Today, my family went out to celebrate my brother's and my birthday. I was quite excited to try the gluten free menu at Outback steakhouse, and it did not fail to please.
Contrary to my experiences at some restaurants with gluten free options, I actually had a difficult time deciding what to order, as there were so many good choices. As I also do not eat red meat or pork, often my choices are limited to plain grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. While that is not a bad option, it is always nice to be allowed the indulgence of indecision. While both the Grilled Chicken on the Barbie (BBQ grilled chicken) and the Norwegian Salmon sounded quite tempting, I settled on the Alice Springs Chicken®, described online as:
Chicken breast flame grilled and topped with sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon, melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar and finished with our honey mustard sauce. (Outback Menu)
I nixed the bacon and substituted Aussie Fries (not GF) for a baked potato. The strings of melted cheese blended perfectly with the sharp bite of the honey mustard and the slippery, chewy flesh of mushrooms.
My meal was complemented not only by a bottomless glass of cool, refreshing iced tea, but by the love and company of my parents, grandmothers, aunt and uncle, brother and his girlfriend. Without the anxiety of what I might eat that wouldn't make me sick, and knowing the wait- and kitchen staff were knowledgeable about my needs, I was able to sit back and simply enjoy my meal and conversation.
What birthday would be complete without a sweet treat? I asked to go to Outback, not just for the dinner options, but because they have a GF dessert. The Chococalte Thunder From Down Under® was a perfect end to a wonderful meal:
An extra generous pecan brownie is crowned with rich vanilla ice cream, drizzled with our classic warm chocolate sauce and finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream. A chocolate lover's dream. (Outback Menu)
And a dream it was. The first bite, warm and chewy, soaked with creamy melted ice cream and heavy, sweet whipped cream, had a "fresh form the oven, served with a hug from Grandma," feel to it. It was not hard to imagine that I was sitting around a kitchen table with my loved ones rather than in the middle of a public restaurant. I actually stopped for a moment, just tasting, closed my eyes and sighed. Happy Birthday to me.