A lot of times, people think when they live a lifestyle like keto their options while eating out are limited. Too many times my friends have asked, "Well, where can you eat on keto?" The answer is pretty much anywhere.
This train of thought leads many couples to keep their date nights an in-home affair. Which, don't get me wrong, is equally awesome! I love a good date night cooking together and playing a game or cuddling up on the couch for a movie. Plus cooking at home lets you know exactly what is in your food and makes logging your meal much easier. However, sometimes you want to get dressed up and go to a restaurant.
So that's what we did.
We went to Earls Kitchen + Bar near one of our favorite theaters. We met there after work, and it was pouring rain. It's a short walk from the closest T stop to the restaurant, and something about walking in the rain to our first date night out and about in a while was so humorous to me. I probably looked a little silly giggling as people around me were dashing for cover, but I had a solid rain jacket that my job had just given me (gotta sport that company branding), and the rain seemed to match the music playing in my headphones. By the time I got to the restaurant I was sufficiently soaked, but I'm getting way off topic. Let's talk food and drinks.
I arrived shortly before Josh, so I took a look at the menu. I usually don't even bother with drinks, but I figured I'd take a look. Beer is risky and usually full of carbs, unless I see a beer that I know is low carb on the menu, I don't even look at that section. I was never much of a wine person, and that felt too fancy for this date night, so I went to the cocktail section. I was pleasantly surprised to see two cocktails that were low carb (though not specifically marketed that way) and could be slightly modified to be even lower carb.
Up first, the Bees Knees
This drink consisted of Aviation gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon, Angostura bitters, and honey. HOLD THE PHONE! Honey? That's not low carb! Put your pitchforks away. I asked the waiter how much honey is in the drink; he said it's less than a teaspoon. So, we're looking at roughly 5 carbs for that honey. I asked the waiter if we could cut that in half and put little to no honey in it and of course, he said that was no problem. The drink came out in an adorable little bear glass with a decorative honey dipper. I'm a sucker for presentation, so I found it too adorable to bear (ha - see what I did there?). Overall, I'd say the drink is definitely worth getting.
When Josh arrived, we decided to switch drinks and get a cocktail pitcher to share.
Up next, the Mojito Pitcher
This light and refreshing cocktail is my new go to when I have nights out. It was simple and tasty. I highly recommend it. It's made up of lime, Bacardi Superior rum, mint, and fresh lime juice. No added sugar, no worries.
Let's talk food
As an appetizer, Josh and I got the Chicken Pibil Tacos. That's two tacos filled with slow-roasted achiote chicken, queso blanco, avocado, cilantro, fresh cut salsa, on corn tortillas. As you can see from the picture, I scraped all the goodies out of my tortilla. Boom, lazy low carb. Alternatively, you can ask them to hold the tortilla, so the temptation isn't there at all.
For my main entrée, I got the Cajun Chicken, blackened double breast of chicken, garlic butter, warm potato salad, and coleslaw. Okay, potato salad isn't low carb, so I asked the waiter about their "seasonable vegetables." When he said, it was asparagus I was sold. I love asparagus. So, I subbed the potato salad for the asparagus and after confirming that the blackened chicken was not breaded, was pretty excited for my meal. Spoilers: it was delicious. Also, it was a lot bigger portions and more filling than I expected. I ended up needing to getting my leftovers boxed up and look forward to eating that later.
Another thing people find when living a keto lifestyle is restaurants often use carbs as cheap fillers. So, when you remove the carbs, you end up paying the same price for smaller portions than your carb eating friends. Which can be a little annoying and another check in the reasons to just eat at home column. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the size and ease of my low carb meal from Earls.
After dinner, we opted to forgo dessert. I've yet to find a restaurant that actually offers a low carb dessert, but trust me, when/if I do, I will be sure to tell you all about it! We walked around the shops, got some coffee, planned our upcoming trip to San Diego and then headed into our movie. All in all, it was a pretty great low carb date night.