A warning about Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant in Bellevue, WA
Yes, it is true. We were glutenized.
During what was a celebration of our happy, healthy gluten free life, we were once again reminded that this diet can be a challenge; that we must always be vigilant; that we must be advocates for our right for healthy and safe food.
The Gluten Free Kid had her yearly checkup with our wonderful gastrointerologist, Dr. Christie at Children's Hospital in Seattle.
There was a lot of anxiety going into this appointment. Doctor appointments are challenging with the Gluten Free Kid. Unfortunately, she has bad memories of some challenging blood draws, so she harbors bad feelings towards doctors and hospitals. We were also unsure if there would be a follow-up blood test. Nerves were on edge.
What a relief when the appointment ended up being a blessing -- she is healthy, growing. Her bone density is great. We were proud to report that she has not had a gluten attack in almost a year (kettle corn at the County fair was the last thing that made her sick). No blood draws. Dr. Christie even managed to charm the Gluten Free Kid out of some of her anxiety towards doctors.
It went so great in fact, that we decided to celebrate with a Mom and Daughter lunch at Maggiano's in Bellevue, WA.
We really don't eat out that often and I am vigilant when we do.
I normally never rely on the waiter, but ask for the chef or the kitchen manager. I am the one that request new condiments of mustard and mayo be opened at Outback Steakhouse, that salad's be mixed in a clean bowl and clean gloves be worn . . .
But we thought we were safe a Maggiano's. They have gluten free pasta on the menu. We have eaten there a few times in the past and they seemed to understand the diet. So we ordered with confidence from our waiter.
Gluten Free pasta with alfredo sauce and a cesear salad. No bread.
I watched as the waiter wrote it on his pad.
I reiterated that it was gluten free again to make sure he got it.
We sent back the bread they brought out "no gluten please."
When the food arrived, my daughter dived into the steaming bowl of gluten free pasta.
"Wait what is that?"
"That noodle - that one that looks like a fettuccinni noodle (the GF past at Maggiano's is spiral)."
"It is lighter that the GF corn pasta."
The manager comes over and offers to prepare a new bowl.
The Chef comes out and apologizes - "Yes it was wheat pasta."
"How did that happen."
The Chef replied "In the preparation."
"The preparation? What do you mean?"
"When we cooked it?"
"We cooked the gluten free pasta in the water that we had previously cooked wheat pasta in."
"I didn't realize it was an allergy. Some people just like the taste of the gluten free pasta."
Need I say more!!!!!!!
The Gluten Free Kid in tears, we promptly left the restaurant and spent the afternoon waiting to see what symptoms would strip away the glee of our "celebration."
First came the head ache, then "brain fog" and lastly the upset stomach. We headed off the worst of the symptoms with Advil and Pepto Bismal (the wonder drug for upset stomachs).
Will we ever eat at Maggiano's again - No. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Will I let this drop - No. I did not want to make a scene in front of the Gluten Free Kid (she was already upset enough). But they will be hearing from me today. I am very happy for the few restaurants that serve gluten free pasta, but what good is it if they cook it in contaminated water?
Will we stop eating out? No . . . but this makes you feel uncertain about just how safe dining out is.
Does the vigilance required of this diet ever end? Definitely not.
But I am even more determined to be an advocate for celiac disease - I may even open my own restaurant!!!!