So we had our first meeting with the socialworker, Molly. In her introduction about herself Molly noted that not only was she the mother to a adopted child but an adopted child herself.
Molly was quick to assure us that the process would not be as bad as we had worked it up in our minds and she was right. It was a pleasant hour and a half conversation where she asked about us; how we met, what were the boys like, who had been in charge of discipline, what work did we do, how did we handle financial decisions; things like that. Then she we took a quick tour of the house; talking about outlet covers, baby gates and checking smoke and CO2 detectors.
We wrapped it up with setting up the next 3 vists; first with me, then with Sue, then, one where Keith will be present too.
IKEA, we have found, is not at the top of the list for the best places to eat when you’re gluten intolerant, however all is not lost.
(when I wrote this I had no idea that GF dining at IKEA was a topic that people would be so interested in; as of today, 12-15-14, this piece has been viewed close to 7,000 times)
(11-25-2014 – there is an update below from a recent visit)
(2-20-18 – Update below regarding possible wheat in the Ice-cream/frozen yogurt)
Sue and I, while hunting for furnishings to add to both our home & the bedroom for the little girl we are adopting, visited the New Haven store this Saturday afternoon and discovered that they were offering free meals if you spent at least $100; which ain’t all that hard.
A quick look at the menu told me though that I would be hard pressed to find anything; it is a gluten-fest for sure. With the help of one of the food court employees I was able to speak with her manager, Alan, who told me that gluten free offerings were something that they “struggled with”.
Scanning the menu he named the many options off the list of hot items I could not have but pointed out that the ribs were gluten free; something I found surprising since most barbecue sauces we come across in restaurants are not, and brought out the ingredients book to assure me of this. He also brought out a box of the mashed potatoes to show me their ingredients & confirm that they too were gluten free (these I was told were a new product and so were not listed yet in the book with the other items they offered). I am a big fan of french fries and would have been happy with those, but they too had gluten as they were coated with flour to make them crispy.
Alan was very understanding of the issue, explaining that he had both friends and family with gluten sensitivity (one of whom refers to themselves as a ‘Glutard’ – a name I might just steal myself) and he was eager to not only help find something I could eat, but also make me feel comfortable about my fear of cross contamination; something I have written about being bitten by before in other restaurants. He even went so far as to set aside a clean pair of tongs with instructions to one of the servers, Stacy, to use them for retrieving my serving of ribs from the tray when I got to the counter. Alan of course also had to make the usual disclaimer about their not being able to guarantee that the ingredients listed on the packages being entirely correct, which is perfectly understandable. Along with the ribs I had the mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables in place of the fries and cornbread that that plate usually came with.
Here is where I usually like to put a photo of my plate to show what the meal looked like, only I was too hungry by this point in time and just dug in; sorry. Let me say though that the mashed potatoes were pretty good, the vegetables okay, and ribs very very tasty; I would certainly order them again.
There was one thing though that was rather disappointing; but this took place later after we were done shopping. While we were waiting for the boxes to a wardrobe we bought to be retrieved from the back, Sue went to get us a couple of ice-creams that are sold down by the register area. A ice-cream cone cost a dollar; but of course I cant eat that, so Sue asked for one of them to be in a cup – that is fifty cents more! The lame excuse given by the server was that it was to make up for the fact that they don’t make a lot of money off the ice-creams. Sue skipped the one for herself in a cone, and instead we shared one in a paper cup, to add insult to injury, they don’t even have any spoons; we had to use a fork to eat it.
So, there you have it; if you find yourself at that location, get hold of Alan and he’ll take good care of you. And, if you plan on getting a ice-cream on the way out, bring your own spoon.
Update: Alan, the manager who helped me during this visit, contacted me in the comment section shortly after I originally posted this and told me that IKEA had recognized that there was an issue, is now charging the same price for a cup or a cone, and also made sure that there were spoons available.
We have made a few more visits to the New Haven IKEA as we add more to Lemondrops room. On most occasions we have not eaten a meal; although there was one occasion where we were going to but, the demeanor of the manager on duty, not Alan, did not leave me feeling comfortable and so we passed.
This past weekend though we did have a meal. I had basically the same thing I did previously: Ribs, vegetables, and a side order of mashed potatoes and I did restrain myself enough to first take a photo before I wolfed it down….
I also added this time a bowl of tomato & feta soup which was clearly marked as being gluten free.
Sue chose a side order of vegetables along with a side of mashed potatoes and shared my soup. The ribs were still very good, the vegetables just okay; need more butter or something, the potatoes were tasty and the soup was also very good as well.
One problem though was that there was a little surprise tucked within Sues’ serving of mashed potatoes….
That would be a macaroni from their Mac & Cheese, which is not gluten free; something that probably fell off a serving spoon. So use caution and inspect your meal before you dig in.
In my original post I lamented over the absence of a spoon. Well we have had a cup ice cream most of our visits and there was a spoon available each time. This time I did notice something different though: the serving cup, already small, is now about half the size as before.
Price is still the same though.
UPDATE: 5-19-15 –Ikea seems to be taking greater steps to cater to its GF clients as well as vegetarians by adding gluten free vegetarian ‘meatballs’ to its menu. You can read a recent article/review HERE
UPDATE: 2-20-18 – This is from a recent comment by a reader:
“I did eat the ice cream in a cup – and realized I had been glutened only minuted later – some investigating showed that there is wheat in the ice cream now.“
I have not had the opportunity to travel to IKEA in a while but when I do I will ask to see the ingredients of the mix they pour into the machines. IKEA does have a online document, in PDF format, showing the nutritional information of the products they offer, the latest one I see right now is from May of 2016, and you can get to it by clicking HERE
From what I can see, under ‘Bistro’, wheat is listed as an allergen in the ice cream (actually frozen yogurt), however it may be due to the fact that they only have it listed served with a cone, not separate or in a dish. Hence I can not confirm or deny that the frozen yogurt itself does contain wheat. At this point I would urge you to ask to see the ingredients of the frozen yogurt mix and judge for yourself.
IMHO, her discomfort may have occurred due the result of a sloppy kitchen and unintentional cross contamination by the staff. So, even if the mix is wheat free, keep a diligent eye on the server and environment.
If you would like to see who REALLY handles gluten, or any other allergey free dining right, check out my post about GF dining at Walt Disney world by clicking…….. HERE