Athletic-Minded Traveler’s Blog delves into all things active and healthy. Here you can find recipes, training advice, “best of” lists, travel tips, yoga insight and more.

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Eating Well on the fly

After a yoga class this past weekend, we were famished and contemplating our eating options:  head home to our fresh fruit and favorite cereal staples or to one of our usual haunts in the neighborhood. We typically end up at the same places and order the same meals.  We know what they have, what we like, and that we will leave happy campers. 

While trying new places always sounds like a good idea, most often it ends up a disappointing experience--especially the expensive joints. (My usual rejoinder: "I can do this better."  And trust me, I can.) The cheaper places have less to live up to.

Anyway, this time we decided to live dangerously and give the new place a try.  Ortega's, a Mexican bistro that hails from Rosarito Mexico (a good sign right?), was the destination.  And, we were checking it out for lunch, which is always less risky.

Whenever we try a new place we order quite a bit...or at least that is our excuse for multiple dishes.  Here, we sampled shrimp ceviche, a Mexican tomato soup, chicken enchiladas and mixed greens with grilled mahi mahi--along with loads of salsa as an accompaniment to the chips (which Jim chowed on and I ignored).

 Jim and I are a good pair for reviewing an eatery.  He prefers hearty. I favor light.  If we both like a place, we're pretty sure it'll be a winner for other athletic-minded travelers.  And hearty does not mean fatty, greasy or unhealthy.  It means enough calories and flavor for a bigger eater.  Light means just that--food devoid of unneeded ingredients like oil, butter, and other sneaky additions that restaurants favor.  It can also mean vegetarian friendly dishes such as tofu and mock meats--food that hearty eaters often avoid.

Anyway, back to Ortega's.  First and foremost, the salsa was out of this world.  We downed two bowls of the good stuff and I would have continued to nosh on it had it not run out.  Second, everything was pretty good, and we would both return.  But next time I'll customize my order replacing what I liked less with what I enjoyed more.  

And that is one thing we look for in the restaurants we select.  Can the menu be adaptable to varying tastes?  Will a little high maintenance ordering from an overall hearty menu produce a meal that light eaters can enjoy?

While I requested no or little oil on the mah--mahi, it was pretty wet and salty.  But the quality of greens and add-ons to the salad were first rate.  The shrimp ceviche was fabulous, but came in three little taco shell things...I scooped my portion out, and Jim enjoyed his in-tact.  The soup was flavorful and unique, clearly homemade, and the enchiladas were's an enchilada...can't go too wrong.

So next time, for the persnickety eater:  Mixed greens with dressing on the side (don't even need dressing, cause the salsa is that good), shrimp ceviche without the "chip."  Together this is a darn good entrée salad--and much better than the mahi-mahi.

For the hearty eater:  likely the fresh fish tacos and whatever sounds good that day.





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