Here at our home base in south Florida, local Alchemist Eating clients often request restaurant recommendations.
You know—restaurants that make it easy to eat paleo-primal. Places that feature farm-to-table dining perhaps…or embrace the philosophy and practice of “slow food“eating…or, at the very least, offer local and organic options.
Sadly, we kind of come up short…offering a few passable options along with a handful of tips for eating out paleo.
There are likely some amazing local joints we’re missing, but we tend to eat in unless traveling. Plus, paleo-friendly, farm-to-table dining isn’t exactly all the rage here—particularly compared to someplace like Sonoma, where we took our last holiday.
So…for this week’s cook-up, we decided to daydream.
For day-dreaming inspiration, we turned to the sort of paleo-primal eatery we wish we had locally: Blooming Beets, in Boulder.
I mean, their website headlines: “Delicious. Nutritious. Primal.” Can it get any better?
And their food is grass-fed, farm-fresh and organic…plus grain-free, gluten-free and free of canola oil.
That last one is a huge exception in the restaurant world. Our efforts to avoid cheap, inflammatory canola oil is a top reason we don’t eat out more. It’s everywhere—even the Whole Foods hot bar.
Last time we were in Boulder, this place wasn’t around—but you can bet we’ll swing by on our next visit.
Meanwhile, we used their menu as the stuff of inspired meal planning.
Ever play this game? It’s simple—and fun.
Find the online menu of a paleo-primal spot; pick things that sound tasty but not impossibly complicated; search the web for similar renditions; and there you are.
An at-home night out, paleo style.
Now, if only we had someone to wait on us and wash dishes. (Our siamese cats seem decidedly uninterested.)
So…this week’s line-up finds inspiration in Blooming Beets dishes, featuring at-home takes on selections from the appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert sections of their menu.
We made some adjustments for the sake of ease (and, um, lack of culinary expertise)…plus omitted or minimized sugary-sweet additions (totally fine for an occasional night out, but not what we eat every day).
The result looks like this:
Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with cashews
Back when I couldn’t cook (uh, like 2 years ago), bacon-wrapped dates were my go-to dish for potlucks and book clubs. So easy, but people LOVE them. So sweet, might as well be candy (in truth, we consider them as such and don’t eat much at once, right Randy?).
Here’s one way to do it—but there are many, many versions at the end of a “bacon-wrapped-date” google search. We’ll be stuffing ours with whole cashews; Blooming Beets stuffs their’s with herbed cashew butter (now that’s what I’m talking about).
(Bacon-wrapped dates, Crossfit Fenrir)
You know what else is good? Bacon-wrapped asparagus and bacon-wrapped scallops. Have temporary insanity and don’t like bacon? Can also use prosciutto. (Turkey bacon’s fine too, if you avoid pork.)
(Penderson’s Uncured No Sugar Hickory Smoked Bacon)
Chilled cucumber-avocado gazpacho
We were searching for a “sweet-n-sour cucumber soup” (like the one at Blooming Beets), but went with this gazpacho from Elana’s Pantry (though we’ll be increasing the onions to 1/4 cup and sautéing them in coconut oil with ginger before combining everything; subbing lime for lemon and cayenne for chili powder; adding a handful of flat parsley, a dash of cumin, 2 capfuls of of extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of coconut aminos; and reducing the water to 2 espresso shots worth).
This soup was actually one of the first things I started cooking when I started, well, cooking. Super-duper easy (with or without my modifications). And tastes amazing alongside chicken, burgers, steak, lettuce wraps…you name it. We like ours so thick we could eat it with a fork, so add more water for thinner consistency.
Really keen on getting your “sweet-n-sour”? Here’s a Thai cucumber salad option that’d do the trick (though we’d reduce the honey to 1 teaspoon).
(Cucumber-avocado soup, with modifications)
Beets and greens salad with pears and pecans
Can never seem to get enough beets. We roast them weekly, so will be throwing some in with whatever greens are organic and fresh…plus a few slices of pear and a handful of pecans, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.
Blooming Beets features candied pecans and cranberries in their version, which I’m sure Randy would prefer. Too. Bad.
Smoky spiced burgers served with wilted greens and sweet potato puree
Nothing like a burger. Seriously my favorite food. Extra-rare. (And what I most craved after 10 years of eating vegetarian/sometimes vegan.)
We went with this one, because we like the Civilized Caveman, and we’ll make up the sweet potato puree as we go along.
Blooming Beets serves their’s with “Cashew Powergreens.” Not sure what those are, exactly. But I want some.
(Smoky Burgers with Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce, Civilized Caveman Cooking.com)
Chia seed pudding with berries and raw coconut butter
Though we’ve recommended chia pudding to clients seeking pudding or oatmeal alternatives, this will be our first time making it ourselves. Seems like a lot of seeds.
(Apple Tartlet Chia Breakfast Pudding, PaleOMG.com)
Oh, and Blooming Beets adds caramel. We do not. (Sorry.)
But…we will top it off with some berries and raw coconut butter. Have you tried this yet? You should.
And, of course, we’ll be supplementing this dining-in fare with less spectacular stand-bys:
- Oven-roasted organic chicken breasts
- Smoked salmon (Whole Foods brand is sugar free)
- Lots of veggies (raw or sautéed in coconut oil)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Oven-roasted, coconut-oil-coated beets, carrots, mushrooms and garlic
- Walnuts and macadamias
- Berries and apples
So…some eat-in paleo dining…plus some simple staples.
Where do you go for a nice, healthy dinner out?
Know of any good paleo-primal restaurants in south Florida or elsewhere? Please share them in the comments!