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Fat free claims not true (restaurants)

I've just come back from 10 days in Southern California (where I used
to live many ago). It was an interesting experience. Friends, knowing
my requirement of very low fat vegetarian food, carefully researched 
where we could go out to eat and proudly took me to places that 
claimed dishes with "no fat or oils added". When the food arrived, in
nearly all the places, it was swimming in oil. "But canola/olive/etc 
oilis good for you" is what the servers universally replied when I 
showed them the huge amount of oil that was in my dish. Worst was a 
place in West Los Angeles called The Newsroom. With many entrees 
labeled `vegan', the fat content was extreme. We ordered different 
so-called "no fat" dishes, which all seemed to be at least 50 percent
or more calories from fat. In the Palm Springs area, Nature's claimed
they could make anything without fat, but the "no fat" dishes were 
extremely high in oil. They claimed their desserts were made without 
oil, but later, talking with the chef, I was told, "we only use a cup 
of pure virgin oilve oil, so there's no fat it in at all."  I was 
also told they use tofu (regular 50 percent cff), "which has no fat."

On the positive side, Mother's in the Costa Mesa / Newport Beach area
was superb. A huge veggie supermarket with an amazing variety at low 
prices and a fabulous restaurant that really understands vegan and no 

The point of this is that if you choose to take the word of menus or 
your food server, you may not get what is promised. It isn't as easy
to eat out in new places as one might hope, and passively accepting
claims of no or low fat doesn't work. 

As was suggested on this list a long time ago, I use a ploy that 
isn't strictly honest, but gets me exactly what I need with no 
"cheating" by the cooks. I tell the manager (never the server) that
if I get even a single drop of oil in my food, it will make me throw
up. When the manager or owner tells the cook "no oil", it seems to 
happen. When a waitress or waiter makes that request, the cook tends
to make it "as usual", with the belief that it won't taste right 
without the oil (and the customer will never know, anyway). This is 
from real experience, in Manhattan Beach I visited the restaurant
that I started 38 years ago (now owned by an overseas group).  
Neal Pinckney <> Healing Heart Foundation <> Makaha, Hawaii <> AH6HM