How to eat at restaurants

SuperHusband and I just celebrated 3 years since we got engaged, and decided to go to Longhorn Steakhouse to celebrate.  I’ve never been there, but I do love a good steak.

SuperHusband doesn’t eat LCHF, so he ordered a burger and fries and a side salad.  I ordered the Rancher’s Sirloin (sirloin with sunny side up egg, slice of bacon, and bordelaise sauce).  It came with a potato side, but of course I didn’t want that nonsense.  They had a french onion soup listed on the menu described as “In sirloin broth with melted Swiss”.  Sometimes french onion soup is served with bread, sometimes it is not.  No bread was listed, so I felt comfortable ordering it.

First arrived my salad, and I forgot to order it without croutons.  No problem, I throw my croutons on SuperHusband’s salad.  When my soup arrives, I see a beautiful melted cheese top.  Lovely!  I dip my spoon in to get at the delicious beef broth and carmelized onions and… what is this junk?  Sopping up all that wonderfully healthy broth was some gross soggy unmentioned bread.  I was crushed.

I flagged down the waitress and simply indicated I don’t eat bread, and wouldn’t have ordered the soup if it had indicated there was bread in it, could she please take it away, and there was no problem.  (If it hadn’t cost extra to order the soup, I would have just bit my tongue!)  I wasn’t starving, I didn’t need the soup, and as it turned out, I didn’t even finish my delicious steak.  I was very thankful to the waitress for not giving us any trouble.

Obviously, lessons I learned were to 1)ask for my salad with no croutons (I always forget this), and 2)never ever assume that something doesn’t contain bread.  You don’t need to tell the waitress why you care if there is bread in it, you don’t need to tell them that you eat low carb (I’m sure they don’t know the carb count in anything on the menu anyway), but you are in charge of what goes in your mouth. You can even say you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy if you think your order isn’t going to be handled correctly without those extra instructions.  If you actually DO have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, I recommend reading the book “The G-Free Diet”, which gives some great extra advice on handling dining out.  Most of us won’t get sick with a few crumbs of bread, so I’m not going to get that intense.  I’ve just had one too many waitresses not write down my instructions, but mentioning a sensitivity may help.  I know some people have moral issues with claiming they have a sensitivity that they don’t actually have; if this rubs you the wrong way, then by all means don’t do it!  I’d argue that we all have gluten sensitivities, based on the long-term effects on our bodies.

When you are at a restaurant, you are paying a lot of money to have your food prepared according to your instructions.  Be very polite, tip well, thank your waitress for being accomodating, and send thanks to the kitchen staff when your food is prepared correctly. There is no reason that a trip to a restaurant should mean diet disaster, just speak up, ask questions, and research ahead of time whenever possible.  Happy eating!

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