What I ate in… Ft Lauderdale, FL

I travel frequently for work, so I thought it would be fun to do some “What I ate in….” type posts. I think these types of posts will be helpful for two reasons: one, to give you some good food recommendations if you happen to be traveling to these cities and two, to show how easy it is to eat well and make some modifications while dining out or traveling.

Unfortunately, for this time around, I thought of the idea for the post after the fact, so I don’t have many pictures. Hopefully the descriptions do it justice – I ate very well there!

Breakfast

Before any trip, I spend an obscene amount of time on Yelp—seeing what is close to where I’ll be staying, reading reviews and reviewing menus. That way, I have a good idea in my head of what I can plan to eat for the week. I was excited to see that Fresh First, a completely gluten free restaurant, was right near my hotel. I ended up walking here the first morning to get breakfast and coffee for my boss and me. It turns out that “right near” meant over a bridge that took 10 minutes to walk across—and I realized halfway up that it was a draw bridge. I only mildly started to panic.

Once there, I ordered us both the veggie omelet (free range eggs, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, and onions – no cheese) with a side of their scratch-made chicken and apple sausage and griddled red & sweet potatoes. For those of you new to or not familiar with the Paleo diet, potatoes typically fall into what I call the gray area: some people consider them Paleo and some people don’t. I’m on the side that is totally fine with potatoes in moderation. On Whole 30, all potatoes are “legal” as long as you cook them properly (i.e. McDonald’s french fries would be a “no”).

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Fresh First also made fresh pressed juices, so I got the “Orange” juice (carrot, orange, apple and ginger) along with a black cold brew coffee. I did take an Uber back to the hotel—mostly so our iced coffee wouldn’t melt (and so I wouldn’t get stuck walking across the draw bridge when it goes up. I mean how much warning do they give you on those things?!).

I was in Ft Lauderdale for a conference the remainder of the week, so for breakfast on the other days, I ate what was available to attendees: fresh fruit and vegetable frittatas (they did have goat cheese in them which is not Paleo, but I’ve found that goat cheese doesn’t bother me).

Both my boss and I need iced coffee to function. Unfortunately the hotel we were at did not have any (they had brewed coffee over ice, which is not the same thing) so, one night after dinner, we had our cab driver make an emergency pit stop at Walgreens to buy some bottles of unsweetened Starbucks iced coffee. We’d then stop at the pool bar in the morning to get cups/straws/ice. Problem solved!

In the airport for breakfast, I get a Turkey Bacon and Egg White breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and ask them to take the cheese off before toasting. I then toss the English muffin. I can usually find a fruit cup of some sort along with a hard-boiled egg—if not at Starbucks, then most of the more “local” coffee shops in an airport will have them.

Lunch

Again, since I was here for a conference, I ate what was available for attendees most days. Luckily, it was typically a salad bar or sandwich bar. In the case of the sandwich bar, I would load up on greens and then cut up the deli meat and select the cleanest sounding dressing or simply use a lemon and some oil.

We were able to have lunch one day at the pool bar—Orchid Café at Hyatt Regency Pier 66. I ordered the Open Faced Mahi Sandwich “over greens” without the bun. It was served with cabbage slaw, avocado, and mango vinaigrette. The restaurant did a really nice job of turning it into a salad. If I were on Whole 30, I would have asked questions about how the Mahi was prepared and what sort of oil was in the vinaigrette.

Turning sandwiches or burgers into salads at restaurants is always an easy option. Just make sure to be clear you want a nice bed of greens and not just the single piece of lettuce that would have come on the sandwich. If they have avocado, ask for it—that way, you don’t even need to worry about dressing.

Dinner

With the abundance of fresh seafood in Florida, I did not have any difficulty finding something to eat at dinner. The first night I ate on the hotel property at Pelican Landing. I was ecstatic to see that the ceviche was served with plantain chips and shared that with the person who took me out to dinner. For my entree, I ordered the Grilled Mahi Arugula Salad with hearts of palm, jicama, cherry tomatoes, and grapefruit. It was dressed in olive oil, so this would have been a perfect Whole 30 meal as well.

On another evening, we visited Boatyard. My company is taking a client to this restaurant for a future meeting in May, so I was happy to be able to check it out. I ordered the petite filet with chimichurri sauce and then shared Brussels sprouts with my boss.

The last night, we went with a group to Blue Moon Fish Co—another excellent choice. I shared the Grilled Octopus starter with a few people. It was served with artichokes, gigande beans (what?), heirloom tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette. The beans were large enough that I was able to pick around them (beans are not Paleo). Unfortunately, I don’t recall the entree that I shared with my boss (they were nice enough to divide in in to two portions for us) as it was a special—grouper of some sort. We also shared sides of the butternut squash and maple horseradish Brussels sprouts—amazing!

Snacks

Finding food that I’m comfortable eating isn’t always that easy, so I do make sure to pack enough snacks to use as fuel in emergency situations (like when your boss drops your bacon and eggs on the airplane floor… love you LJP). This time, I brought chicken sriracha Epic Bars and the Figgy Pops I mentioned in my first Costco post.

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I’m actually going back to Fort Lauderdale in May for a client meeting—do you have any restaurant recommendations? And don’t worry – there is a Starbucks in the next hotel I’ll be staying at, so iced coffee will be at my fingertips. What a relief!

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