By Jasmin Guleria
Ah Valentine’s Day – I know there are the single people out there who pretend it doesn’t exist, and then there are those over the top couples who wear red and pink from head to toe and gulp down candy hearts by the handful. Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine’s Day can be a nice time to go out to dinner with a friend OR a lover. The trick to eating out, however, is to try to keep it healthy and to watch your portions! In this month’s Restaurant Review, I want to show you that eating healthy while eating out is do-able no matter where your sweetheart ends up taking you for V-Day!
Posto- 210 2nd Ave – AT 18th St.
This Italian pizzeria located in the heart of Gramercy, has a very ‘Lady and the Tramp’-like feel. It is a dimly lit, cozy Italian restaurant that prides itself on its thin delicious authentic pizza. Pizza is something that can easily be molded into a healthy dining experience. Adding veggies to your pizza and opting for less cheese or no cheese are two ways to make this a healthy meal. The thing I liked best about Posto is their variety of vegetable toppings that are uncommon at other pizzerias. For example, I requested my pizza to be loaded with grilled asparagus – which is something I never thought would be on a pizza pie – and it was absolutely delicious! Posto’s pizza is thin crust and not overdone with cheese – thus helping in controlling calories. So order a thin-crust pizza, top it with tons of veggies, get some wine, and enjoy an Italian-esque, romantic, low-key, and reasonably healthy Valentine’s Dinner!
Casa Mono – 52 Irving Place
Casa Mono is quite possibly the best tapas bar I have ever been to. Tapas are Spanish foods that come out on small plates and are meant to be shared. If you choose well, tapas bars are terrific date places when dieting. Casa Mono is definitely a restaurant that will impress a date or friend. The wait is long and they don’t take reservations (so if you’re not one with patience you may want to forgo this place, especially on Valentine’s Day because I can almost guarantee it will be packed).
Every plate consisted of a small quantity of food that is shared with your food-mates. I ordered the sautéed asparagus, snow peas, salad with manchego cheese, goat cheese and pumpkin croquettes, corn dressed with pimento, and chocolate soufflé. I know that this sounds like an awful lot to eat – however every dish was small and shared amongst three people. After dinner I was so satisfied that I began to feel guilty. As a health & fitness advocate and writer, had I committed the grave sin of over-indulgence? I promptly began to analyze my dinner, and to my relief realized that mostly everything I ate was healthy! Everything was vegetables, portions were small, and I was so satisfied with my meal! It’s important to remember that food does not have to taste bland to be healthy and a little dessert on a special occasion won’t ruin your diet.
Sushi is definitely a diet-friendly food that can be found on amost every street in Manhattan! Sometimes the sushi place right down your block can end up being quite cozy and romantic. If you want to go to a super trendy, celebrity-friendly, hot-spot however – I would recommend Bond Street, Sushi Samba Park, or Nobu 57. More important than the restaurant you pick, however, are the rolls you plan to eat! Specialty rolls named after our neighboring cities (Boston and Philadelphia Rolls for example) will definitely add calories because they are full of cream cheese and other unnecessary fats. Stay away from anything noted as ‘tempura’ or anything that includes any ‘special sauces’ because this most likely means the fish was rolled in mayonnaise. Opt for more simple rolls like Salmon-Avocado, California, or Tuna. I recommend having a bowl of miso soup before your sushi arrives – the broth will fill you up so that your sushi dinner doesn’t become a binge. Keep in mind that an average piece of healthy sushi is typically around 50 calories. Additionally, most sushi places offer brown rice sushi, which will add a punch of whole grains to your meal!
Make chocolate covered strawberries for your beloved or for yourself on this sweet occasion. Most store-bought chocolate covered strawberries have been double and triple dipped in chocolate – and one dip is usually quite enough to satisfy your craving. The Vitamin C from the strawberries and the antioxidants from the chocolate are good for your body and sweet enough to satisfy your taste buds. Plus, chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Enough said!