I love cooking and eating, but just like many of you I’m always trying to be aware of what and how I’m eating. With that in mind I wanted to share my tips on how to modify your favorite dishes keeping “Healthier Eating” in mind. Click my notes on the left to get started. Stay tuned for more suggestions coming your way: from me to you!
P.S. I’m working on a complete nutritional evaluation of our entire menu! Join our Gossip Hound email list for updates!
Hold the Cheese Please
While cheese is very tasty it is also high in fat and calories. So if the dish you want to order has cheese in it, just be sure to ask your Lazy Dog Server to “Hold the Cheese Please.”
So you are watching what you eat and want to be healthy however you dream of Fettuccine Alfredo at night. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Instead of ordering our amazing Fettuccine Alfredo- opt for Spaghetti Marinara with a side of Alfredo next time, this way you can add a little here or there to get your creamy fix. From one cheese lover to another, remember freshly grated Parmesan is a great substitute for creamy sauce.
Dressing, Dips, & Sauces
Lazy Dog has the best tasting sauces and our dishes are created to taste great and share. But, if you are watching what you eat it is always a good idea to ask your server for “S.O.S,” or “Lite Sauce” to reduce the amount of fat and/or calories you take in.
Let’s Take a Dip
A lot of our dishes come with garnishing sauces or dips. These items are a big part of the flavor of the dish, but if you can avoid taking a dip you will reduce the amount of potential fat and calorie intake. A good example is ketchup. Yeah it’s yummy, but it is full of sugar and calories. When possible…..skip the dip.
When it comes to eating healthy the number one item we all go to are salads. But, did you know that eating a Caesar salad is not so bueno for your diet. In fact, Caesar dressing is loaded with fat and calories. So, order any of our yummy salads and be sure to ask your server to order it “Dry with No Dressing.” Then ask for your server to bring our “Olive Oil and Balsamic Cruets” with your salad. Cruets are those little cute glass jars that we store the olive oil and balsamic in. This way you can tailor the dressing to your taste at the table and add as much or as little olive oil as you want.
The Dough Boy
If I ate as much pasta and pizza as I would like to I would become “the dough boy.” Items made with flour contain carbohydrates. “Carbs” convert to sugar in the body. This is bad for dieting. Whenever possible avoid the power of flour.
Have you ever heard the saying “That stuff is rabbit food.” Well basically it is used for people who eat a lot of veggies. Veggies are good…..actually they are great. If you really want a sandwich or burger but want to avoid the flour power: ask for your sandwich or burger with “ No Bun…sub Lettuce Cup.” We will be happy to replace the flour power with rabbit food. It will still taste great, but will reduce your carb intake substantially.
For your convenience we have provided our most current Nutritional Information. At Lazy Dog Cafe we pride ourselves on using the freshest and finest ingredients and we use only the healthiest cooking techniques: grilling, steaming, roasting, and baking. Whenever possible, we use local, organic and humanely harvested ingredients because they just taste better. We understand you rely on us to deliver quality food, and we take that responsibility seriously. We hope this message finds you well, happy & Hungry!
OC Weekly’s Q & A
What are six words to describe your food?
Balanced, seasonal, flavorful, international, timeless, mine.
What are ten words to describe you?
Fun, passionate, focused, balding, fast, happy, curious, approachable, amiable, proud.
Your best recent food find:
Most undervalued ingredient:
Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Have fun, work hard and clean. Take care of our guests.
One food you detest:
One food you can't live without:
Hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County and Long Beach have the best:
Variety of restaurants: Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, South American, Pacific Rim, European, regional American.
What is your fast food guilty pleasure and why?
In-N-Out Burger because they are the only place that makes me enjoy crappy processed cheese.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Clean as you go...
My favorite place to be is home with my family. If it is too late, and they are sleeping, I always enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine near a fire pit with friends (most of whom are people I work with).
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My parents, because they have cooked for me so many times and they love food. I owe my culinary existence to them, in addition to my physical existence.
Favorite celebrity chef:
Mario Batali for food and Gordon Ramsay for honesty.
Celebrity chef who should shut up:
What's next for you?
After cooking I want to farm. My grandparents on both sides in Italy were farmers and it is in my blood. Anything you can eat or drink: vanilla bean, coffee, grapes, agave, avocado, olives...
Proudest moment as a chef:
When my wife and parents first realized that all of my hard work cooking was paying off as a sustainable career. Of course, I always look back at the really hard work as my most passionate time in the kitchen. It will always be a lifestyle and not a career to me.
Favorite music to cook by:
Best food city in America:
Favorite restaurant in America:
The French Laundry... just love the attention to detail and farm-fresh products.
What you'd like to see more of in Orange County or Long Beach from a culinary standpoint:
Oceanfront dining with good food... not just a good view.
What you'd like to see less of in Orange County or Long Beach from a culinary standpoint:
Expensive steak and seafood restaurants that are not worth the money. Broccoli and mashed potatoes as a side, really?
Charlie Trotters, Nobu, Mario Batali, French Laundry.
What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
Start with harvesting something from the garden, ocean, ranch and finish with preparation of that item.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Boiled pigs feet with just lemon and salt.
You're making an omelet. What's in it?
House-cured salmon, green onion cream cheese and a paper-thin crepe-like egg omelet. Too much scrambled egg makes me squeamish.
You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Wine: one red and one white. The rest I've grown in the garden and bought at the butcher shop.
Weirdest customer request:
Nothing crazy... although I always thought the request for an egg white omelet with no oil was funny. What a mess.
Favorite restaurant(s) other than your own:
Gen Kai Sushi Restaurant and Javier's Mexican Restaurant.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
It is VERY easy to write a menu...bringing it to life and being consistent is not easy at all.
What would be the last meal on Earth be?
Sushi dinner: hamachi, uni, toro, aji, edamame, shishito pepper.......YUM!
Who's your hero? Culinary or otherwise?
Robin, my wife, is a big hero to me for raising our two children. At times it seems SOOOOOOO crazy hard. She has great patience with them.
What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
North African. There are some items I know and love from there, like tagines and couscous, so I'm sure that there are some gems from there that I don't know about.
“The Spice Rack” With Gabriel Caliendo
The first thing that comes to mind so close to October, aside from a cold Spaten, is my favorite Veal item: Bratwurst.
Bratwurst is a sausage made from a combination of pork and veal. The Germans, who hold their sausage/wiener on a pedestal, created Bratwurst, and beginning in September Oktoberfest is a celebratory period of time when large quantities of these sausages are consumed.
Oktoberfest was created as a celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Luitpold I and Princess Theressa of Bavaria on October 17, 1810. The original fest was held in Munich and although the couple has long passed, the reoccurring annual celebration is for their Anniversary. Only in times of war has Oktoberfest been cancelled during the last 200 years.
Other than the meat itself, the seasoning blend used for Bratwurst lends the distinct differences separating it from other sausages or wieners. The blends generally include the following items, but, are, of course, different depending on family recipes or regions: Pickling Salt, Allspice, Onions, Salt, Ground White Pepper, Marjoram, Parsley, Nutmeg, Coriander, Celery Seed, Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, and Red Wine.
One additional spice is used for an interesting street food in Germany called Currywurst. It is a bratwurst cut into bite size pieces, tossed in a toasted-curry-ketchup-sauce and served with some bread.
Bratwurst is commonly steamed with beer and onions and then finished to order on the grill. The onions are served with the bratwurst and a frothy pilsner of beer.
[Stay tuned for more from my column in Great Taste Magazine , the premiere connection to all the key decision makers in our local Southern California restaurant industry. Each issue features a restaurant and local chef, and is packed with the timeliest information, critical operational tips and other industry news.]