This is a story of Easter weekend dinner gone badly. It really isn’t about the food but how the food or food experience makes me feel. This is one of those BAD FEELING experiences that I can’t shake. Truly the reason I started writing this blog. Sure we have five senses (smell, touch, hearing, taste, and sight) but I’d say that feelings about food are the seventh sense. There is already and acclaimed sixth sense (I hope someone is smiling somewhere about that remark; I am) so food feelings are seventh.
So here is the story that starts foodandotherfeelings.com; the point of origin for this writing.
We decided to spend Easter in Boston this year because our daughter is in college there and couldn’t get home long enough to enjoy Easter Sunday without rushing back to school. We were very excited to see her for the holiday, have her to ourselves, and show off our coolness by taking her to great places for dinner. We try to impress our only child as often as possible and although it rarely works we keep trying day after day. The hotel we selected is the Marriott Long Wharf, which we think is very cool (we like it there), next the restaurant.
So we started the process to pick the restaurant. I went through the top 100 restaurants in Boston found here http://www.bostonbestrestaurants.com/, narrowed them down and still wasn’t sure where to go. It so happens that I was in a meeting the week before Easter with two gentlemen from Boston and asked for a restaurant recommendation. One of the men called his sister who still lived in Boston and she made several recommendations (Thank you). I was ecstatic about receiving local recommendations and wrote down each recommendation.
One of the places that his sister recommended is Monica’s http://www.monicasboston.com, the place we chose because of the homemade pasta and that there was a kitchen on site (apparently not all restaurants in the North End of Boston have a full kitchen). We needed two places one for the night before and one for Easter Sunday. We made both reservations.
Monica’s was our first stop because they were not open on Easter Sunday. We booked a 5Pm reservation. We dropped off our stuff at the hotel and walked to the restaurant. We needed the air after the 5ish hour ride from NY to Boston. At 5Pm were happily seated at Monica’s and it looked perfect. We had perfect seating; we overlooked the street while being at an angle so that we could admire the restaurant decor at the same time. We were feeling very happy about our restaurant choice while salivating over the menu. The three of us have our dinner, from starters to desert, all picked out easily.
The waiter comes over to take our order (he brought drinks earlier and told us the specials). So far everything seems perfect. And then it happens. My husband and daughter give their orders, I always wait until last because I have allergies and have to walk through the allergies and make changes to the menu so that I can enjoy my meal Epi Pen Free.
I start to order and ask for the Caprese id Bufala Mozzerella (Imported buffalo mozzarella layered with vine-ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and basil). Just so you know I have a host of allergies and use an Epi Pen for the most severe (Soy, Tomatoes, Shellfish, and Nuts). So you can see I would ask for the Caprese salad without tomatoes. Are you ready for it? I ask the waiter to hold the tomatoes and the waiter says “NO, I can’t accommodate that request”. First, I bet you can’t believe that response. Of all the places where customer service is important is a higher end restaurant because usually the server works for tips.
Back to my story, so I say I have allergies and ask again. He says NO again; I think maybe he doesn’t understand that I have allergies and this accommodation is important to my physical health. Yes I am getting mad now. I live in New York and have experienced better restaurants making accommodations. So I ask to speak to the manager. A woman comes over and I explain my allergies and she asks (GET READY). Do you have an EPI PEN? I say yes, of course and then realize by her tone that maybe she thinks I am not being truthful. Getting madder. Then (GET READY) she says YOU CAN STAY. Wow, I can’t believe the rudeness and lack of customer service, even lack of allergy awareness or concern.
At that moment, I ask my husband and daughter what they want to do, but the day already a mess. My 18-year-old was mortified that I made a scene, my husband concerned that they still don’t believe me and will give me something I am allergic to and we’ll end up in the emergency room and remember we walked.
We decide to go. My husband attempts to pay for our drinks by leaving the cash for the sodas on the table. I am furious that our perfect dinner was ruined I take the cash and leave nothing. I was mad then and every time I think about it get mad again. I can’t believe that a restaurant is insensitive to someone with food allergies,
I started this blog to talk about food allergies and feelings. This experience caused a BAD FEELING about Monica’s of Boston.
Allergies are serious. Those of us with food allergies feel bad enough that we can’t eat what we want and that we must be hyper vigilant when we eat. Anyone who has gone into anaphylaxis truly never ever wants to experience it again.
Next is my experience at the Met Bay Back, a completely different experience.
Here’s to hoping your feelings about food are safe, happy, and delicious.