Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Annie: Restaurant panic!

Well if it seemed from my last post that I had the whole eating-out thing in the bag, I didn't.

Dinner last night was in a local pub. It had a fair number of healthy-sounding choices, so that wasn't the problem: it was figuring out what the hell I was actually ingesting.

Cooking at home is such a breeze, though I look like I'm conducting scientific experiments these days when I'm doing it. I'm weighing in metric and imperial (whatever the recipe writer pleases), I'm reading measurements from the bottom of the miniscus just like they taught me in high school chemistry, I'm trimming all visible fat, I'm following instructions TO THE LETTER.

In a restaurant? Meh.

I ordered a "Greek penne with chicken" - it was the only non-cream sauce pasta on the menu, and I thought likely a better choice than any of the sandwiches or, god help me, the fish and chips that were calling to me. (This was a pub, after all.) It was lovely - penne, chicken, tomatoes, feta, black olives, green and red peppers, onions, garlic, and a nice sauce that I can almost guarantee was chicken-stock based. It came with a side salad (out of which I ate the non-leafy vegetables: I hate those mixed salads that have something bitter in them), dressing on the side. Oh, and garlic toast, but Husband kindly took care of that for me.

Problem #1 was estimating how much pasta was actually in the bowl (I'm not bad with visual estimates, but the stakes are so high!), and then how much chicken. Problem #2? What else was in there that I hadn't seen? How much oil was used to saute the ingredients before they went in with the pasta? The chicken meat was white as can be. Had it been poached? (Do they even poach meat in pub kitchens?) Aaah. Stress!!

So I counted it straight-up as best I could guess, allowing for 3 tsp of oil... but who knows how close I was? I must have looked like a junkie needing a fix, wild-eyed, trying to calculate before digging in. But I wasn't jonesing for the food - it was for the measurements!

Eesh. It was delicious, but if I'm up at the scale next week, I'll be blaming the cook in that damned pub.

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