Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gluten-Free Watercooler-Fig and Olive Restaurant

Last weekend I went to brunch at Fig and Olive in NYC.  It is a great wine and cheese tasting lounge with great meals that has 4 locations each in different areas of wonderful NYC.  Their best location is in the Meat Packing District, while the other locations are more towards the Upper East Side and one other location in the 50's on the west side.  This restaruant even participated in Restaurant Week with great deals!

What Fig and Olive is not so great about is the gluten free allergy or at least its understanding.  I guess it depends on the waiter you get, and if that is the case I suggest talking to the manager at this hot spot.  I used to eat here all the time, but I would always get their famous cheese platter (which I know is naturally gluten-free) and their wine.  On the occasion I would get a piece of grilled fish.  However it was restaurant week, so the menu was different and limited.

Upon ordering I asked the waitress if she was familiar with the gluten-free allergy/lifestyle.  She enthusiastically said YES, we know all about it, don't worry. 

I was relieved.  There is nothing like going to a fancy trendy spot and not having to worry about gluten being added or in my meal.


This woman knew nothing!

I showed her a few selections off the menu that I was interested in.  She then points out that there is dairy and cream in the selection.  I look up at her and I say that is irrelevant.  Then she says that she thought I was gluten free.  OMG!  I mentioned that dairy was not the issue.  So she blankly looks up at me and said isn't dairy gluten?  Oh Jesus.  I said no.  I then had to go into massive detail to get her to understand.  No wheat, no breadcrumbs, no flour (i knew they didn't use gf flours), no oats, rye or barley, no thickeners etc.  She just looked at me and sad "oh".

I should have known the chocolate mousse from the price fix menu was not gluten-free, but as she put this chocolatey surprise in front of me, I dreamed she honestly knew the allergy.  She said you don't have to worry about this one, this is gluten free!  I ate it.  And slightly in the back of my mind I sort of knew it wasn't.

Well I can only tell you what you already know.  I got sick.  And fast.  My friend asked me if I wanted to go shopping at Bergdorf's after lunch and I knew I just needed to go home.

I am not sure if it was just the mousse, as I have a feeling some of the other dishes I had , had some suspect gluten in them as well.

I am writitng this post, because I believe that this restaurant is not as gluten-free friendly as I had once thought.  I personally will never go here again, unless I am only eating the cheese and wine.

Enjoy! xoxo Julie

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