I went out with my dad, on Father's Day, to P.F. Changs, since they have a gluten-free menu and can cook things in broth instead of oil. This was the worst meal I have had in the two years since going paleo, hubby and dad agreed! I remember I used to enjoy this silly chain, but everything was EXTREMELY SALTY, the meat was rubbery, little spice, green onions were sad, portions were overpriced, egg-drop soup was warm and revolting! I could've cooked a superb version at home, and next time I will. Hubby felt cheated, and complained and lamented the whole night about how he wished I would've cooked, instead. It was balderdash! We were hornswaggled:) So, have you been sadly disappointed by your former fave eateries, since making all of your own paleo meals?
P.F. Chang's...I'm not surprised you were disappointed. I find that aside from super-highly rated restaurants, I can make things that more delicious, simply because I start with the freshest, most delicious (most of the time) ingredients. When you become so aware about food quality, simple preparations and developing two or three levels of flavor is all that's needed to make something of restaurant quality. Season of course, using quality kosher/coarse salt, or fleur de sel for finishing (texture). Obviously, restaurants out to make a profit most likely are not sourcing their ingredients locally or from farmers' markets.
Most of the time, it doesn't feel like restaurant quality at home because most people don't plate things. I just dump it all on a plate and go at it. None of that pastry-ring, salmon resting on a bed a veggies stuff. Rawr. Devour.
Real food should shine in a minimalistic preparation.
Next time you got out, make a real treat by going somewhere really nice, or something you've been wanting to try!
Yes--and this is especially true at chain restaurants, or any other place where half the menu came in boxes on a Sysco truck. When the default oil is soybean, when there are grain-based fillers in all the food (i.e., pancake batter in Denny's omelets), and salt is virtually the only spice used, it's just not worth eating out. Everything tastes weird to me now. If I'm stuck eating in one of those places, I order a salad with lemon wedges instead of the soy or canola oil based dressings.
I do fine at the better steakhouses--the ones that serve really good cuts of meat and know how to prepare them. And while I only rarely eat at very expensive restaurants ($80-$100 per person for dinner and up), the food is usually excellent because nothing came out of a box--fresh, quality ingredients and food carefully made from scratch make all the difference.
And I'll go for sushi, too. There are plenty of good sushi places around here, and what can they possibly screw up?
I hit up Red Lobster with some buddies after a day of climbing and abstaining from eating anything else--fully expecting to indulge in a little culinary hedonism, I even decided to eat some of those cheddar bay biscuits. Awful! All of it appetizers, biscuits, salad, lobster, prawns, everything even the unsweetened iced tea. It all tasted overly processed, salty and poorly cooked. I don't know what they brought me to dunk my lobster tail in but it was not butter. I left hungry, unhappy and far from satisfied, with a wallet $30 lighter. I can definitely cook a far better meal that is more filling and satisfying, for less money too. I still go out on occasion but more for the social aspects and I choose to indulge myself in other ways.
I only get salads at chain restaurants. You can't really wreck a salad too much. The last real restaurant meals I've had include sushi and a VERY fancy restaurant where I had lamb and chanterelle mushrooms and squab and mussels stuffed with bacon and pinot noir and there was a cheese course and a dessert course where I had chestnut mousse with apricot sauce and meringue crust and the whole meal for two people was $200. Now that's a meal to remember.
Yes, I prefer the food I make at home: fresh and in the proportions of meat and veg that I like. Some restaurants do offer fresh, seasonable produce and fresh, good quality meat and fish, but then they oversalt everything (and their proportions are off). It's crazy.
It's the same thing as going to a rock concert: the music is really good but the volume is so loud you can't really hear or appreciate the music.
Ive found the only way I can eat out is to find a "real food" restaurant. The longer it takes for my food to come the better. They are fewer and further in between but when you find one hold on to it. It'll cost you more than a regular place but you get what you pay for and then some.
We went out to one of our family favorites for Father's Day and yeah, not that great. Of course I didn't get my usual steak frites because it came with regular fries. Instead I ordered an awesome sounding ahi salad with pomegranate seeds and all sorts of tasty sounding stuff. But, they were out of ahi and asked if tuna was okay, the tuna was over cooked, no pomegranate seeds, it listed broccoli but only had 2 small stocks in it, and the salad was like $16 and it was slightly bigger than my boyfriend's side salad. And of course my family is all "is there anything here you can eat?!"
I prefer eating at home, I can spice things the way I want, more veggies, better cuts of meat. And, if my meat is over cooked, I can only blame myself.
BP (Before Paleo) I hated to cook. Now I prefer preparing my own food. I know what is going in it and I don't have to worry about upsetting my stomach. Lately, I've been eating out about once per week and I almost always find it disappointing. If I order a salad I have to remember to ask to have the ubiquitous croutons left off. Side veggies are almost always carrots, zucchini or summer squash, and broccoli (can't eat the broccoli--FODMAP's). I don't even want to think about what oil is used to cook everything in!
I'm going to Iowa City later this week for my son's birthday. He just started eating low carb so I hope we will find someplace decent to eat!