So earlier this year, after attending a friend’s wedding, The non-gluten-free-boyfriend and I visited the local Pei Wei. Usually, I will recommend it to anyone, and trust them to take care. The former manger knew me due to the number of times I went in. She recently was moved to a new store in the northern part of my state. I have only had this store mess up my food once, in five or so years.
We get there around eight, it is pretty empty. We over the same thing, to reduce the risk of me getting the wrong plate, and if there are leftovers i can get them and take them to lunch. We order the gluten-free pei wei Spicy, with chicken, and gluten free fried rice. We confirm with the young lady taking our order that it is marked as Gluten-Free. Someone even had to tell her how to ring up the gluten free fried rice, since it is not on the menu per say.
We get our plates, and confirm with the young man who brought us our food that it is indeed, gluten free. This is after he stated he had two gluten free pei wei spicy with chicken and gluten free fried rice.
After he leaves I notice that our plate where a little messy, sauce on the rims, I had a carrot slice that was down to the top of the carrot, which is called the attic or mouth. I should have stopped and had the nongfbf check things, but I was hungry. We had came from an evening wedding that I could not eat at. So dug in, getting a piece of chicken and vegtable, or dipping my sauce soaked chicken in the fried rice. So I did not notice if the rice was freshly made and hot. The nongfbf did however.
In mid-bite I heard, “Sarah, don’t eat that. STOP!” of course it takes my brain a moment to process this and I have placed said bit in my mouth and chewed and swallowed. I look arcoss the table and ask “WHY?!” (I’m hungry, he knows not to mess with Sarah and her food when she is on the edge of being hangry.) Buddy, the nongfbf, looks at me and explains. The rice is not hot, and if they had to make the gluten free rice special it should be hot. This is not.
After a few, back and fourth about the rice and how they wouldn’t do that, but did we see the packets of gluten free soy sauce get passed to the kitchen and etc. We flag down the same young man so brought us our food. He goes and get a different young lady who is apparently the acting manger since the manger was not there. We ask the same questions.
She goes and ask the chief, who apparently tells here it is not gluten free fried rice. That he totally messed up, and served us normal rice by mistake. This was very upsetting to both me and Buddy. They re-fire our dinners and apologize to us, let us know that the ticket stated gluten free, he just made a mistake. During this time, we have to explain to her and the young man who brought us our plates why we are so very upset. And how I can’t give myself a shot, or take something for this. She goes to state how I need to tell them and stress the seriousiness of my food being gluten free next time we come in, if we decided to come back. How I need to tell them apparently a couple of times to make sure it is gluten free. Along with how to tell the difference in the rices. Then she ask for my name and number so she can call and check on me tomorrow, along with what I have that makes me have to eat gluten free. Then it was asked that I call and tell them if I got sick. (Neither of these things happened)
By the time we left, which was 10 to 15 minutes after we noticed, my stomach as already swollen, and my head was hurting. The nongfbf, was furious. His comments are below:
“If you have protocols in place for making gluten free items that are on a special gluten free menu, why should I make sure you do your job correctly? Do I need to go into the kitchen and watch over the chief as well? Aren’t these people trained in how to at least cook the food, and deal with gluten free menu items?”
The next day, I reached out on twitter to Pei Wei, they said someone would be in contact with me. This never happened either.
I have read about other people’s experiences with Pei Wei and P.F. Chang’s, (I do not go there, since the servers ask if my gluten freeness is an allergy or a preference. Again, going back to protocols). I was so grateful to not have experienced this. I guess all good things must come to an end. I am sad about this, since this was one of my favorite places to go and the company did not follow through.