Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Simply De-Lightful

By:  Jennifer Duff
Hotel Sofitel Washington DC was gracious enough to host a luncheon featuring items from their "De-Light" menu which blends fresh, simple ingredients in a low-calorie form.  The hotel is a French-inspired luxury hotel within walking distance to the White House. 

The luncheon began with a brief reception featuring refreshments and passed hors d'oeuvres.  I opted for the basil infused Perrier and cucumber beverage, which was excellent.  Light and refreshing - perfect for a European spa.  They also served cheese-stuffed peppers and lentils to snack on...both were yummy and got my appetite ready for lunch.

The decor and design of Sofitel is beautiful, chic and vibrant.  The dining room is clean and bright with a lot of natural light to draw your attention to the food, which is plated on white dishes -- my personal favorite because it makes the main ingredient pop. 

So the thing about the De-Light lunch menu at Sofitel is that it is designed to be an under 500 calorie lunch.  This means absolutely nothing to me. I work out specifically so I can eat what I want and avoid 'dieting' at all costs.  I have no idea how many calories are in a bag of chips, and I really don't want to know.  This calorie counting thing was going to be new to me.

For my first course, I selected the Chilled Fennel Veloute, which was a light chilled soup with crab meat, lemon juice, chervil and dill. The soup was very good, it was a delicious summer soup with crisp flavors enhanced by the pairing of lemon and dill.

For the main course, I opted for the Organic Chicken Breast.  The other choice was the Grilled Ahi Tuna, but I figured, if someone could make chicken taste good and be low in calories at the same time, that would be impressive.  Ahi tuna is easy to prepare in a low calorie fashion without sacrificing taste, but chicken is a different story. 

The preparation was wonderful but the chicken tasted just okay - a basic grilled chicken served with tomato marmalade, aged balsamic vinegar and shiitake mushrooms.  I was trying to dredge my chicken through every last drop of marmalade and vinegar on my plate... no calorie was going to escape me!  The skiitake mushrooms were good, they add some much needed flavor to the chicken.  It was at this point that I realized that I wasn't going to make it on any 500 calorie lunch... and I caved.  It wasn't my fault entirely though, they put it on the table and it was too tempting to resist...

YES...carbohydrates!  This is the "French-inspired" I am used to... baguettes and some cheese.  Couldn't find any cheese though.  Lucky for me, it was time for the dessert, a Coconut Cloud.

C'était magnifique! A light baked meringue on a bed of mango jelly surrounded by kiwi and mango and topped with blown sugar.  It was the perfect balance of sweet meringue with fruit and syrup.  The blown sugar was an impressive accent piece.  Really well done. 

Overall, a wonderfully light lunch at Sofitel and would be perfect after a morning at the spa.  Oh, that gives me an idea for my Christmas list!  

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