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Eating Out: Friend or Foe?

August 26, 2009

Since we moved to Dallas last October, we’ve been eating out about 3x more than we did in Oklahoma, for several reasons:

  • The quality of restaurants is FAR superior here than in OK.  It’s more fun to eat out and they seem to actually have a semblance of an idea of what I mean when I start on the “please do not feed me wheat” spiel.
  • The variety of restaurants is better.  We have more opportunities to eat something different which makes it more fun to eat out.
  • We’ve gotten lazy about cooking because it’s so easy to find somewhere to eat.

I’ve also been eating out more at lunch.  This office tends to go out for lunch more than the one in Oklahoma City.  We also have a lot more people visiting from other offices across the country, so we entertain more.

Despite the selection and quality, though, eating out is still hard.  I have to plan ahead and when I don’t feel comfortable eating at any given place, I don’t. 

I tend to put restaurants that I’ve eaten at into 3 buckets:

  • Usually safe
  • Sometimes safe
  • Rarely safe

Notice there isn’t an “always safe” option… because a restaurant will never be always safe for us.  All it takes is a new chef in the kitchen or a less than attentive waiter or a super recent change in ingredients and you’re feeling like you’ve been run over by a semi.

I also tend to give restaurants a few tries before I write them off as never safe.  Even a restaurant that usually is safe can have a slip up.  Eating out is unpredictable for us even at the best restaurants. 

The best thing I can do for myself to stay safe when possible is to emphasize to the waiter and the manager how sick I will get.  This usually does the trick – very few people want someone to get sick in their restaurant.  I also smile a lot and thank them profusely.  Being a bitch isn’t going to help my cause.

When it was time for lunch today, we decided to hit up Saltgrass again.

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Apparently I got really bad information on Friday about what was safe and what wasn’t.  The manager today, who seemed far more competent than the guy on Friday, told me that their “steamed” veggies are actually grilled (I called that one already) and that it is marinated in an oil/spice mix that she wasn’t sure about the exact ingredients on (the spices are from a packet).

Today I had the sirloin with steamed (truly steamed this time) green beans.

I didn’t get really sick from eating there on Friday, but I didn’t feel great, so I bet the veggies were to blame.

[On a side note, nothing pisses me off more than restaurants that douse veggies in oil or butter.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I bet 90% of people that order veggies at a restaurant are doing so assuming they will be guilt-free.  Oil and butter somewhat defeat that.]

Lunch today also included pretty unmemorable side salad – basically lettuce, tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese. 

Working backwards from lunch was breakfast:

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A cappuccino consumed at Starbucks.  No misto and drank it there?  I walked on the wild side today.

And yogurt plus blueberries that were screaming to be eaten.

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I think I’m going to take today as a rest day.  I didn’t sleep well last night and am really dragging today.

My legs are also a little tired from running two days in a row.

My new book (Thrive, by Brendan Brazier) arrived in the mail today and I do believe the couch is calling.   I’m hoping to make tonight an early one.

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