Restaurant Free: The AIP Vacationing Series

Duuuuck Faaat . . . Soooo Gooood

Have you ever truly, truly vacationed without eating out?  Tasting yummy new foods that, importantly, were made by someone else and do not involve you or your family members performing the clean-up duty is the name of the game on vacation, right?  Not having to lift a finger is vacation, right?  That's what I thought, too.  Here's how our vacation changed, because eating out was not on the table.

I thought about this topic alot while we were in Montreal.  I went on a business trip when I first started AIP where I prepared all my meals in a small hotel room kitchenette and I've been to overnight work conferences where I brought all my own food, but I had never tried to RELAX for a whole week and not rely on others to prepare my food.  My vacations in the past involved tons of restaurants or room service or cafes or bars or diners or all of the above.  Even camping vacations usually meant alot of processed foods (I guess there was a backpacking trip where I only ate apples, beef jerky, and cheese).  Was I going to come out the other end feeling rejuvenated or just sick of cooking?

Readers, it turned out better.  First, our mornings slowed waaaay down.  We slept in late and then while I took my time preparing breakfast, my husband and daughter took a short morning walk to a nearby coffee shop (my hubby likes a morning coffee).  By the time they returned, breakfast was ready and we all sat down together at the table and chatted while we ate.  We cleaned up the dishes slowly and then packed simple snacks if we were planning to be far from the apartment for the midday meal (we only needed a full lunch meal on our last day).  There was no rushing to get dressed and make it in time to some cafe that stops serving breakfast at 10 AM.  There was no long negotiations about who wants to eat at what place.  No waiting in line hoping to get a seat at the best breakfast joint in town.  (I've actually had that experience several times, especially in California.  Now when I think about standing in line with a hungry belly in the morning waiting to eat at some new place . . . I feel absurd.)

We leisurely left the apartment for the day's adventures no earlier than noon.  We would then wander to our destinations with full bellies.  I let my daughter have ice cream each evening, but she never once begged us to buy her other junky foods while we were out.  In vacations past this would have been a pretty big focus of every outing.  The middle of our day was not broken up by again discussing, debating, and then waiting to eat somewhere.  We didn't finish our meals and then wait forever to be noticed again by the wait staff so we could pay our bill.

Speaking of bills . . . we saved SO MUCH MONEY not eating out.  Honestly, if you want to relax on vacation, don't eat out.  I have never felt so at ease deciding to spend our bucks, because I wasn't worried the whole time that at the end of the day the costs would be doubled or even tripled with food expenses.  Our daughter wants to buy clothes in the shopping district?  "Of course you can sweetie, Mommy and Daddy didn't just blow $100 on lunch."  My husband wants to see an expensive planetarium show?  "That sounds rad!  Let's do it, since we don't have to calculate in another $300 for eating out."  We ended up spending around $30/day for groceries (some of which was wine).

We returned in the late afternoons, napped or read books and then unhurriedly prepared dinner.  No desperately making dinner reservations at that place that everyone "has to experience."  No rushing to finish the day's activities in time for the reservation, that will be promptly canceled if your party does not arrive on time.  At around 9 PM we would head out again and enjoy walking together and discovering the beauty of Old Town Montreal.  It was fantastic not planning our days around where to eat next.  The pace was perfect for our family and I found myself enjoying the chance to be creative and inspired in my cooking.

So what was on the dinner menu for our first full day in Montreal?  The meal included alot of my new favorite thing to cook with . . . duck fat.  Good quality duck fat can be purchased in the grocery store for a very reasonable price in Quebec (thank you Frenchy influence!).  I really took advantage of that and used it in every meal.  We had a roasted chicken and the entire thing had melted duck fat poured over it (recipe below).  Sweet Lord!  It was delicious.

Restaurant Free: The AIP Vacationing Series
Roasted Chicken w/ Duck Fat, Lemony Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Sweet Potato w/ Duck Fat & Fresh Sage fried in Duck Fat . . . I would have liked to work in more duck fat

Tomorrow will be a temporary break in the vacationing series, so we can return to the U.S. with an AIP Fourth of July menu.  On Thursday I'll head back to Montreal though, so we can explore what it means to take a technology break on vacation and of course I can show you more delectable dishes I prepared with duck fat.

Duck Fat Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken
1 large bunch whole fresh herbs of choice
Sea Salt
3-4 tbsps. duck fat, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse and pat dry your chicken.  Lay the fresh herbs in the bottom of the roasting pan (I used thyme).  Place chicken over herbs and salt generously.  Roast for approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Melt duck fat in pan and then carefully pour fat over entire chicken.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, carve, and serve.  INCREDIBLE!

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6 thoughts on “Restaurant Free: The AIP Vacationing Series

  1. On my vacation, I cooked 90% of my foods, but ate out a few meals as well. The disappointment in restaurant meals when you're on the AIP is that the food you have to order is soooooo boring! I love returning home and getting back to my flavorful home cooking. On the plus side, each restaurant went out of their way to meet my needs, having either the manager or chef come to my table to talk over my order. That made me feel very nurtured, and it was a nice surprise.

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  2. My gf and I just did a vacation this way in a hotel room with only a little fridge/microwave. It was incredibly easy and any food that you can steam will cook just fine in the microwave. We ate a lot of steamed potatoes with canned salmon and avocado. We ate out a couple times, but only because there was one restaurant that was amazing (Ted's Montana Grill) that was AMAZING with our food allergies, and we ordered the exact same meal every time.

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  3. CeCe

    I love this post, and although I have just started AIP, and luckily for me it's more of a gut-healing reason than a chronic reason, it definitely struck a chord. We travel a lot, and we learned that we would rather rent an apartment (from VRBO or other sites) than stay in a hotel because we do enjoy cooking for ourselves. With two growing boys, feeding them is an expensive proposition, and my younger son and I both require feeding soon after getting up, and waiting for a restaurant is just not a great way to start the day!

    We had a fantastic road trip last Christmas across New Zealand--we took a cooler as one of our "suitcases" and had kitchenettes in every stop, so we could carry milk, eggs, meat, with us and eat lunches out of it as well as we drove through NZ. I packed my younger son's clothes in the cooler on the flight, and included a good knife (rentals always have horrible knives) and can opener. It worked beautifully and kept us each to one (small) checked bag each!

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