10

votes

How much of a paleo-head are you when you go out to eat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 24, 2011 at 9:57 PM

How specific are you in directions you give your waiter(ess) when you go out to eat? Conversation I had a couple days ago at the Yardhouse.

me: "I'll have the gorgonzola burger no onions no bun. can I get a lettuce bun instead?
waiter: "sure."
me: "and what sides do you have instead of fries?"
waiter: "baked potato, mashed potato, rice, sweet potato fries."
me: "do you have any broccoli?"
waiter: "we have mixed vegetables."
me: "what kind of vegetables are they?"
waiter: "(some sort of paleo-approved mixed vegetable.)"
me: what's it cooked in?
waiter: "a sort of asian soy sauce and--"
me: "oh no no soy. can you cook them in olive oil instead?"
waiter: "We can steam them."
me: "okay great thanks."

I'm sure I've driven a couple waiters (and friends) nuts figuring out exactly what I'm going to be putting in my mouth. How about you guys?

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on July 06, 2011
at 09:07 PM

So funny. I always order a salad without the lettuce and they look at me like I'm crazy. Iceburg is just filler, so just give me all the other veggies. More often than not I get the lettuce WITH extra veggies. Ugh.

627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

(1626)

on June 08, 2011
at 04:44 AM

Ha! If you double the tax in Michigan then you are only getting a 12% tip. I guess you would have to triple it. I never thought of that....... great idea!

9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

(559)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:52 PM

yesyesyes! isn't it amazing how much free time we have now that we're not always concerned with eating?!

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:50 PM

ha. sounds like me.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 10, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Turnkey, if you'd like to talk about your borderline eating disorder, I'd be happy to talk with you. I was anorexic and bulimic for 6 years in middle and high school. My email is Danielle808@gmail.com

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 10, 2011
at 12:29 PM

That's awesome! I could use a nice slab of ribs right about now. mmmm.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:39 AM

I like this answer. You might be happy to know that to make up for being such a fussy diner I leave very generous tips. And if it's a small neighborhood and they remember you then they remember that you are a generous tipper ... Since I don't eat out very often I don't mind spending a little extra money.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:36 AM

Recently I've been eating before going to restaurants also because I've been doing some elimination-diet stuff. I've found it somewhat unpleasant to sit through these dinners. I don't like being surrounded by food that I can't eat, even if I'm full.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:23 AM

May I ask where that restaurant was?

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 08, 2011
at 10:44 PM

I tried to rearrange stuff on the menu the other day to make the burger I wanted.... it came out to $20 from the $13 burger I was using as a "base" lol. I ended up walking out.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 08, 2011
at 10:42 PM

I've worked in some good places and some bad places... Sorry to hear you are working at one of the bad ones.

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e

on March 26, 2011
at 02:46 PM

I got the exact same reaction at my local gyro place - usually the cook will send the sever back out again to verify that I don't want the wrap, gyro sauce or tomatoes, and am skipping the fries - just the meat and some onions fried in the meat juices.

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e

on March 26, 2011
at 02:44 PM

I often try to convince them to trade the toast and invariably vegetable oil fried home fires for a banana or something. Almost all refuse to do a no cost substitution.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 26, 2011
at 11:03 AM

"Poor management" describes most restaurants I've worked at very well, unfortunately.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 26, 2011
at 09:23 AM

Interesting. I'm not sure what types of restaurants you've worked in, but I've never had a problem with the cooks preparing special orders. I tell them what needs to happen, they might not like it, but it's their job to do it, so they do. Also, I've never experienced "sacrificing good service" to my other tables because of specific dietary requests from another....now I've sacrificed good service because of other NEEDY tables, but that's a different story :)

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 26, 2011
at 01:52 AM

No to the first, because no restaurant I have worked for has been accommodating. Chefs are jerks way too often. No to the second because when one customer has a ton of questions and specific requests, and needs much more of my time, I have to sacrifice good service to the rest of my tables in order to give the one table what they want... which seems to lead to lower tips overall. Although I have had a low-key table give me a sympathy tip before because they felt sorry for me having to deal with a more difficult customer!

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 08:16 PM

As a server myself, I understand how specific requests can make things harder, but you don't find a sense of pride in knowing that you and your restaurant can be so accommodating? Also, if you get a customer who is picky, then leaves you a generous tip, is it not worth it in the end?

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 25, 2011
at 03:12 PM

I was going to mention that as well and forgot -- before paleo, if I didn't eat breakfast first thing when I got up in the morning, I'd get so nauseous that I wouldn't be able to eat. Now if I need to, I can go all day without eating and still have a ton of energy. So if the only options are bad ones, I just wait until good ones are available again. That freedom from the constant nagging compulsion to munch on something is one of the most liberating things about paleo, and at first I wondered what to do with all that extra time. Now my life has so much more room for things that aren't food!

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 25, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I love this way of thinking Deidre.

Cf5c9ba3c06cf300ae23c52778dfd317

(545)

on March 25, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Me too... that's why I try to avoid restaurants as much as possible. 9/10 times I eat at a restaurant, I leave thinking: "I could have made that better, healthier, tastier, and for much less $$."

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 25, 2011
at 12:48 PM

In the three years since I started eating paleo, I have had a grand total of one acceptable restaurant experience. They had an 8-egg ham omelette and were able to cook it in ghee, and they had real heavy cream for the coffee. But it was still more than twice the price I would have paid to make it at home. Not worth it at all.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 25, 2011
at 11:35 AM

Power to the people !

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 05:44 AM

Depends on where you eat, I guess.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 05:21 AM

"any server and or chef worth their salt will be much happier with you being picky before you order rather than after." AMEN!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 25, 2011
at 02:19 AM

I'm psychotic....

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on March 24, 2011
at 11:26 PM

I agree that French is the way to go for a no hassle meal. They'll try to serve you bread but other than that it's super easy to find stuff right off the menu.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 24, 2011
at 10:37 PM

That sounds great! I'll have to check out some of the French restaurants around here. I know how you mean about getting a little embarrassed... whenever I go out for dinner with a guy I wonder what he thinks of me, but then I tell myself well if he's gunna stick around he better get used to it!

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19 Answers

13
5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

on March 25, 2011
at 05:43 AM

Coming from a server....it can be stressful when one of my customers has such specific requests, but when they let me know right off the bat what they need, it makes things MUCH easier for me. Not only can I suggest to them what to order, but I know things about the menu they might never think of, and I'm much more willing to take the extra step needed to make sure everything is prepared properly. Just make sure you are patient with your server, you're clear with what you want, be nice (servers are PEOPLE, too) and tip accordingly (if you're not sure how to tip, just double the tax!).

I work at Outback Steakhouse (which is AWESOME for me, not only because of the discount, but the food is AMAZING and so much of it fits into the Paleo Diet!) and we are MORE than happy to accommodate specific requests. I'm sure you've heard "No Rules, Just Right" well, we really mean it! We have a separate Gluten Free menu and GF buttons in our POSI computer system (to ensure the cooks know what items are GF).
If you let your server know right off the bat "Just so you know, I'm on a special diet and I can't have dairy" (or even say you're allergic to diary) then they can tell you "Okay then we'll grill your Filet with olive oil, not butter"...which is helpful because I don't think most people know we use butter to grill our steaks.

But yeah....I am very specific when I go out to eat, if I'm ordering Paleo or not! I also tip about 25-30% mostly because of karma :)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:39 AM

I like this answer. You might be happy to know that to make up for being such a fussy diner I leave very generous tips. And if it's a small neighborhood and they remember you then they remember that you are a generous tipper ... Since I don't eat out very often I don't mind spending a little extra money.

627cf3f5d1ddfb4c2f4c96169420f55f

(1626)

on June 08, 2011
at 04:44 AM

Ha! If you double the tax in Michigan then you are only getting a 12% tip. I guess you would have to triple it. I never thought of that....... great idea!

8
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 25, 2011
at 04:08 AM

If you are going out to eat you pay for the food, the service, the preparation, the table to sit, the utilities, the furniture, and the people to make and serve your food. Because of this by all means order what you want, you are paying for it! The restaurant staff and companions shouldn't be critical of your specifications, you're just asking for what you want. Good for you.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 25, 2011
at 11:35 AM

Power to the people !

7
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on March 25, 2011
at 01:14 PM

I am no more picky or complicated than any vegan or vegetarian.

5
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on March 25, 2011
at 01:21 PM

LOVE IT! THE MORE OF "US" THERE ARE, THE MORE CHANGE WE WILL MAKE!!!!!

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 25, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I love this way of thinking Deidre.

3
Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 08, 2011
at 10:16 PM

it's also a HUGE help if, when making reservations a day ahead or more, call the restaurant or comment on your Open Table reservation that you have specific dietary needs, and what they happen to be. This is incredibly helpful, as often what happens is someone (management or your pre assigned server) has a chat with the chef and the chef points them towards the best items for your needs or the most "substitutable" dishes.

As a server at largely small neighborhood fine dining restaurants, I didn't have an issue with people with food sensitivities. I was proud I knew what was in our food or could ask the chef. The only people who bugged me were people who ordered trout and then, when it came out whole, about went through the roof and wanted it sent back for the head to be removed by the kitchen. I loved putting that whole animal in front of them. Once a little boy ordered it and his mother was a bit panicked asking for it to be sent back, meanwhile the boy had already lopped off the head, put it on a side plate and requested that his server not take it away because "he liked it there." Oh, the whole staff was so happy about that fish head staying there staring at Mom.

2
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on April 08, 2011
at 10:34 PM

You sound just like me when I'm ordering.

By the time they have eliminated all the things that I don't wish on my food, there is almost always a bit or a great deal more food of what I DO want... I suspect the chefs don't want the plate looking bare...

or they really do like a customer who knows what he wants!

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 08, 2011
at 10:44 PM

I tried to rearrange stuff on the menu the other day to make the burger I wanted.... it came out to $20 from the $13 burger I was using as a "base" lol. I ended up walking out.

2
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on March 25, 2011
at 12:30 PM

I've always worked in customer service and been a waitress on and off for 7 years now, so I can't bring myself to be that customer (not that most customers who want full information and have specific dietary needs aren't very nice people, but it makes everyone's job so much harder).

I don't eat out hardly ever these days. My cooking is better 90% of the time anyway. When I do, I really just avoid bread, breading, and anything I know is saturated in vegetable oils. I eat rice, potatoes, and while I'm trying not to make cheese a regular part of meals I will eat it in a pinch. So it's not too difficult to eat on plan.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 08:16 PM

As a server myself, I understand how specific requests can make things harder, but you don't find a sense of pride in knowing that you and your restaurant can be so accommodating? Also, if you get a customer who is picky, then leaves you a generous tip, is it not worth it in the end?

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 26, 2011
at 11:03 AM

"Poor management" describes most restaurants I've worked at very well, unfortunately.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 26, 2011
at 09:23 AM

Interesting. I'm not sure what types of restaurants you've worked in, but I've never had a problem with the cooks preparing special orders. I tell them what needs to happen, they might not like it, but it's their job to do it, so they do. Also, I've never experienced "sacrificing good service" to my other tables because of specific dietary requests from another....now I've sacrificed good service because of other NEEDY tables, but that's a different story :)

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on March 26, 2011
at 01:52 AM

No to the first, because no restaurant I have worked for has been accommodating. Chefs are jerks way too often. No to the second because when one customer has a ton of questions and specific requests, and needs much more of my time, I have to sacrifice good service to the rest of my tables in order to give the one table what they want... which seems to lead to lower tips overall. Although I have had a low-key table give me a sympathy tip before because they felt sorry for me having to deal with a more difficult customer!

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on April 08, 2011
at 10:42 PM

I've worked in some good places and some bad places... Sorry to hear you are working at one of the bad ones.

2
Fe6e37f8d4c49de1ecbc926c8900cd54

on March 25, 2011
at 04:50 AM

You are awesome--my short-term memory gets overloaded way too quickly to pull off an order like that. In fact, in order to avoid having to specialize my orders too much, I only eat out at two restaurants: this family-owned Thai place that subs steamed veggies for rice without blinking, and this awesome BBQ shack (nothing more paleo than a huge pile of ribs and brisket, right?).

Both changing environments and selecting them = paleo smarts (cite: Robert Sternberg).

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 10, 2011
at 12:29 PM

That's awesome! I could use a nice slab of ribs right about now. mmmm.

2
Bb1ba0d71083ceaecd3a3b405a977454

on March 25, 2011
at 04:29 AM

I ordered the "omelet of the day" today BUT please hold the cheese, hold the home fries, hold the toast, substitute yam fries for home fries, and ditch the mystery dipping sauce and house-prepared ketchup. And black coffee. Please. No worries.

It can be a bit of a pill because many items don't even mention that they are coated with this or that substance. I, too, am very fond of eating at home. I know what goes in and on the food, and almost always, it is better tasting, better prepared food. At some point, though, when you have to eat out (like when you are travelling), sometimes you just have to do the best you can and say WTH, it's as good as its gonna get.

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e

on March 26, 2011
at 02:44 PM

I often try to convince them to trade the toast and invariably vegetable oil fried home fires for a banana or something. Almost all refuse to do a no cost substitution.

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 24, 2011
at 10:02 PM

That is great! Don't feel bad - any server and or chef worth their salt will be much happier with you being picky before you order rather than after.

I have found places to be really accommodating with our needs - but we don't go out that often and we choose places that we know will be good about it.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 05:21 AM

"any server and or chef worth their salt will be much happier with you being picky before you order rather than after." AMEN!

1
8f4ff12a53a98f3b5814cfe242de0daa

(1075)

on April 10, 2011
at 03:58 AM

I pretty much always eat before going to restaurants, or just fast if I can't get something I consider healthy.

To be honest, I consider it a borderline eating disorder. Although my weight/composition are good enough now that most people that knew me before eating whole foods (etc) leave it alone.

My experience has been that restaurants generally do not even stock olive oil (refined or otherwise) and instead relay on corn and soy based vegetable oils. That said, better restuarants probably dodge around this issue.... but for where I live....

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on April 10, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Turnkey, if you'd like to talk about your borderline eating disorder, I'd be happy to talk with you. I was anorexic and bulimic for 6 years in middle and high school. My email is Danielle808@gmail.com

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:36 AM

Recently I've been eating before going to restaurants also because I've been doing some elimination-diet stuff. I've found it somewhat unpleasant to sit through these dinners. I don't like being surrounded by food that I can't eat, even if I'm full.

1
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on March 26, 2011
at 02:20 AM

I think a person should order what he or she wants; however, it is smart to do it very politely and to not even appear to be demeaning in any way. While the posts of "you pay for it, get it how you want it" are correct, you don't really know what goes on back in the kitchen. Just be nice. If something comes on my plate that I am skeptical of, I will generally give it a try. If it tastes good but perhaps toes the Paleo line (e.g. sauteed in a "bad" oil), I might eat it. If it doesn't appeal, I won't eat it but generally won't send it back unless it is the main dish.

1
9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

on March 25, 2011
at 02:14 PM

I barely eat out (good for my wallet now that I spend more on paleo groceries).

But when I do eat out I'm not strictly paleo. I try to stick to meats and/or vegetables and avoid the dessert menu.

The best thing about paleo is that (at least for me) it removes almost all food compulsions. So I'm not tempted to binge or eat foods that make me feel sick. And not being ravenously hungry, I can go to a restaurant and simply nibble on something.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 25, 2011
at 03:12 PM

I was going to mention that as well and forgot -- before paleo, if I didn't eat breakfast first thing when I got up in the morning, I'd get so nauseous that I wouldn't be able to eat. Now if I need to, I can go all day without eating and still have a ton of energy. So if the only options are bad ones, I just wait until good ones are available again. That freedom from the constant nagging compulsion to munch on something is one of the most liberating things about paleo, and at first I wondered what to do with all that extra time. Now my life has so much more room for things that aren't food!

9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

(559)

on April 24, 2011
at 02:52 PM

yesyesyes! isn't it amazing how much free time we have now that we're not always concerned with eating?!

1
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on March 25, 2011
at 01:39 PM

I once ordered "the chicken wrap without the wrap, please." You would have thought I asked for alien brains! The waiter repeated it back to me, I confirmed, he repeated it again, I confirmed again. On the 3rd repeat, I clarified and said, "I want everything in it, just no tortilla." He still looked confused and I didn't know what would come to the table. Luckily, I managed to have a "wrap with no wrap" for lunch that day.

This ordeal happened during a work lunch outing while I was surrounded by coworkers and a manager. Fairly embarrassing. I didn't realize my request was difficult. Maybe it was just the server?

I usually choose an item based on what I want to eat plus what would be the easiest to order. This is most difficult during lunch as most places around my office are delis/sandwich shops. A salad topped with cold chicken chunks is not very appetizing. That chicken wrap, on the other hand, has warm grilled chicken. Go figure. 8)

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e

on March 26, 2011
at 02:46 PM

I got the exact same reaction at my local gyro place - usually the cook will send the sever back out again to verify that I don't want the wrap, gyro sauce or tomatoes, and am skipping the fries - just the meat and some onions fried in the meat juices.

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on July 06, 2011
at 09:07 PM

So funny. I always order a salad without the lettuce and they look at me like I'm crazy. Iceburg is just filler, so just give me all the other veggies. More often than not I get the lettuce WITH extra veggies. Ugh.

1
F0b70b26adf36e5987134716af10d53a

on March 25, 2011
at 01:08 AM

I am big on finding local restaurants that cook just the way I want my Paleo meals. I actually interview them to determine how they cook. I've found at most of your family owned and operated joints, that they will cook for you just the way you want it. At the fast food joits, it's more difficult as stuff is pre-made, packaged and cooked.

1
3b5cbb3006f7567b87dd3998ad76ebf8

on March 24, 2011
at 11:22 PM

That is exactly what it sounds like when I order but I've found that most places are happy to accommodate, I just make sure I'm nice about it and try to tip well.

1
B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on March 24, 2011
at 11:22 PM

I do go that crazy. Typically I'll ask for a salad, no cheese, grilled steak/chicken and ask for oil and a half a lemon. When I order a steak, I'll typically take whatever starch they serve with it unless I've had a starch-heavy week at home. I'll indulge in sauces if I go out, considering I only eat out once every few weeks anyway.

1
74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 24, 2011
at 10:30 PM

I'm pretty atrocious, too. I love restaurants that let you sub in a side salad for the fries, then I just dump my bunless burger right onto the bed of mixed lettuces and dig in. :)

My fella has never complained about my quirky ordering, but I'm still sorta embarrassed about it. I was so pleased the other day, though, when I found an item I could order directly off the menu. I love French cuisine for that reason! They don't muddle around with silly grains. They'll serve you a hunk of something dead and the veggie on the side, no questions asked, completely standard. :)

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on March 24, 2011
at 10:37 PM

That sounds great! I'll have to check out some of the French restaurants around here. I know how you mean about getting a little embarrassed... whenever I go out for dinner with a guy I wonder what he thinks of me, but then I tell myself well if he's gunna stick around he better get used to it!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on March 24, 2011
at 11:26 PM

I agree that French is the way to go for a no hassle meal. They'll try to serve you bread but other than that it's super easy to find stuff right off the menu.

1
9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 24, 2011
at 10:04 PM

I don't eat out any more. Too many downsides, but in this economy the biggest one is cost. Why pay twice the price for less than half the meat?

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on March 25, 2011
at 12:48 PM

In the three years since I started eating paleo, I have had a grand total of one acceptable restaurant experience. They had an 8-egg ham omelette and were able to cook it in ghee, and they had real heavy cream for the coffee. But it was still more than twice the price I would have paid to make it at home. Not worth it at all.

5a726c5fe988a1783a39a75ff2ce82f7

(464)

on March 25, 2011
at 05:44 AM

Depends on where you eat, I guess.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 10, 2011
at 06:23 AM

May I ask where that restaurant was?

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