We eat out a lot. Eating in restaurants has been part of our life since the beginning of our relationship 6 years ago. Before that, in my previous relationship, eating out was something mainly restricted to special occasions or when we were away. Not to say that there weren’t other occasions. But our social life now is busier and we are out of the house often. Or we usually are. Since the Covid-19 restrictions were imposed this week, I’ve been wondering when we’ll get the chance again.
But this will be a positive post about the places I like to go and the things I like to eat. About the minefield eating out can be when it comes to healthy eating and how I navigate it.
I really love steak and prefer it rarish. Not so that it is raw, but I do love the juices to be running pretty red. Finding a restaurant that serves good quality steaks can be challenging, often you have to pay a bit extra. I’m happy eating my steak with a salad, or maybe a jacket potato. Sometimes, I do succumb to fries, but less often than I did. I also like a good quality burger, Italian meat or fish dishes (I avoid pasta and pizza these days) and Tapas.
Tapas meals give us an opportunity to share small dishes of food together. We love this way of eating and love finding new places to eat. Our two favourite places to eat Tapas are Meson Don Felipe in London and The Kazbar in Oxford. G doesn’t eat fish or shellfish so we tend to stick to meat or veggie dishes, but if we are eating with friends then there is a bigger scope. We also love to eat tapas in Spain and are still hoping to be able to go back to our favourite restaurants in Seville in the Summer.
When we are visiting other countries we love to explore the cuisine. We stay in a mix of hotels and self catering accommodation. So tend to eat out quite a bit. In France, where I have an apartment and we visit often, I love the fish and shellfish. We are based near the coast which makes it ideal for me. G often struggles with the meat choices but usually finds something suitable.
Often it is easy to work out the main course choices, but you never know what the accompaniments will be. Or if there will indeed be any or if you’ll need to eat the contents of the bread bin to fill up. Still it’s always fun trying. When away it’s often more difficult to be sure of the contents of the dish, or if what you are eating is healthy.
Healthy eating while out
This is such a challenge. In the UK many of the restaurants belong to chains, and so often chips are a staple element of what’s on offer. Also the quality is so variable. We prefer smaller independent restaurants but they aren’t always possible to find. I have found though, that most places are now more amenable to you making changes to the meal on offer. For example swapping items like chips for salad, or getting extra vegetables. The dessert menu is more challenging, so often it’s better not to even look at it.
The social element of eating out
Eating out with family or friends can be such a fun thing to do. We often do so when we get together with my son and daughter in law. Catching up on news and events, discussing the events of the day / week are all possible. Well so long as there isn’t music so loud you could almost be in a club!
The only real downside though is the cost, especially if eating in a group means you eat and drink more than you would. Luckily the cost is less of a problem these days, though we usually do like to know the kind of likely costs before we go.
Eating out can be fun and enjoyable. It can be social or romantic. It can be expensive, but it’s usually possible to find something within your budget. I’m certainly going to miss it if I can’t go out for a while. It’s probably time to get the recipe books out to be more adventurous at home.