Yesterday a new location for TGI's opened. My friend and I decided to go check it out.
We both have extensive food allergies - mine involve an instant major asthma attack, nose and throat trying to close over, etc. I've been hospitalized and carry an epi-pen if symptoms don't come under control. Hers involve a delayed, more minor asthma attack and a painful skin/mouth reaction. We're both allergic to pepper and spices, while she's also allergic to nuts. Can you guess where this is going?
We are both legally blind, and while we can sort of see the menu not all of it is clear. As a result we are *very* specific with our server about what we want, what comes with the dish, what we're allergic to, etc.
I order potato twisters (heavily modified) and let our server know that I'm deathly allergic to coriander, which usually comes with the dish, and highly allergic to pepper, paprika and other spices that may land me in ER. My friend then orders fried mac and cheese, also specifying she's allergic to pepper. We then tell her we'd like potato skins to share - again saying NO PEPPER.
Friends order and the potato skins come first - we have a a potato skin each with no problem.
Mine comes - they've forgotten part of it, but fix it easily.
About half way through our meal I have a second potato skin - as I bite I find out the hard way that it's absolutely loaded with pepper.
Traces of pepper? Make me cough a bit. Bit of pepper? Make me cough a lot, nose/eyes run, asthma starts. More than that? See below.
Cue scrambling to take medication and inhaler... I have about 2 minutes from it hitting my system to heading towards anaphylactic shock - if I act fast I can prevent the worst of it. (Worst of it being on the floor with my airways blocked)
As I'm choking the manager comes over to see what's wrong. My friend starts to explain ... and then her allergies start to kick in too.
Manager runs off to the kitchen and finds out that my friend's meal had pepper in the batter, and that the potato skins had "fry seasoning" on them. And then points at our plate saying that some have tons of it while others have none. That explains why my first was fine.
Manager goes on to say that our server only noted down the twisters to be without pepper/etc. She wanders off, they check in periodically as our attacks come under control.
By this point my throat is raw from choking; my friend agrees to stay for dessert, though we're both feeling awful. She hopes that something warm will help her breathing (I'm opposite and respond to cold, go figure).
So! We order a hot chocolate, I get a brownie sundae, she gets a brownie. She specifies NO NUTS she is allergic and NO ICE CREAM as it will set off another asthma attack.
The desserts come. Her brownie has a huge scoop of ice cream on top. She says she asked for it without - they actually argued with her before taking it back. My sundae had very little ice cream and definitely no nuts.
They bring her the correct dessert. She has a mouthful ..... and finds it is packed with nuts. Very, very fortunately her reaction to nuts is blistering and skin problems.
At this point we've given up. We speak to the manager again who is utterly clueless and says "oh, our brownies always have nuts" ... would have been helpful if someone had told us.
Just to make the meal perfect - our hot chocolates weren't hot.
The manager did adjust our bill a bit; but she seemed somewhat oblivious to just how serious the situation was. Tells us next time to say no seasoning.
She also mentioned that a manager from another location was there and recognised me. OK then? His location was where I had one of my worse attacks - the night I found out I was allergic to coriander (also my birthday). They were considering calling an ambulance when my meds finally kicked in. Maybe I should have had that reaction yesterday so the new store would have a clue.
Friend and I were both horribly ill yesterday as a result. I haven't spoken to her today but I'm still not doing well.
TL:DR - Restaurant completely fails to deal with food allergies TWICE in the same meal. Three times if you count the ice cream.
On the upside the staff were nice and the food (that wasn't going to kill us) was good?