I was out pretty much all weekend, which meant I was eating out pretty much all weekend. I love eating out, especially now that I have my cool Triumph Dining Cards, but sometimes it gets a bit tedious. Most family places and pubs tend to be carb and gluten-laden, and that's where I kept finding myself. In these cases, I fall back on two dishes: steak and veggies, and bacon and eggs.
When you're gluten and casein free AND low- carbing, your restaurant world gets mighty small. I don't want to get the nachos sans cheese, or the potato skins sans cheese, or the rice or rice noodles. This is difficult for some people to understand, particularly when they've never had a weight problem, and I go with it because despite the studies and the science, low- carbing is still media- ized as a radical fad diet. Starch has become an essential food group, somehow, even though there is nothing nutritionally in grains that can't be found elsewhere, and in a more bioavailable form. But I digress.
So it's Sunday, and it's muggy, and I'm meeting my Best Pal for some cheap pants shopping and lunch. There was a drum festival going on downtown that I attended the day before, and a vendor had some comfy-looking gauchos at $10 for two pairs. So Best Pal and I hit it up, got ourselves comfy- pantsed, and found a nearby pub with a patio. It was too hot to walk and hunt down a Tracy-friendly resto, so I figured I'd fall back on brekkie. I check the menu and settle on my usual: scrambled eggs with no milk, not cooked in butter please because I'm allergic, bacon, no homefries, no toast, extra bacon and could I have some tomato slices or something too please.
Normally, the server doesn't blink an eye at this. But this girl looked at me like I'd requested BBQed baby with a side of puppy-dog. She wrinkled her face. "You don't want homefries or toast?"
"I'm really allergic to wheat and dairy, " I replied. If I don't have my cards with me, I just say I'm allergic to things. People understand that.
" Uhhhh...okay." As if I'm, like, totally whatever for having food "allergies". "I'll have to check with the kitchen about the eggs because, like, I don't know if they're, like, made from a mix or what."
Made from a mix? It's scrambled eggs. Even so, the kitchen has frickin' eggs back there, and I'm sure breaking a couple into a pan and swishing them around isn't going to be a huge hardship for anyone. "I do appreciate it," I said sweetly.
"So, like, you basically want bacon and eggs. Just bacon and eggs."
I nod. "You got it."
"Well, like, do you want anything in place of the toast and potatoes?" She asks. Scenes from "Heathers" start flashing though my mind. I am tempted to ask her what her damage is.
"Yeah," I say. "Bacon."
She raises her eyebrows and scribbles on her little pad like a shrink making notes on a difficult patient. "I'll check with the kitchen and let you know," she says.
Best Pal is pissed. I'm pissed, but amused. I have had cooks gladly bring me their bottle of soy sauce for inspection. I have had chefs come and visit my table to specifically ask me what is okay and not okay, and make up a dish specially for me. And this isn't just at high-end urban places either...this is at mid-to-low price point joints in the burbs. I am gracious and grateful and I tip well for the extra effort. But this is just bloody bacon and eggs, for chrissakes.
Our server pops over to assure me that my order can be accommodated ("Thanks just SO much, " I tell her) and I eat a lovely brekkie. Then I finish half of Best Pal's steak, which is the great thing about having a Best Pal with Crohn's - I get most of whatever she orders. As long as it's bacon, eggs or steak.