Fist things first, ALWAYS ASK. Don't feel bad for being 'picky' or embarrassed for being 'high maintenance.' Those are things you need to just get past. Period.
Aside from camaraderie, we generally are going out to eat to get some nourishment right? Oh, and something that also satisfies our palate. We aren't going out to eat to go make ourselves sick or feel guilty (unless I'm missing somthing?); though that is precisely what will happen if we don't partner with the servers while dining.
If you are dining at a decent restaurant, generally the chef's aim is to please and the servers' too and if nothing else, they want a good tip ;)
When you are out at a not so decent place or a convenience location, it's even that much more important to be explicit about what you want and do not want as well as any allergies you may have. Tweak the menu as much as they will let you. And if they won't, you have a couple of options: leave or go with the bare minimum.
Here are some examples from my past week:
|Restaurant in Niwot, CO: Originally came with breaded fried chicken. I switched to prosciutto and dressing on the side (which I didn't use).|
|Restaurant in Boulder, CO: Ahi Tuna tartare with cantaloupe and a dairy free dill dressing (I didn't have to modify this one at all just removed the chips!)|
|Restaurant in Boulder, CO: Seasonal Ratatouille (no modification needed)|
|Hotel in Dallas, TX: 1/2 chicken with sauteed veggies. I did have to ask that it was sauteed in oil (olive oil) and not butter.|
|Hotel in Dallas, TX: Created my own breakfast- just asked for eggs with no dairy tossed with some veggies (with no dairy)|
|Hotel in Dallas, TX: Shrimp salad with walnuts, carrots, cucumber, tomato (I added the avocado) and asked for no dressing|
To be continued...