Gluten Free Foods, Cafes, Restaurants and Recipes
Gluten Free Overseas Part3: Restaurants in America
Eating out for lunch or dinner in America is relatively easy for coeliacs. In New Zealand, nearly all restaurants will do gluten free meals on request, with many labelling which items are or can be made gluten free. In America, I found a much smaller proportion of restaurants labelled gluten free options. I also ran into establishments that simply had nothing available. As a general rule, good quality restaurants easily catered to my needs. Restaurant chains such as Applebees had folders with dietary information about their menus including gluten status. Fast food outlets such as Taco Bell had absolutely nothing on offer. I struggled to find much in the way of cafes over there as the market seems to be dominated by Starbucks or state-wide chains (reminiscent of Robert Harris).
So what sorts of GF foods were available?
Starbucks stocked fruit salads, GF nut bars and a marshmallow rice bubble thing. Restaurants typically had at least a couple of GF menu items though in many cases these were salads with nothing on the main menu available gluten free. Luckily, American meals are much larger than those in New Zealand, so even though some establishments could only offer me a salad, it was usually still a fairly filling meal.
Chicken salad at a cafe in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
At this restaurant in Charlotte, the stir fry was one of only two items marked as "can be made GF" but the waiter did not make a note despite me mentioning gluten 3 times while ordering. I wasn't brave enough to eat the chips that came with it which appeared to be battered.
Brixx in Charlotte not only have a special GF menu but also give heaps of reassuring information about their GF procedures. Click to view larger.
An amazing GF gourmet burger at the Wild Goat Bistro in Petaluma, California. It was wonderful.
A BLT at the Hilton Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the background is my colleague's non-GF version with the fruit side while I had the vege.