Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End of the Danal Story

Read the Beginning of the Danal Story, about how to approach a restaurant to ask for GF food HERE.

So, I emailed the folks back, telling them what I could eat, including a long laundry list of eggs, nuts, dairy, butter, wine, potatoes, etc., and they emailed back a short note saying we could discuss the menu when we got there.


I almost didn't go, but I stuck a couple protein bars in my purse and figured that I could just drink a soda with my friends if the food was going to suck. So, I went.

When I got there, the hostess showed me the menu and said, "Pick out whatever you want, and we'll have the chef make it without wheat or flour."


I got the Salmon and vegetables with lemon/white wine sauce en papillote, which means that they prepare and bake everything in a parchment paper bag. This greatly reduces the chance of cross-contamination, so it's a really good idea for celiacs to consider this method of preparation whenever they're dining out.

It was yummy. I ate a whole lot. The potatoes and veggies underneath were scrumptious. The sauce was delectable.

If you're in downtown Manhattan, try Danal.

More importantly, here's the lesson I learned from this experience: don't just hit the restaurant with a huge list (like the one at celiac.com) of "Thou Shalt Not's." It's counterproductive and sends them into lockdown mode.

After telling them that you can't eat flour, whole wheat flour, bread, bread crumbs, panko, or soy sauce, tell them what you can eat.

I think I freaked them out with the huge list of all the variations of things I can't eat.

Tell them what's okay, including: eggs, dairy, butter, wine, spices (except asofoetida, also called hing, an Indian spice that is nearly always cut with wheat flour because it smells like cat pee or window cleaner,) herbs, garlic, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, most salad dressings especially vinaigrettes but no croutons or blue cheese, and all fresh oil in a clean pan including peanut, olive, and canola.

When they ask what you want, just avoid deep fried stuff and things with buns. Don't make it hard for them.

This one turned out fine. I ate a delicious meal with no glutenization symptoms afterward.


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