September 8, 2010 | 10:30am
If you, like me, can't eat gluten -- a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye -- you can't eat regular bread, pasta, and
cereals. But oh no, it doesn't stop there. Many common food items like
spices and hard candy have the nasty devil in there too. That's why
people with Celiac Disease have to be aware of what they're consuming.
According to the website celiac.com, 1 in 133 Americans can't consume gluten. Symptoms can include sluggishness and bloating. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, was relatively unheard-of until recent years, when more doctors started recognizing it and celebrities began touting a gluten-free diet. (Chelsea Clinton's wedding cake was reportedly gluten-free.)
It used to be that celiacs were confined to eating gluten-free gruel at home, but now, thankfully, restaurants are finally hopping on the gluten-free gravy train and tweaking their menus with some delicious eats for all us celiacs.
Here are five chain establishments that offer gluten-free menus.
Carrabba's offers both gluten-free food and gluten-free alcohol menus. The tricky part of Carrabba's menu is that you have to specially request that certain items are left out. For instance, the menu asks you to specify no croutons when ordering a salad. The waiters don't already know this. Carrabba's also doesn't have a specifically gluten-free grill. This can be a problem for true celiacs who can get sick just from cross-contamination.
To see Carrabba's gluten-free menu, click here.
This earth-saving restaurant offers a gluten-free pizza, and it's damned delicious. Many GF breads are thick and dense, but Pizza Fusion manages to make the pizza dough as real-tasting as possible. The problem? It offers the GF pizza in personal or large sizes only -- and the large is huuuge.
To see Pizza Fusion's menu, click here.
3. Bonefish Grill
Everything gluten-free on the menu is labeled with a giant, bold "GF," making it pretty hard to miss. They also offer an entire gluten-free alcohol menu. Mmmm... blueberry martinis!
To see Bonefish Grill's GF menu, click here.
This chain was almost our number-one pick. Its GF menu has 28 options that taste like they're chock-full of gluten. But they aren't! The "Better Lemon Chicken" is delicious and will make you crave the leftovers.
To see P.F. Chang's GF menu, click here (then click the Gluten Free link.)
This menu competed with P.F. Chang's for the number-one spot but ultimately won because it offers 49 options. That impresses the heck out of us. It offers a wide selection of GF options including seafood, chowders, and appetizers. The thing that really blew us away? It also defines the allergy right there. In. Black. Print. Also, unlike Carrabba's, Legal Sea Foods offers GF croutons and caesar dressing.
To see the Legal Sea Foods GF menu, click here.