Yesterday, I went to Nates, an Ottawa-area deli-restaurant.
This was not a good choice for anyone with an allergy to gluten. The choice of restaurant was not mine to make however. I was stuck with the choice of deciding to go, and risk triggering my gluten allergy, or just not going.
For various reasons, which I will not explain here, I decided to go.
This is not a place that is sympathetic to allergies.
I called ahead, to see what might be safe to eat. They had such a bad attitude over the phone, I seriously had my doubts. So I prepared by eating before showing up. This was definitely a good strategy.
When they took my order at the restaurant, I explained my wheat and gluten allergy. The waiter was not interested. “Just give me your order” was his attitude and pretty much his exact words. So I ordered the smoked meat (they are known for their smoked meat in Ottawa), without bread. This was a risky move as I could not be sure that crumbs would be kept well away from my food.
I skipped the fries that came with the meat for two reasons:
- They might be coated in flour (unfortunately, this is quite common)
- The fries are probably deep-fried in the same oil as onion-rings, pierogi, and other wheat-infested foods.
It is too early to tell if I will be OK or not, but certainly I will not be eating at Nates again (for obvious reasons).
The building in which Nates is housed will be torn down in May 2008, which is no loss as far as I am concerned!
Unfortunately, they also have a branch at the Ottawa airport, so if you must eat at that airport, definitely bring your own food if you have a gluten allergy!