So I may be late to the party on this one….in fact the more I look back on it the more I wonder how many times did Noodles and Company have to pinch us before we decided not to come back?
Cross Contact Keeps Noodles’ Dishes From Being Free of Gluten
Our fondness for Noodles and Company began a few years ago. And we go there maybe two to three times a year…out of convenience.
Noodles and Company has some dishes that automatically use rice noodles, like the Pad Thai. So when Emma successfully had buttered rice noodles with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top a few years back….we were happy.
But slowly but surely, instead of a big slap in the face from Noodles (in other words a big bowl of gluteny noodles), we’ve been getting pinched little by little over finding an “extra” noodle that didn’t belong in her meal here and there. That should have been enough, but I kept hoping the next time it would be okay. I know that’s wrong of me and Emma….So why did we do it?
Maybe we needed that one last thing to put the final nail in the coffin.
That was this weekend. I ordered Emma’s noodles, the worker said “…you know we can’t guarantee that our noodles are gluten free”….and then puts the “allergy alert” on the order. The gal asked if Emma wants a salad or soup and I said I didn’t know what else they had that would be gluten free. So she told me the caesar salad was gluten free without the croutons. So I ordered it for her, and the employee gave me a place mat that had information on nutrition and allergies for me to look over (more on that in a minute).
The employee brought out our food, including the “caesar salad– no croutons” she said…..and as I handed it over to Emma it looked just fine. Not two minutes later Emma is eating it and discovers two good sized croutons hiding under the lettuce! I was done. So frustrated I even forgot to take a picture. I asked for a refund and instead I got a free entree coupon (to get me back- sigh).
Back to the place mat that was given to me during the ordering process. It lists its disclaimer about preparing gluten-free food as this: “We sell noodles, and a lot of them, so we can’t guarantee that your food won’t come into contact with gluten, but we will do our best to accommodate your request.” You can see the document here. The document is carefully worded. Never does it say the words “gluten-free”. It says “Watching Gluten?” as the title for that section and “does not contain gluten ingredients” as opposed to saying gluten free.
It recommends if you are “trying to reduce gluten” to check out the list they have prepared, which includes buttered noodles with the rice noodles as an option, and it also lists the caesar salad with no croutons. I just don’t understand what happened to the croutons. If they leave them in the salad at all times then the salad will never be gluten free. But if they added the croutons at the last minute, the croutons would not have been buried like they were.
I should know better. I shouldn’t have taken Emma back there. Lesson learned. And in fact they did warn us.