As a celiac, I take dining out very seriously. Gone are the days, when we’d be out and about, feeling a little hungry and slip into the nearest eatery to give them a try. As you get older, you do seem to plan things more, and that’s usually how my meals out are arranged. My husband and I recently had an anniversary, not a significant one (in reality, every anniversary should be significant), but we normally go out for dinner and mark the day. As the calendar would have it, the day was not convenient for a dinner out, so we decided to leave it until the weekend. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of Ontario surrounded by many picturesque places. We decided on a Saturday trip to Prince Edward County (PEC). PEC is actually a large island just south of Belleville in Eastern Ontario. It is known for grape vineyards, wineries, breweries, stunning beaches, beautiful country side, quaint towns and good restaurants. We have visited many times and stayed over for special weekends in either a hotel or a B&B. PEC is an amazing destination.
My husband chose a restaurant in a small upscale hotel, we had been to in the past, where I had enjoyed gluten free fish and chips. We decided on a late lunch so we wouldn’t be rushed and could spend the late afternoon at a couple of wineries. As it turned out, the restaurant no longer has a lunch menu, but serves “brunch” up to the dinner hour. The dreaded brunch – wheat filled carbs, flour filled sauces, bagels and english muffins everywhere. Their previous interest in offering interesting gluten free food was done, and I was out of luck. I didn’t come for a nice lunch to eat a plain egg on a plate. I could of course have anything I wanted, but their fryer was contaminated and they don’t keep anything separate in their kitchen, so no guarantees. I never actually look for guarantees, I just want a kitchen (any kitchen), to be GF aware, to keep their surfaces clean, and not mingle foods unless they are cooking them together.
This was not the place for me, I told them I was not happy with what they were offering in no uncertain terms, got up and we walked out! My husband was completely supportive, bless his heart.
I would like to think the kitchen, and the chef got the message, but that’s a bit of a long-shot. Restaurants that try to be trendy, were our friends in the gluten free diet, but not so much now. They have moved on to the next trendy thing, all-day brunch and food trucks as kitchens, I suppose.
I am not one to rant in my blogs or in life, I always look at the bright side of things. I knew that I could do better than accepting the meager gluten free offerings of a restaurant who had no real interest in serving me. I, my diet, and my health deserve better.
We walked out and went across the street to a very nice restaurant that was not busy, not so trendy, but has a wonderful chef and caring staff. We should have started there. I’m not usually one who eats much bread, but they did offer it. They said they are able to make most of the menu gluten free, just let them know what I wanted. I don’t usually try to be exotic when I eat out, I just want good tasting, well prepared food. I ordered the chef’s special burger, made with local beef and topped with caramelized onions – no bun. I also ordered fries for us to split. It was wonderful! There was no thick bun to get in the way of the amazing burger and the fries were crisp and fresh! Simple, but an amazing lunch.
I did make a point of telling the wait staff about our disappointment across the road, and asked them to thank the chef for his fabulous food, and we tipped well. Restaurants that make a sincere effort should be rewarded with compliments and loyalty – thanks East & Main Bistro in Wellington, Ontario. We will be back.
P.S. – I did two reviews for Trip Advisor about the restaurants – my own way to vent and reward.
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