Sunday, January 18, 2009

Beware the Plain Piece of Chicken

...or fish as it were. That pretty much sums up my latest experience at an otherwise nice restaurant. Of course if you asked the other couple that joined my wife and I how the food was, their answer would probably be GREAT! I can say from a strictly visual standpoint that their food did indeed look quite appetizing, mine on the other hand...

It was a cozy quaint little Mexican style restaurant, with a nice atmosphere, a friendly weight staff, and a menu with an appealing selection of foods from the appetizer to the entree. For the average patron that is. However being someone with food allergies, dairy and soy to be specific, you tend not to get too caught up in the fancy descriptions; rather your scrutinizing each word trying to assess it's biological origin, while at the same time trying to retrace the culinary steps taken to make this meal in order to determine where any of the food may have come in contact with soy or dairy. It can be a tricky task which is why my wife and I have gotten into the habit of printing out the menu ahead of time, some times even calling ahead to let them know what there up against to find out if they can accommodate. This of course isn't made any easier by the fact that most chefs don't realize how common soy is in much of what they use.

So in this case we did just that, we printed out the menu and called ahead. That way when we arrived we already had a few menu choices in mind that would probably work with only a few modifications necessary. Upon being seated we explained to the waitress my food allergies and asked about our preselected menu choices. The appetizer was an easy work around, I got my own personal order of chips with the salsa and guacamole only the "chips" were the slices of soft tortilla they used to make the homemade chips which were fried in vegetable oil. My salad was even easier requiring nothing more than replacing the dressing with olive oil and vinegar. The entree however proved to be a bigger challenge in which they failed miserably. My fish with a potato crust and a side of rice and charred corn was quickly being picked apart all because the potato crust was fried in vegetable oil, while the rice and corn sides had butter in them. This resulted in a plain piece of fish all alone on an oversized plate, and by plain I mean no seasoning what so ever. But because they felt bad they threw in another salad on the house.

With all the training these chefs must receive, and all the years experience and credentials they must have to work at such a nice restaurant, all they were able to come up with was a plain piece of fish? Thankfully my wife and I enjoy cooking, and we're not afraid to experiment with any dish while still keeping it healthy and allergy free.

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