lv-signIs it just me or is it getting easier to eat gluten free away from home? When I went gluten-free I’d pour over menus and ingredients at restaurants trying to determine what was in there. I’d explain that I couldn’t eat the croutons because I’m gluten free and they’d say, ‘great’ then offer me cookies for dessert. Clearly clueless.

Lately, though, that seems to be changing. Now I can ask for a gluten free menu and the staff is educated enough to inquire about how sensitive I am. I had a conversation with the host at McCormick and Schmick’s in Illinois about which items on their gluten free menu were below the 20 PPM as designated by the FDA. I’ve had the chef come out from the kitchen to tell me (unsolicited) that the soup should be avoided because it started with a roux. I learned that butter cream frosting at a bakery that my family likes is gluten free but only for certain flavors.

While visiting Las Vegas for work, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House knew exactly the tweaks necessary to make my shrimp and grits dish gluten free. They even knew that I was gluten free from the notes added to my reservation and were able to proactively provide ideas on what they could do.

On that trip I also went for sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. I had called ahead so I knew they offered a few varieties of soy sauce, including one that was gluten free. They were able to put the sauce to one of the dishes on the side for us so that people who wanted it could dip and I could do without. The thing I learned there, however, was that their sushi rice was NOT gluten free! I’ve made my own sushi before and though I’ve been following this lifestyle for years I honestly hadn’t considered that rice would contain gluten.

Please take this as a warning to ASK about what goes into sushi rice next time you decide to order sushi. Apparently this establishment used a malt based vinegar and/or soup stock in some of their rice. The restaurant was very accommodating, however, and I was able to stick to sashimi, steamed rice and veggies with the gluten free soy sauce. Years ago they wouldn’t have known what gluten free was, much less opened my eyes to a hidden gluten!