Friday, August 12, 2011
Kansas City Local Quisine
My husband and I had the lovely pleasure of dining at The Westside Local for lunch today. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table food supplied from local farmers and businesses. It is so fresh! This was only our second visit to the establishment, and I wasn't disappointed. My husband has to eat gluten-free, and they easily accommodated his dietary needs. We ended up splitting the deviled eggs as an appetizer. Then we split the pesto chicken sandwich minus the bread. We subbed in the tomato-fennel soup instead of french fries. It was outstanding. The pesto chicken features Who says low-cal food has to be bland? It was fantastic.
It was a far cry different from the McDonald's Classic Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich I ate for lunch yesterday. I opted for the apple slices as a side. It was sustenance at best. I would hardly call it satisfying. After seeing so many commercials with claims of it being new, improved, and starting at 350 calories I felt like should try it. I'm a slave to the art of my blog. Lol! I actually had no desire to eat it. I was merely doing research. Here is the breakdown. The whole-grain bun is basically a white bun that they enriched by putting the whole-grain back in. The chicken tasted like it had been either nuked or over-cooked. I'm not sure why they are touting this new roasted flavor. It was bland. If it is more flavorful now, then how bland was it before? The mayonnaise made it editable, but that isn't saying much. As for the apples slices I appreciate that it is an option. They came here from Chile. They were preserved with calcium and citric acid. I wanted them just as a filler. That's exactly what they were. A fresh, organic apple would have been better.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but back to the chicken. I hate the thought that tons of chickens are going to be slaughtered only to be overcooked, nuked, and called ultimate. It is a dishonor to the animal. Actually it is a mockery of that poor animal's life. I like to think that the bird I ate at The Westside Local actually had a purpose in life, and that purpose was justly fulfilled. It's breasts were not over-sized with implants or hormones. They were small and normal. It had a free-range life. Then it was cooked with love and actually grilled with char marks, instead of just being called grilled or ultimate.
McDonald's is probably as American as apple pie. I don't want to be a hater, and I will devote a blog to them. However, I will offer a disclaimer that I don't advocate eating there very often. Once I tell you how little you can eat there for the calories you will think twice about putting McDonald's in your rotation.
Let's get back to local eats. A couple of my other favorites to get healthy, low-calorie meals are Pierpont's and Bluestem. Both of these restaurants offer a lower-priced menu in their lounge areas. Check out the following links:
At Pierpont's I love to get the Filet Pierpont. It features a four ounce filet mignon, blue cheese cream, & tart cherry balsamic reduction. It comes with fries, but I usually sub in mushrooms, asparagus, or green beans for a surcharge. It is the perfectly portioned amount of food that is cooked to perfection. It starts at $10.95 without the substitutions.
At Bluestem I love to get the marinated hanger steak, pomme frites, field greens, and chimichurri sauce. It's a steal at $14 already, and then it is offered at half price during happy hour. You can't beat it. It's delicious a blend of flavors prepared by a staff that clearly respects the culinary arts. Since it happens to be a gluten-free dish I can bring my leftovers home to my husband after dinner with the girls and cut my calories in half.
Fine dining like this makes fast food look like a ridiculous joke. Americans have gotten too busy to just sit down and enjoy good food. Either that or we have become too accustomed to quantity over quality. Shame on us. What happened to us? The Great Depression may have had something to do with it, but that is too many generations passed to be a good reason for the increase in childhood obesity. I'd rather have a few bites of something heavenly then mediocre pizza to my heart's content at Cici's pizza buffet.
If you want a decent, grilled chicken breast from a fast food restaurant, then go to Chick-fil-A. If you want a decent meal, then skip the fast food. Sit down and savor a meal that has been made with love. Don't worry about getting your money's worth. That fast food will end up costing you more on the back end with medical bills. You really do get what you pay for. Yes, it does suck that it seems to cost more to eat healthy. Guess what? It's worth it.