“You choose the restaurant, you’re the one that’s so picky.”
Maybe that’s a little exaggerated (not by much), but for the most part it’s what I face when going out to eat with someone that doesn’t dine with me often. Of course my work friend that I have lunch with, and my husband, are used to my new diet and know of places that are likely to have something I can eat. Others have no clue where I can find something. Let me let you in on a little secret- it’s practically everywhere.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are places where the only option is a salad, and other places where I might be able to choose from half the menu. I’ve had these considerations far before starting a low amylose diet due to taking Metformin for PCOS in an effort to conceive, being the lone vegetarian in a family and in my work-group, I often “had to pick somewhere that had something” for me. Since I travel so much for work it became less of an issue, because the co-workers I travel with quickly found out I can typically get a baked potato and some side veggies, or a pasta dish prepared without the meat. Of course there were also always salads, which is stereotypically what someone might assume all vegetarians love. Well, this vegetarian does not love salads. I like them, and will occasionally want a salad, but if I have other options, I choose something else. Now that I’ve had to eliminate grains, starches, and sugars, I have a feeling I’m going to be seeing a lot more salads in front of me!
To keep track of what I like to eat when I go different places, I’m going to be updating this post with what I get at different restaurants, so I can remind myself when I go back there what I should (or should not) order again.
Fiesta Chopped Chicken Salad (with no chicken).
- Would I get it again?: NO
- Why?: TOO MANY TORTILLA STRIPS! The salad is practically 1/3 tortilla strips, and the ingredients that were left that I could eat were clinging to them like mad. I couldn’t separate out the strips, so I ate more than I probably should have of them. Luckily it didn’t cause too much intestinal distress, but I was definitely hungry soon after.
Garden Harvest Omelet (without the potatoes, bread, or hollandaise)
- Would I get it again?: Probably
- Why?: It was pretty good. I really like cheese (yum) and spinach, but this one was kind of weird to eat. I think maybe the spinach got too soggy or something, it gave the omelet a weird consistency. That wasn’t the problem though. It’s kind of a waste because the omelets are not priced separately, so I had to pay for the “meal” but get the plate without the choice of breakfast breads and hash brown or home fries.
- Side Note: the omelets are right by the pancakes on the menu and my heart breaks a little when I can’t get the Fruit-N-Nut Multigrain Hotcakes. Those are seriously wonderful.
Vegetable plate (broccoli, baby carrots, cole slaw, corn), comes with a salad and croissant
- Would I get it again?: Yes.
- Why?: This happens to be one of the only things I’ve been able to get here, even before the Metformin, so it’s what I get every time. But it’s a great price and the perfect amount of food. I know technically the carrots are against the rules, but the serving size doesn’t seem to trigger any kind of ill-effects. The salad comes with a wonderfully flaky and delicious butter-drizzled croissant, and my lucky dining partner now gets mine.
Fresh Seasonal Fruit and four eggs (yes, four). 2 fried and 2 scrambled.
- Would I get it again?: Yes and No
- Why?: I’d be down to get the eggs again. They were good. I realized as I ate the fried eggs they’re not as good when you don’t have some toast to soak up the yolk, but, they were still tasty. The waitress was ready to bring the checks when I added the two scrambled eggs to the mix because I realized I was still pretty hungry after finishing the rest of my meal. If I find myself back at Cracker Barrel I won’t get the fruit again, it was not a great value. Like, $3 for 1 little wedge of pineapple, 8 blueberries and 4 blackberries.
- Side note: When we went they had meatloaf with macaroni and cheese promoted at the hostess stand. I have never wanted either of those things so bad in my life, and it’s been like 8 years since I last had meatloaf. I always liked it, but beef was the first meat I stopped eating. It didn’t help that it was next to my favorite darling cheesy pasta.
- Side side note: I remember going to Cracker Barrel with my grandparents and brother when we were little. I always called it Crackle Barrel and it took me much longer than it should have (i.e. way past when I could read the sign) to realize that wasn’t the name of the restaurant.
California Chicken Salad (with no chicken)
- Would I get it again?: Yes yes yes yes yes (and I have!)
- Why?: So Good. A salad that I look forward to eating! It’s got romaine and spring mix lettuce, so I don’t have to wade through a sea of lifeless iceberg. Dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, and mandarin oranges make it colorful and very refreshing. It comes with my favorite dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and there are plenty of flavorful bleu cheese crumbles. So So Good. Plus there’s an O’Charley’s close to my work that does the curbside carryout, so it’s an easy option.
Steak N Shake:
Grilled Chicken Salad (with no chicken)
- Would I get it again?: Eh, probably not.
- Why?: The salad was alright. Really basic and boring. Standard toppings on iceberg lettuce. I don’t know if I’ll tempt myself in Steak N Shake for a while. Without a seasonal milkshake, nothing in there is really drawing me in. The last time I went before starting the new diet I had the grilled cheese and some seasoned fries with a caramel apple shake, and it was great. A boring salad? Not so much.
Fresh Tofu Spring Rolls, Tom Yum soup with tofu
- Would I get it again?: Sure.
- Why?: The Tom Yum was pretty good. I usually would get a green curry dish with rice, but the rice is now off limits. I might be trying the curry dish without it, but I imagine it won’t be the same. The only downside to this soup is the liquid of the soup is pretty thin/watery/brothy, and I prefer a thicker soup. It was still good, just not my fave. The spring rolls, however, are my fave. I had to do some major reconstruction on them, however, because they are absolutely and completely against the rules. First I have to turn the wrapper inside out to scoop out all the guts, because that rice paper is bad news. I should then piece out the rice noodles, and I do a little, but I’ve been pretty safe leaving a few of them in. The remaining lettuce, tofu, cilantro, carrots, and cucumber topped in the spring roll sauce is a fresh little appetizer. I intend to push the limit on my rules every time for these things!
I felt like a giant d-bag taking a picture of my makeshift spring roll salad, BTW. 🙂
Fresh Tofu Spring Rolls, Tom Kha soup with tofu
- Would I get it again?: Yes, definitely
- Why?: This soup was preferable over the Tom Yum. I don’t remember exactly why, I just know I liked it better. Maybe it was thicker? See above for reasons why spring rolls will always be worth it.