Cafe Reviews

Second Helpings

Project Slim: Every job comes with some risk.
The danger in restaurant reviewing: unwanted pounds.
Despite careful eating on nonreview days and a very close relationship with an exercise bicycle, I found myself carting around a few more pounds than I did five years ago, when I started this line of work.

So I adjusted my schedule and arranged to go restaurant-free for a couple of weeks. I was determined to stick to a diet and shed some weight.

Today, thank goodness, is the final day of my regimen. The results: weight loss--six pounds.

Here are the details of a typical day on the Seftel diet.
8 to 8:30 a.m.: Eat breakfast. A piece of fruit, a slice of toast with a bit of feta cheese, tea.

8:30 to 8:32: Work on column.
8:32 to noon: Think about lunch.
Noon to 12:30 p.m.: Eat lunch. Toasted bagel with thimbleful of cream cheese, sliced tomato, coffee.

12:30 to 12:32: Resume work on column.
12:32 to 4: Think about dinner.
4 to 5: Go to health club. Think about women in spandex.

5 to 6: Prepare family dinner. Stir-fried Chinese pork and veggies in hoisin sauce, served with rice noodles.

6 to 6:05: Prepare my own dinner. Add boiling water to cup-of-soup container.

6:05 to 6:06: Eat dinner.
6:06 to 6:10: Eat container.
6:10 to 7: More exercise. Open and close refrigerator and pantry door 10,000 times.

7 to 10: Watch growing children eat postdinner snack of turkey sandwiches, cereal and milk, tortellini in tomato sauce, doughnuts, two eggs over easy and shepherd's pie. Listen to their complaints that there's nothing to eat in the house.

10 to 11: Assure my wife that I'm not grumpy.
11: Bedtime.
11 to 4 a.m.: Think about breakfast.

4 to 4:45: As sleep aid, try counting sheep jumping over fence. Doesn't work. Try counting knishes jumping over pastrami sandwiches. Intermittent drowsiness.

4:45: Wife moves to couch, claiming I tried to put mustard on her.
4:46 to 7:15: Six ounces of fat cells reluctantly leave body, vowing to return.

7:15: Wake up.
7:15 to 8: Admire svelte, rock-hard body in front of mirror. Brush teeth. Lick mint off dental floss.

The next time I want to lose six pounds, I'm going to do it the easy way: Chop off my left arm.

Restaurant Update: Say goodbye to Nina L'Italiana at 36th Street and Bell. Say hello to Nina La Foggiana at 7210 East Second Street in Scottsdale. Same folks, and I hear, same fare.

Cafe Brazil at 32nd Street and Indian School Road has folded. Look for the recently opened Buono Ristorante, an Italian restaurant, that has occupied the site.

--Howard Seftel

Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Howard Seftel