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Apr 16, 2001 06:28 PM


  • r

All those years of chowhounding have caught up with me.
I have been instructed by my doctor to limit my intake of red meat, you know the drill. I am basically down to chicken (of course not fried) and fish. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies but where to go for dinner with a friend or date? Pizza. pasta and breads are OUT. Most chinese food and (sob) Dim Sum are OUT! HELP!

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  1. Mexican food may save you.

    Try La Serenata in Santa Monica at 1416 4th Street (telephone: 656-7017) and other locations around town for delicately prepared fish with piquant sauces.

    And how about Zankou Chicken? 5065 West Sunset Boulevard, at or very close to Normandie.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Samo

      i dunno about zankou chicken. that garlic sauce? it's half oil, half garlic, and you gotta slather it on the chicken for it to be any good

      1. re: s/z

        Zankou is one of life's great blessings. Delicious food at bargain prices. The garlic sauce is to die for, and I'd slather it on just about anything, including but certainly not limited to the crispy skinned rotisserie chicken. My guess is that it's in the skordalia family of garlic sauce, made with garlic, oil, and a starch binder (either bread or potato). However they make it, I can't get enough of the stuff.

        1. re: s/z

          Although it's undeniably delicious (despite an occasional overcooked bird), and a great bargain, Zankou is hardly diet fare. It's so good because the chicken is cooked on a rotisserie ladder - the fat from the more cooked birds continuously drips onto the less cooked ones. When the hour long cooking process is over the chicken has ben drenched in a huge amount of fat. That's why the skin is so crispy and the flavor is so goood.
          Enjoy it, but even without the sauce it is no caloric bargain.

          1. re: s/z

            totally agree. Many rave about this place but is not what you expect.

            1. re: s/z

              Just wanted to chime in on zankou-this chain is a real treasure for those in the LA area. Killer macs at bargain putout. I even bought one of their lovely yellow shirts. For a couple months now some of my friends have been asking me if zankou is a band. I will certainly miss this place when I move up north: sadly there is no no-cal equivalent. I live right up the street from a zankou and it has saved me from cooking god knows how many times. The garlic sauce must be laced with something-I'm totally addicted to it. But is this diet food? Well, maybe if you only get the falafels, but even then I think its a stretch.

              1. re: JustinRush

                Felafels a diet food????? In some alternate universe, perhaps. When you drop the doughballs in the oil, you can actually see the level drop as each one soaks up more than its own weight in oil. (Had Archimedes witnessed this, he would have come to a totally incorrect conclusion, and science would have been set back several hundred years.)Wonderful, tasty, yes. Diet, no.

                1. re: Richard Foss

                  Whaddya want? I said it was a stretch!!! lol

          2. My chowing prayers are with you. However, in this town sticking to veggies, fish and chicken is pretty painless...virtually every Asian cuisine can help you out there (Thai, Japanese, Indian, etc.). There's some great vegetarian or vegetable-intensive restaurants (Axe, A Votre Sante or whatever it's called now) as well. Good can be done, and done deliciously well.

            1. I'm on a low cholesterol diet and I still manage to have a good time at Chinese restaurants. For example, at Ocean Star they have chicken bao, chicken or fish cheung fun, tofu and syrup, chinese broccoli, jellyfish, bean curd rolls, and other items without beef, pork or shellfish. VIP Harbor Seafood in West LA now has chicken siumai. I would think that stir fried fish, chicken and vegetable dishes would be OK and most Chinese restaurants are good about substituting chicken for pork if you ask them to.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chandavkl

                It's all a diet disaster unless you say "no oil."

              2. Like you, I'm also looking to maximize dining pleasure while minimizing damage done to the waistline.

                As a personal trainer, I'm always advising clients to be careful of restaurants -- just be knowledgeable. (I've opened and been a partner in many restaurants in the Midwest for many years.) You must know how o order.

                For example, at most Chinese restaurants (and vegetarian, and Italian....), one can order something with "less oil or no oil". The server will oblige and perhaps unbeknowst to him or her, the eggplant that you order with "no oil" is first deep-fried, as the restaurant's eggplant always is, soaking up 1/4 cup of oil. The line cook putting together your dinner, doesn't realize this and just doesn't add any additional oil. In the meantime, you've just consumed at least 4-6 oz of oil from the eggplant going in the deep fryer, yet the line cook thinks that since he's not adding any oil, you're doing fine... and the server will only further reassure you....

                The other day at Ralph's salad bar the deli manager, when I asked him which dressings were low fat, he cavalierly replied and repeated, 'they're all light... so light!'

                So many hidden dangers!!


                P.F. Chang's was the most recent disappointment... the server told me it could easily be made with no oil. I then talked with the exec. chef and he said it's always deep-fried first. Eggplant acts like a sponge aborbing oil or liquid, so it's always going to hold that 1/4 cup of oil from the deep fryer unless you ask specifically that it that the eggplant be pan-fried in just a Pam spray.

                1. Hi Rachel,

                  Having checked the calories in most of the common entrees, I've found that the best selections are an appetizer of smoked fish, beef or tuna carpaccio (even the beef, being only an ounce or two, is still so low in calories); a cup of soup, so long as it's not cream-based; a salad with the dressing and a few crumbles of blue cheese and maybe anchovies on the side, then only use a little and perhaps ask for some balsamic vinager on the side as well and fresh pepper; then a grilled fish or chicken entree.

                  Sauteed and even baked items, as mentioned before, are loaded in hidden fat. I'd rather have the fish or meat cooked with as little fat as possible, then have just a little added right on top, in the form of a glaze or a brush of extra virgin olive oil, for example. This way you definitely taste the fat and enjoy it while only consuming a little of it. (Much like putting a dab of real butter on your bread.... you'll taste the butter more if it's right on top than you would if it were mixed in with the bread dough.)

                  With the entree most accompanying sides of vegetables would not be a problem, again so long as it's nothing creamed, like creamed spinach or rich potatoes gratinee, etc.

                  Then fresh fruit, berries for example, for dessert.

                  Total calories can be as low as 150 for the appetizer, 150 for the soup, 100 for the salad, 300 for the fish and veg, and 100 for dessert. Half a roll with a dab of butter would add 75, and a glass of wine 100. And an espresso is free.

                  That's a nice, five-course meal for 900-1000 calories.