Wednesday, September 23, 2009

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Cooks Allergen Free!

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Cool Springs

Fried Rice with Gluten Free Soy Sauce and No Eggs

Grilled Chicken with Chang's Spicy Chicken Sauce

Brody and I enjoying our dinner out! Brody ate the fried rice with veggies

My in-laws have been in town and wanted to take us out for dinner. Since we have only a few options for going out to eat (none of which are sit down, tip your waiter type restaurants) I tried to think if there was any other place we could go. I remembered a lady from the Allergy Support Group in Nashville telling me about her great experience with P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I was a little hesitant at first, because the first thing that came to my mind was PEANUTS. I decided to give the manager a call during the day, before things got too crazy and see what he had to say. I told him about the food allergies that we are dealing with (milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat) and asked if he could accommodate us for dinner that evening. He started to think about dinner items that would be safe and told me to come dine with them and they would make something from scratch if they had to (wow! I was SO excited!). He also told me that they prepare meals for people with food allergies all of the time and the chef is very careful and knows what he is doing. He asked what time we would be there, how many people were coming, wrote down the allergies and said he would have a list of "safe" items once we got there. He said he would be off shift be time we arrived for dinner but the other manager would take care of us.

When we arrived, our table was set up and ready (even with a highchair). The manager came over to greet us with a list of safe foods that I could choose from. She went over everything with me. She told me that the meal would be prepared in a clean wok, new oil would be used and I didn't need to worry about cross contamination. I wasn't sure if I was going to let Brody eat there (if the restaurant messes up and I get a little of the allergen, I am not too worried since I am nursing and it is not as dangerous for Brody) but once I heard how much they knew about the allergies, I felt it would be alright for him to eat what I ordered.

At the table, they made the special sauce to put on the rice (soy sauce, hot mustard and chili paste). The waiter made a "normal" sauce for everyone else at the table and then prepared my gluten free sauce. He also brought out dried rice noodles for Brody to snack on while we waited for our food. When the food arrived, my food was brought out on plates that were different than everyone else's so the wait staff would know it was "allergy free."

The food was great (as always), the waiter and the manager were attentive to our table and went out of their way to make our experience safe and enjoyable. This was the first place that Brody has eaten at outside of our home. I was so excited about having a place that I didn't have to explain what gluten is, etc. They knew what I was talking about and took the necessary steps to ensure that our food would be free of the allergens. They made me feel so comfortable.

If you have food allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. and want to have a nice dinner out, I recommend P.F. Changs. It was so nice to go somewhere where you didn't feel that you were bothering them with your food allergies. They did an impressive job taking care of us!

*They even have a Gluten Free Menu
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