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bigapplekathleen

Outback Disaster

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Hi everyone,

I decided to try Outback today for the first time - ever. My friend and I are both on gluten free diets, so we ordered from the gluten-free menu. It's weird that it has no prices. (you have to check the prices on the 'regular' menu.) That aside, I am now home and HORRIBLY HORRIBLY ILL from whatever I ate there. I am so sad...My stomach is killing me...all the usual symptoms...I took some charcoal to try to alleviate the symptoms, but it really just has to work its way out. Do you think I should call the restaurant, or just let it go!? I questioned the wait-staff to no end about the gluten-free status of everything I ate, and they assured me it was all indeed gluten-free. Well, obviously, something was NOT. Thoughts about notifying them?

Thanks,

Kathleen

gluten-free for FOUR YEARS now :)

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Yes, I would talk to them. Outback is celiac friendly. Did your friend also have a reaction?

As celiacs, when we have a bad reaction to food, our instinctive thought is to blame gluten. But, sometimes there is another cause. There are some foods that I react to in a similar manner, but which have no gluten at all in them. If I eat Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing, I have a bad reaction. It is gluten-free, but too spicy for my stomach.

You said it was your first time at Outback, so it is possible that there was something (other than gluten) in the food that caused a reaction. You didn't say which items you had, so I can't really be more specific about possible other causes.

I have never had a problem with the food at Outback. The service, well, that's another topic.

ETA: If "big apple" means NYC, I ate at the Outback in midtown Manhattan in August of 2004, and had no problems.

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Thanks for your reply. My friend did NOT have a reaction; she actually does not have celiac. She follows a gluten-free diet for other reasons.

The restaurant we ate at was in Beacon, NY (60+ miles north of Manhattan).

I had shrimp on the barbie appetizer and a caesar salad with chicken. The reaction I had is the kind of reaction I get when I have gluten; I seriously doubt it would have been due to anything else. I can predict this type of reaction anytime I mistakenly eat wheat. In fact, when I did a gluten challenge two years ago, this was the reaction I would get every time I ate wheat. So, with that said, I don't think I will go back - not with all of the great restaurants I have eaten at with no problems.

Kat

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Thanks for your reply. My friend did NOT have a reaction; she actually does not have celiac. She follows a gluten-free diet for other reasons.

The restaurant we ate at was in Beacon, NY (60+ miles north of Manhattan).

I had shrimp on the barbie appetizer and a caesar salad with chicken. The reaction I had is the kind of reaction I get when I have gluten; I seriously doubt it would have been due to anything else. I can predict this type of reaction anytime I mistakenly eat wheat. In fact, when I did a gluten challenge two years ago, this was the reaction I would get every time I ate wheat. So, with that said, I don't think I will go back - not with all of the great restaurants I have eaten at with no problems.

Kat

Please do any Celiacs following after you a favor and call back and talk to the manager. If it had been a peanut allergy they were serving instead of a gluten intolerence, someone could be dead. The manager needs to know that someone didn't follow protocol, especially since Outback is known as a Celiac friendly place!

Hope you feel better soon. It really is a miserable feeling. I describe it to non-Celiacs as a case of non-viral stomach flu.

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Please do any Celiacs following after you a favor and call back and talk to the manager. If it had been a peanut allergy they were serving instead of a gluten intolerence, someone could be dead. The manager needs to know that someone didn't follow protocol, especially since Outback is known as a Celiac friendly place!

Hope you feel better soon. It really is a miserable feeling. I describe it to non-Celiacs as a case of non-viral stomach flu.

you said you had a caesar salad, did you do your part and say it must be mixed in a separate bowl and really get the point through you were ordering from the gluten free menu? You have to do that or you may as well eat a loaf of bread. I'm sorry you had a bad reaction.

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Did you be sure to say get the shrimp on the barbie with no breading? Though, you probably would have noticed the breading. I also ask that they make sure not to fry(pan) it with other shrimp Do talk to them though, its good to give feedback. Maybe just go out and order a Margarite when its not so busy and ask to speak to a manager. I'm always paranoid about salads. I usually just ask "could you throw some clean lettuce out of the bag, and give me some oil/vinigar?" I'm not that big of a salad fan anyways, well especially the above... I'm a pile or cruton/bacon bits kind of guy. I do some times bring my own croutons(older dried out gluten-free bread) and some Hormel real bacon bits. mmm

Ok I got side tracked. Anyways good luck.

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I went to an Outback for the first time since I've been gluten free. You have to keep in mind that even thought it is a gluten-free menu, it's really just a listing of regular menu items that can be gluten-free by the elimnation of certain ingredients. I ordered the rack of lamb minus the sauce (delicious) the garlic mashed potatoes (needed no alteration) and the salad with cinnamon pecans which states "request no Aussie crunchies". When the salad came I found a crunchy ingredient but was able to identify it as the cinnamon pecans, I found another cruncy ingredient that looked like a teeny mini Chinese noodle. I showed it to the waiter and it was an Aussie crunchie. He apoligized, took it away and had a new salad made for me. It was excellent. I also had the brownie -ice cream - chocolate sauce - chocolate shavings concoction for dessert. It is a flourless gluten-free brownie. Excellent!! I don't usually bother with desserts in restaurants but I had to have it!

Long story to make a point that you have to read the menu carefully, and make sure the waiter knows your needs.

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I have never had any problems at Outback either. I always order the Alice Springs chicken, because that is my favorite. I would call them. I know you say you can tell when it is gluten but that does not mean it was gluten. I am not sticking up for Outback or anything but sometimes we all have a day when something makes our stomachs upset.

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Unfortunately, I have had nothing but trouble with the Outback near me. The last time I went, I had a plain piece of chicken. I told them no butter even, just in case and I was still so sick and so fast. I started getting sick even before we left the restaurant, it was so quick.

This is the Outback in Burbank, California. I have tried three times and I am not ever going again.

Anyone ever eaten at this one?

I am sorry that you had trouble there. The risk of cross contamination as we all know is huge but eating out is so much fun.

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I wanted to add my experience to this thread. We went to Outback for the first time in February for my birthday. I think the experience you have at restaurants with gluten-free menus is only as good as the server/chef/manager on duty. We specifically asked for the gluten-free menu, reiterated that we needed to be gluten-free several times and watched the waitress write it down. When they brought my son's entree out (he ordered the Joey cheeseburger without the bun) it was on a gluten bun. I about had a heart attack. The waitress was very appologetic and brought us out a new one right away. We had a nice meal, but it could have been very bad if I was newly diagnosed and assumed "Hey, they have a gluten-free menu, so this must be OK for me to eat."

My point is that we cannot let our guard down in these restaurants that offer gluten-free menus, just like in any other restaurant. We still have to be diligent to keep ourselves safe.

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I just wanted to add my two cents. I used to get sick at Outback frequently. Then I realized there are a few additional precautions to take to ensure safety. They don't gaurantee that you'll not get sick, but they certainly put the odds in your favor.

I ALWAYS ask them to rinse my glass out before filling it.

I ALWAYS emphasize that I get REALLY sick if I get even a trace amount of gluten.

I NEVER allow bread on my table, those little crumbs fly everywhere.

I ALWAYS inspect my silverware for leftover food.

I NEVER use the cloth napkins provided (I ask for wet naps).

I NEVER order a salad, way too risky unless you get them to open a clean bag of lettuce and take dressing straight out of the container it came in.

Most importanly, I ALWAYS tip VERY well, 25% or more, so that they'll remember me the next time I come in and make sure I get a safe meal. It's worth the extra money because they're definitely more careful about my food now that they know me.

I rarely get sick at Outback anymore. It's one of my favorite restaurants. Definitely speak to the manager there about what happened. If he seems generally concerned, give them a chance to make it right.

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I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I am, however, pleased to say that my husband & I eat at several different locations of Outback & have always had wonderful experiences.

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In fear and trepidation I decided to try eating at the Outback in Beijing last week. I asked them to make my salad in its own bowl, no dressing. Emphasized it couldn't touch any wheat. I asked them to make a plain steak and clean the grill before doing it. Then I had a baked potato with chives and bacon.

I did just fine. I'm about 3 months gluten-free and am not yet sure how sensitive I am/will be.

It was wonderful to enjoy a meal out.

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Oh I was going to add this to my earlier post. The reason the gluten-free menu doesn't have any prices, is becaues they make one for everywhere. There are many things on that menu that the store might not have, as its a regional thing. And since its also regional, prices are different wherever you go.

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Wow... after making that last post my wife and I went to Outback. I had yet the best service ever. I think this Outback has a really smart, probably Celiac friend/relative. It was really great, I really credit the waitress. She was great. So it went like this.

1. We sat down, I ordered a drink and asked for the Gluten Free menu(at this site I've never seen a wait staff not know exactly as it was)

2. She came back with the gluten free menu(and my drink)

3. She then came by, and asked, would you like the bread, or do you not want it on the table? We said yes, and she placed it about as far away from me as she could.My wife loves the bread, well so do I but not so much anymore.

4. When I ordered my Steak and (2) jacket potatos, she ask me a number of questions.

4.1 Can you have the seasonings on the steak? ( I said I would pass on the seasoning)

4.2 She then asked. For the potato, we put cheese, sour cream, and butter, are those ok?

5.0 She came back later, and said that the chef could verify the seasonings he put on the steak were fine. (I did ask what was in it and it was)

I later thanked her, as everything was outstanding. I still feel fine.(knock on gluten-free wood) The asking if we wanted bread, and her placing it way away from me was really nice. She mentioned that they almost always get 1-2 people a day asking for the gluten-free menu, on weekends, its many more. I did say that, my friends and I, go to Outback specifically because they have a gluten-free menu.

I've had great service from there before. But this was really nice. I'm totally going to write the company with the store and the waitress name.

Eating out is dangerous, but sometimes, it can be so nice. Its nice that Celiac, at least around here(Boulder, CO) has become more understood. I don't think I have had to explain what it was to anyone in the last two years or so. Sure, I may need to explain the details, but they most all know I can't eat wheat. I think most everyone I have talked to has said something like "Oh my brothers daughter was just diagnosed with that"

Anyways, I just had to share that exp. As Bob Dylan wrote... "The times they are a changing" I remember 20 years ago, going out to anywhere, and my Dad(celiac too) ordered food, and everyone was totally clueless. Sure, I look back and what my Dad really ordered was probably so cross contaminated, and also not gluten-free, I understand why he is still as skinny as he is. But he learned about it back in the 50's when nobody really knew anything other than "wheat makes some kids sick"

Oh this was the outback on US 36 and MaCasalin, in Louisville, CO 80027, just south east of Boulder, Northwest of Denver.

Peace and good night.

-grant

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I have posted my story on a prior thread. I went to the Outback in Saginaw, Michigan. I ordered Alice Springs Chicken. I went through the whole ordering routine to make sure that the waitress understood my need to have the meal gluten free. About an hour later, I was vomiting and had the "D". I spent the next nine hours vomiting and was unable to get myself off of the bathroom floor. The next time I went to the Outback with friends, I brought my own food. My friend ordered the Alice Springs Chicken and the smell of the meal caused me to get ill. I had to switch seats to move away. I have yet to eat out again.

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Well, I did NOT call the restaurant. It's over an hour from my home, and I will never go there again. Frankly, I questioned a lot of things about the service. I always ask repeatedly if my meal is indeed gluten-free and was sure to ask if my salad was mixed in a different bowl. I have to wonder if it wasn't something silly, though, like the lemon in my diet coke... (one never knows where those were cut up...) The risk of cross-contamination is very high in restaurants like this.

I react strongly to gluten, and I can almost set a clock by when my symptoms will begin after being exposed. Luckily, this does not happen very often when I go out to eat (it happens more often if I eat at a friend's house!).

Thanks everyone,

Kat

Diagnosed Aug. 2003 - FOUR YEARS gluten-free and HEALTHY!

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I have eaten at Outback several time with no reaction. I get the 9 oz. steak w/baked potato and unseasoned veggies and sometimes the chocolate dessert thing.

HOWEVER I DID get glutened when I had salad and mashed potatoes there one night, so I don't know what happened but I don't get those anymore.

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