Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unsweet Tomatoes

Last night Carol and I went to Sweet Tomatoes, a sort of salad restaurant that we love. The problem with that place is that one's usual defenses against over-eating are disarmed. This place is about salad, after all. So everything goes, right? Wrong.

I piled high a plate of salad, and the plates the restaurant offers, while not huge, are not of an ungenerous size. It is a serve yourself format, and the process involves putting one's plate on one's tray and then walking down a long buffet line, loading up. (What happened to all my WW "portion control" disciplines?) While almost all the items are vegetable based, there is some chicken salad here and there, some mayonnaise and oil. However, I think if I had kept just to the plate of salad, I would have been all right, especially since I did not eat unsparingly earlier in the day.

But then we sit down and start eating, and along comes a person from the restaurant offering chocolate chip cookie pieces, and we take some. Then, when we finish with the salad, we get up and go get a cup of "soup", which for me is a bowl of chili into which I mix about a quarter cup of white rice. This is not a large bowl at all, I tell myself. After I finish that, I go to the bread line and get a couple of pieces of foccasia bread - not large pieces, small pieces, but two of them nevertheless.

Then I visit the ice cream bar, a place where soft ice cream is available on a serve-yourself basis. There are small bowls there, and I pick one. I get the swirl of vanilla and chocolate. Then I move to the condiment station and squirt on the chocolate sauce, topping it all off, remembering fondly how my grandfather loved ice cream, that he always great quantities of it in his freezer and always had a can of Hershey's chocolate sauce in his refrigerator to top off his big bowls of ice cream. (I didn't call to mind how he smoked, always ate what he wanted, rarely exercised or walked anywhere, and died at age 70 as he was getting ready to come to my law school graduation. [He had been an athlete in high school, a baseball player.] He never looked overweight to me, but there you are.)

I didn't feel well as we left the restaurant. I have been fighting some sort of sinus issue this week, and I know that didn't help. But I know all that food didn't help. Ugh. How could I have done that?

And the idea that Sweet Tomatoes is a "free-zone" is hilarious self-deception. Fully half the people there are 'way overweight. And it was Saturday night. That should have been a clue. (What was I thinking? That these people pick up a pizza on the way home?)


Macon said...

I find that I generally over-eat at any restaurant that's buffet-style. I think it's my urge to "get my money's worth."

I find that urge very very difficult to dis-engage. So I generally don't do anything buffet anymore. I usually order off the menu and make my financial decision first, then make my how-much-of-this-am-I-going-to-eat decision later.

Conflating the two decisions only leads to me thinking along the lines of, the more items I put on my plate, the cheaper my lunch is on a per-item basis. :-)

Macon said...

Whoops, meant to use a colon in the last graph, rather than a comma.