Whenever we go to see my grandparents, we go out to eat. My family is highly motivated by food, and also seeing them while we’re all eating eliminates some of the awkward silences known to most families as we clumsily move from topic to topic.

Because of my celiac, I am incredibly limited in where I can eat safely, because a lot of restaurants have gluten free or allergen menus and allergen statements, but a lot of places have food that is rife with cross contamination. Because I am so sensitive to gluten, even the smallest amount of cross contamination can be a big problem for me, so this means that we generally go to the same few places over and over. But the issue with us going out isn’t only my celiac: my mom and sister are vegetarian, and my sister is a very picky eater.

One time when we were going to see my grandparents, we decided to go to Outback Steakhouse after discovering that they have a gluten free menu. We’ve been a few times since, and recently, we discovered that their dessert, Thunder From Down Under is gluten free. My sister ordered one and our waiter asked if we wanted 3 spoons, and I said no, and he said that it’s all gluten free, and that there are no regular flour brownies. We got three spoons. I had about 3 spoonfuls before I had to stop so the richness and wonderfulness of it didn’t make me sick. Any restaurant where I can get a steak and a lobster tail or a steak and shrimp is good with me, especially if I can also get a loaded baked potato or garlic mashed potatoes. And throwing the dessert into consideration means that Outback is basically my new favorite place.

And I have never gotten sick there. This is a huge win. My sister’s favorite restaurant for a long time was Applebee’s (it might still be). We go there from time to time, and I am not opposed to eating there, but it’s entirely hit or miss in terms of cross contamination, and my getting sick. We always tell them that I have a severe gluten problem, and please to make sure that nothing else touches my food, but flour is something that goes airborne remarkably well, plus if a chief puts a burger on a bun using his spatula and that spatula touches the bun and then touches my steak, it could be a problem for me.

When I was a kid, the Fosters beer commercial was my favorite. I like Australian accents, and some of the idioms that come out of the mouths of Aussies. I think they’re funny. While Applebee’s is more of a hometown bar and grill, Outback feels like more of a restaurant somehow, and the one closest to me is now serving Dr. Pepper, which has always been my favorite soda. (I am perpetually trying to remove soda from my diet, but sometimes it is the only thing that works, and I don’t believe in the complete depravation of something that you really like, because that isn’t healthy.) So that’s something else that Outback has going for it.

I can’t wait to go back to Outback (and also to eat my leftovers). If you have food restrictions, how do you cope with them when you go out to eat? What are your favorite places to eat?

Advertisements