It’s a series!
So the incident at Starbucks kind of reminded me of the time we went to the beloved, much-lauded Girl & The Goat. I wrote about the experience in a Yelp review shortly after:
“We experienced some CLUELESS servers. They knew about my many allergies before we came in and attempted to pare down the menu accordingly (NB: and when I wrote “pare down,” I meant that they brought me a menu with a bunch of dishes crossed out. I initially took that as a good sign), but didn’t seem to know what was in the dishes at all.
Thus I would order something, and it would be coated in butter when brought out. So I’d have to explain my allergies again and they’d pare down the menu further, only to have the same thing happen again when I ordered a second time. ‘Ooooh yea, this has BOTH dairy and eggs! Sorry, we’re not trying to kill you, we promise!’ said in the most disingenuous way possible. I actually put something in my mouth and chewed before the server came rushing back to tell me it had aioli.
A note: I am severely (read: deathly) allergic to dairy and eggs. I KNOW it’s hard to try and accommodate people like me, but I’m not asking you to make all the dishes safe for me. Just point me to a dish (or I’ll find one myself) that’s relatively easy to modify and I’ll go with that. But that all goes to sh** if your servers don’t know what’s in the menu items!”
This was a few months after G&G had opened, so I’m sure the waitstaff has more of a handle on the dish components now. But one “Santi M.” read my review on Yelp and decided to write me a snarky message:
“You shouldn’t give a restaurant a bad review because of your food allergies. It’s obviously not a vegan restaurant. That’s the lamest thing i have ever seen and extremely unfair to the business operator.”
Ah, the old “people with allergies shouldn’t be allowed to complain because that is lame” yarn. I wrote him back:
“Hey, guess what? I’m not vegan! And NO, it’s unfair to me for them to come out and say, HEY, we can absolutely accommodate you and fix things that are safe for you, and then due to the silly servers, come out and present me, not once, but 2-3 times with things that I’m allergic to.
Like I said, I’m not expecting them to try and make the entire menu safe for me. I’ve lived with this for 24 years, I know it’s hard. Just don’t tell me that this particular item is safe for me to eat and then bring it out and have it be covered in butter. That’s baaaad customer service. But hey, the wine and the drinks were very good.”
No response from Mr. M, so I assume he got my point. And it’s not a very complicated point, is it? I don’t generally have high expectations when I walk into a restaurant, which is why my go-to at any place is the meat & potatoes entree (burger – sans bun – with fries, non-butter-cooked steak frites, etc). I want to make my dining experience as easy for the kitchen staff as possible because I am well-aware of the fact that I’m allergic to nearly half the food pyramid. I don’t need, nor expect any restaurant to completely accommodate me to the point where any dish could be made Bex-friendly. As long as there’s something on the menu I can eat, even a house salad, I’ll be good. I’ve sat with people and watched them eat foods that would send me to the hospital countless times, and trust me, it’s not a big deal.
But I do expect restaurant staff to know what’s in the food. I mean, don’t they teach you that when you’re hired?