Category Archives: Restaurants

Low Carb on the Road: Subway Salads

image  I was heading to work today when I realized that I had forgotten my lunch. I stopped in to Subway and ordered a salad.

Subway will make any sandwich into a salad, so in the amount of time it takes to stand there and get a sandwich made, you can get something without bread, instead. They offer two types, a regular salad with your stuff piled on and a chopped salad, where they put everything in a bowl and cut it up to bits with special knife. I prefer the former, while Mr. Incredible likes the latter. I read online that a good chopped salad has little bits of everything in every bite.

Tonight, I got a double meat BMT salad with vinegar and oil and S&P.  It wasn’t cheap, it was about eight bucks, but it was really filling.

So keep that in mind when you’re out and about, Subway is a good place to stop in for some quick, LC meals.

Low Carb on the Road: Fast Food at Hardee’s and Captain D’s

Thursday morning, I left out early with my youngest on a short day trip. Ok, maybe it wasn’t so short. I don’t have a strong concept of time, so my day trips usually turn into “all day” trips. Anyway, we hopped in the van and headed east, towards the Land of Lotto.

See, Mr. Incredible has taken to giving me scratch tickets for Christmas (which I LOVE), so every now and then, we go exchange the winners for more tickets. It’s a fun drive, it gets us out of the house, there are some cool thrift stores between here and there, and we stop at a Kroger. There is no Kroger in Birmingham, and they have a really nice selection of LC dairy products. The whole trip is a win.

When we are on these trips, sometimes we stop for food. I usually get him something, because he’s in that phase where he is constantly starving, but I wanted something this time. So, I stopped at Hardee’s.

Hardees will make you a burger and low carb it. Really, “Low Carb” is on the menu. Where most places will make you a burger and leave the bun off and hand you a fork, Hardee’s goes the extra mile with theirs. They wrap it in a bunch of extra lettuce leaves, then they wrap paper that doesn’t dissolve onto your food around it, so you can actually pick it up and eat it without a bun and without making a mess of your fingers.

This is a pic of mine:

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I love a good double cheeseburger. This is the monster burger. It’s got 3 slices of cheese, 2 layers of bacon, mayo, and two patties. It’s so big, I couldn’t even fit my mouth around it. It costs around 7 bucks but I wasn’t hungry all day after that. I do eat slowly, and I ate on it all the way to Carrolton.

On on our way home, he was kind of hungry (again)  so we popped into Captain D’s and grabbed two shrimp skewers. Captain D’s has steamed broccoli on their menu and also green beans (steer clear of fast food coleslaw, most have sugar) but their grilled menu is where they really shine. They have a couple of types of grilled fish, but they also have shrimp skewers. For 2.29, you get six seasoned shrimp on a stick and they usually do a great job of not overcooking the shrimp till they are rubbery. This day was no exception. The shrimp were great! I snagged one. These make a good snack and decent enough road food.

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Eating on the go is sometimes necessary for some of us. Just remember that most places have options, you just have to study the menu. These two are some of my very favorites, and maybe they will be yours, too.

 

Random Thoughts on Mr. Wang’s

We have gone back to Mr. Wang’s in Homewood, AL twice since my first post about them. The second time, we sat in the same spot as we did the first time and our girl goes “So, is Saturday going to be y’all’s day?” Which I thought was actually cute because, yeah, Saturday is probably going to be our day.

This past weekend, we went in and she called from the back “Hi! Go ahead and take your table!” and since the same table was empty, we took it. I really haven’t experienced that kind of atmosphere in a restaurant since we moved here from Arkansas, where we had a place we went and the manager would sometimes come to our table and sit and visit while we ate our dinner.

Everyone got their food and we sat down. This time, they had those little thread noodles on the bar, and I really, really love those. They had just a little curry powder in them, enough to make them flavored but not spicy. I got the youngest to eat some, and he said they’re one of his new favorite things. I ate a few, even if they are carb.
Sorry, no pics this time, I’m a slacker.

At one point during our meal, Superman was talking about his jaw teeth hurting and I told him it is probably time to have his wisdom teeth removed. They mentioned it at the Sparks dental clinic several months ago. He started to immediately panic. In a little bit, our girl walked over and asked him why he was upset and he told her. She calmly explained the procedure to him and reassured him that he will feel no pain when it is done and that she had hers removed and it wasn’t so bad. By the time she was finished, he was no longer worried about it and maybe even looking forward to it hahaha

A Jedi, she is.

One of the things about this place, they are not afraid to make fun of you and they can take it if you make fun back. So if you go, take your sense of humor.

You should check out their website at MrWangsBuffet and see their menu. They have some of their recipes posted and also some jokes that require a disclaimer. You’ve been warned!

Mr Wang's on Urbanspoon

Odenville, Alabama’s Louie’s Pickles and why we love them

Nestled in a small strip mall in Odenville, Alabama, you will find a place called Louie’s Pickles. Last week, we headed out that way to try out their sandwiches and so the youngest could check out the pickle shop.

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I really love this picture…

So we set out on 411 from Moody. In case you’re wondering, from the Moody exit on I-20, you want to head towards Odenville and go almost 10 miles. Almost, because it is something like 9 point something close to 10. The strip mall is small and on the left and it is almost right across the street from Fred’s. They have a big sign on the awning, and this is in the front, by the road…

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Not a great pic, I know, but I am only using my iPhone these days because my digital camera is so old the batteries only hold enough charge for one image. So, Superman snapped this pic as an afterthought from the window of my sexy mini van on our way out of the driveway.

We actually arrived at Louie’s at 1:30 PM. I had heard they had remodeled a bit to make room for their restaurant but we hadn’t been in yet. The first thing I noticed was that they grow peppers in the area in front.

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So we walked inside. The place was packed with people, it was a little noisy, and smelled divine,, like Love. I knew immediately that YKW wasn’t going to be able to manage, but the lady behind the counter, whose name I believe is Becky, remembered him from his first visit back in May-ish.  I told her that we were going to leave and come back in an hour or so. See, Louie’s is not a big place, and I counted the seating there, it seats 26. Because most of the tables were full, even though 26 isn’t a large crowd, it was large enough to appear full for the space.

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So, leave we did. When we got back an hour later, it was just us. Mid afternoon is always a good time for us.

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At Louie’s, they let you try a pickle slice to see if you like their product.
The left hand side of the place is lined up with buckets with lids that they serve from. You can buy pickles by the pint, quart, or gallon but they’re not limited to pickles only. They offer cherry peppers, green tomatoes (I forgot to try, but I love green tomato relish…), okra, and even kraut.  I’m not a big fan of kraut, but the husband is…

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They even have pickles for you hot sauce fans…

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They call these “Suicide”
Guess who didn’t try one?
Guess who did…

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Those are your basic XXX hot…

They also sell wholes.

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The boys ordered some meatball subs while they stood around, admiring the pickle tubs and chatting with the employees.  The older boy spent some time teaching his brother things about pickles. I had to pay attention to that, because sometimes he pulls facts out of his hat…

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While they talked, I did some exploring.
Louie’s used to have a large selection of artisan hot sauces that Superman loved but they appear to be limited now to this selection.

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You’re free to sample a taste with the little wooden spoons…
I tried the steak sauce and the BBQ sauce and they were both fantastic. Since I don’t like heat, I skipped the others and just took the boy’s word for it that the Electric wing sauce is the best ever.

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I do not know what this means, but I am afraid of it…

I also found these while browsing…local farm molasses and cane syrup from Todd Syrup Farm in Headland, Alabama which might be worth a day trip to go visit.

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They got their sandwiches, and since I had ordered them to go, they were wrapped in foil. We decided to eat in, anyway, so they just unwrapped them and ate. I took a bite and they were really good. That’s when I started chatting with the pretty lady in the back. She was busy rolling out meatballs and told me that not only do they make them in-house but they grind their own meat for them as well.

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In the meantime, I needed some info about carb counts of the bread so the boy could dose his insulin, but my phone was on data lockdown at the time, because I only had .12 of data before AT&T was going to charge me an extra $15. They actually googled up the carb counts for me.  Words can’t say how much I appreciated that.

mLouie’s is open M-Sat from 10 to 8 and you can check out their website at Louiespickles.com

They have a big screen inside so nobody misses the game.
The sandwiches arrive looking beautiful, the place smells great, the atmosphere is friendly and accommodating.
The whole time we were there, they stayed steadily busy.
If you like them on facebook, you can follow their limited edition items, too.
They do party trays!

If you’re going through Odenville, or just want to try them out, head out and get a sandwich and some pickles. It’s a great opportunity to support a locally owned, small business.

Louie's Pickles on Urbanspoon

Genghis Grill in Hoover, Alabama aka Superman’s favorite restaurant

I asked my eldest child today which superhero he would be if he could pick. He picked Superman. I used to refer to him and his brother as Thing 1 and Thing 2, but a crazy person went on about it one time, I just can’t do it anymore because every time I do it now, it reminds me of that crazy person. It really only takes one person with a stick up their butt to ruin something.

Thus, he is Superman and he LOVES Genghis Grill and so does his brother. If you haven’t been there before, it is a “Mongolian” grill, though I’m not totally sure what that means. They are a menu and sit down, order restaurant. This is at times hard for Superman, because of his autism, he has to ask about each and every ingredient in a menu dish and leave things off and out. Genghis Grill is different. They have an option called “Build a Bowl” and you go down a line loaded with fresh ingredients and fill up a bowl of your choice of three sizes.

We have been to the location at the Summit before, and we really like it, but they didn’t have any seafood offerings. Mr. Incredible said he ate at the Hoover location one day with his coworkers and that they had shrimp. So, we went to Hoover, but there was no shrimp at 3:30 PM on a Saturday afternoon. I mean, come on, the Bama game was on. We like going to eat mid-afternoon. The restaurants are usually slow and low stimulation. It only took me 18 years to figure out that tip.

So first we went in, and the hostess tried to sit us at a table that was kind of sticky and had some rice on it. So, while I was standing there, wondering if they eat at sticky tables in Mongolia, our server came up and said “Don’t put them there, this other table is clean.” and we were all “Whew” or at least I was. The boys don’t care. I mean, it’s all I can do to keep them from using their shirts like they think they’re napkins.

Here she is, our server. She told me I could post this pic. Her name was Dhana.  She was actually very attentive and took good care of us. I didn’t see her stop working while we were there. She was wiping things, taking care of people, etc the whole time. I’m glad she had our table, everyone else seemed like they were unhappy to be there, even the couple across from us, who only looked up from their phones once their entire meal.

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I took a few pics but not many, because I’m new at this and felt a little self conscious. Here is a side pic of the bar.

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I didn’t get a pic of the meat bar, again, I was feeling a little self-conscious.  We’ll be back, though. Superman loves the place and they do have a reward system where you buy 9 bowls, get the tenth free. You also get a freebie on your birthday.

Fill up a bowl, you start with meat. Then there are spices, maybe 20 different kids, like curry, steakhouse blend, garlic, etc. Then you add your veggies. Honestly, being a low carber, I love this place as well. Meat and veggies! You can heap up your bowl, too.  Here is mine…

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After your veggies, there is a bar loaded with sauces. They have tiny, disposable spoons so you can sample to your liking. You get your sauce and go over to the grill, where you tell the grillmaster if you would like egg and what your choice of noodle is. They have Udon, rice, tortillas, pasta, some other things, and also shredded cabbage! I love cabbage noodles. totally low carb! You could even make yourself a vegetarian bowl there, as tofu is on the bar, or you could skip the tofu if you don’t  eat soy.

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He was cooking our food there. The boys loved watching him but I went and sat down. They bring you your food when you’re ready.

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Genghis has a bar with mixed drinks, and even some local craft beers available they also have some big screens and of course, as I said before, they had the Bama/Gators game on. You know, the one we won. See, I’m a fan of both teams, provided neither one is playing the Razorbacks, and then I’m always a Hog fan.

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All in all, we had a good experience. The boys always like it, Superman loves being able to control every single thing that goes into his dish. It’s quiet and not crowded during off peak times, the lighting is low, so it’s a good, low stim place. He is always very relaxed when we go and relaxed when we leave. And really, for us, that’s more important than fancy.

Genghis Grill on Urbanspoon

Mr. Wang’s Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama

Since posting this, we have been back to this place not once, but twice. See our update here.

My husband occasionally eats lunch in Homewood at a place called Mr. Wang’s.  He really loves the place. They have a lunch and dinner buffet and also takeout available. I went with him once, and it was very busy.  He says it is not uncommon for them to have a packed house at lunch.

We never took the boys because they don’t have pizza on the buffet but the eldest has been very interested in trying new things lately. Saturday afternoon, I felt like having some Chinese and I do like a buffet. I like trying bits of lots of things and, since I eat low-carb, a buffet is a pretty fair option for finding acceptable items. I pulled up the Mr. Wangs website at http://mrwangsbuffet.com/ and let him browse for a while.

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When he saw their menu, he saw some old favorites on it, like General Tso’s chicken and decided that he would order off the menu if he didn’t care for the buffet offerings. The last few years have been kind of rough for him, trying to find a place to go out to. He loves restaurants but has become intolerant of crowds. This has ruled out most buffets. He used to love buffets enough to tolerate the crowds, but autism tends to evolve in some kids. We’ve just learned to be more adaptable, ourselves. He LOVES restaurants that have websites. He likes to look beforehand and get an idea about what he might want to eat there.

So we decided to go to Mr. Wangs, which is Mr. Incredible’s favorite Chinese buffet.

We picked a seat and ordered our drinks and went up to get our food. The drinks were at the table when we got back. I always get hot tea, unless I forget my splenda drops.  Here’s my plate:

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In all the Chinese places I’ve been to, they have never brought me ice water to go with my tea. They’ve also never used a pretty pot. It’s always been a stainless steel pot. In fact, the last time I got tea, the place we were at just brought me a cup with hot water and a tea bag in it. I wish I was kidding. Instead, the server at Mr. Wangs brought me this.

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They use Jasmine tea. It’s like drinking flowers. I love it so much. The boys each took a sip, though, and they were like “Gross. It’s like drinking flowers.” I, on the other hand, will order it forever.  The eldest said “I guess girls must LIKE drinking flowers…”

Everyone was eating and the boys were both trying new things (FANTASTIC!) and the eldest even said the curry chicken was one of the best things he has ever eaten. The hubs filled up his plate with his favorites, he’s not big on trying new things. I can’t remember a time when we went somewhere that I didn’t try something new. I always have little bits of this and that. The curry chicken was really good, the crab angels (I can’t believe they don’t call them Wangoons…) were good, the crispy green beans a tiny bit spicy, everything I took a bite of was good. The egg drop soup was some of the best I’ve had. I like that it was more than just eggs and broth. I always add a little soy sauce and usually dip my food in it.

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One thing I liked about their buffet was that all of the hot dishes were clearly labeled and they even have a good selection of MSG free items, also clearly labeled.  They also have some vegan selections. The older boy specifically mentioned that he liked the fact that the server didn’t lurk about, staring at us while we ate. She kept a watchful eye on our drinks, and kept the plates cleared as well.

Mr. Wangs has a bar, you can order beer, wine and mixed drinks. Those drinks are not included with the buffet pricing, of course.

For their dessert selections, they have pudding and jello and fruit and ice cream and fried donuts but I didn’t eat dessert, so I didn’t look as closely as I should have.  For years, the oldest has gone up and made his brother an ice cream, which is sometimes weird, sometimes crazy. We have seen them with brownies, donuts, cookies, gummy bears, etc mixed in. This time, he used a fried cinnamon donut, twist ice cream, and then he put sugar sprinkles on top. I’m just glad I don’t feed them that way at home.

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We had a very good experience there. The time of day we picked wasn’t very busy, and there wasn’t any noise and it wasn’t crowded. Everyone dubbed it their “New favorite place” except for the husband, it was already his.

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We will definitely go back. I just hope they always bring my tea in a pretty pot.

Mr Wang's on Urbanspoon