Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I've been consciously avoiding restaurants of any kind lately. My daughter (aged 10) and I have been making SUCH AWESOME food at home, nothing seems to taste as good when we dine out!
For instance, we made chocolate souffles. Yep, the real deal. And they were AH-MAY-ZING. We made them tiny, in those little espresso cups, but ... wow.
We made homemade bread, from-scratch pierogis, raviolis, etc. It's been fun!
But one night, my hubs said, "Hey, we got a coupon for Champp's! Let's go!"
It's one of those sports bar/restaurants with tvs everywhere and lots of cheerful waitstaff.
I declined an appetizer and glass of wine, and stuck with Diet Coke (that in itself was a treat, since I've been off of soda for a few weeks).
Son: cheese pizza. Hubs: chicken strip basket. Daughter: grilled cheese. Me: shrimp fajitas.
I looked over all our dishes, and realized that 3 of 4 of us had NO veggies whatsoever on our plates. I had asked for extra pico, tomatoes, and lettuce, and so I at least had SOME color on the plate.
The food was ok. Not great, but fine. But we all felt odd afterwards, since we all had gotten used to veggies and non-fried foods. On the way home, we agreed that the meal we had just eaten could have been made MUCH BETTER at home, and we could have included all the 'goodies' (my son said that!) that we like. That would be the raw bell pepper slices, the corn and bean salsa, the whole strawberries, the brown rice.
Restaurants make their money on fast, easy food. Stuff that appeals to us as we walk in and smell it in the air. You don't generally walk in and sniff, and think, "ooh, I'm going to have some of THOSE BELL PEPPERS and GREEN BEANS!!"
There is no mom in the kitchen, telling the chef, "Hey! Don't you remember? Half the plate with veggies and fruit, 1/4 with good grains, 1/4 for protein! Sheesh! ANd I want to see some GREENS on there too!"
No, they don't. The only mom is me. I was appalled at the plates. I would NEVER serve that to my family at home. Maybe 1/2 grilled cheese, plus some awesome veg, or maybe a couple of BAKED chicken strips. But -- all by itself? With fries? BEIGE AND FRIED.
And truth? Ick. It feels nasty to eat that.
Note: that night, when we got home, they ended up eating fruit and yogurt after a few hours.
Remember: what a restaurant wants to serve you is NOT a good meal.
But what _I_ would serve you WOULD be.