Monday, June 27, 2016

Got to love Maggiano's gluten-free program

I spent the weekend at a family function in Washington D.C. Of course, we all know the stress of attending any kind of banquet-type event where we don't know if the food will be safe to eat.

Fortunately, this event was held at a Maggiano's in Washington.

Now if you've been to Maggiano's Little Italy in Jacksonville or anywhere else, you've probably experienced this: when you tell the server your have celiac or a gluten allergy or whatever term you use, their policy is to have the chef come out and discuss the menu with you. A good number of the dishes on the menu can be made gluten free, including gluten-free pasta, and they will make sure they can accommodate you with a safe meal.

So, even though I had never attended a special event at Maggiano's (just regular dinners), I was reasonably confident they'd be able to provide something I could eat. As it turned out, it was even better than I expected.

Sitting at a table with a cousin who also can't eat gluten, I told the server about this and asked what in the meal we'd be able to eat. And just as with a regular visit to the restaurant, they brought out the chef to talk to us.

She explained that the meal would be served family style with a choice of chicken picatta and rigatoni that could both me made gluten free and one other dish that wasn't gluten free. So, when they brought out the entree bowls for the entire table, they also brought bowls of the picatta and rigatoni that were both gluten-free for my cousin and me - and anyone else at the table. I did explain to the others that they could eat portions from our bowls.

Actually, before the entrees, they brought out big salad bowls with croutons for the table but brought individual gluten-free salads for my cousin and me. And when it was time for dessert, they brought special fruit plates for the two of us.

So, for once, I was absolutely thrilled with a banquet experience for a change. I look forward to my next visit to Maggiano's.

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