It was a bit of a girl’s night last night – nothing huge, just out for dinner and then on to see a play at one of the local high schools (our friend made the costumes and her husband is the drama teacher/director). The thing is, the two friends that I went to dinner with are new to me. And they picked the restaurant.
(I can hear all of you gluten-free eaters out there sighing with me already.)
Yes, it was lovely to go out with these ladies. They are quite fun.
And yes, the restaurant was a bummer.
They chose to go to a new Italian restaurant in town. Yep. I was cringing too. “Oh goodie,” I thought “Italian to boot.” Well, here’s the silver lining: salad and pre-planning.
Before heading out to meet my friends, I grabbed a quick bite at home (a little cottage cheese and an apple) so I knew I wouldn’t have a hunger fit in the middle of a high school play. (Not good as the only thing to satisfy this would be the candy bars they sell during intermission. Not exactly diet-friendly, those things.)
This restaurant runs a bit like a chain – you order when you walk in, they give you a little number on a stick for your table and wa-lah. The food comes out. I think in the future, I will avoid restaurants that work like this. You see, the thing is without an assigned server to our table, there was absolutely no control over anything. Not good.
So here’s what happened: I entered and perused the menu while chatting. The menu is easy to read when you only have 5 things to look at. The menu is about 90% thin crust gourmet pizzas, a whole 5 different salads to chose from, and the rest of the menu is filled with booze and soda.
I asked the cashier (aka the person you order with) if the salads had croutons or bread. Yes, of course, she replied. Well, I said, I need a salad without ANY bread, no croutons, etc. I repeated this twice. She said, okay, no problem. She asked if I was on a “diet”, I stated no, I am gluten intolerant (please picture teenage eyeball glaze over here as that is what happened).and that the bread cannot be on my salad. “Oh, I think I’ve heard of that,” she said.
I took my little table number over and sat down. And we waited for our salads. Each item on our order was delivered by a different food runner, none of whom bothered to actually see where the food should go, but rather just dropping plates and cups in front of whoever was closest to them (me!). When my salad arrived, there was a huge piece of garlic toast in the middle of it. I put my hands up and stopped the delivery. This threw the poor runner for a loop and she had to pause.
“I’m sorry,” I told her, “I cannot eat this. I told the gal up front that no bread can be on my salad. I’m going to need a new salad. This needs to be remade.”
Oy vey. She was annoyed. But I didn’t entertain it. After all, I’d explained to the gal up front and was quite clear with her.
After dinner and in the middle of the play, it all became quite clear to me too. She had reserved me the same salad after only a slight delay to fake it being “remade”. Now normally, I would have slide a sugar packet or something under the salad before sending it back. That way when it comes back, if the sugar packet is still there? Yea – same salad and I’m not eating it. But this type of service had me off my game. And I paid for it all night/day with tummy pain.
About 3:00 this afternoon, I finally made up my mind to call the restaurant. I spoke to the “senior shift member on duty” as the manager doesn’t work on the weekends (?!). I explained what happened and then told her how lucky she is that I DON’T have an allergy that would have caused anaphylactic response. (I then explained what I meant by this as she didn’t get it.) I quite clearly stated that the negligence and unwillingness of her server/wait staff to take such requests seriously (as she was quite rude to me too) could jeopardize someone’s health and life.
She wanted my name so the manager could apologize. But I wasn’t looking for an apology. I told her that the reason I was calling was to insist that the wait staff/servers/runners at their restaurant be MUCH better trained as they are risking their clients/customers and their business but being short-sighted and irresponsible.
I wonder if my phone call will make a difference.
Well. At least I tried.
What do you guys do when/if this ever happens to you?
I made up for it all by having pizza night at home tonight.
No earth shattering recipe to share with you all.
At least nothing you don’t already know/have access to here.
I made a mock lavash recipe with fennel, oregano and basil as my herbs. Then I divided it into 4 equal dollops and smeared each on to a piece of parchment paper. I let the over preheat with our pizza/bread stone inside and then I slid each crust in to the oven to prebake for about 7-8 minutes until golden. I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool a bit on a rack (but still on the parchment paper) while the other crusts baked. Two of the crusts were then wrapped up and packaged for the freezer for a quick meal one night in the future and the other two were made into pizzas. (One was chicken, garlic and roasted shallots and the other was chicken, tomato and garlic.)
And you know what?
I’m convinced that pizza is better when it’s homemade.
AND it sure makes a house smell wonderful.
All’s well when your house smells like garlic pizza, if you ask me.
Happy weekend, everyone!