Monday, September 14, 2009

Approaching a restaurant to ask for GF food

I'm shy about having celiac disease. Asking for gluten-free food is restaurants is rough for me.

I don't like making a fuss. I detest being whiney or asking for special treatment.

Case in point: I'm attending a function this weekend at Danal, a country French restaurant in NYC. Ethnic food is usually more amenable to GF options, and Continental food is the hardest. I knew it was going to be tough. So, about 5 days in advance, I sent the following email through Danal's website:

Hello,

I will be dining at Dinal on Saturday, Sept 19. I have a serious allergic reaction to wheat, gluten, white or whole wheat flour, bread, bread crumbs, pasta, panko, rye, most soy sauce, and barley. What may I eat at your fine establishment?



I admit, I stuck that blog address in there in an attempt to get special treatment.

Danal was very nice and emailed back the next morning:

Hi TK,

I have discussed your allergies with our chef and just wanted to verify, are you able to have oil?
we can prepare something along the lines of steamed fish or chicken with boiled vegetables.

Are you participating in our Rosh Hashanah dinner on the 19th, or a regular dinner?

Sincerely,

Limor
So, they're being very nice, but I still feel petulant. It's tough, but we have to do it.

This is why I tend to either 1) cook at home, and why I've gotten pretty darn good at it, or 2) occasionally go to chain restaurants that have a standardized menu with GF options, like Outback or P.F. Chang's. When I can, I find small restaurants with GF sensitivities, like Risotteria in NYC, but those're hard to find. It takes research and time to search those out.

Here's where I'm really petulant: When I go to a restaurant, I want something good, not just steamed chicken and boiled vegetables. It's safe, and I have to go out this weekend to this particular restaurant, so I'll grin and bear it, but geez. I can make that at home in 20 minutes, even though I wouldn't make that at home because I'm a vegetarian. (At a restaurant, I eat whatever is safe, but at home I eat low on the environmental food chain, cruelty-free, and what won't cause a heart attack at age 50. Vegetarian food provides all these benefits.)

When I go out, I want to eat something that I can't make better at home. When I'm going to be paying $40-$60 for one meal, like I will this weekend, I want it to taste good. I'm glad I probably won't be getting glutenized, but I'm disheartened about their response to the point where I'm thinking of not going. I'd rather eat Chang's Spicy GF Chicken at P.F. Changs, or the Huge Vegetarian Market Bar Stir Fry with GF Teriyaki Sauce at Stir Crazy, or a whole pan of Betty Crocker's GF Brownies at home.

Anyway, that's my latest dilemma. I emailed them back, and when they email back, I'll post those. It's just mortifying.

TK

1 comment:

Gannon said...

Thank you so much for your blog! I've recently found out that I have to be gluten free and this blog has been super helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!