Gina sent Kate and me an urgent message Tuesday that she needed help with desserts left from a family event this weekend. Kate and I are loyal friends, so we came to the rescue last night after salads 😀 We each had a slice of tiramisu and a slice of chocolate chocolate cake:
These desserts came with a story from Gina (as does pretty much everything when it comes to Gina!). In fact, because these desserts sent Gina into such an extreme state of expansion on Saturday night, her husband dictated that her punishment should be to confess the gluttony here for everyone to see. Since I’m clearly not one to censor tales of expansion and I’m completely in favor of using indulgence-induced discomfort as a learning experience rather than as a source of guilt, I agreed to assist. Without further ado, here’s Gina’s cautionary tale:
I arrived in downtown Philadelphia late Saturday afternoon with Chris’s whole family. We had plans to go to dinner with my brother and my parents at Maggiano’s at 7pm. Here’s how the restuarant describes their style on the website:
“It’s true that we’re not exactly shy with our portions here at Maggiano’s Little Italy®. But that’s because we love for people to share a taste here and there. However, if you really want to experience an Italian-American tradition, order from our dedicated family style menu. Everything is priced per person, and the plates won’t stop coming until you’re done. There’ll be plenty to go around and everyone gets to sample a variety of delicious, Chef-prepared dishes.”
I was feeling a bit hungry around 5pm, but I knew that a big dinner was in store so I didn’t eat anything. We went to our hotel happy hour around 5:30 pm, and they had a little booklet of all kinds of fun sounding drinks, all for only $5! I picked out a Raspberry Mojito and proceeded to have two before we left for the restaurant. That was mistake #1: two Raspberry Mojitos on an almost empty stomach!
Once at the restaurant, we opted for family-style dining and got to pick out two appetizers, two salads, two pastas, two main entrees, and two desserts! My dad and I were the designated food selectors, making me even more excited. Of course, I selected all things I would like: mistake #2 … although there’s not much I don’t like! We picked fried calamari and mozzarella marinara for appetizers, Caesar salad and Maggiano’s salad (Iceberg and romaine lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, crispy Prosciutto, red onions, tossed in our signature House Dressing) for the two salads, Rigatoni D (Rigatoni pasta, herb roasted boneless chicken, mushrooms and onions, tossed in a light Marsala cream sauce) and Baked Ziti and Sausage for the pastas, and Chicken Parm and Chicken Francese for the entrees (anything besides chicken cost extra per person).
When the food came out, OH MY! I really should have taken pictures. They brought out HUGE portions of the salads and appetizers first. I had some of everything. The pastas and entrees came out shortly after we were done with the appetizers. I, of course, took some of everything! I think more time in between courses also would have helped me. Again, there were two platters of each chicken and I think one big bowl of each pasta. The Rigatoni D was my favorite so I had second helpings of that: mistake #3! By the way, they gave us so much, we couldn’t eat it all, but if you do finish one thing, they happily bring out more!
We waited to pick the desserts until after we were finished everything else, but again, the dessert selector was me! I was so full from all that food, but who can pass up dessert when it comes with the meal? I selected Chocolate Zuccotto Cake (chocolate cake layered with Sambucca chocolate mousse; iced with chocolate frosting and dusted with cocoa powder).
You should have seen the size of the pieces of cake! They brought out two plates of each dessert! I had a pretty large hunk of chocolate cake and some tiramisu.
Almost immediately after I finished dessert, the trouble started! My stomach was WAY OVEREXPANDED and started to hurt really badly. I had to get up and move around! I started making those overexpanded groans and told everyone I needed to head back to the hotel immediately. Luckily, the hotel was only a block away.
I was in so much over-expansion pain — I literally made myself sick from this meal! I do believe those Raspberry Mojitos played a part in this overexpansion tale … along with the three to four glasses of wine I drank during dinner. Alcohol plus overabundance of food led to a sick Gina! I had to stay in the room for about an hour while everyone else was downstairs in the hotel bar again, having drinks and socializing. UGH, What a mess I made of myself!
1.) Do not drink Raspberry Mojitos on an empty stomach.
2.) Do not let me pick out all the food at a family style restaurant.
3.) Ask for a smaller plate so I don’t eat such large portions of the family-style meal. Or at least exhibit more self-control over the portions I serve myself!
My brother would not stop making fun of me for the rest of the weekend! I recovered by Sunday morning, thank goodness. Anyway, that’s my cautionary tale of expansion. Hope that it never happens to you!
OK, I’m back!
Gina, thanks for sharing your tale and your lessons! I love Gina’s tale because it is such an honest account of her evening and how she felt. We all sometimes eat to the point of discomfort and, rather than responding to the expansion by making deals with herself to “run it all off” or “eat only vegetables for a week,” Gina reflected on what she could realistically do differently next time to (1) continue enjoying special food events while (2) maintaining physical comfort! In my opinion, Gina’s approach is the healthiest way to recover from extreme expansion, and it will have more significant and long-term benefits than a pity party or a crash diet. Gina, congratulations on a successful expansion recovery!
P.S. Unlike Gina, I was not yet desserted out last night when I got home and was desperately craving more chocolate. I heated the rest of the morning’s almond sunset tea and pulled two cookies out of the freezer for dunking:
The cookies hit the spot and left me perfectly satisfied 😀
What is your cautionary food tale?