Oops I did it again….



The other night, I decided it was time to take another chance and go out to dinner.  I had to drop off a package for return at the UPS store, so we decided to try O’Charley’s, a local TGI Friday’s type place.

When I do go out, which isn’t frequently, I am always pleasantly surprised when I don’t get sick.  But when I do, I curse myself for even trying.  You guessed, it, I got sick.  I reviewed the place on Tripadvisor:

Since we moved here to Middle Tennessee, I have continued to struggle with finding safe places to eat. I have gluten and dairy intolerance-the gluten free part is usually easy, but finding safe dairy free places to eat is becoming extremely difficult.

The thing that pointed me to going here was that they have an allergen menu; and that you can actually understand it. I thought this was great. They even listed barley as an allergen-which is part of the trio of wheat, barley and rye-all those grains that we gluten free sufferers need to avoid.

Looking over the list, I decided on the Salmon and filet combo. The only side that was safe was green beans. A bit limited, but that is the price I pay for going out.

Unfortunately, this allergen free promised land has a few land mines. The staff is not savvy on allergens.

When we were seated, I told the waitress I could not eat gluten or dairy. She looked at me like I had two heads. I assured her I had already looked over the allergen menu and she audibly sighed with relief. I ordered the salmon and filet combo. I specifically said “no butter!” The allergen list did not indicate that this would be an issue, but I always make sure I tell them. I did not order salad as they really didn’t have much in the way of dressing that I could eat, and it usually appears with croutons and cheese.

A few minutes later, the waitress came out and said they were out of salmon. Ok, it was a Monday, but really? Ok, I stuck with just the filet and string beans, asking for a double order of them.

When my dinner came out, they beans looked suspiciously shiny-but, being the trusting, and sometimes naive person I am, I believed this was either soybean oil or some kind of oil. It was really hard to tell.

The filet was good. Cooked perfectly. The beans were a bit bland, but that is not unusual.

My husband said his bacon wrapped filet was delicious. We finished eating, paid the check and left.

About two hours later, I realized it was probably butter on the green beans. I can’t know for sure if that was the culprit, but I bet the chef read “no butter” as “butter”, even though I indicated I was dairy intolerant. It could have been something else, but again, I will never know.

Why have an allergen menu if you don’t train your staff to follow it? This is a consistent problem across the board. It is getting so I just don’t want to eat out anymore.

If you have any type of food allergies, I would recommend avoiding this location. It just isn’t worth taking the chance.

I am sure you are all screaming “What?”  I thought the allergen menu was great-and the fact that Barley was listed was a first.  I should have known-just cause they have an allergen list doesn’t mean they know what it is or how to implement it.  It might have been butter, it might have been gluten.  I will never know.  And that is scary.

I am sick to death of getting sick to death.  Why should I deprive myself of a meal out now and then?  Why should I have to cringe and shy away from family and friend gatherings?  Why are wait and kitchen staff clueless?  It all comes down to what it wrong with business in this country-lack of management and training.  It’s across the board.  It’s rampant in Customer service-I know, I handled calls from irate customers for 2o years. In fact, in my last post, I had taken a part time job.  I forfeited the job because the very thought of being on the phone again gave me a panic attack.

Going out to eat is doing the same thing to me.  And it just isn’t right.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Kenneth T. says:

    I don’t have any ‘diagnosed’ food problems; growing up my mom called me her human garbage disposal, but the last two times I ate at the local IHOP, I got sick afterwards.


    1. glutenfreelady says:

      I’m not “officially” diagnosed either. I eliminated gluten from my diet for two weeks and immediately felt better. I did the same with dairy and I’m pretty much symptom free. You might want to try that. It took me years to figure out why I was sick all the time. If you need advice on how to do that please let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kenneth T. says:

        I more or less limit a lot of dairy already. I don’t drink milk (haven’t for years). Over the last few months I have greatly reduced my consumption of cheese (but then much of it isn’t real cheese any way). My biggest problem is bread. I love bread. It’s hard, for me, to stay away from that stuff.


      2. Kenneth T. says:

        Any advice to stay away from those ‘food-like’ products would be nice.


      3. glutenfreelady says:

        Bread is also my downfall. It’s the hardest thing for me to avoid. Try eliminating all gluten for two weeks. The easiest way is to just eat protein, veggies and white rice. Use only olive oil, salt and pepper. See if you feel any better. Processed cheese still has dairy. Once you do the gluten elimination for two weeks, if you still have symptoms do the dairy elimination. Did you eat pancakes at IHOP?


      4. Kenneth T. says:

        Actually yes, it was pancakes at IHOP. I can eat the ones my wife make (sometimes from scratch but not always) with no problems. I suspect some ‘extra’ ingredient(s) in the IHOP versions.


      5. glutenfreelady says:

        It might be the butter. The only way to know for sure is to do the elimination diet.


  2. Paige says:

    This makes me very sad. But I feel your pain. This weekend I went out to a restaurant that raves about allergy friendly. But the waiter told me I could have the ravioli but not the dressing. When I asked how, he said “gluten free means you can’t have ginger so the dressing is out.” He didn’t understand that ravioli has flour which is not okay and that ginger is perfectly fine. My stomach was off—even without getting glutened but just from the stress of it!! Luckily we sorted everything out and I was not glutened. But I haven’t been as lucky in the past 😦 is there a burtons near you? If so, try them–incredible with allergy sufferers!


    1. glutenfreelady says:

      That’s unbelievable and it makes me mad. Sorry you had to go through that. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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