After you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, sweet people think you need a copy of Diabetes for Dummies for your birthday (Suzannah). You learn to prick your few fingers until they bleed enough to take “readings.” You either give up sweets or you get worse, and you figure you’ll never be able to have a good meal at a good restaurant ever again. Until you discover Gustavo’s Italian Eatery in Dahlonega.
Dear friends (defined as “those who didn’t give me Diabetes for Dummies on my dang birthday) invited me to dine with them in the paradise known as Dahlonega one fine Friday evening. They offered to buy my meal, I pretended to protest (but didn’t fool them for a moment) and we quickly agreed on having Italian for dinner. Not exactly the perfect choice for a diabetic meal, I thought.
Suzannah looked over the menu and told me that I could get a nice salad, with restrictions. I immediately figured something like “Honeymoon Salad” on the menu. You know: lettuce alone without any dressing.
Hey, it didn’t matter. Not like missing one meal would hurt me; besides, I was going to be with friends and we were going to have a good time.
By that point in time, I had already dropped more than 40-pounds on an informal low-carb diet. Yes, Suzannah’s “gift” helped me learn what I could or should not feast upon. So, I had an idea of what I could or should not eat at Gustavo’s. Then came the moment of decision: “And what would you like for dinner, sir?”
Our server knew instantaneously that I “was going to be trouble.” I saw that look in her eye. So, I began by saying, “Before I order, please let me give you a dollar.” No, that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Finally, she accepted it, reluctantly. By then we both knew that a twenty would have worked best.
I told her the sad tale of how I now have diabetes — as my dining partners’ eyes twirled like fidgit spinners — and how I wasn’t trying to be a jerk (too late) and how would they MIND serving me stromboli not wrapped in bread.
Thankfully, I survived the server’s initial Death Rays. Took her only a moment before she said her dad has diabetes. With a determined look (that a buck couldn’t buy) she said that — in spite of how The Kitchen hated changing any orders for anybody, ever, under any conditions — she would plead my case. Because of her dad.
Bravery in action. A while later she returned, battle worn.
If I promised never to tell anyone, and if I never returned, they MIGHT give me an unwrapped stromboli ONCE.
I happily agreed and we went back to chatting. My stromboli was delicious. Magnificent. Too much to eat at one sitting. Plenty to take home. (Not enough to share with Suzannah, however.)
My friends were served a giant Calzone that should have been billed as the Calzone That Devoured Cleveland. Could have fed an army, with almost enough to share with Suzannah (except for that “birthday present”).
After our meal, I asked to speak with the manager.
Robert happily came over, ready to have someone chew him out because [insert stupid reason here about why cheap, critical people should not have to pay for the entire meal they enthusiastically devoured].
Told him what I never tell anybody during a meal at restaurants: “I’m a travel writer.”
Told him I would happily write an honest review of our meal, with one condition. (From the smiles on my friends’ faces, they were SURE I was going to ask for him to not charge us for the meals. Sorry.)
Told him there are lots of diabetics who hate going out for meals because we hate having to watch other people eat what we used to eat. But … my low-carb GIANT stromboli was the perfect solution for my needs. (Your diet might vary.) Told him I thought it was a “win-win” for everyone, if The Kitchen would simply slap the stromboli innerds into a dish and serve it.
Robert the Manager kindly agreed. No, unwrapped strombolis will not appear on the menu at Gustavo’s Italian Eatery at 16 Public Square in Dahlonega. No, you won’t have to bribe the servers with a dollar (not that it worked) to order it.
Just mention that you read a review saying they’ll let you order an unwrapped stromboli … and that I couldn’t put it on the internet if it weren’t true.
On Dahlonega’s Square next to the Dahlonega General Store.