Something has happened, you guys. And if you’re vegetarian, you’re probably already way aware. If you’re gluten-free, you’re probably also aware but not AS much, because the game is changing in our favor. I know. WEIRD.
Last weekend I went on a super fab getaway with even more fab friends, one of whom is vegetarian, and one of me, who is gluten-free. We did the resort thing close to our house because, kids. And, easy. And, Palm Springs. So you know, great idea. We posted up in the Westin Rancho Mirage and mostly wined and dined on site. I do love the Palm Springs, as you know, and have eaten SO WELL in that vacation heaven. Still, I was surprised to find gluten-free menus in every restaurant in the resort. Like this one-
Our first meal at Pinzini proved to have this lovely gluten-free pasta option for me, as seen above. For him? Well, he ordered a salad . . . that came with salami on top. Even though it didn’t say that on the menu. OK, so it’s Italian and all, so maybe one might expect some antipasto on your salad. No? Yeah, no, I didn’t think so either. Anyhoo, dude got another salad and we all had dinner and it was fab. The next night, however, shit went down.
There was this big BBQ happening complete with country cover band (I totally mentioned we were at a resort, yes? K.) and admittedly I was a little worried but assumed I could grab a slab of meat or something. I approached the chef and asked him if there were gluten-free options around the BBQ table (especially worried about soy sauce, obviously) and the man in the big hat took me on a very detailed tour of EVERY SINGLE FOOD ITEM in the three table set up. He didn’t even stop when we got to salads and drinks, reassuring me of what I could eat and drink gluten-free. My husband tried to interrupt to ask about something, and the chef gave him a look like, “Go to hell. I’m helping the gluten-free lady right now.”
So when my friend went to ask where the veggie burgers were, one would think helpfulness was this guy’s middle name. Again, not so much. First of all, they were actually cooking salmon on the grill, and my friend will eat fish. So when he asked for vegetarian options and asked about the fish, you would think, OK, great. Instead the same chef told my friend the salmon was not for him but for “another party” and he couldn’t have it. Later we saw that “other party” sitting right behind us, clearly having paid the same price for the BBQ spread as we did. So then my friend said, how about a veggie burger (because we had been told they would have them when we inquired earlier) and the chef said, “You’ll have to wait 20 minutes.” That 20 minutes turned to 30, and when my friend went up again it turned out the chef had not even put one on the grill. Instead, another sous chef dug a veggie burger out of the cooler and had it ready in 5 minutes—which is what it takes to cook a veggie burger.
All of this is to say, I’ve been finding it easier and easier to dine out gluten-free. Of course, I eat meat. But I’m wondering if people are jumping on the gluten-free trend and forgetting about other people out there who pay cash money for a nice dinner but maybe don’t hoover the meat like say, I do. It’s true that I don’t see the vegetarian notations on menus like I used to, but I do spy the gluten-free. And again, while this is amazing for you and me, I wonder if the vegetarians are all hating us for stealing their special menu options. Has cooking with chicken stock increased? Are small plates all coated with bacon? I just have a feeling it’s getting harder and harder for the veggie types to dine out. And it seems to coincide with us gluten-free types having more options.
I’m sure restaurants don’t want to have a diner style menu in order to accommodate every single diet, but I know as someone who entertains I ALWAYS have enough food so vegetarians don’t go hungry. It’s second nature now, although admittedly, it wasn’t for me 10 years ago. I do wonder if it’s becoming an after thought and the gluten-free, paleo, farm-to-table, snout-to-tail is more easily accommodated these days. All I know is last weekend was the first time I had fewer issues dining out than someone else. Win?
What are you guys experiencing out there?