Carol Sadler, Registered Nutritionist, has been travelling through the south west coast of America, stopping at Los Angeles before moving on to the Canyons and Las Vegas, and sampling new foods en route. For Carol, it has been quite an informative adventure in American dining. She shares some of her experiences and insights on how to achieve healthier dining when travelling through the south west coast of America.
Modest serving sizes tend to contain better quality ingredients. Beautiful fresh shrimp and seafood shipped over from the East coast, berries and soft fruits, Wagu beef at eye watering prices plus every international genre of cuisine, is available in large population centres.
The humble beef burger can be a work of art and salads are often a carnival of tastes and textures.
Kale and Beets – no longer just to feed cattle over the winter. The rise in awareness of polyphenol rich dark green leaves and deep red beetroot has elevated these foods onto the menu of fashionable Los Angeles’ restaurants – albeit in the ‘baby’ form. Rocket is old hat now, red peppers and watermelon are equally valid nutritionally, but the stars on every trendy menu are the soft young kale and beets. The tough, larger versions are still popular as feed for livestock.
Watch out for ‘hard to resist’ calories you didn’t think you ordered
Many meals start with a serving of corn chips with salsa. These can be very salty and bland, or homemade and delicious. Either way, they are often replaced with another bowl when the first one is empty. That is a lot of extra calories and salt before we even start on the main course.
Stodge is cheap. Some over-sized servings are just that, but not all, many are good tasty fare, served in a portion large enough for a few people. Giant pizzas, excessive amounts of rice, beans and cheese with a main Mexican meal, a burger or steak big enough to take a day and a half to digest, are regular features. See photo on right, another dinners dish of Chili Huevos Rancheros.
A glance at the locals reveal the options available:
Eat the lot and diet when we get home. The overly efficient waiters will be longing to clear the table. The expression you hear is ‘Are you still working on that?’ It is past being a pleasure to eat a massive portion, it has become work!
Have the food packaged ‘to go’. People order meals with the express intention of taking half home to eat later.
Share with a friend. Only order one main course and two plates.
Only order starters. Don’t even attempt to order a main course if you can see from other diners’ plates that it will be oversized.
Tea and coffee translate differently in south west America compared to the UK. I always carry my own tea and never get used to the large mugs of weak filter coffee.
Porridge is mostly the old school variety, made with water. Even with a side of berries and sugar I struggle to eat it.
The look of a place can be misleading, some of the best places look tacky and some of the worst, have stunning views, high prices and ordinary food. Always do your homework and check review sites.
The range of food outlets available in cities is immense. Remote locations have very little choice, some have quirky local cafes, but many have only fast food franchises. Trail mix, fruit and water are invaluable on a long road trip.
Enjoy your next trip!
© Extravitality 2015