Author Topic: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.  (Read 43025 times)

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DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #135 on: February 14, 2013, 02:53:21 PM »
I don't think it's possible - or even reasonable - for a restaurant to put the recipe for each of the meals on the menu.  I think that there is some expectation that, if you're allergic or sensitive to a particular food, you will ask about it.
 
The main ingredients will be listed ("Smoked chicken ravioli with jalapeno sauce" - which is a real meal at a restaurant that I went to recently and am now craving again).  That's the dish.  And what you'd expect to see on the menu.
 
But expecting the menu to say something like "Chicken smoked using 1 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and Italian seasoning put into pasta ravioli made with 3 cups of flour, 2 T of vegetable oil, 2 oz of whole - not skim - milk obtained from the Bessie Blue farm,......" really is a little much to expect.  Not to mention a menu a mile long!


Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #136 on: February 14, 2013, 03:51:10 PM »
I would like to see, however, a system where they could use different symbols to denote major allergies... one for nuts, one for lactose, one for gluten.  And have those symbols appear on the menu accompanying food that uses it.
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LEMon

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #137 on: February 14, 2013, 05:18:49 PM »
I would like to see, however, a system where they could use different symbols to denote major allergies... one for nuts, one for lactose, one for gluten.  And have those symbols appear on the menu accompanying food that uses it.
Depending on the restaurant, some of the really nice places here in California have markers for vegetarian, vegan, nuts, lactose, and gluten free.  I make note of those places as ones to visit again.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #138 on: February 14, 2013, 05:43:04 PM »
I would like to see, however, a system where they could use different symbols to denote major allergies... one for nuts, one for lactose, one for gluten.  And have those symbols appear on the menu accompanying food that uses it.
Depending on the restaurant, some of the really nice places here in California have markers for vegetarian, vegan, nuts, lactose, and gluten free.  I make note of those places as ones to visit again.

I'd like to see a national rollout on that.  Just memorize your symbol(s) and you're golden!
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Danika

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #139 on: February 14, 2013, 06:30:31 PM »
I just feel bad for people when the servers answer in the negative when there really is something like that in a dish.

For example, I'm lactose intolerant so I'm aware of what things have high levels of lactose in them. But I will generally eat things with lactose in small amounts. But I have a friend who is deathly allergic to dairy. When we eat together, I'm fine with splitting things that don't have dairy. We were at a restaurant recently and she asked the server if the dish we wanted to order had any dairy in it. The server said she'd go check. She came back and said no. Then, when she brought it out, it was covered in butter. I can eat butter but my friend can't at all. And the server just said "oh" when we pointed out the mistake.

I'm allergic to nuts. Not deathly, luckily. I've ordered salads in restaurants and specified "no nuts. I'm allergic to them." A significant number of times, my salad has arrived with nuts on it and I've had to ask for another.

Elfmama

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #140 on: February 14, 2013, 09:33:00 PM »
 :o What is so hard about not putting common allergens as food garnish?  Why can't restaurants understand "No nuts" and refrain from putting nuts on food that doesn't need it or normally contain it?  Yes, pecan pie with no nuts is impossible, but a gourmet salad with no nuts is completely within the realm of achievability.
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mbbored

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #141 on: February 15, 2013, 02:08:15 AM »
:o What is so hard about not putting common allergens as food garnish?  Why can't restaurants understand "No nuts" and refrain from putting nuts on food that doesn't need it or normally contain it?  Yes, pecan pie with no nuts is impossible, but a gourmet salad with no nuts is completely within the realm of achievability.

This is not an excuse but a slight explanation. I've been a line cook and had nights where I plated hundreds of salads. At that point you go on autopilot and it's pretty easy to continue putting on all the regular toppings. Or, I've put together the salad as ordered, but it's waiting to be picked up with a number of other salads and a waiter grabs the wrong one for their table.

Danika

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #142 on: February 15, 2013, 04:17:41 AM »
Or, I've put together the salad as ordered, but it's waiting to be picked up with a number of other salads and a waiter grabs the wrong one for their table.

That's a good point I hadn't considered! Thanks for mentioning that.

I have never worked in food service. I had a friend who had worked as a server and he was dating another server. One of the cooks had a crush on the girl and was jealous of my friend so he would purposely mess up all of his orders. Until I heard that story, I didn't know things like that happened!

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #143 on: February 15, 2013, 04:36:21 AM »
There's a breakfast and lunch diner we don't go to (I don't mention a name because it isn't a chain restaurant), not because the food isn't good, but because almost every time we've been there we've had to deal with someone's bad attitude.  They usually didn't make food mistakes from what I saw, but one morning when we went there for breakfast my toast was almost black and smelled like charcoal.  I asked the waitress if I could have another one, and she argued with me about whether the toast was "burned" or "just dark".  I'm not particular about dark toast, but this toast was burned.

She finally sighed and took it back into the kitchen, and when she brought me my "new" toast it was the same two pieces with the charred outside scraped off.  She plunked it down on the table, then left without a word.  When she came back we were almost done, and she saw that I hadn't touched my toast.  She commented on it, saying, "What, not good enough?  It's not burned."  I said that I had specifically requested a new piece of toast, that I was even willing to pay for it, and I didn't get any further before she picked up the toast plate and walked back to the kitchen grumbling about "a waste of food".  We paid, informed the manager, and left with no intention of returning.

It's a shame, really.  Their waffles were delicious.

DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #144 on: February 15, 2013, 04:33:52 PM »
Common allergens, absolutely.  There are some things that I think can be noted on a menu - nuts, lactose, gluten, vegan and things like that.  Of course those can be noted, so that the customer knows to stay away from them.

However, a menu cannot have a symbol for every little thing that someone could be allergic to if it's not a well-known allergy.  What we're seeing now are people who are allergic to things that may not be common - or usual in the mainstream.  And to cover every possible thing that could be in the food, you'd have to resort to what I described above.  A restaurant cannot list every ingredient in their food.  It's not reasonable or practical.  At some point, a diner does have to have the responsibility to ask if a certain ingredient is in the food.  Especially if it's not one of the major "everyone knows about this" type of things.

Elfmama

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #145 on: February 15, 2013, 08:59:34 PM »
Common allergens, absolutely.  There are some things that I think can be noted on a menu - nuts, lactose, gluten, vegan and things like that.  Of course those can be noted, so that the customer knows to stay away from them.

However, a menu cannot have a symbol for every little thing that someone could be allergic to if it's not a well-known allergy.  What we're seeing now are people who are allergic to things that may not be common - or usual in the mainstream.  And to cover every possible thing that could be in the food, you'd have to resort to what I described above.  A restaurant cannot list every ingredient in their food.  It's not reasonable or practical.  At some point, a diner does have to have the responsibility to ask if a certain ingredient is in the food.  Especially if it's not one of the major "everyone knows about this" type of things.
But even asking the waiter doesn't ensure that one's allergens are not present. We've heard story after story on this thread and others, about people asking, being told "No allergen", and eating it with very bad results.  Or not even thinking to ask.  Do you think to ask if the cheesy bread on the table has artificial sweeteners or not? If there are nuts in the glaze on the steak?  If there are bananas in the strawberry sundae?

I have a food sensitivity/allergy  to mustard. (It makes me projectile vomit.)  I like potato salad, but since I cannot be positively assured that the restaurant or deli or donor at the church picnic does not use mustard, I avoid all of it on principal.  The only absolutely safe potato salad for me is my own.  DH and I paid for two tickets to a Knights of Columbus banquet last fall.  It came out, and fortunately DH tasted the chicken before I did.  It had a mustard glaze.  The waiter disappeared, never to be seen again after bringing it out, so I couldn't even send it back and ask if anything else was available.  I said polite goodbyes to everyone else at the table, and went to McD's for food I could eat.
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #146 on: February 15, 2013, 09:20:32 PM »
Common allergens, absolutely.  There are some things that I think can be noted on a menu - nuts, lactose, gluten, vegan and things like that.  Of course those can be noted, so that the customer knows to stay away from them.

However, a menu cannot have a symbol for every little thing that someone could be allergic to if it's not a well-known allergy.  What we're seeing now are people who are allergic to things that may not be common - or usual in the mainstream.  And to cover every possible thing that could be in the food, you'd have to resort to what I described above.  A restaurant cannot list every ingredient in their food.  It's not reasonable or practical.  At some point, a diner does have to have the responsibility to ask if a certain ingredient is in the food.  Especially if it's not one of the major "everyone knows about this" type of things.
But even asking the waiter doesn't ensure that one's allergens are not present. We've heard story after story on this thread and others, about people asking, being told "No allergen", and eating it with very bad results.  Or not even thinking to ask.  Do you think to ask if the cheesy bread on the table has artificial sweeteners or not? If there are nuts in the glaze on the steak?  If there are bananas in the strawberry sundae?

I have a food sensitivity/allergy  to mustard. (It makes me projectile vomit.)  I like potato salad, but since I cannot be positively assured that the restaurant or deli or donor at the church picnic does not use mustard, I avoid all of it on principal.  The only absolutely safe potato salad for me is my own.  DH and I paid for two tickets to a Knights of Columbus banquet last fall.  It came out, and fortunately DH tasted the chicken before I did.  It had a mustard glaze.  The waiter disappeared, never to be seen again after bringing it out, so I couldn't even send it back and ask if anything else was available.  I said polite goodbyes to everyone else at the table, and went to McD's for food I could eat.

No, but if I am so severely allergic to it, I'm going to ask regardless of my preconceived ideas of how a food is usually made.  I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Is that any guarantee that the waiter knows?  No, but at least I asked.
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DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #147 on: February 15, 2013, 09:52:08 PM »
Quote
No, but if I am so severely allergic to it, I'm going to ask regardless of my preconceived ideas of how a food is usually made.  I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Is that any guarantee that the waiter knows?  No, but at least I asked.

This.

And, elfmama, you've kind of illustrated my point, in a way.  The artificial sweetener in cheesy bread might not be something that you'd put in it at home, but if the recipe that the restaurant uses calls for it, it's in there.  Yet, there's no way they can possibly list each and every ingredient for you on the menu.  Really, there isn't!  A menu would have to be miles long in order to do that for every single thing in every single dish on the menu.  Think about what goes into a dish when you make it and then multiply it by however many dishes there are on a menu at a restaurant.  They can't do that!

It is true that you might not get the right answer when you ask the waiter.  But you still have to be responsible and attempt it and hope that the answer you get matches the food on your plate.

But to expect a restaurant to list each and every ingredient on their menu on the off-chance that someone might, possibly be allergic to the one obscure thing in there isn't reasonable.  I think they expect that, if you have an allergy other than the ones that are really well-known (as were listed above), the customer will inquire about it.

ETA:
Quote
Or not even thinking to ask.

I don't think that's a good excuse.  If you happen to be allergic to something, I think there is somewhat of a responsibility to ask if it's in the food.  There's a food I can't eat anymore, for instance.  I've developed a weird reaction to it in the past few years.  And I've asked if it's in things that I really didn't think might have them, but didn't want to take a chance on.  It's my responsibility to make sure that there aren't any in something that I eat.  And, lest you say "yeah, but would you expect it in cheesy bread," I'll say that, if I make the assumption that it's not in there and don't ask, it's not their fault that I assumed wrong.  If I'm that sensitive that it could be a problem, it's up to me to make sure it's not some ingredient in my food.
 
 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 09:57:37 PM by DottyG »

Elisabunny

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #148 on: February 16, 2013, 01:04:36 PM »
The thing is, from the OP it sounds like the allergen is generally only a problem in large doses.  So it's generally easy to just avoid the obvious sources and expect a trace amount in one dish to not cause a reaction.  Instead, she unknowingly walked into an episode of Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was artificial sweeteners. :(
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Kimblee

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #149 on: February 16, 2013, 01:20:52 PM »
I wonder why it wouldn't be possible to have a seperate "menu" (or binder or something) with the ingredient lists in it? And if you're allergic you can ask to see the "big menu" and check what you want to order?

If a chain can afford to print kiddie menus, which last for one kid then are thrown out, I'm sure a binder wouldn't be too expensive.