You know when you do interviews and stuff like that, they always ask you that question that everyone hates: what's your biggest weakness? And like no matter what you say, it never sounds good? So you're always like "Oh you know I just work a little too hard." Cliched right? Have you ever actually thought about that question? I have: I'm too forgiving. I forgive everyone for everything and give them 2nd, 3rd, 58th, 127th times. Sometimes in my head I'll even rationalize how it's my fault I got hurt. Oh, I'm just sensitive. My feelings get hurt easy. I was just overreacting. Isn't that awful?! BUT, there is one area in my life I'm not forgiving at all, and that's food places. I hold legitimate grudges with food place. One screw up and I'll never go there again. I'm not just talking about they forgot my sauce. I'm talking about bigger issues: like putting chicken in my vegan soup. Which leads me to the point of this post: Zoe's Kitchen.
I hate eating at non-vegan places because I get too anxious; however, if there's no demand for vegan food places won't serve it, which means more meat and dairy and less animals helped. I was excited when my mom shared with me a place she went to called Zoe's Kitchen. They serve meat, but have vegetarian and vegan options as well. I thought it was really great they accommodated all different lifestyles.
Friday was Veteran's Day and I was off from work. My Goddaughter was off from school and my mom took off to babysit her, so we spent the day together since we were all off! The first thing we did was grab lunch before we went to the movies to see Trolls. I was starving, and couldn't wait to eat. We decided to go to Zoe's Kitchen and I was excited to try them. As per usual, I politely asked a million questions, even about items they say are vegan, just to be thorough. Remember, my anxiety is super high at this point so I need to be very sure what I'm ordering, despite being labeled vegan, is in fact vegan. I've had people confuse vegan and gluten free before, so I'm not super trusting.
I ordered some hummus for us to share, and they boy at the counter recommended the Mediterranean Lentil Soup, which I was eyeing up from the gate. I love lentils!
They were very busy and the food was taking awhile but my soup came out first and I was excited. So, I grab a spoon, and like I do with anything I don't cook myself, I examine it before I eat it. This is not just my fear of there being some non-vegan ingredient, but also a fear of it being dirty or contaminated. OCD, ya know?
As I stir my soup and I'm looking at it, I see what looks like a piece of shredded chicken, and then I see another, and another. It took me a minute to register: there's shredded chicken in my vegan soup. I was FURIOUS! Grateful that I didn't eat any, but furious about the situation.
Immediately, I bring the soup back up, and show the young man the chicken in my soup. I told him I didn't want anything else, I just wanted my money back. He has no clue how to react, doesn't say anything, and brings it to is manager who is only a foot away, and says there's chicken in the soup that shouldn't be. The manager, who also says nothing to me, grabs another girl and tells her to go back and figure out why there's chicken in the soup, that's an issue and needs to be fixed. All the while she's doing something on the computer, which as is turns out was refunding me the entire bill (I paid for all of our lunches.) I didn't ask for that, but, I was grateful she did that. I didn't know that until she handed me the receipt and apologized. I feel like someone could've been a little more apologetic about the situation, or spoken to me more and maybe tried to offer an explanation, but I appreciated the refund.
No one even said anything about the other food we ordered, and since my mom and Goddaughter still hadn't eaten, I thought maybe the rest of the food would come out. About 20 minutes later, they bring out the food, which my mom reluctantly ate and was disappointed in. I was still starving but refused to even eat the hummus out of spite since I was so mad.
As soon as we got in the car, I got directly on their website to make a complaint. My complaint was not nice. I said, in short, that I was extremely disappointed in their service, and if this is the kind of quality they put out I will make sure to inform everyone I know to stay far far away. Promptly I received a response back:
I will not be giving them another try, hence my food grudge. And I really hate to talk badly about a place that have vegan and vegetarian options, but that carelessness is unacceptable. I think they were using the same ladle for all of the soups, and that's how chicken got in the soup. It wasn't a lot of chicken that I saw, so I think it was cross contamination. But that's not okay! Whether you're vegetarian or vegan for ethical, health, or allergy reasons, accidentally serving someone something they don't eat isn't okay, especially if it's due to carelessness. They need to take precautions to avoid these kinds of situations. It was shortly after they opened that we went, so I'm hoping I prevented this situation from happening to any other vegan that day, and from here on out.
I'm not telling you to never go to Zoe's Kitchen. I understand they're franchised and not all are the same. Some are better than others I assume, like most franchise restaraunts are. I only wanted to share my experience and be honest about it, because I feel that's the right thing to do.