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Pf Changs
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I visited PF Changs yesterday for the first time, and had some wonderful food (broccoli beef, noodles, garlic spinach), but 6 hours later have had continuous bouts of diarrhea, about 8 bathroom visits so far.

I feel terribly disappointed, mostly with myself, as I had somehow imagined myself as "above" being glutened. and not that sensitive!! This is the only case of sickness in two years I can specifically tie to a particular eating event.

Should I phone the restaurant to let them know?

Anyone else got any ideas what may have happened? Do you think there was a mistake? Cross-contamination? Or perhaps not gluten at all, something else?

Thanks for your advice on this.

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I have always had good luck with PF Changs. I make sure to say gluten free and the food comes on special plates so you can tell it came from that side of the kitchen.

I do tend to eat too much and it is very salty. They give you a fortune cookie but they are not gluten-free. People just want the fortunes.

If you haven't been gluten-free for long or you have an intolerance to something else in the food, it might not be PF Changs falut.

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It was definitely made it clear both on ordering and on receipt that it was gluten-free. Have been to Outback, Chipotle, Vietnamese, Indian etc all in the Bay Area and have not had these after-effects!

Can't help feel that I was glutened, and badly, though it seems strange.

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You didn't eat the soy sauce on the table did you? They have gluten free soy sauce but you have to request it. My daughter's comes' out in a red sauce dish/bowl.

We've never had a problem, but that doesn't mean that it can never happen. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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Did your meal come out on the "different" plates? If I remember correctly, it says PF Changs on the rim

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Thanks for the replies.

My plates definitely had writing on them--I am guessing that the normal plates are just plain?

I didn't touch the soy sauce, only the mustard and the chili sauce which the waitress said was good. It all seems very odd, as I eat out quite a lot and have never had such a definitive reaction before.

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I can't eat there anymore because of other intolerances...BUT we have eaten there safely many times. Twice we had a problem. The first time both myself and my son were sick after eating...was a very long time ago so I'm not sure what caused...I think it was the fried rice. I emailed them to let them know specifically what happened at which branch. I also thanked them for their wonderful gluten practices, but asked that perhaps the managers be reminded about how important it is to keep new staff trained -- our waitress was new and not as versed as other servers we had had at pf changs.

They responded back, thanked me and sent a gift card to us!!!

The second time I had a more mild upset stomach afterward...because it was just me and I wasn't absolutely sure it was a glutening...I did not complain.

I think your experience justifies an email to them -- if for no other reason to remind them to be diligent in keeping up with the great policy they put in place.

Sorry you got glutened - it does stink when we are being so very careful to avoid accidental glutenings!

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Gottaski: This is helpful. I am not out to complain, but I will email the restaurant JUST in case there is a pattern here. I was probably unlucky--I definitely plan to go back and try at least one more time as it was so nice to eat Chinese food!

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Not discounting accidental glutening (I've had a few questionable experiences at pf changs too) but it could also have been food poisoning based on the symptoms.

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Perhaps it is just our family...but when a restaurant really tries to have a gluten policy ffrom mgmt to server...we support them - even with an occasional cc or gltening - let them know what they are doing right -- and absolutely let them know when they slip - I have had many wonderful conversations with young servers that had first heard of gluten-free on their restaurant's menu - for me - I rejoice when a kid asks me could x,y or z symptom be related to gluten -- I was 42 before I knew what gluten could do to one body.

Always celebrate any restaurant - chain or mom/pop shop that puts forth the effort to truly understand the significance of what we are going thru -- oops hopped back on that silly soapbox - hopping off now.

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With PF Changs in SLC it comes downtown timing with me. If I go at night when they are busy I will get glutened each and every time from cc. If I go during their lunch or slow times, I'm fine as the cooks can take their time. I know when I'm glutened and I know when it is something I am intolerant of. When I emailed them last time I asked about their prep and if everything is prepared separate and in a dedicated wok. No, they don't do a dedicated wok, just a clean and fresh one. So I don't consider PF's to be totally safe. Just know if you eat out you will risk being glutened and that is the risk you take for eating out.

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I agree that PF Changs and Pei Wei (related to each other) do a great job overall.

That being said, as careful as I am, I did receive a "regular" noodle in a rice dish at Pei Wei a few months ago....and I've eaten there at least 25 times without incident.

I have to admit, I was pretty mad, it was after all my "go to" restaurant. But, I was able to put it all into perspective. I enjoyed 25 meals without incident and the manager was very apologetic. It's still my go-to restaurant.

That being said, if I was consistently c/c'd at one location, I'd be complaining to the district manager without delay.

I appreciate when a chain and/or restaurant advertises that they're gluten-free friendly, but I will hold them accountable if they want my business.

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I have found PF Changes to be one of the absolute safest options for gluten-free. One I eat at very comfortably! I did once have a waiter that did not seem as informed about gluten-free as almost all the others I have had. The problem may have been with a dish that is offered gluten-free and non-gluten-free. The lettuce wraps and a few other dishes specifically say, altered to be gluten-free. Out of habit, anywhere I am, I just check with the waiter before eating anything they bring out, on the right dish or not. People do make mistakes. Once we had to send back the lettuce wraps because they came non-gluten-free. No big deal, just have to watch out.

Sorry you got sick, its the worst. But I would not write them off. They do make strides to offer a safe dining for gluten-free guests, which is encouraging!!

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Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. I emailed the company just to let them know in case there was a pattern--I made it clear that I was not complaining, I appreciate their efforts, and I have no proof that I was actually glutened (though reasonably sure).

The operations manager phoned next day, very polite, professional and apologetic. Stated that they use dedicated woks in a dedicated part of the kitchen, though went quiet when I asked if problems had occurred for other customers, so perhaps there is some history.

He has sent me some coupons, and wants me to introduce myself next time I go there so he can watch over proceedings. Very nice guy.

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I think you're always at risk when you eat out because you never know if the kitchen staff will take the gluten-free protocol seriously. The best thing to do is complain so they understand what went wrong.

The waitress I had at PF Chang's had once worked with someone who had Celiac and she was so cautious about my meal that I knew I was in good hands. I have a handful of restaurant workers I absolutely adore and she's now one of them.

I hate to say it, but sometimes I feel like I'm going to become like Jack Nicholson's character in As Good as It Gets. He wanted the same waitress (Helen Hunt's character) because he knew she knew exactly what he wanted for breakfast....so he became uncomfortable with any other waitress.

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I visited PF Changs yesterday for the first time, and had some wonderful food (broccoli beef, noodles, garlic spinach), but 6 hours later have had continuous bouts of diarrhea, about 8 bathroom visits so far.

One time I went to Changs I had the same reaction to the broccoli beef. For me I didn't have any other symptoms of being glutened, so I really think it was something else in the dish I had a reaction to.

We went there the other night and got a new server. She was very sweet and actually did know quite a bit about Celiac Disease. But something funny happened. I told her I wanted a "Redbridge" thinking I would be getting a gluten free beer. She comes out with a glass of wine. I told her it was fine, that I would drink the wine. We get the bill and my $5 Redbridge beer had turned into an $18 glass of Redbridge wine. Luckily the manager took it off our bill.

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I had a bad experience at one pfchangs. I had the same server "almost" CC twice with the sauces, unfortunatley, I don't think it was an accident to him. I stopped him twice on CC my sauce, however the second time I was so sick for three days. I now go to another pfChangs and the servers are so much nicer and I have been okay eating there. I think the other server gave me regular soy sauce. Can't prove it, but I was so sick! I'm not ready to give up on them and their menu. I think you have to find the right server and manager.

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