Monday, May 2, 2011

If It Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

EggsWhen my son was home from college on spring break we took him out to dinner at a local restaurant that has become a favorite because they truly cater to food allergies. The place? The Artist’s Palate, on Main Street, in Poughkeepsie, NY.

While on the pricier side for this area, I had been delighted each time my husband and I had eaten there. The staff was always extra-careful to take care of me with my food allergies, and each time the food was spectacular. This is a place that I have rated very highly at Allergy Eats.

The night we ate there with my son, both he and I had our eye on the duck special… but the sauce contained wheat. So the chef suggested an alternative preparation that he would make for us.

Our waiter brought us a complementary appetizer, and because the one they were serving that night contained wheat, he brought a special treat that was made just for us!

And then our waiter brought us rolls…

Having eaten there before, I knew that they had gluten-free rolls available that were made in a small bakery down the street. The first time I ate there I was surprised when they brought me one without asking. I expected it this time, but I didn’t expect them to bring one for my son. I am allergic to wheat; he is allergic to wheat, milk, and eggs (among other things).

My son and I looked at each other and I broke the roll open. “It might be made without milk, but I can’t believe this is made without eggs,” I said. We asked the waiter and he assured us that it was safe for us both to eat. It’s not that we didn’t believe him – he had checked – but it seemed too good to be true.

My gut was telling me it couldn’t be okay. As an allergen-free baker, I had never seen a roll that fluffy that was made without eggs. I was prepared to be in awe of the baker that made them.

I called the waiter over again, apologized for asking again, and asked if we could see the ingredients. A few minutes later he came back and told us that the chef was calling the bakery. That was impressive.

After just another minute or two, the chef was at our table. “You were right, it does have eggs in it,” he said. And he apologized profusely for having sent the roll out.

So where was the confusion? This was a chef that really cared about serving only food that was safe. He had understood that the rolls were gluten-free and dairy-free. While they didn’t contain milk, unbeknownst to him they did contain eggs. A lack of consistency on how the term “dairy” is used is what led to the confusion.

Our duck was fabulous, and we were all grateful for the wonderful meal. We will definitely eat there again, because they care.

The lessons?

1. Go with your gut.
2. If something is labeled dairy-free, always check further.

Have you had a close call at a restaurant? How did you handle it?

1 comment:

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Colette, I don't know how that got started--lumping eggs in with dairy. I'm surprised at the number of intelligent people I've heard do it. And don't get me started on the so-called vegetarians who eat chicken or fish. Chicken and fish are not vegetables!