Eating Chipotle is Good for You

Chipotle Bag

Since January 1, Alli and I have been on the Weight Watchers online plan. I could lie and say that I wasn’t inspired by Jennifer Hudson’s crazy weight loss, but I won’t.

I’m not a skinny person by any means and I love food, especially burritos from Chipotle.

Fortunately, thanks to the beauty of online nutritional information, I have the ability to calculate exactly how many points I consume each time I eat at my favorite restaurant. As a rather large person, I have quite a few points that I am allowed to consume, so my regular diet of Chipotle 3 times a week isn’t too much of a problem.

Think I’m lying? Here’s proof: Since I started Weight Watchers in January, I’ve eaten at Chipotle no less than 2.5 times per week. This is the 16th week of the year. That’s about 40 times, a conservative estimate. In that same span, I’ve lost over 25 pounds.

Here’s what I typically get:

  • Burrito bowl
  • Rice (5 points)
  • Chicken (7 points)
  • Mild Salsa (0 points)
  • Medium (Green) Salsa (0 points)
  • Cheese (6 points)
  • Guacamole (4 points)

That’s 22 points for my entire, rather large and quite filling meal. If I was doing any other diet, I’d probably have to cut back on the Chipotle considerably, but since I know how many points I have to allocate, I can reserve the proper amount for days that I know I want to have Chipotle (which is, let’s face it, just about every day).

Then, there’s the added bonus of eating at a place like Chipotle who goes about their approach to food in the right way. Their Food With Integrity program is one of the differentiators of what makes them a great company and one of the reasons that I have no problem frequenting them as much as I do. From their website:

Food With Integrity is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers.

This system may not work for everyone, but it works really well for me an Alli. We have the ability to eat what we want and still lose weight. Plus, we support a pretty great company. Sounds like a win-win-win situation to me.

Top Chef GIRL POWER

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite reality show on TV is Bravo’s Top Chef. And I’ve now had the opportunity to attend two of The National Golf Club‘s exclusive Top Chef events, the first with Kevin Gillespie and Eli Kirshtein and the second with Top Chef All-Stars finalist Mike Isabella and Season 7’s Kelly Liken (which contained my favorite dish of both evenings, Mike Isabella’s Greek-inspired ribs, below).

My good friend Eric is the director of food and beverage at The National and he continues to put together great events for the members, including his latest: Top Chef GIRL POWER with Chef Carla Hall (Fan Favorite for Top Chef: All Stars) and Antonia Lofaso (a finalist in the Top Chef: All Stars event).

The six-course dinner at The National will for the first time be open to the public. Reservations are being taken now for the dinner, which will be held on Saturday, April 16th with cocktails beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the dinner, complete with Terlato wine pairings for each course, begins at 7:00 p.m.

The cost for the evening is $100 per person, which is pretty reasonable when you consider 6 courses from top-quality chefs and wine included. Look, there’s no doubt I’m a fan of Top Chef. I’m not getting paid for this endorsement, I just think it is an awesome program and if you love Top Chef and great food, give the event a try. These events don’t come along often and they aren’t always open to the public.

The Menu

First Course (Antonia Lofaso)
Hamachi Crudo, crispy rice, mizuna, miso vinegrette
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Italy

Second Course (Carla Hall)
Asparagus, Golden Beet and Shitake Salad with goat cheese bousin and tarragon dill vinaigrette
Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon

Third Course (Antonia Lofaso)
Curried cauliflower soup with sweet shrimp, apples, micro cilantro
Wairau River Pinot Noir Home Block, New Zealand

Fourth Course (Carla Hall)
Grilled Halibut with ramps, pickled fennel and roasted sunchoke pesto
Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Les Meysonniers Rouge, France

Fifth Course (Antonia Lofaso)
Lamb loin, fennel butter, brussel, blue bacon salad
Luke Donald Claret, California

Sixth Course (Carla Hall)
Strawberry Rhubarb Meringue Tart with lime basil coulis
Two Hands Brilliant Disguise, Australia

Credit card reservations can be placed by calling Meghan at The National at 816-746-0200.

If you’re interested, let me know and I can get you in touch with the folks from The National (or…you know…you could just call the number).

Donut Day

Donuts in the Case

Once every 3 years or so, my family has this ridiculously excessive tradition. We wake up early on a Saturday and have a donut tasting.

And it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

However, this is an amazingly un-local thing. The local-est place that we go is Lamar’s, but we also tried Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts this year. After my devotion

Then, there’s this.

Meesha is organizing a meetup at John’s Space Age Donuts in downtown Overland Park on May 19, the same day that the new Dunkin’ Donuts opens up just down the street. I’ve got some friends who freaked out when Dunkin’ Donuts came to town. After my donut day, I can categorically say that Dunkin’ Donuts is very MEH and they certainly can’t hold a candle to Lamar’s. I’m going to try and make it to John’s on May 19 and give them a try.

It seems like they’re the awesomest. What are your KC suggestions for my family’s next excessive donut day?

Breakfast at the Movies

Alli and I went to see Away We Go at the 9:50 a.m. showing at the Fork & Screen on Saturday.

We’ve been trying to find a time to hit the breakfast option at the Fork & Screen since it opened and with the release of Away We Go (FINALLY), we were excited to give it a shot.

I’m going to cover the movie review separately.

The Fork & Screen needs to stick what it does pretty well, which is bar food. Their breakfast was pretty bad. The portion sizes were decent and the potatoes were OK (fries and homemade chips are what the Fork & Screen does best at lunch and dinner), but my biscuits and gravy were average at best.

While the biscuits were pretty good, the “sausage” gravy was flavorless and seriously lacking sausage. I got it with a side of scrambled eggs with cheese that was just a really bland, boring, dry version of truck stop eggs, except not as good as I’ve described. No amount of salt or pepper could salvage this plate of MEH.

Alli didn’t have any better things to say about the French toast, saying:

The French toast was almost certainly frozen at sometime. I couldn’t even cut it with my fork.

I don’t think we’ll head back to the Fork & Screen for breakfast anytime soon. While I love that the movies cost only $10 that early in the morning on Saturday (with $5 towards your food), the food just wasn’t very good.

Alli’s Cilantro Pickle Relish

Alli's Cilantro Pickle Relish 

Alli made this terrific relish a while back that was a part of a Rachael Ray recipe for Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.

It’s not too difficult, basically chopped cilantro and pickles mixed together and served on top of whatever you’re eating. We’ve had it a few times since, on top of turkey burgers (for me) and vegetarian sandwiches (for her). Alli has made it with dill and sweet pickles, both of which are good, but I vastly prefer the dill pickle version.

If you want to try it out, it’s not hard.

  1. Chop some pickles.
  2. Chop some cilantro.
  3. Mix.
  4. Serve.

Enjoy!