First...PHO!! Holy cow, I had heard about pho before but the first time I had tried it was during this trip. I went to Pho Van on Hawthorne Street in Portland and was BLOWN AWAY by how amazingly amazing this food was. And I even tried the variety that had tripe and tendons in it and was in beefy soupy noodly heaven (sorry vegetarians, this post is not for you but I promise I have more veggie entries coming soon as soon as I leave my carnivorous parents houses!)
Then today I stayed a little closer to home and went to Pho Green Papaya in Vancouver which got just amazing reviews online. Had another packed bowl of pho and while it wasn't QUITE as amazing as the Portland one, it was still a big bowl of heaven. I have to admit, this is the biggest thing I miss about not living in a city anymore is not being able to just go grab pho or sushi or Thai or tapas or any other number of great ethnic foods that they just don't have in the small town South. Healthwise pho is relatively healthy - clear beef broth, rice noodles, lots of bean sprouts, the only thing that is fatty is some of the beef and even that wasn't prevalent compared to the lean cuts. I can never get down more than half a bowl anyway and I feel good, light, but full afterwards. I didn't make the mistake I did at Pho Van and order salad rolls in addition to the pho at which point I felt like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka except full of beef broth instead of blueberry juice! And I practiced moderation, ate half of my bowl slowly with consciousness and drinking tea in between, and when I left I was pleasantly satisfied without being stuffed.
The next place I went was to Cinetopia which is one of those fabulous movie theatres with the big plush leather seats and waiters that will serve you food and wine or beer right to your seat. All HD digital screens and usually a good selection of more artsy flicks.
Well, I didn't exactly pick an artsy flick today - I saw Salt with Angelina Jolie (mini review: Reminded me of the Jason Bourne movies except with Angelina Jolie instead of Matt Damon. I liked it!) But I did indulge in a little afternoon happy hour and had a slice of lemon cheesecake with fresh blueberry compote and a glass of pinot noir delivered to my seat. Yeah, it was almost $20 for that little bit of food and drink, but it was a treat and something else that won't be happening once I get back to North Carolina.
So how does this fit into a healthy lifestyle? Well this goes along with the concept of living a little more French and enjoying a little treat in moderation without indulging in the very American guilt! Would I eat a slice of cheesecake every day? Nope. Could I have eaten half and still been satisfied? Probably. But the point is that I had a good quality treat of something that I truly enjoyed and I don't feel bad about it in the slightest.
So that was my treat afternoon out. To round out the day I also had breakfast (2 egg omelette with a little cheese, 1 slice of toast, blueberries and a small glass of oj) and dinner (homemade chicken lasagna, salad, 1/2 slice of bread, fruit for dessert and wine). I want to talk about this more tomorrow, but I feel like I am getting more in the habit of practicing moderation and enjoying my food without needing to feel full and stuffed all the time. That is more important to me than going back to that high school diet of zero fat, zero oil, zero carbs and total boring.