Fort Wayne YUM Blog

April 10, 2010

My mission: to find the healthiest, yet tastiest restaurant food in Fort Wayne

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Natalie S. Ellis-HarperCollins Author @ 2:22 am

My husband and I recently spent a few days in Scottsdale, Arizona soaking up the desert  sun, hiking on picturesque trails (which turned our sneakers pink—but worth every step) and eating the best, yet healthiest, food I’ve ever tasted. Yes, healthy. I couldn’t believe it either. All the way home, I mourned the loss of the Camarones Tacos from Blanco Tacos and Tequila. Both soft-shelled tacos had at least eight massive chipotle shrimp, avocado, tomato and shredded cabbage. And they just sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top–the rest of the ingredients taste so good, you don’t need much. After looking at pictures (I should have asked the waiter!) I’m pretty sure they use cotija cheese. I’ve never heard of that before. Have you? It’s described as a crumbly white cheese made from goat’s milk, having little flavor, besides saltiness. That sounds like what I ate. I also had the best chicken taco salad ever at Blancos. So good I didn’t eat any of the taco shell bowl. No, I didn’t have tacos and the taco salad in the same meal! We went back the last day for lunch. I looked up Blanco Tacos and Tequila and discovered the restaurant is also located in Colorado, Texas and Kansas. Please come to Fort Wayne soon! Hmmm, maybe I should send them this blog.

Now that you’re craving something thousands of miles away, I’ll get on with it. There has to be comparable restaurant food here in Fort Wayne, right? We’re the City of Restaurants. Not just Mexican food, but healthy, mouth-watering food of all kinds. I’m on a mission to find that food. I’ll write a blog each week because I have a bad habit of indulging myself with restaurant meals on the weekend. If one of those meals is healthy—thanks to my blog—I’ll be in much better shape. And by the end of the year, I hope to have a long, long list of healthy choices for eating out in the Fort.

My first pick was Casa Grille, 411 East Dupont Road. I asked our waitress, Kirsten, her recommendation for a “healthy, yet tasty” main course and she suggested the Salmone Caccia prepared on the wood-fired grill. She said it was her favorite. Sold! The menu description read: North Atlantic salmon filet brushed with herbed butter and grilled. Accompanied by roasted Italian garden vegetables. For $14.99, it came with a “renowned” Casa Salad. I know, I know, the Casa Salad is NOT low cal. Wait until you hear what I ate for dessert. You, like me, are adult enough to decide whether your goal is to cut back on calories, add more nutritious ingredients to your diet, or only eat extremely healthy selections. My goal is to add more lean meats, fish and veggies to my diet on weekends. I do well during the week, since my new hobby is cooking healthy dishes, but tend to eat so poorly on the weekend that I probably cancel out all the Monday through Friday sensible food.

I loved the wood-fired sear on the salmon! It was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I didn’t have any herb butter on my first bite and was slightly disappointed, until I spread the delicate glaze evenly over the fish. They don’t pour it on—there’s just enough there to season the salmon. It’s butter, after all. Too much and the health benefits go downhill. The same herb butter was mixed in with the tender, fire-roasted vegetables, but sparingly. They were delicious! I saw some chives on there, maybe some oregano and basil. Nothing was overpowering. So, if you’re not big on rosemary or thyme, you’ll like these vegetables. The carrots were my favorite, although I used to hate them. They taste so different when you roast them. I do them at home quite often these days, but Casa’s carrots taste better than mine. I’m guessing it was the sauce. The dish also included roasted red peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms and red potatoes. Yum! 

I gave my husband Russ a bite of salmon and he said he liked it too. “It’s the wood-fired grilling that’s doing it for me,” he said. “It would be cool if we could do this at home.” We can, but I’ve been nervous about the fish falling through the grill grates.

I tried a piece of Russ’s spinach pizza, prepared in the brick pizza oven. There wasn’t much cheese on it, so I’d categorize this dish as healthy as well. Besides the spinach, there were sweet, caramelized onions on top of the crunchy thin crust. If you’re the type who knows you should eat your spinach, but don’t necessarily love it, this is a great choice. The taste of the onions is much more prominent than the greens.

The healthy dish I usually choose at Casa’s is also excellent. That’s the Pollo al Spiedo, which is a split half of a chicken, slow roasted on the rotisserie and basted with red currant glaze. I take the skin off to make it healthier, but the flesh is so moist and flavorful, I never miss it. The chicken is also served with roasted vegetables and a small salad, for $11.29.

Yes, I shared a piece of their unbelievable six layer chocolate fudge cake with Russ. Hey, normally we’d each get our own and eat it for two days! It’s “presented” with raspberry coulis. I knew the coulis tasted like sauce, but I was curious about the definition. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, coulis (kü-ˈlē) is: a thick sauce made with pureed vegetable or fruit and often used as a garnish. Voila! Oh, wrong language. It’s e voilà! in Italian. Close.

Kirsten and Casa Grille, thank you for an excellent meal. My heart feels a little lighter knowing that at least I can find THREE healthy, delicious meals in Fort Wayne!

Please pass along your suggestions if you’ve had a main course in Fort Wayne, or the metro area, that meets the criteria of being healthy, yet delectable.

Eat well and stay tuned!

Natalie Eggeman

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