So we’re moving to a new house this weekend, which naturally means I’ve been spending some time at IKEA. Today after my daughter and I grabbed some storage baskets and lighting fixtures at the pride of Sweden, I was starving. Our options at this fab shopping center in beautiful downtown Burbank included California Pizza Kitchen and Chevy’s Fresh Mex. Clearly the pizza was not going to cut it, so we hightailed it to the Fresh Mex of the West.
This is where I admit that I’m becoming more fond of dining at chains, instead of my usual fancy farm-to-tables. Because those people know how to take care of a crazy diner with special needs. What happened next should go down in the celiac hall of fame. Which I will start, after posting this, moving, and getting that book proposal finished.
As we got comfortable with our tortilla chips, salsa and giant water cups, I asked the server if they had a gluten-free menu. She wasn’t really sure what the heck I was talking about, and brought me the tequila menu. Hey, tequila is gluten-free. After I admitted to myself I couldn’t only have tequila for lunch, she went to talk to someone and obviously learned the seriousness of my request. That lady came back and swatted a chip out of my mouth, scooped up the basket before we could shove more in our mouths, yelling, “You can’t eat these.” That’s when I knew Chevy’s wasn’t messing around about the gluten-free. Right after the great chip save, the manager came over and pulled up a chair. That’s right, he wanted to be relaxed as he spent an insane amount of time walking me through the menu, and quite frankly, the whole philosophy of Chevy’s.
He then explained to me that they have a separate frying basket for gluten-free chips, and they were heating the oil right now for me. My own personal chips without the taint of delicious flauta drippings. (Which, by the way, I totally should have thought about!!!) I asked him what I could have on the menu, and he was kind enough to go over all of the options, and inform me that the fajita marinade contained soy sauce. There are four star restaurants I’ve been to where they don’t get the soy sauce thing. He also told me, not to worry because they could substitute corn tortillas on any dish, and leave out the marinade if fajitas were what I was craving that day. He basically told me to order what I wanted, and they’d make it gf. Chevy’s in Burbank, where have you been all my life?
It gets better.
After I ordered, the manager came back again, looking concerned. “Did you order the cheeseburger?” I wish. Instead I pointed to my daughter, who clearly has a lot to learn about loving
Tex- Fresh-Mex. “Can she eat gluten?” She can, that little lucky beast, and I told him so. Unfreakingbelievable, as Sarah Palin would say. THEN, after we’ve been eating, he brings over a special Chevy’s bag and implores me to take the rest of the gf chips home with me. Have you ever been in a Mexican restaurant where they let you take the chips home? Didn’t think so. In fact, I’m highly suspicious about what happens to the leftover chips in the basket. Finally, we’re leaving, our bellies full of enchiladas and cheese burger, and the manager comes over and hands me his card. He tells me the next time we’re coming over to Chevy’s to call him first, and they’ll start making the gluten-free chips for me.
So there it is. I’ve finally achieved what most foodies dream of: A direct line to a restaurant where, when they hear I’m coming, they start cooking up specials for me. Yes, I’m totally bragging. About tortilla chips. From Chevy’s. This is what it’s come to, people.