The Skinny: A Whale of a dieting tale

By Wynter Holden

So there I was, in the brand new Sign of the Whale restaurant at 1706 E. Warner in Tempe (in the old Voodoo Daddy's spot), when I was faced with a whale of a problem: guzzle down the high-calorie house special chowder and the fish & chips I was eyeing, or be good and try to find something non-fried and low-fat that I could stomach.

Sigh. For you, dear readers, I sacrificed satiating my chowder jones and instead combed the menu for something less "fishy" -- at least, where calorie counts were concerned. Yes, the seafood-topped burger sounded scrumptious, but if I ate that way all the time, the restaurant's weird, drunk mascot wouldn't be the only whale in the place.

You can't go wrong with shrimp cocktail, which generally runs at about 200-300 calories including sauce. It's quick, it's light, and you can eat it with your fingers. So really, it's as satisfying as mozzarella sticks. Ok, now I'm lying, but it is a pretty decent starter. Sign of the Whale offers a peel-and-eat chilled shrimp platter with a baker's dozen of the little guys and a side of cocktail sauce, so I went for that. Technically, it's an appetizer, but you can always pair it with something else (like the cole slaw and pickles I snagged from my dining partner Mr. Y).

They say the slower you eat, the quicker you'll get full. And with having to peel these suckers and pull the little legs off (I'd get grossed out, but as my pseudo-vegetarian friend Miss M says, they're "sea bugs," so really it's no different than offing a cricket), this one's a real winner in that department. I was only halfway done by the time Mr. Y polished off his burger and chowder, and I was already getting a bit full. Yum...chowder. Diet column aside, next time I'm ordering the chowder.

Hell, I can always do some extra time on the treadmill to make up for it.