About to be a Non-Vegetarian
I have been starting to slowly add meat back into my diet after 7 years (I always ate seafood) and I want your advice on the best meal I could have to celebrate my newly meat-eating-ways. Go gentle on me, people. My stomach might not be ready for steak but tell me what you suggest.
I was a vegetarian for nine years but, like you, I still ate seafood. I think because of this fact, I had no problems digesting meat again after such a long period of time. I started with chicken (and I think my first was actually Thanksgiving turkey). I agree wholeheartedly with the small plates recs. That way, you can sample everything you've been missing without endangering your stomach. Go to AOC, Orris or Celadon and order everything on the menu!
Go lightly on the meat as your instincts are indicating. If you find that you are having difficulty digesting meat (this does happen to "former" vegetarians) try some of the papaya enzyme digestion tablets at Trader Joe's. I know several people who find them very helpful.
re: Joani Macaroni
yes very good suggestion... the *best* enzymes i've found can be purchased at Power Zone/Capitol Drugs on santa monica in weho... in the refrigerator, they must be kept, and are called ultra flora plus... take them in the morning on an empty stomach, and they'll work wonders. though, if you already eat animal protein (fish), the adjustment will be less rocky.
id suggest simple preparations first, and try at lunch rather than dinner, so your stomach isn't full of acid digesting the protein when you get into bed. and dont combine protein w/ carbs just to let your stomach have a chance to learn to digest it alone... perhaps a burger in a bowl or half of one from somewhere like the counter, or even one of their turkey burgers.
even some rotisserie chicken from california chicken cafe could be good b/c it's unadulterated.
or a naked burrito in a bowl from chipotle or baja or la salsa.
you could also try musha or korean bbq to cook the meats simply yourself.... or, shabu shabu! little frills there.
Congratulations! I did the same 4 years ago--added red meat back to my diet after not eating it for 10 years. And it opened up a whole new world of delicious eating!
I agree with DanaB's suggestions--pick meals where meat is a small but vital component. I agree that pasta might be a good way to go, and the bombolotti all' amatriciana at Osteria Angelini is one of the best pasta dishes I've had. It contains cured pork cheek, but just a little...adds a lot of flavor to the dish without adding too much meatiness. Actually my only complaint about this dish is that I think it would be better with a little more meat--but that makes it perfect for you. Happy meat eating!
I have a couple of vegetarian friends who still crave meat, and the things they miss the most are pork products (think bacon, proscuitto, etc.)
With that in mind, I'd start with things where meat is just a part of the delicious whole, like the bacon-wrapped dates at A.O.C., or the orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard from Osteria Mozza, or the pasta carbonara from La Buca, or the bombolotti all' amatriciana from Osteria Angelini.
Save the pug burger from Hungry Cat or the steakhouse ribeye until you are more accustomed to eating meat.