How American are allergies?

Sometimes the anticipation of dessert exceeds the joy that eating the dessert provides.

The first time we try something new, I do a lot of research.  I like to make sure that the experience the kids have is equal to that of the other kids around them. After having a good experience we are 200% more likely to return. While birthday parties will always be a bit challenging, at least I know that heading to a new restaurant or candy factory will result in some type of mouthwatering satisfaction.

While on one of our recent adventures, we spent a week in Chicago trying to fit everything fun we could think of into one week. The first request on my daughters list was the American Girl Doll Store. There’s a lot of love shown when you are willing to fork over as much cash to get your daughter’s doll hair done, as you would to get her own hair cut and styled.

A natural inclusion to the hair, nails and new outfit (which costs more than my last trip to the spa) is a meal in the coveted cafe. Naturally, there’s nothing better than having dinner with a room full of people who have dolls strapped to their tables, enjoying micro cups of tea and bantering about the hair ties are holding their napkins into the perfect roll. This is natural, right?

Actually, it was quite adorable. And my daughter ate it up. We just won’t even mention my son considering how many times he flipped over his chair and tried to launch food from his fork to the window behind him. Suffice to say, it probably wasn’t the choice place for him but leaving him alone in the lego store wasn’t an option either.

As we approached the time to eat, we were surprised to see that the opening appetizer was a gooey cinnamon roll. Not gluten free. Boo. As our salivating continued, we were presented with a strawberry in lieu. A strawberry. One each.

The next course was devoid of the pita and filled with lots of tomatoes, the one food my kids loathe more than deep fried beetles. A few carrots and celery sticks later, they sat back and waited for their chosen entrees.

A happy eight year old girl ate her gluten free pizza, since she is ONLY allergic to gluten and pineapple. My stunt man, however, was still wishing we would have left him in the lego store as he was presented with grilled chicken and steamed veggies. The one meal that will leave a Celiac wishing they were on a cleanse. I managed to talk them out of some barbecue sauce, which my son claims cures all food woes, including salad. He still wouldn’t eat it. And this kid eats anything (except the afore mentioned tomatoes).

Waiting in great anticipation for the final course, the flower on our patio of a $22 dinner (with no alcohol), we were presented with a scoop of sorbet instead of the blueberry muffin we were supposed to receive. Upon further inspection we were advised that people who didn’t RSVP and request allergy free muffins, were given ours and the cafe ran out.

While they kindly acknowledged that the bakery was closed, they felt sheepish and lavished a bag full of fun logo items on my daughter, it left me wondering what the point was in making a reservation and filling out the allergy request form if they were going to just give our pre-reserved treats to someone who didn’t.





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