Showing posts with label low calorie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low calorie. Show all posts

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seasons 52, Now Serving Delicious Low Calorie Food at Westfield CenturyCity

When you want something healthy but still tastes good while shopping at the Westfield Century City, head over to the newly opened Seasons 52. Everything on the menu is under 500 calories and they use no butter and no fryer. They also have one hundred wines on their list, 62 of them available by the glass.

I was recently invited to a preview tasting in one of their private dining rooms.

Our visit started on the patio with a glass of Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, a small grower champagne, and a lemon verbena mojito.
So the verbena used in the mojito, along with a bunch of other herbs used in different dishes come from plants grown on site. There are some herbs on the side of the patios and there is a small "Chef's Garden" room near the entrance, and you can peer in through the glass door as the chefs harvest the herbs throughout the day.

There's a large patio area and it was surprisingly quiet for being next to Santa Monica Blvd.
We started with a crispy Chipotle shrimp flatbread with roasted poblano, grilled pineapple and feta cheese
Then we went into the dining room for our tasting. For an amuse bouche, we had dungeness crab and Haas avocado, pico de gallo, finger lime. This was paired with Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2011
I think this was my first time having finger lime, which was very tart, but all the components worked well together. The vinho verde is made with half a dozen native Portuguese varieties and is crisp and clean.

Next is a course I've had at the Costa Mesa Seasons 52:
Organic salmon on cedar plank, lemongrass skewered sea scallop, farmers market vegetables

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Have your (Skinny) Cupcake and Eat It Too

Cupcakes. We all love them. But I was told that a Sprinkles cupcake contains 400 calories (after google-ing, supposedly the Sprinkles red velvet has 497 calories, but the strawberry only has 131 calories).

The "skinny" cupcakes at Santa Monica's 17th Street Cafe & Bakery only have 100 calories each and are fat free. Instead of oil, they use apple and apricot concentrate.

Their flavor selection is standard but has enough for everyone: red velvet, chocolate, lemon, carrot cake, vanilla. the red velvet comes either with fondant or (fat free) cream cheese frosting.

As with all fat free desserts, we worried about whether the cupcakes would be too bland or dry. Fortunately this wasn't really the case. Our favorites were easily the red velvet and the carrot cake since they were the most moist. It was also because we all liked the cream cheese frosting better than the fondant.
Granted, it isn't a Sprinkles red velvet but for me it is more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and for the same calorie intake, you can eat five of these! You shouldn't, of course, that would sorta defeat the purpose.

If you want to try out the cupcakes, DealPop is currently running a deal for this place: $7 for $15 worth of baked goods, which will end midnight tomorrow so you have about 32 hours.

PS. This cafe also serves chrysanthemum tea with whole flowers. That was a first for me at a non-Asian restaurant.

17th Street Cafe & Bakery
1610 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 453-2771
17th Street Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: I came for a free cupcake tasting as a guest of 17th Street Cafe & Bakery.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seasons 52 in Costa Mesa Opens Monday. A Preview Lunch.

The fresh, seasonal, healthy dining is not a new concept in California. Interestingly enough, the Senior Culinary Director of Seasons 52 had his roots in Berkeley during the heydays of Chez Panisse, but the chain started in Orlando in 2003 and has now finally found a California home in its twelfth location in Costa Mesa.
At this 300-seat restaurant they're taking the healthy up a notch, though. Everything on the menu is under 475 calories. They don't use oil or butter and nothing is fried. Remember the scene in Food Revolution where Jamie Oliver made this family bury their deep fryer? Yeah, that.

There's a piano man behind the bar providing nightly live entertainment.
There's a Chef's Table that holds 12 (but you can reserve with a minimum of 8 people) where you can partake in a tasting menu similar to what I'm about to show you below.
The restaurant opens August 30, but I attended a media preview lunch last weekend.

The wine list, which offers 100 wines and 60 by the glass, at all the locations and all the pairings we had today are prepared by their beverage director George Miliotes, a Master Sommelier.

We started with some champagne (Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne) and some passed flatbreads on the patio (which overlooks the South Coast Plaza parking lot, but the weather's beautiful all the same).
Chipotle shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta cheese.
All the flatbreads are made with their brick oven.

Black Mission Fig with chevre, Nueke's bacon, mint, arugula.
The sweet figs and the goat cheese were great on top of the crispy crust.

Our lunch started with an amuse bouche:
Lump Crab and Haas avocado with pico de gallo
This was paired with a Lioco Indica Rose, Mendocino 2009 which had a surprisingly dark and deep color for a rose.

Wild Pacific salmon and sea scallop roasted on a cedar plank.
(Paired with Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Central Coast 2008)
The scallop was skewered with a stalk of lemongrass. Instead of oil or butter, they use vegetable glaze to get the moisture and the mouthfeel. Both the salmon and the scallop are very moist, though a couple of the other bloggers said their salmon was a little overcooked.
The chardonnay was clean and crisp with a little acidity and proved to be a good pairing with the seafood.

Earthbound Farm organic greens with Oak-grilled mushrooms and truffle dressing
(Paired with Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2007)
Chef Pleau shared his recipe for the truffle dressing:

2 oz miso, 2 oz lemon juice (from Meyer lemon), 2 oz olive oil (or garlic oil), 2 oz tamari/soy, 2 oz truffle oil.

The dressing had a great aroma and a nutty flavor due to the miso. Nonfat sour cream is drizzled around the side for more body.

This Costa Mesa location will have a list of biodynamic California wines that their other stores do not have, thanks to its proximity to the wine country (biodynamic wines don't travel as well).

Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with roasted garlic, basil, and light tomato broth.
(Paired with Retromarcia, Chianti Classico 2008)
This was another good pairing as the wine cuts the salt and richness that came from the goat cheese.

Mesquite-grilled lamb rack and Manchester Farms quail breast, mashed sweet potato, San Miguel farm bok choy.
(Paired with Markham Petite Sirah, Napa 2004 for the quail and De Toren Fusion V, Stellenbosch 2007 for the lamb)
Both the lamb and quail were tender and flavorful. The bok choy came from a small farm in the south part of Oxnard and was more tender than its grocery store counterparts. The South African Stellenbosch was full bodied, more subtle fruit, and was a good palate cleanser in between the two proteins.

The desserts, alas, aren't really "low calorie" but they are still under 475 calories. How? Well, smaller portions! You can eat your cheesecake and your pecan pies and rocky road cake, but the size of the shot glasses keeps your calorie intake in check.
For the dessert wine they served Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2006. Interestingly enough, the next Monday I had a 2007 Mosel Kabinett Riesling at Melisse.

One of my favorites: Pecan "Pie"

The take-home message? Seasonal fare using local, small farms. No oil, no butter, no gas, no frying and yes, even if you don't worry about whether or not they're under 475 calories, the food tastes good. You won't miss the oil, that I promise.

Seasons 52
3333 Bristol Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 437-5252
Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

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