I love Mexican food, but Mexican restaurants are usually out of the question for this Gluten-Free Cat. Why?
1. If they make their own flour tortillas, flour is in the air, and cross contamination is hard to avoid.
2. Many sauces include flour and other gluten-containing additives.
3. It is hard to find waiters who speak enough English to talk about an ingredient as specific as gluten. (It’s challenging enough in an English-speaking restaurant. The language barrier makes it almost impossible.)
4. Corn tortilla chips and crispy taco shells are fried in the same oil as flour tortillas.
For years, I’ve had to make my own tacos and burritos at home to fulfill a Mexican food craving. But I am happy to report that we now have three gluten-friendly Mexican restaurants here in Nashville.
My Southern California roots make me a huge fan of Chipotle, and while traveling I always have to stop at Chipotle for a fix. Even in Manhattan.
But we have finally scored two Chipotle restaurants in Nashville in the past year, and two more Chipotles are under construction in Brentwood and Franklin. The Husband texted this picture to me just last week with “Guess what’s coming to Brentwood?” Made my day!
Chipotle is great about providing delicious, fresh produce, and they strive to provide meat from animals raised respectfully and without hormones or antibiotics. In addition, they have many gluten-free options. All of their sauces and salsas are gluten-free, however their red tomatillo salsa does have distilled vinegar which concerns some Celiacs. The chips and crispy corn tortillas are the only items they fry, so there is no gluten cross-contamination in the oil. And as soon as you let the first person in the food line know that you are gluten-intolerant, all of the workers change their gloves and put down foil to protect your food from the surface on which flour tortillas have been sliding across all day. See Chipotle’s gluten-intolerance statement here.
We also have Cantina Laredo if you’re in the mood for gourmet Mexican food in the hip part of Nashville known as “The Gulch”. They have a gluten-free menu and a knowledgeable waitstaff that has always impressed me. During my last visit the manager came out to assure me that they would do everything possible to provide me with a safe, enjoyable eating experience. When I asked about the tortilla chips he said that their fryer is dedicated to corn products, but he explained that he couldn’t ensure that a worker on break hadn’t fried his own flour tortilla in the same oil. Even when rules are set, human error occurs. I appreciated his honesty and didn’t eat the chips.
But now we have a third choice, Nashville! Check in tomorrow to hear all about this fabulous option. If you like great Mexican food, the creativity of mixed flavors in a taco, and a fun, relaxing atmosphere, you must check out the Gluten-Free Cat’s next delicious find!