• Christina Ppn

Life in the fast lane and gluten-free

I was so careful. I have never looked so thoroughly a restaurant before. Reaching out to the eyes of personnel and how trusted they seem, over to the social distances and the diligence of the menu.

First meal at a restaurant post-lockdown, first without the gluten. Was it a drama or a romantic comedy?

A short trip in Attica region, just like the ones we are used to having, led us to Perama city. Almost during the whole route until we reached our destination, I was on the phone searching and searching, from one app (efood) to another (tripadvisor), to find places that serve gluten-free dishes.

A mind overflowing with anxiety and questions, I had to face all of the below that determined my decision of choosing a restaurant:

  • everyone is out to launch

  • it will be overcrowded and most definitely we will not find a place to seat

  • we cannot make a reservation because we can’t be sure that the tables will not be hit by the sun (eating inside is prohibited in Athens at this time)

  • will they keep distances?

  • will they wear masks?

  • will they pay attention when I mention my limitation to gluten-free dishes?

  • will I find anything to eat?

  • will they understand what gluten and contamination are?

  • will they be careful?

  • will I have to get back home and make fasolakia?

Stressful as I was, I probably transferred my feelings to Yiannis because I felt him being under pressure.

I took the form of the fearless Christina Ppn, and like some other Ladybug, I became my best self! I put on my uniform of courage and self-confidence and started living in the fast lane!

  1. I scanned the area with my eyes to choose the restaurant I liked.

  2. I used my instincts to assess how reliable the staff looks.

  3. I approached the room and checked masks, antiseptics, distances, people and customers.

  4. I put on my undefeated smile and said, "Hello! One table for two please. But, we are not sure if we're going to stay. I'll have to check the menu first and two or three more things before I decide, as I cannot consume gluten.”

That's all it took.

With a smile on his face, the waiter pointed us the table and immediately brought us the menu. He wasn’t aware of gluten, but that didn’t stop me from someone who knew what I was talking about.

✔️️I walked into the kitchen, asked for the manager, and informed him of my limitations (the waiter also listened). My first question was whether they bake bread on the meat or seafood grill (only on meat grill) and if the oil for french fries is used for something else (fortunately not).

✔️Seafood on the grill then, definitely french fries and a salad without croutons and sauces I am not aware of. All good!

✔️ The cutlery was far away from the bread. We placed the portions of the shared dishes in ours without using the fork we ate. And the waiter warned us that the sweet treat has cookies inside, so I should not eat it.

✔️Romantic comedy it is!