

There is also a large selection of main dishes that you can eat on a low carb diet. The mussels, cod, salmon, steak, chicken, and lamb dishes would all satisfy your hunger. Moreover, you can have sausages as a main course as well. I chose the House-made Papardelle “Bourguignon,” which may strike you as an odd choice for a low carb meal, but it actually comes with a large helping of slow-cooked brisket on top of the pasta. Although it is highly tempting to eat the brisket and sauce with the pasta, you can definitely make a meal of just the meat (the portion size is sufficiently large, but if you’re really hungry, the steak might be a better choice). I have to admit, I definitely had some of the soft folds of egg-rich pasta – it was simply too irresistable! (This diet is difficult for me!)

Piggie Burger

“take off the bun and enjoy your low carb burger/meat pattie”

The last part of the menu deals with the burgers, and as you peruse down the list, they simply become more and more extravagant. The menu starts with the normal “plain” burger. Then there’s the Piggie (which has a healthy helping of Daisy May’s bbq pulled pork – I know there’s some sugar in that bbq sauce). Then comes the Frenchie (which has a confit of pork belly). And lastly, there’s the Menage a Trois (all 3 burgers). I’m sure I don’t need to tell the experienced low carb dieters how to eat a burger, but for those of you that are wondering, you just take off the bun and enjoy your low carb burger/meat pattie! It’s not an ideal situation, but there are plenty of other low carb options at DBGB. You won’t go away hungry, and for a New York restaurant by a top notch chef with a 3 Michelin star restaurant (4 New York Times stars), the prices are really quite reasonable!

Dark lighting and shoddy iphone camera quality makes blurry photos.

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It was my first foray into Brooklyn, and although the purpose was to attend a friend’s birthday party, I just couldn’t resist trying one of their restaurants while I was there! Looking up restaurants that serve low carb foods is very hit and miss. It’s practically impossible to tell if something will come with a sweet sauce or include some forbidden ingredient. But one has to eat, and so we decided to try Traif.

Traif is a restaurant located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (229 S. 4th St.). It’s fairly small, but they utilize the space well with the kitchen right behind the bar. I was seated at the bar looking at the cooking station and spent the entire meal ogling all the delicious treats that I couldn’t eat (most notably bacon donuts!). The menu was tapas style, so we went for 5 plates that seemed reasonably low carb between 2 of us.

To kick start our appetite for all things pork, we were served with these bacon broth drinks. Absolutely delicious and not greasy at all! This came standard with every meal.

For our next dish, we broke with the pork tradition and went for the butterfish carpaccio with mango, pickled blackberries, yuzu-truffle, sesame, and lime. The sauce was rather vinegary, which contrasted well with the sweet mangos. However, the sauce overpowered the mild fish. Also, it didn’t seem to be all that popular of a dish as only one other person ordered it during the whole time I was there spying on the chef’s creations.

Next up, crispy pork belly with cantaloupe, feta, marconas (a type of almond), mint, and blood orange. Delicious – the pork belly was deep fried with a crispy, crackly outside. The sauce on the dish was salty, which combined well with the refreshing cantaloupes.

On to the ribs. I was rather apprehensive about ordering baby back pork ribs with a strawberry-cinnamon glaze as the glaze just sounded way too sugary and possibly sickly sweet. After being reassured by the waiter that the dish did not come smothered with sweet sauce, I reluctantly ordered it. It was indeed not a sickly sweet or thick sauce. The meat came pretty easily off the bone, and the sauce added a light compliment to the delicious pork flavor! What made it even better was the fact that we got 5 meaty ribs for $9.

My favorite dish was the bacon-wrapped blue cheese-stuffed dates sat atop a bed of sauteed spinach. The sauce that they drizzle on top is unfortunately a bit sweet, but I tried to deal with the situation by wiping the sauce off on the spinach. It was an amazing dish – the burst of flavors was fantastic. I’m not always a blue cheese fan, but the sweetness of the dates, along with that blue cheese taste and the saltiness of the bacon made just the right combination! The photo sadly does not do it justice – in fact they give you 4 pieces, but it looked so delicious that we forgot to take a photo before we tucked in!

The last dish was sauteed sweetbreads with a braised leeks, spinach, bacon, and mushrooms sauce. Sweetbreads sound quite appetizing and full of carbs, but it is actually certain glands (like the thymus or pancreas) of a calf or lamb. Still sound appetizing? It definitely isn’t my top choice of foods, although it is very popular in many parts of the world. The sweetbread is fried with a light batter (more a dusting of flour), which unfortunately ruins the low carb aspect of the dish. However, it is quite tasty, especially when eaten with the mushroom sauce. Unlike the other dishes that we ordered, this one was a lot less flavorful. I don’t mean that the dish itself was bland, though – just that all the previous dishes involved a much stronger injection of flavor.

All in all, a delicious meal with probably a few too many carbs unfortunately! But it was light on the budget – around $75 including tax and tip! (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but that’s way cheaper than a meal in Manhattan!) Below are photos of the short rib sliders and the pozole (a type of stew).


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I first found Hallo Berlin when I was procrastinating during the bar exam (a law thing, not a alcohol thing!). I was trying to find a bar close to the Javits Center (where the exam was being held) that would be suitable for a post exam celebration. The place is very German – it’s set up like a German beer garden complete with its own mini outdoor drinking garden. However, what started as a foray into delicious German beer (back in the days when beer was on my diet) became a relationship built on proximity, abundance of tables, and most importantly good ol’ Wurst (German sausages).

Although you can order individual sausages (see menu below), what I love the most is the Dr. Atkins Diet Platter (don’t you just love the fact that they created something especially for low-carb dieters so you don’t have to hunt around on the menu?). And this is all for $19, which is sadly pretty good for New York standards especially when you can eat everything on the plate! As you can see in the photo above, the plate comes with 3 sausages (veal, beef, and pork), a few meatballs, and some very tasty veggies (I think they are all pickled). Oh, and I mustn’t forget the mustards. The plate comes with 2 amazing mustards (a very low carb friendly condiment!). So, the only real downside to the restaurant is the temptation to stray and order one of their many imported beers.

Btw: Hallo Berlin also has a food cart, but unfortunately, they don’t do the Atkins Plate.

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