Eating out low-carb is not really that difficult at all. Today, we went to Carrabba’s Italian Grill. At first, I thought my choices would be limited, since pasta and bread are part of most Italian dishes (at least here in the U.S. & Germany, but not so much in Italy – but that’s another story).
Before we left, I did a quick online menu check and discovered that Carrabba’s actually has a gluten-free menu. I looked it over and actually found several dishes that I would like to try, like the Shrimp Scampi, the Sirloin Marsala, or the Chicken Bryan.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I asked the greeter if they have a gluten-free menu I could look at. She nodded and brought me the menu. A few moments later, the waiter took our drink-order and I asked for my usual unsweetened ice-tea with a lemon, no sweetener required (I quickly adapted to the slightly tart taste when I quit diet coke).
I looked over the menu again and decided to go for the Sirloin Marsala. I let the waiter know that I was ordering from the gluten-free menu and to please let the chef know not to use the basting sauce for the meat. He nodded and asked me what veggie I’d like with it. I opted for the sauteed spinach, something I have never tried before. He then asked me if I wanted soup or salad, and I chose the side-salad with Parmesan cream dressing. My husband, a non-low-carber, then ordered his baked Seafood Cannelloni and an order of Shrimp Scampi as an appetizer for us to split. The waiter kindly asked if we wanted the garlic bread that comes with the dish, so I told him that he can bring it and my husband would eat it.
A few minutes later, the fresh dipping bread appeared. Don had a slice, then put it aside. I, then, took my spoon and took a taste of the seasoned olive oil. I know, it sounds strange, but I did get the flavor without the added carbs and wheat, that makes me swell up like a balloon. Yes, I love that bread, but it was not worth the set-back and puffiness, so instead, I was looking forward to the shrimp scampi.
When the waiter brought the shrimp, we set it in the middle of the table and we ate it straight out of the dish. The sauce was so flavorful and creamy, the few pieces of shrimp were gone way too soon. I took one more spoon-full of the sauce and hubby mopped up the rest with his garlic bread. It was so tasty, that I tried to taste out the ingredients and wrote them down, so I could replicate the dish at home one day.
Next came the salads. Mine was a basic lettuce with tiny bits of celery, a few olives, and a few pieces of shredded carrots, topped with a creamy Parmesan dressing. It was wonderful and light. I’m not a fan of olives, so I pushed them to the side of the plate, and I took it easy on the carrots, though there weren’t that many slivers on the plate to begin with.
Once we were finished with our salads, the main dishes arrived at our table. I looked at my plate and then said to my husband: “Whoever said that you can’t eat good stuff on low-carb, doesn’t know what they’re missing.”
My dish was a nice piece of sirloin steak, cooked medium done, and was covered with a creamy mushroom sauce. My sauteed spinach looked yummy, too, with oil still glistening on the perfectly cooked leaves. The waiter offered some fresh, grated Parmesan for my husband’s dish, then I asked him to put some on my spinach. It was a new taste for me, the spinach, not the cheese, and I really enjoyed it.
When I was finished, Don snuck the last bite of steak off my plate (I done anyway). The waiter offered us some dessert, but we have gotten out of the habit of eating desserts at restaurants, especially since I started eating low-carb, so we declined.
We left the restaurant comfortably full. The outing wasn’t exactly cheap, since we basically ordered 3 entrees, but it was well worth it.
Hints for the road:
- Check online for a menu to see what foods are available.
- Check if the restaurant posted a gluten-free or special menu for people with food allergies.
- Decide or narrow down beforehand what you will eat.
- Remember why you are eating low-carb, before you order and when you’re tempted to eat off of someone else’s plate.
- Make the best choice from the items that are available.
Enjoy your next dining out!