My in-laws were in town this weekend, and it’s to this that I attribute my lack of posts for the last couple of days. My apologies to those of you who so look forward to my detailed inventory of eats.
I discovered something this weekend that many folks already know: Remaining SCD-legal while eating out can be quite challenging. Even if you ask the right questions, servers often misconstrue what you are asking and answer incorrectly. Or they don’t know the answers. I went out for dinner twice this weekend and had quite different experiences.
Saturday night, we went to one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Portland: Lincoln. One of the reasons I felt safe going there is that I know their recipes tend to be fairly simple, highlighting amazing ingredients rather than focusing on abstruse and complex mingling. The server was attentive to my concerns and helped me make menu choices and substitutions as necessary. I ended up having a truly spectacular meal. There was a lot of sharing going on… 2 shared appetizers, 2 shared salads, and Diana and I shared an entree (the MOST AMAZING grilled albacore I’ve ever had! It was served with a cabbage relish that was free of illegal ingredients) The only thing that went awry was the dressing on one of the salads. I’m pretty sure it had sugar in it. What really struck me was how powerful the flavor of sugar is to me, now that I’ve excised it from my diet. Whereas a couple months ago, I might have found it pleasantly balanced, now that dressing tasted ridiculously over-sweetened. Anyway, after a couple of bites, I just picked out a few of the goodies (goat belly, bleu cheese, hazelnuts) and ate those, since most of the dressing was on the greens. Overall, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the meal, not just in terms of a culinary experience, but also as an SCD-compliant one.
The next night was… more hazardous. We were a bigger group that night, and we ended up at the Widmer Gasthaus. I knew that I would have a rougher time here. The place is all about beer and German food. Starches and German food are kind of like fish and water… inextricably linked. I knew I would have to ask some pointed questions. After perusing the menu, I decided on a sausage sampler plate and a green salad. I asked the server if any of the sausages had grains or sweeteners in them. After checking with the kitchen, he confirmed that of the 3 types of sausage, 2 had either corn syrup or sugar. Only the Bratwurst was safe. Ok. So we substituted all Bratwurst instead of the usual selection of all 3. I figured I was safe. But then he brought my dinner and said, “We might have a problem.”. Oh? Apparently, the sausage was cooked in beer – Definitively SCD-verboten. And not just any beer. Of all their beers, it was the one beer they brew with the largest amount of milk sugars. Awesome. Unfortunately, by then I was so hungry that there was no way I could wait for them to prepare something else. So I thanked him for the information and ate it anyway. Not surprisingly, I’m paying for it today with very high Bristol Scale numbers… 6.5’ish. Disappointing. Note to self: next time, get a burger with no bun and call it a day.
It’s now quite apparent to me that dining out is going to take some practice (or, alternatively, complete abstinence). I’m going to have to get a lot better at asking questions. Oh well… This is how learning happens. Lasting, permanent change can only come from process, failure and practice.