Tag archive for "10 Days of Gluten Free"

Eating Out Gluten Free: Keep Your Guard Up

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Keep Your Guard Up

24 Comments 18 May 2012

Welcome to Day 10 of 10 Days of Gluten Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker. I hope you’ve enjoyed all 10 Eating Out Gluten Free posts as well as the posts by the 10 other bloggers listed at the bottom of each post.  Thank you for participating!

Is it possible that I could have one more tip about Eating Out?  Haven’t I covered it all?

Almost.

Eating Out Tip #10 is…Don’t Let Your Guard Down.  Don’t be lured into a sense of security when you have a gluten-free menu in your hand.

Many places now have a gluten-free menu.  Thanks to restaurants like these, ordering gluten-free is much easier:

  • Bricktops
  • P.F. Chang’s
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Amerigo
  • Cantina Laredo
  • Taco Mamacita
  • Outback Steakhouse
Other restaurants have marks that note gluten-free items.

(Don’t you love that children are welcome at this restaurant as long as they’re well behaved?)

But whether you’re ordering from a separate gluten-free menu or from a menu with gluten-free notations, keep your guard up.

Here are two quick stories to illustrate:

1.  When I sat down at Amerigo’s, I assumed I’d be having a salad.  I was thrilled to find that they had come out with a gluten-free menu since my last visit.  And listed on that menu was a gluten-free pasta.  What a delight!  Plain chicken and an iceburg lettuce salad while smelling Italian dishes like lasagna, ravioli, and tortellini is just pure torture.  I could actually have pasta at an Italian restaurant!

I gushed my excitement to the server and explained that I’d love to know what kind of flour was in their gluten-free pasta.  I was curious if it was rice, quinoa, corn, maybe a combination? Her answer astounded me.  “I think it’s wheat, but I’m not sure.  I’ll check for you.”

Even when ordering from a gluten-free menu, you have to keep your guard up.  Just because there are gluten-free options doesn’t mean your food will be handled by people who know what gluten is.

2.  Another time I ordered Chinese food from a gluten-free menu.  The waiter was fantastic and assured me that my meal would be gluten free.  But a non-English speaking attendant came to deliver my “gluten-free soy sauce”.  When he placed it on the table I asked for confirmation. “This is the gluten-free soy sauce, right?”

“Oh  yes, soy sauce,” should have been enough warning, but because of the obvious language barrier I trusted my original waiter.

Hours later, I was miserable.

Keep your guard up, even when ordering from a gluten-free menu.

Today is the last day to enter to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card!  I’ll be choosing two winners tomorrow.  You can leave two entries today by answering two dish questions or by answering one and letting me know in a separate comment that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, shared this post on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribed to Gluten-Free Cat posts via email.  Give it one more shot!

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.

Thanks again for your support of 10 Days of Gluten-Free.  Hop on over to read the grand finales from these bloggers today:

Readers, dish!

  • What was your favorite post of Eating Out Gluten Free?
  • What was your favorite tip?
  • If you were to write a post on Eating Out Gluten-Free, what tip would you add?
  • What new blog did you learn about through this blog hop?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free: Be Realistic

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Be Realistic

29 Comments 17 May 2012

Yesterday I shared my 8th tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Dining with people who will order gluten-free meals is something to aspire to, and it is actually possible.  Be patient.  Your loved ones will get there.

Eating Out Tip #9 is…Be Realistic.

If you’ve following my tip #1, and you’ve done your homework, then this tip shouldn’t be a stretch for you.  You already know the gluten-free options at the restaurant when you arrive.

If you haven’t done your homework, then you must be realistic in your expectations.

Think about where you are.  Don’t expect a gluten-free meal at Burger King.  If that’s where you choose to eat, expect to eat a dry iceburg lettuce salad.

Don’t be angry at the waitstaff because they can’t offer you a well-balanced meal.

Just last weekend, on a whim, the Husband and I attempted to go eat at a local sandwich, soup, and salad place called Bread and Company for brunch.  In the past, I have been able to find salads and even deli items that are gluten free.  It had been so long since trying this restaurant that I asked for their ingredient binder to double check my choices.  It was a good thing I did, because several items I was interested in clearly had wheat flour in them.  The Vegetarian Tomato White Bean Soup sounded good, but it wasn’t even listed in the binder.

When I pointed this out to the server behind the counter, she gave me that well, what do you want me to do about it look.  I was tempted to be really angry with her and demand that she find someone who had a clue.  And then I realized where I was.  I chose to walk into a place called BREAD and Company to order something gluten-free from teenagers who clearly wanted to be anywhere else but behind a counter taking lunch orders.

My choice of restaurants was not realistic.

We walked out.

Be realistic.  A nice restaurant is going to try to work with you.  Lesser quality establishments that aren’t designed for customer service may not.

Thankfully, there are restaurants like P.F. Chang’s who provide excellent customer service and delicious gluten-free meals.  At the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free, I’ll be giving away two $25 giftcards to P.F. Changs.  You can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below.  You can leave a second entry by letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, or signed up for email notifications of new Gluten-Free Cat posts.

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 can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of 10 Days of Gluten Free!  Come back for tip #10 and two more chances to win.  And don’t forget to visit these blogs today for even more gluten-free tips:

Reader’s, dish!

  • What lessons have you learned from your unrealistic choices?
  • What restaurants will you not return to?
  • Get it off your chest!
  • Where have you had the best experiences?  Where have you had the worst?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free: Share the Love

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Share the Love

28 Comments 16 May 2012

Welcome to Day 8 of 10 Days of Gluten Free!  I’ve been sharing tips on dining out gluten free. Yesterday, my practical tip was to order foods that are naturally gluten-free. Today’s tip is more on the personal side.

Eating Out Tip #8 is…Share the Love.

This tip isn’t one that can be implemented in a single meal.  It takes a while to get to this point, maybe even years.  But when you finally have this experience, you know you’ve arrived in the gluten-free dining realm, and your bond with your dining companions will be unbreakable.

In the first few years of dining gluten free, you feel alone.  You are the only weirdo at the table asking a million questions and ordering like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.  But you can and you will get to the place where the people you dine with will embrace your gluten-free diet and actually order gluten-free meals along with you.

I can still remember the first time the Husband decided to order a gluten-free meal.  It was at P.F. Chang’s.  I couldn’t decide between two entrees, so he ordered one, and I ordered the other.  Both were from the gluten free menu.  After a few years of not sharing our meals, we had a beautiful reconnection over food.  We ate off each other’s plates like the days before my diagnosis.  We were just another couple saying, “This is so good, you have to try it.”  It was so special to me that he has ordered gluten free ever since.

When you ask for a gluten-free menu and a friend says, “Make that two,” that’s a true friend.

Dine with people who love you or are adventurous enough to order gluten free. Share the love!

Here are steps that lead to sharing the love, but these steps might take a year or more to go through.

1.  You ooh and ahh over your delicious gluten-free meal.

2.  Your dining companions see that your meal looks really good and not at all like cardboard.

3.  You offer your dining companions bites of your gluten-free meal.  (Use uncontaminated utensils!)

4.  Your friends realize that your meal is actually quite good and probably healthier than their choices.

5.  Your friends decided to order gluten free just once to try it, and they actually enjoy it!

6.  Your friends see how much fun it is to eat with you when you are all eating gluten free.

7.  You and your friends have fun sharing bites and enjoying a good meal together.

8.  You stop feeling like the odd man out and actually feel supported in your gluten-free lifestyle.

Share the love.

And what better place to share the love than P.F. Chang’s?  You can enter today to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card!  You can leave two entries today by answering two dish questions or by answering one and letting me know in a separate comment that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, shared this post on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribed to Gluten-Free Cat posts via email.

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.

Join me tomorrow for Eating Out Gluten Free Tip #9.

Hungry for more gluten-free tips?  Visit these 10 Days of Gluten Free bloggers:

Readers, dish!

  • Do your friends or family order gluten free when they’re with you?
  • How do you feel when others order gluten-free meals with you?
  • Does “sharing the love” seem possible or like a dream to you right now in your journey?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free: Go Natural!

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Go Natural!

25 Comments 15 May 2012

Yesterday I shared my sixth tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker. The service and quality of the meal is out of your hands, but your attitude while dining is completely controlled by you.

Eating Out Tip #7 is…Go Natural!

Most restaurants are not going to have a separate gluten-free menu with gluten-free bread awaiting your arrival.  But plenty of gluten-free options are available if you order naturally.
Order naturally gluten-free foods.
1.  Order from the salad menu.  Most salads can be ordered gluten free if you take off croutons, wonton strips, tortilla strips, or anything else crunchy.  Ask for the ingredients of the dressings, and if you can’t find a gluten-free option ask for bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Make your own dressing at the table.
2.  Order grilled meat without any seasonings.  Olive oil, salt, and pepper are safe and tasty. Too bland? Ask for a side of salsa and make it Tex-Mex on your own.  Again, ask these questions, and ask them to use foil on the grill to avoid cross contamination.
3.  Order steamed veggies.  In a guest post that I did at Thriving with Celiacs called Top 10 Questions to Ask When Dining Out Gluten Free, Shirley of gfe shared a fantastic tip that I had never thought of before.  Make sure that the veggies are not steamed in the same water that is used for boiling pasta.
4.  Order sauteed veggies.  But make sure they start in a clean pan and only use olive oil, salt, and pepper.
5.  Order baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.  When I open a steaming baked potato, I know that the skin served as a natural gluten barrier and that the potato inside is safe to eat.  A side of salsa will liven up this tater too.
6.  Order dessert!  Vanilla ice cream makes even the blandest of meals a distant memory.
Have you been entering each day to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card?  Add another two entries today by answering two dish questions or by answering one and letting me know in a separate comment that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, shared this post on Twitter or Facebook, or signed up to receive emailed notifications of new GFC posts.
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.

Tomorrow’s Tip #8 is all about love, so come back and share the love!

Speaking of love, give some blog love to these 10 Days of Gluten Free bloggers!

Readers, Dish!

  • What naturally gluten-free items do you order at restaurants?
  • What natural ingredients do you rely on?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free:  Have a Good Attitude

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Have a Good Attitude

34 Comments 14 May 2012

On Friday, I shared my fifth tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Affirming that a restaurant does a great job serving those with gluten intolerance is crucial to promoting gluten awareness and expanding dining options.

Eating Out Tip #6 is…Have a Good Attitude.

For about a year after my diagnosis, I rarely dined out.  I was tired of arriving at a restaurant only to learn that I could order two items on the menu if they were prepared completely differently than described.  Bland.  I was usually left with a piece of chicken or fish lightly coated in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and a side of steamed vegetables.  Don’t get me wrong.  That’s a nice, healthy meal.  But it’s an ordinary meal that I could make at home for one-fourth the price.

Let’s face it, when we go out for dinner, we want something special.  We don’t go out and order something that we can quickly toss together in our own kitchens.  We’ve gotten used to having options, and when those options are taken away, we frankly develop a bad attitude.

Thankfully, options are much better for gluten-free diners today.  But we will still have those occasions when restaurant meals are less than ideal because of our limitations.

In those cases, we need to have a good attitude.

Don’t focus on the fact that you only have three choices on the menu.  Be thankful that you even have three choices on the menu!  You may feel limited at this particular restaurant, but let it be a reminder of everything that you have to be grateful for.  You are far healthier with those three choices than you were before your diagnosis when you had limitless options on a menu filled with gluteny items.  Be thankful that your life is different.  And better.

There’s more to a dining experience than the food.

Consider the ambiance.  How is the décor, the lighting, the music contributing to your experience?  You might be eating another piece of chicken and a dry potato, but you aren’t eating it at a kitchen table covered by today’s junk mail.

Consider the luxury of being served.  You didn’t have to make this meal, and you won’t be cleaning the kitchen or washing dishes afterwards.

Consider the company.  The people you are dining with are far more important than the food that you’re putting in your mouth.  Enjoy the conversation with the people you’ve chosen to dine with.  Take the focus off yourself and focus on your friends or family members.

It isn’t easy to stay positive when food issues are so personal, but staying optimistic can prevent dietary restrictions from ruining the evening.

Time for your daily entry 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.

Don’t forget that this is a blog hop.  Hop on over to these talented Gluten-Free Gurus for more tips in our 10 Days of Gluten-Free.

Readers, Dish!

  • How do you stay optimistic even when you’re faced with limitations?
  • What advice can you give to someone in the first six months of gluten-free living?
  • If you win the P.F. Chang’s gift card, who will you take with you to dinner?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free: Affirm a Job Well Done

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Affirm a Job Well Done

30 Comments 11 May 2012

Yesterday I shared my fourth tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Asking the right questions can help steer the conversation in the right direction so that you know that your server and chef are ready to provide a great dining experience for you.

Eating Out Tip #5 is…Affirm a Job Well Done.

If you’ve just dined in a restaurant for the very first time, chances are that you’ve just put your waiter through the wringer by asking more questions than he or she has heard all day.

Let them know that you appreciated their patience, their diligence, and their dedication to serving you a delicious gluten-free meal. 

1.  Tip your waiter well.  Above 20%.

Your waiter just served as your first line of defense.  Thank him or her with more than a smile.

2.  Let the manager know:

  • How well the waiter answered all of your questions.
  • That you are thankful for a safe meal.
  • That the chef cautiously created a delicious entrée for you.
  • How valuable their efforts are to the gluten-free community.
  • That you will be back again to dine with them.
  • That you will spread the word that Celiacs and those with gluten intolerance can dine at that restaurant safely.

3.  Spread the word.

Today, diners can share their thoughts at every point in the dining experience with the entire world.  Use social media to let others know about your experience.  Tweet about it, and include the restaurant’s handle.  Share your experience on Facebook and tag the restaurant.  The more that restaurants see that their efforts are needed and appreciated, the more willing they will be to improve menu options, methods to prevent cross-contamination, and ingredient selections.

Affirm a job well done.

Now it’s time for your daily entry to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card!  You can leave two entries today by answering two dish questions or by answering one and letting me know in a separate comment that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter and “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page or that you 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.

It’s been a great first week of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  I’ll see you again on Monday for Eating Out Gluten Free Tip #6.

Hungry for more gluten-free tips?  Visit these 10 Days of Gluten Free bloggers:

Readers, Dish!

  • How do you let your servers know that you appreciate them?
  • How have you helped to make positive changes in a restaurant?
  • How do you affirm a job well done?

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

Eating Out Gluten Free:  BYOGF

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: BYOGF

30 Comments 09 May 2012

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!

Eating Out Gluten Free:  Be Nice to Your Server

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Be Nice to Your Server

35 Comments 08 May 2012

Yesterday I shared my first tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Doing your homework is key to finding a restaurant and meal that will be healthy and safe for you.

Eating Out Tip #2 is…Be Nice to Your Server.

As a child, I’m sure you played telephone.  If so, you know that the original message can be hilariously misconstrued, and oftentimes the message received is completely contrary to that of the original.

In the dining situation of the gluten intolerant, a misconstrued message is far from hilarious.  Your server is the liason between you and the kitchen.  During dinner, the relationship between you and your server is far more important than the one between you and the one you’re starry-eyed for across the table.  Your server holds the fate of your evening and your health in his hands.

Be nice to your server.

Get your servers on your side.  Get to know them.  Make it a pleasure for them to come to your table and check on you.  You will be surprised at how servers will go the extra mile when they enjoy talking with you.

Years ago, I had just flown in from a weekend away and met the Husband for dinner.   We drove to one of his favorite business lunch spots for dinner, because he said that there was always grilled fish and steamed veggies that were naturally gluten free.  Perfect.

We enjoyed talking about local news with the waiter before even approaching the issue of needing a gluten-free meal.  When he offered an appetizer, I was quick to say that I was starving, but that I wasn’t sure that I could find anything gluten-free.  I was eyeing the chips and salsa.

The waiter proceeded to explain that although the salsa was gluten free, they fried the chips in the same oil as their breaded chicken. His solution was to bring me corn tortillas cut into wedges that I could dip into the salsa.  He could have just said, “No, they aren’t gluten free.”  But he went the extra mile.

Be nice to your server.

Did you enter to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card yesterday?  Two of you will be winners at the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  All you have to do is comment here!  You can submit another entry today by leaving a comment below.  You can leave two entries today by answering a second dish question or letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, or shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.

I’ll be back tomorrow with tip #3.  Did you check out the other blogs in the blog hop yesterday? The tips were fantastic!  Make sure you visit them today:

Readers, dish!

  • How have servers gone above and beyond for you?
  • What are your secrets to getting servers on your side?
  • Share how a server made your dining experience one to remember.

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.

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

Eating Out Gluten Free: Do Your Homework

10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Do Your Homework

66 Comments 06 May 2012

My topic for 10 Days of Gluten-Free is one of my favorite activities…Eating Out Gluten Free!  For the next 10 days I will share 10 of my best tips for making the dining experience safe, healthy, and enjoyable, even when on a gluten-free diet.

Eating Out Tip #1 is…Do Your Homework.

If you walk into a restaurant cold, without any information about the establishment at all, and you have a terrible experience, well, it’s your own fault.

In this day and age, there is no excuse for ignorance.  Most of us have the World Wide Web as close as our hip pockets or the lipstick slots of our Vera Bradleys.  And if you don’t, within minutes you can find a computer to do a little research before heading out to dinner.

Most restaurants have their menus online, and many of them have gluten-free menus.  Check them out, choose three meal options that look safe and yummy, and be prepared with questions for your server when you arrive.  The answers to those questions will help you decide what to order.  If you don’t have access to the internet, make a phone call during non-serving hours.  Start with this question, “Is your restaurant able to serve gluten-free diners?”

One of the best restaurant finds I made was from a quick iPhone web search in the car about 60 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  One hit told me that we couldn’t drive through Asheville without stopping at Posana for dinner.  Who knew that a restaurant where everything on the menu is naturally gluten-free just happened to be 6 hours into our road trip?  I spent the next 60 minutes wondering if we were headed toward gluten-free heaven.

We were.  If I hadn’t done my homework I would have missed out on this.

Do your homework.

At the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free, I’ll be giving away two $25 giftcards to P.F. Changs, one of the first chain restaurants to create a gluten-free menu.  You can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below.  You can leave a second entry by letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter and “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page.

I’ll be back tomorrow with tip #2.  And don’t forget to visit these blogs today for even more gluten-free tips:

Reader’s, dish!

  • What resources do you use to research restaurants?
  • Have you ordered from P.F. Chang’s gluten-free menu?
  • What is your favorite gluten-free restaurant?

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.

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

A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. 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. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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