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The Pub – A Gastric Bypass Restaurant Review

If you are coming here to see how the Pub is for gastric bypass patients, I promise you I will get to it eventually.  But I must ask for a few minutes to just wax nostalgic.  You’ll find your review in here somewhere, but The Pub is more than just food for me, and you’ll see that in the words below.

Remember when you were a kid, and there was that one “nice” restaurant that your parents took you to for special occasions?  You never went for your birthday or your special occasions, but if it was maybe Mother’s Day or your dad’s birthday, this was the restaurant you went to.  Well, we had a couple of them.  One of them was Zaberer’s Restaurant in Wildwood, but that was a pretty good drive for us, so it was more of an annual tradition to go there.  The other place, which was closer but always a big deal to go, was The Pub. 

Located in Pennsauken, NJ, The Pub, back in the day, was THE restaurant to go to.  Known for the steaks and killer salad bar, The Pub would be mobbed no matter when you went.  It was always loud, you always had an hour or more to wait before you were seated, but you knew that a good “grown up” meal was waiting for you.  The restaurant itself is a massive building, with big, heavy wooden doors.  You walk in to almost a castle-like room – stone floors, high ceilings, wood beams.  The dining room is just a giant room packed with tables, featuring the high ceilings with wood beams.  The feel now is very 50’s – almost as if they’ve done nothing to update the place in more than 50 years.  They probably haven’t.

The Pub has closed once, but the owners regrouped and reopened.  I do not know if they draw the crowds they did in the heyday, but we arrived at 9 PM on a Thursday night and there were only a handful of diners there.  We were promptly seated at what may have been the exact table I’ve been seated at in the days of old, when I would come with my dad, my grandmom, and my sister Bean.  The menu we were handed seemed very familiar, also, and for all I know, it was also the same menu I held in my  hands when they were the hands of an eight or nine year old girl.

Jim is not impressed, and he’s making snarky faces at me for bringing him here, but I knew at least one thing he’d appreciate was the fact that you get a pitcher of ice water on your table.  He drinks a ton of water, so I would have thought this little treat was right up his alley.  The waitress comes over and takes drink orders.  I have an unsweetened iced tea, which is my always anytime drink; and Jim orders an Arnold Palmer and his water.

We browse the menu, and it seems the Pub is still famous for it’s steaks.  They have open hearth cooking here – back way before it was the hip thing to do.  The menu also has a pretty extensive list of seafood, and I find charbroiled scallops, which are a great food for me – or anyone after gastric bypass surgery.  They are high in protein, very low in fat and calories, and they are usually melt in your mouth easy to chew.  I order the scallops, which it says come with mushrooms and peppers; and Jim orders what they call a Carpet Bagger – a 9 ounce filet mignon, topped with lump crabmeat.  Crab is another one of those foods I can easily eat, so I know I’ll get to sample at little of Jim’s dinner, too 🙂

The very friendly waitress invites us to visit the salad bar, which is at the far side of the room.  The one on our side is closed, which I attribute to the late hour, so we make our way across the room.  The salad bar is not as spectacular as I remember it being, and if you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, this is a bit of a disappointment.  I tend to load up at a salad bar on things like hard boiled eggs, chunks of turkey or ham, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds – all those protein foods.  You will only find the eggs here, and on this particular evening, they are mushy 🙁  The lettuce is nice, although plain, and there are grape tomatoes, cukes, shredded carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, and a few other standard salad bar type items.  For the specialty items, you will find an orange cranberry sauce that I would think having had gastric bypass surgery, you would be taking your life into your hands to eat.  If there was any portion of a tart cranberry in the sauce, I couldn’t find it.  The one bite I took was so sugary sweet, it almost crunched in my teeth.  There is also a potato salad – the kind with mayonnaise; pasta salad; marinated mushrooms, and a few other items that I passed on.  They also have a premade Caesar salad.  Still on the salad bar after all these years is The Pub’s famous zucchini bread.  As a kid, we would eat plate after plate of this delicious bread – similar in consistency to a pumpkin bread or banana bread.  But, bread is not my friend and I don’t know how much sugar they put in the bread, so I skip it.  Jim eats a piece at my suggestion, but he’s not particularly bowled over by the flavor.

One good thing about the Pub is that unlike the upscale steak joints, you get a full meal here.  In addition to the salad bar, you get a choice of baked potato, mashed potato, baked stuffed potatoes, or rice if you are having seafood; and then there is usually a vegetable or cole slaw included as well with your meal.  Jim’s meal comes with string beans, and mine comes with the previously alluded to mushrooms and peppers.  Um, pepper.  Um, piece of pepper.

The order comes out, and my scallops are still in their “previously skewered” position – lined up in a row.  They look lovely, but as I try to separate them, I soon find out that these ceased being scallops quite some time ago and during the over cooking process have now become tiny little white hockey pucks.  There is exactly 2 mushrooms accompanying my tiny little tooth breaking scallops, and there is one – count it, ONE – sliver of pepper that looks like it was trying to escape the plate in favor of a more dignified death amoung the charcoal in the hearth.  I admit, however, that the mushrooms are quite tasty.  I wish I had ordered a skewer of them.  On the side was a small container of cocktail sauce that was a little too ketchupy tasting and another container of something that had developed some sort of unpleasant skin on it that was a bright orange, but when I stirred it up to see what was under the orange, it was more of a Thousand Island color sauce of some kind.  I didn’t ask what it was as I was not going to eat it, since it turned that funky orange color on top, nor did I think it would help rehydrate my scallops, therefore making it just a container of something fatty that I shouldn’t eat anyway.

Jim’s steak looks really good, covered with a thick layer of crabmeat and diced red and green bell peppers – but not too many so that the crab is overwhelmed.  I’d say he had more peppers than I did, but that would make you believe he had a plate full, but really, there were just a couple of small dices of the peppers in his crabmeat.  The steak was cooked to a perfect medium, which is how he requested it be prepared.  He seemed to really enjoy the steak, but I made the unfortunate mistake of eating a scallop before sampling the steak.  The scallop got stuck – you know what I mean, you WLS survivors! – and I wasn’t going to risk chasing it with a piece of steak.

I ate one of the scallops, which I had to cut with my steak knife, since they wouldn’t break with the side of my fork, like scallops should, and this makes me hesitate to recommend the Pub to anyone who has had gastric bypass surgery.  I’m wondering if you order anything other than a steak if it will suffer the same culinary misfortune my scallops did.  I know dried out chicken is tough for me to eat, but they do have a few baked dishes on the menu, which may fare better than the things cooked on the hearth. 

The biggest disappointment of the night, however, was not that the food was bad, but that the food was bad and I remembered it being so great.  I always felt like such a grown up when Daddy would trust us to come and eat here and be on our best behavior.  We would wait in the massive lobby, mouths watering, anticipation building, and Daddy would order us a Shirley Temple and we would get steak and have such a great meal, we would walk out stuffed, satisfied, and so glad to have gotten taken out to a “fancy” restaurant.  Having a disappointing experience at the Pub seemed to tarnish some of the memories I had.  I left wondering if things here were always as bad as they were tonight or if they’ve gotten bad over the years.  Maybe it was just one bad meal, and I should try it again.  But walking into the restaurant, I just didn’t have the feeling I had as a little girl, walking in, holding my father’s hand, feeling all grown up and special. 

I had a list of restaurants I wanted to try before my gastric bypass surgery.  I feared I would never be able to eat real food again, and I made Jim take me to a bunch of restaurants to eat my favorite foods.  Just days after my surgery, I was crying over not being able to have gotten to the Pub.  I’m now sorry that I got there at all.  I should have left the memories what they were.

Sometimes, you can’t go home again…..

Eilis Turned Seven

And I didn’t have time to blog anything about it!  Between everyone being sick, and me writing so many articles, and Jim being in Milwaukee – well, it was just too busy!

We had a tiny party the night of her birthday.  It happened to be a Friday night, and Jim is usually home then, but he was in Seattle at Tech Ready, so he missed it.  But my mom and Bob came, and Ann came over after work, and since it was Friday during Lent, we ordered pizza.  I had ordered a small cake from the Acme, and it turned out pretty good.  It was chocolate, and had Hannah Montana on it, and the icing was whipped cream, so not sickeningly sweet like icing sometimes is.

Then we had her big birthday party.  I invited all the kids in her class, which is only 14, plus Eilis.  Then I invited the family.  I figured half the kids usually have something to do, but in this case, they didn’t.  We ended up with 20 kids, including the family kids, and about 40 people total.  It was a High School Musical theme, and there was supposed to be fun makeovers and face painting and games, but I put Brighid in charge of that stuff so it didn’t happen 🙁  We ended up with 2 kids at a time singing Karaoke to High School Musical songs and a handful playing hot potato with Brighid.

The best part of the party was the end.  When everyone had gone home, Ann, Danny, Angela and the boys just hung out downstairs for a little while.  The kids played Wii and Eilis opened her gifts.  She had a great day, and although there were a few items to note on the “don’t do this next year” list, over all, I think we did pretty well.

Imagine the Shock…

as I’m driving to the airport to pick Jim up tonight, and a truck merges onto the highway in front of me.  On the back of the truck is a big picture of Luther Vandross, along with the caption in HUGE letters, “We’re Back!!”

Who comes up with this stuff?  I pull up a little closer, assuming this is some kind of psychic road show, hoping to catch a glimps of John Edward or Sylvia Browne in the flesh.  I mean, who else is going around with a big ass truck with a dead guy’s picture on the back pronouncing “We’re Back!!”? 

No psychic phenomenon involved.  It was a truck for a local Jazz radio station.  The station was apparently off the air for some time, and they are now back at a different frequency on the dial.  That’s what the ad was for – they’re back – just at a different location.  So I got all excited about meeting a truck load of mediums – and possibly the dearly departed Luther Vandross – for nothing. 

Snuggled Warm

One thing I knew nothing about when I had my gastric bypass surgery was that I would be cold.  All the time.  If I’m in air conditioning in the summer, I’m cold; but so far, even in the fairly mild winter we’ve been having, I freeze my butt off.

When I saw the box arrive yesterday on Valentine’s Day from Victoria’s Secret, I figured Jim picked up one of those little numbers that women hate.  They are the overpriced pieces of lingerie that men always buy, that you can’t wear because one piece of you falls out one way and another leaks out another.  You could not be comfortable in these types of pajamas if you wedged yourself in with a tub of Crisco.  And my husband is infamous for purchasing them.  I have a drawer full.  I could make tent housing for half of Malawi.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.

But guess what I found?  Right on top was a pair of red and white polka dot flannel pajamas!  I have a pair of VS flannels that Jim and the kids bought me for Christmas, and I love them, so I was over the moon with excitement.  And bonus – there is a cami to wear underneath for added warmth!!  And then, there is a funky pair of tye dyed jammies to wear either when Jim is home and the bed is much warmer or in the summer.

I was so excited going to bed last night.  Of course, I missed my hubby being there, but this was like a big, warm hug, all the way from himself in Seattle.  I was warm and cozy, and drifted off to sleep right after the kids went to bed.

Thank you, James.  I love you!

Spending Valentine’s Day Without My Valentine…

…has given us new ways to celebrate the day.  I wanted to make sure the girls did something good for someone else today, so I decided to celebrate Valentine’s day with a pay-it-forward kind of celebration.  Brighid’s school was having a bake sale today to raise money for the Student Library Association, to which she belongs.  She was going to work the sale without contributing to it, so I made her bring cupcakes.  Eilis’ school is collecting change for the Heifer Project – where they raise money to supply a cow or other farm animal to a family in a third world country; so today was the day we chose for her to bring in her own change to contribute.  Granuaile’s school is having a lost penny drive, where they are supposed to bring in pennies they find to raise money to buy toys and books for the school.  So each kid had something from their heart to give to someone else today, which I think is a much better meaning of Valentine’s Day than the smoochy, buy me flowers, take me to dinner kind of day (not that I wouldn’t love flowers and dinner, but with hubby out of town, this was a nice way to make the day special). 

So for myself, I decided if there was only one person behind me in the car at the Starbucks drive through, and their bill wasn’t for more than a cup of coffee or a latte, I would pay for the coffee.  I got up to the window, and the total for the car behind me was just about what my total was, so I dedided to pick up the tab.  As it turned out, it was Connor’s mom and dad in the car behind me!  Connor is a friend of Eilis’ from school.  I felt really good then about my pay-it-forward plan for the day, because I know Connor’s parents will follow through and do something nice for someone else today.

So do something sweet today, even if you can’t be with your sweetie.  Even if you just give a smile to your mailman, the guy you ordinarily don’t notice, it’s a way to show the love to someone who might really need to see it.

Gotta Love Technology

So, my husband is in Seattle this week.  I saw him for just about 24 hours this past weekend, and he doesn’t come home until Sunday, giving me less than 24 hours with him this weekend.  Top that off with the fact that he is going to be at a Sea Cadets drill next weekend, and my time with him in the month of February is next to nothing.  But I logged in to his blog this evening, and there’s a picture of his handsome self taken today at the convention.

We live in such a great age.  Jim’s gone all week long, but if Eilis loses a tooth, I can snap a picture and send it to him so that he sees it just minutes after I do – probably more quickly than if he was working locally and I didn’t bother to send a picture because he’d be home at night to see it.  If Granuaile has freaky hair one morning, I can take a picture and he’s laughing at her at nearly the same time I am. 

While it’s never easy to be separated from Jim for days at a time, even with the time difference, we can still spend mornings talking to each other thanks to cell phones.  I’m driving the kids to school while he’s getting ready for work, and we can spend a few minutes on the phone together that we might have missed out on if we didn’t have cell phones.

It’s a wonderful time to be human, living in a world that gives us all these great things.

Bahama Breeze – A Gastric Bypass Restaurant Review

I want to start with a word of caution about Bahama Breeze.  They do not make nutritional information available for their menu.  You are on your own in terms of choosing things that are not too high in fat or things that don’t contain too much sugar.  They can offer minimal help.  If you ask if something contains sugar, your waiter will go ask the chef, and chances are, you will have a half answer within the hour.  Things move at a slow, relaxed Bahamas pace here most of the time.

Having said that, we’ve eaten enough times over the years for me to know what I can and cannot have here.  I stick to what I know and try not to venture too far off the well trod path. 

For starters, I had a bowl of the black bean soup.  This is a good rendition of this popular island soup.  It’s simple, and the flavor of the black beans isn’t masked by anything like sour cream, chorizo, or any of the other things people try to put in black bean soup.  It does have some rice in it, which I can eat a little of, but the portion is generous, so you have no trouble leaving behind the portion of soup that clings to the rice.  You can easily add a Breeze salad to this and make it a whole meal.  It’s a good, thick bowl of soup – and black beans are a great source of protein 🙂

One of the new appetizers I would have tried if my family had been with me is the crab claws.  I can eat crab pretty easily, and this is a new menu item.  They are in butter, so I anticipated them to be messy, and I was afraid of being tempted to eat too much and get sick, so I’ll have to try them when I go with Jim and the girls.  In addition to the crab, there are a few other appetizer items that you can make work in your diet. 

My entree was my old standby – chicken kebabs.  I love them.  They are brushed with oil and glaze over perfectly.  For dinner, you get an enormous portion – two long kebabs with chunks of chicken (you can choose steak if you prefer, or one of each), peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and onions.  I asked for them to take off the rice and replace it with sweet mashed potatoes, which are so good here, you could eat just that and die a fat, happy person.  They give you an Everest size portion of the potatoes, and there is no way anyone with altered gastric anatomy should be able to put a dent in this sized meal.  It did make for one happy kid, though, when I got home and she got to finish the chicken and veggies. 

You will find fresh fish on the Bahama Breeze menu, so if you are even in the early stages post-op, you can find something that you can eat.  Tilapia is almost a given every time I go here, and it’s a nice soft fish that you can eat in the weeks after your surgery.  Be careful with some options, however, as they do have a sweet barbecue sauce on some things.

There are not really any gastric bypass friendly desserts on the menu, but I know they have a fruit cup with the children’s meals, and if you are with a group that is ordering dessert, you could probably have the staff bring you a fruit cup. 

I found more choices than I thought I would on the menu, and my meal was well cooked and tasty.  The service – a bit slow, but it usually is here.  I have to wonder if that has anything to do with the atmosphere or just bad service.  We got there at an off peak time and had the back room to ourselves for at least the early part of our meal.  But maybe this is just a way to put a Bahama chill on us!

Movie Review: The Bucket List

You’ve all seen the commercials, and you know the deal.  Two men meet in the hospital after learning they are terminally ill, and they set out to scratch items off of a list of things they want to do before they die.  It is funny, it is heartwarming, and I love the interaction between Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. 

One thing I didn’t count on.  And don’t ask me why I didn’t count on it, because after all, the name of the movie is “The Bucket List”.  It should come as no surprise that they both die in the end.  And I guess it didn’t surprise me, but it did hit me.  It was sad, it was touching, it was overwhelmingly emotional for me. 

I enjoyed this movie immensely for everything that it was.  There wasn’t a brilliant story or an action packed instance.  I might even be able to find a few minutes where it was dragging on a little bit too much.  But I can say that this movie takes the concept of a buddy movie to a new level.  I would buy this on DVD and watch it – although with tissues handy next time!

 And Sean Hayes is about the cutest thing on two legs in Hollywood. 

Slider Foods Will Make Me Fat

I struggle on an almost daily basis over what to put in my mouth.  I know there are gastric bypass patients who pretty much eat whatever they want at some point after surgery, and some are fortunate enough to have learned a lesson and can do it without gaining weight back.  There are two things that frighten me about food.  The first thing is I will eat something and it will make me sick.  The second thing is I will eat something and it will NOT make me sick.  So I have come up with a list of “safe” foods that I feel comfortable eating, that fill me up, that make me feel like I’m not depriving myself.  I do veer off of the safe foods when I go out to eat, although I admit that since soup is typically a safe food for me, I usually look at the soups on a menu first.  But my one daily staple, no matter what, is pretzels.  I eat a LOT of pretzels.  I probably eat more calories in the form of pretzels than all the other foods I eat in a day – easily.  And then I got this emailed to me through my support group:

What are slider foods?
Kaye’s Answer: In a malabsorptive procedure the pouch is made and the stoma or outlet is attached to the lower part of the middle intestine called the jejunum. The majority of caloric absorption takes place in the jejunum, so depending upon where your surgeon created the outlet the level of absorption can vary. Skilled surgeons will adjust the length of intestine bypassed according to their patient’s projected needs based on dieting history and pre-op psychological screening.

Slider foods slide right through the stoma into the jejunum. My first test of the slider foods was graham crackers and coffee for my after work snack. Now imagine, I could eat a stack of graham crackers and wash it right through the pouch with the coffee and never feel any satiation. What resulted was an easily absorbed slurry that my jejunum sucked up like a sponge – it didn’t have to do any work to absorb this simple carbohydrate slurry. Of course, weight gain resulted and I had to give up this little indulgence. Another popular slider food is pretzels. I speak with post-ops all the time who are addicted to pretzels – again, this is a simple carb that your jejunum is very happy to receive and convert to fat. Traditionally dieters are encouraged to eat pretzels or popcorn – fat free and fiber, right? But that doesn’t work so well for us. Giving our re-routed bodies these simple carbs is dangerous because our bodies have spent years perfect the art of fat storage – slider foods are to the body a great big lottery win.

By the way, in my example I spoke of a slurry from graham crackers and coffee. Simple carbs, however, will slide right through without the added benefit of a liquid. And several others can talk about cheese nip crackers, popcorn, mashed potatoes, ice cream/yogurt etc.

Lots of times I hear, “But I don’t like that uncomfortable tight feeling of solid protein in my pouch.” But the very purpose of the pouch is to signal fullness, which often comes by way of slight discomfort when we are eating in compliance with our bariatric owner’s manual. The slider foods will never ever signal fullness. They are dangerous and in most cases non-nutritional. When I feel that full-pouch discomfort I try to mentally psych myself up, “YEAH-BABY! The pouch is on the job!!” Silly, but whatever works.

I’m one of those people who does not like the uncomfortable feeling I get when I eat solid foods.  I have never in my life been really full.  I could go to a buffet and know to stop eating because I could hear John Pinette echoing in the recesses of my brain doing his Chinese buffet skit (“you’ve been here four ow-a!  You go now!).  But I’ve never had that feeling where you wish you had worn stretch pants.  Until I had surgery.  And it’s not a good feeling.  I’ve also had the feeling where food is backed up.  I wish I could describe it to someone who has not had surgery, but it’s a feeling like the stuff I have eaten and swallowed has gotten down to the mid-chest area and stopped.  And it’s not going to move until the rest of what I ate moves along first.

Pretzels have been my friend.  They are a “snack” – something I thought I had lost forever when I had gastric bypass surgery.  They taste good – especially after a protein shake or bar or a cup of steaming hot vanilla latte.  The salt complements the other foods.  And I don’t get that full feeling from them.  They do slide right down without any difficulty.

And that’s why I can go through 4 pounds of pretzels in a week or so. 

So after I finish the bag and the tub I have, no more pretzels for me (said as I reached under my desk for the tub of peanut butter filled pretzels).  Apparently, pretzels will slide me right back to obesity.  I will have to learn to deal with the discomfort of a full pouch.  Starting today.  Munch.  Munch.

Brio Tuscan Grill Gastric Bypass Restaurant Review

Brio Tuscan Grill in Cherry Hill has been open a little while, but with the MOB of people who pack the parking lot of the Cheesecake Factory, this is one area we typically avoid unless it’s very off hours for traditional meal times.  I picked Jim up at the airport this morning, and by the time we finished running errands, it was half-way between time to get Eilis and lunch time, so we decided to find a place to eat.  We were going to go to our diner, the Club Diner in Bellmawr, but a crowd in their parking lot made us consider dining closer to school in case we were running late.

We headed over to Ponzio’s in Cherry Hill, but on the way decided to see how busy Pei Wei was.  This is a new Chinese “diner”, operated by the P.F. Chang restaurant chain.  Fortunately for us, Pei Wei was also packed, so we took a spin around and found a parking spot at Brio.  I’m a little leary of Italian restaurants, because I don’t do pasta since my surgery, but I figure I can always find a salad or soup, even on a Friday during Lent, so we headed in.

The restaurant decor is warm, muted, and kind of an upscale informal.  This is not the place where someone writes their name on your table cloth.  The napkins are linen, and they have nice chair covers.  The kitchen is open, and while it certainly seems like it should be a loud place with the number of tables and the open kitchen, it really wasn’t loud at all.

Because it’s Friday and Lent, we’re not allowed to eat meat.  I chose the small plate crab cake, and Jim ordered the mushroom ravioli.  We ordered Granuaile spaghetti, and you had your choice of sauces, so we chose just a marinara.  I also ordered the lobster bisque for everyone to share.

The bisque, which is not the best option if you are bypassed, is a thick, creamy soup with bites of lobster and a bit of a spicey flavor.  It comes in a small uncovered tureen type bowl, and the portion was more than enough for one person, and definitely more than enough for me.  I had a few nice sized spoonfuls, but quickly felt like it was filling me up.  Granuaile ate quite a bit, and Jim managed to get a couple of bites in.  The further out I get from my surgery, the less I can eat of soups like this.  They really just seem to be too heavy for me.

I hesitate to order the crab cake, because you know how some of them can be bread crumbs with essence of crab.  Jim asked the girl how heavily breaded they were and she said that they are more than 95% lump crabmeat and lightly breaded to hold them together.  That sounded like my Aunt Annie’s crab cakes, and I can eat crab meat very easily, so I jumped on ordering the platter at that point.  I have to tell you, if you are NOT gastrically altered and hungry for lunch, this is not the meal for you.  The lone crab cake was about the size of a camera lens cap, and it was topped lightly with a citrus pesto.  It sat atop a nice amount of roasted vegetables, which included potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and beets.  The roasted vegetables were delicious, and they were so perfectly roasted that they had a nice caramel color to them and tasted SOOOOO good.  I didn’t push myself to finish them, but did eat quite a bit.  For $12 at the diner, we would have gotten two large crab cakes, two vegetables, soup or salad, and rice pudding, so this definitely was not an inexpensive meal, but I was full and satisfied with my altered anatomy.

I did taste a bite of Jim’s ravioli, and if you are able to eat pasta, I still can’t really recommend this dish.  It was delicious, without a doubt, but the huge portion of ravioli were stuffed with mushrooms and ricotta cheese, then liberally topped with Alfredo sauce, which was then topped with toasted Parmesan cheese.  There was a sweetness in the dish, and it was smooth and creamy, but even if you can eat pasta without trouble, the portion is WAY too huge, and the fat content in this dish must be through the roof.

As a former fat girl, the desserts caught my eye almost from the parking lot.  If you have not had gastric bypass surgery – or if you have had surgery and find you don’t have trouble eating sugar – you will find a nice selection of what they call Dolchinos.  These are small samplings of dessert – most of which seemed to be in cappucino cups.  For a $2 price tag, this is definitely a nice way to end a meal here.  You will not get a huge mountain of cake or pie, but you do get a nice taste of a beautifully prepared dessert.  I’m not able to do sugars, or I might have been tempted to order one.  They also have a dessert sampler, which offers 5 different desserts for $10.  That would be nice to share.

Overall, we were very impressed with our experience here.  Browsing the dinner menu and the rest of the dessert menu, there are other non-pasta options, several of which are seafood options, so that’s good protein.  They have a children’s menu, and then they have a “big kids” menu which I LOVED.  It went way off the path of the fried chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks with offerings like grilled salmon, grilled chicken, pork chops and build your own pizza.  Definitely a menu for kids that will keep them from needing this surgery when they get older!

Brio is a national chain, and I would eat here again without reservation.