(re)freshing dining @ seasons52

[note: pardon the blogging absence. the author has been a busy bee preparing to launch a new fitbook this friday (go PINK!), traveling to & fro for business (vegas baby!), and gearing up as we head into our busy season!]

rarely do i eat anywhere that impresses me enough to talk about it, let alone blog about it!  enter: seasons52.  please note that i am in no way affiliated with them, although if a random manager reads this and wants to send a $50 gift card my way you can email me at angela@getfitbook.com.  (ha!)  i’m writing about them purely to share a fresh new dining experience that left this little nutrition nut slim but satisfied.  here’s the concept behind seasons52: the menu changes with the seasons so they only use the freshest of ingredients and all items on the menu are under 475 calories.  so i meander over to the new location at south coast plaza this past saturday and was overly impressed with the service and the ambiance of the restaurant.  but being the health-food lover that i am, i knew that i was going to enjoy it, however the love affair began once i took a peek at the menu.  from flatbreads on whole wheat crust to salads with organic greens and entrees that featured sweet potatoes, it was love at first sight.  that’s not to say the foods are bland either – just prepared with fresh ingredients, sharp flavored cheeses, heart-healthy oils, and herbs & spices to add flavor. 

first observation: no bread!  thank you.  i have limited self-control with a bread basket in front of me and have no intention of taking in 200 calories of bread before my meal even arrives. to that point, the waitress informed me that there is actually no butter in the restaurant – what a concept!  so for starters we shared the steamed edamame that came with green tea sea salt followed by the hamachi tataki which was seared over a bed of greens with avocado and a light citrus vinaigrette.  my first impression: love the portion sizes, the presentation, and already the appetizers were incredible.  now, note that my dining partner ordered the appetizers for sheer survival as he was starving and i could not decide what i wanted to order.  usually it takes me 5m max to order at a restaurant: i scan the menu, find the most healthful options that i can tweak to my liking, and bada-boom, we’re done.  not this time.  i think my scanning (read: drooling)  and contemplating over what i wanted took approximately 25m.  seriously – the menu was a health food freak’s haven.  and even then, the dishes sounded amazing regardless if you care about nutritious dining, but knowing that they would all be healthfully prepared opened up my little world from “fish grilled with no oil, double veggies, no potatoes, and no butter please”.

onto the main course.  my mom’s always said i eat like a bird. not to say i don’t eat, but i love to try a little bit of everything so instead of deciding on one of the lunch entrees i decided on the soup and salad.  i was craving a salad but wanted to get some protein that wasn’t grilled chicken, plus i always eat salad so i wanted to try something new.  so i had a cup of the colorado buffalo chili and the small greek salad with feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and olives.   mmmm!  again, the portions were perfect and honestly the prices were very reasonable for what you got.  frankly, i’d rather not get a huge portion and pay for overeating!   then after being fully satisfied, my lunch partner-in-crime decided we needed to at least try one of the mini indulgences which are the teeny shot-glass-size desserts.  i was happy to see among the carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter mouse, and key lime pie they also had a cute little fresh fruit option too!  our choice to share: the pecan pie over vanilla mouse.  with about 4 spoonfulls each there couldn’t have been much (calorie) damage done, but it was the perfect amount to satisfy my sweet tooth!  all in all: a 3-course lunch that left my taste buds happy and didn’t completely negate all the progress i’d made at the gym earlier that day. 

so, my ONLY issue as i was sitting there was this: the menu says that everything is under 475 calories, and while i’m pretty good at gauging healthy options, you never know what restaurants can add to things to make them unhealthy without you knowing it (hello 1200 calories salads!!).  so all i was wondering was: ok so are the appetizers, soups and salads all 475 too, or are they on the lower end of the calorie spectrum and 475 is more the high-end for the appetizers?  it might be helpful for me as a diner (because obviously their diners care) to break out the sections, like all appetizers are under 300 (which most are), flatbreads are 300-450, small salads are under 350, soups are under 200 for a cup, and desserts are 250-250.  let’s assume all courses are 475 – that’s still a day’s worth of calories in one sitting if you don’t watch out!  that would be my only recommendation since their clientele may like a bit more peace of mind ordering the house salad, which by the way clocks in at 48 calories, than thinking it’s racking up 450+ calories.  what i love though is, obviously obsessed with my new find, i wen to their website only to see that they post all of their nutritional information.  all that said though, i can guarantee any 3-course meal at seasons52 is well under the damage done by one course at most other dining venues. 

i for one am overly happy to have found a place where they truly “get it”.  that you can cook clean, healthy foods, using fresh ingredients and still have amazing tasting food.  gone are the days of healthy food being grilled tofu and steamed broccoli.  the one aspect of the menu that i didn’t get to explore (since it was 12:30 on a saturday) was the wine list which looked amazing: 60 wines available by the glass with over 100 options total.  note to self: return with girlfriends to take the wine list for a test drive!  i have a feeling i’ll be back again and again so i can try all the yummy items that i didn’t get to try.  there aren’t a lot of locations yet, but  to see if there’s one near you or opening soon.

ok that’s a wrap…back to work, but felt it was my duty to share my new find with you.  try it and let me know what YOU think!

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