30 Days of Devinly Decadence at Zinc @ shade

DSC_0768Since I have vowed to eat healthy during 2013, I was excited to meet Chef Devin Alexander to try some of her dishes at The Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach.

Currently, Devin has 8 popular cookbooks, including the Biggest Loser cookbooks. She hosts America’s Chefs on Tour on PBS and has a show Healthy Decadence which can be viewed on FitTV.

She has also frequently appeared on The Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and The View.

Devin is adorable with her bubbly personality. When she met restaurant and hotel entrepreneur Michael Zislis, the owner of the Shade Hotel, she cooked for him. He was so impressed with the quality and taste of the food that he offered her to create a 30 Days of Devinly Decadence menu to be served at his Zinc Craft Kitchen in the Shade. As of Jan. 10, 2013, Zislis has lost 5 pounds by eating Devin’s food.

At the age of 15, Devin weighed 70-pounds more than she does today. After being bullied and feeling bad about herself, she learned that if she could cut 100 calories from her diet each day, she could lose weight. In one year, she lost about 20 pounds and felt better about herself.  She realized that you don’t have to deprive yourself of good food to be healthy, and learned how to cook healthier and tasty dishes.

A group of us sat down to enjoy nine of the dishes featured on this week’s menu. Each week Devin will create some newer dishes, so those who want to dine at Zinc daily, will always have a new dish to experience.

We started with a chocolate peanut butter breakfast banana split. What? How can than be low calories and healthy? Devin splits a banana and scoops fresh ground peanut butter. Then she tops it with non-fat vanilla yogurt and high-fiber Grape Nuts cereal to give the dish a delightful crunch. It was satisfying, sweet and healthy.

Next, arrived an egg white goat cheese omelet flavored with fresh tarragon and chives. The goat cheese gives this dish a pop of wonderful flavors. The best part of this dish is it’s only 141 calories.

For lunch Devin serves a bountiful salad with a twist on buffalo chicken wings. It’s a grilled chicken dipped in Devin’s secret wing sauce. The chicken is cubed and tossed with mixed greens, celery, tomatoes, carrots and red onions. This pleasing dish is under 500 calories, even with Devin’s housemade low-cal blue cheese dressing.DSC_0771

The Little Dev burger looks just like a Big Mac, tastes just like a Big Mac, yet is only 317 calories with 11 grams of fat. Compare that to the traditional Big Mac with 560 calories and 30 grams of fat. Devin’s is served with seasoned light-skinned sweet potato chips or a mixed green salad.

Craving Mexican food, but don’t want the high fat and calories? Devin’s grilled chicken enchiladas are only 366 calories. They have a zing to them with Devin’s special seasoning.

Everyone knows that crab cakes are fried and filled with fat, however Devin’s are unfried lump crab “balls” seasoned with panko bread crumbs and served with a salad. Three crab “balls” with a lemon caper dipping sauce are only 215 calories.

I love potato skins, yet never eat them because of all the cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. Devin reconstructs a healthy potato skin type of dish with low-fat cheddar cheese, seasoned sweet potato rounds, nitrite free turkey bacon bits and tops them with non-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkles some green onions. The entire dish is 288 calories with 9 grams of fat.

DSC_0777It’s easy to save room for Devin’s Divine Desserts, because one doesn’t feel overstuffed or guilty for consuming too many calories. Her life altering lemon bundt cake is fat-free, gluten-free and filled with fiber. The entire portion is only 207 calories. Craving chocolate? Devin makes a Godiva chocolate bundt cake that has 239 calories and 3 grams of fat. It’s rich, gooey and oh-so-delicious! The lowest calorie dessert is her banana mania muffin at 131 calories and a trace of fat. It’s gluten-free and has no weird sweeteners that give you a chemical aftertaste.

For drinks her unsweetened passion green ice tea is pink in color and full of tropical flavors. For those craving a cocktail, The Shade Lounge and restaurant are serving Devinly Decadence cocktails that are all under 200 calories. The sparkly greyhound is made with Ketel One, fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice and grapefruit sparkling water. Her frozen blueberry margarita is only 188 calories, compared to 500 to 750 calories. A nice night-cap is the Ripped Russian with Kahlua, Ketel One, and Devin’s all natural Devinly cocoa-infused creaminess. It’s dreamy with only 118 calories, vs. a traditional 450 White Russian.

I walked out amazed to eat all of those low-calorie dishes and not one tasted bland or like cardboard. They were Divine!

Visit The Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach to have you taste buds tantalized and you don’t have to loosen your waistband.

Next week Devin will prepare a Breakfast Chili Bowl, Drippy Ahi Tacos, a Thai beef papaya chopped salad, chocolate-glazed soft pretzel bites and a luscious red velvet bundt cake with a cream cheese glaze.

1221 N. Valley Drive, (310)546-4995, http://www.shadehotel.com

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