Category: Eating Out
I had a great blog for April Fool’s Day, but life has been so busy and distracting. Here it is April 5 and I haven’t posted it yet.
I’ve mentioned that I’m in a hiking club. Our leaders came up with the idea of a “mystery hike" for April Fools. They sent out an e-mail telling us where and what time to meet. We were told to wear hiking boots and long pants because there were snakes and spiders. We were also told that we would be eating afterward at a restaurant which was not friendly to vegetarians.
You can imagine the conversation I had with my husband.
“I’m hiking with the club on Friday”
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“When are you coming back?”
“Where are you having lunch?”
“I don’t know.”
There were 17 of us on this hike. Only the four drivers were given directions to our first stop - an ice house with lots of bathrooms. After our rest stop, we learned that we were hiking at Palmetto State Park. I had never been there before. It is a park along the San Marcos River. All of the nearby country is rolling ranch land with an occasional mesquite or oak tree. But along the river it is a tropical paradise with lush foliage and dwarf palmettos.
The trails were well maintained. We walked for a little more than two hours getting glimpses of the river through the trees. We have one birder in our group, and she pointed out many birds and imitated bird calls. The wildflowers were just starting to come out. It was a lovely hike – and we didn’t see a single snake.
After the hike we drove into Luling and ate at the famous City Market. Its barbeque is legendary and the line was long. The brisket was very good, but the side orders were limited: white bread, crackers, pinto beans and potato salad. I was happy with brisket and beans, but I probably wouldn't go back again. There are too many other barbeque restaurants with equally good beef that offer cole slaw, sweet potatoes, green beans and other sides.
All in all it was an April Fool’s Day I will never forget.
Yesterday 13 lucky ladies in the hiking club loaded up our cars and drove to Austin. There is a green belt in Austin called Lower Barton Creek with a hike and bike trail. We hiked 8 miles in delightful springtime weather. The skies were cloudy so it was not too warm. Little violets and big red bud trees were blooming beside the trail. The trees all had delicate green buds. It was enchanting. Spring has not yet arrived in the higher elevations of the Hill Country where I live.
We had all packed lunches and at the 4-mile post we began to look for a place to eat. Around the bend were some large boulders under a cliff. It was the perfect picnic area. I took two sushi nori rolls for lunch. Both were made with turkey and feta cheese. They caused quite a bit of comment from the other ladies. I also took a sweet potato, an apple, and a bag of carrots and celery. I anticipated being hungry during a long hike.
As we got close to the end of the trail the ladies began to talk about a famous little food stand called The Mighty Cone. The consensus of the hikers was to stop at The Mighty Cone before returning home.
I had guessed correctly about the amount of food I needed, so I was not particularly hungry. It’s never a good idea to eat just because everyone else is eating, so I went along for the fun, but did not order anything. The menu at The Mighty Cone is limited. You can get a cone with shrimp, chicken, avocado or a combination.
As my friends picked up their orders, I have to admit, I have never seen anything remotely like the fare served at The Mighty Cone. They started with a paper cone. In it they put a flour tortilla, so that the tortilla also took on a cone shape. In the cone they put a scoop of Cole slaw. On top of that they put the toppings. All three were deep fried. Now, fried chicken and fried shrimp are common, but I never imagined deep fried avocado. On top of that was drizzled Thousand Island dressing.
I was so glad I had not ordered. It was a nightmare from a BTD or any other kind of nutritional perspective. But the ladies all seemed to enjoy it.
No experience should ever be wasted. As I was preparing my lunch today, I had a bowl with leftover ground beef, mustard greens, and black eyed peas. I sprinkled on some curry powder and turmeric before I warmed it up. I fixed my husband a turkey sandwich with some Cole slaw. Suddenly I thought of The Mighty Cone. Into my bowl I put two handfuls of chopped cabbage. It added a lot of crunch and I liked it.
So hurrah for The Mighty Cone with its nest of Cole Slaw and meat on top. But spare me from deep fried anything, particularly deep fried avocado.
Yesterday was a good day for exercise and beneficial eating. The ladies hiking club took excursion at Bastrop State Park. Bastrop is also called Lost Pines because it is an isolated Pine forest in the middle of the Texas Prairie. The temperature was 23 degrees when we got in our cars. That may not seem cold to you, but 23 is extreme for South Texas where some winters the temperature doesn’t get below freezing. Two ladies dropped out of the hike because of the weather, but nine of us bundled up and began the long drive to Bastrop.
We enjoyed a 2-hour hike. The sun came out and warmed the air. The bright green pine trees were a beautiful contrast to winter brown. The trail was a blend of strenuous and relaxing. The smell of pine needles was refreshing.
After the hike we drove into the charming town of Bastrop. The historical buildings of the old downtown area have been preserved and converted to cute shops and cafes. Our group chose a café called Gracie’s. Though the specialty of the day was chicken fried chicken, but I was confident I could find something BTD friendly on the menu. Two of the other hikers also follow the BTD. One is Type AB, and she quickly settled on soup and salad. The other is Type B and she chose a tuna melt.
I found a chopped steak dinner with potatoes and a vegetable of the day. I asked if I could substitute a salad for the potatoes. I was told “no substitutions” in a rather emphatic way. I must have looked disappointed, because the server said, “We have two vegetables today, corn and green beans. You can substitute one of the vegetables for the potatoes.” Now I was happy. I ordered a chopped steak dinner, with the onions, but without gravy and two portions of green beans.
The server gave me a long look and said, “No gravy at all; not even on the side.” I said, “No gravy at all.” She shook her head, but followed my instructions. The meal was delicious and well cooked. After lunch we wandered through the shops before we started for home. On every level it was a beneficial day.
I have nudged my Honorable Husband toward the BTD for years. He eats what I serve him, and usually takes my advice in restaurants, so he has been pretty close to a Type A diet without much effort or thought on his part. I knew at the beginning that if I pushed too hard he would resist, so some things I have left alone, respecting his preferences and his comfort zone.
He is changing. As he has gone into retirement, and particularly as we watch our friends face increasingly serious health problems, he is asking more questions.
Sunday we had lunch with friends at Chili’s. I like Chili’s because they will give me a hamburger with broccoli instead of French Fries without any fuss. I get a side order of black beans for me and a take out box for the bun. Sometimes I make HH a turkey sandwich with the bun the next day; sometimes I put it in the freezer and feed it to the ducks.
We were eating with our Type O doctor friend who for years was totally convinced that a very low fat diet was best. You have met her in my blog several times. She has come to recognize her need for essential fatty acids, but she is still rightly worried about the danger of hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats.
Before she ordered, she asked our server what kind of oil they used at Chili's. The server was clueless, but went to the kitchen to find out. The answer was that they use 100% vegetable oil, so MD decided on a salad.
She asked what oils I used. I said that flax oil was the best source of Omega 3s, but that it is not a good cooking oil, so I cook with either ghee or light olive oil. She asked what I thought about canola, and I said that it was a neutral choice and certainly better than corn oil or coconut oil. She wasn’t familiar with flax oil, and I said that I had started using flax oil on my salads instead of extra virgin olive oil.
We were in a lively discussion and I had no idea that HH was paying any attention. Suddenly he chimed in with “Do you give me that flax oil?” It caught me off guard. I said “No, because you always want salad dressing.” He said, “If flax is that good for you, give me half salad dressing and half flax oil.” MD was laughing hysterically.
Last night I gave HH a salad with half salad dressing and half flax oil. He said he couldn’t taste any difference and said to keep making his salads that way. I am delighted to do so, but I am still recovering from the shock.
We are back at home – thankful for safe travels. We may not live in the majestic mountains, but the Texas Hill Country is a delightful and lovely place to dwell. I have one more story from our trip that applies to the BTD.
On the last day, we were in a restaurant for lunch. One of our friends had a hard time deciding between a fried chicken dinner and chicken & dumplings. He finally decided on the fried chicken, but asked the waitress for a taste of chicken & dumplings “for my grandma’s sake.
He closed his eyes and sighed as he tasted the dumplings. “Mmmm, just like grandma’s.” Then he said, “That is why people on my mother’s side of family were so fat. All roly poly. They ate stuff like that.”
Perhaps when you read that he chose fried chicken, you were a little judgmental. It’s easy for those of us who have been involved with a demanding diet like the BTD to look with disapproval on others who don’t eat as we do.
When I look at our friend, I see how far he has come. He was not taught good eating habits as a child, but like most of us he could get away with eating anything when he was young. When he and my husband met in Viet Nam in their 20s, they were both thin and fit. He gradually put on weight until by the time he was in his 50s he was getting portly. A diagnosis of diabetes got his attention. He changed his diet and began to exercise. Today he looks great and has lots of energy.
Was fried chicken the best choice for a Type O with diabetes? No. If I had been ordering for him, I would have chosen something else. But there were certainly worse choices on the menu – like chicken & dumplings.
I never want to be so rigid that I cannot celebrate when people make meaningful changes to their eating habits that bring them a step closer to the Blood Type Diet – which I consider to be the best way to eat for maximum health.
I have total control over the two meals that we picnic when we are traveling. We eat at a restaurant for the third meal for three reasons. First - we get fresh produce that it is sometimes hard to carry around in the car. Second - while I can get canned tuna and salmon or sliced turkey for picnics, it is hard to buy beef that doesn’t have to be cooked. I feel better when I have beef or lamb at least every other day. Third – we are on vacation, after all. It’s nice to have a little break from kitchen chores. On this trip we have had several outstanding meals, a few average ones, and one real disappointment.
We had lunch one day at Shanghai Pearl in Durango. I ordered beef and broccoli. The portions were generous, and they added some carrots to the broccoli. I liked that. I also liked their egg rolls, because they were stuffed with lots of vegetables.
At Mesa Verde, we ate at the Spruce Tree Terrace. When we first walked in and I saw the menu, I was worried - sandwiches and pizza. Then I noticed a big refrigerator with premade salads. I chose a Southwest salad with grilled chicken. It had a little corn and a few pinto beans in it, but the greens were fresh and beneficial (no iceberg) and it was very tasty.
The day we rode the Durango Silverton train, we ate at Grumpy’s in Silverton. The piano player kept us entertained as we ate. I had one of the best hamburgers imaginable (without the bun, of course) and a huge salad. They even had real olive oil.
One day it rained, so we went to a train museum and several art galleries in Durango. For lunch we stopped at Serious Texas Barbeque. My husband’s barbeque turkey was good. One of our friends ordered brisket and the other ordered a Texas taco. They were both satisfied. I ordered brisket and it was dry and hard. I could see that I had either gotten the end piece, or brisket that had been sliced and left out for a while. I rarely complain in a restaurant. When I asked our server about the brisket, I got a defensive and sarcastic reply. Eventually they brought me more meat. It was good. But I’m from Texas, and this was not real Texas barbeque.
Yesterday we visited a honey farm. We saw working hives, watched the bottling operation, and tasted samples of several flavored honey. Cinnamon was my favorite. Lunch was at Christina’s. At first the menu did not appear to be BTD friendly. But our server was friendly as well as helpful, and in the end I got a delicious and beneficial meal.
Today we drove the Million Dollar Highway. The fall colors were spectacular. We were on sensory overload. We ate at the Red Mountain Inn in Ouray. My Philly cheese steak was loaded with onions and peppers. Since I didn’t eat the bread I got two side orders – sautéed snow peas with carrots and sweet potato fries. Every bite was delicious.
I indulged in dessert twice. One was ice cream mixed with tropical fruit. The other was a sorbet made from fresh grapefruit. Don’t hold the desserts against me – after all I am on vacation.
We took a load of furniture to DD on Friday for her college apartment. On the way home this afternoon, we stopped in Brady, Texas for dinner. Usually my husband wants to stop at Subway when we’re traveling. He eats a sandwich. If I haven’t packed a meal for myself, I get a salad. He ate at Subway yesterday on the way to DD’s, so on the way home he wanted something different.
We drove through Brady, looking. There were lots of fast food restaurants. None of them looked appealing. There were several local restaurants, but there were few cars in the parking lots. That didn’t look promising. We were reaching the edge of town when I saw a Subway sign. Looked like it would be Subway two days in a row.
Next door to the Subway was a café called Boondocks. It advertised seafood and steaks. The parking lot was filled with pickup trucks. I looked at HH and said, “Do we take a chance. This place will either be really good or really bad.”
We took the chance and it was really good. All of their meals are served with choice of potato, choice of salad, beans and hush puppies. I ordered Cajun tilapia. I said that I didn’t want a potato, and asked if I could have two salads. They were agreeable, so I ordered Coleslaw and a garden salad.
The tilapia was cooked to perfection. The Coleslaw was excellent. The beans were well seasoned, but not too spicy. I gave my hush puppies away.
If you are ever driving through small rural towns looking for a restaurant, take a chance on the parking lot with all the pickup trucks. If you are ever in Brady, you’ll get a good meal at Boondocks.
We have had two more days of interesting sightseeing, scrumptious food and unusual exercise.
One day we toured a plantation just outside of Charleston. There were alligators walking free on the grounds! I picked up one bit of blood type trivia. Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disease that mostly affects people of African descent. While the disease has many disadvantages, one advantage is that it provides protection from malaria. On this particular plantation, for large parts of the year all of the activities, including management of the house, gardens, and crops, were entirely handled by black overseers while the white owners fled for less mosquito prone climates.
Another day we toured the USS Yorktown, a retired aircraft carrier. The kitchens on board were certainly not organized to provide WWII era soldiers with meals related to individual needs or blood types. Nor was the concession stand set up to provide healthy meal choices for tourists. We were glad we had packed a picnic lunch in our backpacks – turkey on oat bread for my husband, PB&J on Ezekiel bread for DD, salmon and English peas for me.
Last night we drove to Sullivan’s Island and ate at Seels. The rest of the family raved about the fish tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed my flounder with collard greens and sweet potato fries. After dinner we went for a long run on the beach. Running on sand works different muscles, I learned when I hopped out of bed this morning.
Tonight we had dinner at Jestine's Kitchen, a downtown restaurant famous for soul food. My meal was outstanding: meatloaf collard greens and okra gumbo. There is a hike and bike trail over the Ravenel suspension bridge where our son likes to exercise. DD and I power walked the bridge after dinner. We not only got a good work out, but we saw a beautiful view of the water and the downtown skyline.
We are taking a few days of family vacation before our kids strike out on new adventures. Our son is completing his last Physical Therapy internship in Charleston. He is interviewing for jobs and studying for his board exams. Our daughter is finishing up a marketing internship and preparing to go back for her senior year of college. I had traveled to 46 of the 50 states. South Carolina was one of the four I was missing.
Our Strong Son picked us up at the airport, and took us to Red’s Ice House in the Shem Creek area for dinner. While we were waiting for our table, we watched dolphins from a big deck over the water. I had mahi mahi fish tacos. The one time I cooked mahi mahi, it was dry and tough, but this was tender and delicious. I’m going to have to give mahi mahi another try at home.
After dinner we drove to the beach. We had hoped to go for a run, but SS advised against beach running in the dark because of jelly fish and shells. We walked to the light house, enjoying the sound of the surf.
Yesterday we took a carriage ride around downtown Charleston. This gave us a good overview of the historic part of the city. We had lunch at Gilligan’s. I had a bay scallop stir fry with asparagus and green beans. It was fabulous! I love the way food is seasoned in Charleston. It is a combination of Southern and Cajun. When I get home, I plan to look up some traditional Charleston recipes.
After lunch we took one of the two downtown walking tours. I’m not sure how far we walked, but we wound our way through the historic district from the Market to the Battery and back. By the time we finished, we were immersed in the history of this charming Southern city. We were also hot and tired. We returned to our hotel for a picnic supper in our room. Hurrah for hotels with refrigerators, they make vacation eating so much simpler.
Just how big of a deal you should make about avoid foods at restaurants is open to debate. Where to draw the line about what you will and will not eat when you are a guest in someone’s home may change under different circumstances. But when you are offered something to eat that can make you sick, you have to stand up for yourself – even if it is embarrassing.
My husband and I were invited to a banquet by a friend of mine. It was a fund raising event that included a nice dinner, a hilarious after dinner speaker, and an appeal for money. My friend paid for our tickets.
The dinner was barbeque and included a choice of chicken, ribs, and sausage. I chose chicken and ribs. I don’t usually eat ribs, because I prefer lean meat, but these were well trimmed and cooked until they practically fell off the bone. The trouble came when I cut into the chicken. It was not cooked. The outside was brown, but just below the surface, it was pink, and next to the bone it was bright red.
The last time I saw chicken like this was on a camping trip when I was pregnant with DD. There were about 30 of us on the trip, and we had played hard all day. We got a late start grilling the chicken, and everyone was getting hungry. The cooks turned up the heat to speed things up. At last dinner was ready, and it smelled delicious. I cut into my chicken and saw red. Something warned me not to eat it. The next day half of the people on the trip had diarrhea.
I picked up my plate and walked across the huge banquet hall to the serving area. I politely said, “I don’t think my chicken is cooked.” The server lit into me. “I could cook that chicken for two hours and it would still be red,” she snarled. “Chicken is just like that. Here, would you rather have this piece?” She put a little piece of chicken on a clean plate. I took it and walked away.
For some reason I was embarrassed. I felt like everyone had heard her reprimand me. It was a long walk back to my table.
However, the little piece of chicken was fully cooked, and I enjoyed it. The more I thought about what had happened, the more I realized that I had been right. Compromising on a food that isn’t the best choice for maximum health is one thing, but inviting pain and sickness is something else. People with allergies or debilitating food sensitivities must insist that their food is properly prepared even if a server or a cook is inconvenienced. And if a restaurant, or even a friend, serves something dangerous, stand up for yourself and don’t eat it.
I’ve been comparing green tea at two popular wifi hot spots. The only internet access at my parent’s old house is dial up. It is s o s l o w. So every other night my sister and I pack up our computers and head for wifi so that we can get caught up on e-mail and other internet based business.
I order the same thing wherever we go – unsweetened green tea, iced.
When we go to Borders, they brew the tea fresh – a process that takes about 5 minutes. They told me all the steps they go through. When we go to Starbucks, the green tea is already made and in a pitcher. They pour it up while I pay for it.
The Borders freshly brewed tea has a slightly bitter taste. It’s not bad. In fact after the jolt of the first sip, it is very good. The Starbucks tea is smoother.
I have to admit that I like Starbucks a little better, but I suspect that Borders is better for me since it is fresh. Either way, it has been fun to enjoy green tea while we furiously sort through e-mail messages.
We sang a little song when I was a child that went, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I love all of my old friends from where we used to live. But I am excited to be making new friends out here in the Hill Country.
Tuesday I met one of these new friends in town for lunch. She is a Type A and her husband is Type O. We had fun comparing the foods we are just naturally attracted to.
We had lunch at a tea room. They had several kinds of iced tea, but all of them were black tea based. They had three kinds of green tea, but all were served as hot tea. It may not be summery enough for me to enjoy swimming yet, but it is way too warm for me to enjoy hot tea. I must have looked really disappointed, because the waitress said, “I’ll bring you a pot of tea and a carafe of ice.” I chose green tea with passion fruit (super beneficial on both counts) Oooh it was good.
I tried something new at the fitness room. I do a program on the elliptical trainer that goes up and down in intensity. When I am on the low intensity, I take my hands off of the machine and work on balance and core strength. I know it is a good idea, because my muscles are really sore. Ouch!
Our son was home for six days between a Texas internship and his last mini-mester of physical therapy classes in Kentucky. Oh my we had some great conversations. His insights into health care were far beyond his 25 years. It was also fun to cook a roast and have someone to share it with.
DD’s last final was on Thursday. She packed up and came home as quick as she could, so she could see her brother before he flew out Friday morning. We had about 15 hours all together and we made the most of it.
My husband and kids conspired to celebrate Mother’s Day early. We drove into Austin to a restaurant called Threadgills that is known for its vegetables. When DD and I looked at the menu, we knew we in trouble. There were way too many delicious choices. One thing we liked about their menu was that some of the vegetables had symbols beside them. The symbols indicated which vegetables were cooked southern style with salt pork and which had a dairy sauce with cheese or milk. What a BTD friendly idea!
DD ordered a vegetable plate with turnip greens, black beans, and asparagus. I ordered a chopped steak with sweet potato fries and broccoli. We divided all of the vegetables in half, except for the sweet potatoes. So I got to try five vegetables and she got four. SS ordered meatloaf with Creole sauce. I got to sample that as well. Everything I tasted was wonderful.
Today our son unofficially receives his doctoral degree. I say unofficially, because he still has one more set of classes and one more internship before he can take his boards. Today is the ceremony where he shakes hands with the UK president, but Monday he goes back to class. As much as I would like to be there, he strongly discouraged us from making a long and expensive trip for one day. He said, “I’d rather have a nice family dinner in August when I’m officially through.”
So we celebrated Mother’s Day early, and we will celebrate Graduation late. It’s not the timing that’s important. It’s the happy time that the family is together.
A friend we have known for more than 30 years spent the weekend with us. On Saturday we took a long trail in the Hill Country. After the hike, we were all hungry. The two men wanted pizza. My initial plan was to eat a lot of salad and a slice or two of pizza. But an impulsive request led to perfect Type O alternative in a pizzeria.
The menu had a Greek salad that sounded good. We placed our order, then I went back to the waiter. It bothered me that there was no meat on the salad. I knew I would soon be hungry again unless I had more protein. I asked if he could put some of the beef that he used for the beef pizzas on my salad. He said sure, but it would cost me a dollar more. I happily paid the dollar.
The salad was delicious. It was made with Romaine not iceberg lettuce. The portion of feta cheese was generous, as was the added beef. I was barely half way through my salad, when the men finished their part of the pizza. Only my one slice was left. I encouraged them to cut it in half and enjoy it. The salad was filling, delicious, and a great option in an environment often hostile to us non-wheat eaters.
My Honorable Husband takes me out to eat almost every Sunday after church. He is sensitive to the fact that to have Sunday lunch ready to eat when we get home from church, I would have to be up at the crack of dawn cooking. The other alternative is to start cooking when we get home, when everyone is already hungry. We don’t go to fancy restaurants. We usually go for a buffet or barbeque.
There is some debate about whether Easter Sunday or Mothers Day is the most crowded day for Sunday lunch in a restaurant. Because we had eaten out twice while our friend was here, I suggested that today we avoid the crowds and eat at home. I had enough left overs in the refrigerator to quickly put together two bowls of meat and veggies. Mini casseroles, I called them. HH asked for a fruit plate to go with his casserole.
For myself, I tried something that DD often makes at school. I took the half apple left from the fruit plate, cut it into cubes and put it in the bottom of a clear Pyrex bowl. I generously sprinkled on cinnamon and ginger. Then I topped it with a thick layer of canned pumpkin. I popped it in the microwave until I could see the apples starting to bubble. I stirred it all together. Oh my, it was good - - and it was fast.
When DD makes it she also adds raisins and walnuts, but I kept mine simple. Dining in or dining out, it was a weekend of good BTD eating.
My husband and I went to an outdoor Christmas festival with some friends. There were lots of unique gift shops and musical groups. We have come to this event several times. The atmosphere is always festive and the music is always delightful. This year we heard bagpipes, a string quartet, a barbershop quartet, and a Sweet Adelines women’s group.
It seems like the weather is always frigid, and this year was no exception. My husband and our friends always stop for coffee or hot chocolate. I’ve never really liked coffee, and once I learned it was an avoid food for Type Os, I stopped drinking it altogether. I am allergic to chocolate, and milk is avoid, so I don’t drink hot chocolate either. While they enjoy a warm and cozy drink, I’m left out in the cold.
This year as we left the house, I impulsively put a tea bag in my coat pocket. It was a flavor that DD had given me to try – TAZO’s Green Ginger. The label says, “It is a dazzling blend with sweet spicy ginger and a touch of pear.”
We had a lot of fun wandering in and out of shops and listening to the music. Eventually we passed a concession stand and the others ordered hot chocolate. I asked if they had apple cider, but the answer was no. So I asked if I could get a cup of hot water. They looked at me like they thought I was nuts, but gave me a large cup of hot water. I dropped the tea bag in, and a few minutes later I was sipping green tea.
It warmed me up all inside, and the flavor of the tea was as good as the package claimed.
The final event of the night is a candlelight sing along around a large outdoor Christmas Tree. As I stood holding my candle and singing “O Holy Night” I was reminded of how blessed I am. There have been some rough moments this year – some sadness and some disappointments. Yet there is much to be thankful for. My husband is a man of character, my children are doing well in their studies, and the economy seems to be improving. I could sing with all my heart, “O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth…O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
We came to Alabama on vacation to see D & J get married. We've known D since before she was born, and she was a lovely bride. J is easy to like, and I think they have made a wise and lasting choice.
HH & I were invited to the Rehearsal Dinner. It was at a Birmingham restaurant called B&A Warehouse. The meal was a Type O's dream - prime rib and fresh green beans. A write up about the restaurant said they were known for their chocolate desserts. That was an understatement. The dessert table had tiers and tiers of confections, and all but 1 of them were chocolate. Though chocolate is a superfood for Hunters, because I was violently allergic to it as a child I rarely eat it, and then only in small servings. I took one truffle, because I had never had one before. It was very good.
Before the dinner, and at the After Party, they served hors d'oeuvres. Most of them involved crackers, which are easy for me to turn down. But two attracted my attention. One was a spinach artichoke dip. I enjoyed it for the sake of the two beneficial vegetables - in spite of the cheese sauce. The other was havarti cheese with a caramel pecan topping. It was as good as dessert. In fact, I ate it as dessert.
The wedding reception was on the top floor of a building with a breathtaking view of the city lights below. DD's and my eyes lit up when we saw a whole table of fresh fruit. They served shrimp and grits - a dish that I've never heard of in Texas. However on the table beyond, I saw more prime rib. Two nights in a row! It was Type O paradise.
Now it's time to head for home. SS starts his third and final year of Physical Therapy School. DD will be a college sophomore. It was so much fun for the four of us to be together for a week. I will think about that, and not how empty the house will seem after having DD home all summer.
We got up early this morning and packed a picnic lunch. I had asparagus and salmon. DD fixed gourmet turkey sandwiches for her Dad and brother, filling them with vegetables like they do at Subway.
We spent the morning and the first half of the afternoon at Shiloh battlefield. I had never realized that disease killed more men than bullets in the War Between the States. Open latrines polluted the water. Farm boys had never been exposed to diseases to measles and chicken pox. Fresh food was often in short supply. Often the men went for days eating hard tack (a dry biscuit made from white flour) and coffee.
Late in the afternoon we toured Helen Keller’s childhood home in Tuscombia. What an inspirational woman she was! She lost both her sight and hearing to what was probably scarlet fever or meningitis when she was 19 months old. Yet she lived a full life doing much to inspire and help others who were blind and deaf.
We had dinner at O’Charley’s. This is a chain of restaurants in the Eastern US where I can always find a beneficial meal. Tonight I had steak, broccoli, and sweet potato fries. All were delicious.
Our hotel had an arrangement with a local gym called Riviera Fitness. The kids and I left HH watching TV and went to work out. The equipment was first class. I spent half my time on the best elliptical machine I’ve ever tried. The other half was spent on weight machines.
One thing about a public gym is that the customers sweat a lot. Sometimes the equipment is sticky, and sometimes I wonder if it is sanitary. I noticed other people at the gym squirting a liquid on paper towels and wiping off the equipment before they used it. I realized that there were stations set up all around the gym with antibacterial spray and paper towels. I thought it was a great idea – especially with a bad flu season expected this winter.
DD and I are committed to getting muscle building exercise even while we are on vacation. The fitness room at the motel last night was good, but today we worked our exercise into our sightseeing. That was even better.
If you ever go to Memphis, I would highly recommend Mud Island Park. In the park is a reproduction of the Mississippi River on a 30 inch to one mile scale. The detail is incredible. It shows sand bars, bends oxbow lakes and more. Water flows down the river, and we smiled as several small children floated little boats and plastic fish from Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico. Mud Island itself is in the Mississippi River, so as you look at the water flowing through the model, you also see barges floating down the real river.
It was interesting and educational, but the fun started after New Orleans when the river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. There were paddle boats for rent. My husband had no interest in paddle boats, but DD and I got in a swan while SS got in a dragon. If you have never been on a paddle boat, you sit side by side pushing pedals like bicycle pedals. The pedals drive a paddle underneath and you steer with a bar that turns a rudder. The model shows the Mississippi River delta and coastline with its bays and inlets. It became a game for us to try to slip past each other and not get trapped.
For half an hour we pedaled and paddled furiously, trying to head each other off without bumping into each other. When our time was up we were drenched with sweat and laughing hysterically.
We had packed a picnic lunch to take to the park. My idea of a picnic is not a sandwich, but a bowl of canned vegetables and canned meat. Today I had peas and carrots mixed with tuna and olive oil. For dinner we stopped at a Subway. HH and SS had sandwiches. DD and I had salads. Sometimes Subway can give you lots of iceberg lettuce, but be stingy with spinach and beneficial vegetables. This Subway east of Memphis was generous with the other vegetables, and I enjoyed a beneficial meal.
We are on vacation. Our Strong Son has a week off between semesters. The daughter of some dear friends is getting married. We’re traveling around together for a week, and then will go to the wedding before our kids start back to school. SS picked the rest of us up at the Nashville airport, and we drove to Memphis.
Someone in the family should have remembered that this week is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death – but none of us did. We arrived in Memphis to find that there is a citywide event honoring Elvis. I was worried that Graceland would be so crowded that we couldn’t see everything.
But I guess true Elvis fans who come back to Memphis for Elvis Week have already visited Graceland. Our tour was wonderful. The gravesite was inundated with flowers. I’m not sure whether it is always like that, or whether this is something special for Elvis Week. There are big crowds at an outdoor pavilion where Elvis impersonators (now called Elvis tribute artists) are giving an ongoing free concert.
Finding BTD compliant food on vacation is always a challenge. We finished our tour about lunchtime. Of the available restaurants in the Graceland area, the Chrome Grill seemed to have the most potential. I was inclined to have Memphis Barbeque. SS advised against it. He said that while barbeque in Texas means brisket, barbeque in the East usually means pulled pork. I asked, and sure enough, they were serving pulled pork.
There was a sign on the menu that said meatloaf was one of Elvis Presley’s favorite meals. The trouble with ordering meatloaf in a restaurant is that you don’t know how much wheat and what kinds of additives are in it. I passed on the meatloaf and chose a grilled chicken breast.
It came with three side orders. I chose baked beans, green beans, and sweet potatoes. SS told me that Eastern barbeque sauce is sweeter than the sauce on Texas barbeque. Indeed the beans were in a sweet sauce that was tasty. I’ll admit that I dipped my chicken in the sauce, pretending that it was barbequed chicken. The green beans were cooked southern style, which probably meant with salt pork, but they were delicious. The sweet potatoes were covered with a cinnamon sauce.
You could say that my basic meal was beneficials and neutrals, but the seasonings and sauces contained small levels of avoids. Knowing that did not keep me from enjoying my lunch.
Our hotel has a nice fitness room, including some free weights. DD, SS and I all worked out before having a totally beneficial picnic dinner in our room.
I had to make a quick decision about avoids in a restaurant. Did I make the right choice? I’m not sure. Here is the whole story.
I’m spending every 2nd or 3rd weekend with my Mom. She has friends from church who come to see here, but still she gets lonely. She also needs my help with the mail and the bills. I’m blessed that my husband and kids are self sufficient so I can leave them on their own. A month or so ago I had stopped to get gas on the way home and noticed a Mediterranean restaurant across the street. I needed food for the road, so I went in.
The lamb shawarma looked good, and the owner recommended hummus. I said, “What’s hummus?” After giving me a look of pity, he explained that it was made of chickpeas and tahini – beneficial and super beneficial respectively for Hunters. He gave me a taste and it was delicious. While I was waiting for my food, I wandered into the grocery section of the restaurant. I found canned fava beans! What a treat, I bought four cans. I also found Turkish delight. (I have wanted to taste Turkish delight ever since I first read “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” In my humble opinion, it’s ok, but not worth selling your soul for.)
I ate the lamb, salad and hummus out of the wrap. It was a little messy in the car, especially since I had to pick the cucumbers out of the salad, but it was so good that it was worth it. The canned favas didn’t stay on the pantry shelf for long, either. Since then, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to go back. I told my Mom that I would bring her a surprise for dinner Friday night.
I ordered two lamb dinners. They came with salad, rice, and hummus. All was well until the owner asked me which kind of rice I wanted. I could have white rice – neutral for Type O Hunters - however refined rice goes against the grain of my Health Food background. Or I could have brown rice – Hunter beneficial - seasoned with yummy spices. But there were lentils – avoid for Type Os – added to the brown rice.
It was a tough decision. I remember one of the early bloggers asking if he was in a restaurant and ate a beneficial and an avoid, did it equal two neutrals? I also remember Dr. D pointedly answering No, that it didn’t work that way. I had to make a quick decision. Empty calorie refined rice or brown rice laced with an avoid? I chose the brown rice.
This is why eating out is hard. I get to eat beneficial foods that I don’t have a way to prepare for myself, but I can’t control all of the ingredients. If there had only been one kind of rice, I wouldn’t have worried about it, because I do not obsess about avoids that I can’t control. But in this case I had to choose between two imperfect options. For sure I made a delicious choice. And I felt better when I looked at food list and saw that though lentils are avoid for Os, they are just black dot for Hunters. I think I answered my own question as I typed this last paragraph. An occasional avoid in a restaurant is not worth obsessing about either way – and it’s certainly not worth spoiling an otherwise yummy and beneficial meal.