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The Dish

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Associated Press
McDonald’s restaurants have begun including calorie counts on their menu boards in an effort to “help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices.”

I’m countin’ it?

Calorie info makes some rethink McDonald’s orders

McDonald’s photos
An Egg McMuffin and a Sausage Burrito each have 300 calories.

Sometimes, you just gotta start the day with a McDonald’s sausage burrito.

But sometimes, you count the calories in a burrito meal, which includes two burritos and a hash brown patty, and you see that you’re about to consume 750 calories, all before setting foot in to work, and you change your mind.

Phil Davich of Fort Wayne eats McDonald’s for breakfast “way more than is healthy,” he says, and the new calorie counts on the menus have changed the way he orders. Monday morning, he forwent the burrito he craved and settled for an Egg McMuffin meal, which, by comparison, has a paltry 450 calories.

Last week, McDonald’s restaurants across the country started to list calorie information on in-store and drive-up menus. I stopped by the downtown McDonald’s (5703 W. Jefferson Blvd.) on Tuesday morning to check it out.

The calorie counts are small, which keeps them from cluttering up the menu, but it can be difficult to find what you want to order. I had to check online when I got to work to find that my hash brown patty had 150 calories in it.

The counts do more than change what customers order – they change what employees order, too.

“It makes it hard for me to decide what I want, I’ll tell you that,” one employee said.

McDonald’s calorie listing is part of a company-wide initiative to “help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices,” reads a McDonald’s written statement.

Next year, the chain will change its menu further, grouping foods according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

It won’t affect how everyone orders, of course. Sometimes, the ease of fast food is too great an enticement. Jessica Kummer of Fort Wayne says it doesn’t matter that the menus list nutritional info – she’s going to order what she wants.

“I absolutely do not care that they list the calories,” she says. “I eat there or any fast food place knowing I’m getting ready to tip my calorie-counting scale.

“I’m usually too busy to care those days, though. I don’t know how I’m not overweight when I admit this, but I definitely eat fast food at least twice a week.”

Book on Hoosier food features area owners

The owners at Caliente (1123 E. State Blvd.) and Joseph Decuis (191 N. Main St., Roanoke) are featured in “Food for Thought: An Indiana Harvest,” a coffee table book that features first-person narratives and photography about food and restaurants in the Hoosier state.

The area owners join more than 80 other Indiana restaurant owners and foodies in the book, and some Fort Wayne locations are celebrating “Food for Thought’s” release with a book tour, including book signings and discussions. Local stops include:

•800 Degrees Three Fires (5129 Illinois Road) – Book author David Hoppe, book illustrator Kristin Hess and Greg Gunthorp, owner of Gunthorp Farms in LaGrange, will be on site from 5 to 9 p.m. today.

Gunthorp is featured in the book and supplies pork and chicken to 800 Degrees among other restaurants.

•Caliente – Hoppe, Hess and owners Yalili Mena and Gus Rodriguez will be on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.

•Auer Center for Arts and Culture (300 E. Main St.) – Hoppe, Hess and Jeff Hawkins, who is featured in the book and runs Hope CSA, a North Manchester-based ministry on a small family farm, will be on site from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Food for Thought” is available from Amazon.com and IndianaHarvest.com.

Events

•Chances are, you’ve taken a bite of turkey at some point. But wild turkey? Wild bluegill? Elk?

The Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site (1205 Pleasant Point, Rome City) is having a wildlife tasting event from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The Upland Wildlife Cook-off will have a variety of wild game to taste, as well as other items to sample – such as treats made from insects.

Tickets are $5 a person.

•Family & Children’s Services Inc. is having its 18th annual Chocolate Extravaganza from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Historic Masonic Temple Ballroom (216 E. Washington Blvd.).

The event will include DeBrand chocolates and hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants and caterers.

Tickets are $35 each and are available at 744-4326 or by going to www.familychildren.org.

Half of all ticket sales, plus proceeds from the silent auction, will go toward programs at Family & Children’s Services. The group is a non-profit counseling center, and many of its clients are uninsured or underinsured.

Its Wienermobile time

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile will be in northeast Indiana today and Thursday.

•10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at Miller Super Valu (Indiana 9, Rome City)

•3 to 6 p.m. today at Miller Super Valu (420 S. Detroit St., LaGrange)

•10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Lance’s New Market (1204 W. Indiana 114, North Manchester)

•10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at New Market (306 S. Main St., North Webster)

•3 to 6 p.m. Friday at New Market (726 S. Huntington St., Syracuse)

Miscellaneous news

•Bob Evans (5785 Coventry Lane) is scheduled to reopen after being closed for remodeling Oct. 6.

•It’s time to fulfill your last-minute Zesto cravings. The store at 210 E. Washington Center Road has a sign up announcing it will close for the season Oct. 7.

•Lebamoff’s Cap n’ Cork (10020 Lima Road) is having a free wine, liquor and beer tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. The tasting will include 17 beers, including two pumpkin beers and a banana bread beer; six wines, including two Apothics; and seven liquors, including three Red Stags.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email jyouhana@jg.net or call 461-8462. For more restaurant news, go to The Dish blog at www.journalgazette.net/thedish.

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