Had a conversation with Basil Al Salem yesterday in regards to Cocoa Room. I was shocked and awed by what he had told me. Basically, if you’re a health and fitness enthusiast, dining in the Cocoa Room is a lot easier than you think.
Light as a Feather
If you read my cheat review on the Cocoa Room, you’ll realize that I ate a lot. I admit that on cheat days I have the appetite of a hungry army, but I assure you that the food was not as calorie-dense as I thought it would be. I savored every dish and chewed as slow as I could. It wasn’t a gorge-fest like my usual cheat meals.
My point is, each and every ingredient is made in-house, which is why the experience wasn’t a gut-bomb. Bread, bacon, turkey, organic eggs and whatever you can think of, all in-house stuff. He even took the time to explain to me the items below:
- Smoked Turkey: all-natural turkey breast, smoked in-house without nitrates.
- Lean Smokey Bacon: did you hear that? Cocoa Room uses in-house lean bacon. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what type of meat is used, so I’ll refrain. I assure you, the animal protein source used is leaner than chicken, turkey and red meat. You know what else is cool? The bacon’s baked and not fried in oil.
- Eggs: baked and poached unless stated otherwise. Any fried eggs are lightly (tsp to grease the pan) fried using extra virgin olive oil.
- Hash Browns: Baked sweet potato hash browns. You’ll notice that a lot of dishes are infused with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. This awesome carbohydrate is higher in fiber, higher in nutrients and lower in GI.
- Beans: in-house baked beans. If you’re knowledgble in health food, you’d know that beans pack a lot of protein, a lot of fiber and minimal carbs.
- Ancho & Cocoa Spiked Sausages (beef, veal or chicken): I forgot to ask Basil about this, but I’m willing to make an assumption until he jumps in to clarify. I assume these are made in-house without nitrates or fillers (sausages usually contain fillers such as added carbohydrates and fats). I don’t know what type of cut they use for beef, but I do know the veal and chicken are lean.
The above items are what I remember from my long conversation with Basil. Lets investigate how Cocoa Room manages to pull off a health menu.
- Smoked Turkey and Feta Egg White Omelette with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, poblano pesto, pine nuts, multi-cereal bread.
- Analysis: The Smoked Turkey is the lean source of protein, void of nitrates. The Feta cheese is the ideal low-carbohydrate and high-protein cheese that’s also loaded with calcium. The egg whites used are organic. This omelette is combined, poured on a plate that has a touch of extra virgin olive oil and baked.
- Fahad’s Take: Lean protein? Check. Healthy fats? Check. Slow digesting fiber-packed carbs? Check. Fahad Approved? You bet!
- Spinach & Ricotta Egg White Omelette with sweet potatoes, beetroot pesto, pine nuts, multi-cereal bread.
- Analysis: Spinach is a proven muscle builder. Ricotta is cheese made out of whey protein. The rest is self-explanatory.
- Fahad’s Take: This has my approval written all over it.
- Homemade Berry Granola with honey toasted oats, dried goji and blueberries, almonds, toasted sesame and flax seeds with yogurt and red berry sauce.
- Analysis: Starts with healthy honey infused oats (low GI, high fiber carbohydrate), dried goji and blueberries (fibrous berries that are proven to aid in fat-loss), almonds, toasted sesame and flax seeds (3 sources of healthy fats high in omega-3, protein and fiber) with yogurt (probiotics source of dairy, also proven to aid in fat loss) and red berry sauce (in-house red berry puree).
- Fahad’s Take: This granola isn’t protein packed, but it sure as hell packs a lot of nutritional punch. And yes- I approve.
- Summer Fruit Salad and Tropical Fruit Salad
- Analysis: Unfortunately, I haven’t talked to Basil in regards to these two, but this is what you’ll need to look for- If syrup or any added sugar is used, then no seal of approval.
Creating Your Omelette
We all have our options and preferences, and you can’t go wrong with what’s available. Just don’t go too crazy with the cheese, and always ask for a 2:1 ratio of egg whites to whole eggs.
Not satisfied with the above? No worries, there are items that are equally as healthy as the ones above. Here’s a short list based on what I’ve consumed:
- Barbecue Brisket Hash
- Red Flannel Hash
- Falafel Fatayer
- Morning Glory
All of the above were surprisingly light and tasty. Since you’ll want to cork your appetite for breakfast, you may either eat one of these options alone (don’t eat two options) OR add an egg white omelette without sides.
I hope this post was useful for those of you who would like a unique delicious twist in your health and fitness lifestyles.