Gluten Free Dining
Gluten Free and Dining Out
If you are gluten intolerant, an evening out with family and friends gives much food for thought, pardon the pun!
Along with some terrific restaurants that I've found that go the extra mile to avoid cross contamination, I have tips that will help keep you safe no matter where you dine.
Now on to some fun eating out!
All pictures by me, Bev Lemley ~ all rights reserved.
TUPELO HONEY CAFE
Asheville, North Carolina
So glad to report Tupelo Honey Cafe is now open in Raleigh, North Carolina!
What's wonderful about Tupelo Honey Cafe?
AWESOME gluten free bread before the meal and the best honey in the world ~ This special touch makes you feel part of the group while you're waiting for the meal and it helps to make those wonderful memories!
The menu offers many items that are not typically GF, from a touch of gourmet to every day items, and Naked Chocolate Cake A La Mode for dessert !
Definitely memorable ~ I'm looking for one in my home town, please!
Living Without - A magazine dedicated to food allergies...
...and how to live with them ~ is truly one magazine I would hate to live without!
Living Without has the latest information for gluten and wheat allergies and a host of other food allergies, and even celebrity spotlights and how they travel and cope with food allergies. A highlight, for sure, are the great recipes for truly not having to live without! I highly recommend this magazine. I read it from cover to cover ~ even the advertisements are great helps for finding new products and new sources ~ there is something to learn on every page. front to back!
Johnson City and Knoxville, Tennessee
Greenville, South Carolina
Two locations in Asheville, North Carolina
Be sure to make reservations!
~ Tip Number 1 ~
Make sure the eatery seems to know what gluten free means! Just because they advertise GF doesn't mean they know how to avoid cross contamination. First thing in the door, ask for a GF menu. If they hestitate, they may try to accommodate you, but that's not what you need.
Along these lines, if your server doesn't seem to make a special note that you have an allergy, and treat it as an allergy alert, that is a warning. At that point, it's time to ask specific questions.
Posana Cafe - Asheville, North Carolina
What a treat at Posana Cafe! Posana's is completely gluten free ~ I thrill in repeating that, Posana's is completely gluten free. Yes, this is very unique, but let's hope trendsetting!
What a delight to learn that since every menu item is gluten free, there is no risk of gluten in the kitchen or even in the ventilation system. Cross contamination in this restaurant would be virtually impossible. My oh my!
The fact they are totally gluten free is not stated on their menus or anywhere in the restaurant; except for their website, you would never guess ~ and from the array of food available, I had to ask to be sure! Make reservations, as the food is incredible, and the chef is quite accommodating, and you do not want to miss out on the thrill of not worrying about the condiments or seasonings or just being where for once, gluten free is the norm. No wonder it is a star in Asheville's hills!
We ate Saturday dinner and returned for Sunday brunch ~ pancakes, quiche, french toast, oatmeal creme brulee, even bagel sandwiches and biscuits, omelets, bacon and sausage lined the menu ~ and while I was debating, I saw a sticky bun pass by. Alas, I was too late ~ it was the last sticky bun ~ maybe next time! Just looking at all the normally off limits menu items was so incredible! I enjoyed the french toast, grits, and even though it was early, Posana's own vanilla creme soda, with vanilla beans throughout. Posana Cafe has their own homemade syrups and signature drinks ~ that creme soda was definitely a treat!
Believe me, both meals were complete heaven! It is definitely a reason to visit Asheville, and don't leave until you've eaten an entirely safe, absolutely marvelous meal you will have wonderful memories of forever ~ forever! Judging by the crowd, who couldn't all be gluten intolerent, they were there for the great food; the fact it was GF was a bonus!
Tupelo Honey Cafe and Posana Cafe are both designated 2 Star Green Restaurants
~ Tip Number 2 ~
Try to accommodate the restaurant by arriving off peak time. Preparing your food will take extra precaution since everything has to be dedicated to safely prepare your food.
Unless, of course, you're eating at Posana's, where everything is gluten free! Of course you will need to make reservations and be prepared to eat at an off time.
Adapting a little before the usual dinner time is just a good habit to avoid cross contamination.
On the way to Charleston, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
For another ultimate in gluten free dining, Burton's Grill in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, is it!
Though not a totally dedicated GF menu, the kitchen has a designated area for food preparation. All GF food is brought out separately by the manager and is served on square plates as opposed to round, to ensure everyone is alerted to your allergy.
Before the meal, a warm roll and dipping oil will be served ~ the perfect way to start a dinner amongst friends and some pretty awesome memories!
You will not leave hungry at Burton's Grill! I ordered a hamburger and french fries for lunch, and received a half pound burger and half a pound of perfect fries. Plenty to hold us through a day of sightseeing, and back after supper time for an appetizer and dessert!
The appetizer was wonderful, the dessert absolutely devine. My hubby graciously let me have the Chocolate Tort to myself ~ well, I put a small bite in his bowl of ice cream ~ which was more than likely made at nearby Boone Hall.
Burton's has restaurants in Burlington, Hingham, North Andover, Peabody, and Westford, Massachusetts
Nashua, New Hampshire
South Windsor, Connecticut
Charlottesville and Virginia Beach, Virginia
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
~ Tip Number 3 ~
Don't pass the salt and pepper and the parmesan cheese shakers as they are perfect harbors for cross contamination. Ask a family member to pass it; they'll gladly pass it along.
It's best to avoid using these items on your own food. Sad, but true!
If you can't avoid it, use a napkin to handle the container(s) and dispense of the napkin away from your food, or wash your hands if you handle it directly, and make every effort to keep these containers as far from your plate as possible.
The seasonings, steak and soy sauces, some vinegars, and any other bottle on the table, even ketchup, can have wheat ingredients or have been processed in a facility that processes wheat.
It is very hard to know if a house seasoning is safe, even if someone from the restaurant tells you it is. Some servers know and some don't about seasonings and how specific the manufacturing has to be.
How important is this? VERY!
Safest way is avoid using anything on the table.
Shem Creek, South Carolina
Water's Edge at Shem Creek is a must go to, no matter what! I loved them for their huge sea scallops perfectly prepared, and for their wonderful biscuits with herb butter, absolutely a destination restaurant before I found out I was gluten intolerent. The food is so good, plus the vantage point from the second floor overlooking the passing by of boats on Shem Creek is so awesome ~ well, you can see why I could only hope they had adopted a GF menu.
Boy, did they ever! Not only did they have a very generous array of GF choices, they also prepared a side just the way I asked ~ and it was the highlight of our 25th wedding anniversary trip. I did manage to save room for their creme brulee, a perfect way to top off the perfect meal.
Artist's note: The photograph is an actual pink and blue horizon at Sullivan's Island, around the corner from Shem Creek. These were the actual colors ~ almost like experiencing a beautiful rainbow. You can check out this amazing sunset sky at A Touch of the Sun. Thanks for stopping by my gallery if you get a chance!
~ Tip Number 4 ~
Beware! Offering gluten free buns on the menu doesn't mean they know how to avoid gluten contamination. If GF buns are the only GF items on the men, ask some questions. Do they have a dedicated gluten free preparation area and are their seasonings certified gluten free ~ judge by their response!
Expect that seasonings to burgers, fries, chicken, fish, even steak, will probably be very minimal, if at all. Otherwise, they could be offering you trouble on the double!
Charleston, South Carolina
And now in Raleigh, North Carolina!
Jason's Deli, I hope, is a trendsetter for successful deli type fare for gluten intolerent folks ~ and what a breakthrough that would be!
When you just want a sandwhich, toasted, even, and some chips, where can you go? JASON'S!
I eagerly said "yes!" when asked if I would like my oven roasted turkey on toast. But within a minute I said, "What was I thinking?!" You can't toast bread without putting it where other regular bread has been ~ I let my excitement take over! I was assured it would be okay, but I was dubious! But receiving the sandwich tightly wrapped, I had to take a peek ~ and then Eat!
I enjoyed my perfectly toasted turkey sandwich and gluten free bag of blue chips and relished the atmosphere of being in a place where cross contamination could be rampant. I couldn't eat their soft serve ice cream, didn't figure I could anyway, not a problem. I had a wonderful ride back home, no problems, and a new restaurant to add to my list.
To my great enjoyment, I discovered there are new Jason's Delis near my house! So now when the family just wants deli, we have a place to go, and I know I will have another chance for toast, sooner than later!
And my health conscious family will be pleased to find that Jason's Deli is the first restaurant in the U.S. to ban artificial trans fats, and to eliminate high fructose corn syrup. Plus, they offer a vegetarian menu ~ pretty much covers the gamut for healthy eating and sensitivities!
My hat's off to you, Jason's!
~ Tip Number 5 ~
Always be mindful that your plate shouldn't touch another. If the server brings them out together look to see if something is physically touching your plate or worse, your food! This was a poor serving practice that could easily affect your food. It's up to you if you feel safe consuming it.
If I were to see food that was touching, I probably wouldn't accept the plate. Every situation is different ~ you have to decide and sometimes be tough about it. Don't pay for it twice!
Learn More about Living Gluten Free
I highly recommend Danna Korn's book Living Gluten Free for Dummies. It is well worth the investment! For a personal review of this book, follow this link ~ Living Gluten Free for Dummies.
Living Gluten Free for Dummies has all the ingredients to learn about gluten, whether this is all new to you or you have a family member who is gluten intolerant, or for anyone wanting to understand more about allergies.
Recipes, substitutions, a list of the 200 plus symptoms that gluten can cause, which are very surprising ~ headaches, stomach aches, and even behavioral issues, which in young children could go undiagnosed. I highly recommend this book ~ read my review at Living Gluten Free for Dummies and get more info!
~ Tip Number 6 ~
The most unpopular tip of all:
~ A kiss could bring trouble ~
Brush on the double!
Check out this Gluten Free Registry for restaurants across the country that are serving gluten free.
This type of information is huge progress in helping folks with gluten allergies. Thank you!
© 2013 Beverly Lemley