Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eating Paleo at Cheddar's, Part 1 11-14-12

   Cheddar's is my favorite "casual dining" restaurant. If you don't have one nearby, I would compare it to TGIF or Chili's. The menu is eclectic. I have enjoyed every dish I have ever ordered here, and I tried to keep experimenting so I wouldn't order the same things each time. Now that I am trying to eat Paleo, I was afraid I would have to give up eating out, one of my greatest pleasures. I have found, however, that every place we go to has at least a few things that are "legal", and some restaurants have lots. An exception so far is Taco Bell, since (of course) every dish is based on tortillas, rice, or other grain products, and sour cream and cheese are not allowed, either. Since almost every chain restaurant has its menu posted online, I can go through the menus category by category and make choices before I ever leave home.
   Paleo "rules": meat, veggies, fruits, nuts are all allowed. No grain products, no starchy veggies, no soy or beans (or peanuts), no dairy.
   Cheddar's menu is so enticing to me, that I will post this in two parts to cover everything. If a menu item can be Paleo with only small changes or deletions, I am listing it. If it would take several changes, I might list it, but it is probably too much trouble for you and for the cook/server. Some things are "no way" because it just can't be modified enough to be Paleo. Here goes:

APPETISERS: NONE, since cheese, chips, soy (edemame) are not allowed. You might want to ask for these, if the place is not busy: grilled onions or mixed veggies, with no added butter; chicken tenders without breading (since they are advertised as hand-breaded, maybe that means they can skip the breading; if they come to the restaurant pre-breaded, NO WAY.)

SALADS: (no cheese, pasta, sour cream, croutons). Asian Chicken and Shrimp Salad (no noodles, or pick them out); Roasted Pear Spring Salad (no Parmesan) with Chicken (grilled); Hawaiian Chicken Salad (no tortilla strips); Crispy Chicken Salad, but with Grilled Chicken (no cheese); Grilled Chicken Pecan Salad (no cheddar cheese); House Salad (no cheese, croutons, non-dairy dressing.) (As it happens, I can't eat iceberg lettuce. Cheddar's uses a Spring Mix, so I can pick through it; baby spinach would be better but is not offered.)

SANDWICHES: NO BREAD: World Class Chicken and Hawaiian Chicken (no melted cheese); Double-Decker Club (no cheddar or mayo); Philly Cheesesteak (no melted cheese); Napa Chicken Ciabatta (no Fontina cheese); Grilled Portobello Ciabatta (no Fontina Cheese, pesto mayo on the side and just dip the points of your fork in to get a taste). NO WAY: Monte Cristo, Buffalo Chicken Wraps--90% is non-Paleo.

THE CLASSICS: (no croissant, add a Paleo salad; SIDES are listed separately in tomorrow's post.) Lemon Pepper Chicken and Dijon Chicken and Mushrooms (no rice); Chicken Tender Platter (only if grilled, not breaded); H. S. Baby Back Ribs; Grilled Salmon, Grilled Catfish, and Key West Chicken (no rice); Beer Battered Fried Shrimp (NO BATTER, grilled); Grilled Fish Tacos (no tortillas, no tartar sauce); Grilled Tilapia w/Mango Salsa (no rice). NO WAY: Chicken Pot Pie, Grilled Chicken Alfredo, Baked Spasagna, Veggie Pasta Alfredo, Shepherd's Pie; Cornmeal Catfish, or Country Fried Rice.

   If the NOs seem overwhelming, make your own list and take it with you. You might be less tempted. Tomorrow: Steaks and Combos, Burgers, Sides, and Desserts (don't get your hopes up), as well as Kids' Meals.

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