Monday, July 21, 2014

Hotel Zaza Sunday School for Celiacs

Okay, let me just start out by saying I am not a typical club-goer.  I think the only times I’m out past midnight are for bachelorette parties and New Years.  Yes, I’m aware of how boring I sound but what can I say?  I guess that’s life in the working world.  Anyway, enough about my grandma-type tendencies and back to the subject at hand: gluten.
            One of my best friends had been dropping hints since I moved to Dallas about attending the infamous Hotel Zaza Sunday School.  While not much information was published about the shindig, it had enough publicity for us to know that it was one of the wildest experiences in Dallas, it only happened once in awhile and it was not to be missed.   So naturally, when the announcement came out that they were having a summer-themed ‘school,’ we jumped faster than you can say ‘mimosa.’
            We really didn’t know what to expect.  The price tag was fairly high ($65) and I was weary given the fact that I may not be able to eat.  Loud music, dark lights and alcohol don’t typically equal a celiac-friendly environment.  But I was so wrong. 
            The morning started while we waited in line to be checked into Sunday School.  The line was long, but we were immediately greeted with mimosas which made the experience a much more pleasant one.  Once inside we noticed the DJ’s music, lights and the glow in the dark accessories conveniently arranged on each table. We waited for about an hour for the rest of our “school” to show up, all the while being poured copious amounts of mimosas.  And then brunch began.
            Brunch was served family style; another fear for Celiacs.  However, I told my waiter about my condition and he promptly returned with a plate filled with a shockingly delicious greek salad and a heaping side of hummus.  After I was done with that plate, he returned with some grilled pork, bacon, eggs and fruit.  He asked continuously if he could bring me anything else, but by that point I was done.  While the plates were being cleared, shots were handed out.  Since I can’t drink wheat vodka, my waiter brought me a huge Tito’s drink.  The service was quite spectacular and something I was definitely not expecting.
            Once brunch was over, the lights went down and ‘camp counselors’ with sparklers attached to champagne bottles appeared out of nowhere and descended upon the Sunday Schoolers like Santa on Christmas Eve.  Every 2 people got a full bottle of champagne and the surprises didn’t end there.  The music was amazing, people were dancing on every surface possible, costumed creatures came out of the woodwork and much, much more.
            The experience was just like that of a summer camp.  The time went by too quickly and everyone had the time of their lives; even the Celiacs!  I can’t honestly say I’ve ever had more fun between the hours of 12 – 3pm on a Sunday and highly recommend experiencing this at least once (again, keep in mind that I’m a non-club goer, so this is saying a lot!).
            One word of advice though for my Celiac friends:  Contact the host beforehand.  I registered and bought my ticket through Eventbrite and was able to email the host that way.  She graciously said it was not a problem to accommodate me, and my allergy was noted next to my name on their check-in list. Second word of advice: tell the waiters immediately when you walk into the room.  It didn’t seem like my allergy had been communicated to the waiters, and once the lights go down it gets difficult to communicate. So speak up as soon as you get in.  Thirdly, enjoy it and make sure to arrange for transportation home.  You’ll thank me later.