I know it can be confusing as to what you should order when it comes to eating out at restaurants. It’s best to first try and find restaurants that cater to the gluten-free lifestyle. Depending on which city you live in, it’s become increasingly popular for eateries to have a gluten-free menu. What I appreciate are the places that try to avoid cross contamination, by cooking/frying in a different fryer using different oil, placing the food on different boards, and wearing gloves when handling miscellaneous ingredients. Some places make it convenient and label items on their standard menu for you.
I’m not going to lie, I would say about 50% of the time when I do eat out, I would be exposed to gluten if I didn’t ask a million questions first. This is even after verifying that the meal was gluten-free through the waiter. I cannot stress enough how much you will need to do your research on food ingredients and over emphasize to the waiter that you have a gluten allergy. It’s going to take some leg work on your end, not that the waiters don’t care, but they are busy and unaware of how severe the allergy is. However, once you get the hang of things, its really a breeze. I cannot tell you how many times I ask them to verify that the meal doesn’t contain soy sauce, or a seasoning that has wheat in it. They initially always tell me no and then come back and I get the, oh ma’am I’m sorry you were right. I really feel like yes you have to sort of be a bother (politely though) because I’ve gotten sick on numerous occasions you just learn to ask the right questions.
If you do happen to eat somewhere and the waiter isn’t too familiar or savvy with what gluten is, ask to verify with the chef and restaurant manager. But, depending on where you go (typically a “hole in the wall” or unknown chains), some cooks may “think” something is gluten-free when indeed the seasonings they use have hidden gluten ingredients. A lot of people just think of flour when it comes to gluten and that can be a scary thing. I would try to stick with places that have a menu to avoid the hassle, sickness and headache.
Definitely DO ask them to verify on the bottle of ingredients they use for any meal you order. When you politely get the manager involved, they will definitely take your inquiries more serious and this will end up saving you a week of feeling sick. So, it’s definitely worth speaking with the manager, after all, that’s what they are there for. Depending on the severity of your allergy, you can even ask which items are likely to have cross contamination as well. Foods that are fried such as french fries, could very well be exposed to cross contamination if they use the same oil to fry gluten foods.
Of course I love culinary towns with quaint spots, but here are a few nationally known chains I like that cater to the GF lifestyle:
Dining out tip:
I LOVE Mexican food! HANDS DOWN I am a Cali born girl! But, depending on your severity of gluten sensitivity, if Mexican food is cooked in traditional brand “Adobo” seasoning, it could very well contain gluten ingredients depending on which seasoning they use. Make sure to speak with the chef as they could use original spices as an alternative if they don’t have a separate GF menu.