My husband and I decided to go out to a Japanese steak house-hibachi grill. After over an hour of searching, trying to find out "what can I eat" I finally gave in and called the restaurant.

I'm new to celiac disease, and wasn't sure what I could eat at the restaurant. When I called, at first I was a little leary--the young woman on the phone tried to tell me that they didn't cook with any soy sauce. I knew this to be untrue, but I felt a little more reassured when she said "If you have a specific allergy, they can always cook it in the back"

You see, the thing I hate most about celiac disease, is feeling so high maintenance when I go out. I just want to go out and eat, not interrogate the poor servers. I usually end up eating before I go out now a days, just to avoid the "possibility of contamination." (even that sounds harsh-contamination).

Well we went to the grill, and we had a really nice server. When I told her I had a gluten allergy (I read that saying allergy may get more attention than stating intolerance), the server looked at me a little strange. I politely explained that I can't have food that has soy sauce, flour, etc added, and as discreetly as possible handed her a 3x5 card I had written in advance stating what I could not eat. (Wheat, flour, barley, rye. I also wrote on the card, Also please no soy sauces, marinades, salad dressings or beer)

The server was so excited when I handed her the card, she sighed and said "Oh thank you, this will make it so easy".

So the end of my story has a happy ending. I went to the hibachi grill, they prepared my food in the back, and brought it out when the first set of food was served to my companions. My wonderful server also helped me avoid a possible threat--the salad dressing--she used my card I had given her to check the ingredients. Last but not least, for the first time in years and years, I was able to eat at a hibachi style grill, and I wasn't ill afterwards.
Am I still a high maintenance diner? You betcha'! But I'm also not going to be held hostage by celiac disease.

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