I suck at “dieting.”
There was a time I may have been considered extremely good at it, but really that was just what would clinically be referred to as an eating disorder and something which has been in the archives for several years. Besides, as a self-proclaimed food & dining blogger, how dull would it be if I quit foie gras torchons and started asking for plain balsamic in lieu of some spectacular house-made garlic caesar dressing?
However, I do admit I am trying to tone up for summer and perhaps make some healthier modifications to my lifestyle and eating habits. My dear friend, Erica also happens to be in the same boat as me and fortunately we also happen to have identical tastes in food and beverages (except for the fact that Erica would probably rather eat a live squid than have a neat glass of scotch).
This past week Portland has been blessed with phenomenal eighty-degree weather and along with some changes in my life I have found myself having a bit more free time to frolic on lawns, absorb some Vitamin D, and of course indulge in some fantastic meals, snacks, and libations with Erica and my other lovely friends.
And now I present you with six tips Erica and I have tried and tested for how to get in shape without giving up your social life:
1. Have an Entree Salad Once A Day
The Entree Salad will preferably be abundant with a nutritious non-romaine/iceberg base such as kale, radicchio, or arugula. It should also have a generous helping of a high quality cheese for calcium and protein, and perhaps a tinge of toasted carbohydrate, and of course an omega 3 fatty acid-rich dressing (which is basically anything with olive oil).
2. Stick To Champagne or Champagne-Based Cocktails
Champagne is one of the lowest calorie per serving libations yet is still delicious, glamorous and appropriate to indulge in while the sun is still out. It is also the perfect accompaniment to an entree salad and silky asymmetrical summer frock.
3. Keep Your Brunches Indulgent
I never understood people who would get salads or granola yoghurt side dishes at Brunch. If there is one meal where you should load up on the biscuits, fried chicken, and cheesy eggy satiating delights, it should be brunch. For one thing, brunch typically is the first opportunity for nutrient replenishment after a long night of dancing and for another, it tends to be in the first part of the day and thus the perfect opportunity to avoid a midday blood sugar plummet. Plus, brunch options in Portland are plentiful and some of the highest quality in the world and you can always grab a friend or four and split all the options you cannot decide between.
This past Saturday, Erica, Anne, Brook and I decided to give PSU-adjacent, Raven & Rose a shot for our weekend kick-off meal. Since Erica and I have identical tastes, we chose to split both the bison burger and breakfast pizzetta:
Erica and I were thoroughly pleased with our two choices; if anything I believe I can vouch for this bison burger to take a spot on my list as one of the best burgers in Portland. Bison is typically a leaner choice yet this was juicy and finger-licking and beautifully complimented the exciting toppings. It reminded me a tad of the Gruner burger, except with a less fatty patty.
The pizzetta was also beautifully curated between the seasonally appropriate nettle pesto, fontina, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of protein from the chicken and adorable hen’s egg for dippage purposes.
Anne and Brook on the other hand were not incredibly impressed with their substantially smaller portions (though Brook did proclaim the bacon in her breakfast as the best she had ever had):
Some of the pros of Raven & Rose? Plenty of seating both inside and out on the sidewalk patio. The multi-story restaurant and bar is housed in the beautiful old-word Ladd Carriage house on the corner of SW Columbia and Broadway. There is also an exciting craft cocktail menu and it is open for just about any meal of the day.
The cuisine can be best described as Irish-influenced locavore as you can find Irish breakfast and black & white pudding on the menu. However, for those who are not a fan of some of the potato and meat-heavy Irish staples there are plenty of other options highlighting seasonal Northwestern cuisine.
The cons? Honestly the only con we could all agree on was the size of the glasses for the grapefruit and orange juices (literally three to four sips max).
4. Choose to Have Tacos
Tacos are one of the greatest meals one can have. For one, they are almost always under $3 apiece depending on the filling. For another, they are perfectly healthy as they generally utilise gluten-free corn tortillas, and are abundant with fresh ingredients which you can slather with various salsas and hot sauces for an extra metabolic boost. Oh, and who doesn’t like tacos?
Also, if it happens to be Cinco de Mayo as it happened to be this past Sunday, then you might as well meet your fruit quota in the form of margaritas made with fresh strawberries:
5. Make Your Errands into Your Exercise
Come Sunday night, you will most likely be in a guilt puddle over what your bank account will look like from the expenditures incurred from hopping between 3-6 establishments per day. In that case, you will make a pact with your dining buddy that you will not dine out again until the following weekend and thus pursue a 9:45 PM trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on weekday essentials. You will also choose to park five blocks away so that you can substitute gym weight-lifting with grocery-toting.
6. Only Consume Delicious Desserts
And preferably split them with your dining buddy, but still consume them because we all need a little sugar to stay sane.