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Fat-Free restaurants?

Jan recently wrote about her difficulty in finding fat-free/low fat
restuarants, even if they are vegetarian.

She's correct of course. It's very hard to find and you have to be
very explicit and demanding. You feel like a heel sometimes and that
you are "asking for the world."

We usually call restuarants (especially when out of town) ahead of
time to ask if they have anything for us. Typically most restaurants
think we mean "iceberg lettuce salads with a single half tomato on it"
and that would constitute our entire dinner. "Sure they say--they have
vegetarian food for us." This turns out to be an entire plate of lettuce
with no dressing. This is going out for dinner??? Not for me. I hate it
and it has NO food value. It might as well be soaked shirt cardboard. Also,
when I go out and find vegetables that they will bake, they make a microscopic
serving on a small salad plate and charge me 14 dollars for the "entree."
I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences. I'd just as soon stay home,
but since most people's social lives do revolve (at least to some extent)
around food--we find ourselves ostracized to some degree and that is painful.
(Especially to my wife).

Restaurants have almost no idea what low/non-fat cooking is. Many insist that
they need SOME fat to make the food palatable and simply refuse to consider 
making it any other way. We hang up the phone on these, thinking that they
are not willing to even try. A "little" oil may mean 3/4 cup of palm kernal
oil on a single serving to some restaurant chefs! 

Breakfasts are easier for us. We always buy plain oatmeal, and hard-boiled
eggs that we take out the yolks from ourselves. We order plain whole wheat 
bread (I know it has some fat in it), or better yet--if available--a
plain bagel. This and orange juice make a good breakfast. I use water on
my cereal--my wife a tiny amount of skim milk if they have it.

Of course there are some restaurants that are perfect. Jack Sprats in
Redmond Washington is run by a cardiologist who (although he serves some
meat dishes) keeps the total fat content to less than 3 gms per serving. I
really trust Elliot. He's great. I believe him whenever he says something
about what he serves. I hope you can go there if you live in (or
visit)Washington State.

The Bamboo-Garden in Seattle is a Glott Kosher vegetarian restaurant that
serves food with fat--but is quite expert at making a number of entrees 
without fat. I trust them too. Some of their meat substitutes contain fat--
so you have to be careful, but small amounts are not too bad. 

There are few others. In Chicago we went to Granny's Restaurant on W. Diversey
Avenue that actually made a fat free egg white omelette with DRY hash browns.
I rarely encounter a breakfast restaurant that can do this, but believe me
there was NO fat on this. It was completely dry--am I am quite cynical on this

Other thoughts about restaurants are appreciated. We can't stay home

Mike Rosenblatt