Saturday 15 October 2011

Fear and Loathing in Anaheim

We stayed at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim. The hotel itself was great, nice pool (with a bar – nothing safer than drinking wine at and then swimming with your children) and the rooms were clean with comfy beds. We could even see the fireworks from our balcony. The first night there, we checked in at and if you read my last post you know that I, at this point, have not eaten proper food since . People in prison have higher blood sugars than I did at that point. So we check in and unpack and get settled and we head down to the Overland Restaurant to eat.

It was a nice hotel restaurant, clean and everyone was very pleasant. When the server came over though, and I gave my set spiel on the Celiac gig, he did a few things that raised red flags.

A)    He said “ya ya ya” . One of two things might have been the problem here, he didn’t know what gluten was and didn’t really care, or he thought I was a crazy person and still didn’t care. Either way “Ya ya ya,” tells me you don’t give a shit.

B)     He didn’t write anything down. Huge problem here. I am always comforted by the server who mumbles “Severe allergy, celiac, gluten….” While scribbling furiously on their note pad. I don’t care if they are actually writing their grocery list or drawing a stick figure and doing the whole act for my crazy ass, that’s fine, just put up the façade would ya?

So Trev reiterates the whole thing, he says, “So you need to talk to the chef and everyone needs to understand what she can and can not have and how to prepare her food.”

And the guy nods again and says “Ya ya ya,” then he does something odd, he points over his shoulder… nothing. I’m thinking, what the fuck are you pointing at? The kitchen? The manager? A Gluten Free chef waiting in the wings? WHAT? Then he just walks away. Trev looks at me and with a dead pan face says, “You’re dead meat.”

I try to think positively, I DID send an email to this restaurant, warning of my pending arrival; I received a response from the manager who said he understood and could handle my dietary concerns and to just tell the server upon arrival. Now it's Gluten Free Roulette and I HATE playing that game but sometimes you don't have a choice. You just gotta spin and hope for the best! So we wait for the food and I realize that I am feeling a little dizzy and sweaty now, I need to eat.

Then the server comes back and puts a bowl of tortilla chips on the table. This is the exchange…

“Oh, are those corn torillas? Can I have them” I ask deeply hopeful

“Ya” he nods, I am starting to question this guys vocabulary

“Were they cooked in the fryer with other breaded items?”

“Ya,” he nods.

“So I can’t have them,”

“No,” and he walks away.

The shittiest part is that he smiled through this whole exchange. He was a completely pleasant man who currently was ruining my life.

FINALLY the food comes out and the manager runs mine which was the saving grace through this whole exchange because he puts my plate down and I pull my old, “So that’s a gluten free meal right?” and he started to nod out of habit, but stopped and immediately started shaking his head, reaches for the plate and whisks it back.

He says that I can not have the sauce on the chicken and he didn’t know that I needed a gluten free meal and he was very sorry.

Now, I am not a cry baby, I am not a whiner, I think people who cry over little things are soft in the head to be honest with you but I totally lost it at this point. I had not eaten in 11 hours, I was desperately trying to get my kids to Disneyland that night because we promised them that they would see it, I was exhausted from packing and planning the whole surprise and getting everything done before we go, I felt like I had covered all my gluten free bases and it still wasn’t good enough, and once again my kids cant have a normal meal at a restaurant……and now I have the shakes.

I took a deep breath and said in a quiet, unsteady voice, “I am going to need you to right now, find me something to eat because you see ….. I ….. (whimper) ….. am….. (sniff)…… very……(choke)……hungryyyyy…..(wail). I tried to stop it but the tears just came.

The guy literally looked like he wanted to die, I think I should cry more often because man did it put the spring in his step! In addition to my crying, Trev is seething, I can feel the anger radiating off him. He is really a funny, charming man but at the base, he is deeply protective of me and the spawn and when we are threatened in anyway, he is not a happy camper. Now, someone is making his starving wife cry and that is a really dumb thing to do. I think if the kids weren’t there, and Trev could have said whatever he wanted, the guy might have wet himself at some point. As it was though, a dirty look and my sniveling were enough to flash the entire place into action. The manager sprints back to the kitchen, comes back again to apologize, sprints back to the kitchen and returns with a beautiful chicken, no sauce with fresh veggies and rice. I pounced upon the food like a lioness it was delicious!

Our server finally comes back to the table with a vacant expression on his face. I said with my mouth full of chicken, “my first meal wasn’t gluten free.” He looks shocked, again points over his shoulder and says, “ya ya ya…..” he drifted off after seeing Trev’s  face and thought better of talking anymore. He mumbled an apology and skulked away.

The manager apologized again and again and told us that everything would be taken care of from now on and he didn’t lie about that. The breakfast place Molly’s in the hotel is run by his son who sent people for gluten free bread for me and made me a fresh gorgeous breakfast everyday we were there.

We did make it to Disneyland that night and rode on the swinging ferris wheel at California Adventure Park. I didn’t need the provided puke bags because, you see, I’m a pretty tough bitch….unless of course I am hungry.

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