Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hibachi equals FIRE!!!

After taking a friend to the airport last week Sam and I ate at Kobeya Hibachi in Southlake. We LOVED it! Really - what is not to love?? Dinner, a show and FIRE!! Every kid's dream.

Sam talked about it non stop so when we went for a getaway on Friday night we went back to Kobeya. I had spoken to a really nice server who didn't know about gluten free but he did say they would be willing to work with us. Needless to say I didn't trust that conversation 100% so I called ahead. I spoke to Roy who was the manager that night. He said they were very familiar with gluten free and he recommended chicken with salt, pepper and butter, plain rice, plain salad (maybe with lemon?) and the broth (not with the additions of mushrooms and "krab.") They also have gluten free "soy sauce" (Tamari sauce.) He said they would cook the gluten free food first so as not to have a cross contamination issue or cook it in the back in a clean pan. He also said to make sure to let them know when I made the reservation AND let the waitress know.

We were seated and I asked if Roy was there - he was. Since Gracie would not have eaten the veggies (mushrooms, squash, broccoli etc.) he recommended a side of chicken, rice, salad or soup. Gracie picked just chicken and rice and broth. The waitress said "I think the broth has soy sauce in it." Good to know! We decided not to take the chance.

Out comes the Chef! He cleaned the griddle with a combination of oil and vodka. Why vodka?? FIRE!!! They do this for everyone but it was nice to see the grill cleaned before and after each "show." Even though the manager and the waitress had specified that Gracie's meal needed to be cooked first he got confused and started on the fried rice. When I saw him cracking the eggs and start cooking those when her chicken was down I turned to the waitress (who thankfully was right there) and said "We will need to cook hers in the back." She stopped him and said "Her chicken needs to be cooked BEFORE your do the rice!" He looked puzzled so I said "She can't have soy sauce on the same griddle as her chicken - it will make her sick." He stopped cooking the eggs and finished her chicken.

The chicken was really good - simply simple but yummy! He used only salt and pepper and a little oil. The butter would have been nice but I looked over at the mound of butter on his tray and it looked to have crumbs on top so we skipped it. Of course it had that delicious sticky rice to go with it. If you like veggies I say go for those as well - they were cooked PERFECTLY.

At first I thought I wanted to have them cook the meal in the back but now I am glad they did it in front of us so I could ensure "quality control." My fear always is they will say "I understand" but a mistake happens by someone who really doesn't.

I would also like to say Gracie ate EVERY bite!! With CHOPSTICKS!! She loved it - and I loved that she ate something other than just plain lettuce at a restaurant we all could enjoy.

Even with our hiccup I still recommend Kobeya Hibachi - or try one in your area. Since the food and the preparation is simple it should be easy to get a "safe" meal with a willing staff.

Dining out cards for Celiacs

I have found that I am sometimes brushed off by servers at restaurants. I have even been told "We don't use wheat here" (or flour etc.) at restaurants. Once it was at a pizza place. Really??

I have asked for managers and explained myself over and over and over... I don't mind doing it at all and many servers and managers are HAPPY to help! I really appreciate that. It is those times when you see their eyes glaze over...

When Gracie first was diagnosed with Celiac I found Gluten Free Restaurant Cards but never got any - either the ones that are pre made and laminated or the kind you print out yourself. I just came across them again and I am thinking I will print one to keep in my purse and see if it is helpful.

Here are just a couple I have found:

This one has free printable cards in foreign languages for travel. They are free but he does ask for donations if you print them - or link them to your site.

Triumph Dining Cards

You can get some laminated cards OR disposable cards to keep in your wallet.

Has anyone had experiences with these or others?? Any recommendations?