Friday, June 21, 2013

seattle snacking: a gluten free guide to eating in seattle! (part 1)

Okay, let me just tell you now that this is in no way a complete guide. It's merely a review of some of the restaurants we had the pleasure of visiting while in Seattle.

This is the first time I've been in the states since my Celiac diagnosis and I was very nervous to leave the safe confines of my gluten free kitchen. I did a lot of research prior to our trip and was pleased to see that the Seattle area has a huge variety of gluten free options. Of course, I knew I'd have the added difficulty of finding places that also have corn free items!

Our first stop after leaving SeaTac was Haley's Corner Bakery in Kent. I had emailed Janet, one of the owners, about the possibility of corn free products and she said there were several menu items that would be safe for me to consume. When we went to the store, they had a handy allergen menu. It listed every item on the menu and possible allergens that each item might contain. It was so easy to figure out what I could and couldn't have, and it was a breath of fresh air to know I didn't have to worry about cross contamination since it was a 100% gluten free bakery.

We each had a slice of the deep dish pizza, which was fabulous, and I took home a few burger buns. I later used these to make some delicious sandwiches with other ingredients from Whole Foods! I recommend that if you get the buns, you use them within 24 hours of your purchase. The first one tasted great, but the second one was more dry and crumbly.

Our second restaurant experience was an Asian restaurant in downtown Seattle: Wild Ginger. I had read a few reviews on this restaurant and had heard they had a great selection of gluten free options. I didn't call ahead, figuring that an Asian restaurant probably wouldn't use corn in every dish. That's what I get for assuming, I guess...

Apparently all of their gluten free dishes are made with corn oil, which is used to velvet the chicken. Our server was extremely knowledgeable and accommodating, though, and she checked with the chef to see if something could be worked out. We had been prepared to find another restaurant, but they worked to modify the item I wanted so it was safe to eat. I ordered the pad thai - they used a different oil and left the chicken "nude" (in her words). She had warned it might not taste as flavorful, but said they would do everything possible to make it a safe meal.

She brought it out and it smelled divine. It tasted even better - I was expecting a meal that wasn't up to par compared to what my non-gluten free companions had ordered, but it was spectacular! My modified gluten free/corn free pad thai was the essence of perfection and we could not have been happier with our experience at Wild Ginger!

Our third restaurant (keep in mind that most of these were not in the same day!!) was the Old Spaghetti Factory. Anyone who has known me for almost any duration of time knows that this is one of my absolute favorite restaurants ever. When I found out several months ago that they had gluten free items, I was so excited! Then, came the corn allergy. Their gluten free noodles are, of course, made of corn. I went to the location in Lynnwood, because that specific restaurant had the best reviews concerning accommodations and cross contamination. Figuring the answer would be a resounding "no," but knowing it wouldn't hurt to ask, I spoke to a manager and let him know my situation. I had found some gluten free/corn free noodles at Whole Foods and asked if it were possible to have the chefs cook those noodles with their sauce so I could eat there. The manager I spoke with made it sound like it was impossible and he couldn't believe I was even asking. After checking with the general manager, he begrudgingly said that the general manager had said it'd be no problem, but said that our wait time would be longer so I'd have to come in during a time that wasn't busy. I was ecstatic that the general manager had said we could do it, and was perfectly fine going in at a time they weren't typically busy!

We called ahead to let them know when we'd be coming in, and planned our dinner for 8:00 on Thursday. The last thing I wanted to do was stress out the cooks, so we planned a time that we figured the restaurant would be at its slowest. Our server was awesome and made sure to wash her hands before touching my plate (and to-go-box). The food was delicious as always, and it was such a relief to know that I could eat at my favorite restaurant without getting sick. For those who are gluten free, there are a few salad dressings, menu options, and desserts to choose from. For those who also have corn allergies, you can safely order the balsamic vinegarette dressing (with no croutons, obviously), but no spumoni. May was happy to claim mine, though, and we had a wonderful time!

Click here for Part Two of the Seattle Snacking series!

1 comment:

Tamara said...

One of the places I hope to visit in the next 2 years :-) so glad to have these resources. What do you mean you didn't eat at these places all in one day? Sounds like a day in my life lmao