Cook Kindly

Adventures in cooking and navigating a gluten-free life.


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Dining Out…a success story.

Picking a restaurant when you’re eating gluten free can be a challenge. Once a flexible try-anything type eater, I now find myself scrutinizing over restaurant websites and menu choices. Last night, I met a friend for dinner. Determining where to go was a bit of a challenge. I searched local “gluten free friendly” restaurants on urbanspoon.com. I have found urban spoon to be a nice resource in narrowing down restaurant options, however a gluten free friendly listing on urban spoon does not say much about what gluten free options that restaurant offers, and I have found other restaurants that are gluten free friendly, but not listed as such on urban spoon. It’s an imperfect tool, really. I have visited gluten free friendly (on urban spoon) restaurants that have offered slim pickins for a gluten free diner…forget about getting a full meal at some of these places. Even calling ahead doesn’t always give you the full picture of what you can eat. 

Ok, so long story, well, long… my friend and I settled upon The Good Earth in Roseville (MN). A local restaurant that focuses on natural, homegrown, good food. I had dined there once before, knew their reputation of being very food-consciencious, and I felt pretty confident in getting a good gluten free meal.

Although the Good Earth did not have a separate gluten free menu, or any call-outs on the menu for what options were gluten free, I was very happy with our restaurant choice. Our waiter was very helpful and knowledgeable about gluten and what options I had.

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My first meal choice was a curry dish. The waiter explained to me that the curry sauce contained hoisin, which had a small amount of gluten in it. If I could tolerate a little gluten, that would be fine for me to order. If not, I should pick something else. Not really knowing my tolerance level of gluten, I opted for a burger instead.   The waiter offered me gluten free bread, in place of the bun (no way, gluten free bread!), he also offered us gf tortilla chips and hummus instead of the standard bread basket. This was awesome!

As we waited for our meals, my friend and I chatted, and she asked me what the best gluten free restaurant I had been to so far. Without hesitating, I said “honestly, Chipotle.” She smiled “really?” “Yep” I said, “I can eat everything there, except the tortillas. So, a burrito bowl with anything or everything on it.” My second dining out go-to is Noodles & Co, for their Pad Thai (although the possibility of cross-contamination is much higher at Noodles).

I wish I would have taken a picture of my meal last night, but I was hungry and engrossed in conversation with my good friend. I would highly recommend The Good Earth for anyone in the twin cities area. I had the Good Earth Burger:

All natural beef, caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, avocado, gruyere cheese, sunflower sprouts and a red pepper aioli with tarro chips

The burger was flavorful and succulant. My gluten free bread was soft and airy. Everything was scrumptious. This was by far the best sit-down restaurant gluten free experience I’ve had so far. My visit to the Good Earth greatly surpassed my gluten free dining expectations. Well done, Good Earth, well done.

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Gluten Free Dining Out & Travel Resources!

I cannot even begin to express how EXCITED I AM RIGHT NOW!!!! Goodness, sorry for the shouting. I am nearly jumping up and down in my chair as I type this!

I was gluten free google searching, and came across a few resources that are AH-Mazing!

First off, you can go into google maps and search “city” + gluten free… and find gluten free restaurants. Seriously, this is an invaluable resource for traveling! Now, I will warn you that I recently had back-to-back disheartening experiences with restaurants that said they were gluten free friendly, where I left feeling under-fed and over-charged. So, I would still recommend doing your due-diligince in asking questions before settling in to dine anywhere.

I also came across a few other websites that I’m pretty excited about:

Searching for a restaurant that’s sensitive to certain eating restrictions/allergies: allergyeats.com

Other gluten free travel resources: glutenfreetravelsite.com

A good source for substitutions based on allergies/intolerances: http://www.livingwithout.com/resources/substitutions.html

I’ll leave you withthose new-found resources for now. Hope you find a little surprise or excitement to your day, too!