Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lighter Side of Tyler's

Going forward with our blog and its new emphasis on good habits, we weren’t quite sure where to go for our first healthy post. We decided to revisit a place we enjoyed last year but with a goal to find the lower calorie options on the menu—and with the hopes that we could still come away with a good taste in our mouths. So we found ourselves at Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom in American Tobacco— our previous visit left us satisfied after sharing a plate of Carolina Nachos, soft pretzels and a couple rounds of beer. Could we enjoy a guilt-free beer and appetizer?

This time we had to look a little harder on the menu to find what we were looking for—most people probably don’t go to Tyler’s to count calories and there aren’t tons of options for people that do. We were hoping to get a beer so we started by asking for the light options—unfortunately the only choices were the standard US big box varieties, --Miller, Bud, Amstel or Corona. We can enjoy those beverages on any occasion, so decided we could pass this time around (we’d hoped some of the local microbrews would include lighter options, but our waitress and the menu did not make it seem that way).
For an appetizer we opted for the hummus & pimento cheese plate. We had a feeling the pimento cheese took this semi-healthy appetizer to the unhealthy side but it didn’t occur to us until it was on the table that maybe we could have ordered hummus only. With warm pitas, carrots and celery for dipping, this dish was a great way to kick our taste buds into gear—the hummus had great flavor and was more tasty than expected. Surprisingly, we did not finish the dish before our meals came allowing us to pack up calories for a later time.
For the first time in GWG history, one of us ordered a salad—the Blackened Salmon Salad with chilled salmon, field greens, grated Parmesan and a side of spicy mustard vinaigrette. This dish has a lot of flavor—the fish is coated in spices and was quite peppery in certain bites. The hot spices worked well with the sweet and tangy dressing, but at times there was a bit of flavor overload and a few pieces of the salmon were chewy. Overall, it was a decent dish and came in a heaping quantity (ordered with the dressing on the side to limit calories).
Enticed by brie cheese, the other GWG ordered the grilled chicken wrap lunch special complete with candied walnuts and a pomegranate dressing. The best part of the wrap was the wrap itself--perfectly moist and able to hold all the food in while being eaten. However, if not a brie lover, it’s probably best to steer clear as that was the standout flavor. Although satisfying for the GWG, the chicken was barely noticeable, there was only an occasional crunch from the candied walnuts, and the pomegranate dressing was practically non-existent. This GWG (a brie lover) isn’t complaining and finished the full wrap but is hesitant to recommend to all.

At the end of the meal, we were both very pleased with the lighter options and enjoyed not feeling tired and overly full. That being said, Tyler’s is probably best enjoyed when you go for the grease and swallow it down with beer.

We must also admit that we don’t specifically know the calorie content in the dishes we chose, but we at least know they are healthier choices than we’ve made before. We attempted to use online calculators to estimate the calories and nutritional content, but even those seem inconsistent. Without asking the restaurant for details about the way food is prepared and all the ingredients, it becomes almost impossible to be certain what you have consumed. Unfortunately restaurants don’t make it that easy and we hate to become those people that overanalyze every detail of their food—that might be something we have to get over to find the truth.

Exercise activities for the week: swimming, running, zumba

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