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Another use for Homeland Security

April 7, 2010

On Friday, I’m driving to Oklahoma City to see my BFF for the weekend, so I’ve been pretty conscious of everything I’ve been eating this week (nothing worse than getting sick before a trip).   Typically, I go into tummy conservation mode within a week or two of a special event, which means I don’t eat out, don’t try any new foods, and drink a lot of fennel and peppermint teas.

I had a lunch meeting at a steakhouse today.  Usually, I would have sipped coffee and eaten my lunch when we got back but not only was I starving and would have been pretty bitter about watching others eat, but I had a doctors appointment after the meeting

When eating out at restaurants, I think of risk levels along the same lines as Homeland Security. 


5 levels of restaurant threats:

  • Severe:  sauce-based dishes and marinades (when the ingredients aren’t crystal clear)
  • High:  french fries (the fryer may or may not also be used to fry breaded items)
  • Elevated:  salad dressings and seasonings
  • Guarded:  grilled meats with no marinades or seasonings, vegetable side dishes
  • Low:  simple salads (lettuce and raw veggies), plain baked white/sweet potatoes, fresh fruit

It changes from restaurant to restaurant, but in general, the best (albeit boring) bet when eating out is to eat whole foods.   I waited tables for a couple years and I know that there seems to be some mysterious black hole where instructions told to the server gets lost between the server and the kitchen.  Anything that could possibly be seasoned will probably come out seasoned.   I also tend to avoid meat at restaurants because I don’t trust that it is unmarinated, unseasoned, and that they bothered to clean off the grill before throwing my food on it.  The exception is good steakhouses, because there shouldn’t be any marinade on a good steak.

So anyway, I had a steak and plain baked sweet potato along with a very plain jane side salad – just lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with oil + vinegar.  And while it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, it was filling, healthy, and I don’t feel like I got run over by a Mack truck.


Dinner tonight was courtesy of Matt.


Tomatillo casserole:  Tomatillo sauce, tomatillo salsa, chicken, and rice with cilantro and mexican-blend cheese.  Yum.



Busy day tomorrow – and I’m bound and determined to get to bed early tonight. 


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2010 11:24 PM

    Wow! Its amazing all of the things you must consider before placing an order at a restaurant! Glad you were able to find something yummy (even if it was plain today). Dinner on the other hand looks gorgeous. Nice work Matt

  2. tastyeatsathome permalink
    April 9, 2010 12:33 PM

    I like this HomeLand Security chart for restaurants! Funny, but so true! Totally agree with you on this. I’m learning the hard way sometimes about restaurants…and finally decided to buy those Triumph dining cards to hand to servers, so they can share that info with the kitchen, and MAYBE, just maybe, there won’t be as much lost in translation. Like today, I was at Blue Mesa (which is gluten-free friendly, and I appreciate that) and they served iced tea – well, it was flavored with passion fruit. As I’ve recently discovered, not all flavored teas are gluten-free, so I asked if it was REAL passion fruit, or if it was “natural flavors”. The (kinda stupid) waiter finally decided to check, comes back saying he was mystified while reading the bottle, and was going to get the manager to read it. He then comes back saying the manager said it was gluten-free. I was a bit leary and just decided to drink water. The tea wasn’t good enough anyway to worry about (I had a sip already, which caused me to discover it was not just tea…) Anyway, best of luck on your trip! Stay healthy!

  3. Matt permalink
    April 9, 2010 11:12 PM

    I think that yellow you used in your post should be given a “Severe” eyesight warning

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