Long subject line- I think so.  But it sums up our conundrum we had during our trip in DC.  A first for us– seeing a glaring error in our gluten-free order at a restaurant that we couldn’t stop before it was eaten.

Maggiano’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  July 28th.  We went there after a long day on the National Mall and we wanted a good meal.  Many months ago, I wrote about how my Maggiano’s meal in the Twin Cities was fantastic.  It started out that way here too….

A gluten-free system failure

We arrived and I asked the server to find out if the caesar salad was gluten-free if we “held” the croutons. She went back and confirmed that yes, it was.  We got our salads and Emma loved it!  Honestly I’ve never seen her eat lettuce like she just ate it at Maggiano’s. My hubby and I were so delighted!

Gluteny Spaghetti Noodle (circled right) Found in Gluten Free Pasta Dish

Emma ordered gluten-free noodles with butter. Our order came out– gluteny items first.  But a bowl of spaghetti noodles came out too– that wouldn’t have gone with our order– unless the server made a mistake. Although she never admitted the mistake, she took the noodles back.  It took a while for Emma’s noodles to come out.  And even longer for my gluten-free Alfredo with Broccoli to arrive.

Before I got my food Emma was eating the noodles like crazy — loving the entire Maggiano’s experience.  Then the discovery was made:  two small sections of regular spaghetti mixed right in with the gluten-free “fusilli”.  It was a moment that maybe can be compared to taking that bite out of and apple and only noticing afterward that a half of a worm was left in the apple. What do you do?  We first thought, “well maybe it’s gluten-free spaghetti”  so Joel and I split one piece wondering if we’d be able to tell. We couldn’t tell the difference.

So when my food finally came (after everyone was finished eating), I showed the server the problem and asked for the manager.  He came over shortly thereafter.  I explained that she found the piece of spaghetti in her dish. It was clear we didn’t plant anything because nobody had spaghetti noodles at the table.  The manager said — paraphrasing here although I think it’s pretty close — “If there was a spaghetti noodle found in her gluten-free meal, protocol in the kitchen wasn’t followed.”  He promised he would follow up.  To his credit, he comped our entire meal, gave me his card, asked if there were any other medical needs we had (I clarified this wasn’t an anaphylactic reaction), apologized for the entire restaurant and was very sincere.

What happened?  I don’t think a stray noodle just fell in her food because it was found inside the batch not on top.  I am concerned they reused some gluteny water to rush the order when the server messed hers (and mine) up.  But I honestly don’t know. There’s no way for me to know at this time what exactly happened.

As I said before, Emma’s never been the victim of such an obvious error where she’s  been right in the middle of a meal only to discover “the gluten”.  We’ve caught errors before eating (like a bun on a burger or bread on a plate). A true test will be the next few hours. Will she get sick? It will be interesting to watch.  We certainly hope not because we’re flying home Thursday.

*How’d she react to the cross contamination?  Read the follow-up post.

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2 Responses to “It’s all Fun and Games Until You Pull a Gluteny Spaghetti Noodle Out of Your Gluten-Free Spiral Noodles”


  1. Torn Over Child’s Gluten Reaction (or lack thereof) | The Savvy Celiac
  2. Finding Gluten-Free Food Near the National Mall in DC | The Savvy Celiac

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