Ever since my daughter was born, going out to eat has been a rarity. If we do go out, we are usually grabbing something while I’m in a rush to get to somewhere else. It happens so frequently that I even wrote a post about 7 places you can eat when you are in a rush. Even though it doesn’t happen often, the rare occasion does exist when my husband and I get a babysitter and get to go out for some alone time. One of the few pluses to having Celiac Disease is that I always get to choose the restaurant.One of the few benefits of Celiac Disease- you almost always get to pick the restaurant! Click To Tweet
On this particular day I chose our favorite Japanese/Thai restaurant, Thai Moon. I have always loved this place. Friendly people, close to our house AND they had a gluten-free menu. Finding places with gluten-free menus is not that common in Miami. I wish this was a post about how great the Thai Moon gluten-free menu was, but it’s not. We got there, asked for a gluten-free menu and the hostess just looked confused. It had been awhile since we had been there and there had been a change in management. No more gluten-free menu.
I had broke a cardinal rule of gluten-free dining.
Call ahead. Fortunately I was still able to eat, I asked a few questions about my usual go-to items and they were still safe. One of the advantages of Thai food and sushi is that they tend to be naturally gluten-free. It just wasn’t as easy an experience as I had hoped it would be. First time out in a long time without the baby and I had to worry about what I was eating instead of relaxing with my hubby. If I had remembered some basic tips for gluten-free dining out AND followed them, it would have been a lot less stressful.
I am going to be honest with you.
Unless you go to a restaurant that is 100% gluten-free (and in Miami the only one I know of is Start From Scratch Bakery, and they only serve lunch) then it is always going to be slightly stressful. But, follow these 4 tips and it will definitely make it a bit easier.
1) Look at the menu before you go!
Look up the menu. Generally you can tell which items will most likely be gluten-free. If you are unsure of what to look for, you can download a copy of our gluten ingredients cheat sheet by signing up below.
2) Call ahead and ask questions.
Call the restaurant ahead. Find out if they are willing to accommodate a gluten-free diet. Most are. If you don’t want to call, send them a message via facebook, or even trip advisor, but have an idea of what you might want to eat before you go. Save yourself the frustration of having to ask a thousand questions about every item on the menu.
3) Inform your server.
Tell your server about your gluten sensitivity as soon as you get to the restaurant. Often the chef or manager will come speak to you.
4) Watch out for common areas of cross contamination.
Many people forget about common areas of cross contamination such as deep fryer or griddle. Asking a few questions can ensure that you will not get sick from your meal. There is nothing worse than spending money to go out and then get sick from the meal.
Happy Gluten-Free Dining Out!