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Guest Blog Post: The Diabetic Diner in the Elgin Area

Guest Blog Post: Jason

My apologies for being out of touch for awhile. I’ve been busy. Busy eating.

That’s right. Eating! Ya heard.

For the better part of the last month, this diabetic diva has been dining in, dining out and dining up, down and all around. From Asian to Mexican to Italian, my palette has traveled around the world in 80 delicious days and I am so racking up the frequent foodie miles.

Have I paid the price for this exercise in eating excess? Absolutely. My blood glucose numbers lately have been off the charts and my pants barely fit me anymore – all in a good way.

See I’ve been traveling the diabetic dining trail recently and I’ve learned that restaurant fare is not always unfair to the insulin-challenged such as myself. In fact, there are some local Fox Valley area eateries with diverse menu offerings so diabetic-friendly it will transform your reservations about restaurants into…well, restaurant reservations.

I know what you’re thinking: So how did the kale-and-lima bean salad with the side order of air taste? Not so fast! These vicious local dishes are as nutritious as they are delicious.

pad_ThaiFor example, Toom Toom Thai Restaurant, 23 S. Grove Avenue in Elgin, serves up a wonderfully flavorful concoction known as Pad Thai Woonsen made from clear noodles. When boiled to perfection, as Mama Toom Wiitanen does so well, these cellophane or glass noodles have a much lower glycemic load than traditional egg noodles. They actually start out white and once softened, become almost translucent and soak up all the complex Thai flavors and spices. Pare it with a Cucumber Salad lightly dressed with sweet vinegar dressing.

For those of you in the Tri-Cities area (Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles), fear not as Toom’s Thai-rific cooking is a family affair. Her son Champ Akkarapol owns Thai Zie Noodles and Bar, 11 N. 3rd Street in St. Charles. Roll on down the Fox River and dare to compare.

LHSSpeaking of rivers, Chef Jeff Turner recently expanded his primarily Elgin-based “In the Neighborhood empire” as the new kid on the bustling block of River Street in East Dundee. In the Neighborhood Meet Market, 310 River Street in East Dundee, is a progressive downtown deli concept blending soups and sammys with a side of social interaction.

On my last visit, I thoroughly enjoyed a little diddy known as “The Depot” (a.k.a “The Larkin High School” at their Elgin location). This interesting spin on the traditional BLT is built with fresh avocado and stacked on a slightly more fat-friendly whole wheat ciabatta.  Ask Chef Jeff to hold the pesto mayo (darn tasty but guiltily glycemic) and maybe substitute a spritz of olive oil instead.

Asparagus_Beef_RollsI will readily admit I am not a huge sushi fan but my friend Shawn Li and his master sushi chefs at TL’s Four Seasons, 110 W. Bartlett Avenue in Bartlett, are always on a roll. In fact their rolls rock! A few of my personal favorites include the perfectly portioned and priced cucumber rolls, avocado and salmon rolls, and their awesome asparagus beef rolls. If that’s not how you roll, maybe try TL’s Garlic Chicken with Broccoli with a simple but sublime seaweed salad as a healthy compliment to your meal.

As always, the key with everything is moderation. Don’t eat ten servings when one will do. Don’t drown everything in ranch dressing and chocolate syrup. Past performance is no indicator of future success. Side effects may include…blah blah blah, etc., etc. You know the drill.

The point is as a diabetic you really don’t have to feel ostracized by the calorie-laden, carb-loaded menu offerings of most sit down restaurants. While all restaurateurs want your business, the smart ones want you back. And chances are you’re more likely to find a balanced sampling of healthier options at local family-owned eateries like these and others like them in your neck of the woods.

Explore, do your research and most of all enjoy! Eating out shouldn’t be a challenge. It should be an adventure.

Join me as the adventure continues!


About Jason’s Diablog:
Jason Pawlowski is a tourism marketing professional living well with type 2 diabetes in the Chicago suburbs. “Jason’s Diablog” chronicles his journey of managing diabetes while providing “dia-newbies” healthy living tips in his own unique style. Full Blog!

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