Sunday, February 1, 2009

Good Restaurant Bad Restaurant

I'm catching up on my Gluten Free log of events. I'll start with last weekend. I ate out in Raleigh on both Saturday and Sunday. I had two very different experiences.


Lunch with a violinist friend, to catch up on things and enjoy hanging out. We went to Noodles & Company at Cameron Village, and I thought I could try it out because a few of their dishes are made with rice noodles. I was fairly confident and didn't check their website before going, we just went!

When I asked the cashier about gluten free options, I was delighted when she went under the counter and brought out a large laminated paper with graphs that had checkmarks corresponding to allergens in their foods. They could tell me for sure!

The only gluten free option was: PAD THAI, and a tomato/cucumber vinegar salad. So I ordered them both, and they were delicious! It's funny that their Pad Thai was GF, because at a lot of Thai Restaurants, that is one that is pre-made with soy sauce that can't be served gluten free, I have found. So now I know where to go get some GF Pad Thai, right in my neighborhood! They were fast, and reasonably priced.



I played in two matinee concerts on Sunday and went to lunch with two orchestra colleagues in between. We went to Greek Fiesta in Raleigh, on Western Blvd. I thought, this could work fine. They have lots of kabobs, hummus, salad, etc.

So I asked the cashier if the chicken/steak for kabobs was marinated in something. He said, "yes." So I asked if he would be so kind to please check the ingredients to see if they were gluten free, for example, did they have any soy sauce, modified food starch, carmel color, etc.?

He said that one man makes the marinade, and brings it to their 5 locations, and he is the only person who knows what is in it.

I said, "you are serving something and you don't know what it is?" The guy just looked at me like I was a complete jerk for asking any kinds of damn questions and I should shut up and order. I told him I didn't mean to be a pest, it's just that I could become sick if I ate any wheat or gluten. We went back and forth for a minute or two; I guess I'm just getting really used to places being cool.

So I ordered the Greek Veggie platter, hold the pita bread.

What did I get?

Iceberg lettuce salad with cucumbers, yellow peppers, feta cheese, one purple olive (yes, just one olive!), with Cucumber Sauce, 3 small grape leaf wraps--with 6 pita wedges sitting on top. Yeah, thanks, guys. This cost 7.99.

What could I do for 7.99 in my kitchen at home? At the very least, one box of GF mac 'n' cheese (Trader Joe's or DeBoles) is about $2, a bag of salad is $2-3, a yogurt is .75 cents. None of these things will make me sweat, fog up my brain, or break out a dermatitis herpetiformis rash all over my body.

Needless to say, I don't think I'll be going back over there.

Epilogue: And what happened with the pita wedges? When I told them I didn't ask for them and didn't want them, they brought a plate out to the counter and took them back into the kitchen. Do you think they'd re-use them? They had that ikky cuke sauce on them. Did they give them to the next people who came in?

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