Restaurant: Jay’s Bistro

Salmon Summer Special at Jay's Bistro

Salmon Summer Special at Jay's Bistro

Jay’s Bistro is one of my favorite “special occasion” restaurants for dinner, and a great meet-up place for lunch (I host a monthly meet-up here for folks interested in Web Analytics). They have a classy atmosphere, excellent staff, and fabulous food (if you’re noticing a trend in my reviews – I’m only reviewing places with great food – if a place doesn’t have great food, I won’t give them any free publicity).

Jay’s has excellent low-carb options, like the Salmon on their Summer Specials menu. It comes with a quinoa pilaf and seared spinach. They are also happy to modify many dishes to be low-carb upon request – instead of mashed potatoes I often opt for either seared spinach or asparagus (sometimes both!).

One of the other excellent dishes is their Lamb Shank. It’s different but equally as good as the Lamb Shank from Taverna I reviewed the other day. I also really love their Bouillabaisse, I just ask them to leave out the noodles these days. It’s a flavorful broth chock full of fresh seafood (fish, mussels, clams, shrimp – yum!). Also their Filet Mignon and Venison options are excellent.

If you’re looking for a low-carb special occasion option, Jay’s is wonderful. They also have a surprisingly reasonable lunch menu, which is about a third of the cost of their dinner menu. Only one warning – do not be tempted by their Lobster Mac and Cheese. It is sinfully good, but will kick you off the low-carb wagon big time!

Recipe: Rosemary-Thyme Lambchops

INGREDIENTS

    Lambchop Marinade Ingredients

    Lambchop Marinade Ingredients

  • 2-3 Lamb Chops
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary (or 4Tsp dry)
  • 4 Springs of fresh Thyme (or 4Tsp dry)
  • 1 Clove of fresh Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 8 Tbsp Olive Oil

PREPARATION

Lambchops In the Marinade

Lambchops In the Marinade

Place all ingredients (except the Lamb Chops) into a food processor and blend well. Marinade the lamb chops for a minimum of 30 minutes (can also be marinaded overnight). Select your choice of cooking:

  • Grill: grill for 10-15 minutes, turning chops over half-way through grilling. Use a silicone brush and brush on extra marinade during grilling (optional). Use a meat thermometer to cook to taste.
  • Pan-Fry: fry in a pan for approximately 20-30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to cook to taste.
  • Oven: Place in a casserole dish and bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to cook to taste.

Serves 2-3. Goes great with steamed carrots and green beans.

Restaurant: Taverna Greek Grill

Braised Lamb at Taverna Greek Grill

Braised Lamb at Taverna Greek Grill

Taverna Greek Grill is a great new Greek restaurant here in Ft. Collins. It resides where the old Johnny Carinos had been for many years. We’ve eaten there now about 3-4 times and have had an excellent experience every time. The staff is attentive, the management is very friendly – checking with every table to make sure their meal and experience is great, and the food is wonderful. On top of that, every so often the staff stops serving to dance around the restaurant to traditional Greek music and the rhythmic clapping of patrons, followed by a traditional “breaking-of-the-plates” (often done by children that are invited to come up and throw the plates towards the kitchen).

What’s best is that the restaurant is very accommodating to our low-carb needs. In fact on one occasion when the kitchen was a little behind with our order, they brought out an appetizer platter of dips, and remembering our low-carb requirements, substituted the traditional pita bread with large cucumber and tomato slices instead. Wow!

Right now my favorite dishes include their roasted lemon chicken and their braised lamb. The braised lamb is an absolutely *must have*. The succulent tomato sauce and the tender lamb is to die for. I just ask for spinach instead of potatoes and it becomes a perfect low-carb meal.

I definitely highly recommend this restaurant for the food, service and fun. It’s a great night out!

Low-Carb for Life

Low Carb GirlI have been eating a low-carb diet off-and-on now for many years (more off than on, unfortunately). Every time I go low-carb I lose weight, every time I fall off the wagon, I gain it all back, and then some. It’s clear that living a low-carb lifestyle for the rest of my life is what I need in order to stay at a healthy weight.

As of today I have lost a total of 14lbs this year and need to take off exactly 20lbs in order to get to my healthy weight. My boyfriend has lost 17lbs and has reached his healthy weight already (lucky duck!).

Seeing the weight come off again is motivating me to want to live a low-carb lifestyle, not just “diet.” I know the biggest challenge will be to continue once the weight is off. That’s always been my problem – I lose the weight, and then go back to eating like I did before.

Since my boyfriend and I are doing this together, it’s definitely easier and we can check each other if we want to cheat. I think doing this together will make it easier to help each other stay on track with the lifestyle as well. I’m sure we’ll fall off the wagon once in awhile here and there. The trick is to keep getting back on it right away.

Wish us luck! 🙂

Restaurant: Young’s Cafe

Vinegar Beef at Young's Cafe

Vinegar Beef at Young's Cafe

Young’s Cafe may be a touch westernized in it’s approach to traditional Vietnamese cooking, but they have good food at affordable prices. While traditional Vietnamese noodle bowls (also known as Pho) are off the low-carb diet list, this restaurant has a number of low-carb friendly options.

Personally my favorite is the Vinegar Beef. It’s tender slices of beef marinaded in a sweet vinegar glaze. It does have some added sugar, but not so much that this dish cannot be an occasional treat. It’s served with cilantro, tomatoes and onions. If you forgo the side of rice, this can be a decent low-carb meal.

My boyfriend’s favorite dish at Young’s is their Pork in Clay Pot. A steaming clay pot filled with flavorful, succulent pork. It really is a must try for anyone living the low-carb lifestyle in Fort Collins. I do enjoy the dish, but I wish it came with some veggies.

One note to keep in mind: dinner here is a better low-carb option than lunch. Lunch is more affordable, but automatically comes with rice on the plate (instead of in a separate serving bowl), and also comes with an eggroll. This is not to say you cannot order lunch here, you just need to keep this in mind and either just not eat the carb-rich sides or ask your server to not include them (I always ask for extra veggies as a substitute).

Otherwise, many of their dishes are very low-carb friendly – generous helpings of chicken, beef or seafood sauteed with vegetables in a variety of sauces. Just say “no thank you” to the side of rice and you’re good to go. Just watch the added sugar content in some of the dishes, or ask the wait staff. They are very friendly and helpful and always make us feel welcome.

Recipe: Gabs Flemish Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS

      • 2.5 lbs Beef (rump or round)
      • 2 large or 4 small yellow onions
      • 1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms (optional)
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • Dash of salt and pepper (to taste)
      • 2-4 fresh bay leaves (can use dried, fresh gives more flavor)
      • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme (1-2 dashes of dried)
      • 4-5 fresh sage leaves (3-4 dashes dried)
      • 2-4 Tbsp of olive oil
      • One 14oz can of beef broth
      • 11/2 bottle of beer (any kind – I’m using New Belgium Fat Tire)

PREPARATION

Cut the beef into cubes and set aside (I recommend removing any excessive chunks of fat if you are on a low-fat diet). Roughly dice the onions and slice the mushrooms (or purchase pre-sliced ones if you can find them).

Preheat the over to 325F.

Brown the beef in about 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil and place them into an oven safe pot or large casserole dish. Brown the onions and mushrooms until soft in the remaining olive oil. Add about 1/2 bottle of beer to the onions and mushrooms, along with the garlic, salt and pepper and simmer for 1 min. While they are simmering add the other bottle of beer, beef broth and herbs to the beef. Put onto the stove and begin bringing to a boil. Add the onions and mushrooms mixture and bring all to a boil for about 1 min.

Cover the pot/casserole dish and place into the over for about 11/4 to 11/2 hours.

Serves 6-8.

Retaurant: Cafe Vino

I think by far Cafe Vino is our most favorite restaurant in Fort Collins currently – considering we eat there at least 3 times every week! My review focus here will of course be on low-carb options we’ve had there, but if you’re interested in what else they have to offer, check out the Feasting Fort Collins blog entries.

Yellowfin Tuna Salad

Yellowfin Tuna Salad

Cafe Vino has a number of low-carb options on their standard lunch and dinner/tapas menus that I enjoy. One of my favorites is their Seared Yellow-fin Tuna Salad. It’s served on a bed of lettuce with an edamame and wild-rice pilaf and tangerines. It comes with a wasabi vinaigrette that I find just delightful.

Now if you are on a specific low-carb diet, like Atkins, you may want to ask them to remove the tangerines and wild-rice pilaf, but otherwise this is a nice low-cab option.

Spiced Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews

Spiced Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews

One of my other favorite treats that’s regularly on their menu are their spiced goat cheese stuffed peppadews. These are just slightly spicy and a burst of flavor. They make a great low-carb appetizer.

My other favorite thing about Cafe Vino are their daily specials. You never know what creative, delicious creation their chef has come up with until you arrive and so far I have been disappointed only once in the past year. Everything else I’ve tried was absolute perfection.

Scallops with Asparagus Tips and Wild Boar Bacon

Scallops with Asparagus Tips and Wild Boar Bacon

One example of this was a scallop special they had some weeks back, served with asparagus sprigs and wild boar bacon. It was absolutely fabulous. My only gripe – I wish there had been more (although, portion control is never a bad thing!).

Also if they have a special served with risotto, noodles or potatoes, they are very accommodating in replacing those high-carb/high-starch items with low-carb options upon request. I often will get a side of seared spinach, sauteed mushrooms or sauteed squash and zucchini (whatever they happen to have on hand that day) as a substitute.

If you’re looking for a light meal that’s low-carb friendly, I highly recommend Cafe Vino.

Low Carb Girl

Eating Low-Carb in Northern Colorado

Welcome to NoCo Carb Conscious. My boyfriend and I embarked on our low-carb journey about two months ago, and been exploring new ways of both eating out (we eat out *a lot*) and cooking.

The first thing that struck me is how integral processed carbs and high starch foods are to our every day diets – everything from pizza to potatoes, and everything in-between. A lot of my favorite foods contained carbs: pizza, spaghetti, sushi, chicken noodle soup (the list goes on, but you get my point).

As I said, we eat out a lot, which presented the first set of challenges for us. Thankfully most of our favorite restaurants have been very accommodating to our needs and have even come up with some creative low-carb ways to serve some of our favorite dishes.

The other challenge was cooking low-carb – no more baked potatoes, noodles or rice as a side-dish. No more toast to go with those morning scrambled eggs. Also trying to find a good low-carb sweetener was at first a challenge.

This blog will be a combination of restaurant reviews, or even occasionally reviews of specific dishes at a restaurant that we’ve been to multiple times, and recipes I have prepared (I’ll only post the ones that came out good, I promise!).