We have been eating at restaurants forever. After we had kids, it became a bit of a challenge, because kids tend to be more picky about what they eat and their ‘standby’s’ may not always be on the menu. When our family became gluten free, going to restaurants was sometimes impossible, often resulting in many tears and often hunger! However, when we are at home, we have the luxury of being able to cook good meals that we know are safe and eating at restaurants is not that appealing. However, when traveling, it is a completely different story!
I know that I have mentioned glutenfreeregistry.com in the past. Well here is another fabulous website when you are traveling and looking for a restaurant in a pinch. It is called http://www.allergyeats.com. On this site all you need to do is check off the foods you are allergic to, the town and zip code you are interested in dining at, as well as the distance you are willing to travel. It then gives you a list of restaurants based on quality; 5 stars being the best and 1 star being the worst. As far as I could decipher, this star system is not based on how well they take care of food allergies. It also shows a map, directions, and offers a restaurant website if they have one. It also offers allergen information for that restaurant if it is available. And if you are lucky, there is even a gluten free menu if you need one. I like this because my kids can plan in advance what they can eat so it is not a disappointment or surprise when they get to the restaurant.
In addition, you will need to call the restaurant ahead of time anyway. There are two important reasons for this. One, sometimes a restaurant will run out of, say the gluten free pizza dough, and so you want to call and make sure a. they make it, and b. they have it in stock for when you will be there. Secondly, you should check to make sure the restaurant still exists because I am not sure how often they update this sight, and restaurants are closing all the time. If you are really organized, you will call from home before you travel, so you are not ‘winging it’ when you get on the road. When we were in Boston, we drove around for 2 hours one night looking for somewhere to eat. I assumed that a local Red Robin had food that we could eat, but I did not call first. When we got there, everything was made with soybean oil and we had to leave. Driving around for 2 hours in a strange town with 2 very hungry kids is not something I ever want to experience again! When you have confirmed that the restaurant is there and it has the food you want, remind your waiter or waitress that you have food allergies and that the food needs to be prepared a certain way. The cook does not know unless you tell them and just because French fries or vegetable soup seems harmless, if they spike it with a little MSG, that can change the whole ballgame.
An old favorite in our house is a good sourdough bread. Thick and chewy and just a little sour. I found that although it tastes very different, this bread was a nice substitute for sourdough bread.
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup arrowroot
1 ¾ tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup non-dairy milk substitute
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 tsp baking powder
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
½ tsp distilled white vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ loaf pan with vegetable oil and dust with rice flour. When the oven gets to the right temperature, turn it OFF and do not open the door.
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, or in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs, vinegar, and oil. Add most of the water, saving a few tablespoons.
Slowly fold in flour mixture a little at a time, with mixer on low setting.
Add the remaining water to attain this texture. With the mixer on high, beat for several minutes or until the dough is smooth and well-blended.
Pour into the greased and floured pan, cover with a dishtowel and allow to rise in the warm oven for 30 minutes or until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
Turn the oven back on to 375 F and bake for 10 minutes.
Cover with tin foil and bake for another 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Immediately remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.