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clara

Fighting Back And Getting Heard!

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The events surrounding the Facebook post by Damian Cardone really made me think about how we, as a community, respond to "getting glutened" in restaurants. Not a single one of us believed, as Cardone said, that people who ate his gluten-filled crap didn't get sick. But why would he believe that? I think it's because we've been too insular as a community; we blog to each other about the "good" restaurants and foods and really only discuss the "bad" in forums like this, amongst others like ourselves.

So, here's my call to action for all of us: When you go to a restaurant, post a review on a common review site, like Yelp (#1 mobile app) or Urbanspoon! Good or bad... Take a minute and put it out there!

Like many on this board, I am a great patron at restaurants. I take care of myself, know how to communicate, and tip generously when I have been treated well and have a safe, gluten-free meal. And like many, I am an experienced (home) cook with some training and a foodie at heart. I eat out plenty and rarely have issues. (To be fair, I live in a pretty gluten-free-friendly place, too)

This weekend, I went to a new restaurant in a different town and looked it up online before going. I saw it posted on Urbanspoon as "gluten-friendly" (which, I don't always believe on Urbanspoon). When I arrived, the menu even had some gluten-free items listed! I spoke with my server, and did all due diligence. At 1:30am, I was violently ill and it lasted all day. In my over five years gluten-free (I am a diagnosed celiac), this severe of a reaction has only happened to me one other time. It was horrid.

What I learned yesterday, while lying around contemplating the massive retribution my body was giving me, was that maybe this Damian Cardone dude left us a message. I did what I was supposed to this weekend, when eating out. And, I think it's important to call the restaurant manager and let them know. But, what if - and this has happened to me, too - you call the restaurant and know that nothing will change just because you had a bad meal? Our voice has to be heard on a broader scale, by the more mainstream blogs and review sites. If we post reviews - good AND bad - on common sites, we'll not only help each other but we'll help family and friends who are searching for a safe place to take us. And, the good restaurant owners do pay attention to their public reviews and these reviews can certainly impact their pocketbooks.

I come to celiac.com and this forum for legit info from a community I trust and that's never going to change. This is where we can have deeper conversations and help one another. But, at the same time, I urge everyone on this forum to start posting reviews in other places, too. For me, Yelp and Urbanspoon come up most frequently in my searches, but I'm sure there are others...thoughts?

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I agree! I think you make a very good point. And the fact is, when I'm trying to research a restaurant, if I don't already know about it from a celiac group, I do tend to browse Yelp and UrbanSpoon looking for any mention of gluten-free options from the other reviewers. These are the places most people look

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wow, I missed the facebook thing but I get the gist of what you are saying. A few days ago I went to Red Lobster and had to explain to the server that I needed my broccoli w/o seasoning etc. She wrote it down and apparently told the cook but they came back seasoned and I couldnt eat it. It really irked me because I didnt think it was that much to ask and after all they had provided me with an allergen menu to assist in my ordering...

the broccoli seasoning had gluten in it which surprised me but nowadays you never do know.

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I agree that we need to continue to educate people but I also believe that guys like this a-hole are in the minority. I've been to many places that are absolutely acommodating and helpful and haven't gotten sick. My concern with the "fighting back" mentality is that we'll shoot ourselves in the foot and then no restaurant will try to accomodate us.

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