Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I sent it back

I recently went out to dinner for a friend's birthday. I know for many people, eating out can be the most challenging part of a weight loss plan or even sticking with healthy eating. If you read my original post, I mention I consider myself Sally from the movie When Harry Met Sally.

This particular episode of eating out was simple. I ordered an ahi tuna sandwich that didn't come loaded in sauces, etc. There was a wasabi sauce on the side. And I was having a bit of a splurge night, so I got the tortilla chips for the side instead of a salad (however, I will add that I did not eat them all...that's portion control, which is an entirely separate topic that involves a serious discussion on willpower!). I actually kind of laughed as I was ordering, because I only had one small simple request: no butter on my bread.

You see, while I was carefully reading the menu, I noticed a certain "code"...grilled bun...otherwise known as the bread is buttered. Typically, you'd think if a sandwich already comes with a sauce (in this case wasabi aioli...most often mayo, which I now always leave off), then the bread wouldn't need butter in addition...WRONG! Most of the time the bread is still buttered. In my opinion that's overkill, but maybe that's because I've gotten used to things not needing butter. The flavor of the food should speak for itself...why do we need to drown it in butter? Don't get me wrong, in some dishes butter is a logical choice (in moderation, of course)...but in my opinion, when trying to have a tasty splurge, I don't need the butter.

So, when I ordered, all I had was a simple..."could I please have my bun without butter?" Our server nodded her head, said "sure" and that was that....until my sandwich came, of course.

While everyone else was arranging their plates, unrolling their silverware and preparing to dig in, I quickly seized the opportunity to inspect my sandwich before the server could leave. And sure enough, there was my tasty-looking tuna sitting open-faced on a bun, glistening in melted butter.

So this is the part where it helps to not be shy. I got the server's attention and simply stated (while handing her the plate), "could I get this on a bun without butter?" And there. I sent my food back. I wasn't rude about it, I just sent it back. And my food returned in a few minutes on a bun without butter. Perfect, that's all I need. I can now enjoy my food and a.) not feel entirely guilty doing so and b.) not be incredibly angry that the kitchen couldn't accomodate one simple request.

I can't tell you how many times I've ordered something in a special manner and they get it wrong. Who knows where the message is being lost, but I always ask if they CAN prepare it that way, since some items are often already prepared (this is often the case with vegetables that might already be cooked in oil or butter, so I ask if it's possible to get something steamed without butter or oil. If not, then it's usually the side salad).

So my point is this: Don't be afraid to send a meal back if the kitchen doesn't make it to your liking. There's no need to be rude about it, especially since we really have no idea if the server didn't pass the message forward or if the kitchen ignored/forgot about the request. It took me a while to come to terms with this, especially since I'm not a picky eater so I wasn't accustomed to ordering things in a special manner...and I generally didn't like to draw attention to what I was ordering. BUT, I have learned that I do have a say what I put in my body and if a restaurant can't accomodate that, I should take my business elsewhere. That may sound a bit snobby, but if I don't take care of myself and make that choice, no one is going to make it for me. Plenty of people have severe allergies to food and need things prepared in a special manner, so I consider this along those lines.

Don't be shy. Don't be rude. It never hurts to ask. You never know...you just might empower someone else to order their meal in a way that suits them when they might not have otherwise.

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1 comment:

  1. I know the feeling! Being vegan I have to constantly ask questions about menu items and I'm not afraid to send it back if it comes out wrong either.