Monday, May 24, 2010

Are you dead?

When someone asks you, "Are you choking?" the cardinal rule is that if you can answer with words, you're not choking. Right?
This past Saturday, NAH and I went out to dinner with friends, to a local Italian restaurant that has great food. It had an enormous menu, and having done my research ahead of time, I was certain that it would be an easy, safe meal.

I ordered one of their special entree salads without the cheese, dressing on the side, and specifically asked the waitress if there would be tomato on the salad, as it was not listed. She said no, that all ingredients for each salad were listed on the menu. "Great!" I said, "because I'm severely allergic." NAH and our NAFriends ordered their meals, and we sat around gabbing before they arrived. When the food arrived, the tomato sauce on everyone's plates smelled incredible, and my salad looked really nice, EXCEPT FOR THE LITTLE RED SLICES OF EVIL ON THE LETTUCE, AND UNDER THE CRAB MEAT...
"Wait a second. Do you see this?" I asked the waitress, somewhat incredulous. Her eyes grew really wide.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry, he must've thought that he should replace the cheese with something."
"OK, Here's the new problem. You have to ensure that all of this is thrown out. I cannot eat anything on this plate once it's touched the sliced tomatoes. Please, NOTHING can be rinsed off."
Off she went. I looked at our friends and NAH and insisted that they start without me, as theirs were piping hot. It took about 10 minutes, and we didn't see our waitress at all in those 10 minutes. When she returned, it was the perfect salad, exactly as I'd ordered it, and then she said those magic words. "Sorry I've been neglecting you guys, but I wanted to stand back there with the chef to make sure that no part of her salad was reused."

Trust issues gone, and it looked incredible. I started eating. About three minutes later I caught her peering around the corner of our booth. "Are you dead?" she asked.
"Nope. Still good," and I found the comment as sweet and hilarious as it was tactless. When she brought our check, she shared with us that she suffers from an anaphylaxis to something, and is scared to death to eat in restaurants because of it, so she wanted to make sure I would be alright (having previously glanced at the offending tomato? I'm still not sure, but it was sweet).

Thankfully, our friends were both content and kind enough to let me sit and eat long after they'd finished (a 10 minute head start is sizable in a restaurant setting). To be fair, this friend and her husband once sent MY food back three separate times when it wasn't up to my allergy standards (I am often done and too nervous to eat after one failed attempt). They're keepers :).

Dinner was wonderful, and the waitress completely earned my trust. We'll be back!

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