The Skinny: Soup & Sammys at Coronado Cafe

By Wynter Holden

Eating healthy doesn't always mean weighing food, counting carbs or avoiding sugar. In her book French Women Don't Get Fat, author Mireille Guiliano advises women to order exactly what they want, but savor every morsel. No distractions. No speed eating. And no shoveling heaping forkfuls in your trap like it's the Last Supper.

Occasionally I take her advice and enjoy a relaxing lunch, ordering exactly what I want and lazily chatting with a friend over a good meal. Not exactly easy given most of our busy schedules. I mean, just imagine the excuse you'd have to come with after taking a 2-hour lunch on the day of an important deadline or meeting. Sorry, boss, I had a flat. My daughter got sick and I had to pick her up from school. I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my arm. Look, see, here's the cast!

But given that Ms. Guiliano has a point (when's the last time you saw a slightly plump, curvy French woman snorting down sweet potato fries like they were laced with cocaine?), sometimes I take her advice. Last week, while apartment hunting downtown, my husband and I popped into the popular Coronado Cafe on 7th St. for a bite.

Looking down at the 5-page applications we had to fill out to get a place (seriously, do they really need your bank account numbers, your entire resume and your first born?) I knew we would be a while. So we ordered exactly what we wanted.

I chose the soup du jour with a tuna half-sandwich and the hubby went with the chicken Caesar sandwich, sans Caesar -- not to be healthier, but because he's stricken by some weird condiment phobia. Anyway, we chatted about the pros and cons of downtown living while I sipped the deliciously creamy potato soup flecked with bits of ham and spinach and noshed on my petite whole wheat sandwich with chunks of nice fresh albacore, celery, onion and apple. I felt like we were in some little Parisian cafe enjoying ourselves, rather than in hella hot Phoenix in the dead of summer.

An hour and a half later, we'd barely cracked the surface of the application, were happily satiated by the meal and still had food left on our plates. Granted, the staff started to give us "the eye" -- you know, the look that politely implores you to vacate a prime table so more harried 15-minute business lunchers can sit down.

We stood our ground and kept talking. Oui, because that's exactly what I supposed Ms. Guiliano would do.

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