After the long day I had yesterday (getting up early to swim, running errands, dentist, job interview, work) it was an easy “yes” when Michael suggested we go out to eat by the mall and then do some shopping.
After extensive internet research about the calories at the mall restaurants, I suggested Olive Garden. It’s been years since I’ve eaten there. I’m not usually fond of chain restaurants but that’s all I had to choose from.
The waitress offered us free tastings of their house red to decide if we wanted some. Oddly, she poured us both half a glass. While I’m certainly not complaining…I’m pretty sure a taste isn’t half a glass. 😉
Michael wanted to order the artichoke spinach dip. He said it was amazing. We both agreed it didn’t hold up to memory. It was pretty blah if you asked me.
I agonized over the menu; looking up the desired entrees on my iPhone to see what the calories were. Then I saw on the menu that the servers can get complete nutritional info. I asked for it. She brought the complete nutritional guide for the menu and I was SHOCKED.
Why? Because the calories were soooo LOW. Low?! At a chain restaurant?! I am so baffled.
For example, according to their guide the Artichoke dip was 650 calories. Split between two people that’s not too bad.
The bread-sticks were 150 calories each. (Thankfully Michael kept them at his end of the table.)
Some of the lower-calorie options:
Venetian Apricot Chicken = 380 calories
Seafood Brodetto = 480 calories
Chicken Parmigiana = 570 calories
Ravioli di Portobello = 450 calories
Penne Rigate with Marinara = 560 calories
Tiramisu = 510 calories
Pretty impressive right?
The more high-end options calorie wise:
Spaghetti and Italian Sausage = 1270 calories
Pork Milanese = 1510 calories
Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara = 1440 calories
I took a double take. How is that possible that ravioli was so low? I wondered how accurate the numbers were…but then they couldn’t publish LIES, right?
I ordered the Cheese Ravioli with the salad.
I’m really happy with the restaurant experience–even if the food was rather bland. It was better than I could have made at home and low in calories. I’m still impressed with that.
I ate some dessert. 😉
Then to REI where I walked out with these:
$25 goggles for $16. They claim to be leak free. I’ve yet to find a pair of swimming goggles that don’t leak. The awesome thing about REI–I can return them even after I wear them in the water! Looking forward to my swim this weekend to try these babies out.
I got home and showed Fat Kitty his (early) Yule present.
QUESTION: What chain restaurant do you like that offers healthier menu options?