I realize that I'm a little behind on blogging about some of my recent dining out experiences - and they were all fantastic!
For my birthday, I spent almost two hours researching restaurants in Lakeview where I could easily eat gluten free with my friends. I was googling and yelping restaurants and finally returned to one of my first finds: Wilde. The theatre geek in me was super excited about going to a pub and restaurant named after famous playwright Oscar Wilde. The gluten and lactose intolerant in me was thrilled at their GLUTEN FREE MENU! (See here to check out all their delicious options! http://wildechicago.com/IMAGES/WILDE_GlutenFreeMenu.pdficago.com/IMAGES/WILDE_GlutenFreeMenu.pdf) I ordered their Wilde Burger with a gluten-free bun and said that I was also allergic to dairy - so no cheese and no buttered bun. Then my waitress revealed that she too was gluten and dairy free! I was super excited by that - she said that should would make sure they took good care of my food in the kitchen. This was one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had. The whisky added a nice touch, too. ;-) For my side, I had herbed brown rice - also delicious. One of the most amazing parts of the meal was the hamburger bun. I had not had that much luck with bread at that point, so it was thrilling to have bread that tasted like actual bread. (It was worth the upcharge of the gf-bun; the burgers can also be ordered sans bun.) I would love to return to Wilde and try more of their food, otherwise that Wilde Burger is a delicious default option! (P.S. My friends all were raving about their food as well - including the mac and cheese - but I was too busy obsessing over my mouth-watering food to pay that much attention!)
Last week, a friend and I dined at Flat Top Grill. I am always a fan of stir-fry, but a stir-fry restaurant that is super allergy aware? I'm in heaven! http://www.flattopgrill.com/allergies.html The dairy intolerance really doesn't come into play if you are creating a stir-fry; with the exception of the Mu-Shu wraps, all of their dairy items (grand total of 4) are part of dessert. I came to the restaurant with a print out of their web page so I could make good food choices. I shared it with my waitress, who returned with their allergen binder so I could look at the ingredients in their sauces, since they had more sauces available than what was on-line. For the non-marinated meat, my waitress was able to go to the kitchen and get my beef for me (it looked like all the meat they have out was marinated, but I could be wrong.) I had a brown rice bowl with beef, ginger water, rice wine vinegar, and LOTS of veggies! Since their allergen guide says "Feel free to use: All Vegetables" I went to town with adding some vegetables that were new to me. I had endame and a few others new vegetables, whose names now escape me. I added a white stick to my bowl and it was cooked in its own wok, so cross-contamination risks were greatly lowered. My waitress was great and even brought out gf soy sauce to our table for me! I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed dining here! I hope all Flat Top locations are as welcoming as the one I went to!
For dessert after our stir-fry dinner, my friend suggested Oberweis Dairy. Thanks to my blog inspired can-do attitude, I said that sounded like a great idea! I glanced at the menu and decided that I could not figure navigate the menu myself, so I asked the cashier if they have anything that was lactose-free. They had one option! Lemon Sorbet. I asked if she knew if it was also gluten-free. Since she did not know, she pulled out a binder that had their allergen chart (same one as here: http://www.oberweis.com/web/pdf/retail_nutrition/Allergen_Summary.pdf). The lemon sorbet was both dairy and gluten free! The cashier even showed me the chart so I could see for myself what allergens were in my sorbet of choice (which I love!). My sorbet (which was delicious) was served in a glass container with a metal spoon. My friend (who ordered ice cream) had his served in a paper cup with a plastic spoon. Next time, I think I will pay more attention to the different options of "cups" (since cones are clearly out unless I am in an allergy-friendly location) and request a disposable to cut down on any cross-contamination risk. I really enjoyed knowing that I could still go out and "get ice cream" with my friends without any issues!