Applebee's Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad with romaine, celery, pecans, cranberries, mandarin oranges and blue cheese. MINUS the chicken & dressing.
Applebee's Tomato Basil Soup with croutons, parmesan & far too much sodium
Stoneyfield Farm Whole Milk French Vanilla Yogurt with homemade Crunchy Granola.
Sliced plums with orange marmalade dipping sauce
Thoughts on vegetarian eating and dining out....
A friend and I went to lunch at Applebee's because I thought since they were careful to have several 'under 500 calorie meals' and 'Weight Watcher's meals' that there was a good chance there were some vegetarian dishes on the menu. At the least, I expected to find at least one token vegetarian dish like most restaurants have but Applebee's disappointed me. There wasn't a single dish on the menu that was vegetarian. I paged through their extensive menu in absolute disbelief. Even their SEVEN pasta dishes ALL contained meat.
I couldn't help but think of times when I was dining out with vegetarian friends who have chosen this way to eat as a lifestyle rather than a challenge. How many times have restaurants been chosen without any care as to what our vegetarian friends would eat? Countless, I am ashamed to admit. My meat-eating friends and I never did that out of malice; I think it was always assumed that there would always be several things on any given menu that always came meatless anyhow such as pastas, stir fries and salads in addition to one or more specifically planned vegetarian meals.
There were several appetizers that were meat free but completely unhealthy--fried mozzarella sticks, queso with salty chips, fried onion rings, loaded crispy potato skins--but I didn't feel that was a proper option for lunch. Finally, I decided on a cup of soup and a salad. There was only one guaranteed vegetarian option for the soup--Tomato Basil--because oftentimes French Onion is made with a beef broth and I was almost certain all of Applebee's soups come from a tear open and dump packet and no one in the kitchen would know for sure. Then, I asked for the Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad and specifically stated no dressing OR chicken. And then I repeated the 'No chicken' part for emphasis. The waitress scribbled a long time on her pad so I felt confident she was noting down the 'no chicken' part.
I was wrong. The salad came out with fried pecan crusted chicken on top! Frustrating!!! I knocked it off the plate where my friend happily scooped it up for his consumption (and declared it quite good) and continued as if nothing had been amiss. I do hate to complain unnecessarily to waitstaff and since I am not a true vegetarian it was okay that the chicken had touched the lettuce. The other components of the salad were perfect, however, and I wouldn't mind having this salad again sometime. The soup was full of three flavors: tomatoes, basil and salt. Loads and loads of salt that later that evening would further make its presence known by giving me a near unquenchable thirst. Further proof, in my book, that the soups arrive at Applebee's pre-made.
I decided to have a light dinner of yogurt, granola and plums after my restaurant lunch. I always think it's a good idea to precede or follow restaurant meals with lighter fare.
Fruits & veggies for the day: romaine, celery, cranberries, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, basil and plums. Not as high as previous days of my challenge, but discounting the soup, I had a lot of fresh and raw fruits and veggies which was very satisfying.
My sympathy for vegetarians dining out has increased a hundredfold and I don't even want to think about people who follow a vegan lifestyle because they have it even more difficult than vegetarians when choosing to dine out. I think the options available in restaurants (I am speaking primarily of chain restaurants with this statement as there are so many, many independent restaurants out there that I am unable to make any sort of accurate observation) says a lot about our country's eating habits and frankly, it's really sad.