Monday, June 02, 2008

New Jersey and New York City in the span of 24 hours....

Well, the bad news is that there was no foray into the Cheesecake Factory.

The good news? My non-allergic friend found a sushi place in the area and we went there instead. I highly recommend Mikado (find menus and southern NJ locations through this link). The sushi was excellent, the atmosphere nice and peaceful, and the service attentive. It was wonderful and well worth the long drive! Unfortunately, this allergic diner did not care as much for the movie we saw, Sex & The City. I realize that I may be slaughtered by womankind for this, but it was just "ehh." Ah well, you win some you lose some.

So that was Friday night, and Saturday morning Big Guy and I were dragged out of bed by the alarm to make the train into NYC for allergic fiance's birthday party. We met both our friend and her allergic fiance at the Arte Cafe at 73 & Columbus. We were a little waterlogged. Hah. As we exited Penn Station a grumpy woman to our right remarked that she might as well be waiting in line for an ark! Nevertheless, we arrived, somewhat soggy, to the Arte Cafe, a place where we've eaten before and had spotless service and spot-on food. Not to mention excellent attention paid to allergic detail, of course.

This time was a little different. I'm a big fan of their pizza, and the chef usually makes one for me, sans seasoning, oil, and of course, tomato sauce. It's a wonderful brick-oven thin crust that has cheese, mushrooms, and garlic, and smells better than any garlic bread I've ever had. I was so very crushed when the waiter informed me, up front, that the chef could not accommodate any major special requests today, as he was incredibly busy. He was kind enough to go double check with the chef after I showed my med-alert bracelet, but came back saying "the chef apologizes, but he has already mixed the oil into the pizzas(?)"

Just when I thought the meal was ruined, and by ruined, I thought that there would be no food, so how could I indulge in their endless-mimosa brunch (?), our waiter came to my rescue. "Tell me what you're allergic to," he said, and I did. He pointed to a meal on the menu that was grilled chicken with a salad that has tomatoes. "I can get this for you without tomatoes," he said. "Great! And please tell them no oil, and no spice as well." And with that, we ordered our unlimited drinks and set about enjoying a wonderful occasion with good friends.

When the orders came, and we were all on our second drink, I had Big Guy taste test the chicken for me, because it looked like there was oil on it. There wasn't, and my salad was blissfully dressing free. Interestingly enough, the piece of grilled chicken had been flattened out to look as if it were a piece of pita bread, and the salad was on top of it (where's a camera when I need one?). It was positively delightful. They have fantastic berry muffins that they serve you in place of bread during brunch, and they were snapped up by our table at once. Big guy had eggs and toast, friend had a wonderful brick-oven pizza, allergic fiance had a panini sandwich, and I had my chicken and salad. All because a waiter took the time to help me. It was a wonderful start to the weekend!

~Yours in the quest for safe food,

The Allergic Diner

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