Well...I survived my trip to New Orleans...that city is just totally amazing! I was not perfect..not even close. But honestly, I did just about the best I could...with a few weak moments thrown in as the weekend progressed.
Jason and I got to the luncheon and they had some really delicious drink selections - I love those Starbucks Iced Coffees....they are soo good. I stayed away though. The lunch officially began with some chicken and sausage gumbo. Man oh man...it looked good. I thought it was best for the waiter to leave mine off the table. Jason ate it up and said it was really yummy. The main course was a chicken breast on top of a big pile of really delicious looking mashed potatoes covered in some sort of creamy sauce. Once again I asked the waiter to remove my plate. I did my best to explain that I do not eat gluten or dairy. He spoke with an accent and did not understand. He kept asking if I was a vegetarian and I finally agreed. I hoped for a vegetarian meal full of steamed veggies but instead got cheese ravioli in tomato sauce with a few green beans. I ate the green beans...what is hard for me is bread. They had some delicious looking rolls that everyone minus me enjoyed...I did my best not to make eye contact with the rolls and stared into space until everyone was done. For dessert they had some sort of strawberry cheesecake on a biscuit thing....Jason swore it wasn't that good but ate it all. He did get me some herbal tea that helped fill my stomach as the luncheon continued.
When it was over (it was really amazing....16 high school students received significant scholarships thanks to the George Rodrigue Foundation!!) Jason and I made our way to our hotel room where he decided to take a nap while I decided to hit the streets of New Orleans in search of some Paleo friendly food. I walked for about 15 minutes and could only find a Subway which I didn't want...I LOVE Subway and am so thankful they are a "fast food" option but wanted something special....we were in New Orleans and I had just sat through a delicious luncheon eating only 4 green beans and a cup of tea. I was feeling discouraged and disappointed and was about to give up when I turned the corner and there was Luke, one of John Besh's fabulous restaurants. If you have been reading this blog from the beginning you have seen a photo of me with John Besh, my favorite celebrity chef. Luke is an unbelievable restaurant and I was determined to find something as close to Paleo as I could get. My first cheat of the vacation happened while I sat at the bar looking at the menu....I had a Diet Coke. I love Diet Coke....I know it wasn't the best choice but my willpower was gone...and I enjoyed every. single. sip. The most Paleo I could get was the Luke Burger that is OUT of this world! I asked for it with no cheese, of course and as much as I didn't want to, I asked to switch the fries to steamed asparagus. Now , if you haven't had Luke's french fries, you are totally missing out. They are house made and PERFECT...as in just about the best fries I have ever had. But.... I went for the asparagus. I walked back to the hotel to enjoy my meal and ate it up! I only had two bites of asparagus because I was thought they were super delicious...way too good to be butter free...Jason ate them and really enjoyed them though. The burger (without bun of course) was delicious. My second cheat was the delicious caramelized onions on top. I know they were cooked in butter but I couldn't resist. In my opinion, those onions make the burger. I just couldn't say no. When I ordered the burger, I forced myself to say no to the cheese, the fries, the bun....but that was all I could resist. I ate all of the onions and really savored each bite...
Dear John Besh, Thanks for This!
On to dinner...we met some really fabulous friends (hi L and S!) for dinner. They took us to a fabulous restaurant that I have been wanting to try for awhile....Jacques Imos. This restaurant is a must visit if you are in New Orleans - they have a huge menu including New Orleans staples done well. There is always a wait - ours was a little over an hour but there's a great little bar next door called the Mapleleaf. We went there where I tried the Paleo Solutions tequila, club sod and lots of lime... I drank some of it but, truthfully am more of a beer drinker (or rum) so decided to stick to unsweetened tea for the rest of the evening.
Soo...we got seated and they immediately brought over a plate of delicious looking cornbread muffins dripping in butter. I almost said f*ck it right then...seriously. Not only did they look amazing, everyone in the entire restaurant seemed to be eating them, in slow motion, moaning over the pure ecstasy of it all....it was the longest five minutes of my life. For an appetizer our table got the shrimp and alligator cheesecake. Again, I had to sit there and listen to how good it was....ugh..... when it was time to order, I really didn't know what to do. I tried talking to the waiter but, I mean, the place was packed...he could barely hear me and was super busy. I ended up with a steak that was supposed to come with mashed potatoes AND onion rings but instead I got sweet potatoes (he assured me there was no dairy) and beets. Before they brought out the steak, they brought us all the house salad. I had a few bites but was afraid the vinaigrette had sugar. Well, the steak came and it had a glaze similar to A-1. I did my best to scrape it off....and one bite of the sweet potatoes told me they were full of butter. By this time, my dinner guests were all explaining how full they were because of the butter-drenched cornbread and alligator cheesecake and salad. I was STARVING. They were done and I was shoving in beets and steak as fast I could. I actually ended up getting a bit embarrassed so I asked the waiter to pack up my food (which I shoved in my mouth when we got back to the hotel...hahaha.
My Pre Day 1 Meal at Port of Call
We had a lazy morning (which is a real treat if you are parents to a 2 and 4 year old) and decided to pack up and head to our all time favorite restaurant - Port of Call. Port of Call has a very limited menu - they serve steaks, burgers and baked potatoes. I would normally get the mushroom cheeseburger and loaded baked potato. This time I got the mushroom burger, no bun and, Cheat Number 3, a baked potato with bacon bits and chives...I did not have the butter, cheese, or sour cream I would have normally had. But, this was the meal that got my stomach feeling like it did before Day 1. I had awful stomach pains all the way back to Baton Rouge. Don't get me wrong, the food was really, really good....and I am actually glad that I attempted to eat it. I was forgetting how sick I could feel if I ate the wrong foods. It has just reinforced the way I have been feeling about Paleo. It has only been one week but, before I began, I thought it was going to be diet...a temporary fix, just like all the others I have tried. I am feeling more and more that perhaps this is the way I am meant to eat...the way my body wants me to eat.
I honestly cannot get over what I used to put into my body on a daily basis - I just got back from grocery shopping and am really frightened now that I am actually reading labels. Seriously, does everything contain high fructose corn syrup? I haven't had dinner yet - I am still feeling full from Port of Call. I am sure it will be strictly Paleo though! I did have an excellent snack - celery, carrots, and almond butter. I have never had almond butter but it was quite good. I have to say many thanks to Kelly P. who got me a sample of that and cashew butter to have on hand in case of emergencies.
In all, I had an amazing time in New Orleans. Jason and I got to spend some quality time together without the kids (thanks to my fabulous parents who watched them) and we got to spend time with friends. Usually, the highlight of a getaway like this would be food-related. Not this time..for me it was enjoying a leisurely ride on a streetcar with Jason...windows were open, there was a great breeze and excellent people watching...truly a great way to end Week 1!