Wednesday, May 23, 2012

eating in las vegas: the nightmare version

Our first night in Vegas was not so glamorous...  We had trekked from our room at Circus Circus to our friends who were staying at Bill's Gamblin' Hall.  It was late in the evening, and we were pretty hungry.  We decided on Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, knowing ahead of time that the chain has a gluten free menu.  I had good experiences at the local Jimmy Buffett's Cheeseburger in Paradise back in Cincinnati and expected the same quality.  We waited about 30 minutes on this Tuesday night. 

Once we were seated, I asked for a gluten free menu.  Our host disappeared to find one and never returned.  When I politely asked the server for a gluten free menu, she only asked, "What do you want?"  Her tone made me feel like an inconvenience, definitely not a guest.  I didn't have a menu yet, and I'm not familiar with their offerings - how could I know?

When she returned with our drink orders - one at a time - my friend's drink was wrong.  It was a strawberry daiquiri instead of a strawberry margarita.  That wasn't a good start, but I still had faith in the kitchen.  I was relying on my experience in Cincinnati...and blinded by the fact that the clock was ticking, and my belly didn't want to wait longer.

Eventually the server returned with a small menu that she read aloud to me.  It seemed that I was meant to memorize it, because she wasn't letting me look it over.  When she turned to leave, I asked to take a picture of it.  I set it on the regular menu to give a point of reference for the scale.
A gluten free bun?  That looks promising.  There's no mention of suggested sides, so I thought that the fries were safe.  I ordered the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger gluten free with the sauce on the side.  I'm picky with sauces.  The server didn't suggest any changes. 

She brought out the barbecue sauce first, adding, "I don't know why you ordered the sauce.  It's got gluten." It was as if I should have known, and she laughed at me.  I was in shock and spoke in a staccato rhythm.  "I don't want it if it has gluten!  It was on the gluten free menu, so I thought it was safe.  I don't want it.  It'll make me really sick.  Please take it away."

A few minutes after that hair-raising moment, my meal arrived.  Scott politely asked the food-runner, "And this is gluten free?"  The server - who hadn't written down the order - quickly came over, interrupting the food-runner to say, "Yes, of course it's gluten free."  (In food allergy and intolerance world, you always have to double check.) 
Like clockwork, 30 minutes after my first bite, I was sick.  My unmistakable symptoms had begun, and I was miserable.  It was our first night in Vegas, and we were hanging out with my dear friend, the bride who would be getting married in just a few days.  While I was away, the server checked to see if I liked my burger or would like a box.  Scott said it had glutened me and that I was sick in the bathroom.  The server argued, "No, it's cooked the same way it always is," and offered no remorse, no sympathy.  No one checked on me once I finally returned to the table, and it limited our options for the remainder of the night...  Luckily I wasn't down & out the remainder of the trip. 

May you all have happier eating experiences!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I'll know never to eat there. Gluten hits me much more slowly (but just as violently), so sometimes I don't even know exactly what it was that made me sick. I hope you're able to enjoy the rest of your trip.