Category: Eating Out
Oh my! It’s the second week of December! Where has the time gone? DD is in the 25th week of her pregnancy. The trials of the first trimester are forgotten. The second trimester was a time of energy and good health. She is now at the beginning of the third trimester.
Some missionary friends are in the United States for a holiday with their family at Christmas. We have been good friends for nearly 40 years, so when they asked if we could meet for dinner, we cancelled other things on the calendar.
They selected a restaurant in San Antonio called Sea Island Shrimp House as a place about half way between our locations. I’ll admit that my face fell when they selected that restaurant. I first ate there about 30 years ago. The menu at that time was fried fish, fried shrimp, and French fries. There is little worse for a health food nut, like me, to face in a restaurant than fried, fried, and more fried.
About 10 years ago friends again asked us to meet them at Sea Island. I ate a snack before I went, anticipating all of the fried food. Surprise! Salad was added to the menu.
I entered the restaurant last night, expecting to eat a nice seafood salad. Surprise again! They now have broiled fish and several alternate vegetables including green beans and spinach. I had a lovely meal of white fish with vegetables. One of our friends is gluten free. It turns out that they had never eaten at Sea Island, they were trusting the recommendation of someone else. When I told her what the restaurant used to be, her eyes grew big. She had rainbow trout with rice pilaf and spinach.
Kudos to Sea Island for their new, healthy menu. As we looked around the restaurant, more than half of the patrons were eating fried fish and French fries. That’s ok. This is a free country! I know that when I eat there, I can get a healthy meal. I expect that we will eat there more often when we are in the San Antonio area.
I turned 60 years old last week. Now is when most people start to fall apart. Now we will see how much difference 27 years of health food followed by 10 years of the Blood Type Diet will make.
Our Strong Son started the celebrating. He said that he had planned a birthday surprise. We met him in Austin, and he took us to the Whole Foods World Headquarters. It is the largest Whole Foods store I've ever been in. They have a buffet with several food lines. You get a plate or a bowl and select the items you want. You are charged for your meal by the pound. My bowl was full after going to two cold food lines. I told SS we would have come back in the winter and try the hot foods. Everything was delicious, and I felt good about the way it had been prepared.
On my birthday, I went tubing with friends. We paddled along the shore of a lake near my home, enjoying the warm sun, cold water, and beautiful views of the shore. When we got out of the water, we had a picnic. I brought ground beef and collard greens topped with curry powder. I had also made a walnut torte to share with my friends. All of them know that I am on the BTD, so they were not surprised by the unusual birthday cake.
The day after my birthday I had a photo shoot. The theme of the event was Tex Mex. The band played Texas Country music. The food was fajitas. I took pictures until most of the guests were eating. Then I put the camera away and served my plate. I passed on the tortillas, selected beef, chicken, rice, beans, and romaine lettuce. Ok - I did get some guacamole - which is BTD avoid for Type Os, but is allowed in a limited amount on the GTD. I confess I sometimes switch back and forth between the two food lists when avocado and a few other foods are involved.
Another day my Honorable Husband took me out for my favorite meal - prime rib. I had a salad and a sweet potato as my sides. Every bite was delicious.
My Christian World View tells me that with sin comes physical deterioration and death. I have no desire to live forever on this earth. However I do want the time I have here to be productive and pain free. That's why I eat right and exercise.
Right now I would say that I'm in better health than most people my age. For that, I am thankful to both God and the BTD.
On the Blood Type Diet, there are no beneficial grains for Type Os. That led me to be virtually grain free for quite a while…which was a bad decision…but one I've dealt with in other blogs. The GenoType diet does have beneficial grains for Hunters and Gatherers, and I make sure I have one or more servings a day of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.
One of the beneficial Type O grains is teff. I had never seen it in a store and never heard of anyone eating it until today.
Our Strong Son invited us to meet him in Austin for lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant called Aster's. I was ready for a food adventure, but my Honorable Husband was extremely skeptical. Aster's has a buffet for Sunday lunch that is very reasonably priced. I love buffets at international restaurants because I can sample a lot of different foods.
SS told us that instead of using silverware, we were supposed to tear off bits of bread and pick up our food with the bread. Our server must have known we were new to this, because he brought us forks. I filled my plate with delicious smelling vegetables and meats. I resolved to eat with a fork - because when I hear "bread," I think "wheat."
I had three different meat dishes. One was very spicy, but the other two were wonderful. I also got Atakelt Wott (cabbage, green beans, carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger, in a turmeric sauce) and Gomen (collard greens cooked with onion, garlic, and spices). I have got to google a recipe for Gomen. It was categorically the best collard greens I've ever eaten.
SS filed his Dad's plate with salad, rice, and some vegetarian lentil dishes. And he gave his Dad a piece of Ethiopian bread, which looks like a brown tortilla.
We were all eating, and enjoying our food, when someone picked up a card on the table that told about the bread, which is called Injera. It's not made of wheat. It's made of Teff. When I heard that, I had to try it, and I liked it. So I began to eat my meat Ethiopian style, picking it up with the bread.
The card referred to a website - teffco.com¸ where you can order Teff in the United States, and the price seems reasonable. I think I'm going to order their sample pack so I can try both the grain and the flour.
Saturday I took a friend who lives in San Antonio out to lunch for her birthday. I had read on the internet about a Hawaiian restaurant called Aloha Kitchen. It is a tiny restaurant in a strip center; probably more of a café than a restaurant. I had expected to find lots of tropical fruit and coconut on the menu. Instead they serve a variety of meat and rice dishes with oriental sauces which celebrate the blend of cultures in Hawaii today.
I ordered a combination plate with Huli Huli chicken and Draggin' Meat. I chose mixed squash and a spring roll for my two sides. Everything was delicious.
I had told our server that we were celebrating my friend's birthday. They hung leis around her neck and sang Happy Birthday in Hawaiian, accompanied by a ukulele, of course. Then they brought her a piece a guava pie. I ordered a slice of mango pie. What a perfect way to end an unusual lunch.
On the drive home, I turned on the radio and listened to a show about GMO foods. I confess I was ignorant about the subject. The two things that caught my attention were a list of ingredients to avoid if you wanted to stay GMO free and a list of ailments that some research associates with high intake of GMO products.
The radio guest said there were eight foods on the GMO watch list. Corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets are almost always GMO. In addition some papaya and a small percentage of zucchini and yellow squash are also GMO.
I really don't eat the first five on the list. Corn is avoid for Type Os. Soybeans are toxic for Hunters and Gatherers. There are so many beneficial oils, that I don't waste my time with canola or cottonseed oil. I sweeten with agave, honey, or turbinado sugar, not beet sugar.
The radio guest was particularly concerned about high fructose corn syrup. I agree with her about avoiding any product with corn syrup on the ingredient list, though our reasons are different.
The radio show emphasized a French study that was released in the fall of 2012. I read some more about it when I got home and was disappointed. They fed the rats in the study GMO corn, and gave them water mixed with Roundup herbicide. The rats developed lots of problems particularly breast tumors and organ failure. The results lost their impact on me because two potentially dangerous variables were used.
Making rats drink water mixed with herbicide is cruel, and I'm not a bit surprised that it led to health problems. How am I to know which problems were the result of the GMO corn, and which were the result of drinking herbicide?
As a Christian, I believe that the closer we eat our food to the way that God created it, the better off we will be. So I am skeptical of GMO in the same way that I am skeptical of any processed food.
I'm glad to have a short list of GMO foods to watch out for, and glad that none of them are foods that I often eat. But I do not approve of the scare tactics used by the French study or the radio show guest.
Since Aloha means both hello and goodbye, I'll say hello fun Hawaiian food and goodbye GMO.
Today we visited Historic Deerfield. Homes from the 1700s settlement have been restored inside and out. We learned about how the early settlers lived what they wore, and what they ate. It was fascinating to see hand woven baskets, hooked rugs, and needlework. Though they lived on the edge of the wilderness, they wanted their homes to be attractive. As archeologists have dug around the area they have found both pieces of locally made redware and fine china imported from England.
We signed up for an architectural tour. In a typical Connecticut Valley colonial home the chimney was built first. They were two story houses with two rooms downstairs on either side of the chimney and two upstairs. That is so practical for cold New England winters. As soon as the family prospered, they would add a 2nd chimney so they could have eight rooms with a hall down middle.
At the Hearth Cooking Demonstration we watched how the colonists prepared their vegetables. It was an art to prepare meals, something that is lost today with modern appliances. The docent showed us a brick oven on the side of the fireplace. The wife would build a fire in the oven and when the bricks were red hot, she would bake bread. When the bread was done, she put puddings and pies in the cooling oven. Last of all she would put in a pot of beans that would cook for the rest day.
Sometimes people complain that preparing food for a multiple Blood Type family is too complicated and time consuming. Food preparation in Colonial America was a full time job - every single day. The food looked delicious, but we weren't allowed to taste because they don't have the required federal permits.
We bought our lunch at a sandwich trailer - not exactly historically authentic - but modern visitors have to eat. Two things on the menu interested me - a hamburger and a chicken quesadilla in a gluten free tortilla. I stood in line doing pros and cons. My Type O body wanted beef, but if I got the hamburger I would throw the bun away. If I got the quesadilla, I would throw away the cheese. I smiled politely and asked if I could have a hamburger in the gluten free tortilla. The way the guys in the trailer looked at each other it was obvious that I was the first person to ask for that. But they did it, and I was happy with the results.
We spent an incredible day in the White Mountain National Forest. Our guide for the day was a brochure that listed waterfalls and covered bridges. The leaves were...indescribable. Someone like me who makes their living as a writer and photographer is not supposed to be at a loss for words, but language fails me. I took hundreds of pictures. The recent rains have the water racing over falls that are framed with yellows and oranges. Streams are rushing under century old covered bridges; the faded reds of the old paint a contrast to the brilliant reds of the leaves.
I had packed a veggie bowl with chicken and spinach for my lunch. HH and SS stopped at Patch's Deli in Glen, New Hampshire for sandwiches.
After lunch we took a half mile walk to Diana's Baths - two waterfalls at right angles to each other.
Next we chose a longer trail that led to four points of interest. The trail to the Basin was paved. After that it became very steep and slippery. HH got to the Cascade, then decided to turn back. His knee has not given him trouble in several years, but he did not want to risk twisting it. The trail became more rugged as SS and I pressed on to Kinsman Falls. This was the prettiest of the four sites. The water had a golden tint. We couldn't decide whether it was from silt brought down by the rains or color from the leaves that were falling into the water. Either way, it was lovely. The last part of the trail to Rocky Glen was nearly impassable. Both SS and I were holding onto tree trunks to pull ourselves up the mountainside.
We were both concerned about the hike down. Normally I am not too proud to sit down and scoot on a steep trail, but I really wanted to avoid scooting or slipping in the mud. We took it slow, used roots and trees to stabilize ourselves, and got down safely.
The trail had made us hungry. We had a delicious dinner at Italian Oasis in Littleton. Again I saw gluten free items on the menu. I asked if I could have a chicken and broccoli entrée but substitute sweet potato fries for the linguini. They agreed, and my meal was perfect. HH chose sausage and pasta - not the best BTD choice for a Type A, but I decided not to nag on vacation. SS had an eggplant chicken parmigiana duo that he said was outstanding.
We all slept well after a challenging trail and a satisfying dinner.
As we traveled yesterday, we could literally see how longitude, altitude and distance from the coast impact fall colors. If you plan a vacation to see the changing of the seasons, be flexible. During late September and early October, there will be color somewhere, you just have to drive until you find it.
On the coast, just a few isolated trees had changed. As we drove inland, the color got better and better. When the road went down into a valley, the trees would be mostly green. When it would climb over a pass, the trees were changing. In a few weeks people driving our same route, will find bare trees on the passes, and color in the valleys. In his research before the trip, HH had read that New Hampshire, Vermont, and part of Japan have the best fall colors in the world. I can't explain why that is true, but the closer we got to the New Hampshire border the more brilliant the color.
We got off the main road and took State Highway 16. The colors were breathtaking. There was a beautiful view around every bend in the road. We saw 11 wild turkeys scratching for food in fallen leaves.
Our Strong Son had planned to take a mission trip to Guatemala the same week we had planned to be in New England, but his trip was cancelled. Since he had already arranged for someone to cover his patients, he decided to take a vacation instead. In route to see friends from Physical Therapy school, he was going to meet us for three days. We picnicked for lunch, anticipating dinner with him in Littleton, New Hampshire.
We ate at the Littleton Diner. A note on the menu mentioned a gluten free item. Over the years, I have found it virtually impossible to explain the BTD to servers in restaurants. I've had a little better success if I say that I have a wheat allergy. But the term "gluten free" seems to have taken hold. Several television personalities have talked lately about going gluten free. I think there is a "one size fits all" book out that says everyone should be gluten free. I wasn't interested in their gluten free selection, but when I told the server that I wanted the roast beef dinner, but I wanted it gluten free, she was very cooperative about making substitutions. I thoroughly enjoyed my roast beef (no gravy), carrots, and baked beans.
We headed up the coast to Bar Harbor. There is not much fall color in Maine. This is a huge disappointment to HH. I keep telling him that if the color was at its peak on the coast then we would have missed it completely in New Hampshire and Vermont. He is not comforted.
After two sedentary days - one on the plane and one in the car we had planned a long afternoon hike in Acadia National Park. But the sky was cloudy and the mist threatened to turn to rain. I put my parka over my camera and we took several short walks. One was on top of Cadillac Mountain. In spite of the clouds, my pictures of the bay and the islands turned out great. Another was around the Marina in Northeast Harbor.
By far the BTD highlight of the day was lobster for lunch. We stopped at Angler's Restaurant in Seaport, Maine. They had a special on their Lobster dinner. It came with salad, vegetable of the day and potatoes. The vegetable of the day was green beans, so I asked if I could have double green beans instead of potatoes, and they were agreeable.
Every other time I have eaten lobster, it has come on my plate whole. The chef at Angler's separated the lobster in 4 pieces. I joked with our server, saying that I was glad they had pity on a Texan who wasn't experienced with lobsters. I enjoyed every bite.
HH does not like picking food out of shells or off of bones, so he had a crab roll instead.
We are staying at a charming old whiteboard resort that has a gazebo overlooking the bay and an outdoor hot tub. By nightfall the rain had started in earnest, so we didn't get to enjoy the view or relax in the tub. We picnicked in our room. I fixed HH a turkey sandwich with fruit. I enjoyed canned asparagus and salmon.
I had a wonderful birthday month. My Strong Son, my Honorable Husband, and several friends took me out to eat. Great BTD choices everywhere we went.
Lamb and vegetables at Ghengas Kahn with SS. Steak and sweet potato with HH. One friend took me to a tea room where I had fabulous jasmine green tea. Two friends took me out for Mexican food. At one restaurant I had the best taco salad I've ever eaten. At the other I ordered a dinner with grilled chicken, rice, beans, and salad. It would have been delicious except they put pico de gallo all over the salad. I like spicy food, but I do not like raw peppers and onions!
I've also gone to several dessert events recent days. Some were related to my birthday, some were business related, and some were church events. The thing I learned about myself is that while excess sugar on a regular basis is not advisable for anyone, as long as I stayed away from wheat neither my mood nor my weight was effected. I had several pieces of pie - with interesting discussions about why I ate the filling out of the crust. I also enjoyed a serving of flan, a Mexican egg custard with a sauce that is not too sweet.
So for me - forget the birthday cake and bring on the birthday pie!
The day after my birthday I told a friend that I now have 364 days to do everything I wanted to do while I'm in my 50's. A few of those days are already gone. Perhaps next time I'll tell you about one of the things that I wanted to accomplish while before I turn 60.
This week we drove to the city where we used to live for dentist appointments and to have lunch with friends. Our friends suggested a barbeque place that used to be one of my favorites. I don’t think I had ever eaten in the restaurant itself. It was located near the library, so when I would take the kids to get books during the summer, we would pick up barbeque on the way home. Their brisket was delicious, but what made this different from most BBQ was their absolutely amazing creamed corn. Remember now, my children were small, so this was long before I ever heard of the BTD.
After verifying with our friends B and E that turkey was on the menu for my Type A husband, we loaded in the car. As we drove, B said “Did you know that they serve creamed corn as a side?” I said that I remembered how delicious it was. He said, “It’s so good that sometimes I just get double creamed corn.”
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know my standards for BTD compliance. At home I don’t eat avoids. At restaurants I make the best choices available. When I am a guest in someone’s home, I maximize beneficials and neutrals, but I am not offensive if I am served an avoid. While my health is important to me, relationships are even more important.
We were going to a restaurant, so I don’t have to eat creamed corn. I get two side dishes with my brisket, and there are other choices. But the idea of that delicious, mouth-watering creamed corn is now in my head.
As we are standing in line B says to E, “Are you getting creamed corn?” He turns to me and says, “Are you getting creamed corn?” I say that I am thinking about it. That is an understatement. At that moment, creamed corn is all I can think about.
As I got closer to the counter, I knew I ought to say “Brisket plate with green beans and cole slaw.” But instead I say “Brisket plate with green beans and creamed corn.” When my food arrives, I enjoy the brisket and green beans. I am saving the creamed corn for dessert. It is a special treat.
I took the first bite. It was canned corn in a sauce made with white flour, water and pepper. Ugh! I used to like this stuff????
At that moment, I realize how far I have come in my nine years on the BTD. My mouth has become accustomed to fresh beneficial foods, which don’t need pepper and sauces to disguise the taste. The desire for creamed corn has gone the way of pizza and chicken fried steak.
Will I ever lose my desire for ice cream and cream puffs? I don’t know, but I’m glad the desire for creamed corn is out of my system.
When we turned onto our street last night, we saw that the live oak trees were brown, and one of the brownest was in our front yard. Our hearts sank. First impression was that after hauling gallons of gray water last summer during the drought, we had still lost a beautiful native tree. Then we laughed. Spring arrived in central Texas while we were in Oklahoma. The live oaks are supposed to lose their leaves and put out new growth as soon as the danger of a hard freeze is past. This morning I see that a few wildflowers are beginning to bloom. When I walked the dog I passed a lovely patch of verbena.
We left DG and EG in Oklahoma City and went to visit DB and NB in Tulsa. Tulsa appears to be one of those outdoor-oriented cities. There were bike and walking trails everywhere. We saw lots of signs pointing to green belts along the river. HH and DB first became friends when they were in college together and found that they not only shared a love for engineering but a love for hiking as well.
We went to Swan Lake and took several laps around the lake. There really are swans at Tulsa’s Swan Lake, and the sunset was beautiful. We had dinner at Los Cabos. The menu was lower carb and more BTD friendly than the Tex-Mex food that is prevalent at home.
We didn’t have WiFi for the last part of the trip, but I had to find a way to send work files to clients, and we both had to check e-mail. We started off going to McDonalds for lunch because they have free WiFi. I would pack a meat and veggie bowl in the morning and would eat my lunch in the car. That way I could log onto the laptop while HH ate a grilled chicken sandwich. He could check his e-mail after he finished his lunch. The grilled chicken sandwich was adequate for him, but McDonalds fries proved to be too much of a temptation.
The third day on the road we stopped at a Subway, and were told that most Subways not only have WiFi, but offer a free secure connection. You get the code when you buy your meal. This is a much healthier choice for HH. I can even get a salad, though I prefer to make my own meat and veggie bowl.
We stopped to see DD and HH’s Mom on the last night of our trip. Drum Roll…..I want you all to know that DD and ESS are engaged. She has bought her wedding dress, and she modeled it for her grandmother and me. I still have the smile on my face when I think about the moment. I’m sure I will be blogging about wedding food choices as the summer wedding date gets closer.
We are staying with our friends DG and EG in Oklahoma. My Honorable Husband and DG served together in Vietnam. Our conversations are always lively because we all share the same views about politics in both the 1960s and in 2012. We also share the same love for Jesus. We laugh a lot and we solve all of the world’s problems…if only the authorities would listen to us.
The first night we were there DG grilled hamburgers. They were wonderful. HH had not had a hamburger in many months, so this was a treat for him. Not something he will indulge in often, but one hamburger will not hurt him.
For lunch yesterday EG fixed one of her Mom’s old favorite recipes. I’ll give you the original version. It’s not bad for any Blood Type as it is, but it can be tweaked to make it a little better if you are seeking a higher level of compliance. As with many recipes that are handed down, there are no measurements – just ingredients. Use your creativity. EG used a very small amount of dressing – so small that at first I didn’t think there was any dressing at all.
Mrs. C’s Salmon Salad.
Canned salmon, celery, English peas, green onion. Make a dressing with mayonnaise, soy sauce and lemon juice.
After lunch we went to the Oklahoma City Zoo to see the baby tigers. There were four of them, born 7 months ago. They are getting big, but they still play like kittens. We stayed for a long time watching them and laughing at their antics. This is a city zoo and there is an exhibit of wild animals native to Oklahoma. HH and I saw white tail deer and said, “But we have those in our back yard.” People around us looked up with surprise. A little further we saw wild turkeys. Again we said, “We have those in our back yard.” It is a peculiar feeling to see animals in caged habitats that you are used to seeing running wild and eating your landscape plants.
EG’s father was a pastor in India, and she grew up there. On previous visits she had introduced us to Indian food. Last night we went to Gopuram, an Indian buffet. I tried many delicious foods, but two stood out because they were new to me. One was fish curry. It was chunks of boneless white fish in a spicy curry sauce. The other was carrot pudding. This was on the dessert bar and I’m going to try to find a recipe. It was made of shredded carrots. EG thought it tasted like rose water was one of the ingredients.
I can almost always find plenty to eat at a pot luck dinner, but last night was an exception. The funny part was what all of the ladies were saying after it was over.
My Honorable Husband sings in the choir at our church. Last night the choir had a party and a pot luck dinner. HH signed me up to bring a salad. At the grocery store I found strawberries and pineapple on sale. I thought that would make a pretty Valentine month salad. I served it in a bowl shaped like an apple that we received as a wedding gift.
The people who organized the party were so creative with music related games and table decorations. We had lots of fun playing and visiting. Then it was time to eat.
There were three salads: my fruit salad, a pasta salad, and potato salad.
There was one vegetable: hash brown casserole.
There were five entrees: spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken with a cheese topping, a chicken and noodle casserole, spicy venison sausage, and meat cooked with onions and green peppers.
There were at least six cakes and one plate of cookies.
You are thinking the same thing I was thinking as I approached the serving line – there is not much here for a Type O. I took some of my own fruit, some of the sausage, some of the meat, and a little of the chicken with cheese topping. The meat turned out to be pork, but even if I had known that ahead of time, I think I would have taken some, though perhaps not as much. There were just no other choices.
The funny part came at the end of the party when we were cleaning up. All of the venison was gone. There were a few stray strawberries in the bottom of my bowl. More than half of the meat and onions was gone. There were lots of leftovers in every other dish.
Suddenly the other ladies began trying to give their food away. The lady who brought the spaghetti said, “Someone take this home, we are both on a diet and can’t eat it.” The lady who brought the potato salad said, “This only lasts a few days and we don’t eat potatoes.” Several of the ladies who brought cakes were saying, “Please take some cake, I don’t need this in my house.” One lady was offered a take home plate. She waved it away saying, “Not for me, I don’t need all that starch.”
Someone could have brought green beans, or a green salad, or a crock pot of legumes. I’m not sure whether the high carb dishes were brought because our friends wanted to offer comfort food at the party, or whether high carb dishes are less expensive for people on tight budgets in this bad economy.
Regulars on the BTD don’t need me to spell it out, but for the benefit of guests I will gently and kindly say that the people at the party preferred the healthier choices when they served their own plates. Yet they brought food to a pot luck that they didn’t want to take home.
My Wal-Mart has a big frozen fish section. I like it because they have wild caught* salmon for a very reasonable price. I began looking at the other types of fish they carry. I found tilapia – which I order in restaurants, but do not cook at home**. Sometimes Wal-Mart has whiting. This is a good choice for my family, so when it is available I stock up.
I also found swai. The package had a glowing description of a delicious and nutritious fish. It was not on the BTD food list I carry in my purse. That usually means a food is neutral, but I decided to do a little checking.
It turns out that swai is a river catfish that is native to Southeast Asia. Since catfish is avoid for both Type As and Type Os, I have was glad I hadn't bought any.
Interesting that the GTD says catfish is beneficial for Gatherers***. I don’t quite understand that, but since I default to the BTD, I’ll not be swai-ed.
* I wrote a blog a year or so ago after talking to the manager of a local fish market. He says that the legal definition of wild caught is tricky. It can mean that the fish are raised in a netted area in a river or ocean. They are sort of wild, but not free to escape. More important, they can be fed whatever the farmer wants to feed them in order to plump them up for market. So while I buy wild caught when I can afford it, I don’t really know it’s wild unless I catch it myself.
** Tilapia seems to always farm raised, which means lower than expected Omega 3s. That’s why I eat it in restaurants, but cook something else at home.
*** Grilled catfish is often on the menu in restaurants. Perhaps this would be a reasonable choice for the Gatherer half of me. However, I won’t be cooking catfish at home, either.
Sometimes when I am out and about, I need something to drink, and the first thing I look for is green tea. If I am near a health food store, I really like several products by Honest Tea. If I am near a grocery store, I like Arizona’s diet green tea and Snapple’s diet green tea.
If we are traveling, like we were last weekend, the choices have been slim. I think all convenience stores and ice houses must use the same massive supplier. It’s obvious when you are standing in front of the refrigerator at a convenience store that green tea is increasingly popular. But, until yesterday, there were only sweetened green teas with lots of sugar and corn syrup; or diet green teas sweetened with aspartame.
Yesterday we were returning from taking a truck load of furniture to DD’s new apartment. HH was fighting a cold, so I drove the whole trip. We stopped at a convenience store because I needed to walk around, and I needed something to drink. I went to the refrigerator cases, looking without much hope for Arizona or Snapple diet green tea. Just before I walked away I saw Lipton, Diet green tea with watermelon flavor. That is new. Knowing that all the other Lipton diet teas are sweetened with aspartame, I looked suspiciously at the label. It is sweetened with sucralose. I bought a bottle. The watermelon flavor is delicious.
When I got home, I checked the website. Lipton has changed all their bottled green teas to sucralose. Hurrah for Lipton!
Update: Read the labels! I was in the grocery store the day after I wrote this blog, and looked at diet Lipton Tea. It had aspartame! I guess they are getting all of the old stuff out of their warehouse! Let the buyer beware.
First choice is my own green tea either unsweetened or lightly sweetened with agave.
Second choice is Honest tea.
But Lipton now joins Arizona and Snapple as adequate third choice bottled green teas.
Today was a busy day at work. I had an appointment several miles from home at 10:00 and another in the same city at 2:00. I didn’t want to waste the gas to drive home, so I went to an internet café where I could work on my laptop.
I ordered iced green tea. They had three flavors: jasmine, oolong, and fruit oolong. I chose fruit oolong and it was delicious. After I got home I looked up oolong. It is not BTD or GTD rated, so it is considered neutral. I read an article that says oolong is half way between green tea and black tea. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but next time, I think I’ll take the jasmine green tea.
Our final day in Colorado was a drive across Trail Ridge Road. The road had been closed earlier in the week. It was lovely to see snow before we returned to summer like temperatures in Texas. The trail at the Alpine Visitor’s Center was closed. It is a short climb to the top of a mountain. We always gauge who is in the best shape by how many times each of us has to stop, and how long it takes us to catch our breath. We found another trail where we could hike across the tundra. The elevation gain was minimal, so we weren’t nearly as short of breath. Nevertheless, we reached an aerobic effect much quicker at 11,796 feet than we do at 1,000 feet. If I lived in Colorado year round, I wonder how the altitude would impact my exercise routine.
We stopped to visit two friends on the way home. One lives in a Denver suburb. He took us to eat at the Castle Cafe. Barbecue chicken was special of day. In Texas it is ok to eat barbeque chicken with your fingers, but I wasn’t sure about Colorado. I ate my 1st piece with knife & fork, but I gave up and ate the 2nd piece with my fingers. On the way out of the cafe our friend stopped to introduce us to some other friends of his. They couldn't shake hands because they were eating BBQ with their fingers. Good, I didn’t commit an etiquette error.
Our friend wanted dessert, and I agreed to share a piece of pie with him. I don’t remember what the pie was called, but it had a graham cracker crust, a layer chocolate, a layer of bananas, a layer of pudding, and whipped topping. It was delicious. I could make this into a very BTD compliant dessert. Walnut crust, layer of chocolate, layer of bananas, layer of custard made with almond milk. I have already made a note to try it when I get home.
Our second friend lives in Lubbock. Her husband recently passed away from pancreatic cancer, complicated by liver cancer. We had a wonderful visit with her. She is very lonely, but her faith in God is keeping her strong. We are eager to be at home and sleep in our own beds tomorrow night.
The closest I have come to being a waitress was when I had a job at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor in high school. Serving people cones and sundaes is certainly easier than serving them a full meal. Cleaning up dirty napkins and wiping ice cream drips off of tables is nowhere near as nasty as bussing a table after a three course dinner. Yet my limited experience does make me sympathetic to how hard servers work, and it does make me prone to leave good tips.
But the tips I’m leaving today are of a different kind. We have had some lovely meals on this vacation. But three times servers have made dining out a disappointment. I’m not going to name the restaurants, but here are three tips for Colorado servers.
We had lunch at a barbeque restaurant, and BBQ chicken salad was on the menu. At first I thought this was going to be a BTD friendly restaurant. They listed several choices of sauce in the menu, and they noted which ones were gluten free. I asked the server what was in the chicken salad, and she said “lettuce tomato, chicken.” That sounded fine. However, When salad arrived it had also had raw onions, carrots, and finely grated cheese. I was glad to have the carrots. The raw onions were in big enough pieces that I could pull them out and give them to HH. There was no way I could get the cheese out of the salad. I went ahead and it. A little cheese is not going to ruin my day, and I didn’t want to waste the food. But it made me think of several friends who have serious food allergies and the difficulties they face when a server gives bad information.
Tip #1. If a customer asks what is in a menu item, give them accurate information.
We were in a location where we had purchased tickets to get into a park. We had finished eating in the concession area. I wanted to refill my water bottle before we resumed our walk, so I asked one of the servers where I could find a water fountain. I was told in a very curt voice that there was no water fountain, that they SOLD water bottles. I left without buying anything else, and stopped at the next convenience store outside the park to buy water. If the server had said, “I am so sorry. We don’t have a water fountain. But our bottled water is only …” I would have pulled out the wallet.
Tip # 2. Politeness will increase sales.
We arrived at a restaurant and were seated by an obviously overworked server. He appeared to be the only server at a moderately busy lunch hour. To his credit, he served his customers in the order in which they arrived. However we watched as he refilled water glasses, took dessert orders, and bussed tables, while we sat for 20 minutes with our menus. All of us had decided what we wanted to order. I was having a chicken salad with artichoke hearts, avocado, mushrooms, feta and craisins. We weren’t in a hurry. If the server had taken a moment to just bring us a glass of water and write down our order, we could have visited quite happily while we waited. As it was, we couldn’t even leave the table to wash our hands for fear we would miss him.
Tip # 3. Give new customers just a little attention before waiting on those who want a third glass of soda.
One more tip for future Colorado travelers. If you are in Estes Park and want elegant service, BTD friendly food, and a fabulous view, go to The Shores. It was a delightful dining experience with attentive (but never pushy) servers.
The weather forecast has been a little questionable the past two days. Clouds and snow flurries were predicted for yesterday. This morning the website said that Trail Ridge Road was temporarily closed. We decided to stay at the lower elevations.
Yesterday morning we walked along the River Walk in Estes Park. Living in South Texas, we have been to the San Antonio River Walk several times. There the river is slow and peaceful. The River Walk in Estes Park is beside a rushing mountain stream. The water makes a delightful noise as it tumbles downhill over the rocks. We walked for nearly an hour and never came to the end of the paved path. But we were getting hungry, so we headed back the other direction.
We are sharing a condominium with a long time friend named Les. He and HH wanted to go to Subway for lunch. Subway is ok. I can always get a salad, but just around the corner from the Subway I had seen an India Buffet. While they got sandwiches, I went to the buffet. We met to eat at a table beside the river.
There were two vegetarian entrees on the buffet. One was mostly eggplant, so I didn’t taste it. The other was really good, after I picked out the cauliflower. There were three chicken entrees, and all three were outstanding. Chicken Curry, Chili Chicken (which is nothing at all like Mexican Chili), and Chicken Masala. They had green beans cooked with onions and seasoned perfectly. But the best dish of all was called Swag Mushroom. It was made with spinach and it was delicious.
The men had an ordinary lunch, but I had a feast. The irony was that I paid less for all I could eat Indian food than they each paid for sandwiches and chips.
When I got back to the condominium, I googled Swag Mushroom. I got a lot of random results from tents to urban slang, but no recipes. I’m so disappointed. I had wanted to make it when I got home.
After lunch we drove into Rocky Mountain National Park and went to the Alluvial Fan. Les and I climbed to the brink of the falls. There isn’t a trail. You just pick your way over the boulders until you are at the top. HH did not think his knees would like that kind of activity, so he sat in the shade and enjoyed the view.
Today we took the trail to Cub Lake. It is near Moraine Park, which is one of the places the elk are hanging out this year. Our trail passed 20 yards from a heard of elk resting under the trees. The unique thing about Cub Lake is that water lilies grow all around the edge. From the ridge above the lake the dark blue water and the light green lily pads are striking. The trail went through several aspen groves that were at their peak. I never put my camera away. I was taking pictures constantly. It was a feast for the eyes.
My Honorable Husband was doing some research about a vacation we hope to take in the fall. One day we want to take a scenic train ride. He said, “Uh oh, you’re not going to like this.”
The website states emphatically that you were not allowed to bring food or water on the train. They sell drinks and box lunches. They do not want any outside competition.
I called the toll free number. I was very nice, and my tone of voice was friendly. I said that we were looking forward to our train ride in the fall.
Then I said, “I am on a wheat free and preservative free diet. Will you be able to provide me with a box lunch that meets my needs?”
She quickly said that they would not be able to make me a special lunch, but that I could bring my food in my purse. If anyone questioned me I should just tell them that I am on a special diet.
I like it when people are accommodating. I like it when those in customer service know when to bend the rules. This is not always the case. Sometimes I talk to people who are rigid and irritable.
This morning’s conversation makes me look forward all the more to our fall trip. I’m thinking chicken and asparagus sounds good for a train ride.
Of all the professional hats that I wear, I think my favorite is event photographer. This week I was the official photographer at an elegant fund raising event. My assignment was to show the whole spectrum of supporters having fun. The first part of the assignment was easy because such a variety of people attended. There were high profile people – the mayor, community leaders, and board members. There were also many people who benefit from this particular non-profit organization. The second part of the assignment was also easy because from the silent auction to the four course dinner to the live music and dancing, everyone did indeed have a wonderful time.
Perhaps you are wondering if I will ever get around to the Blood Type Diet in this blog. Just wait, I’m getting there.
I arrived early, and began taking pictures of table decorations and ice sculptures even before the first guests arrived. I got pictures of tuxedoed waiters carrying trays of hors d'oeuvres and ladies in beaded gowns bidding on a weekend get-away. As dinner time drew near, I circulated among the tables taking pictures of people talking.
My employer wisely knew that the guests would not want to be photographed with forks in the air and food in their mouths. She told me to put away the camera when the food was served and return to work when the speeches started. She even found me a seat at one of the tables. The food was delicious and elegantly served.
The salad was mixed greens – not a shred of iceberg lettuce to be found! I ate mine with lemon juice, though the others at the table said the vinaigrette dressing was wonderful. The main course was beef tenderloin. I don’t know what the Type As in the room did, but this Type O was in taste bud heaven. The beef tenderloin was served with two vegetables. Asparagus and spinach topped with feta cheese and sautéed onions & peppers. One of the vegetables I have missed on the BTD is creamed spinach. The spinach and feta combination was even better than my memories of creamed spinach. I’m going make this at home, and soon.
There was a basket of bread, which I easily passed to the guest on my left. But I did not pass on dessert. At each place was a small plate with 5 elegant bite sized desserts. Each was a work of art. Three of them contained wheat, but I enjoyed them without guilt.
Then dinner was over, and I was back at work. Three hours on my feet snapping pictures wasn’t exactly strenuous exercise, but it certainly qualified as a workout.