Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Tale of Two Restaurants

Dan and I had two opportunities for romantic dining this past week with my mom here for a visit. Our first gourmet foray was a success. We took a twilight drive around Saratoga Springs, admiring the public art exhibit of decorated horses all along Broadway and ended up cruising along the eastern shore of Saratoga Lake. We ended up at Mangino's Restaurant. It was a Monday night, around 8 pm, so we weren't at a busy time, even though it is the summer season. Our waitress was new to the restaurant but she knew about celiac disease and went several times back to the kitchen to make sure various parts of our dinner order would be gluten-free. The chef was so kind as to cook Dan's shrimp without the usual crumb coating and he even gave him an extra oven-roasted potato when asked. A great dinner date at this Italian seafood restaurant and I give them a hearty thumbs up for being so attentive to us.

We had a different experience in our own hometown of Schuylerville at Amigos Cantina. This is a new Mexican restaurant with a beautiful interior painted with vibrant, earthy colors, hand-painted tables and folk art decorating the bar. We went to the restaurant early, a little after 5 pm on a Wednesday, and were the one of only two patrons. Our waitress was friendly and earnest, but after ordering a drink, we inquired about whether the complimentary chips and salsa would be safe to eat for someone who can't eat wheat. The waitress wasn't familiar with celiac disease and so went back to the kitchen, where we overheard the chef bellowing that he didn't know if the chips contained any wheat flour, couldn't find any boxes or ingredient listings for the chips and corn tortillas, and told the waitress to instruct us that "It's better safe than sorry." We then asked our waitress if there was anything on the menu that my husband could eat and another trip to the kitchen ensued, with the same bellowed truism. It felt like the bum's rush, as opposed to the Mangino's meal, where we felt welcomed.

We will be going back to Mangino's.

No comments: