I've been off of dairy products since April due to Sam's allergies. As I've tried to find dairy-free options at restaurants I've had some interesting conversations with waiters.
Me: I don't suppose you have any dairy-free desserts, do you?
Waiter: Let me check with the chef. I do know for sure that you can have the ice cream.
Me: Um, okay.
For the most part, I've found people are so eager for me to eat their food that they often say the food is fine whether or not they truly know the ingredients. Seven months into this diet I've finally found a way to ensure my food at restaurants is dairy-free--my friend Katie gave me this idea. It works 100% of the time.
Me: Do you know if this bread has dairy in it?
Waiter: Let me see.
(Waiter picks it up and stares at it as if trying to see specks of milk.)
Waiter: Nope. There's not any dairy in it.
Me: Are you sure? I have a dairy allergy.
Waiter: Definitely. It's fine
Me: Good, because dairy is like poison to me.
And then I start to take a big bite which is ALWAYS interrupted by the waiter saying, "WAIT! Let me run to the kitchen just to double check."
And then they come back with iceberg lettuce and Worcestershire sauce since those are the only truly dairy-free items in the kitchen.