The Christmas tree is still up and glorious in purple-blue lights. A DJ spins in the band shell and boom-boom-boom reverberates from the cruising cars on the mini-strip.
It’s Saturday night in Delray Beach, Florida.
Not ideal to try a new restaurant, on Saturday, at 8pm, in a new city but it was one of those nights: going out with a group and you gotta go with the flow.
I called ahead to Cabana El Rey and asked if they could handle my allergies; the host gave me the sense that he kind of understood what I meant. Sigh.
So before we even sat down, I asked see a manager. Irving came over. I introduced myself and told him I had some food allergies: tree nuts, fish and shellfish. His eyes glazed over.
I gently asked him, "Do you know what tree nuts are?"
"Not really," he said, honestly. I gave him an abbreviated list and I saw him begin to catch on --amazing how much communication is non-verbal isn’t it?--and then he kicked into managerial action.
"Ok", he said, "So you can’t have anything grilled, we use the same grill for fish and shellfish as we do for meat and chicken. And nothing fried; we use the fryer for everything. You can have salad. And the beans. And rice".
I said, "What about some plain chicken?"
"We can only do that pan seared", he replied.
"If it’s a clean pan, I’m in! And what about some steamed veggies and rice?"
"Yes we can do all of that," he assured me.
He asked where I was sitting, I pointed out the table, and indicated he would tell our server and come over and check on the sitch.
Yay! Indeed when everyone was still mulling their orders, the waiter leaned over and discreetly said the manager had talked with him and he had my order already placed: pan seared chicken, steamed spinach and white rice.
I thanked the waiter and that dish was exactly what I got! It was delish and safe. On a Saturday. During their crazy busy time. The manager checked on the meal and all was well. PS on the my check it said: “Allergy 2 seafood, pansear [sic] chicken.”
I love it when there’s a happy ending.
Thank you Cabana El Rey for a job well done!
Cabana “El Rey”105 East Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444
Telephone: (561) 274-9090