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Olivegirl

Travelling In Us

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Hello all! I'm Australian and I'm currently travelling around the US for one month or so. This means I'm eating out a lot. However, I'm finding that many places simply don't know what i mean when I ask about gluten free options. So I want to ask you guys, is it better to perhaps say 'wheat free', or perhaps even 'coeliac disease'?? I don't seem to have as many problems with this at home, so I figured maybe I wasn't saying the right thing?! Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm currently in Washington DC and will be heading to new Orleans, Seattle and Alaska.

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Your country is certainly ahead of us when it comes to these things. I find the word "allergy" works much better than anything else, followed by a simple description of the things you can't have (bread, flour, wheat etc).

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yeah... We are still struggling with general awareness over here, but it is getting better than it was. The wheat "allergy" is a helpful buzz word, even though we all know that "wheat" doesn't accurately reflect our needs. Have you found the chain restaurants that have gluten free menus? I am not sure what's on the east coast, but on the west coast there is Outback, PF Changs, & Red Robin, among others... If you have regular access to the internet I would just recommend doing your homework that way first before you venture out. Hope you have a great time here!!

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Hello all! I'm Australian and I'm currently travelling around the US for one month or so. This means I'm eating out a lot. However, I'm finding that many places simply don't know what i mean when I ask about gluten free options. So I want to ask you guys, is it better to perhaps say 'wheat free', or perhaps even 'coeliac disease'?? I don't seem to have as many problems with this at home, so I figured maybe I wasn't saying the right thing?! Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm currently in Washington DC and will be heading to new Orleans, Seattle and Alaska.

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Welcome to the United States of Confusion. :blink:

No, they are not hearing you. Don't worry, they don't hear us natives, either.

I eat out at a pizza place with a genuine gluten free pizza option sometimes, and have had good luck there. I talked to the owner a few times, and while he and his cooks could make a good gluten free pizza, they didn't know what the symptoms were of celiac, nor were they quite sure what it was, nor that there are some of us who get neurological symptoms instead because it was an auto immune reaction to a protein. They just knew to be very careful with the ingredients, and to keep wheat gluten out of those pizzas, otherwise the customers could get sick. So it was an interesting exchange as I explained that.

When we eat out, before I order, if we haven't been there before, and the place doesn't have a dedicated gluten free menu, my beloved spouse will give the waitstaff the eye and say "she's really allergic to wheat" implying that I might suddenly keel over if I accidentally get a morsel. While this isn't technically correct, it does get the idea across that I can't have wheat gluten proteins.

I then go into my little talk, about how I need to avoid ALL wheat, rye, and barley, and say that if the kitchen cooperates I'm sure we can find something something I can handle, and I watch the waitress or waiter carefully. If they volunteer to go talk to the chef, that's a good sign. If they say no problem and try to steer me towards something that is iffy, that is a bad sign.

Some places are just clueless. I did this one time, and the meat shows up with a little bowl of mystery sauce next to it anyway, because the waiter was sure I'd like it if I just tried it. :huh:

Another time, I asked at a county fair food booth which sold giant baked potatoes only, if they knew what was in the sour cream, and they understood immediately what I meant, and fetched the gallon sized jug of it and propped it up on the counter so I could read the label. It was indeed just made of cream, I explained about needing a plain potato so could they be careful where they cut it, and a few seconds later I've got a big potato for dinner that didn't have any gluten contamination. It's funny when you find situations like that. There are some towns around here with more people who are of Northern European/ UK descent and that helps.

I normally go for the plain meat, potato, and salad or plain steam vegetables routine.

For the salad I ask them to please just bring me some oil, vinegar, and a lemon wedge. I use the oil, skip the vinegar, and use the lemon for it, instead on the salad. You must tell them that they have to make a fresh salad, and not just pick the croutons off.

I would be using the google search and at each place/town you're staying in, google "gluten free [name of town] " and see what pops up- you'd be surprised. You can also do this for restaurant chains. We also on this forum have a restaurant section that you can search.

Some Japanese sushi places are good, as are some Thai places- the pad Thai noodle dish is normally gluten free and it is easy to keep it that way. Some East Indian foods are gluten free, like rice and lentils, other than the flat breads.

Beware the corn tortillas unless you read the labels as some of the tortilla manufacturers are putting in a lot of stuff.

Also, many health food stores will have gluten free items you can buy to make your own breakfasts and lunches, if you don't want the hassle.

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Seattle's fantastic--I was there back in July and had no real problems eating out. (Eating with my friend's family, on the other hand, turned into me cooking to save us all a headache.)

As for Alaska, I can honestly say: tell me where, and I can probably tell you what's actually safe.

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Hello all! I'm Australian and I'm currently travelling around the US for one month or so. This means I'm eating out a lot. However, I'm finding that many places simply don't know what i mean when I ask about gluten free options. So I want to ask you guys, is it better to perhaps say 'wheat free', or perhaps even 'coeliac disease'?? I don't seem to have as many problems with this at home, so I figured maybe I wasn't saying the right thing?! Thanks in advance for any advice. I'm currently in Washington DC and will be heading to new Orleans, Seattle and Alaska.

Olive Garden Restuarants have a gluten free menu and I believe they are everywhere in the united states so check the phone book and find one! My preferred place to eat out!

If you're going for fast food.....Wendy's has an allergen menu posted on the wall.....chili and frosty's are safe! So is most of their dressings for salads.....I get a burger with lettuce leaves instead of a bun....still satisfying!

Yes, allergen list is the preferred language - and I usually say....you know, like lactose intolerance! and then they 'get it'.

Otherwise, there are alot of health food stores that carry gluten free foods as well as grocery stores that have a gluten-free section too! Snacks are readily available and so is the pasta.

You can always call in advance and speak to the managers and they'll help clue you in on their procedures.....like a Cracker Barrel restaurant - no bread is used on the same grill as eggs or meat! And they have a list that will help you once you're there - so it's ok to order the steak and eggs with grits......fried apples and bacon too.

Mashed taters there are real so those are ok! (It's home cooked food at it's best in the US of A!

Stay connected with the forum and we'll take care of you!

Welcome!

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Wow - thanks guys. I didn't expect so many answers so quickly! That's really useful information. I'll start using the words wheat and allergy and do more Internet research before arriving somewhere :-)

To AKCollegestudent: in Alaska, I'm going to Juneau, anchorage and Fairbanks.

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Wow - thanks guys. I didn't expect so many answers so quickly! That's really useful information. I'll start using the words wheat and allergy and do more Internet research before arriving somewhere :-)

To AKCollegestudent: in Alaska, I'm going to Juneau, anchorage and Fairbanks.

Fairbanks should have gluten free baked goods, sold by Almond Hearth. I haven't been back to Fairbanks since I was a small child, so I can't speak to the restaurants and stores with absolute certainty. However, if you're willing to buy food, both Carrs Safeway and Fred Meyers have decent selections of specialty items and other grocery items. A quick search on Urbanspoon tells me that Ivory Jack's and Azucar Fina should be safe. As ever, call first to make certain. There's also Boston's, which has gluten free pizza and has, at least in Anchorage, never poisoned me.

Juneau's a small town; any place you're going to eat at is first assessed by the following test: ask a local where they'd eat, and if the restaurant is knowledgeable about allergies and/or willing to work with the customer. That should be enough (coupled with calling) to have peace of mind.

In Anchorage, there's Outback and Lonestar, and Red Robin. Those are the chain restaurants that are good about gluten. That said, I'd recommend Organic Oasis, Marx Brothers, picking up stuff from Natural Pantry (or Fred Meyer. In Anchorage, half the Carrs Safeways either a. have a strange selection or b. is seriously sketchy. Take this into account.), Greek Corner, Europa carries gluten free baked goods (by Almond Hearth), Paris Bakery--which is actually a fantastic restaurant after 5pm, Puerto Vallarta's and Boston's.

Oh! And pick up reindeer sausage. It's quite good, and I've never been glutened by it--even when grabbing it from street vendors.

Hopefully, that's a good number of places to get you started.

And I can't stress this enough---don't ask about Olive Garden in AK. We don't have one, but they keep promising to eventually show up. It's kind of a sore point for Alaskans. You really don't want to hear the rant, and having it inflicted upon you is cruel and unusual. Cracker Barrels aren't up in AK either; Wendy's does not list their allergens in the AK chains; I wouldn't risk it. And no PF Chang's either.

(On that note, while we have fantastic Asian food, it's probably safest not to even try. I've managed it successfully about half the time, but it usually devolves into charades.)

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I second the recommendation to say "allergy" too because intolerance and celiac doesn't mean much to your average person who doesn't struggle with this.

On the east coast we have some of those same chains, these are ones that I know have gluten-free options; PF Changs, Outback, The 99, Paparazzi, Bertucci's, Uno's, Five Guy's Burgers, Chipotle.

When the restaurant doesn't have a specific gluten-free menu I usually go for the fish and some steamed veggies or a burger and side salad. I skip the dressing too and eat it plain or with some lemon.

Have a great trip!!

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