Picking out a place to go and eat gluten-free can be a nightmare. Especially when it’s so easy for everyone else to just waltz into a pizzeria and order a calzone without a second thought. You may think, “Oh no, I shall never eat in a restaurant again, my culinary life is over!”, but that is a myth, my friends.
It will take a tad more brain power, but if you think ahead and know your stuff, you’ll be able to order your gluten-free cake and eat it too. Just remember these tips.
Google is your friend
Search for the best gluten-free restaurants in your area. More and more are introducing gluten-free options, but if you’re highly sensitive or celiac, exercise caution in case of cross-contamination. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how food is prepared, especially if the substitutes are something usually with wheat, like sandwich bread, pasta, or pizza. Look for gluten-free menus online too, and remember which chains and eateries have your back.
Guess what? You’re a lawyer! Congrats! You’re representing a very important client… otherwise known as your stomach. And you have to make sure your stomach is protected. As annoying as it is to be that person, you need to inform your waiter of allergies. Stay away from unhappy surprises like a sushi roll you ordered that you assumed to be gluten-free, coming out covered in a sauce you can’t eat.
Turn your taste buds into travelers
Speaking of sushi, Asian and Mexican cuisines actually make it way easier to avoid gluten. Sushi contains no gluten in the basic rolls. Avoid California rolls (imitation crab usually has wheat), anything with crunch, or eel (sauce has gluten). Many sushi places in urban areas now have gluten-free soy sauce, but you can always order a bunch of packets off Amazon fairly cheaply to carry.
Thai and Indian curries are often gluten-free as well. Or if you’re craving Mexican food, stick to corn tortillas/tacos. Chipotle actually has an allergy filter on their website for picking out what to go in your tacos and burrito bowls.
Have a strategy for worst-case scenarios
I suggest always carrying a gluten-free snack bar in case you end up surrounded by floury foes. But, if you’re empty-handed and stuck eating somewhere not ideal, here are a few safe choices that will usually get you through:
- House salads (with dressings on the side)
- Salads in general (with dressings on the side, no croutons or anything breaded)
- Grilled chicken/steak/fish
- Omelets (Not iHop! They add flour to theirs)
- Ice Cream! (Of course, not cookie dough or anything, but who doesn’t like dessert for dinner?)
And don’t be afraid to go to places solely BECAUSE they’re gluten-free! Check out places that cut wheat out and learn to make delicious things without it, like gluten-free bakeries. You’ll be surprised what your taste buds have been missing.
Post and Photos by Gabriele Boland.