Sometimes Healthy, Sometimes Not

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday with their families and friends. Enjoy the BBQ’s and fireworks. Michael and I are about to go enjoy the sunshine with a hike and I wanted to pop in with a quick hello and a post.

My meals are like teeter-totters some weeks: sometimes they swing to the super healthy, sometimes they swing to the other side where the indulging lives but most of the time they are somewhere in the middle. I’ve been trying to make a conscious decision to limit out the amount of times I eat out in a week. My preferred number is one. I don’t eat out for lunch during the week and usually when Michael and I go out it’s to try a new restaurant–which is something we both love to do and living in Portland it’s an easy thing to do.

Most of our meals at home are the the standard healthy fare you’ve gotten used to seeing here: a protein plus a veggie (usually from our garden). One day after work I plucked a bunch of kale from the garden and cooked it in the skillet with Grapeseed Oil and one piece of bacon chopped up.

I baked salmon with a little butter, lemon pepper seasoning and dried dill. I added a serving of tater tots to the plate simply because I was craving them. Dinner was around 600 calories total, filling, delicious and healthy. Then of course, the next day we went out and indulged a little bit. Michael wanted to kick off the holiday with a big cheeseburger and I wanted to do one at home. In the end we ended up at The Country Cat Diner.

The Country Cat

The restaurant was packed when we got there. It was a Tuesday evening, early still but not quite meeting “early bird” standards. There were empty tables but we were told there was only bar seating or galley seating (which was weird, do they take reservations? After we were seated I noticed a booth stayed empty for our whole visit.). The galley seating turned out to be quite fun because we had a front row view of the kitchen.

We were both mesmerized watching the three chefs work in tandem behind the counter, smiling and laughing, dancing together like ballerinas without a misstep. We even watched our meal be made right before our eyes.

It was difficult for me to decide what to order because everything sounded intriguing. They had fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy (my number one choice but I decided to order the burger). There was plenty of vegetarian options too, although their specialty seemed to be meat.

While we waited for our dinner I watched as the various plates emerged, created from nothing, looking pretty fantastic. I commented repeatedly to Michael, “I should have ordered that.” The duck leg look crispy and magnificent, topped with what looked like cherries in a sauce. The salmon wrapped in bacon looked awesome.

There was a “Flinstone’s Chop” and it looked like it. It was a giant hunk of pork on the bone, glistening in sauce and nestled next to corn. It was humongous, gluttonous-looking and pretty humorous. Thank goodness I didn’t order that. 🙂

How was the burger? Michael and I both agreed it did not make our top 5 list. To refresh your memory (I know, it’s been awhile):

Burger Quest Ranking:

1. Slow Bar

2. Laurelhurst

3. Toast

4. Gruner

5. Foster Burger

That is not to say there was anything wrong with the burger, it was unusual in a lot of ways but not good enough to knock anyone of the list so far. The burger was beautiful and the meat was juicy but it was so thickly packed that it was almost chewy.

The burger arrived on a delicate bun that was lightly toasted with American cheese, a piece of butter lettuce (the perfect lettuce for a burger if you ask me) and a garlic mayo sauce. The garlic mayo was not overpowering at all, very light, and the homemade ketchup was extremely unique. Neither Michael nor I could figure out what it was made with. It had a smoky and a sweet flavor to it.

The cheeseburger was flavorful and unique but not the best one I’ve ever had. I really didn’t like the chewiness of it. I like my burgers to be tender, juicy and kind of soft. It may look like it was humongous but it was actually a reasonable size.

The onion rings, however, were the show-stopper. They were spectacular! Strange, thin, crispy, crunchy, salty, and delicious. I loved how tiny they were. They look like curly fries but were stuffed with sweet onions. The rings were by far the best thing about the meal. We both ate half of our rings and took the rest home. Despite the burger being just ok, we both left satisfied and happy and I didn’t feel like a brick was sitting in my stomach. I guess those onion rings were that fantastic!

QUESTION: How often do you eat out in a week?

10 Responses

  1. Those onion things look good – like onion strings. That’s the only way I eat fried onions is when they are really thinly sliced like that.

    We eat out 3 times a week. 2 times for breakfast (biking for bagels) and usually one dinner over the weekend. We used to eat out a lot when we were both heavier. There were some weekends where we eat all 3 meals out in a day!
    Lori recently posted..BOW last day!

    1. They were so good! I think I prefer the strings to big rings, too.

      On average we eat out 2 nights a week. Some weeks are heavier than others and I hate that. My preference would be once a week. A lot of times when I meet up with friends, though, it’s for happy hour.

  2. We don’t eat out even once a week – it’s more like once or twice a month and often for weekend lunches. I don’t know why we don’t eat out more but I guess it’s good for our wallets and waistlines.

    HAPPY FOURTH!

  3. Since we are saving for a house, and both teachers (him part time) we don’t eat out as much as we would like. Maybe once a month? We try and make it for a special occasion, even if we have to make one up, like halfway though a school term, or happy 4th Tuesday in May. We like to try new places (Auckland has something like 2000 cafes and restaurants), but we usually end up going to tried a true places.

    That flintstone steak reminds me of where I used to work. We would serve a massive ‘Dino’ steak that weighed over a pound. It came with heaps of fries. Guys would challenge each other to see who could finish everything.

    1. Saving for a house is awesome and a noble reason to avoid restaurant eating. Your “Dino” steak sounds about right–that’s what this thing looked like. Your story makes me think of the movie “The Great Outdoors” where John Candy won the contest of eating the humongous steak!

  4. We usually save our eating out for the weekends, during the week it’s too crazy with kids homework and sports. However, that’s one of the things I think makes summer so much more challenging to stay on track – because we are out of our regular routine! So during the summer it seems to be more often.

  5. We try to eat out only when we are invited by someone else. Our healthy eating journey is still in transition with my just recently arriving at maintenance and my husband just now jumping on the “I want to eat healthy too” bandwagon. So right now, we are just having fun preparing and trying new things at home. Eating out doesn’t hold much enthusiasm. That sure is different from our “past” and I suspect we’ll find a balance eventually because we do like trying new restaurants.

    1. That is so great that your hubby is jumping on the wagon. I’m sure it makes it a lot easier for you with the support from him. Eating out doesn’t always have to be a challenge, we CAN make better choices (I do about 75% of the time) but staying strong is that hard part–not giving in to those cravings once I’m at the restaurant!

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