Five great stories (at least we think so) are included in this review, so don’t stop at the first; keep reading them all…you’ll be pleased you did.

1. WOW, we’re celebrities all over the globe –The Gallivanter’s Guide:

So many of our readers ask how we choose where we travel and where we stay. It’s always about finding something “better than home” and these days you can combine exotic locations with boutique hotels that are as much a part of the experience as the local sites. As an example, The Dining Duo visited Java, Indonesia, and had our very own private sunrise tour of Borobudur, a ninth century Buddhist shrine--largest in the world--and reported as one of the top ten sunrises to see in one’s lifetime. As we descended the stairs surrounded by 504 Buddhist statues, waiting for us were two elephants, with guides, and we spent the next 3 hours riding through the jungles and rivers of central Java, arriving directly at our most magnificent hotel, Amanjiwo. The entire experience was arranged by Amanresorts and we could never have duplicated it ourselves.

So, back to the question, where do we find these places? It’s all brought to us with clarity and accuracy by THE hotel newsletter read by top travelers in 42 countries around the globe: The Gallivanter’s Guide. As they accurately put it, they “set the benchmark for high-end travelers”, and do they ever.

Check out what they have to say about The Dining Duo in their last edition…and all the information to subscribe is listed at the bottom of the page entitled “Gallivanter’s Gossip”. Now you know our secret; it’s the best way to take the guess-work out of the equation, and make traveling a superlative experience of a lifetime. Bon Voyage and happy dining.

2. “Meal Bars”: The Dining Duo sure does love chocolate, and we work out obsessively so we can pack in the meals for our reviews; but when we leave the gym and need a meal replacement, we reach for something “healthy” and chocolatey. Find out what we thought about what’s really out there as a meal replacement or snack:

Think Thin – White Chocolate Chip

Size 60g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Sodium 150 mg
Calories 230

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

The “white part” was tasty, and hard to believe there wasn’t any sugar; but whatever sweetened it, when that wore off (fast) we were left with a dry bar with a bitter after-taste. Verdict: 3 Yucks.

Think Thin – Dark Chocolate

Size 60g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Sodium 150 mg
Calories 230

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

This was certainly better than the White Chocolate brother bar, but it still had a chalky taste, minus the weird after taste. It didn’t seem to fill or satisfy, and if in a pinch, we could deal with it. Verdict: 2 Yucks.

Think Thin –Chocolate Fudge

Size 60g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Sodium 135 mg
Calories 230

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

What is the story with making these things taste like those plastic nica-lips we used to have when were kids, minus the juice. This one was so awful we could only eat half, and they certainly “fudged” on the chocolate since it tasted like wax.

Verdict: 4 Yucks.

Think Thin –Chocolate Mudslide

Size 60g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Sodium 115 mg
Calories 230

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

The best of the Four “Think Thins”, especially if you like coffee (which we do). With a little less sodium than the other two of this brand, this choice brought together chocolate and coffee flavors in a relatively palatable fashion.

Verdict: 1.5 Yucks.

Vyo-Pro Performance Protein Bar – chocolate brownie xtreme

Size 62g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Sodium 180 mg
Calories 220

Nothing says “xtreme” gross like this one! Even the name is off-putting. “Hey, can I have a…uh…what’s that called?” This brilliant marketing campaign is made only worse by the disgusting taste of this thing. After one revolting bite, it went into the trash. We felt sorry for the trash can.

Verdict: 5+ yucks

EAS Myoplex Carb Control – chocolate chip brownie

Size 70g
Sugar 1g
Protein 25g
Sodium 210 mg
Calories 260

This one’s not bad, although it does tend to taste like plastic after a few bites. It’s sodium content is higher than most, and it does have a little sugar, but it’s more filling, you get more protein and at least you don’t want to vomit after you’re done.

Verdict 2 yucks

Power Crunch – protein energy bar Triple Chocolate

Size 40g
Sugar 4g
Protein 13g
Sodium 80mg
Calories 210

Anything called “Triple” (our Scottish Terrier, for instance) has to be great. This one was pretty darn good since it tasted like a crème filled wafer. That said, look at the content: it’s nearly half the size of the others, filled with sugar and loaded with salt; no wonder it tasted yummy. We were starving afterwards, so we ate two.

Verdict: 1 yuck

Muscle Brownie – Triple Chocolate

Size 80g
Sugar 12g
Protein 10g
Sodium 160 mg
Calories 170

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

Clearly the “King” of the bars, this one tasted like dessert. Maybe because it’s called “Triple”, or perhaps it’s because they trick you into thinking it’s one bar, but they sneak in that the serving size contains two, meaning you have to have the will power to stop eating after half of it. With a whopping 24 grams of sugar and 340 calories if you eat the entire package (who wouldn’t), no wonder it’s yummy.

Verdict: ½ Yucks.

NutriFit™ High Energy Bar – Chocolate

Size 46g
Sugar 13g
Protein 6g
Sodium 120 mg
Calories 190

The Nutrifit bars are Michael’s favorite (especially the Peanut Butter Bar). He swears by them, says they taste good, and they are easy to swallow, no complaints, he says “the Queen of bars”. For more about Nutrifit, see below.

Verdict: ½ yucks

Zone Perfect – Fudge Graham

Size 50g
Sugar 15g
Protein 14g
Sodium 200 mg
Calories 210

Yuck Factor (1 = not bad to 5 = throw it away)

Why not just go to the bakery and pick up some crème filled chocolate éclairs and save the effort of trying to convince you that this is somehow healthy. Coming in as the “Prince of bars”, this one tasted so yummy that you forgot you were consuming 15 grams of sugar and a whopping 200 mg of salt, bringing a whole new definition to “Nutrition Bars”.

Verdict: ½ Yucks.


3. Home Delivery Cuisine: The Dining Duo doesn’t go out every night; sometimes we order in, since neither of us really enjoy spending the time to cook well. The restaurant delivery foods are borderline bad, full of salt and calories, and they’re expensive. We’ve been trying out various healthy food delivery alternatives and following are two of our favorites:

Nutri Fit
11692 West Gateway Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064-2829
(310) 473-1989

We experienced two of the original Los Angeles based services which have been around for over twenty years: Carrie Wiatt’s Diet Designs and Jackie Keller’s Nutrifit. They offer very similar services and pricing (Nutrifit is a shade less expensive). Both provide meals that magically appear at your doorstep. Nutrifit arrives around 5:30 AM, while Diet Designs arrives at noon or a little later.

Take a peek at some of Nutrifit's delicious individually designed meals:

Both services are well packaged and very fresh. We do have a preference and that is for Nutrifit. Nutrifit provides personal service, remarkably fresh food and the lower prices; at a reasonable $1250 per month for 28 meals and snacks, this is a viable alternative to home cooking and is much healthier as it includes grass fed beef, organic fruit and vegetables. We view these services as a long-term solution to your dining experiences. Nutrifit will gladly prepare meals for your health or taste needs, and they offer metabolic testing, free of charge, at their West LA kitchen and headquarters for ongoing clients. In addition Nutrifit has house made preparatory spices. Jackie, the founder, was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and it shows in her preparations and her knowledge of health issues.

We are also a fan of Diet Designs’ salads but moreover we are a admirer of almost everything Nutrifit. The snack bars, trail mix and their Turkey sausages and Turkey Jerky are a few of our favorites. Make sure you try their Turkey meatball sandwich.

Diet Designs
9040 Lindblade Street
Culver City, CA 90232-2513
(310) 253-9079

Diet Designs will coordinate your likes and dislikes, and even offers a check list of your food preferences. We particularly loved their shrimp dishes, which consisted of giant prawns; especially their shrimp salad accompanied by superb dressings (try their raspberry vinaigrette).

In the end, there appears to be more variety from Nutrifit and working with Jackie and Heather, the client service coordinator, is so easy and such a joy, it makes eating healthy a breeze; by the way, Liz, the customer relations person at Diet Designs is no slouch!

For our NYC readers, we have been hearing great things about Zone Manhattan and several of our friends suggested that the food even tastes like a gourmet experience  We can’t wait to try it and the pricing is especially reasonable by New York City standards and includes free delivery (NY, southern NJ, southern Connecticut and Westchester), at $1,062.80 for B, L & D including snacks, for 28 days.


4. Salmon—the healthy food; or is it: Scott eats a lot of salmon because it’s healthy and the Omega 3 oils are good for the skin (see how young the Dining Duo looks?). However, are is all salmon created equal?

Last year Madonna said she was on a retox diet of just salmon, and that got a lot of attention. We have heard that salmon tops the list of healthy foods, but does it? Farmed salmon came into being around 1970 so that we could enjoy it year round, while its wilder cousin is seasonal. Therefore the market price became affordable as well.

Have you ever been into a market and looked at the difference before it’s cooked?

The farmed are raised in netted pens and live off of inferior food, exposed to tons of disease. Knowing that farmed are susceptible to disease, the farms inject the fish with antibiotics to ensure against outbreak and cross-contamination (sea lice and other viruses, isn’t that appetizing?). Then guess what? We eat it and we are exposed to the antibiotics which can lower our resistance to the same, as well as cause inflammation. So instead of the farmed fish eating the things found in nature, like krill, herring, algae, etc., these poor relations dine on pellets composed of ground fish and fillers made from grain. Lets not forget the fat that’s added as well. When you look at the two side by side in the market, the natural pink flesh is grey in the farmed, with lots of striations of fat, which is very visible.
If that isn’t enough to turn you off of the farmed stuff, think about the Dept. of Fish and Game in Alaska recently banning farms because of their worry that multitudes of the farmed escape into the wild and as they inter-breed, wild salmon as we know it today will totally disappear. Gross. When you go out to dinner, as the manager (not the waiter, they’ll lie or simply don’t know) if the salmon is wild, and if not, wag your finger and your wallet at them and do what Nancy Reagan does: Just say NO!

5. Enough of Heathy: Okay, we’re not Puritans. Every now and then we need something good and fattening and yummy.

Santino’s NY Pizza
4319 Woodman Avenue
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3030
delivery (if you’re close) (818) 784-3226

This is a great treat for Sherman Oaks; While it is no Mozza (The Dining Duo’s absolute favorite Pizza joint), this is super thin crusted traditional pizza, homemade dough, best ordered rectangle, with the right amount of mozzarella and jack cheese, pepperoni and spice. Always arrives piping hot and served with love by the owner, Daniel or his beautiful wife.

The best bargain in the valley.... Run, don't walk to experience their friendly service and GREAT pizza. We always meet the most interesting people in the five tabled established as well, probably because it has the nicest owners.

Appetizingly yours,
The Dining Duo


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