I have to say my husband and I have some pretty terrific friends. And I love that they wanted to get together. But then I cringed. They wanted to get together over dinner at a restaurant we’d never been to yet.
We’re fortunate these friends completely understood that we have celiac and several food intolerances and don’t eat out much. So they decided that even if we couldn’t eat at the restaurant they’d chosen at least we could just come and not order anything and have fun. Sure, being with them is a continuous night of laughter and great conversation, but sitting around while everyone else is eating didn’t sound like something we’d be able to bear. We like to eat!
So I phoned the restaurant and was informed they did not have a gluten free menu and they didn’t seem accommodating enough to work with us and make something we could eat so we decided to choose a different restaurant.
Finding an Allergy-Safe Restaurant
I pulled up the support group website
for our area and found the list of restaurants known to cater to those with food allergies. Truth be told we really don’t eat out often. We’ve recently moved and we have two restaurants we can safely eat at with any stomach upset or other issues.
The first is Outback Steakhouse
was one of the first restaurants to have a gluten free menu I think. I tend to order the same meal because I so enjoy it each and every time: steak or salmon, steamed veges no seasoning, no butter, and a side of steamed asparagus or green beans also with no seasoning or butter. My husband orders the ribs, a side salad without cheese or croutons and a baked potato with chives (he always brings his own butter free of allergens with him to top the potato.) I have to say in the many years I’ve eaten at Outback I’ve only had one occasion where I was glutenized
(as we call it.) It was a very busy restaurant we had stopped at on our way home from vacation one year. Most Outbacks have a wait staff and managers that are incredibly knowledgeable in regard to food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies. One manager told me she often oversees all the allergen-free meals herself.
The other restaurant we often eat at is PF Chang’s
. This restaurant chain is great for those following a gluten-free diet. They cook the gluten-free meals in a separate part of the kitchen and gluten-free meals are served on special plates so you’re continually assured your meal is free of gluten. The wait staff is extremely well trained in regards to gluten and other allergens. They are also accommodating for several other allergens as well such as soy, corn, dairy and nuts. You can call ahead and speak to the manager or email the main headquarters of the restaurant and tell them of the specific foods you need to avoid and they will often make suggestions which meals would be best to order.
We decided to stick with a restaurant we knew we could safely eat at instead of trying something new and ate at PF Chang’s. It was great because we all ordered off the gluten free menu and shared dishes. We had a wonderful meal, lots of laughs and an absolutely great time.
I've recently come across several restaurant locators which are also helpful in finding places to eat for those of us with celiac, food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. They're listed in the Gluten-Free Resources
section of the website and I'll be writing more about each of them in an upcoming blog.