Tag Archives: allergies

Even Better Than Last Year

Last year I found the perfect Valentine’s Day card for Drew (see February 15, 2011 post)

This year I received the best ever Valentine’s Day gift from my drew:

best gift ever!

Drew and I met the girls in the city and we did some happy hour drinking. First stop was Cafe Mogadar — 2 free appetizers with every drink. I ordered what should have been safe: beets with feta and onions and an order of olives. I ate an olive and felt a little itch. Can’t believe they sprinkled sesame seeds on the olives. (And yes, I did mention my allergies.) I’m pretty sure the olive I put in my mouth didn’t have any seeds on it. I broke out in a sweat, pushed the plate away, and managed to stay alive. Next stop: ten degrees bar where they served 2-for-1 drinks til 8. Nik’s Moscow Mule (Kettle One & Ginger Beer on the rocks … good one.)

Left the girls there to finish off the drinks and have dinner on us and off we went to City Winery to see Richard Thompson  — good food, good music — great place.

The chocolate roach came in the mail a few days later. I sent a picture to Rachel.

me: maybe I should save the roach for a family dessert.

Rachel: Ahhh wait a real choc covered one!? So they killed it!?

Can’t wait to visit my little Max at the Bronx Zoo! Wonder if I have to pay admission?

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Shame On You, Anthony Bourdain

Every Christmas our family has dinner in the city. Most restaurants are closed, others have special Christmas menus. My wants are simple: A good meal that is free of sesame and nuts.

Several years ago we saw Sweeney Todd at the Ziegfield (After all, it is a holiday movie. Isn’t red the color of Christmas?)  We made no reservations for dinner but Drew had a list in his pocket of Indian restaurants that were highly rated and open on Christmas day. After the movie we made our way downtown to a crowded Indian restaurant and after finally getting a table and ordering food I said to the waiter, “I’m allergic to sesame and nuts, just tell me which of the dishes I can eat.” And he so casually replied, “only the naan, but it’s very tasty.”  And so, I ate only the bread. It was very tasty.

Years ago we went to Les Halles Park Avenue. Service was great, food was excellent. Brasserie Les Halles home base of Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain —Yup, that’s what the website (leshalles.net) said. And that’s why we went there . . . because it was an Anthony Bourdain restaurant!!!!!

This Christmas we decided to go back to Les Halles. I made a reservation and then checked the menu. Mmmm, I wanted DUCK! But then I noticed the fine print at the bottom of the menu. It said, “Our dressings may include canola oil, olive oil, or walnut oil.” Hmm, walnut oil, now that’s something I usually don’t see on a menu. But a nut is a nut is a nut and I had to call and find out if I would be comfortable ordering from the menu. (Be prepared. I didn’t want a repeat of our Indian dinner.)

So I called, “Hi, we have reservations for Christmas Day and I noticed on your menu that you use walnut oil. I’m allergic to nuts and sesame in any form. Is that going to be a problem?” He said, “No problem, the walnuts and walnut oils are listed on the menu as ingredients on certain salads. You’ll be fine with everything else.

On Christmas day I bring in some homemade potato pancakes and apple sauce for lunch. We hang around the apartment watching Drunk History until it’s time to go to dinner. Our table was in the back, a little tight but, hey, it’s New York. We check out the menu and decide on a few appetizers, wine, and entrees.  I ordered the duck. Of course there are always questions: Any sesame or nuts in this dish? Is this vegetarian? The usual questions. But the answers, wow, I was stunned — we all were. The waitress said she would check with the kitchen to see about the nuts and sesame. She comes back to tell me that I can’t eat the duck. I can order meat or fish without sauce, and, oh, the side salad that comes with some of the dishes . . . nope, I can’t eat that either. We all look at each other. (Seriously, ALL the salads? Is it that hard to take a some lettuce and drip a few drops of olive oil over it?) The girls were ready to leave but, honestly, I didn’t know where we would go. My call, I said we’ll stay. I can always buy some chips and chocolate  after dinner. (Which I did.)

I order a piece of fish. Drew orders duck. Rachel orders the lamb chops with the fries on the side so it doesn’t touch the meat. Hannah ordered the quiche du jour which was asparagus and cheese. Food comes and I get my piece of fish, no sauce, no salad, and a few, very few veggies.  (For this I paid how much?) Drew is happy with his duck, Rachel gets her lamb chops with the fries on the same plate, and Hannah gets a quiche filled with mushrooms. Did I mention that Hannah doesn’t like mushrooms and that she is a vegetarian and that’s why we ordered the fries on a separate plate.

We finally get the waitress’ attention and tell her that the quiche is not what we ordered. “Oh, I guess there’s no more of the asparagus quiche left,” By this time Hannah picked out all the mushrooms and ate some of the quiche. We asked for fries on a separate plate. Hannah said she would be okay eating the fries. The waitress came by twice to say that they will be out soon. (Not soon enough, we were probably home in bed by time they got to the table.)

Very disappointing meal. She took the quiche off the bill. Not a very merry dinner experience. We should have gone to that nice little Thai place on 14th street. Does anyone know if Shake Shack is open on Christmas Day?  A vanilla malted with a side of fries — mmm, that would make me happy.

And there’s more: Hannah called the restaurant the next week and asked to talk to the manager. Here’s what Hannah had to say:

I still never got an answer from them! I am going to email them haha. But basically I called them and told the hostess what happened and asked to speak to a manager. She spoke to the manager and got back to me telling to call the GM (Magda) tomorrow because she would be the one to talk to. So I asked if she could leave a message for Magda anyway and that I would call back the next day. The next day I called for Magda and she was busy. I called back again the day after that and the hostess picked up and I explained to her that I called the other day and left a message for Magda. I explained the situation and said “I left a message yesterday and the day before but I guess it got lost or something” She replied, “it did not get lost. Magda saw it, she was just too busy to call you back.” Uhhhhhhhh
anyway, that is where the story ends FOR NOW!

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Filed under Family, Food, holiday, Long Island Living

Restaurant Pet Peeves

And so it says here in the Book of Peeves, Chapter 3 (Food Service),” Thou shalt not clean the floor while customers are still present.”  I heartily agree with this. I’ve been in restaurants where they start vacuuming while we are still eating. Last week we went for sushi, it was not yet closing time, and there they were — mopping the floor with some very strong smelling detergent. Couldn’t taste my sushi. Not happy about that. Would I go back? Not sure. They did serve me sushi with sesame seeds even though I did mention my allergies. They said they were sorry, but I could have been dead.

Now THIS is the way to do it!

Another peeve of mine is the clearing of the plates before everyone is finished eating. Now, okay, I’m not so sure I need to be hardcore about this one, and you might feel the same way if you’ve ever sat down to a meal with Rachel. We would be finishing our coffee and Rachel would lift her darling delicate finger to get the waiter’s attention and giggle, “Can we have another bottle of wine, please.” And then she would look down at her plate and continue sectioning off her food into bite-sized nibbles, saving the best for last.

What I really don’t like is when there is just the two of us (usually me and my drew) and as soon as Drew lifts his fork off the plate and puts his last bite into his mouth, the waiter is right there taking the plate away. And we all know that it is really not his last bite because there is still food on my plate.

Water glasses should be filled at all times and definitely do not spill red wine on a customer, but white is okay!

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I Am Not a Joiner — But I Do My Share of Volunteering

I found Jack through a phone call to LIMA. And I found the Human Bean Coop through Jack. I was looking for a food coop like the one I shopped at in San Francisco. It seemed the hippy healthy thing to do.

My dad was sick . . . well, that’s an understatement. He had kidney cancer and we were all searching for the miracle cure. I went the way of macrobiotics. I took cooking classes with Pam and Jan, always making sure to mention my nut and sesame allergies before signing up.  Jack said it would be no problem. My first class was in his kitchen. There were around 6 or 8 of us sitting around the kitchen counter. He was making a cauliflower tahini sauce in the blender. (Ah, did he use tahini?) Then he emptied the blender and, without rinsing it, he filled it with ingredients for the next dish. I felt like one big itchy hive. I couldn’t eat anything and asked for my money back. He said that was not his policy. Apparently eating this way does not make you a good person (or a smart one.)  What good came of it? He told me of JoAnne’s Farm Stand and the Human Bean Coop. So you could say that was why the divine spirit led me to Jack.

I volunteered and shopped at the coop and I started cooking my own macro food. I felt great. Didn’t get those 4 o’clock sleepy blues. My dad didn’t fare so well. He died within a year of his diagnosis.

I stocked shelves, priced items, and brought toddler hannah along to help. Then I volunteered to put together a newsletter. This involved interacting with other people. I went to the board meetings. Always arguing. I stopped volunteering, stopped shopping there, and soon after, they closed up shop. (No, I can’t take blame for that.)

The next newsletter I edited was the PTA Post. I was a good mommy. I was involved. I helped out during pizza Fridays, and worked the plant and book sales. And for most of my years spent as a Camp Avenue mommy I edited the PTA Post (with the help of my friend Pat S.) And because of this I felt I had to go to all the PTA meetings. Why is it that some people take this time to bring up an issue that has only to do with their child and they want an answer now. Zzzzzzzzz, boring. Some one needs to slam down that gavel and say, “Not now, make an appointment.” Doesn’t work that way. Everyone argues, “I think we should donate the extra twenty dollars to the Save the Whales Fund.” “What? No way, we need to buy  a new book for my child’s class” “How about buying a gift for the crossing guard . . . ” This could go on and on and on. Hey mommies and daddies, aren’t we all here for the children. We should all be on the same page. I did not want to be there. It had to end. It did. My girls were on their way to middle school.

After that I unwittingly volunteered to edit the temple newsletter. But first I went to a few sisterhood meetings. Nope, not for me. Then somehow, I don’t know how this happened but I received a call from Betsy B., “How would you like to put together the message?”  For some reason I thought she was referring to writing short classifieds or something. “Yeah, sure.” The next day I am given a big box full of old stuff. Old newsletters, old pictures, old articles. What have I done? I went to a few board meetings.  I didn’t want to be there. I’d rather be fooled into thinking everyone liked each other and got along.

Done with that! Sleeping through the night. Then the phone call from Gerda, “Vicki dear, the hort society is looking for someone to take over the newsletter. You would be perfect. What do you think? We’ll get to see each other at the meetings. It will be so much fun.”  She thought it would be a good way to get me to meetings so we could hang together. Ahh, an organization in need. I thought about it and figured it would keep me involved in horticulture, so why not? I became editor and then a member. So what happened to Gerda? Apparently she was too busy being a grandma to care about me.

So now I am done with the LIHS newsletter and I have replaced it with my daily blog. Please don’t make me join anything!

Dinner tonight: Last night’s leftovers and a fresh eggplant dish.

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