I had my first complete face to face rejection for dinning out. Not the type where I walk out because the staff is untrained and horribly uneducated. But I had the owner tell me they couldn't serve me because every pan has soy sauce so nothing is safe.
Wow - Ok. Let's start at the beginning. A childhood friend of my boyfriend was having a birthday and his wife picked out a Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner. Having learned briefly what Korean BBQ included, Grilled meat, veggies, it seemed safe. I even read a few reviews that said you have to be careful, but it can be done. Just stick with un-marinated meat. That's simple enough, I already do that.
The place we were going didn't have a website, so we couldn't look over the menu until we got there. We looked it over and questioned the owner/waitress/manager on gluten free. She told us "Everything is made with soy sauce, soy sauce is in all the pans". The look on my face must have been priceless. I wanted to ask; "Do you wash your pans? Do you just spread soy sauce all over the kitchen? What about the un-marinated meat that's even on the menu!"
She kept asking, "Is this OK?" Well - No, I told you I can't have anything made with soy sauce, so No - It's not OK! Everyone with us seemed really upset for me, that I wasn't going to be able to partake in the meal, I had so many emotions at once I felt like a hormonal teenager again. We came to the understanding with the owner, I was not eating the main meal. I'm trying to not get so overwhelmed that I want to cry, especially since I don't want to ruin the night for the birthday boy. I had 20+ people commenting how that sucks, why can't she do something about it, the un-marinated meat should be fine, what the heck, I'm so sorry.
My boyfriend was apologizing that he'd make sure we stop and get something for me to eat after dinner, I didn't want to make a big scene, everyone was being really nice about it, and apologizing that I couldn't eat. I was excited to see everyone and catch up chatting, so I focused on that aspect of dinner, it's a lot easier to do a lot of chatting when you're not eating. As they brought out the side dishes for the meal we noticed the pickled bamboo shoots and potato salad, so I nibbled on those, so I could eat something (I was starting to get hungry, and didn't feel like pulling out a KIND bar from my purse!). Eventually they came around and asked who wanted rice, I volunteered my boyfriend to get rice, so I could have some rice, it was something at least. What we didn't understand was the owner brought out one of the dishes to grill in aluminum foil... We stared at each other and went, hey... Couldn't you do that with the un-marinated meat??? What if we even brought our own aluminum foil?
It got us thinking. We need to try this again without a huge group maybe just 2-4 people so that we can really pin point what we order, AND Bring our own aluminum foil. So it's on the agenda of "we have to try this again!". Over all it could have been way worse, the company for the night could have sucked, or could have been jerky over it and I would have felt even more outcasted. But everyone was cool, even the people I just met that night. My boyfriend has some really cool friends, at least their parents thought them to be kind and have manners. I can say I haven't always run in to people like them. My biggest disapointment for the night was by the time dinner was over, Chik-Fil-A, Chipotle, Jimmy Johns, Five Guys and Wendy's were all closing, so we stopped at Jewel Grocery store to get a microwave meal. It ends up being the worst Jewel ever, they had 3 meal options? No pizza's, no EVOL products. I wanted to cry all over again. Why can't they carry a standard line of products across all stores in an area. I settled found something to microwave and we left. I honestly think I could have eaten a whole buffett at this point I was so hungry but I was also super tired, from a long day and spent emotions.
So it goes back to my normal stance, only go to places that advertise they do GF and talk to everyone you can about reviews and experiences before you go.