“If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March…Restaurant Edition

March 5, 2010 at 10:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Whew!  Sorry I went missing, it was quite the night.  A date night with Sam and then back to the homefront to glue myself to the tv for the most anticipated arrival of the year (um, Jim and Pam’s baby on The Office….duh).

So how did date night work out?  Was I able to stay within my “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March guidelines?  You bethcha, but it wasn’t easy.

We haven’t been out to eat in a long time — well, just the two of us.  I’m talking the “what do you want to do for dinner? nothing? well then let’s go somewhere” kind of going out to eat.  I think this is related to our desire to eat healthy and the fact that the last time we did the spontaneous eating out thing, I came home afterward and downloaded the restaurant’s nutrition fact sheet.  I fainted when I saw the numbers on what I ate.

So I’ve been spooked ever since.

Eating out while following my challenge took a little effort.  Okay, a lot of effort.  I started with the phonebook.  I considered all restaurants in our area.  I ruled out the chain restaurants because I figured if each TGIRestaurant is selling the same thing under the same “quality” standards, then the chances are it contains preservatives and chemicals because they are shipping the same food to all their locations.  I don’t know for sure, but it was an educated guess.

Then I started looking at the locally owned restaurants.  I ruled out the ones we don’t like (what’s the point of eating out if you aren’t going to enjoy it?!) I began calling the ones we do like and the conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hi, I’m calling with a nutrition question about your restaurant?

Restauranter: Okay…let me get our chef.

*awkward hold music*

Chef: How can I help you?

Me: I was wondering if your food contained preservatives?  I have a “friend” who has some unique allergies to preservatives and I wanted to bring her to your restaurant.

And then the chef would answer accordingly.  Now, looking back, it was silly to create a “friend” for this experiment, but the truth is, I just didn’t want to explain it all out.  An obscure “friend” seemed more plausible.  I didn’t want to say I was avoiding specific chemicals or preservatives (because I’m avoiding all of them!) — so it worked.  Next time, though, I’ll stand up for myself and my challenge and explain the real deal.  Promise.

I finally found a restaurant where the chef’s answer was, “no, we don’t use any chemicals or preservatives.  In fact, we go to incredible lengths to avoid them.”

Della Zona.

A pizza and pasta restaurant.  You can read more about their mission on their website and on their menu, but the basic summary is they believe in real food — REAL good food. They buy from local growers and producers, incorporate organic food and cook with the season.  They believe in traditional and sustainable ingredients and they have a cute atmosphere.  It smelled heavenly the minute we walked in.

We ordered an Athena pizza on Etruscan spelt crust — it had tomato, artichokes, onion, sauteed greens, olive tapenade, marinara and homemade Della Zona ricotta cheese.

It was amazing.  I ate three pieces, Sam ate four.  One piece escaped, only to be eaten as breakfast this morning.

I also enjoyed a mug of Rooibos tea (I’ve never had it before, but had seen it on a lot of the blogs).  It was good.  A strong-ish red tea with a slightly musky aftertaste.  I didn’t even use any honey — the flavor spoke for itself.

Sam ran next door and picked up a bottle of red wine from Spain (we’re suckers for the Spanish wines…but that’s another post ;)).  Della Zona doesn’t sell alcohol, but also doesn’t have a corking fee, so you can bring in your own and they’ll supply the glasses.  Perfecto!

The best part?  Price wise, it was no different than if we had eaten out at a traditional chain restaurant.  About $20.  For a “gourmet” pizza, I think that’s a good deal.

Lesson learned here: you may have to do a little research, you may have to create a “friend” to hide behind, but in the end, it is totally worth it to stick to your principles and challenges and find some amazing food.

Bon appetit!

Now, I’m off to run.  I don’t know why, but I have a nervous feeling in my stomach about this run.  Maybe it’s the cold…I don’t know.  Can’t shake it.  Time to start thinking positive thoughts!

P.S. Worth adding for accountability’s sake: I split this Raw Revolution Cookie Dough bar with Sam before we went out for dinner.  Pretty yummy and totally natural.  At first, I strongly tasted the dates in the bar, but after a few bites, the cookie dough flavor became more convincing.


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  1. […] I managed to still eat out…twice. […]

  2. […] restaurant.  Yup, a chain.  *duh duh DUHHHHHH*  Remember how earlier this month, I basically swore off chain restaurants because I thought it was a doomed mission to eat at one and honor the “If It Doesn’t […]

  3. […] ate at a restaurant, but not before doing a little sleuthing and making some awkward phone calls.  By the end of the challenge, I wasn’t even phased at eating out — I knew how to […]

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