Author Topic: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)  (Read 4613 times)

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guihong

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When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« on: December 05, 2013, 01:21:40 AM »
Hi, all:

I think this came out OK, and I had a pleasant evening, but I wonder if I could have handled this more smoothly:

Myself, DD, DD's new boyfriend, and the BF's parents went out to dinner.  In the negotiations over the restaurant, the "winner" was a Japanese grill, the type of place where you sit around a large hot surface and the chef cooks your food in front of you, usually throwing knives around, chopping with flourish, and setting things on fire for the grand finale. 

I love most any Asian cuisine, but I have to approach this carefully.  I am allergic to mushrooms and seafood, both of which are common ingredients in dishes.  Southeast Asian cooking often involves fish sauce, which obviously could be problematic.  I'm sensitive to too much soy, so I also avoid soy sauce and tofu.  It's not a life-threatening situation, but I'd rather avoid puffing up or breaking out in front of people.  Plus, I've heard some allergies can suddenly turn serious without warning, so I stay away.   I don't often eat out at Asian places because of this, so I tried to steer the choices to Chili's or some generic place, but when the majority were so happy about the Japanese place, I didn't see how I could say anything.

When I've been to a restaurant of this type, I try to avoid sitting at the large grill because no matter how hard the chef tries to keep my order separate from the others, it's really fast and pieces fly around into one another's dishes.  Plus, since I was meeting the BF and his family for the first time, I was concerned about looking like a snowflake by "directing" the chef. 

Naturally, everyone wanted to sit at the grill  ::).  The BF's mother and I had hit it off while visiting at their home, so I tried to inconspicuously take her aside and ask if we could sit at the other end of the restaurant, where there is a kind of make-your-own bowl that you then give to the chef for cooking-separately.  I explained about the cross-contamination.  She was immediately OK with that, quietly told her husband what the issue was, and it worked out well.  I made my bowl as I needed to, and they got all the shrimps and mushrooms for theirs.

I can't see how I messed up (if I did), or if I was a snowflake, but I know you'll "tell it like it is" ;).



JustEstelle

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 01:36:08 AM »
I think you did fine.  You didn't make a big deal about asking for the change, and it sounds like the evening went well.

Pen^2

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 01:50:11 AM »
You were fine. Did you mention your food allergies before the restaurant was chosen? That would have been fine also, and might have been easier--there was probably another place that they would have enjoyed just as much where you weren't allergic to half the food. Maybe there wasn't, of course, but making a food allergy known so others can factor it into their decisions is completely different to insisting upon a food preference.

veryfluffy

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 02:01:00 AM »
I think when it is a matter of a group selecting and agreeing on a place, you might just say, "Because of my allergy to seafood, I'd rather go somewhere that doesn't risk cross-contamination in the dishes"  during the discussion.
   

sweetonsno

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 02:21:30 AM »
I think you handled the situation pretty well, but in the future, don't be afraid to speak up about your restrictions when you discuss options. The need to quickly kibosh the grill seating may have been avoided if you had simply said, "The hibachi sounds like fun, but I'm allergic to mushrooms and seafood. Will I be able to find anything?"

cicero

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 02:32:35 AM »
I think you handled the situation pretty well, but in the future, don't be afraid to speak up about your restrictions when you discuss options. The need to quickly kibosh the grill seating may have been avoided if you had simply said, "The hibachi sounds like fun, but I'm allergic to mushrooms and seafood. Will I be able to find anything?"
exactly. instead of "gently" trying to redirect them to Chili's, just say the above.

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Dazi

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 06:46:07 AM »
I have similar problems at hibachi due to severe food allergies.  What I've done in the past is sit with the people who wanted hibachi, but ordered off the other menu asking them to leave out this or that.  I've never had a problem doing this. 

I've been questioned a few times by waitresses, the chefs, and new dining companions, but when I explained I am allergic to shellfish, soy, and eggs (I actually have other food allergies, but these are the hibachi problem ones) they suddenly didn't have a problem with it.  The chef told me there was no way not to contaminate my meal if it was done on the hibachi.  It's a nice compromise.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 06:47:57 AM by Dazi »
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weeblewobble

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 08:03:18 AM »
I think you handled it very well.  You didn't pitch a fit when the restaurant choice was unsuitable for you.  And when it came time to ask for an accommodation, you did it quietly and with class. Kudos to you.

lmyrs

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 08:35:15 AM »
I sure don't think you were SS. But, in the future, it is better if you bring up the allergies while discussing the restaurant.

I'm not a big fan of Japanese food (except sushi). So if I'm at one of those reataurants, I'm generally there to see the "show". It would be very disappointing to get there and then not get to sit at the display tables.

On the other hand, if you'd said something in the planning stage, I would have advocated not to go there at all. So we would both win.

Zizi-K

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 08:48:29 AM »
I'm surprised your DD didn't take a more active role in this. Unless your allergy is a recent development, she must know your allergies and your reasons for avoiding Japanese places, as well as that the grill is the worst place for cross contamination. Why on earth did she not say, "actually Asian restaurants are not the best for my mom, how about the new italian place?" I can see how you would want to be easy going just meeting all of these people, but presumably she is more comfortable with them.

rose red

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 10:11:22 AM »
You were fine, but I agree it might be better next time to mention it during the decision period.  It sure would be disappointing to get ready for one restaurant and then find out we can't go afterall.  It's not as bothersome if you know it's off the table from the beginning.  I realise it was fine to go to the Japanese place anyway, but there may be issues next time.

Bees

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 10:31:23 AM »
I agree with the others who say you should have mentioned the allergic reactions earlier. The reason people chose that type of restaurant is for the show(hate it myself) and they were probably disappointed. They were gracious in their accommodations.

CaffeineKatie

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 10:45:51 AM »
I'd say kudos to all involved--you were accomodating about the choice of restaurant while still protecting your health, and the BFs parents were polite about adapting to your needs.  That's good manners all round!

Winterlight

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 11:11:16 AM »
I'd rather people were straightforward with me instead of trying to hint. For one thing, I don't always get the hint. Just tell me that due to allergies, X category of restaurant is out. I can get my Indian/Chinese/seafood fix another night, but having someone get really sick at dinner will ruin everyone's time.
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esposita

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Re: When your choice of restaurant is overruled (food allergy issue)
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2013, 11:20:10 AM »
I'd rather people were straightforward with me instead of trying to hint. For one thing, I don't always get the hint. Just tell me that due to allergies, X category of restaurant is out. I can get my Indian/Chinese/seafood fix another night, but having someone get really sick at dinner will ruin everyone's time.

Yep. Chances are, when someone hints things at me, I'm not gonna get it unless I know the person and their way of communicating. And even then I miss things. I don't think it sounds like your choice was overruled, no one knew! Chances are none of them would have been happy with going to a place that could cause so much trouble for you, if you had told them outright.