Eating well while eating right

love-opera-victoria-bakerI go into the city a lot, and when I do I like to have dinner close to Grand Central. It makes going home much easier.

Of course, sometimes it’s more fun to spend the night. I love the idea of having my own pied a Terre in NYC. Because of this, I’m always on the lookout for great restaurants and places to stay in the midtown area so when I came across a candidate last week that combines the two, I just knew I had to share it.

The Iroquois hotel in Midtown Manhattan combines the elegance of a NYC Pied a Terre with European flair. Yes, it’s a hotel but it feels more like a luxury apartment. There’s no busy lobby but, rather, an elegant foyer. The rooms have an apartment-like feel and the cuisine is diet friendly.

I particularly enjoy that it’s so close to the theater district and equally accessible to shopping on Fifth Avenue. Did I mention it’s a five minute walk from Grand Central Station? Find out more at

But let’s get to my favorite subject: food. I love eating out. I love trying new flavors and I hate putting on weight. So yes, it’s a real conundrum when I travel. Restaurant food three times a day can really pack on the pounds in a New York minute.

I’ve found that the best way to curb the weight gain is to think before I eat something “Is this good enough to be worth the calories?” If the answer is “Hell Yes!” then I eat it, but often it’s not. Sometimes though, I just want to enjoy my dinner without counting calories. To that end the Triumph restaurant located in The Iroquois Hotel just introduced me to the most wonderful concept.

It’s called SPE certified. They use proprietary methods to enhance the nutritional quality of meals and add healthy options to restaurant menus without compromising on taste. Their hands-on process of recipe development means each chef’s unique culinary vision is kept intact.

It’s not about imposing fixed recipes on the Chefs but rather helping them adapt existing menu items to make them “SPE-certified.”

Basically, it means when you see the SPE symbol somewhere on the menu you can rest assured that a healthy, balanced meal will be served. It takes the guilt out of restaurant food but doesn’t compromise on taste. Next time I’m in the city to catch a Broadway show, I’ll make a point to spend the night at the Iroquois and order my hearts delight with the Triumph restaurant SPE certified dishes.

Kate Moss is famously controversial for having said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” but she got it wrong. Eating healthy makes you feel good and nothing is worth compromising that.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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