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GOOD TASTES.

NEW: Unilever Bestfoods has just introduced a line of 18 new Carb Options products designed for the more than 30 million Americans who are counting carbs. The products include barbecue, steak, Alfredo, Cheddar cheese and garden-style sauces, teriyaki and Italian garlic marinades, ranch and Italian salad dressings, peanut spread, meal bars, and vanilla and chocolate shakes under the brand names Ragu, Wish-Bone, Skippy, Lipton or Lawry's.

Each of the products contains six grams or less of net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohol, as these have minimal impact on blood sugar).

We tried and liked the Lawry's Original Barbecue Sauce with 3 grams carbohydrate per 2-tablespoon serving (and 10 calories). It was hot and spicy - and is sweetened with Splenda. The Wish-Bone Italian Salad Dressing, with 0 grams carbs (and 70 calories) per 2-tablespoon serving, wasn't bad, although a tad oily. However we were turned off when we read the ingredient label and found it contained MSG. We're wondering why the manufacturer didn't just increase the spices in the dressing instead of adding MSG (a flavor enhancer). The Ranch Dressing also contains MSG. Read the labels on these products - many are lengthy and some of the ingredients may surprise you!

For a complete list of products or recipes using them, go to www.carboptions.com, where you'll find some that chef and restaurateur Douglas Rodriquez helped the test kitchens develop.

Look for the products at supermarkets and mass merchandisers.

- Natalie Haughton

DINING OUT: Following its success in Alhambra after a 2001 debut, Cuban Bistro is now firmly ensconced in a second Glendale location.

Full, white linen table service; semi-private dining rooms; a full bar featuring mojitos, Cuba libres, sangria and the signature mojito martini; dancing and live salsa music Friday and Saturday nights contribute to the experience.

With food by chef Pedro Rivera described as traditional Cuban with a California twist, the menu offers numerous starters ($4.50 to $10) that include a black and white bean soup, hollowed-out plantains stuffed with shrimp, ham croquettes in cilantro-lime sauce, a Cuban tamale and empanadas. An appetizer sampler is priced at $16.

Entrees, most of them served with rice, beans and plantains, range from a garlic chicken steak ($11) to lobster tail two ways ($18 each).

Desserts ($4 to $6) are highlighted by a house special presentation of a whole banana, chocolate and walnuts rolled in pastry dough, deep fried and served with a sugar and cinnamon coating and a scoop of ice cream.

Cuban Bistro, 112 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale, serves lunch, dinner and cocktails from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, from noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Information and reservations (parties of six or more): (818) 241-4059.

- Larry Lipson

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 28, 2004
Words:490
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