Hi all, it’s Friday and Day 4 of my frozen foods/dinner/entree experiment. So many names to describe the pre-packed meals you find in the freezer aisle! Anyhoo, today I did something a little different. I only bought one frozen entree from Whole Foods but I used the serving tray (from one of my earlier meals, all washed and cleaned!) as a portion size container for a meal I made at home with leftover veggies (roasted bell pepper and carrots with salt and pepper) and served alongside 3 oz of Wildwood Aloha Baked tofu. Mind you, this experiment is more about portion size than anything else so using the serving tray counts as a freezer meal hopefully?? On to the food!
Breakfast = Nature’s Path Psyllium & Oatbran Cereal (I bought the cereal box because I’m planning on keeping it at work to have for breakfast next week)
Cost: $4.39 at Whole Foods (though I’m sure I can find it cheaper elsewhere)
Calories: 90 cal per 2/3 cup (but I ate double the amount coz I was starving after my morning workout – more on that later – and was craving cereal.) I had it with 1/2 cup of unsweetened Whole Foods 365 brand soy milk and that was 35 cal. I don’t like alot of milk with my cereal…just enough to “wet” it and that’s it! Soggy cereal is yucky to me.
Mid-morning Snack = 3 oz Wildwood Aloha Baked Tofu and roasted veggies (I was still hungry! That’s what happens when I workout hehe)
Cost: $3.99 for the tofu (divided into two 3-oz pieces)
Calories: 150 calories/3 oz of tofu. As for the veggies, um, I’m estimating 40 total?? I had about a cup and a half of roasted veggies with a dash of peanut satay sauce (that was like 20 cal)
Verdict: It was good but I added so much pepper to my veggies lol. Oh well. The tofu was sub-par. The flavor was bland and the texture was firm and almost rubbery – I felt like I was eating incredibly processed fake food, and even though the packaged tofu is a processed item, I feel like some taste less processed than others. Does that make sense at all or am I talking jibberish 🙂 Reminded me of why I don’t buy marinated tofu anymore. Not really worth it.
Lunch = French Meadow Bakery Frozen Vegetarian Dal
Calories: 370 (this is not within the range I want for my meals so I only ate half, which makes it 185 cal)
Verdict: Disappointing! I had high hopes for this dish considering how much I loved French Meadow’s Cuban Veggies and Brown Rice but this was plain at best. Zero flavor and it looked like brown and green vomit with a slab of rice – ewwww. The rice was supposed to be basmati but it tasted like anything but. I don’t expect super quality when it comes to frozen entrees but I had such success with the Seeds of Change penne and some other dishes that I was bummed about this frozen entree. Oh well, I learned my lesson! That’s what this experiment is all about 🙂
Dinner = Date night at Mama D’s in Manhattan Beach. I realize this is no frozen entree so I kind of cheated on the experiment today (sorry!) but how can I ignore date night and italian food? I’ll still give my review on the place, however, if you live anywhere near the South Bay or head down to the Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach neighborhood.
Verdict: Well, about five years ago when I worked in the area, I got takeout dinner at Mama D’s all the time. Not because I loved the food, but because it was easy and right down the street. I always remembered it as being over-rated, especially because it got rave reviews from all the locals. Granted, it’s very cozy Italian inside and frequented by the local families but I wasn’t super keen on the food quality. You get your usual pasta dishes and appetizers from here, but none of them shine with superior flavor. The prices range anywhere from $12 to $30 for entrees, and for that price, I have gotten some really amazing Italian food elsewhere.
Onto the meal this evening. We got seated immediately, which came as a nice surprise since there’s usually a wait. It was Friday eve, too, at 8pm so I was shocked that there was zero line and a few empty tables inside. Bad economy, maybe? Once seated, we were delivered an olive oil/garlic dish to dip the bread in but there was no bread. “It will be out in a just a minute,” the waitress promised. After 15 minutes went by, still no bread but we noticed that the servers were bringing out fresh loaves to all the other tables. Hmmmm. Another 10 minutes ticked on (by this time we had placed our orders and we thought the waitress saw our olive oil dish sans bread but apparently not) and we finally flagged down the server and asked for bread. Out came what looked like warm foccacia rolls, which we dipped in the oil and savored. It was alright at best…nothing special. I’ve had better.
We started off with an appetizer of bruschetta. Out came what looked like Pizza Hut garlic bread with almost-melted cheese and a small ramekin of roasted garlic and tomatoes. BLAH. I could totally make this at home and for $6.99, I felt ripped off. Three pieces of bread total.
For our entrees, I got the Caesar Salad and Chris ordered a pasta dish with sauteed spinach and calamari. My salad was sad, weak, and other than a couple tasty croutons, nothing was special about it. I’ve had some pretty spectacular Caesar salads before and this was a disappointment. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Chris’ dish and was happy he was feeding me a couple bites of it (thanks, hon!) Midway through our meal, Chris asked for a water but the server forgot and never brought it out. We didn’t bother asking anymore because for a tiny restaurant that wasn’t full (by the way, our server probably only had 4 tables to serve), I found this to be terrible service and just kept thinking about how her tip was dwindling by the minute.
I think the best thing about the meal was dessert (haha), which was two soft, chewy, chocolate chip cookies still warm. Who knows if they were homemade or purchased at the market but they were good. Kind of sad that the highlight of the evening was the cookies!
Why did we come hear, you ask, if I already had an opinion about it? Chris had never been and wanted to try it but I learned something tonight: if I already know a place isn’t that good, don’t let your boyfriend “fall and learn”! Just give him your opinion and try to steer him to the next best thing….oh well. Live and learn, right?
Rating of Mama D’s: 4 out of 10 stars. I can make better Italian at home. In my microwave. OUCH.