La Fontana Della Citta (1701 Spruce) is a particularly popular choice for the downtown BYO crowds. Besides the awkward cramped spaces (when you’re holding a 20+ person birthday party) and the occasional ‘tude from some of the waiters, the only problem I have with La Fontana is portion control. At restaurants, where patrons have no part in the cooking process, over-indulging is a serious problem. Here are a few ways to avoid overeating at La Fontana, or when dining out in general:
* JUST SAY NO to the breadbasket. Have one piece of bread if you must (all of the tables have olive oil, so use that instead of butter), and then have one of your friends take it away – even if they have to pry it loose from your dead lifeless fingers. If you have the self-discipline, don’t eat any. Or better yet, tell your waiter not to bring it at all.
* SHARING IS CARING. Share entrées with a friend. La Fontana only charges $6 to split an entrée. Since La Fontana requires you to spend $12.95 a person and because half an entrée may not fill you up, order an appetizer or salad. The Sauté Spinach will give you fiber and help fill you up, which will prevent overeating later. Or, if you order a salad (the House Salad is a classic), ask for the dressing on the side.
* DON’T HATE ON CARBS. If you want to order pasta, order pasta. Pasta dishes are really hard to avoid at BYOs, so treat yourself. Just choose wisely: order the Spaghetti Caprese (spaghetti with mozzarella, basil, and tomato sauce) rather than the Gnocchi or Fettuccine Alfredo. You’ll still satisfy your carb craving, but can avoid the unhealthy fat in potato-noodles or creamy sauces.
* MAKE GOOD CHOICES. Drink water instead of soda, which will not only save you money, but also prevents you from consuming unnecessary amounts of sugar (Diet Coke isn’t any better – artificial sweeteners do nothing good for your body). If you order an entrée with side dishes, choose steamed veggies instead of pasta.
* TAKE IT EASY. Chew more slowly. It’s tempting to guzzle it while it’s hot, but it actually takes your stomach about 20 minutes to realize it’s full. You’re less likely to overeat if you take your time. So sit back, go slow, and enjoy the time with your friends.
By Melissa Schall