Despite our rather restrictive diets, Austin and I enjoyed AMAZING meals out this weekend. On Saturday night, we went out to dinner with a few friends who are also joining Austin on his “modified Paleo” challenge. It was so funny to hear our orders as we went around the table. “No croutons or cheese on my salad please, dressing on the side, and could I also substitute grilled asparagus for the mashed potatoes and garlic toast?”
I’m sure the waiter loved that. (though, he’s probably used to it in January!) 😉
My order was pretty easy:
Grilled salmon salad, with a simple balsamic vinaigrette on the side. This is one of my FAVORITE meals– cleansing or not– so I actually didn’t feel really restricted at all. Though, it was funny to be out with a table full of friends mourning the fact that we couldn’t share an appetizer of sweet potato fries together. I have a feeling when this Paleo challenge is over, sweet potato fries will definitely be in our future!
Sunday morning started off with a lovely 5-mile hike, followed by fresh vegetable juices and hot herbal teas throughout the afternoon. There were definitely moments when I was wishing I could eat when Austin was, especially around lunch time, but those feelings quickly passed for me.
I also knew I had a really special dinner coming up, so that helped! Austin took me to Elf Cafe, for my “birthday dinner” last night. (My birthday is technically today, but I wanted to celebrate early.) 😉
Elf Cafe is a vegetarian restaurant, but I love that they don’t rely on meat substitutes to make satisfying meals. Their menu is filled with very vegetable-centric dishes! It also has a very dimly-lit setting… so excuse the dark, camera-phone pictures.
We started off with their special– sautéed mushrooms and herbs, served with toast.
We skipped the toast, but loved EVERY BITE of these mushrooms! I didn’t even know how much I loved mushrooms until I tried these. Whatever seasonings they added to these mushrooms, it was perfect. Austin and I also enjoyed bites of the chutney they brought out to our table, which I kept trying to figure out– I think it was a blend of roasted red peppers, carrots, maybe tomato, and spices. I will be attempting to recreate this as well, because we polished it off by the spoonful!
We also ordered the Avocado-Tahini Puree, which is normally served with pita bread, but if you request it “gluten-free,” they’ll serve it with fresh cucumber slices! Yes, please.
The avocado made this hummus-like spread REALLY rich, but the flavor was nice and the cucumbers were delicious with it. Really, nothing could top the mushrooms we had just eaten… so we ended up taking most of this dip home, to save room for our main courses!
My main course:
The Spicy Massaged Kale Salad, served with avocado slices and sprinkled sheep feta. I ended up removing the avocado, so that I could really enjoy the sheep feta, but this salad was so large, I ended up having plenty of leftovers that I can enjoy with the avocado later. This salad had a serious kick to it! My mouth was on fire, but I love spicy stuff. 😀
Austin’s meal was equally impressive:
He ordered the Vegan Skewers, which were roasted “meaty” mushrooms! Seasoned to perfection, just like our appetizer mushrooms. YUM. His meal was supposed to be served over rice, but our server offered him mashed potatoes as a grain-free substitute. She must have read Austin’s mind, because mashed potatoes are probably one of his favorite dishes ever– even if it’s not totally Paleo-friendly. (hence, his “modified” Paleo challenge… he’d probably lose his mind without grains AND potatoes!) He polished off every bite of mushroom, potato, and roasted veggie, so I’m thinking it was a hit!
We skipped the dessert course at Elf, because we had homemade treats waiting for us at home!
Elana’s Almond Butter Brownies, for Austin. (I subbed a mix of honey and stevia for the agave)
And Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes for myself, based off a recipe that Doris shared with the Detox Community.
I made a few modifications to these muffins, using pumpkin puree and almond flour, and while they TASTED awesome, the texture was totally off. They were so soggy! More pudding-like, than muffin-like.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from enjoying one… or two. 😀
This is definitely a recipe worth tweaking, so I’ll try it again in the future!
Hope you all had a great weekend, too!