Monday, August 11, 2008

Tips for dining out in the Dallas Fort Worth area

  1. Be nice to your server, he or she is the only one standing between you and gluten!
  2. No matter what happens, leave a nice tip and thank the server for his or her patience.
  3. If the server does something above or beyond the call of duty for you, thank his or her manager.
  4. When you sit down, tell your server that you have a serious allergy to wheat and gluten.  If you get a blank look, let them know, that means flour, soy sauce and modified food starch.  Some restaurants have an allergy protocol, so as soon as you say "food allergy" they know what to do.  Some don't.
  5. Have a couple of ideas in mind for dishes you think are likely to be gluten free.  Some usually safe bets are: grilled chicken salad with no croutons, curries, mexican food made with corn tortillas, steaks, pork chops, baked potatoes, etc.
  6. Make sure the server checks with the chef on every sauce and dressing on your food.  Most creamy looking dressings have modified food starch or wheat.  Clear dressings and vinaigrettes are a good bet, but always check.  Also, ask if anything has been marinaded and if the marinade contains soy sauce.
  7. Don't be disappointed if your first choice is a bust.  If you get upset, they'll get anxious and might not tell you if there's gluten in your second choice so they don't upset you further.  Also, it's not fun for the other people at the table if you have a melt down.
  8. Ethnic restaurants often offer a greater variety of GF food than traditional american bar and grills.  Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Sushi (dipped in tamari) and Mexican restaurants often have more options.
  9. If you order french fries, make sure they are cooked in a dedicated fryer.  If they are cooked in the same oil with breaded items like fish sticks or chicken nuggets, there is a huge danger for cross contamination.
  10. You don't have to give up dessert.  Blue Bell vanilla ice cream is safe as well as most jello, creme brulee and flan.  The Cheesecake factory even has a GF cheesecake - their all-chocolate Godiva.
  11. Be patient and try not to be too hungry when you go out to eat.  Remember, the first thing they usually bring out is bread!

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