I gave in.
Last night, I was tired, stressed, and probably looked like an old mop in a rusty bucket. When my husband said we should go out to dinner, I bundled up and headed to the car without a second thought.
When he suggested our old neighborhood stand-by Tex-Mex joint, I said sure.
These days, when the Tex-Mex craving hits, we tend to go to some of the pricier/trendier spots, because there, you can get good, fresh fish or prime beef and grilled veggies and do pretty well (if, like me, you’re going heavier on the protein/veggies side of the menu).
But the old school joints in Houston are sauce joints. What’s good on the menu are not the grilled meats or fish, but the enchiladas smothered in red or green gravy, or anything fried, then covered in cheese. In other words, comfort food.
And boy, did I need to be comforted. I ordered my former usual, La Paola, which is a taco al carbon with queso (beef in a flour tortilla with cheese on top), a chicken enchilada with red gravy (shredded chicken in a corn tortilla with red sauce), and rice and beans.
Refried beans, please, as if you need to ask.
By the time dinner arrived, although I was still hungry, I’d had time to reflect on what I had ordered. I decided not to regret it, but to eat it carefully.
I split open the taco al carbon and just ate the meat out of the middle. I took two small bites of the tortilla, but really small. I approached the enchilada the same way, dipping the chicken in the red sauce but avoiding the cheese. I mixed a little bit of rice with an even littler bit of beans, and ate three bites.
And that was enough.
I felt like I’d had a treat, but I hadn’t blown past my calorie limits beyond all reason.
What I really learned, too, is that the meat inside those delicious cheese-laden tortillas isn’t really all that good. I don’t think I would order La Paola again. It just won’t tempt me, and wouldn’t be comforting.
Success! I can be comfortable around my old comfort foods and not worry about the power they used to have over me. The ones at that restaurant, anyway . . .