Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Dine Out: Carrabba's Italian Grill



One of the things we try to emphasize to our members in Weight Watchers is the importance of "taking care of yourself." I'm always amazed at the number of new members who tell me about having just taken care of a dying parent or spouse, of having spent several years as a stay-at-home parent, of having put everyone else's needs ahead of their own. It's difficult for many of us to say, hey, it's my turn - I need to concentrate on myself for a while. But it's an important first step on the road to living a healthier life.

As I say, although I deliver this message each week, I don't always "walk the walk." As a school employee as well as a WW leader, I find myself putting others first a lot. So one of the best decisions I've made in the past year in the category of "taking care of myself" was my decision to give up my Wednesday night WW class and devote that evening to me. Just allowing myself that one selfish evening in the middle of the working week has really helped my overall mental health!

Although I have been continuing my Wednesday nights out, I haven't been recording my dining experiences of late, mainly because I've been revisiting some I've already reported on - and enjoying them! Terminal Brew House, the Meeting Place, Niko's ...

But tonight I went someplace "new." I actually had eaten at Carrabba's when they first opened (which I was stunned to learn from my server was 7 years ago!) I hadn't been overwhelmed - it was kind of pricey for what I got, and the portions were superhuman sized. But our local paper recently profiled them in their Dining Out section, and I decided it was try to give them another go. So glad I did.

Carrabba's has built their restaurant around the open kitchen. You can see all the action wherever you sit, which is fun. But you can also sit practically IN the kitchen - as you can see above. And that's where I chose to dine tonight - I was actually sitting on that far left stool.

It was the perfect spot for a solo diner. It was very entertaining to watch all the action in the kitchen - the squabbling among the wait staff, the kitchen manager berating the lead cook for too much theatricality, the jockeying for position among the line cooks - nearly a reality show! I was there fairly early, so the kitchen wasn't too busy - but you could see the food prep - the mixing of the pastas and sauce, the chickens grilling, the mussels being heaped in a bowl. The chef even let me sample a few dishes!

I chose one of their signature dishes, the Chicken Bryan:

I had the 1/2 portion - so only a half chicken breast, which was perfect for me. It's covered in goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes - yum! - with a side of cavatappi amatriciana. Very nicely seasoned, and the two dishes really complemented each other well. I started with a tossed "Italian" salad, with freshly baked bread and dipping sauce. And I also sipped a "nice Chianti"(!). It was a really lovely meal!

I was glad I re-discovered Carrabba's. A fun place for a solo diner, a really nice meal that wasn't too much or too expensive. It will definitely not be another seven years before I visit again!

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