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Gluten-Free Challenge: Restaurant Options in Dallas

September 1, 2011
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Terrica Smith

Urban Acres member, Terrica Smith, has put together some helpful info on eating out gluten-free in Dallas. Terrica writes about love, art, travel, and food on her blog – check it out!

Whether it’s by choice or necessity, the decision to go gluten-free can be a bit daunting at first, especially when attempting to eat on the go. But I’ve found it’s totally do-able if you arm yourself with a few simple tips and strategies.

First of all, get comfortable with asking about gluten-free options. I’ve rarely encountered a situation when a server was bothered by the question. Politely explain you have an allergy or sensitivity, and they’re usually great at answering your questions or inquiring with their kitchen if necessary. In fact, they’ll usually happily tweak recipes by substituting or eliminating ingredients to accommodate your needs when possible. Seriously, just ask! They want happy customers.

Secondly, create a list of restaurant options. It makes life so much easier when you’re in a time crunch or already super hungry and exhausted at the end of the day. If you have a few solid options at hand, healthy decision making is a snap! I can’t tell you how many times my go-to list has saved me. When you’re starving with only a half hour to spare, you don’t have time to sort thru reviews and maps on google, much less create a meal from scratch in your own kitchen. Create a list, even if it’s just inside your head—you’ll be thankful you did!

Here are a few of my fave on-the-go gluten-free options:

  • Company Café—Gluten issue or not, you must check out Company Café! Almost their entire menu is gluten free, local and organic when possible. Try the gluten free chicken fried steak with sweet jalapeno gravy or delicious chicken and waffles. And don’t miss the dessert menu. Their Chocolate Tres Leches cake is an all time favorite at our house!
  • Pei Wei Asian Diner—I was thrilled when Pei Wei jumped on board offering a gluten-free menu to diners. I adore the Vietnamese Rolls, a meal in itself!
  • Fireside Pies—Pizza craving? Do try Fireside Pies. Their Triple ‘Roni is so yum! You can order almost any of their pies gluten free, just do a quick double check of the toppings first.
  • Picasso’s Pizza—Wondering why I’m including a second pizza option? I can honestly say I haven’t found a store bought gluten free option I enjoy much, and pizza is one of the few things I’ve missed since crossing over. I was recently introduced to Picasso’s and I have to say, I’d never have known it was gluten free. In fact, I preferred my own pie to my husbands non g-free. (And I think he actually might have, too!)
  • Chipotle—What’s not to love? Great ingredients, simple, fast. The burrito bowl is always a great option, but more recently I’ve fallen in love with the soft corn tacos. So delish. (Just be sure to specify corn, not flour. My husband caught me making that very mistake recently. Thankfully it was before I’d eaten anything!)
  • Sushi—Sushi in general is always a great option, just be sure to request gluten free soy sauce and beware the crab! It’s usually a fresh/imitation mix, which sadly includes wheat. They’re happy to tweak to 100% fresh at your request, however.
  • Whole Foods Café—When all else fails, I hit up Whole Foods. They have a wonderful salad and hot foods bar, and always list any/all allergens on the description card. I appreciate that about them more than I can say.
  • I can’t personally vouch for all of the following in the taste category, however I do know they all offer gluten free menu options: P.F. Changs, Carino’s Italian Grill, Boston Market, Cantina Laredo, Chilis, Maggianos Little Italy, On the Border, Mimis Café, Rockfish Seafood Grill, Ruth’s Criss Steakhouse, Spiral Diner, Carrabas Italian Grill, Texas De Brazil, Thai Basil, The Melting Pot, Tin Star, Zpizza.

The wonderful thing about gluten free living is that it’s a constantly growing movement. Restaurants and cafes are popping up everyday with new options to accommodate customers. If you decide to give it a try, hopefully I’ve eliminated a little of the legwork that can seem so daunting in the beginning. I sincerely believe anyone can benefit from choosing a gluten free lifestyle, even if just for a few weeks or months. I’ve personally yet to hear of a single person who regrets making the switch!

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