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Eating Gluten Free With Friends Visiting

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2 friends are coming to visit tomorrow and when they visit Im very happy to see them! I usually go visit them in my hometown. I kindly order myself a glass of water with a straw of course, and simply enjoy their company. The thing is, back in my hometown there is virtually no options for someone who is a celiac. It is nearly unheard of. Where I live now, there is options, some  I'd like to try because I haven't had a chance to yet. We are talking dedicated gluten free places. Totally worry free, celiac haven. When I mentioned checking it out during their visit, they kinda acted irritated and hesitant. Back in my pre celiac days, I ate at many places I wasn't sure I'd like because friends wanted to, like why not give it a try right? I never liked places like applebees or fridays, but we always used to eat there. I really don't think it's unreasonable for them to try something different while they are here visiting for my upcoming birthday.

 

Im not sure what their concerns are about going to a gluten free place are, if they are worried about the taste or the price or selection or what.

Any thoughts on how to present why I would like to try out one of these dedicated gluten free places? anything? I admit, I do get upset and sometimes im not sure how to approach the situation.

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Maybe if you showed them a menu for the places you are talking about? But, if its a vegan place and they like places like

Applebys,I am not sure they will like it.

What about Red Robin? Or Outback Steakhouse? They do a great job with gluten free but might appeal to an

Applebys fan.

What about having them over for dessert? Like at 8 pm? That way they can eat first and just enjoy some ice cream and gluten-free brownies ( call them flourless cake).

Edited by kareng

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I'm pretty new to all of this and I haven't run across a situation like that yet but I did laugh when I read your post.  It sounds like they reacted as if you just asked them to dine at your local hospital.  :)  I don't really get it but I think this is pretty foreign to a lot of people.  Are there some reviews of this place you can share with them?  Maybe the menu?  They might be picturing tofu burgers and rice smoothies? 

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I'm pretty new to all of this and I haven't run across a situation like that yet but I did laugh when I read your post. It sounds like they reacted as if you just asked them to dine at your local hospital. :) I don't really get it but I think this is pretty foreign to a lot of people. Are there some reviews of this place you can share with them? Maybe the menu? They might be picturing tofu burgers and rice smoothies?

Dine at the hospital? Lol

Tofu burgers on gluten-free sawdust buns! Rice smoothies sounds like rice baby cereal! Yep! That's what we Celaics eat! Lol. :)

yuck-smiley-emoticon.gif

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Karen- Are those places safe? As we know, im new and im still learning and I finally got my biopsy results and im petrified to eat out unless i know im going to be safe. I read alot of 'gluten free' menus online and they all have that warning about cross contamination. It's like why do you have a gluten free menu if you aren't sure there might be gluten? I guess its for dieters? I really wanted to do a tea party at my house but im just not feeling up to getting that together. Really feeling spent these past few weeks, trying to make things easier whenever possible because i feel like the stress and fatigue are a circle. I was planning on making my gluten free brownies or chocolate chip coconut cookie bars (2 recipes i have been working on tweeking to my personal taste) for snacks later in the day like you said. They are traveling from a pretty far distance for them so a full meal will probably be required at some point during the day.

 

Lacey- LOL i feel like maybe they are picturing all of the above. I guess its human nature to fear the unknown, I was thinking falafel? There is a place in town that makes their falafel balls without gluten now. They also have a bar full of veggie topics to add. It's vegan and kosher too. I mean seriously, there might be so tofu but there is plenty of delicious stuff. The other option was a place a couple towns over that has a huge selection of sweets along with some more diner type fare.

 

I will share the reviews for the sawdust, rice smoothies and see how it goes.

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The hospital thing is funny because when i was visiting someone in a hospital in morristown they have an au bon pain there, which actually has amazing food. I would totally voluntarily eat there.

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Dine at the hospital? Lol

Tofu burgers on gluten-free sawdust buns! Rice smoothies sounds like rice baby cereal! Yep! That's what we Celaics eat! Lol. :)

yuck-smiley-emoticon.gif

 

 

 

LOL, right!!  I just found these:  http://www.cafepress.com/mf/76761862/glutenfreeology_tank-top?productId=796565299  Maybe for those days when you feel like scaring your gluten eating friends into worrying you will invite them out for a meal.  :)

 

user001, I have eaten at Red Robin a number of times with no problem.  They are very allergy aware and do a great job.  They have an allergen menu on their site that you can use to avoid a number of different allergens in case you are avoiding more than just gluten.  For me, I put in gluten and dairy and it shows me what is safe.  I haven't tried Outback yet but have heard good things. 

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Every restaurant will give you that disclaimer. I suggested Outback and Red Robin because they are places that have been trained to take extra care for Celiacs.

This is one of the groups that train and " certify" restaurants. They have worked with Outback, Bonefish, California Pizza Kittchen, etc.

https://www.gluten.net/find-a-restaurants/

PF Chang's is great, too!

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Actually the au bon pain, I should add to the list of possible places. Its like a panera but they make this amazing salad that i love. They make it right in front of you and keep the crutons separate in little packets. The dressing is gluten free too and actually pretty low in sugar. Scoreeee

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That's interesting to know. We have been wanting to check out bonefish, there is a few in the area. But that will be for me and my huni, the girls arent adventurous enough to eat sea critters.

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Actually the au bon pain, I should add to the list of possible places. Its like a panera but they make this amazing salad that i love. They make it right in front of you and keep the crutons separate in little packets. The dressing is gluten free too and actually pretty low in sugar. Scoreeee

 

Oh, that's funny.  I just looked up Au Bon Pain, I hadn't heard of them.  There are two near me, one is at the airport and the other is at a hospital.  lol

 

Karen's right, every restaurant has that disclaimer.  I always call ahead to ask about their process and to see if they understand allergies.  You can usually get a pretty good idea as to whether or not you want to eat somewhere based on that call.  Some really get it and some really don't. 

 

If you talk to half a dozen people and only one of them is even aware they have a gluten free menu, you might want to pass.  If you ask if they have a gluten free menu and they respond "We have gluten free soy sauce" you might want to pass.  I asked a sushi restaurant about their process for avoiding cross contamination and they said they "flip the cutting boards and bamboo matts over".  :blink:   I called a pizza place and they were very clear that there was flour everywhere and that it was not safe for Celiacs to eat there. 

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Oh, that's funny.  I just looked up Au Bon Pain, I hadn't heard of them.  There are two near me, one is at the airport and the other is at a hospital.  lol

 

Karen's right, every restaurant has that disclaimer.  I always call ahead to ask about their process and to see if they understand allergies.  You can usually get a pretty good idea as to whether or not you want to eat somewhere based on that call.  Some really get it and some really don't. 

 

If you talk to half a dozen people and only one of them is even aware they have a gluten free menu, you might want to pass.  If you ask if they have a gluten free menu and they respond "We have gluten free soy sauce" you might want to pass.  I asked a sushi restaurant about their process for avoiding cross contamination and they said they "flip the cutting boards and bamboo matts over".  :blink:   I called a pizza place and they were very clear that there was flour everywhere and that it was not safe for Celiacs to eat there.

You might want to try cAlifornia Pizza Kitchen. They have a very limited gluten-free menu. They do that because they keep the gluten-free toppings in their own containers so they don't get cc'd.

Oh.... Forgot, you can't eat dairy. but maybe the OP can?

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At least they are honest! I called the falafel place and they were super helpful and the manager is like I AM VERY FAMILIAR with celiac disease, we take cross contamination very serious here. So that really set me at ease. I love the salads at au bon pain and it really sets me at ease that they make them in a new bowl everytime and right in front of me.

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I've had VERY good luck at both Red Robin and Outback Steak House. That said... the staff can be as knowledgeable as anyone and a mistake can be made while your food's going thru the chain (manager, server, cook/kitchen staff). I'm even afraid of PF Changs even tho they are known for their care in keeping gluten-free food safe. I eat out rarely.

 

The last time I ate at Red Robin, where we had a lengthy conversation with our server, the burger bun was so delicious and out of the ordinary for GFers... I kept saying to the guy, as I bit off yummy bite after bite, "Wow... do you SWEAR this bun is gluten-free???" That plus dedicated fryer French fries... holy cow... I was in burger heaven!!  

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You might want to try cAlifornia Pizza Kitchen. They have a very limited gluten-free menu. They do that because they keep the gluten-free toppings in their own containers so they don't get cc'd.

Oh.... Forgot, you can't eat dairy. but maybe the OP can?

 

There's a Mellow Mushroom near me and they have gluten free pizza AND Daiya dairy free cheese, yummy!!  My kids love it too!!  If you have one near you it is very good pizza!  http://mellowmushroom.com/locations

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You've gotten a lot of great suggestions here. I'd like to add another: explain your illness to your friends, and if they are truly friends they should be happy to eat at any restaurant of your chosing, especially since it's your birthday.

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Bartful- The one is pretty understanding but the other- not so much, she has type 2 diabetes and should be eating healthy, but of course you can lead that horse to water- but you cant make her eat carrots! I have always been willing to go out to healthy places for her but she was actually the one resisting. Now I personally dont have a choice.

 

I actually suspect she might have celiac as well. She has been diagnosed with CFS, as was I, but I have learned CFS isnt really a diagnosis but more like a symptom. I mentioned it to her and she actually shrugged it off and said she might.

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Back to the original question.

I think that you are in a tough position. You don't want the visit to be about what you can and can't eat, and yet you don't want to feel left out.

I might explain to them that you're willing to take a risk in trying a gluten-free item from a restaurant that isn't dedicated, but you should also mention that there is a good chance that you might still have a reaction from cross contamination that could include being a little "moody". Better forewarned so that if it does happen, they don't hold it against you.

I'm not surprised that they don't fully understand what being gluten free means or how good gluten-free foods can taste. I just had a relative stay with me for a week and she was definitely bummed when I said I couldn't eat out, though we still did a couple of times. Though finding food that I feel confident is safe for me is pretty much impossible, I can always find a beverage that I can drink while they dine. And I just cart around food with me so that I can snack before and after the restaurant.

Another option (though probably easier for me in middle age when going out is a lower priority) is to make cooking a meal at home part of the adventure. You can go grocery shopping together and try something new to all of you. My latest new item was snow crab legs and they were FABULOUS! So even if that isn't an option for you now, you can look forward to the day when you make more fabulous meals than anything you can find eating out.

Oh, and make sure to stop by the forum after this weekend and let us know how it went, good or bad.

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This is probably going to come off as a bit snappish and with more than a little attitude, and frankly, that is just fine.

 

It's your freaking birthday. And finally instead of visiting where there is nothing you know there are completely safe options. You've sat and had water and watched them eat and simply enjoyed the company. If they don't want to eat the food at a gluten free place because they're afraid it won't be good or of the prices, or who cares why frankly, it's still their turn to order water or a drink. If they have no desire to do what you've been doing so you can, finally, for once, and on your damned birthday, enjoy a good and safe meal out... then as other say, celiac is a good jerkometer. There is nothing stopping them from grabbing some fast food or bringing a cooler.

 

I compromise all the time on all sorts of things. I don't on my birthday. By the gods the world will revolve around me for 24 hours and people that can't get on board can be thrown overboard. (By the way, I totally am actually loads of fun and have friends... I haven't scared them all off with my attitude problem. Most of them actually love that I put up with no nonsense and tell it like it is. I'm not just a snarky witch who has driven off the whole world with this type of rant.)

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I find that a lot of people act supportive, but when you ask them to eat your gluten-free food they turn their nose up at it because people don't like eating things that are "different".  If you suggest a restaurant to eat at and they start to him haw about it, just tell them you all are going and that is it.  Don't say it in a way that gives them an option.  People, even ones who are familiar with gluten-free and the needs of a Celiac, have a perception that gluten-free is gross hippie food.  They need to just get over it.

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