For anyone with a food allergy or intolerance, daily life can get a bit complicated. You have to read all ingredients before purchasing anything, and eating out can become a real pain in the behind. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel downright embarrassed when I’m the person holding up the line because I can’t just order something off the menu. On one hand, it’s AWESOME that so many places are becoming more aware of things like gluten intolerance and Celiac. On the other hand, many places still have to go WAAAAAY out of their way to make sure that you are taken care of to the best of their ability.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very appreciative of those places that take Celiac and gluten intolerance seriously. It’s gratifying to know that I don’t have to cook EVERYTHING I eat, and that I have “normal” options should I so desire to take myself out… or in the (fairly uncommon) event that someone ELSE wants to take me out. I just feel bad when a manager has to be called so they can scrub up like a doctor going into surgery before my food can be made, sometimes holding up the line behind me. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel quite conspicuous during these experiences. LOL!
Now, if you have a food allergy or intolerance and you travel as much as I do for work (or perhaps for pleasure), you know that finding viable options for feeding yourself can become even trickier. I think we all have our go to places close to home where we know we’ll be well taken care of. Perhaps there’s a local diner that’s like your own version of CHEERS; that place where everyone knows your name, and the chef knows exactly what you can and cannot have and enjoys the challenge of pleasing your palate every time you come in. THAT is an ideal situation! However, what happens when you’re in a new city for the first time? Sure, there are certain chain restaurants you know you can always go to, but what if the rest of your work crew is going somewhere you’ve never heard of? I know that I personally get a bit nervous every time food comes up on a work trip. Luckily, I work with some absolutely fabulous people who know that I have food restrictions and are open to discussing whether or not I’m able to find anything on the menu ahead of time so that I can do a bit of research before I find myself sitting at a table sipping iced tea and staring longingly at their food and wishing for even a measly salad.
On my last trip, I actually had the opportunity to travel home and see my family. My parents, being as big on food as I am, have been scouting out new restaurants with fabulous food and gluten free options. It occurred to me that perhaps I should start sharing the places where I’ve had good experiences eating fabulous food for those people out there who might be having the same difficulties I’ve had. SO, in among the other musings that come into my (sometimes scary) mind, I will also be making posts about “Mandie friendly” restaurants that I’m able to enjoy in my various wanderings. Please feel free to leave suggestions as well. Maybe together we can map the friendliest restaurants in the US!