Day-9 Virgin Diet: Restaurant Week Poses Interesting Challenges

Day 9 is now down and although I was better prepared for the day, the evening proved a bit more difficult.  Dining out on any of these diets is going to be difficult, doing it on Virgin Diet is even more so though, I think.

The day started with the usual shake.  I wanted to finish up the vanilla protein powder so went back to that for the time being.  I actually didn’t have much time to eat until lunch time, but I did manage to nibble on some carrots and celery that I brought in.  I actually did prepare pretty well today compared to previous days.  Not only did I have some carrots and celery in the fridge at work from the end of last week, but I brought in a whole bunch more carrots as well as that garlic hummus from yesterday.

Lunch was once again a Tuna Tataki Salad at Cheesecake factory.  Since I thought I was going to do sushi for dinner I didn’t want to double up on rice and that’s probably the safest (albeit expensive) option on the menu there.  I don’t mind there being an excuse to indulge in seared ahi tuna and avocado at lunch.  After lunch I was pretty full for awhile, so I didn’t actually start munching on my hummus and carrots/celery until late afternoon.  That garlic hummus had quite the kick!  I ended up keeping the lid on it so that it didn’t overpower the whole office.  I did use three cloves instead of half of one, plus garlic infused olive oil instead of regular.  I’m a garlic lover and don’t mind a little added insurance against vampire attacks at night, so it’s all good.

Dinner as it turned out was not sushi, but a four course prix fixe menu at a local restaurant called Aida.  It’s actually a wine bar with some really good farm to table type localvore menu items.  Obviously that’s the case more in the summer than now, but they still do a generally good job at it regardless of the season.  Navigating their menu with my current dietary restrictions was really problematic though.

The menu asks you to select two appetizer size plates plus one main course plate out of a list of literally a dozen appetizer options and half a dozen entree ones.  One way or another the options were not acceptable.  The ones without grains had dairy.  The ones without dairy had gluten.  The ones without either had something else wrong with them. I thought I had landed a good option with their sausage and lentil soup.  Unfortunately it turned out that they used butter in some of the preparation.  I was therefore down to two options that I had to modify.  For the first course I ordered a kale and poached pear dish without the blueberry stilton cheese.  I am still not up to eating those strong cheeses so I would have passed on it anyway.  I’m also not a fan of poached pears, so I would have skipped the entree.  One of the bonuses of all this is that I have to try new things.  When it came out it was pretty clear that the candied walnuts were only mildly candied, but I skipped them anyway.  It was a mountain of kale in a mustard dressing, which probably also had some refined sugar in it.  I wasn’t going to be absolutely purist about it though.

The next course I ordered was a scallop on ginger and carrot salad.  It was one enormous scallop with a pickled ginger and carrot salad underneath.  This was a few shavings of ginger, a few shavings of carrot and this one enormous scallop on top.  Everything was prepared perfectly, and when you had a little bit of each with one bite it came together quite nice.  I just wish there was twice as much to it.  I guess that’s why it is called an appetizer.

The main course options really only had two that would even potentially work. The first option that really caught my eye was a vegetarian quinoa dish, which unfortunately also had corn in it.  I asked and they couldn’t take the corn out so I was down to just one: the leg and breast of a cornish game hen with black garlic puree and green beans (I really hate writing out the highfalutin expression “haricot verts”).   I had only seen black garlic on Chopped once.  Now that I’ve had it, that is definitely something I’m going to investigate cooking with a lot more.  After that I was able to get the kitchen to make me a little bowl of berries and pineapple since all the desserts had dairy in them.  I thought that was a very nice thing to do, and the pineapple was absolutely delicious.  I finished up the night with a little almond butter fudge and some berries and mango.  I didn’t really need it, I just wanted a little extra.

I’m amazed at how much we take for granted the ingredients in our food at restaurants.  I’m constantly stating that refrain.  I’m glad I don’t have a food allergy of some sort because these places look like a field of landmines if that is the case.