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We decided to have a fancy, fun lunch at work today.  One of us picked up the food, and then we all feasted on the take-out.  I ordered bruschetta that didn’t show up, but it wasn’t on the receipt either.  Instead of that, I was offered half of the other crusty appetizer – caprese crostini.  Amazing.  And I got an arugula salad with cinnamon walnuts, tomatoes, chunks of mozzarella, and a raspberry dressing (the only fruit dressing I’ve ever liked).  It was such a good idea.  In honor of my amazing, un-photographed lunch today, I thought I would do a post on my favorite restaurant meals.

I usually go for a happy medium between customizing what I want and flying under the “only weirdo at the table” radar.  I’m sure it doesn’t matter to everyone else at the table, but sometimes I like to forgo the vegetarian teasing.

Olive Garden
I like the simple linguine with marinara sauce.  I section off 1/2 (or try to eyeball a regular pasta serving, since helpings can get out-of-control).  And I love to start off with a bowl of minestrone, a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a breadstick.
Meal nutrition facts: 475 calories, 6 g fat, 9 g fiber (no protein stats provided).

Chili’s
At Chili’s, I mix and match my favorite things to come up with a dinner.  Two of my favorites…
Sides: kettle black beans, cup of broccoli cheddar soup, and cinnamon apples.  Meal nutritional information: 420 calories, 17 g fat, 13 g fiber, 18 g protein.
Make-your-own salad: house salad, nonfat honey mustard dressing, patty-only black bean burger.  NI: 450 calories, 12 g fat, 9 g fiber, 31 g protein.
I am, decidedly, a dessert girl.  They’ve got two little options that are decent… when you consider that if I’m craving a dessert badly enough at a restaurant, I would consider the 2,000 calorie options and convince myself that “sharing” makes it ok.  They have a mini red velvet cake (and a mini cinnamon roll), at 250 (280) calories, 9 (13) g fat, 1 g fiber, and 3 g protein.

Boston Market
I guess I actually do the same thing here, but they made it into a menu option all on their own.  “The three sides meal,” with vegetable stuffing (that really, probably isn’t vegetarian), garlic dill new potatoes, and green beans.  Yes, this meal is super-carb!  (And now that I look it over, sorely missing out on protein.  This would call for me getting in some extras throughout the day.)  But it’s like soul food on the go for me.  I’ll include the cornbread for good measure, because at some point throughout the night, I usually end up wanting a snack.  Meal nutritional information: 570 calories, 19.5 g fat, 8 g fiber, 10 g fiber.

Baja Fresh
I usually avoid the tortilla chips while we wait for our food.  Some nights, they are cooked perfectly, and I’m hungry, so I go for it.  But most times, I know how stuffed I’ll be without them, and can wait the 5 minutes.  This is the only place I drink soda, so I’ll have a fountain Diet Coke.  My favorite meal is a grilled veggie burrito, served bare-style (in a bowl), covered in about equal parts pico de gallo as everything else in the bowl.  When I remember, I leave the sour cream.  Without that, information: 520 calories, 6 g fat, 20 g fiber, 18 g protein.

Dunkin’ Donuts
When I was in school and we lived off-campus, I used to sit in a DD and do homework at least one afternoon a week, until I got a call that dinner was on the table.  A couple of years after that, I would meet with my old roommate while visiting for the weekend, and we would munch on our college version of brunch.  What I’m saying is, I love this establishment, visit for all sorts of reasons, and never really get the same thing when I’m here.  I love the small coffee coolatta made with milk (skim makes it too dark, and I sort of use it as a milkshake swap).  And the egg white veggie flatbread, though apparently they’ve updated it in the past month, and I haven’t had a chance to try it since.  My favorite all-out breakfast is egg white & cheese on an english muffin, and a medium latte with skim milk.  Nutritional information: 390 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g fiber, 26 g protein.

My favorite Indian food right now hales from a bistro in Voorhees.  No nutrition facts online, but so it doesn’t look like I’m obsessed with chain restaurants…  Ragda patties for an appetizer (no words. little fried patties of chickpea and potato. amazing seasoning, amazing tomato topping), and gobi aloo matar (great, simple little dish of potatoes, peas, and cauliflower).

At coffee shops, my favorite (this week) is a nonfat latte with caramel, and a rice krispie treat, if we’re there for dessert and I want something to crunch with my latte.

My favorite place to go for late dinners are diners, but I never know what I’m getting when I go there.  Egg white omelets are probably my standard, unless I can find a diner that will grant me a bowl of oatmeal any time of night.  I went to one that refused me, but I think that may have had more to do with the waitress deciding she couldn’t serve me a rum & diet coke and a bowl of oatmeal, in the bar area, at 6:30 PM on a Friday night.  Psh.  Like that’s strange.

I may have started working on my Christmas List yesterday.  Is that weird?

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