Dining Out Paleo: Gino's Italian Restaurant

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo

Every Thursday I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to my Paleo lifestyle and avoid grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

Recently, my sweet husband had a hankering for Italian food.  And as much as I wanted to dive face first into a sweet zesty pepperoni pizza, I knew exactly how uncomfortable and miserable I would feel in the moments and days following that type of indulgence.  But I was up for a dining out Paleo challenge.  Matt selected a little Italian restaurant that he used to visit when he was a wee little boy, hidden on the east side of Lancaster, California:  Gino's Italian Restaurant.

We walked in and were seated in a dimly lit booth where we were serenaded by your stereotypical Italian restaurant music.  I started my order with water.  Safe enough!  Then I proceeded to scour the menu for the most meaty and vegetabley options I could find.  Challenging, of course, but not impossible!

(I apologize in advance for the picture quality - like I mentioned... dim lighting.  And iPhone.  Never the best combination.)

Here is what I ordered:

I started with the Antipasto Salad for One (although I was tempted to get the larger size).  Mixed greens with sliced meats, cheese, beans, artichokes, olives, and pepperoncini.  I asked for the salad without cheese, beans, and olives.  The first two for the sake of my health, the last one for the sake of my taste buds.  I just really don't like olives.

The salad was served with a bottle of homemade vinaigrette.  It was delicious.

In an effort to round up a heartier portion of protein, I also ordered the Sausage & Peppers.  Grilled sausage and peppers topped with parmigiano.  Of course, I asked our server if the kitchen could prepare the dish with just the meat and peppers, no parmigiano.  He (and the kitchen) happily obliged.

Since it was a pretty hearty helping of meat and veggies, Matt shared the sausage dish with me in addition to his meal.  Overall, I was satisfied with my choices.  Everything was very flavorful.  Service was accommodating and patient, which is hard to find sometimes.

I will admit, it is hard to walk into an Italian restaurant and not order every feel-good carb laden dish on the menu... but it is an even better feeling walking out without GI issues, bloat, and an immediate appointment with the nearest restroom.  

There ya, go friends!  It IS possible to eat out Italian and Paleo!

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