So, it's your birthday, anniversary, 'month-a-versary', whatever the occasion - and you are dining out! HORRORS! Just how, pray tell, will you do this?
First, use the good ole' Google search on your Internet to explore your fave restaurants. I usually type in the name of the restaurant, and then a key word, such as 'food allergy' or 'gluten free'. You, my dear friend, will be simply amazed at the number of restaurants that offer either allergy free fare, or are happy to specially prepare your food for you.
If I've not dined somewhere before, I generally call and ask to speak with the establishment's kitchen manager first. I first tell them my situation, and that I will be dining there (usually I call a day ahead of time). I inquire about their ability to safely prepare my food, and if they offer gluten-free seasonings and dressings (balsamic vinaigrette is usually safe). Next, I ask the manager if he would be willing to clean off the grill for me and use special spatulas, tongs, etc. Once I am confident that I can dine there, I make a reservation. Often, the manager will get your name, and they will be prepared for your arrival.
Once at the restaurant, I remind the server of my situation, and let him/her know of ALL of my food allergies. You would be surprised: sometimes even the OIL is dangerous! I then place my order, and make sure that the cooks will clean off a space on the grill for me. When my food arrives, I double check again that no seasonings or dairy were added to my meal. I also bring my own butter substitute or salad dressing if needed. This may seem like a lot, but when you consider how much a meal out costs, it's well worth it.
Usually, I get a very cooperative and helpful server. In those cases, I leave an extra tip with a 'thank you' written on my ticket. I make note of the server's name, and follow up with a 'thank you' (whether written or verbal) to the manager, mentioning also the great service provided by my server. Sometimes, I've even received complimentary meal cards in the mail for this extra step! But the real reason I do it is because it guarantees that the next time I come to dine, they are more than prepared for someone like me!
So go celebrate! Or just plain old go out to eat.