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Served: When Restaurant Folk Forget to Feed Themselves

Served Hannah Howard 23 comments

My boyfriend spends a minimum of a dozen hours a day cooking, but he never has time to feed himself. He's taken up some emergency measures -- protein shakes, Clif bars. But these are poor substitutions when body and mind are calling out for some real food. More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 119: Is It Time To Retire This Column?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 45 comments

n the last few weeks a few commenters have suggested that it's time for me to pull the plug on the Serious Diet column. Someone suggested I rename it "weight maintenance," because I haven't lost much weight lately. A few other folks have taken me to task for not being disciplined enough, or not exercising enough in the right way, or not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Hmmm. Now that I've listed the most common complaints I see that in fact, all these folks are correct. But that doesn't mean they're right about retiring the column. Why? More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 90: The Return of Thinner

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 4 comments

"I know there are all kinds of theories out there about how often you should weigh yourself when you're trying to lose weight." [Photograph: Ed Levine] I returned from three days of cold and rain on Cape Cod to my beloved Thinner, though truth be told he did not welcome me with open arms. In fact he greeted me with a weight of 220 pounds. That freaked me out. So as the week progressed, I looked for signs of life. I got down to 218 pounds by Thursday, so I had a chance of at least minimizing the damage caused by not having Thinner with me. In fact, I really didn't go crazy on the Vineyard without Thinner. I managed... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 86: Is 200 Pounds Out of My Reach?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 26 comments

"The thing is, I'm not really fat any more." A couple of months ago I remember posting about my readjusted weight goals. Feeling confident and almost giddy with delight from all the success I've had in the last year and a half, I proclaimed that I was headed for 200 pounds or less. I still hope to be, but I see that the road to 200 pounds is filled with potholes, which in my case is a combination of pot roast and doughnut holes. Though there may have been one fluky week when I dipped below 210, my weight has been fluctuating between 211 and 216 for the last four months. It's been kind of discouraging because now I don't... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 85: Can a Dentist's Drill Help You Lose Weight?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 4 comments

"I intentionally scheduled my dentist visit for a Thursday afternoon so I could reap the benefits of not eating much for dinner." [iStockphoto: tolgakolcak] Yesterday I went to the dentist to have two crowns put on, one on an upper tooth and one on a lower tooth. I have an aversion to going to the dentist. I guess I associate the dentist's chair with pain, discomfort, and the whirring sound made by what I regard as an instrument of torture, the dentist's drill. And I feel this way even though I go to a first-rate dentist who is reasonably sensitive to my feelings of dentist dread. I was in that chair and shot up with a sufficient amount of novocain... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 84: Do You Ever Scare Yourself Into Eating Less?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 14 comments

"Many thanks, serious eaters, for all the shout-outs of support and encouragement." I scared myself into not eating last week, and not just because of what I ate on the road in Chicago. Erin pointed out that my real downfall was the double meal I ate last Tuesday night. It started with oxtail, shepherd's pie, jerk chicken, leg of lamb, and goat at The Islands with Erin and Carey. Then it was (and this was the killer) two pork roasts and two fried chicken recipes from Donald Link's and David Chang's books that Cook the Book's Caroline Russock made at her house for a cookbook competition we are participating in. So when you think about it, my two-pound weight gain... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 83: Bad Road Food Habits in Chicago

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 21 comments

"There was more delicious Chicago food to be had, and I had it." Pizza from Great Lake. Read all about my visit here ยป I thought I had licked my road food problem--the one that gives me license to eat insane amounts of food when traveling. I convince myself I may never pass through that town again. Then I went to Chicago and the Windy City got the best of me. The first day, Robyn and I had barbecue at Honey1 BBQ, hot dogs and duck fat fries at Hot Doug's, frozen custard and Boston Shakes at Scooter's, pizza at Great Lake, and an espresso malt nightcap at Bobtail, a well-regarded Chicago ice cream shop. I tried to eat everything... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 82: Peanut Butter Portion Control

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 65 comments

Peanut butter is my weakness. Once I start eating it, I can't stop. Armed with a spoon or knife, a loaf of bread, some jam, and a glass of milk to wash it down, I am a peanut butter-eating fool. But after losing more than fifty pounds over the last year and a half, maybe I'm finally able to eat just a little and still be content. More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 81: A Frank Chat with Frank Bruni on Being 'Born Round'

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 21 comments

"I was objectively chubby by age four, fat by age six, and was on the Atkins diet for the first time at age eight." --Frank Bruni Photographs by Robyn Lee For all of the serious eaters who overdosed on the hype surrounding Julie & Julia (hey, the back of my head was in the movie, so if I'm guilty as charged there's a good reason for that), I'm giving you a heads-up that the hoopla accompanying the publication of Born Round, now former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni's memoir, is going to make Julie & Julia seem like it was an under-the-radar phenomenon. The book is in stores today, so let the Bruni media madness begin (it actually... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 79: What's Your Favorite Seasonal Snack?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 17 comments

"I have been feasting with impunity on fruits that are being grown responsibly 3,000 miles from my home." When you're a serious eater and a serious dieter you look for treats or snacks that you can eat with impunity at different times of the year. Yes, all you Michael Pollan and Alice Waters acolytes, I am talking about seasonal snacks that I can eat without worrying about my weight. Bananas have become a staple of my serious diet, but they are neither local nor seasonal unless you happen to live in a sub-tropical area. (I did have some killer baby bananas in Vieques, Puerto Rico, last December that tasted like they had been crossed with limes--banimas or limnanas, anyone?) Summer... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 78: The Julia Child Mantra, Does It Work, Serious Eaters?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 3 comments

"Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health."--Julia Child This famous quote from the late, great Julia Child has been the cornerstone of my serious diet. And that quote was on a sign for all to see, as the guests wandered into the ultra old-line, ultra New York Metropolitan Club for the post-premiere party of Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron's loveable movie that chronicles in parallel fashion the lives of cooking culture icon, cookbook author, and seminal food TV star Julia Child and writer-blogger Julie Powell. It was a good thing the sign was there, because the opportunities for excess were everywhere. New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent had put together... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 77: Good Snacks Come In Small Packages

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 7 comments

As many of you know, I have gone cold turkey on 100 calorie snack packs. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean my cravings for the occasional sweet or chocolate have gone away. Let's face it, serious diet or no serious diet, sometimes you need the spiritual, emotional, and physical boost only a piece of something chocolate-covered or nutty can provide. I find that is true any time of the year, even now, when I have been eating locally grown strawberries, cherries, peaches, and blueberries with great pleasure. Stone fruit and berries are amazing gifts from nature, but once or twice a week I need something a little more decadent. Given my weight, my body type, and my ability to metabolize such treats,... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 76: 'Papacito, Part II,' Size Matters

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 5 comments

The diet books often tell you to measure your progress by putting on the same article of clothing and seeing how it fits. The theory is week by week, month by month, it should get a little easier to get into the pants or the shirt or the belt. I have two belts, one green and one brown, and a handsome red shirt Alaina brought back from India, that I have been using to take the measure of the success or failure of my serious diet. When Alaina gave me the shirt when she came back from India six months ago I could barely button the buttons. Now it fits really well, and it is in my regular shirt rotation.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 75: Can (and Should) I Give Up the Flavored Liquid Habit?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 35 comments

I've read all the literature on how important drinking plain water is to any meaningful weight loss effort, but I must admit I am having trouble giving up flavored liquids cold turkey. I have managed to kick the Diet Coke habit. But I certainly haven't given up on diet sodas or soft drinks as a whole. Last night I posted about the joys of Fresca. I drink Snapple Diet Cranberry Raspberry Drink because it doesn't have any caffeine. When I'm up on Cape Cod, I drink Cape Cod Cranberry Dry. It's a local soda made with 5% cranberry juice concentrate. I know I shouldn't, but I drink a bottle a day of the stuff. At least I did last week.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 74: Can My All-Pie Fourth of July Diet Work?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 14 comments

I am on Martha's Vineyard, where pies seem to be baked on every corner. I can get my pie fix from Mrs. Blake's, The Black Dog Bakery, Little Rock Farms, The Scottish Bakehouse, Fiddlehead Farm, The Old Stone Bakery, Just Pie, Morning Glory Farms, Garcia's, and literally too many other places to mention. I happen to be partial to Mrs. Blake's, because of her flaky crusts and her fruity, not goopy, fillings, but I am not slavishly devoted to her 8-inch round beauties. So faced with this plethora of pies this July 4th weekend I am going to embark on an admittedly gimmicky, some would say radical, others would say ridiculous and silly, one-day diet of just pie. Stay with... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 73: Sometimes Only Dark Chocolate Malted Milk Balls Will Do: What's Your Weakness?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 23 comments

I learned once again this past week that falling off the serious diet wagon is still way too easy for me. It was Father's Day, in the evening, 10 p.m. to be exact. We had just finished a seriously delicious and reasonably sized Vietnamese take-out meal from Saigon Grill. I had stopped ordering from SG when a lawsuit was filed on behalf of its delivery people, alleging shockingly low pay and long hours forced on them by SG's owners. When a jury came back awarding the delivery staff $4.6 million dollars, I knew that I could once again order from Saigon Grill. The pork chops were great, the crystal shrimp dumplings even better, and even though the bo luc lac... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 72: I Couldn't Finish 2 Hot Dogs; Does That Make Me a Wuss?

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 18 comments

I've been doing some serious hot dog eating for an upcoming post, and today at lunchtime I headed to our local Papaya King for some purely academic, tube steak-eating research. I ordered one with mustard and sauerkraut, and one slaw dog with pickles. Eating kosher-style hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut always sends me hurtling back in time to my childhood, when I would effortlessly polish off a pastrami sandwich and two hot dogs at a single lunch at our local deli, Wilshire's. Talk about establishing damaging, self-destructive eating habits early. I first ate half of the hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut and then moved on to the slaw dog. I was enjoying both immensely when my brain sent... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 71: Do You Eat Only When You're Hungry? What A Concept!

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 9 comments

As I write this I am in a hotel room in Palo Alto awaiting the start of the The Great American Food & Music Fest. Thanks to the remarkable efforts of fest partners Jim Lewi, Steve Martin, and everyone at the Agency Group, our collective, nearly 20 year-old dream is going to be realized. But just because I have been thinking about a fest like this for twenty years doesn't mean I have to eat twenty years' worth of food there. That, serious eaters, represents real progress. In fact, I realized today that It's not all that pleasant to force-feed myself like a foie gras-producing goose at the fest, that it's okay, even desirable to stop eating when you're full.... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 70: The Diet Blues, or 'Can One Bad Day Screw Up 70 Weeks of Progress?'

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 7 comments

I should have seen it coming. There I was, standing around kibitzing and hanging out in the San Francisco Chronicle food section's amazing kitchen Wednesday at lunch time, surrounded by some of the foods we are going to be serving serious eaters at the Great American Food & Music Fest: Pink's Chili Dogs, Southside Market barbecue, Anchor Bar Buffalo wings, Junior's Cheesecake, Tony Luke's sandwiches, Katz's pastrami, Graeter's ice cream, and Barney Greengrass's bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese. How could I possibly resist eating a lot of the food arrayed before me standing up, thereby violating every diet rule known to man and woman-kind. Well, I didn't. I had more than a few bites of many of the... More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 69: Eating With Devils and Angels

Ed Levine's Serious Diet Ed Levine 11 comments

"I think I'm going to get myself a locket with a photo of Julia Child." Two nights ago, the Serious Eats crew met up for beer and burgers at a tugboat that's been converted to a bar on the Hudson River. As I am the Serious Eats overlord (at least that's what Mr. Kuban has named me) I thought it was only right to buy the beer and food. As is my wont, I ordered what I thought was the right amount of food for ten people: eight burgers, four hot dogs, and four orders of fries, in addition to the beer. The burgers were big and not particularly juicy, the kosher hot dogs were grilled and split, and the... More

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