Going out to eat shouldn’t suck
But it often does. At least for us Celiacs. Dining out Gluten Free becomes this whole big THING and I hate it. Personally, I get so sick and tired of the ‘pick out where you’re going to eat, then research the menu, pick what you’ll have, CALL them ahead of time, give them special instructions, yadda yadda yadda. This disease is consuming enough as it is, I don’t need going out to eat with my family to feel like a freakin’ marathon. It’s supposed to be FUN, not sucky!
So I decided to make a no BS guide to take back the joy of going out to eat.
Dining out Gluten Free- The No BS Guide
First step: Research
Seriously guys, this can be the worst part. Every time going out comes up everyone looks to me to figure out where. I DON’T WANT TO, DAMMIT! Pick the damn restaurant and I’ll figure it out. Unless I have a REALLY intense craving for something, please don’t always put the restaurant selection process on me.
Anywho, I digress. Let’s say your friend calls and asks you to come out with her. You say yes, and get ready to leave. Tell me, Glenda, where is all this TIME to research the shit out of this place? That’s right, it doesn’t exist. But what you CAN do is google it, check real quick on an app, or (eye roll) call the place. But usually, there is almost always something I can eat. And most definitely something I can drink. So… just go. You’ll survive.
Second step: Getting all your options
This one is simple, just ask the wait staff or host/hostess for a Gluten Free menu. If you get the dreaded blank stare… you google. Unless it’s a true one of a kind place that only 10 people have eaten at before there’s a good chance you’ll find some information.
However, most places will have a sad little piece of paper with 3-4 Gluten Free options on it. And we celiacs will take that and be freakishly happy about it!
Third Step: Ordering your food
If you are really and truly set on having a very specific dish that is NOT on the microscopic Gluten Free menu, BE SPECIFIC. Like run through all the ingredients. This is massively painful if you are anywhere except a Disney restaurant, so I tend to stick to the simple things when dining out Gluten Free. And cook the good stuff at home.
If the wait staff and restaurant in general don’t seem very confident when I say ‘Gluten Free’ I switch to ‘ I’m allergic to wheat’ and this seems to go over a lot better. In, general, you just need to be clear when ordering your food. I like to order last, so that I’m freshest in their head when they drop off the order to the kitchen.
Step 4: Eat the food
When your food gets delivered, give it a once over. Make sure nothing looks off, like a rouge crouton. Also, if they don’t say ‘Gluten Free’ or mention your allergy when they set it down, ASK THEM. If everything looks ok, and they acknowledged your situation, go ahead and dig in. Don’t forget to guard it like an angry dog with a bone though.
Step 5: Wait. Then Share.
I say this with a keen knowledge of being glutened. If it’s a completely new restaurant for you, wait a while before you eat anything else. I typically know if I’ve been glutened within about 20 minutes. And I have been glutened by the Gluten Free food I was served, sadly enough. So just wait a bit before you share your experience with the place. But if it’s a good experience, SHARE IT! Remember a few paragraphs ago when I told you to google? This is how we secretly take over the world and make it gluten free. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone about our plans.
Go out to eat already!
So, yes, while going out to eat with Celiac is annoying, we can streamline it pretty well if we just calm the F down. Remember this: ROOEW. Imagine and angry cat noise. Or me, when someone takes one of my safe fries.
- R- Research: Just a little. It doesn’t have to be a whole thing
- O- Options: Get them all up front when you get there
- O- Order: Be specific, dumb it down if you have to
- E- Eat the food after you inspect and verify it
- W- Wait to make sure you don’t shit your pants… then share your experience!
Now, if I truly have no idea what I’m getting into I’ll bring a snack with me and grab a bite of something before I leave. Because having celiac is a lot like having picky kids; you bring snacks everywhere. Just sayin’. Dining out Gluten Free IS doable. I promise. So just go out to eat already!