I am sorry, but I am too lazy to look up where the quote in the damn book is. But I remember Tim Ferris stating that he can go to any restaurant and find something to eat. Now, as a self confessed FOODIE and Home Cook, I scoffed at that. I mean come on, really? You’re going to go to Pizza Mozza and find something Slow-Carb? I mean how are you going to pass up this excellent array of food? How are you going to ask a waiter to tell the world renowned chef that you want a substitution? It was a part of the book I found to be a gross overstatement.
I. was. wrong.
In this 12 Week Journey that I have been on, I have truly embraced what it really meant to be a a FOODIE. I would imagine it means you love and are willing to try all types of cuisine and seek to understand the power and the beauty of each bite. I admit, I have an adventurous pallet, but even I was loathe to explore the finer points of certain foods. And those certain foods were pretty much the healthy ones. But, since I’ve had to subsist on Vegetables, Beans, Legumes and Lean Protein., I have found out how good they can be. And I am not lying.
The truest test of this was my recent DATE DAY with my wife. I managed to squeeze out a half day off of work, and so the Lady Montgomery and I decided to catch a concert in San Diego. We also decided we were going to go to some nice restaurants. I was a day away from Cheat Day, and I wanted to understand if I could in fact resist temptation and stick to the program. We went to Four Cafe in Eagle Rock first, which is a Seasonal Bistro. Now in the past, I would have scarffed down their pulled pork sandwich on a Hawaiian Roll and followed it up with a wonderful dessert. However, I opted for the Living Salad. Grilled Chicken, Chickpeas, Kale, and a Tahini Dressing with a cup of Carrot Ginger soup. 12 weeks ago, this would not even have hit my radar. However, on this day my eyes could stray from it on the menu. And you know what, it was FANTASTIC!
Dinner was no easy task either. We ended up in Del Mar, CA at KitchenPrep a nice little farm to table local only joint that had some nice Yelps. We sat down and my eyes this time gravitated to the beer braised beef with butterball mashed potatoes. Ooof. I was in trouble. My wife and I decided to distract ourselves with some lovely tapas from the bar. Some cured salami, marinated olives and a lovely white bean dip. I avoided the toasted bread. Then it came time to order. “Should I just give myself this little cheat?” I kept asking. Then I found it, way at the bottom of the menu. Scottish Salmon with a Summer Succotash. This was almost slow carb perfection. Grilled Salmon with white corn, green beans, peppers and roasted tomatoes. The Cownivore inside me wanted the red stuff. But I went for the Salmon instead with a glass of Pinot. The verdict? Excellent. It was perfect seared with crispy skin and just a hint of rareness, and the veg medley (Succotash is a fancy word for that) was shockingly vibrant. Plate lickingly vibrant. The hard part was dessert. My wife wanted this Pecan Brownie thing on the menu. So, I told her to enjoy, and I had a nice cup of coffee as she had her dessert. I made it through two wonderful meals 100% slow carb.
So, what has happened to me? And how can you duplicate? Well, for one. I find that when I over-come my temptations and order the food I know is right for me, I get this kind joy in my minor accomplishment. And I take this high right into the feeding frenzy, which I think helps me enjoy the food even more and take in the taste of it differently. I’m not just trying to choke it down, I’m trying to enjoy it now. And to be honest, I am enjoying it.
Now, how can you help yourself do this? The big secret is, and I said this in the BBQ Post, you have to scout ahead. For KitchenPrep and for Four Cafe I went online and checked the menu and determined what I could eat. I then simply used the menu to verify the items were there. I also had back ups in case the chef had run out of my selection. Had both selections failed to be on the menu, I had back up plan #3, which was to explain to the wait staff my situation and beg for a substitution. The trick is, I worked all this out before I went to the restaurant, so that I would not trip myself up at the moment of truth. My order.
So, in essence, there’s the hack. New Found Appreciation for Different Food + Internet Scouting = a memorable find dining experience with zero guilt.