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Gluten-free Dining In Northern Virginia
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Just wanted to share with anyone in the Fairfax County or Loudoun County some positive and negative experiences I've had recently.

Take today, went to Amphora Restaurant with 2 friends and presented my dining card to the waiter and told him I was only going to have a salad but felt better if the Chef saw my card. The Manager comes over and refused to serve me at all. Even a salad! Said that there was too much of a chance of cross contamination. So I watched my friends eat and the waiter gave me an apple when I left. The Manager was rude and mean. The only other restaurant where they wouldn't serve me was Glory Days. They have only 1 grill and 1 fryer and everything is cooked together. They, however, offered me a plain salad.

Now for the good news! Ned Devines is wonderful for us! They make their potatoes from scratch with real milk and butter, their meats are not pre-marinated and they'll stand on their heads to give you what you want. Another good one is the Blue Ridge Grill near Leesburg. They actually have a dedicated french fry fryer and 2 grills, one for breaded things and one for not! Their french fries were awesome. Carrabas was great in Reston, Champs had a Greek Salad that worked well but forget Lakeside in Reston. Ate there twice and got sick both times. Tomorrow I'm trying PF Changs which I will go to with their gluten free menu in tow.

That is about the extent of my eating out history so far. I want to try McCormicks and Schmidts but they have only one grill and it's not a flame grill. Oh yes, Beacon Street in Chantilly also has only one grill and it's not flame. I will probably try the salad route with steamed shrimp at McCormicks next week. Oops, went to Legal Seafood in Tysons and they were so nice! But, got a little sick from them too....

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Hi Terry...I live in Arlington, & can whole-heartedly recommend McCormick & Schmicks in McLean. They offer lots of fresh fish & will bend over backwards to accomodate us. Also, if you like Indian food, try Bombay Bistro in Fairfax. They're menu offers lots for us on the gluten-free diet plan. I advise against Chipotle's, who's manager assured us the food was safe, but I felt ill afterwards. Thanks for the heads up re: Amphora. I will be sure to stay away from there!

Angel

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Thanks Angel! I ate at PF Changs yesterday at Tysons and came equipped with my gluten free menu. What a great experience! I asked her if they honored it and she said all their restaurants across the country do. She didn't even have to take my card to the kitchen. It was no big deal just brought out wonderful lemon scallops and I was delighted! I had diet coke rather than their ice tea as it is flavored and I didn't want to take a chance. Also didn't have any of their special sauce. Thanks for the advice about Chipolte. I had been considering trying it. With McCormicks only having the one grill, how did you manage? Did they clean it for you or use a frying pan? I'm going there next Wednesday. It was always my favorite restaurant but I haven't been since I was diagnosed.

Terri

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I have eaten at McCormicks & Shmick's now several times & their staff has obviously been trained regarding Celiac's. I've never inquired about their friers or anything like that, as they seem to be very well versed in how to handle a gluten free meal. The staff takes the time to devise a meal that will be yummy for me & they even provide some decadent gluten-free deserts, like chocolate cake made from rice flour! ( I prefer the creme brulee myself!)

I've also had good luck with Boston Market...

Angel

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Angel, I took your advice and went to Don Pablos and had a great lunch. The manager came out and talked with me and was wonderful. Another place I have eaten from is WingN. They don't sell anything breaded at all so their fryers only have french fries and wings entering them. I get the fire wings and fries and have never reacted in the slightest (and it doesn't take much to set me off). I don't know if they are in Arlington too, but if they are, check them out. Thanks for the tips for McCormicks.

Terri

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Had my luncheon today at Tyson's McCormicks and Schmidts. The waitress was Donna who told me she knew all about Celiac disease. Angel, you taught them well! And they do have a fire grill. :) I had salmon (no seasoning) over romaine and used my Annie's dressing and am fine. I understand you can order the steak salad and substitute shrimp. That will be my next trip. Thanks again !! :D

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Since I have gotten such good input and information from this board, must give two restaurants to report on:

1) I was bummed about Chipoltle (thought they were safe), so I emailed Chipotle corporate, and they had the following response:

Hello! As far as gluten, you're safe to eat everything we carry, except our large wheat flour tortillas for burritos, our soft wheat flour taco shells, and our hot red tomatillo salsa (there is white vinegar in it). Everything else will be fine. Unfortunately, the potential for cross contamination does exist. It is possible that the tortilla person touching a tortilla could touch the lettuce, and much the same the spoon portioning the beans could touch a tortilla. We cannot guarantee you there will be no crossover, sorry. And we recommend, regretfully, you not eat our food if your gluten intolerance is highly sensitive.

Sincerely,

David Chrisman

Mo'Joe

Chipotle

You probably had cross-contamination. I think I might try to go and be first in line (they open at 11 am) to avoid the danger. :)

2) I went to Outback and they were happy to print up their gluten-free menu for me...if anyone has not had the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under you really ought to go give it a try. mmmmmMMMMMMmmmmm...

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Thanks for the info. What he said could apply to any restaurant anywhere. If they pick up rolls and place them in a bread basket, and then make your salad without changing their gloves, you're contaminated. I have to travel on a 3 week business trip next January and I'm already losing sleep thinking about it! Guess I'll load up on medicine and hope for the best. I'll pack lots of those tuna and chicken pouches and rice cakes and peanut butter. Imagine being in New Orleans and eating peanut butter! :P

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Has anyone had any luck at Champps? I called the one in Reston and asked if I could get a gluten free meal there and explained what I needed to the girl who answered the phone. Quite a while elasped before she came back and told me "Sorry, we don't have that here". I'm just wondering if it's worth going over there to talk to someone...

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I so had to laugh about your experience with Amphora! When I found out I was gluten intolerant, Amphora was one of the first (if not the first) restaurant we went to. We used to really like going there. They were SO RUDE! They didn't exactly refuse to serve me, but they made it one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had. But, here's something I've discovered since, they have a new bakery/coffee shop, if I walk in there, the invisible flour in the air gets into my sinuses and I end up with sores throughout my nose (as opposed to my ingestion reactions.) I wouldn't even go into Amphora anymore, since they've been baking at the restaurant for years. I'd be amazed if anything there could avoid cross contamination.

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I agree! Amphora is banned from my life! I did have a good experience yesterday. Went to Clydes in Reston for lunch. I wanted the buffalo burger sans bun and french fries. I was so excited when the waiter said they had a dedicated french fry fryer I could hardly contain myself!! Well, then he comes back and said that they bread the trout on the table next to the fryer and the chef was worried that flour would get on the fries. So I had the salmon salad instead. But, I was tickled that the chef was so caring and worried about contaminating me. And this was done so sweetly and nicely and NOT RUDELY! That makes all the difference in the world!

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Had lunch at Champs in Reston today. I had called them a few months ago and gotten a response that they couldn't do gluten free. Went there anyway today and the gm Kevin was great! I had a Greek salad with their dressing and the whole thing was gluten free. He said they work well with food intolerances and whoever talked to me previously was in error. He said to come on in and he'll take care of all of us! :D Good to know!

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Just wanted to report on a delightful dining experience this weekend. We went to the Blue Iguana located in Fair Lakes. The Chef came to the table to discuss my entree and prepared me salmon on Jasmine rice and wrapped in crispy rice noodles and watercress. It comes with a soy ginger sauce so he substituted a wine sauce. Afterwards he returned to the table to see if it was to my liking and said that he works with any food allergies as well as Celiac. It was delicious and I highly recommend this restaurant.

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Not exactly Northern Virginia, but Adams Morgan isn't too far away. We had a wonderful dinner at Cashion's Eat Place this week. I called ahead and mentioned my celiac disease, they said not to worry. When we arrived later that night and I said to the waiter I have celiac, he said "that's when there's a problem with any kind of gluten, right?" ...when they know the word gluten it's a good sign. I had a great meal and they were very friendly about providing a special version of any entree I wanted.

http://www.cashionseatplace.com

Thought I would share this, because eating out is always a challenge.

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I live in Fairfax County and I go to W.T. Woodson High School

Spartans is a really accomodating restaurant, and so is outback and friendly's. can't think of anything else cuz im too tired but ill list more if i think of em.

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Do you guys live by D.C??? Because there is this really good restaurant that has a gluten-free menu that is called Bonefish Grill. It has a few locations, and is really accomidating. Also Maggianos (sp?) has gluten-free rice pasta and they have locations all around the country, I think.

Here is the website for finding Bonefish locations.

Here is the Maggiano's location finder.

Lisa

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Ate today in a new restaurant on Route 7 where Fedoras used to be then it was Restaurant 7. Now it is the Essential Grille and has a lot of organic food in an upscale setting. I gave the waiter my card and could see him, the manager and the chef discussing it. He came back and told me 99% iof the food I could order! I had red pepper and crab soup and chicken tarragon salad and hot tea. It was great! I highly recommend this restaurant for Celiacs. :D

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The Great American Restaurant chain has created celiac friendly gluten-free menus for all of their restaurants in Northern Virginia. This includes Mike's American Grill, Artie's, Silverado, Carlyle Grand, Sweetwater, and Coastal Flats. It's not listed on their web site yet, but they have laminated versions at the restaurants. Lots of yummy options.

Visit www.greatamericanrestaurants.com for locations/directions.

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Today we went to lunch at the Buffalo Wing Factory and I had wings out for the first time in over 2 1/2 years! I asked for the manager and showed him my cards. He brought all the ingredients they use, Cattlemens BBQ sauce, Franks Hot Sauce and Cisco butter stuff. I knew the first two were gluten free and saw the allergy statement on the Cisco said contains soy, so I figured I'd be safe. He assured me they have dedicated fryers for their wings and put them in the sauce afterwards. He said they have wings made up that sit under the lights so rather than give me those, he got me fresh ones and used a fryer with fresh oil. They were great! He asked me to call him an hour after I left to let him know if I reacted or not. I was his first Celiac and he did great! His name is Chris and he's the Asst. Mgr. at the Chantilly Virgina Buffalo Wing Factory. I'm such a happy camper!! :D

Terri

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Ahhhhhh, you guys are making me home sick. I grew up in McLean and went to McLean High in the dark ages. Hung out at McDonalds, much to the distress of my father. Believe it or not, I used to ride horses where Tyson's 1 is now. Later I worked at "Susies Casuals", when home from college.

It is all a very strange place for me now, but a good place to be from.

Lisa

McLean High - Class of 73 (now you know how old I am :o )

Lisa

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You're not so far away that you can't come back for a visit! We miss you!!!

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It would be a good week-end away. What a wonderful thought. Where would a good place to meet for dinner and drinks.

I did grow up literally across the street from Ann S. Moore, who is Time/Warner CEO. We played wiffleball in her driveway. That was the place to be. When I could not have soft drinks in my home, I went to Mrs. S's house and got a good dose of cream soda. Ann's mother is the only one that I know who knew all the answers to Jeapordy, never sweat an answer. It is not so much that it's Ann's home place, but it's Mrs. S. house..........the Cantononi was the best you ever tasted.

Ann was in high school then and went on to Vanderbilt U. I wish that my parents were living, I would like to come back. That was my home. My home is here now.

Let's keep in touch you NoVa peeps, I would like to come up an meet you guys.

Lisa

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The Great American Restaurant chain has created celiac friendly gluten-free menus for all of their restaurants in Northern Virginia. This includes Mike's American Grill, Artie's, Silverado, Carlyle Grand, Sweetwater, and Coastal Flats. It's not listed on their web site yet, but they have laminated versions at the restaurants. Lots of yummy options.

Visit www.greatamericanrestaurants.com for locations/directions.

Thanks for the update. I went to Artie's last night. They didn't have a laminated gluten-free menu but the waiter brought me several sheets of paper containing the entire menu color coded with respect to gluten.

Not in my budget for everyday but I took my wife to Ruth's Chris for our anniversary last week and they had a special gluten-free menu there that was presented in a leather folder like the regular menu.

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You're right Tim. Ruth Chris was a good place to go. Much more gluten friendly than Mortons!!! An add on to Harrys Essential Grill, I went again and they brought my soup with croutons floating in it. And even had a big G written down for gluten free! In my chicken salad, I found a piece of bread crust. I didn't eat and won't be back for a while. :( this was after the chef had come out and discussed my menu...

Momma Goose, either Legal Seafood, P F Changs, Bonefish or Blue Iguana would be a great place to meet! Let me know when you're up for the road trip!!

Terri

P.S. One more experience. The Capitol Grille. I had eaten there once before with a great meal and was taken there for lunch a second time. Ordered fish with a lemon sauce. I got so sick! I was sick for three straight days and then felt lousy for a week. It was one of my worst glutenings ever. I should have known when they never came back with questions, only said oh, the chef said this was finel Won't be going back there. :unsure:

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Hummmm, good thought for the first night of the road trip. DC is only 5hrs away. If so, I will PM with contact info.

Looks like lots of options.

Thanks , Lisa

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