Everyday Eating with Celiac Disease

Living with Celiac Disease

Eating out January 10, 2010

It’s been a while since I posted.  Sorry about that!!!  I’ve been a little busy lately. 

In the last week or so, I have the opportunity to go out to eat.  I was in Lancaster last week to enjoy my time with my family.  We decided to go out to eat, but where to go with 2 family members with CD (me and my twin sister).  Of course, I flipped out my smartphone and I “googled” for gluten free restaurants in Lancaster.  There were several that popped up- Carrabra’s Italian Grill, Cero’s Pizza, Iron Hill, Outback Steakhouse, and, Eat ‘N Park.  We were in the area of Oregon Pike and wanted to be close to home, so we chose Outback.  Well, this was a Saturday night, and with no reservations, we were facing a 90 minute wait!!  With 5 small children, obviously, we cannot wait 90 minutes, so, where to go…  Eat ‘n Park!  I haven’t eaten there since I lived in the Lancaster area.  It’s a chain, but not very plentiful in this area.  I don’t think there are any in Delaware.  It’s like your family-style diner, but a little bigger.  They serve traditional “homecook” meals.  It comes across as one of those restaurants that would draw the retirees in the area, but the food is decent.  It also has its own bakery.

In the back of the menu, there is a “celiac-friendly” menu items.  Surprisingly, there was a good selection.  I chose the baked cod (not crusted), mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.   Not bad!    Although the Eat ‘N Park is not a place I go to celebrate events, it was a place that offered menu items that we could eat.  In order to have a “normal” dining experience (without always having to order the salad), the Eat ‘N Park provided the items that makes you feel you can eat items just like anyone else.  (By the way, I did ask the waitress if any of the bakery items were gluten free. She said no, so they do have something to work on 🙂  )

Last week, our office took one of the co-workers out to lunch to celebrate the upcoming birth of her baby.  It was her choice to select a restaurant.  She chose Roma’s Italian restaurant (in Dover).  Prior to my CD diagnosis, I would say Roma’s is my favorite.  It’s has a very nice atmosphere and dining experience.  The menu items are so good- gnocchi, eggplant parmesan, etc.  In my opinion, it is one of very few nice, sit-down, non-chain restaurants. 

I was eager to go, but I was concerned about the menu items- what am I going to eat.  As the bread and butter were being passed around, I carefully looked at the menu items.  I asked the waiter if the chef can prepare any of the items to be gluten free.  Of course, when I asked such thing, all I could think of was my coworkers saying to themselves, “oh, we have one of those “picky” people”.   Not so, at least from what I heard.  They were curious about what I can and cannot eat, and what happens to me when I eat something containing gluten.  The waiter came back and yeah!, the chef can replace the pasta with rice pasta!  Although not all items can be prepared gluten free, there were some options.  But, I settled for the spinach salad (spinach, walnuts, bleu cheese, cranberries and cranberry vinaigrette).   I’ve had this salad a few times before, so ordering it did not make me feel I was getting anything “special” to me my dietary needs.  I could not order the gnocchi 😦

Over this past weekend, I had the luxury to have an evening with just my youngest daughter who is 3 years old (my oldest was at Girl Scout event and the hubby was at a meeting).  I wanted to do something special with just the little one.  So, we decided to go out to dinner.  I live in the Glasgow area of Delaware, so the question was, where to go.  I had to be somewhat close in order to be home in time for the oldest to come home.  Dining in my area is already limited; in order to get a good selection of places, you really need to go about 20 minutes, and I didn’t have the time to travel that far.  However, I heard Red Robin’s have a gluten free selection, and there is one within 5 minutes from my house.  I’ve never eaten there before and I was curious on what they could possibly have gluten free for a burger place.  The reason why I haven’t eaten there before really has to do with the fact that I am not a big fan of burgers.   But, my choices were limited and I wanted to do something special with my child, something somewhat normal, like going out to dinner.  So, if it means eating a bunless burger, so be it.

I called ahead to confirm the gluten free items.  They sure do and they claim to take the “allergy” seriously (I wasn’t about to explain to the staff person that I do not have an allergy, but I have an autoimmune disease and my body doesn’t tolerate it).   So, off we went.  My children are really good about understanding my new diet change and they are more than happy to help mommy out in finding food and asking me whether or not I can eat something.  When I told my little one that we were going to a new restaurant, her response, “do the have food you can eat, mommy.”  I love her!

We got to the restaurant, and the waitress was great.  When she went to the kitchen to get the gluten free menu, out came the print out and the manager!  Woohoo!!  The manager went over the items and explained to me how they prepare gluten free foods in a place filled with gluten items.  They even have a gluten-free dedicated fryer for the french fries (the other fryers cook both fries and onion rings)!    I ordered a guacamole burger (wrapped in lettuce) and plain fries.  Unfortunately, the burger had no seasoning because the seasoning contains gluten ingredients.  Despite that, it was good!  I don’t think I’ll go there often.  I’m still not a big fan of burgers, but at least there is a place I can go locally.   For those of you familiar with the area, I did call McGlynn’s, but they said no, they do not have items, nor could they prepare items, gluten free.  So sad 😦

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