Sunday, May 16, 2021 – What’s on the Menu for Cheat Days
Welcome to my Self-Care Sunday’s second B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog post. Last week, I discussed the top five reasons self-care is important, followed by 10 tips you can do to maintain proper self-care, and top five ways you can support those special females in your life. This week, I am going to let you in on a sneak peek of what self-care Sunday looks like for me using the ten tips I covered last week, starting with my CHEAT DAY!
Cheat Day Favorite Meals From All Over USA
Cheat days are one day a week I allow myself to go glutton, the rest of the days I eat Keto-style foods (meats, greens, cheeses, sugar-free snacks). ALL day on my designated cheat day, I allow myself to eat ANYTHING I want, I really plan ahead for this. I also like to try new cuisine I have never eaten. On my drive across the USA, I had the time of my life eating the best cuisine in all corners of the nation. Here are my top cheat day meals and where I got them! Bon Appetit!
My Favorite Breakfast – Pancake Pot Pie by Ellen’s, Dallas, TX
While staying in downtown Dallas in November 2020, I stumbled across this brunch spot, Ellen’s and found their Pancake Pot Pie that is mixed with sweet, savory, and a little crunch. Layers of thin pancakes with scrambled eggs, hickory-smoked bacon, sweet maple cream sausage gravy, hash browns, cheddar cheese, and a side of maple syrup. That was certainly all the best breakfast fixin’s in one dish that I will never forget.
My Favorite Lunch – Lobster BLT Sandwich by Luke’s Lobster, Portland, ME
During my trip to Portland Maine in late September 2020, I stayed with a friend who told me it was too cliche to get a whole Maine lobster and suggested I try some cuisine with lobster instead. I am always down to try something new and because it was around noon I didn’t want anything too heavy. I opted for this Lobster BLT Sandwich from Luke’s Lobster that was better than I had expected. The lobster and bun were lightly buttered, bacon was thick and plentiful, lettuce was crisp, and the tomato was ripe . I enjoyed this sandwich with a side of fries and it was one of the first listed on my top meals around the USA.
My #1 Favorite Appetizer (discontinued) – Gator Nachos by Mambo’s, New Orleans, LA
These alligator nachos were my #1 food on my trip across the USA! I visited New Orleans for a historic Mardi Gras, February 16, 2021, that had record-breaking freezing temperatures, some Covid-19 closures of a few bars, and the main parade was canceled along with other celebratory events. In the heart of the French Quarter, I found this fantastic cajun restaurant that has the only rooftop bar on Bourbon Street! I wanted to try something I never ate and stumbled across their alligator nachos. Some people likened them to chicken nachos, but I would argue they had a very buttery flavor that made them keen to taste like lobster nachos (I wonder who serves those?). These gator nachos were smothered with melted cheddar and fondue cheese, making it ooey, gooey, crunchy, and a fabulous snack! *Unfortunately, I could not find the gator nachos on the current menu to link them here, but if you are in NOLA and looking for a great local restaurant I highly recommend visiting Mambo’s. I will wait to go back to NOLA when they put their gator nachos back on the menu, maybe I should write a letter to them? :p
My #2 Favorite Appetizer – Lobster Poutine by Smack Shack, Minneapolis, MN
While the Midwest may not be well known for their seafood, Minneapolis’ Smack Shack may change that. They smother their dishes with steamy seafood and my favorite is their Lobster Poutine. I visited Minnesota for the last two weeks of March 2021, and I came back here a few times because it was sooooo goooood! This tasty appetizer comes in a large skillet with loads of lobster, medium cut Cajun fries, Taleggio gravy (cheese fondue w/lobster sauce), and melted cheese curds. This is my #2 favorite food in the USA. If you have a BIG appetite for seafood, this is the place for you in Minnesota.
My Favorite Dinner – Texas-Style BBQ by Hard Eight BBQ, Texas
During mid November 2020, I had most unique and authentic dinner experience since attending a Hawaiian luau in 2017. Hard Eight BBQ serves some southern hospitality alongside their fresh smoked meats straight from the Pit Master to my plate. When I walked in on the dirt floor around two pits, I was able to choose from the BBQ board to build the plate to my own satisfaction. I ordered some ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and a baked potato with the fixin’s then paid for my tray. Next, I walked into the large open seating area with long picnic tables where there were more concessions for side dishes, desserts, and beverages. All the dips, condiments, plasticware and napkins were wrapped in plastic into single servings. This entire restaurant was a serve yourself style. If you have a BIG appetite for meat, this is the place for you in Texas.
My Favorite Dessert – Pecan Flan by The Original Mexican Restaurant, San Antonio, Texas
One of my favorite places that I visited on my USA drive was in the beginning of February 2021 at San Antonio Riverwalk, San Antonio, Texas. The San Antonio River winds through the city in a series of canals where you can take boat rides, shop, and eat at a variety of restaurants. After an amazing day of touring and eating, I wanted to relax outside by the river and top off my day with a sweet dessert. I was craving flan de leche or flan (a light custard treat topped with caramel), and I seriously walked to four different Latin restaurants in search of some. Not only did I find some flan, I found the best I have ever eaten at The Original Mexican Restaurant. What made this the best were the caramelized pecans that topped the homemade custard. This pecan flan created a party in my mouth with sweet, creamy flavors, and crunchy sensations! Sadly, I could not find this dessert on their menu, but I found the flan by asking their manager who said they always have it available.
Thank you for reading,
Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.