Another Week Another Case Of Restaurant Struggles.
I love a good sweet potato fry don't get me wrong & I was going to have them anyway. However yet again being prepared and taking my own coconut rice milk with me after reading the menu and getting excited at the thought of broad bean and asapagus risotto! Just up my street!!
I thought this is perfect, pub food so plenty to keep everyone happy and I can have plenty with risotto and sweet potato fries.
We arrived to find the restaurant not busy at all, only around 4 tables out of a reasonably sized pub filled, serving 2 people approx per table.
I thought this is good, it isn't busy so they will be able to accommodate far easier and it will be less stressful for them.
However, after talking to the waitress and asking/ explaining that I have my milk would a risotto be possible, the simple reply was of course - NO. What a shock. The risotto's are already pre-packed and pre-made they just re-heat, they don't keep fresh ingredients for the dishes in stock separately.
So not wanting to cause a fuss I ordered my sides - salad ( not dressed ), steamed veg & sweet potato fries and of course being sides it is very hit and miss how much you get and frankly you weren't overwhelmed with food. I know people don't like BIG dishes however when that was all I was able to have a few extra chips and a bit more on the veggie front wouldn't go a miss.
The food was yummy, but with no allergy adapted or options for pud we were both still hungry so paid up and evacuated in order to seek out somewhere that could accomadate our dessert requirements.
After the stress of trying to find somewhere suitable and asking for simple dishes is just so fustrating. It causes such a massive amount of anxiety, embarrassment & stress.
With having so many issues lately, being away a lot and eating in new places has caused me so many issues, stress, anxiety and embarrassment that I feel on this issue I have taken a step backwards. My anxieties have been heightened over eating out more, so much more. However being so stubborn as I am still in the mind set of trying to 'go with the flow', 'live like a 23 year old' and not miss out, as I used to love and enjoy eating out so much. It was my main way to socialise.
This trend that is spreading like wild fire that everything is pre-packed, pre-made, chefs aren't willing to experiment and even 'try' to create a dish to accommodate! What is on the menu is the only option! They don't like you bringing outside products into their kitchens, so even when you take pizza dough, soya milk and other products to help put a dish together that IS suitable the answer is often NO or you are left embarassed and seen as a pain! Why should the chef cook what you have brought? You have come to this restaurant to eat their food? Yes I see that but I also hate sitting there with my few tiny small side dishes and watching family and friends tuck in to a massive plate of my old fave foods & dishes whilst paying the same, if not LESS than me.
You also have the issue of not knowing how many side dishes to order because as explained above there are no consistency- sometimes you can receive a massive plate of chips that is a good size and fill you up, other times you get a little cup of hardly any for the same price. It's SO hard to judge! And during the meal you don't want to order more because you will have to wait another 20 minutes- holding up the people you are dining with and then also you may no longer want them by that time. I try to use TripAdvisor for pictures and advice to know what to expect! This is SO useful but also you don't have many people order just side dishes so you still don't get to see the real serving size you can expect. You just get the 'full meal' size.
Another issue I want to raise through this week's ( I will call it trauma as it has caused me SO much worry ) over picking places to eat out where I can get the most food possible, that won't make me unwell.
My Mama - my inspiration as you all know, always gives useful advice. And as I tried to 'review' restauarants and places that did accomadate allergies - well quite simply a lot of these outlets were private, local eateries. She advised and correctly rised the fact that I should focus more on 'chain' restaurants that have outlets all over the globe because a lot of my followers are all over ( which is very true - Google Analytics shows that my number one YouTube audience are from the UK, but close second are Americans, followed by the Spainish, the Middle eastern community and then the Auzzie's - thank you so much for your viewings and I love and appreciate you all) but she was right.
So I began with researching places like Chiquito's ( Mexican ) and Frankie and Benny's that everyone more or less loves and dines at regularly. Now online I came to find that the companies make you tick to agree that although a menu may be 'gluten' Free that we have to accept that there MAY be cross-contamination which they can't be held responsible for and we have to agree and accept. Unless you tick and agree you can not even view the gluten free menu!! Well people highly sensitive means they can't risk eating here!! Two massive world-wide chains offering two top loved cuisines that can't cater for us! It is almost like they create a 'gluten' free menu all for show. Just to get us off their backs! Show they are moving with the times, accomadating their customers and tailoring their foods towards this growing audience/ market when really it's just a smoke screen!!! A strategy to try and shut us up and keep them from being responsive for any complications. I am all for protecting yourself but what I don't believe in is creating a smoke screen & creating 'short cuts' so they can carry on rolling food out just as fast and making money just as quickly whilst putting our health at risk!
Restaurants also fail to address that there are more allergies that need accomadating for than just simply gluten!
And just because it says 'gluten' free doesn't mean it doesn't contain dairy, wheat, nuts, soy and eggs - etc.
Even the gluten free tag creates controversy and confusion as a lot of 'gluten free' products still contain a reasonable level of gluten that can cause reactions.
You can check all the amounts, ingredients and totals when you are food shopping ( though labels are rarely clear ) but whilst eating out this isn't as easy and especially when you don't want to cause a fuss or a scene.
If you are local then please visit Acresfield Health Club and Spa, The Sparling at Barton & Pipers at Garstang as these outlets WILL accomadate you! Acresfield have a range of products and dishes to offer - soups, wraps, traybakes, soy milk and crisps to name just a few. The Sparling are happy to adapt dishes and allow you to take your own milks in for them to make a risotto for you and Piper's of course ! Ian bless him he very up on catering for allergies! He enjoys a challenge!!! You will never be disappointed with the options he comes up with and the food he provides! Although a little more expensive you don't care when you get that sort of excellent service, ease, A CHOICE and a bloody great portion of yummy food like your fellow diners! because with Acresfield especially due to my parents knowing the troubles and trials I have faced eating out and especially my Mum shares the passion I have to fight this cause and spread awareness have ensured that we have food and products I use and love for everyone to enjoy, that means that sufferers can eat out, enjoy a PROPER dish of food and not have to worry.
We ensure we stock my gluten, wheat, dairy , soy and egg free wraps so people can enjoy a hearty sandwich! We thicken all our soups with potato - NOT flour and all natural ingredients: fresh veggies, herbs and local cheeses. Gluten free snacks ( brownies etc ) and crisps!
Having this peace of mind and ease for people makes ALL the difference.
Just yesterday we held an event where myself and two others were gluten sensitive and at first believing they wouldn't be able to eat anything due to the food course being 'afternoon tea' and based on cakes, sandwiches and traybakes packed with gluten they walked away satisfied, not feeling embarrassed or out of place as they were able to sit and enjoy food ( ok not quite the same food - wraps, traybakes and crisps more than cakes and sandwiches ) but their dishes were tailored to their needs with ease and no questions asked the traybakes and crisps were added to THE TABLE which is another big thing because it creates the vibe of having the same as everyone else and not feeling like a sore thumb or 'awkward' and all these little factors make SUCH a difference. I can't tell you! I really can't stress it enough!!
It made the day so much less stressful for them and they messaged us after thanking us for such an amazing day and that they will return soon! I know full well if they are in the area they won't hesitate to swing by and stop for something to eat now, which is amazing!!
I know I keep banging on about the struggles and issues I am facing with restaurants but I feel it is a massive problem and one that actually despite the smoke screens may actually be getting worse and more unsafe! In the constant drive and strive to earn as much money as possible. The customer, you and I need to become more of the focus as these restaurants and major chains need to realise that without us, there will be no money or success!! So the goings may be all good now but what seeds you plant now are the crops you harvest later!! Don't push these issues under the rug and hope they go away!!
Thank you for reading!!
If anyone knows of any lovely restaurants that accomadate their needs let me know! Of course, also reach out if you yourself have encounter problems and issues with eating out. How did you deal with the situtation and how did you feel? Do you have a loved one that suffers making it hard for you to cater, or eat out with them.
Please all share your stories! It is the only way we can really learn, gain konowledge, spread awareness and fight the cause!
Love and peace!