Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Agave-sweetened, lavendar-infused martini — at RT's?!

The husband and I have both had some busy times at work lately, so we've been eating out more than usual. This always leads to the inevitable burnout of our standard dining establishments. So, when I got a BOGO entree offer from Ruby Tuesday's, I thought, yes, that's a good idea for a change of pace.

I had tried their "handcrafted fruit teas" (with free refills, thank you) and they are divine. Not too sweet and full of juicy mango, berries or peach. But I was really surprised to see that their drink menu included a selection of "fit and trim" drinks with fewer than 150 calories and no artificial sweeteners. I chose the Skinny Lavendar Lemon Drop martini and it was really quite delicious. It's sweetened lemon juice (I'm told that's with agave nectar) and Absolut Citron, infused with lavendar tea. Delicious and beautifully presented. For just six dollars.

In addition, they offer a great assortment of healthy sides on the kids' menu, which I really appreciate. Fresh grilled asparagus, zucchini or green beans; mashed cauliflower, sugar snap peas, broccoli, spaghetti squash or sliced tomatoes. Really! There's also the salad bar, with the usual suspects, plus edamame and peas, which please my kids. For dessert, they offer sensibly small cupcakes: red velvet or carrot cake with cream cheese icing. The red velvet cupcake I shared with Timo was not the highlight of the meal for me, but I appreciated that it seemed homemade, fresh and not too big.

When I went looking for an image to place in this post, I found a great article from "Tampa Bay Food Monster" that goes more in-depth about the Ruby Tuesday revival. Worth a read, too.

Before you judge me and raise your eyebrows, check it out. They are not perfect, but they are among the few chains making real strides toward healthier options and portions. You might just be pleasantly surprised. (Unfortunately, their site is all in Flash, so I can't link to specific items, but it's a nice site so you can take a look around before you try it for yourself.)

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