Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pancake Snafu

Like many other families, we were traveling over the Labor Day weekend and we were visiting a place where we spend at least three or four weekends per year.  I think breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for a celiac, so when you find a place that serves great food and gluten-free pancakes, you tend to return.

There are those days when, after twenty minutes with nobody coming by your table to take a drink order, that you know it’s not going to be smooth sailing.   I have no intention of outing our location or the restaurant because our server just had a really bad morning.
I only lasted one week waiting tables in college, so I took a deep zen breath as I chased a bus boy down for coffee, and then again thirty minutes later for refills.  And then again to ask someone to take our order, and then to flag down someone to check on our order after forty minutes, and then to remind the server that we had been sitting for an hour with no food….

Our server got “slammed.”  She had a table of 16 in the back of the restaurant and then a bunch of other tables throughout the restaurant.  Our order was totally muffed and that is what freaked me out.
I ordered gluten-free pancakes with blueberries and bananas and whipped cream…they came with strawberries and blueberries, but at that point who cares.   My husband, son and celiac son ordered the same (disgusting) peanut butter, chocolate and banana concoction, but two were regular and one was gluten free.

Mine was differentiated by the berries and whipped cream, but the other three came out and they were all on the same style of plates and they all looked exactly the same.    

“Are you 100% sure this is the gluten-free breakfast?  Other slip ups I can tolerate but this I cannot.”  I was locked eye ball to eye ball with our flustered server and she said she was absolutely, unequivocally sure that this was the gluten-free peanut butter, chocolate and banana pancakes…
What do you do next?  It is just one of those situations where all you can do is HOPE that even if everything else had gone wrong with the meal that you can trust them to get the gluten-free breakfast to the gluten-free customer.  

I was very, very nervous.  This is the part of celiac disease that is challenging.  You try so hard to live a normal life and make sure what you are eating is safe…but when the food preparation is out of your hands, you have to rely on hope and trust. 

We made it to our river cruise and to our football game that day, everyone was fine…and stuffed…from breakfast.   She did the right thing, apologized for everything and refused to let us pay for anything.  I felt really bad for her and left her a good tip because she was so upset, we were not the only table that had a sub par morning!
I’ll go back, it’s a quirky spot with great food and they really understand the importance of gluten-free safety.  Now if they can figure out how to better coordinate their servers with the floor plan, they will have even more satisfied customers.

Kendall Egan

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