Grazing: visits to Midtown Tavern and Sheik Burritos n Kabobs

In last week's cover story, Food & Drink Editor Besha Rodell began the account of her 10-day consumption of raw food with the observation that a dining critic's diet produces a "caloric surfeit," for which we are always trying to compensate.

Boy howdy. That can mean following a binge on Holeman & Finch's burger with the relative purging of a simple plate of veggies at Dynamic Dish. For me, the excess has mainly meant exercise. I'm in the gym just about every day, but, as I age, even the tortures of treadmills and iron aren't adequate to counteract the effects of infamously unhealthy restaurant food.

Doctors drive me crazy about this every time my lab results come back with "dining critic" written all over them. "Can't you taste the food without swallowing it all?" one asked me this week.

"But digestion is part of the evaluation," I lied. "And, anyway, I try to eat mainly organic and locally sourced food."

She looked at me askance. "Fat is fat, salt is salt," she said. "You're talking about taste."

Well, not entirely, given that one hopes for reduced use of pesticides in such food. But it's certainly true that many factors that affect health are little changed by good sourcing. I went to two restaurants this week that remind me that it's possible to blow your lab results to hell while eating well-sourced food.

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(Photo by James Camp)

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