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Author Topic: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)  (Read 11682 times)

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« on: December 21, 2015, 03:34:41 pm »
It doesn't matter how hard you to try to ensure all goes well, it only takes one moment of carelessness!

This last weekend we joined friends to celebrate their marriage. In advance the bride-to-be had thoughtfully consulted with both my wife and another coeliac lady in order to liaise with the reception venue. She agreed with the manager that their main meals would be plated separately without gravy or Yorkshire puds. A separate gravy boat of GF gravy would be provided should it be required. Both ladies would have an alternate GF dessert (a very nice winter berry meringue glace, as it turns out). Excellent - sorted!

Imagine my wife's surprise when a plate of roast beef and veg arrived in front of her...smothered in a rich gravy and topped with a tempting Yorkie pud! She immediately sought confirmation: was this one of the GF meals? Yes it was. Is the gravy gluten free? Yes. What about the Yorkshire? Yes it is - 100%! She tucked in, reassured that the venue knew what it was doing and had gone that extra mile. Of course, you know what's coming next...

...the manager arrived a while later, as the desserts were being distributed (highly glutenous choc fudge slice and custard for me; winter berry meringue for my wife). Was everything to our satisfaction? Yes, we're enjoying our meal and were pleasantly surprised to have both GF gravy and GF Yorkie. You shouldn't have had the Yorkshire, madam. What? No, that wasn't gluten free! But we asked the chap waiting on us! Apologies followed (the sort you get when the person knows there's been an error but doesn't understand how, why or the consequences for the customer) and he disappeared. He returned later to tell us that the young man who had delivered the food stated that only the GF gravy had been questioned by my wife. The lying hound! We had several witnesses to confirm that my wife, being sufficiently savvy by now, had doubted the Yorkie was GF and had sought confirmation. After all, it wasn't out of the question that they had sourced some and then the chap had told us he was 100% sure the meal was GF. Further apologies and statements that the pud shouldn't have been on the plate. So what? The damage was done: my wife (and the other coeliac diner) were both looking forward to an unpleasant Sunday due to a mistake in the kitchen and ignorance by the catering team. Needless to say, there's a bad review by my wife coming to a Tripadvisor near you!

On the flip side of this equation, a couple of months back, we visited a local pub the family frequents for Sunday lunches. They know about my wife's GF diet and are prepared to help, preparing GF omelette dishes or cheese & potato pie (neither of which is on the standard menu) and even putting aside a GF Sunday roast lamb plate for her in case that's what she requests. The trouble was this: without thinking, my wife ladled mint sauce onto her roast lamb meal and was thoroughly enjoying her meal until she commented on how good it was - we turned and looked at one another: uh-oh! Sure enough, the following 24hrs were very uncomfortable! We have since heard that mint sauce and other vinegar containing sauces aren't supposed to be bad for coeliacs. I think the general guideline here is that they're not all bad for all coeliacs and should be viewed with suspicion if you're known to be especially sensitive.

[Edit: just to say that the 'marriage episode' location was Glastonbury and relates to a fairly significant historic inn located in the centre].
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 09:26:21 pm by Silly Yak Wrangler »

Offline Alison

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 04:57:13 pm »
Some places just don't seem to understand how bad cross contamination can be do they, some places really need to up their training.

I've never really had a bad experience so to speak, worse one I have had was at a pub, they had a gluten free menu but when I asked for an item they said "oh thats not gluten free anymore, we've changed the sauce", so I went for my second choice, she said she would double check with the chef...no that wasn't gluten free anymore. So I asked if chips were gluten free as they were on the menu...back to the chef...no they aren't but chef will handmade you some and cook them separate for you specially...ended up with steak and chips, the only option left out of what should have been a decent gluten free menu.
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Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 10:33:24 am »
Well, at least the chef was willing and able to prepare the chips gluten free!  All too frequently this is not an option, although better that than some ignoramus thinking it's OK to serve chips from a general fryer!

My wife has been 'poisoned' several times since being diagnosed.  Some (probably most) were cross-contamination, at least one was her own fault (just not thinking) and then there are the cases such as I described.

The reverse is obviously as you describe: the depressingly limited options.  It takes the joy and even spontaneity out of dining away from home.

On one occasion four of us dropped into a Birmingham area pub (part of a chain) where it turned out there was nothing available on the GF front.  Apart from two other diners we were the only customers.  The lady who waited on us said she would speak with the kitchen staff who turned out to be most uncooperative.  In the end they refused to even prepare a simple omelette and a stand-up row ensued between front of house and kitchen!  We departed with profuse apologies from the waitress who said she didn't blame us if we submitted a bad review!

Similarly, at another well-known chain pub in the Walsall area, the deputy manager and the kitchen staff showed complete ignorance of what gluten free was all about, telling us that most of the menu was OK so long as we avoided the pasta and the tomato-based products!

To balance that I am thankfully able to report on a growing number of establishments where we have, sometimes unexpectedly, had great service.

Life is a question of balance. ;)
Nigel
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 02:38:54 pm by Silly Yak Wrangler »

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2016, 07:27:06 pm »
Recommended meal for two: Heck 97% Pork sausages & Lloyd Grossman's Gastro Creamy Apple & Cider Sauce (for two) - yummy!  Picked them up today from Tesco, added mashed spuds and peas and enjoyed. :o)

Offline Alison

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2016, 08:00:56 pm »
Recommended meal for two: Heck 97% Pork sausages & Lloyd Grossman's Gastro Creamy Apple & Cider Sauce (for two) - yummy!  Picked them up today from Tesco, added mashed spuds and peas and enjoyed. :o)

I have one of those Lloyd Grossman Sauces, cheesy one I think, but not had it yet. Sounds lovely.
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Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2016, 09:16:25 pm »
Bon apetit!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 09:33:30 pm by Silly Yak Wrangler »

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2016, 09:46:56 pm »
Just to say that based on recent experiences there are two places in the Glastonbury area worthy of note:

1.  Pizza Express in Street (High Street, conveniently close to the Clarks Village) - yes, I know, part of the chains!  Very enjoyable for both of us - yum!

2.  The Walton Gateway, Walton, on the road from the M5 J23 to Street & Glastonbury.  Surprisingly decent pub meals cooked to order from freshly delivered produce.  We ate there twice in December and they looked after my wife very well on both occasions - very impressed.  Accommodation available too.

Cheers!
SYW

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2016, 12:47:22 pm »
Hi,

Just to say that on another forum (non-coeliac) I subscribe to there is bad news, I'm afraid.  The Stork Inn, Conder Green, nr Lancaster has closed (at least for now).  The recent floods put the nail in the coffin of this business.  They do have a 'franchise' at the nearby Thurnham Hall resort however.  I hope to report on this in due course.

SYW
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 12:27:37 pm by Silly Yak Wrangler »

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 12:38:04 pm »
Just had a good report of Ed's Easy Diner at the Merry Hill Shopping Complex, Dudley area. My wife hit the shops and popped in for a bite - she says we have to go!  If she's praising the place it must be worth a visit (despite all those shops!)

Offline Alison

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 12:54:00 pm »
Ed's is fanastic we have been Chester, Sheffield and Gateshead branches. We actually reviewed Sheffield and Gateshead, they are fab, lots of options and they really know what they are doing
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Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2016, 02:20:52 pm »
Ed's is fanastic we have been Chester, Sheffield and Gateshead branches. We actually reviewed Sheffield and Gateshead, they are fab, lots of options and they really know what they are doing
Yes, I can now agree: very good experience on Saturday - went for lunch.  Very enjoyable.  The staff were excellent too.  The GF menu was full of choice, making my wife feel like she was a valued customer as opposed to an awkward fuss-pot.  No doubt we will be back!

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 01:37:15 pm »
Last night we attended a Burns' Night supper at Halesowen College Training Restaurant.  The catering students learn the fine art of waiting at table and also kitchen skills throughout the year, switching roles to gain a wide experience of the skills and aptitude required to take up a career in the trade.  Throughout the year the college puts on themed meals for anyone who cares to book.  Very reasonably priced they are too!

It was a bit of a risk for my wife since the students are obviously inexperienced, although carefully supervised.  This morning she announced no ill-effects so we can count last night's enjoyable event (complete with piping in of the haggis and the reciting of Burns' poem to same) a great success.  Yes, there were a few stumbles along the way, but I had been in touch beforehand so those in charge were able to look after the GF member of our group.  She even had a Cointreau instead of whisky to toast the haggis...as well as a couple of menu substitutions.  So well done to the catering team!

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2016, 08:53:30 am »
Latest addition to our GF dining experiences: The King's Head, Bridgnorth, in Shropshire.  It's not much to look at, being tucked away down a street of the main/high street of the town.  However, it's very popular: booking a table in advance is recommended - it's not big, so seating is soon snapped up.

There's a good variety of menu items, with a good-sized specials board too.  They don't actually advertise gluten free meals or even mark up their menus, but we were told that most meals could be prepared so as to be gluten free.  My wife really enjoyed her beef burger and chips - proper homemade fare!  Definitely on the list for a return visit.

Offline Silly Yak Wrangler

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2016, 09:40:13 am »
Enjoyed a good Sunday lunch at The Olde Swan (aka Ma Pardoe's) in Netherton, West Midlands. They're getting used to us by now as it's our local.  My wife fancied the baked haddock in white sauce and asked if it was GF.  The answer was: "No, but the chef will prepare a GF sauce for you!"  That's the kind of service you want!

SYW

Offline Alison

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Re: Gluten Related Experiences Good and Bad (not just Restaurants)
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2016, 01:47:04 pm »
Excellent service there can't ask for any better
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