Satchell's Grill 

So here's my problem. My mother-in-law is an Atkins devotee and has nearly convinced me that it actually is OK to eat bacon and butter everyday, because, she tells me, the fat is not the enemy; it's the carbs. I have come to understand why this is true, though I'll never agree that bacon is better for you than fresh fruit. So I have become part-time Atkins, meaning I eat bacon and heavy cream with no guilt, but still eat all the breads and sweets I want. I'm clearly heading for disaster. But I don't really care at the moment. What I do care about, however, is feeling good. I love a good juicy steak, but not the heavy feeling in my gut afterwards. Sometimes I can almost feel the plaque building up in my arteries. Yuck.

Satchel's Grill is my salvation. It is so tasty, yet my body does not want to commit mutiny. After eating there on a recent weekend evening, I felt like skipping. Satchel's reaches that perfect balance of healthful food that tastes awesome. All of the foods on the sandwich-oriented menu are given various markers indicating what trendoid diets the food complies with. After ordering and paying at the counter, you choose a table and wait till they call your name. I like this system, but was disappointed by the somewhat long wait for food. Either the kitchen was understaffed or the staff was not well coordinated. But everyone was friendly and didn't mind the mess our baby made. (I must say that Satchel's is a great place to bring a baby—the atmosphere was casual, calm and not too noisy.) And the ample eating area in front is quite nice for warm weather.

My husband enjoyed the night's special, a panino (Italian grilled sandwich) with chicken, pesto and cheddar. It was delicious, though he noted that the pesto flavor overpowered the cheese. I was more boring and got the buffalo burger, because I've never had buffalo meat before. I guess I'm behind the trend because it excited me. It came with cheese (they use Tillamook, the best American cheddar there is) and the usuals, including fat-free mayo. I feel that fat-free mayo is wrong—the primary ingredients of mayonnaise are oil and egg, which leads one to wonder what fat-free mayo contains exactly. I tried not to think about that as I enjoyed my burger. The burger was good and I think I detected a slightly different flavor due to the buffalo, but I also may have imagined it. I particularly liked the whole-wheat buns. Overall, though, I say go for Satchel's panini or wraps, which are more exciting.

Each entrée had a choice of side dishes, and we had the baked fries and jalapeno sticks. The fries were some of the best I've had. Seasoned with salt and pepper, they were so good they felt sinful. But they weren't. Really, there's no point in eating the deep-fried version when these are available. And the jalapeno sticks were interesting. We didn't know what to expect and I can't say that I'm sure exactly what they were. They seemed to be fries with a jalapeno-flavored coating. The jalapeno gave them some flecks of color and some spice, but we would have preferred them spicier. Still, we gobbled them up before eating many of the fries, so that says something. We appreciated the rational portion size—no insane amount of fries and the burger was not too big to fit in my mouth. We ate everything and still were able to skip away and get dessert.

—Jennifer Hurst believes curls go with fries, hair, shoelaces and 5-lb. free weights

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