Savor: Eat Well Eat Good

BY Lindsey Johnson

From the Golden Door to the Azalea Coast calorie counters and health devotees are watching what they eat as they’ve never watched before. To help them live the cliché “You are What You Eat ” high-class spas and restaurants from coast to coast have created spa menus to help these health conscious diners eat well and eat good at the same time.

Since its inception in 1958 Golden Door luxury spa resort in Escondido California has been widely recognized as one of the first and most lavish spas in the country. With 40 guest rooms and world-class spa facilities tucked away in a remote pocket secluded by Japanese gardens Golden Door offers its guests a week of rejuvenation and tranquility … and custom-designed menus suited to their individual wants and needs.

Before Golden Door guests arrive they are mailed a pre-visit package so staff members can get to know them personally and prepare a menu accordingly. “Personalization is the heart of our program ” explains Sue Annetts public relations person for Golden Door. “We have people coming to our spa of all ages all shapes and sizes with many different needs. Some people want to lose weight while some are just looking to maintain. We create a menu based on goals likes and dislikes. It’s about the person.”

Guests are reacquainted with normal-sized portions and encouraged to continue preparing similar meals when they leave the spa. “Guests sample the healthy lifestyle while at the Golden Door and are given the tools they need to continue at home ” says Michelle Kleist Golden Door dietitian. “It can be as simple as one nutrition change switching from white to brown rice for instance to a complete nutritional overhaul.”

Here at home Chef Thierry Moity owner with his wife Patricia of Caprice Bistro and Zooi Euro Bistro has created a sample spectacular spa menu for our WBM readers. Chef Thierry moved to Wilmington in September 2001 and opened Caprice Bistro in downtown Wilmington shortly thereafter. He and Patricia opened Zooi Euro Bistro in June 2006.

Caprice and Zooi don’t list nutrition facts on their menus but behind the scenes Chef Thierry’s kitchens are two of the healthiest places in town. “We use vegetables as a garnish ” Thierry says “sometimes four or five vegetables on a plate.” Almost every day Chef Thierry serves customers with special requests such as healthy ingredient substitutions and in every case he’s happy to do it.

We requested a three-course menu totaling 1 000 calories but Chef Thierry took it a step further creating instead a delicious guilt-free meal with only 800 calories.

As an appetizer Chef Thierry recommends a tomato torte made with sweet ripe tomatoes and a low-fat pre-baked torte shell. “You can make your own crust using oil instead of butter for a healthy alternative ” says the chef.

For a salad Chef Thierry suggests endive spinach and walnuts with red beet vinaigrette. With only 50 calories and out-of-this-world flavor this endive salad is a spa menu staple satisfying taste buds with virtually fat-free credentials.

The main course is a French classic remixed to cut down on calorie intake. Chef Thierry’s North Carolina trout grenobloise typically uses butter as a sauce but the chef uses homemade vinaigrette as a substitute.

Strawberry floating islands a dish made primarily of egg whites and served on a bed of strawberry coulis is Chef Thierry’s spa menu dessert.

And then sometimes decadence is the only way to go. If you’re in the mood to nutritionally go for broke both Zooi and Caprice have off-the-charts goodness for you to enjoy. That’s just fine with the chef who says you don’t necessarily have to cut the butter and cream as long as you don’t overdo it. “You can have all the crème brûlée you want ” laughs Chef Thierry. “I believe in eating a little bit of everything. But of course too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I say eat small portions take your time and enjoy yourself.”

North Carolina Trout Grenobloise

(Makes four servings)

“This is a French classic. They usually use butter for the sauce but in this case we will substitute vinaigrette.” Chef Thierry

4 trout fillets (4 ounces each)
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 lemon cut in small dices
1 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 slices of white bread cut into cubes
and oven-toasted
4 lemon slices
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Nonstick cooking spray

Make the vinaigrette with lemon juice mustard chopped parsley oil and salt and pepper and set aside. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and cook them in a large nonstick sauté pan using the cooking spray (make sure the pan is hot before placing the fillets). Cook the fillets for about two minutes on each side then place the cooked fillets in the center of your dinner plates and spoon an equal portion of the vinaigrette over each fillet. Garnish with lemon slice parsley and croutons. Serve with steamed rice.

Endive Spinach Walnuts with Red Beet Vinaigrette

(Makes four servings)

4 heads of Belgian endive
4 cups of baby spinach
½ cup of crumbled walnuts
1/3 cup beet vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste

Pull out the large outer leaves of the endive and slice the centers diagonally. Toast the walnuts slightly and crumble. Attractively arrange the endive spinach and walnuts on four salad plates. Season with salt and pepper to taste top with red beet vinaigrette and serve.

Red Beet Vinaigrette

4 ounces beets cooked peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon
of chopped shallots

In a blender combine the beets oil and vinegar. Process until very smooth (if too thick you can add a little water). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Floating Islands

(Makes four servings)

“A classic low-fat French dessert made with egg whites only served
on a bed of strawberry coulis.”
Chef Thierry

5 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of strawberry coulis (a thick and evenly-textured French sauce made from strawberries sold pre-packaged in many stores or easily made at home)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Take four ramekins and spray the insides with vegetable oil. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe the meringues in the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish pour hot water to half the height cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes or until firm. Let the meringues cool for about an hour before unmolding. When ready to serve cover the bottom of each plate with the strawberry coulis place the meringue in the center of each plate add a little bit of sugar on top of each meringue and caramelize with a torch (torching your food at home is of course optional).