A lament about eating out too much and a celebration of thai salads (thank you Rosa’s, Soho)

I have enough self-awareness to realise that I’m unlikely to make many friends by complaining about how much I eat out – I know a lot of people (especially my friends with kids) whose hearts will NOT be bleeding right now. But I thought some of you might be in the same boat (for work or if you have several different groups of friends to catch up with, for example) so I thought it was worth offering a few thoughts. As you know, this January I was meant to eat out less. And do exercise and stuff. Well, it started fairly well. Went to the gym, did ADVANCED circuits (ow), met up with Giovanna for a yoga class (first time we’d met sober in years), booked a dance class.

But then the eating out creeped up on me. Post-theatre meal with Emmissima. The Chef’s birthday supper. Today The Ledbury (hurrah), meals out in Vienna, Burns night, tea and cake at the School of Life, lunch with school and Uni friends, the list is fairly endless. I think I eat out at least 3 times a week for dinner and at least once for lunch which has got to be bad. I decided that I was only to eat out once a week from now on (which is already loads). But then I looked at my diary for February and I’m eating out at least 4 times in the second week already. At least it’s not as bad as living in Brussels, where I ate Italian for lunch and steak frites almost every night and put on 3 stone. But still it’s not great.

However, when I meet up with friends I want to talk and talk and talk. Talking is good for you, at least an hour a week, uninterrupted. And that’s hard in a yoga class or a dance class or the cinema. The ideal is to go for a nice long walk and ideally I’d arrange that more often, or to talk to your partner if you live with them, but it’s rubbish weather at the moment and I live alone. And I like catching up with friends as often as possible, and trying new places regularly. This blog is my downfall perhaps (but a fun downfall). Any suggestions of good ways to catch up with friends and being able to talk that don’t involve being outside, food or wine, then please let me know. But bet we can still find a way of fitting wine in…

Anyway the other night with Emmissima, we were peckish, it was 10pm and we’d had some wine. We wanted a quick and fairly healthy bite to eat and I thought of Rosa’s – that lovely Thai place in Shoreditch and on Dean Street, and a friend of the HPL. And for the first time I ordered a thai salad – we shared the beef sirloin steak salad topped with spiced mint and chilli sauce and the mixed seafood salad topped with spiced mint, lemon grass and chilli sauce with Tom Yum soup. Oh and a carafe of wine. And all for about £15 each.

I don’t know why the hell I have never ordered Thai salads before but they were absolutely delicious – the sirloin tender and spicy and delicate and the seafood was yum too. A little kick and freshness and (I think) they were vaguely healthy. Bonus. And the service, especially at that late time, was wonderful. On reflection, I think the key is that if you have to eat out a lot – for work or pleasure – then you need to vary salads and soups and healthy things with 7 course tasting menus and burgers and steaks and similar, you need to get in a ton of exercise, eat healthy breakfasts and when you’re in, eat something small or not much at all. If you’re haven’t deleted this email in disgust already then I am genuinely grateful for your thoughts!

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7 responses to “A lament about eating out too much and a celebration of thai salads (thank you Rosa’s, Soho)

  1. I completely understand how hard it is to socialize without adding drinks and bad food to the table. People really like to get together and eat. Maybe you could go dancing with your friends and skip dinner, dancing is after all, a workout. You could also try joining a fitness routine like a class or something with some friends.

  2. I’ve been to Rosa’s once. It was good, but nothing about it stood out. I’ll have to go back and try a Thai salad before I make a final judgment.

  3. Thanks for saying nice things about us at Rosa’s. Glad we didn’t disappoint.

    I agree that it’s a hard balance to keep things healthy when it comes to meeting up with friends. It’s something I struggle with too.

    That’s why for two non-consecutive months each year I increase my exercise and hold off drinking any alcohol. I still go out during that time and just explain to friends what I’m doing and everyone is very understanding (most of the time).

    At the end of each month of sobriety I feel like I’ve really accomplished something and usually feel a lot fitter and healthier too.

    I would recommend this approach to anyone who wants to maintain a good base level of fitness – especially people who run restaurants and are constantly surrounded by wonderful food! : )

  4. Thanks Alex, good tips. And well done you – shows willpower and discipline! I’m afraid I don’t think I could cut out wine completely – fact is I love a glass over the weekend for dinner, and I can’t imagine eating a nice meal without it. But I can cut it down to weekends and 1 or 2 glasses over dinner. And I’m trying to exercise more, and cycling to work is due to start next week (fingers crossed). I can imagine if you work in the resto industry it’s even worse – I dread to think what I’d be like!

    xx

  5. As you predicted on Twitter, this post rings true for me in so many ways! I live in Soho, so am surrounded by restaurant temptation constantly. When we moved there, we ate out in an excited frenzy every single night. Now, I’m down to sharpening my cooking skills Sun night-Thurs (unless something more exciting crops up) and eating out all weekend. I tell myself this is not OTT at all – I absolutely love eating out, I tell myself it is “educational” and “tapping into the local culture”, and I can spend my Saturday nights cooking when I’m 70 (although hopefully I’ll be touring around the restaurants of the Rhone instead). Oh, and I can never think of things to do with friends that don’t involve food or wine – but I do sometimes meet my girlfriends for long Sunday morning walks around Hyde Park (and we walk for at least 20 minutes before stopping for coffee and scrambled eggs).

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