over the weekend king louie and i took my gram out to dinner at the olive garden. she's back in her condo and doing amazing but still likes having people around to help her out. i had a challenge to do a creamy pasta dish at a restaurant so i thought taking gram to dinner would be a good way to knock it off the list. if you're wondering why eating creamy pastas in a restaurant is a challenge, please read here and here.
i love the idea of eating out but rarely feel comfortable with the experience. writing these posts can be difficult because i'm never exactly sure how to say what the restaurant experience feels like. it feels uncomfortable. i go back in forth in my head between looking for the safest menu choice and a menu choice that sounds good but scares me. in some ways it is black and white thinking. this restaurant experience is going to be either a success or a failure. there's a lot going on there. it probably sounds strange but i don't have much trouble at five guys. you might think that a cheeseburger and fries would make me want to lose it but it doesn't. i think it is because five guys' menu is so limited. i know that that's what i'm having when i go in. i don't have to make the choice to have a burger and fries because there's no other option. at my past session we decided to force me out of my comfort zone and go alfredo. in a sense i'm taking away the choice of something safer and that is good exposure.
having my gram as a distraction was a good way to take my mind off the fact that i was facing a fear food. i was so worried about getting her out of the car and safely to a table. she did awesome. she grabbed on to my elbow and away we went. after a quick perusal of the menu i went with a shrimp and scallop fettucini alfredo. i know most people go nuts for their salad but they have my most favorite minestrone soup. i was still eating mine with when the entrees came. it irritates me when this happens. in my opinion the entrees shouldn't arrive until everyone has finished their soups and salads. anyway, the meal was really good though i felt it was a bit oversaturated with sacue. however, the sauce was super creamy and the scallops were nice and sweet. i didn't get very far because alfredo is rich and i was pretty full from the soup and breadstick. king louie is going to have some delicious leftovers for dinner tonight.
final thoughts: this trip to the olive garden went really well. i'd gone once before and the breadstick as well as the dining experience were the challenge. this time i did the breadstick and a challenging entree and i'm happy with that. i'm not sure if i'd order an alfredo dish out at the olive garden again. while the sauce was tasty i felt like there was a bit too much of it. it kept me very full for a very long time and it made me really thirsty and my lips dried out. i've spoke with my dietitian before about these symptoms. i get them a lot when i eat out. she has asked if i was experiencing actual fullness or emotional fullness and if the dried out symptoms were due to being uncomfortable with the experience. i can honestly say that i don't know. all i know is that i'm actually feeling the sensations and i don't enjoy them. i hated how i had a horrible taste in my mouth when i woke up yesterday and chugged water like crazy. it is all part of the process. all in all, if i ever get to an event where alfredo is the only choice i have the experience and knowledge that i've done alfredo before and everything was fine. it is called exposure therapy.
i'm sorry that this is all a bit long and rambly and there are no pictures. my gram had a really great time and enjoyed her lasagna and visit immensely. she wasn't even bothered by the fact that a gigantic bumble bee dive bombed us and a server had to removed it from the window by our table. i was freaking out. not a fan of bees. after dinner we watched the white sox demolish my more than slightly pathetic cubs. my gram follows every sport. she had an intelligent conversation with king louie about the lpga, hockey and basketball playoffs, the preakness, baseball but not soccer. she can't get into soccer. what a hoot. what a lady. what an alfredo. what a night.