Friday, March 14, 2008

KnowFat! (Or flavor!)

During the work week, lunch is my lamest meal of the day. Give me a cheese and pickle sarnie and a fistful of carrot sticks and some ginger tea and I'm quite happy, especially when the alternative is braving the freezing winter wind to buy essentially the same thing elsewhere.

And as my office is a) near Fenway Park and b) surrounded by colleges, the closest non-sandwichy options tend to involve hunks of beef, molten cheese and Fried Things. Not that any of this is bad in itself; it's just that lunchtime consumption of such delights ends with me facedown on my keyboard for the afternoon, snoring my way out of a food coma.

Today I had no sandwich, so yomped down the street to
KnowFat! Lifestyle Grille, which prides itself on "good nutrition" and "healthful ingredients" and having World Heavyweight Champ/baldy grill-monger George Foreman as a spokesmodel.

Not that I was particularly looking forward to the experience. I'd been twice before, and was disappointed both times: first by the three-bean chili, which suggested a can of mixed beans stirred into a jar of tomato salsa; then by the arrangement of gelatinous tofu chunks and steamed-to-death broccoli on a bed of exhausted quinoa. If George thought this was tasty, he was probably really looking forward to the packing peanuts that one of his eponymous offspring was fixing for his dinner.

And yet here I was, back for more. Why? Because I'm not a quitter, that's why.

The KnowFat! Lifestyle Grille's menu has wraps and sandwiches and salads and burgers. But if that's really what I'd wanted, I could have gone to
UBurger and romped in beef drippings.

Figuring that the side dishes would say a lot about how much attention the restaurant paid to detail, I ordered the Triple Side Plate ($5.25 with tax), choosing fries (sorry, that's KnowFat! AirFries™), seasoned black beans and Mediterranean roasted veggies.



The beans (seen here attempting to crawl off the plate) were the least exciting; the seasoning was Southern, but too subtle, and the consistency suggested much time sitting around. The veggies were at least once fresh, and the yellow squash bore grillmarks (did George do 'em?). But the oregano-heavy sauce coated everything in goopy uniformity, leaving texture as the only way to tell the carrots from the zucchini: the salad-dressing phenomenon.

The fries (sorry, the KnowFat! AirFries™) were pretty good--at least on a par with some of the more upmarket burger places in the area--lightly seasoned, with a gently crunchy exterior, fluffy (but not hollow) inside. And if they're low-fat, so much the better.


Though again, if I was going to satisfy a fry craving, I'd rather do it at UBurger. Or Sel de la Terre, home of the trance-inducing rosemary pommes frites. Or Duckfat in Portland, Maine, where they cook the fries in ... well ... it's right there in the name.

Hmm, I'm getting sidetracked. Maybe the real reason I was whelmed by KnowFat! Lifestyle Grille is that, given the choice between healthy and bland or fat-filled and tasty, I'd choose the latter. Or at least look for a place that wasn't afraid to use fresh herbs, grated ginger, maybe a squeeze of lime or a dash of wine. It was telling that KnowFat!'s condiment station featured several bottles of Tabasco sauce.


And I shouldn't be too harsh; the place is clean, the service is friendlier than you'd expect for a fast-food joint, and dine-in customers get real dishes and silverware instead of disposable plastic. And given that it seems to be a favorite lunch-spot for local cops, it's probably the safest dining location around.

Still, I guess it's back to cheese sandwiches for me ...

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