Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My favorite gluten-free restaurants


This is based on my opinion and my own personal experiences. I am not being paid to share this.

     I have been on a gluten-free diet since January of 2007. When I started this diet no one had a clue what gluten was. It made going out to eat VERY difficult. I spent many hours explaining just how I needed my food to be prepared. One time I went to a restaurant and asked for no croutons and instructed that they make the Caesar salad in a clean, new bowl. When I got the salad it looked fine. I started eating it and got down to the bottom. EEK! There were croutons on the bottom on the salad. UGH. REALLY?? Since then I have always carried the enzymes called Gluten-Ease with me in my purse. It doesn't stop all the ill-effects I get from the cross contamination, but it does mitigate the effects. Once it pulled me out of a what looked like a "drunken" fog. I hadn't had a drink, but the gluten messed up my brain. I couldn't even remember what money was or how to drive. My sister-in-law was with me and drive us home. She said if I didn't know what was wrong with you, I would have thought you were totally wasted. Scary!

     From years of experimenting and either failing or succeeding, I have learned where I can and can not eat at. My all-time favorite sit-down restaurant is Outback Steakhouse. 

     Whenever I go out to dinner, we go to Outback. It is a running joke amongst my friends, "So... where are we going this time?" LOL! Everyone knows that it where I go out 99% of the time. I prefer Outback because I can order the Outback Special. It is $9.99 for a 6oz sirloin steak and two sides. I usually get a baked potato and a Caesar Salad, unless I am eating really healthy and than I get the steamed broccoli. I have ordered the Aussie Cheese Fries for years and never have reacted. Outback doesn't say they are gluten-free but from my experience I have always been ok. That is NOT to say they are "healthy" but they sure do taste good! 

     I am a hot-foods person. I feel much better when I eat a hot meal. Plus I have learned that I need to eat animal protein at every meal. I have tried so many different diets and have come to know what works for me. Outback provides an expensive, protein-based, healthier meal (especially if you get the salad and broccoli.) 

     The next best thing about Outback is it is the only restaurant that i have been to that has a gluten-free dessert that isn't just ice cream or fruit. The Chocolate Thunder From Down Under is a flour-less, gluten-free brownie with nuts. It has a huge scoop of ice cream, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate shavings on it. It is definitely too much to eat alone. So I only get it when I have people to share it with.

     Outback has a specific Gluten-Free menu if you ask for it. I get the same thing every time because I LOVE it. So my motto is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"There are other gluten-free products they made

     Whenever you go out to eat, always make sure you inform the server that you have a gluten allergy. Restaurants are getting much better at knowing about gluten issues. Not all, but many. 

     I was told by our local Outback Manager that the Outback staff is trained on allergies and how to handle them. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it sure puts my mind more at east knowing everyone is trained about gluten-free procedures.

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