Many people are interested in what eat now that I’ve reached my goal weight and ask if I will ever go back to eating starch, sugar or drink alcohol. I won’t – I’m just too frightened of undoing the good work and, what’s more, I no longer crave carbs and don’t want to introduce something I was once addicted to back into my system.
There seems to be a lot of interest in what I and those who follow a low-carb, high protein diet can order at restaurants. I like to order steak and salad.
Recently, at Belthazar at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, for one of their signature Chicago-cut steaks, I was thrilled to see that the menu price is for steak alone and the extras are, well, extra. I prefer this to feeling I’m missing out by skipping the starch. Too many restaurants include creamed spinach and butternut as their standard vegetable fare which is a pity as butternut is too high in carbohydrate for me to eat.
The Chicago cut is a rib-eye steak on the bone and it has a lot of flavour. Although my bloodlust is usually only satisfied when red juices are dripping down my jowls, at Belthazar they recommend the Chicago cut be cooked to medium. This is the temperature at which the gelatinous connective tissues break down. It can be very stringy to eat otherwise.
All steaks are grilled with a basting of Olive oil and optional pepper crust (which I had) or what they call their House Basting which is a tangy BBQ-sauce. As sauces go, good, well-aged meat such as they serve, can do without but, as I felt like spoiling myself, I ordered the béarnaise (R26) – a butter and egg-yolk emulsion with a tang of tarragon vinegar. Most other sauces are thickened with flour which I try to avoid, even in small doses. Their sauces are sufficient for two.
At R279 for 500g this isn’t an inexpensive cut but I think it is worth it. There are times when what I really want to eat is a slab of delicious meet. When this happens again I’ll even consider 700g for R405 or the 1kg cut for R520 remembering that leftover steak makes a great lunch, thinly sliced into a salad. Incidentally, my top-tip for entertaining lavishly but cost effectively is to oven roast a whole beef fillet and freeze leftovers.
I like to order a salad as my dessert course. I find it hard to watch others eating while I’m not and a Caesar salad (R76) satisfies both my need for crispy greens and cheese. I ask them to hold the croutons and, while I prefer the anchovies to be incorporated into the sauce, theirs was among the better Caesars I’ve had.
A tomato cocktail makes a good no-alcohol drink for someone who also avoids fizzy drinks and fruit juices. I had to have red dripping from my mouth one way or the other.