Southeast Asia to the South Beach Rescue

As a food-savvy blogger for Chowder, it’s painful to admit that I’ve been on the South Beach diet for three-and-a-half weeks. Even more painful? As the Boston staff worked late nights to wrap up the March issue, I was faced with a stream of staff dinners based on burritos or pizza.

So it was with much joy and elation that I found my tasty, South Beach-friendly solution at a Huntington Avenue Vietnamese/Thai restaurant called Pho & I.

During one of our late nights last week, I ordered the “healthy tofu” ($4.95) as an appetizer and the “Saigon salad” ($7.50) as my entree–which all sounded depressingly austere. But I was pleasantly surprised.The tofu was very lightly fried, with nice crispness on the outside and creaminess on the inside, and the spicy soy sauce added piquant flavor. Meanwhile the salad was hearty: filled with a generous amount of poached shrimp and chicken mixed with mounds of shredded carrot and cabbage, all flavored with mint, peanuts, and a vinegary sauce. (Yes, South Beach zealots — I know that carrots are sometimes frowned upon for their natural sugars. I refuse to drive myself crazy.)

In the end, I finished everything with relish and without guilt, and I felt something I hadn’t felt in days: full. As for my South Beach results, I’ve lost six pounds so far.