Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dining Out: What are you really paying for?

I've asked myself this question many times over the past year when we we get the wonderful opportunity to have "date night" together. We've been finding ourselves more and more drawn to small, organic restaurants. There's something about going out and knowing you're being pampered and NOURISHED at the same time. We are so lucky here in the Northwest to have a nice selection of natural, sustainable, organic restaurants. We've been to several over the past year and really enjoyed the experience. We've also found ourselves being choosier where we take the whole family out for meals (we usually eat at home) when we go out - opting to eat deli or prepared foods at PCC or Whole Foods... or a quick dinner at Chipotle's Mexican Grill (LOVE that place!).

Last weekend for date night, we chose a fabulous restaurant called Bennett's Bistro on Mercer Island. They filter their own water (in a huge, 3-chamber filtration process), serve vegetables and fruits from local farms, RAW cheeses from local dairies, Sunshine Dairy (the brand I buy) products and sustainably farmed meats and seafoods. The meal was absolutely fantastic.

We ordered the salmon poki appetizer (raw salmon on top of avocado with a poki sauce), which was to die for! Then I ordered their "Tip of the Iceberg" salad with a blue cheese-lemon vinagrette, Oregonzola raw cheese, toasted hazelnuts and tomatoes - I substituted the iceberg lettuce for romaine. Horus ordered their turkey burger with Beecher's (local cheese company) mac-n-cheese and chipotle cilantro coleslaw. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

I'm so proud of how natural and organic my own kitchen has become... It's already expensive to SHOP for organic and natural grocery items... I guess part of me just can't get over thinking - why pay extra money for food that I wouldn't serve my family at home? At least when we're home, I know (for about 95% of our food) WHERE it came from, EXACTLY what's in it and HOW it was raised/farmed.

How do you feel about this? What does a fancy dinner really mean to you? Does it mean just simply spending a lot of money? Does it mean getting the absolutely best, most expensive food available (like a mouth-watering, well-marbled, fifty-dollar, corn-fed steak or the most beautiful, bright-orange fillet of salmon), regardless of where it came from and how it was "farmed?" I ask myself this question constantly when we go out to eat - anywhere. ...and if it's not the greatest restaurant, I try to pick the most natural item on the menu.

Do you think about this when you eat out AT ALL or am I just a weird-o? :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crying Over Asparagus

Yes, you heard it right. CRYING over asparagus. :) My five and a half year old CRIED tonight because I ate the last stalk of asparagus. Horus roasted it in the toaster oven with butter and sea salt for dinner tonight. It was sooooooo yummy.

As I was shoving the LAST STALK into my mouth, my 5.5 year old FREAKED OUT. I sat there with an un-chewed piece of asparagus crammed in my mouth wondering what to do. I decided it was way too gross to regurgitate it, so I chewed and swallowed it.

SHE STARTED CRYING!!!!!!!!!!! I'm totally serious! I just about fell on the floor, I felt so bad! At the same time, I was just swelling with pride that she liked the asparagus that much. I had always thought she ate it because I told her it was yummy and healthy. I didn't realize she actually LIKED IT that much! :)

Anyway, lesson learned. BUY two bunches of asparagus next time. :) That was the only way I could stop her quivering lip was to promise I'd buy an extra bunch tomorrow.

I know I've been MIA lately, but things have just been crazy here. Thank you for the wonderful emails you've sent! I've greatly appreciated them. I'll be posting a new blog later this week - stay tuned because I WANT YOUR THOUGHTS! :)


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