Well, yesterday marks the first time I've eaten out in a restaurant since beginning GAPS on December 6th.
I turned 47 this past week. In the past I had signed up for various “birthday clubs” so I could get a free meal or ice cream cone or something free. But since starting GAPS and cleaning up my diet, I had to pass on most of the offers that arrived.
I decided that I wanted to try eating at Black Angus. If I were eating organic, this would not have been possible, but we are not there yet so I felt it was a good option. What could go wrong with a hunk of meat and steamed vegetables, right? I was actually pleased with the experience. My hubby and I went together to the same Black Angus we went to for my birthday last year.
I was a little nervous going in to the restaurant, not sure if I wanted to disclose to our waiter/waitress that we are on a special diet, eating gluten-free, casein-free, or how to explain it. I decided to just wing it.
We were seated, and our waitress arrived within minutes, bearing fresh baked molasses bread and margarine. I knew the bread was coming. I'd hoped I could reroute it before it actually arrived, but she caught me by surprise. I didn't want the bread there tempting me, and I didn't want to waste the bread either, so as she leaned in to set it on our table I waved my hands under the plate and said, “We'd like to decline the bread, please.” She was a slightly taken aback, but recovered immediately, setting the bread at an empty table. I apologized and told her we wouldn't have eaten it, so I didn't want it to go to waste.
I guess I could have told the hostess to let the waitress know we don't want the bread, but hey, it's my first time at a restaurant since starting GAPS, so I'm new to this.
She asked if we would like something to drink. My husband got a plain iced tea and he always declines the lemon slice they like to stick on the rim of the glass due to reports of unhealthy bacteria lurking on the lemon slices. I decided to “cheat” and have a bottle of Perrier sparkling water.
I'd already downloaded the menu at home and on our way to the restaurant we perused the entrees and determined what we might choose. It's so much easier researching the menu ahead of time, because you can examine all the little details.
Hubby did really good, although I think he might have been a little embarrassed at all the things we “declined” or asked them to leave off.
It was a little bit uncomfortable, but not too bad. I guess what was uncomfortable is that I am not used to asking so many questions and declining so much. I have always asked for my salad dressing to arrive on the side, so that never seemed too odd over the years, but I felt like I was being a little bit nitpicky. The waitress was very accommodating, and never made me feel like I was being a bother, it was just my own discomfort in needing to ask for something special.
Okay, so we ordered our meal.
I wanted something special, and I rarely get appetizers, and the only thing I saw that would be legal was the Fire Grilled Fresh Artichoke. It came served with Tangy Lemon Aioli and Basil Pesto Mayo for dipping. I asked her if she knew how the artichoke was prepared, she said it was cut in half and grilled, and they added some seasonings to it. I asked her if she knew what the seasonings were and that I was trying to avoid MSG. She said it might have MSG because they use a lot of MSG. Uh-oh. I guess if you are very sensitive to MSG you would have to be really careful at Black Angus.
I asked if she could find out if the artichoke could be grilled sans the seasonings and I asked if they had butter – she asked me if I meant “real butter”. It was as if she thinks margarine is butter, too. You know it's like if I'd asked for margarine, she wouldn't have said, “You mean fake butter?” 😉
She came back a few minutes later to let me know that the artichokes are marinated in the seasonings, so it was likely to have MSG soaked into it. I decided to forego the artichoke. Hubby was pleased as it cost $8.99.
Hubby ordered the 11 ounce Top Sirloin Center Cut which cost $18.99. You get two “sidekicks” so he ordered a garden salad with no dressing, and steamed broccoli. The steamed broccoli came with parmesan sprinkled on top, so I asked our waitress to leave that off (since he is the one that can't have any dairy).
I ordered the 1/2 pound cut of Prime Rib which cost $18.99, and I also had garden salad and broccoli sans the parmesan.
I brought olive oil mixed with raw apple cider vinegar from home for our dressing.
I forgot to ask what came with the garden salad, and both arrived with croutons sprinkled on top. We picked those off. Hubby just put his to the side. He cracks me up, I told him it reminded me of when I was a child, picking things out of my plate and hiding them in the napkin so he told me he used to stick the food he didn't want up his nose. Yes, that's my husband.
The salad consisted of iceberg and loose leaf lettuces, shredded carrots, shredded red cabbage, and one tiny slice of tomato.
Very soon after we finished eating our salads, our meal arrived, delivered by someone other than our waitress.
My husband was aghast at the small piece of meat on his plate. He was practically in shock as he was sure he'd ordered a 20 ounce steak and envisioned a huge steak arriving with a bone in it so he could take it home to our dog, LJ.
It was about the size of a hamburger, about two inches tall. He looked at me, and soon our waitress arrived and he asked her “Is this what I ordered?” and she looked at her notepad and repeated what he had told her. I did remember hearing him say 11 ounce and thinking that was sure a small amount of meat. I just assumed he was trying to keep the costs down.
My prime rib arrived at the same time, with au jus. Maybe it's just me, but I think I can taste MSG in foods. Is it just me? I am sure the au jus had MSG in it. I did dip a piece of my meat into it one time. It actually hadn't occurred to me that it most likely had MSG in it. I mean, once I tasted it, of course, it was like DUH. Of course they didn't make real beef broth. I'm not overly sensitive to MSG (my husband gets headaches if he ingests it) but I have been avoiding it for over a decade, so I wasn't too freaked out over getting some MSG. My broccoli seemed to have some bits of something on it, maybe garlic?
Our waitress asked me if I wanted the butter melted or solid? I asked to have it melted, so that arrived about two minutes after our entrees.
My prime rib was much smaller than I'd anticipated, and was about one-third fat. I am doing better at eating some fat, but not that much. It was very flavorful, and especially delicious dipped in butter. I poured butter over my broccoli and that was delicious also.
Of course our waitress offered dessert, and we declined. On the way out of the restaurant, I noticed an elderly couple sharing a piece of Big Mountain Chocolate Fudge Cake. They were both frail looking, with white hair. The piece of cake was in the middle of the table and they both had cups of coffee [affiliate link].
I wondered if they eat SAD all the time, and I wondered if my husband and I will look so frail and pale when we reach our golden years.
And I also thought of how I can make chocolate cake with almond flour [affiliate link], cocoa and honey [affiliate link], which is smashingly delicious, if you can tolerate cocoa powder [affiliate link] (cocoa powder is not GAPS legal).
Have you eaten out since you started GAPS? How did it go?