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abby03

Nervous About First Time Eating Out

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Im going for a weekend vacation soon this month and plan to eat out on a Saturday night. It'll be my first time eating out since going gluten free and I'm pretty nervous. I'm a pretty shy person and have a hard time explaining my need to be gluten free to people. I think I'm going to try to at Margaritaville since they have a gluten free menu. http://margaritavillemyrtlebeachcom.s3.amazonaws.com/content/img/GF_menu_0410.pdf

I plan on ordering the grilled chicken with island rice and seasonal veggies. We'll probably be visiting on a Saturday night so I know it will be packed. (bad, I know.) I need tips on how to handle it. Do I ask our waiter for a gluten-free menu or ask the host before we sit down? Do I ask for the manager? Is it safe to drink from the cups there? I know to ask if the Chicken is grilled on a clean or separate surface but what about the rice and veggies? Any precautions there? I'm kinda freaking out haha. I just really want to enjoy this trip! Please please help.

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I definitely had the same concerns before the first time I ate out gluten free. Just this past weekend, we were celebrating my fiance's birthday (non-celiac) and he really wanted to go to this Asian-fusion place in our town. They did not have a gluten free menu, so I called the manager early in the day (to avoid the crowds) and spoke with him to verify how they cook their grilled chicken and white rice. When I came in that night, he came over to our table to verify that my food was being cooked right - it came out awesome and they were soooo accommodating!

Here are my suggestions to you - call the manager ahead of time and let him/her know when you are coming in. Let them know how you need to have your food prepared. The more casual (but firm) and relaxed you sound, the better of a reaction you will get. Also, bring your own gluten-free sauces. They do sell them in food stores. I brought gluten free Teriyaki, Soy, and Thai Peanut Sauce for my chicken and rice. Ask for everything plain and just use your own sauce. If I drink out of their glasses (which I usually do) I just ask for a straw.

It IS hard the first time and it WILL get better. There definitely will be slip ups and its just part of the learning curve. You'll get the hang of it!!!

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If the place has a gluten-free menu, always, always, always ask to see it, even if you know it by heart. When ordering, I usually also tend to throw the phrase "gluten-free" around - "I'll take the gluten free XXX..." and if there are instructions about how to order (order without the bun, order without the bread, etc.) I'll repeat those to the server too. Never hurts to repeat. And it also never hurts to ask questions (that's not marinated in soy sauce, right?).

When a resteraunt of note (such as Margaritaville) has a gluten-free menu I'm usually more confident that they'll get things right - they're not strangers gluten-free requests, and if something was obviously NOT gluten free, it'd get pulled from the menu quickly.

And if you will be there during a busy time, be patient. You may even want to tell your wait person that if your food will take longer to not wait on the rest of the table, etc. It's better to be a little late to the table and done correctly than rushed & not safe.

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