10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: BYOGF

30 Comments 09 May 2012

Eating Out Gluten Free:  BYOGF

Yesterday I shared my second tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Being nice to your server is key to getting him on your side before you ask him to jump through gluten-free hoops.

Eating Out Tip #3 is…BYOGF.  Bring your own gluten free.

My apologies for the longer post today, but it’s an important one.  I must share the BYO story that changed my life.

The phone rang in my college dorm room.  At the time I didn’t realize that the voice on the other side would one day be that of the Husband.  Before agreeing to go on the first date that he was proposing, I just had one question, “Where are we going to dinner?”  I cringed when I asked the question.  I didn’t want him to think that my acceptance of his offer depended on the type of restaurant he would take me to.  But I needed to know that we were going to a place where I would be able to eat. I quickly explained that I had food allergies, now sounding like a completely high maintenance college girl.  Great.

I didn’t know that I was gluten intolerant, but I had figured out that I couldn’t eat bread with yeast.  I was on the right track as eliminating yeast products naturally cut out a lot of gluten from my diet.

Our first date was at a diner, and I ordered a burger without the bun.  When our meals arrived, I pulled a long bread bag out of my purse, removed the twist tie, and slid the lonely yeast-free bun onto my plate.  I cut it in half with the dull butter knife and inserted my greasy diner burger.  Reaching for the ketchup, I caught the pre-Husband’s eye.  He was beaming.

“You brought your own bun?”

I think that was the moment he fell in love with me.

Bringing your own gluten-free food may or may not lead you to the love of your life, but it will help ensure that you’ll be eating something safe that you enjoy.

Bring your own bread, salad dressings, and condiments.  If the restaurant has a problem with it, don’t return.

While traveling, I was thrilled to find a deli that had Boar’s Head products right along the beach.  I ordered a few slices of turkey, tomato, avocado, and a packet of mustard in a takeout box.  Then I took my sandwich fixings to a table, pulled out two slices of Udi’s gluten-free bread from my beach bag, and made the most delicious sandwich on the planet.

(It’s amazing how the memories of a fantastic meal is proportionate to how hungry or thankful you were to find safe food!)

Reminder, when ordering at a deli, ask your server to change gloves, and watch for cross-contamination in condiments.  (Squeeze jars of mustard and mayo are safer than open containers.  Individual packets are best.)

BYOGF.  Bring what you want.  Eat what you like.  Like what you eat.

Have you entered to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card?  I’m giving away two at the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  Submit another entry today by leaving a comment below.  You can leave two entries by answering a second dish question or letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter and “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page or shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.

Giveaway Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older.
  • You are allowed two entries per “10 Days of Gluten Free” blog post for a total of 20 entries on this blog.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts).
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm central time on May 18, 2012.

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

I’ll be back tomorrow with tip #4.  And don’t forget to hop over to these blogs today for more gluten-free tips:

Readers, dish!

  • What foods have you brought into restaurants?
  • Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable bringing in your own food?
  • Have you ever been asked to leave for bringing in outside food?

Contest closed, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Your Comments

30 Comments so far

  1. Cara says:

    That sandwich looks amazing! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Emma says:

    Thanks for the post. It’s good to know I’m not the only one carrying around an “emergency GF care pack” as I like to call it. :)

  3. Emma says:

    What foods have you brought into restaurants?
    I almost always bring GF soy sauce with me. Mostly for those times when I go to an Asian restaurant with GF options…that has run out of GF soy sauce.

    Have you ever been asked to leave for bringing in outside food?
    Nope. But many times I have ordered something and not eaten it because my order came back wrong too many times.

  4. Lynn says:

    Thanks.. and great tip

  5. Jessica says:

    I recently bought packets of wheat-free tamari soy sauce, so now I can BYOGF! I also love “GoPicnic” gluten free meals (they ahve a bunch) as airplane snacks/meals, or to take on a hike.

  6. There have been many occasions where we’ve brought our own bread, and actually I’m planning on doing it when my husband and I are out of town for our anniversary in a couple of weeks. :)

  7. Jessica B says:

    Cute story.

  8. That’s so funny. Brilliant, but funny.

  9. Natalie says:

    Great post! I haven’t been brave enough to take my own food to a restaurant yet, but you inspire me! Hope I win!

  10. Bonnie B says:

    I can’t wait to show this post to my daughter in college who is facing the issues of dating and eating gf. Thanks!

  11. Jeannie Parker says:

    I learned this lesson very early on. I’ve always hated being in the spot light and with eating gluten free I feel like the entire world has to be made aware of what I can and can’t eat. My husband and I eat out a lot and most of his favorite places do not have anything I can actually eat and enjoy. The Go Picnic meals have been a life saver. I buy them when their on sale and stock up. I ALWAYS have one in my bag, the car, my purse… I know if I don’t want to go hungry I have to BYOGL. This way the world doesn’t revolve around me and we can go some of those places that he loves but I can’t enjoy any more.

  12. Jana says:

    I have taken GF croutons and bread to our local italian eatery. They don’t have a problem with it at all. i usally eat their salmon, they still don’t have GF pasta.

  13. Cindy says:

    This just reaffirms what I’ve been doing for years-bringing my own food. I do it all the time, so don’t feel bad about it.

  14. Cindy says:

    What foods have you brought into restaurants?
    Mostly bread. If I know I’ll be going somewhere where I might have to order a sandwich, I will take 2 slices of Udi’s in a baggie. I have taken the whole loaf on trips so that I always have it. On vacations, trips to hotels, or trips to see family, I will take bread, buns, homemade granola, soy sauce, and almond milk to deal with a milk allergy. I have gotten fast food restaurants to take my bread and make the sandwich with it. Some will, some won’t, and it’s probably against policy.

  15. lili says:

    IMy fondest memory of bringing food to a restaurant was bringing a bag of pasta to a restaurant in Boston – and being invited into the kitchen to watch it being cooked. That was about 2 years ago. The manager was so pleased that we didn’t feel we couldn’t come in just because one of us (at the time) couldn’t eat their food.

  16. Emily says:

    I remember the first time I ate at a Chinese food restaurant after being diagnosed gluten intollerant. I felt like Mary Poppins pulling my giant bottle of GF soy sauce and then the smaller but still conspicuous bottle of sweet and sour sauce out of my purse. I felt like everyone was staring at me thinking, “did she bring her whole spice drawer with her?” Really, no one even noticed, and since then I’ve become more discreet with my condiments. :)

  17. Cindy W. says:

    I have brought a roll to a restaurant to enjoy along with my gf meal.

  18. Kalinda says:

    What a cute story Heather! I think the only thing we’ve ever tried is bringing to a restaurant is GF tamari. We really should think about bringing buns or bread more frequently.

  19. Deborah says:

    The only thing I’ve taken into restaurants is my homemade salad dressing in a little glass bottle.

  20. pat J says:

    You are not along in taking your own food with you. We do it all the time. In fact, would you believe we even took food with us on our trip to Israel!

  21. julie says:

    I always bring my own sauce to sushi restaurants

  22. Becky says:

    Shared on facebook

  23. Nadine says:

    Thanks for this post! I have thought of bring my own dressing or bread.

  24. Jennifer C says:

    I have brought everything from chips to a whole meal, but of course I love it when I don’t have to bring anything!

  25. dawn says:

    Great story! And thank you for the tip. I’ve thought about this but haven’t tried it yet.

  26. Curvy Christina in Colorado says:

    I love that you brought you r own bun! So awesome. People think I am weird for keeping g-free stuff in my purse but it’s like who cares! Thi is awesome. I have followed you in twitter and facebook and hope I win pf changs gift card!!! <3

  27. Natalie says:

    I liked your post on facebook.

  28. Gina says:

    Though I am notorious for bringing lots of GF stuff with me when I travel, I have not tried bringing any of it into a restaurant, but will henceforth!!!!

  29. Angel R. says:

    We have a food bag that goes EVERYWHERE we go. It contains a variety of GF foods and snacks: peanut butter, crackers, minute rice, mac & cheese cups, fruit snacks, pickle packs, applesauce, fruit cups, juice boxes, etc. We always have something safe for our son to eat!

  30. Angel R. says:

    Another great post!

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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