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After the holidays, I've committed to a strict gluten-free (wheat gluten) diet for at least a month. I don't want to avoid eating out during that time, so I have been gathering information on menus and ingredients.

I think most Asian food is out, because of the wheat in most soy sauces used in cooking. I'd love to know about any exceptions.

I'd love to hear from folks in the industry on this: What, if any, menu items are truly wheat-free in your restaurant (I'll bet a large number are)? What is your experience in serving patrons with this particular dietary requirement? What should I, as a patron in your restaurant, say or do before and during my meal?

Thanks in advance!

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We have quite a number of gluten sensitive regulars and we hve been mentioned on at least one gluten free dining list. . We have polenta and we have few items with "hidden" gluten ingredients. Most of our mains either are flour/gluten free or can be made as such.

Cross contamination is always an issue in restaurants to be aware of. So for example even if we had gluten free pasta on house, with our one pasta cooker it would be impossible to have gluten free pasta served. But any of our non gluten pasta sauces (ie not the lasagnette sauce or the boar sauce, could be put atop polenta).

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After the holidays, I've committed to a strict gluten-free (wheat gluten) diet for at least a month. I don't want to avoid eating out during that time, so I have been gathering information on menus and ingredients.

I think most Asian food is out, because of the wheat in most soy sauces used in cooking. I'd love to know about any exceptions.

I'd love to hear from folks in the industry on this: What, if any, menu items are truly wheat-free in your restaurant (I'll bet a large number are)? What is your experience in serving patrons with this particular dietary requirement? What should I, as a patron in your restaurant, say or do before and during my meal?

Thanks in advance!

A friend has celiac disease and was fine during our trip to Korea, despite the fact that most of the red pepper pastes and soy sauces do have some quantity of wheat in them. He just avoided noodles and pancakes. Vietnamese may also work for you since fish sauce is used more than soy. Our local Vietnamese restaurant's owner was kind enough to consult with me when I went gluten free for a few weeks this summer to see whether that did anything for me. (It didn't.) But on the whole, language barriers are likely to sabotage your efforts in Asian restaurants.

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A friend has celiac disease and was fine during our trip to Korea, despite the fact that most of the red pepper pastes and soy sauces do have some quantity of wheat in them. He just avoided noodles and pancakes. Vietnamese may also work for you since fish sauce is used more than soy. Our local Vietnamese restaurant's owner was kind enough to consult with me when I went gluten free for a few weeks this summer to see whether that did anything for me. (It didn't.) But on the whole, language barriers are likely to sabotage your efforts in Asian restaurants.

I second that- and language barrier is going to be the foil in most restaurants, no matter what cuisine. I once went to a Mexican restaurant that assured me they didn't use soybean oil... to find out they marinated the chicken in soy sauce. Then there was the cashier at Wasabi who told me I could have low sodium soy sauce :P . Your best bet is to talk to a manager, and to carry a food allergy buddy card, listing explicitly what you are allergic to and where it may lurk, and hand it to your server to pass on to the kitchen. As I'm sure you've noticed, it's surprising what ingredients you'll find in processed foods.

On another note, the Jose Andres restaurants are very very good at handling allergy concerns, as are Dino, California Pizza Kitchen, Komi, Chop't, and Momojiki (the new sushi place in Chinatown), to name a few.

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Vietnamese is by far the safest of the Asian food restaurants since almost all dishes I've ordered have been soy-sauce free. Sushi restaurants (Sushi Ko in particular) are usually fine with people bringing in gluten-free soy sauce to eat with their sushi. With the exception of moules and frittes, would stay away from French as things you don't expect to be breaded sometimes are plus there's the issue with roux. My fiance (the one with celiac) has never had a problem ordering a burger without the bun. Hope this helps.

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I heard from one friend that fries are dangerous, because a lot of times they get coated with flour and not just the battered ones.

The Missus gets them almost everywhere and there are rarely problems. Usually, fresh cut fries are fine, frozen ones are the problem. General rule of thumb: ask.

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I heard from one friend that fries are dangerous, because a lot of times they get coated with flour and not just the battered ones.

It's usually not the fries themselves, it's what they are sharing the fryer with (chicken fingers, onion rings, wings, etc.). Fries are usually the only un-battered things that's been immersed in that oil. Cross-contamination is pretty much impossible to avoid in that situation. Granted, the possibility for contamination is fairly small, but if you are holding to a strict GF diet it's best to avoid.

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We have a friend coming to stay with us for a week. She was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. While we will no doubt do some cooking at home, I'd really like for her (and her husband, no food allergies with him) to try some restaurants. I know that we can maneuver around many menus, are there any good restaurants that may be even more amenable, even having a gluten-free menu? Someone told me that the Austin Grill has one, and that may be fine for a lunch while touring, I'd really like to take them to places with better food.

thanks!!!!

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We have a friend coming to stay with us for a week. She was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. While we will no doubt do some cooking at home, I'd really like for her (and her husband, no food allergies with him) to try some restaurants. I know that we can maneuver around many menus, are there any good restaurants that may be even more amenable, even having a gluten-free menu? Someone told me that the Austin Grill has one, and that may be fine for a lunch while touring, I'd really like to take them to places with better food.

thanks!!!!

Check out DC Gluties -- they are very helpful.

I have no idea if Oyamel has a gluten-free menu but my friend who has to avoid all dairy (even tiny bits of butter used for cooking) had her jaw hit the floor when she found out they had a complete dairy-free menu at the ready -- not just a list, but one all printed up. Makes me think they may also do the same for celiac, as it's fairly common these days...

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Not sure if it's beyond the price range and atmosphere you are seeking, but the gluten-free bread at Restaurant Eve practically makes me cry with joy. It's *real* bread, not a haphazard afterthought.

Insofar as GF menus, wow, great question. I look forward to seeing the responses here.

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As mentioned above Oyamel does have an actual GF menu (a printed menu with annotations for GF, dairy, and a couple other common food allergies). My wife has celiac, here is just a sampling of what we have found good around town:

- The Jose Andres empire: Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya all have specific GF printed menus

- Rustico for pizza, the best we've had in the area. Pete's in Columbia Heights also does a GF pie that is pretty good (still prefer Rustico)

- For a quick dessert or treat Hello Cupcake in Dupont has a GF cupcake of the day. I actually prefer the banana/peanut butter one to the "real" version. By far the best GF cupcakes in town

- Various Thai places in town are aware and will accommodate (they stock or use GF soy sauce; most traditional Thai soy sauces are GF, Chinese and Japanese not so much). Regent Thai in particular is a favorite

- We've had great success at Dino by calling ahead, substituting polenta in pasta dishes where desired

- Zengo has a separate menu; we've only sampled their fare at an event, but it sounds like there are several options

- If you are going to splurge Komi did a fantastic job making substitutions on the tasting menu. We didn't miss the non-GF offerings at all

Even for places that don't offer a specific GF menu we have had good success just calling ahead during off hours and asking to speak with a manager or chef. Generally they will let you know up front if there will be several options. As people who pre-celiac-diagnosis dined out at lots of different places we've been pleased at the breadth of options available to us in DC without having to resort to chains that are "known" for their GF menus. Often all it takes is a little pre-dining leg work. Good luck!

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Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions.

TedE - it sounds like the two of you have really done your research on this. As we hit Dino's with regularity, I'd already spoken to Dean about it and he assured me that it would be a fairly easy accommodation. I can also see the pizza and beer at Rustico's being on the agenda, as well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

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Cmmp,

I hope you'll report back how things went with your friends.

I've been eating gluten-free for 10 months now. While I have not yet tried the GF bread at Restaurant Eve, I know it's available with a day's notice. Many of their dishes are already gluten-free, and the kitchen is willing to make some accommodations (one day at lunch I had sweetbreads without the dusting of flour, for example). If you order coffee, remind them not to put the biscotti on the saucer.

We had a lovely and safe dinner at Vidalia for our anniversary.

Just this last Sunday we had a delightful and safe dinner at Dino. Dean and his kitchen staff have re-worked the wild boar sauce so that IT is GF, and they will serve that and any of their other GF sauces over polenta on request--and the polenta was delicious!

Blue Duck Tavern has been very accommodating on recent visits, where the chef marked up a menu for me with what was "safe" (OK, he missed one or two obvious dishes, but I was alert for that).

All of Jose Andres's restaurants have special printed menus for special diets, including GF. At Zaytinya they served me slices of cucumber for the hummus and baba ganouj spreads.

Chipotle is safe, as long as you avoid the flour tortillas.

I enjoyed the GF pizza and beer at Rustico recently. A word of caution, though: their menu states that they can make any dish GF. But what that means is they remove unsafe foods from the orders, so for example, the pan-roasted chicken breast with corn cous-cous, fried green tomatoes and goat cheese would become pan-roasted chicken breast with goat cheese. At least, that's how our server explained it. But the pizza and beer were good enough to let me feel a little bit "normal."

I haven't tried much Thai food recently, so cannot comment there. Vietnamese is hit or miss, IME. I've done better at Present than Four Sisters, where many of my former favorite dishes are loaded with soy sauce. :(

I had a very nice meal at Palena recently, until we got to dessert, which seemed to be "required" as part of the prix fixe menu (I would have happily eaten a salad instead). All of their desserts--at least the night we were there--seemed to have wheat. I wound up with a cheese plate with no bread or crackers (now I take my own crackers with me to restaurants).

I had a nice meal at Passionfish, except that the grilled baby octopus was garnished with what seemed to be bits of toasted pita, which was not mentioned on the menu and not caught by our server.

Ray's the Steaks was also very accommodating on a recent dinner, serving the Devilishly Good Eggs sans toast points. Our server was excellent at pointing out the hazards (no creamed spinach for me), and many of the dishes were safe without alteration.

I hope this helps. I've been meaning to write these dinners up, but my chronic fatigue makes frequent posting pretty difficult these days. But what I've found out is that restaurants want their patrons to enjoy their food, and many are very willing to accommodate sensitivities.

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As of October 7th, Cava Mezze (on Barracks Row; not sure about the Rockville location) has had a gluten-free menu. It's really rather extensive (appears to cover a large segment of their regular menu) -- but it doesn't note if they offer a GF pita bread for the dips. :(

I just noticed that very exciting. Also Dan said American Flatbread has GF flatbreads, but I have yet to try them, hope to make the dinner.

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We list the gluten free status of all our dishes on our regular menu. We identify which dishes are or can be made gluten free and which cannot. By next week we will ahve single serving gluten fre crackers {as well as nut free bread sticks for those with severe nut allergies}.

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I just noticed that very exciting. Also Dan said American Flatbread has GF flatbreads, but I have yet to try them, hope to make the dinner.

Just wanted to note, the gluten free pizza at American Flatbread is the best gluten free pizza I have had to date. It actually tasted like real pizza crust, not exactly like the typical American Flatbread crust, but it is very good. Rather thin with a little puff, a little crunch. And with their awesome toppings it is so good. I am so glad they have the gluten free crusts! It is really helping me stay on the straight and narrow.

Also wanted to note that Restaurant 3 has been really good for gluten free eating.

Lyon Hall is also attentive to gluten free dining.

Anyone had the gf pasta at Carmine's yet?

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Can I lament on lunch menus for a second, I won't even get myself on the tizzy of brunch. I have been perusing lunch menus for lunch this weekend with my in-laws for my MIL's birthday and the vast majority are not very gf friendly at all. First it is hard enough to find a restaurant that serves lunch on weekends. They might have 1-2 options other than a salad, but many are uninteresting, unhealthy or just repetitive of every other restaurant. I am finding this really frustrating. For instance Liberty Tavern used to be my favorite restaurant I went there all the time, but now on the lunch menu if I don't want a salad which I don't I am sick of salad, I could have trout in brown butter or the sausage.

And I am so sick of the 1-2 gf options being steak frites or fish in a butter sauce of some sort of sausage which seems to be all the rage everywhere. What about using lentils, quinoa, potatoes, rice, polenta, grits or a risotto, what about lettuce wraps? Or heaven forbid if anywhere actually got gf bread. The first burger joint that offers a gf bun would have my business probably once every two weeks at least. I would kill for an actual restaurant to have gf bread so I could have a real sandwich I didn't make.

I would be perfectly fine with store bought pasta used to make gf pasta dishes if they choose something decent like ancient harvest or something.

And yes there are lots of ethnic restaurants that I could eat at that would be fine, but those aren't the types of places I want to eat 24/7 sometimes I just want comfort food or new american cuisine, but I don't want steak frites, salad, fish in brown butter or sausage. Does that seem like too much to ask for?

Ok rant over, frustration not quelled.

I should note I was looking at places in NOVA mainly, if I expanded into DC there might be a few more options, but I don't know if I can make the in laws drive there.

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Can I lament on lunch menus for a second, I won't even get myself on the tizzy of brunch. I have been perusing lunch menus for lunch this weekend with my in-laws for my MIL's birthday and the vast majority are not very gf friendly at all. First it is hard enough to find a restaurant that serves lunch on weekends. They might have 1-2 options other than a salad, but many are uninteresting, unhealthy or just repetitive of every other restaurant. I am finding this really frustrating. For instance Liberty Tavern used to be my favorite restaurant I went there all the time, but now on the lunch menu if I don't want a salad which I don't I am sick of salad, I could have trout in brown butter or the sausage.

And I am so sick of the 1-2 gf options being steak frites or fish in a butter sauce of some sort of sausage which seems to be all the rage everywhere. What about using lentils, quinoa, potatoes, rice, polenta, grits or a risotto, what about lettuce wraps? Or heaven forbid if anywhere actually got gf bread. The first burger joint that offers a gf bun would have my business probably once every two weeks at least. I would kill for an actual restaurant to have gf bread so I could have a real sandwich I didn't make.

I would be perfectly fine with store bought pasta used to make gf pasta dishes if they choose something decent like ancient harvest or something.

And yes there are lots of ethnic restaurants that I could eat at that would be fine, but those aren't the types of places I want to eat 24/7 sometimes I just want comfort food or new american cuisine, but I don't want steak frites, salad, fish in brown butter or sausage. Does that seem like too much to ask for?

Ok rant over, frustration not quelled.

I should note I was looking at places in NOVA mainly, if I expanded into DC there might be a few more options, but I don't know if I can make the in laws drive there.

Rustico is open for lunch on weekends - I'd try calling today during their slow hours and asking if you can get their polenta dish or any other dinner menu dish made GF for lunch.

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Rustico is open for lunch on weekends - I'd try calling today during their slow hours and asking if you can get their polenta dish or any other dinner menu dish made GF for lunch.

That's a good idea. They are really good about having gf options at dinner that are interesting and accommodating needs.

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Can I lament on lunch menus for a second, I won't even get myself on the tizzy of brunch. <snip>

And yes there are lots of ethnic restaurants that I could eat at that would be fine, but those aren't the types of places I want to eat 24/7 sometimes I just want comfort food or new american cuisine, but I don't want steak frites, salad, fish in brown butter or sausage. Does that seem like too much to ask for?

Ok rant over, frustration not quelled.

I should note I was looking at places in NOVA mainly, if I expanded into DC there might be a few more options, but I don't know if I can make the in laws drive there.

I do share your frustration! And as for steak frites, that isn't always GF, if anything else has been fried in the same fryer as the frites! Even with fresh oil, it's not safe.

As for lunch options in NoVA, there is Choices by Shawn in Fairfax City. They do offer very good house-made GF bread. I'd avoid the GF pancakes, as the ones I had were heavy and thick and therefore undercooked in the middle. But I give them credit for trying!

Ray's Hell Burger will serve their burgers sans buns. And the fries at RHB are GF safe (last time I was there), but the ones at RHBtoo are not. However, a lovely waitress (whom I tipped accordingly) trekked down the way to RHB to fetch me an order of safe fries.

I confess that there are more than a few restaurants I haven't tried yet, because I'm not always willing to commit the energy and coin to dinner at an unknown establishment and so many have gluten-laden lunch menus.

On weekdays, of course, Restaurant Eve offers safe choices AND good house-made GF bread with 24 hours' notice!

I did have a decent GF pizza and GF beer at Rustico quite a while ago on a weekend mid-day, so it would be worth checking out.

I tend to carry GF crackers and even slices of bread (Udi's) in an airtight container in my purse for times when they're needed for cheese or dips. And if I do find a decent GF hamburger bun, I might take one with me to RHB.

I'd love to read about others' lunch/brunch experiences, especially positive ones!

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Reporting from the field:

I had a really stellar NYE tasting menu at Dino with absolutely no problems eating gluten free. It was homey, comforting and really well executed, and not a rip off.

Better yet though, I had the seven course tasting menu at Blacksalt the other night for my anniversary and they made that gluten free with no problem. It was nice to be able to eat out and get a tasting menu and not worry or fret over anything. Really nice. Thank you Blacksalt!!! Anyone wanting to be able to eat gf and have a tasting menu should definitely put this on the list it was really good.

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Agreed that Dino gluten free offerings are stellar. No need to call in advance, it's just there. The menu guides you to things that are gluten free and things that can be made gluten free upon request. Risotto, polenta, it's there for you. All the pasta toppings can be put on risotto or polenta. Good things for vegetarians, as well. And grappa, too. Very good grappa. Kudos. I always loved Dino, now that I am going gluten free I adore Dino. Dean Gold, you are the man! You rock.

Also, had an excellent gluten free vegetarian meal of tapas at Lebanese Taverna in DC on Connecticut Avenue. They have a gluten free menu upon request. For dipping hummus and baba ganoush they will provide rice crackers or veggies. I had no idea before how well these dips taste with celery, carrots, cucumber and summer squash. Wow.

Now my goal is to make hummus like Lebanese Taverna. So light. and fluffy. How do they do it?

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With respect to the wheat in soy sauce, my position is that it's probably not enough to worry about, for me, because my aversion to gluten is not that strong, not complete. I am better off without wheat but not allergic enough to eschew the little bit of wheat in soy sauce. At home we use wheat free tamari.

My problem with Chinese food is the sodium, and the MSG. I wish it were not so, but whenever I eat at a Chinese restaurant I retain a LOT of fluid. I gain at least two pounds of water weight, and sometimes five.

But I don't have the gastric pain and itchiness that wheat causes. Cannot eat even a dumpling or an egg roll without itchy feeling and gastric pain.

So weird. After a lifetime of living on, basically, dairy and wheat, I can no longer tolerate either one. I don't like it but it is what it is. I am who I am. It's not just something theoretical, or trendy.

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Also, had an excellent gluten free vegetarian meal of tapas at Lebanese Taverna in DC on Connecticut Avenue. They have a gluten free menu upon request. For dipping hummus and baba ganoush they will provide rice crackers or veggies.

I didn't know this, I mean I normally eat there a lot (Arlington location), but never knew about rice crackers or veggies.

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One of the PR folks that I've spoken to told me that if you call ahead to some of the more chef-driven restaurants and tell them your dietary requirements, they can usually prepare in advance and actually like the challenge of providing other options. Since some of the chefs she works with know that she's vegetarian, when she does press meals they have something specially prepared for her.

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Tried the gluten-free (chickpea) pizza at Rustico Saturday, unfortunately, not a fan of that. Heavy as lead. The bean soup, on the other hand, was fantastic. The beans (Cannellini?) were not crushed, they were whole; the broth (ham) was not creamy, the ham-redolent broth was distinct from the beans, and scented with herbs. I would like to duplicate this at home.

Tried the gluten-free pizza at Pete's Apizza Sunday, much much better. Pete's also has soy cheese. Nice toppings, I had broccoli rabe, sauteed spinach and sauteed mushrooms, as well as the soy cheese and gluten free (chickpea) crust.

Not sure whethe Pete's arancini were gluten free, I think probably not, probably rolled in bread crumbs, but I don't have a wheat allergy just better without wheat, and they were tasty little suckers. Probably had cheese, too. Oh, well. I only ate a couple, they tasted wonderful, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, substantial, fragrant with lemon and basil, and I feel OK afterwards.

Your mileage may vary.

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Anyone eaten the Lost Dog Crust or the Fireworks crust? I am still trying to find a place with a gf crust as good as American Flatbread.

To reply to my own thread: Fireworks gluten free pizza should not be ordered for take out. The crust was quite soggy and very ricey in flavor. It may be better fresh out of the oven, but I didn't care for it very much as take out pizza.

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Had dinner at Blue Duck Tavern for the first time in almost a year. Previously, the chef would mark up a regular menu to let me know which items were "safe." Now, however, they offer a dedicated menu listing gluten-free items, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

It's not just what's on the menu that is safe. They are now willing to adapt certain dishes to make them safe, like using rice flour for the crispy sweetbreads. We were seated close enough to the kitchen that I could hear the chef reminding cooks of gluten-free orders, and he actually pulled back my sweetbreads when the server inadvertently brought the wrong plate to our table. In addition, rather than just putting a basket of bread on the table for my husband, they brought out a board that had slices of bread and butter on one side, and a plate with some baby radishes and grape tomatoes and a little dip for me.

It appears to me that the staff have had some recent training in food sensitivities, as they were all focused on ensuring that I had a safe and delicious meal. Kudos to them!

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I know it's a chain, but Domino's has introduced a gluten-free pizza crust in the DC Metro area. I've had it 4-5 times now, with no reaction. They already used cornmeal to dust their regular crusts and work surfaces, so there's no risk of wheat flour cross-contamination. It's actually a good-tasting crust, IMO. It's made from rice flour and potato starch. It is definitely more expensive, and only available in a small size, but you can order any combination of toppings (except the Philly steak, which is not gluten-free). It's nice to have a delivery option for those occasions when I'm too tired to cook.

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I know it's a chain, but Domino's has introduced a gluten-free pizza crust in the DC Metro area. I've had it 4-5 times now, with no reaction. They already used cornmeal to dust their regular crusts and work surfaces, so there's no risk of wheat flour cross-contamination. It's actually a good-tasting crust, IMO. It's made from rice flour and potato starch. It is definitely more expensive, and only available in a small size, but you can order any combination of toppings (except the Philly steak, which is not gluten-free). It's nice to have a delivery option for those occasions when I'm too tired to cook.

And it certainly can't be any worse! :)

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I know it's a chain, but Domino's has introduced a gluten-free pizza crust in the DC Metro area. I've had it 4-5 times now, with no reaction.

I wonder if there are regional differences in their kitchen practices. My cousin in Wisconsin is gluten intolerant and had a pretty bad reaction, so I was afraid to risk it with someone who has celiac.

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District Taco is pretty good about gluten awareness (at least the 13th/F location, I've never been to Arlington), They will note "gluten free order" on the ticket that is sent back to the kitchen, offer corn tortillas for all menu items and list which sauces are not GF. For GF orders they use clean sheets of aluminum foil on the griddle to avoid cross-contamination. They are by no means the best tacos I've had, but they are pretty darn good (insert "by DC standards" here).

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Coastal Flats in Fairfax has an entire gluten free menu that every table is seated with (so you don't have to ask). Mostly regular menu items with subtle - if any- changes for allergens. Although neither of us eat gluten free, my SO inquired as to the food preparation process (she's in the GI biz), and was told they have a separate area of the kitchen for preparation in order to avoid cross-contamination.

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Coastal Flats in Fairfax has an entire gluten free menu that every table is seated with (so you don't have to ask). Mostly regular menu items with subtle - if any- changes for allergens. Although neither of us eat gluten free, my SO inquired as to the food preparation process (she's in the GI biz), and was told they have a separate area of the kitchen for preparation in order to avoid cross-contamination.

Thanks for the heads-up.  Mr. lperry is on day three of recovering from being poisoned at a restaurant that thought a coating of flour on the chicken before grilling was somehow gluten-free.  I really want someone to come up with a cure for celiac.

Don, funny cartoon.  People are constantly shocked that I tell them I can't tell a difference in how I feel from eating GF for a few weeks at home then having a baguette or something similar.  Mmmmmmm.  Baguette.

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I was more interested in why the would do this. The food at GAR has become unremarkable and homogenous over the last 5 years, but they are very, very savvy and successful restauranteurs. It's estimated that 5 of their restaurants are in the Top 100 highest grossing independent restaurants in the country.

Celiac disease effects less than 1% of the population. There is really no compelling reason, from a business standpoint, to retrofit the kitchen of a (maybe more?) restaurant doing $12M+ a year for dietary issues  this small. Now, the rise in "psuedo" gluten intolerance and the *gulp* Paleo-dieters push that number up quite a bit more. Either one of the principals have a family member with Celiac's (I'm guessing), or one of the smartest restaurant groups I've ever seen have decided choosing to eat gluten free is here to stay.

And if Mr. LPerry likes beer, Omission Pale Ale is  surprisingly good

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I was more interested in why the would do this. The food at GAR has become unremarkable and homogenous over the last 5 years, but they are very, very savvy and successful restauranteurs. It's estimated that 5 of their restaurants are in the Top 100 highest grossing independent restaurants in the country.

Celiac disease effects less than 1% of the population. There is really no compelling reason, from a business standpoint, to retrofit the kitchen of a (maybe more?) restaurant doing $12M+ a year for dietary issues  this small. Now, the rise in "psuedo" gluten intolerance and the *gulp* Paleo-dieters push that number up quite a bit more. Either one of the principals have a family member with Celiac's (I'm guessing), or one of the smartest restaurant groups I've ever seen have decided choosing to eat gluten free is here to stay.

And if Mr. LPerry likes beer, Omission Pale Ale is  surprisingly good

It's my guess they are capitalizing on the trend.  I read a study a year or so ago that indicated nearly a third of people wanted GF options in restaurants, and if you are going to do it, why not do it right so that you can also guarantee business from those with celiac?  Even if we are a small portion of the market, we truly appreciate the effort.  All that damage is cumulative, so a lifetime of a poisoning a week can lead to various cancers and/or blood diseases, so beyond just being a royal PITA, it's deadly serious.  I had to convince Mr. lperry to tell restaurant staff he has celiac so they don't think he's a trendy-diet follower and it may not really matter.

Thanks for the recommendation, but he's not a beer drinker.  The first two things he checked for gluten-freeness after diagnosis were Mountain Dew and Scotch.  Priorities.  :)

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Speaking of GF, had a lovely Gluten free quinoa risotto with salmon and harrissa at Virtue Feed and Grain.  I am going to have to figure out how they made that quinoa risotto it was delicious, really rich and wonderful!  Not lactose free (I took a pill), but lovely and GF.  

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It's my guess they are capitalizing on the trend.  I read a study a year or so ago that indicated nearly a third of people wanted GF options in restaurants, and if you are going to do it, why not do it right so that you can also guarantee business from those with celiac?  Even if we are a small portion of the market, we truly appreciate the effort. 

Note: Sweetwater Tavern (in Merrifield, at least) now hands out a separate gluten-free menu which carves off a subset of their full menu - dishes which happen to be gluten-free.

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I have no doubt that since this thread was last updated, dozens - if not hundreds - of area restaurants have introduced gluten-free sections on their menu.
 
Is gluten-free pizza crust really worth that much of an upcharge? I noticed on Pie-Tanza's menu that a plain cheese pizza is $9.69, whereas one with a gluten-free crust is $12.69 - is this a typical markup?
 
And, what do they make the crust from if not wheat flour? Is there any technical difficulty in getting the dough to work?

I thought I'd posted this here, but maybe not. If you ever want one reason to try going gluten-free, here's your reason:

"Novak Djokovic  'Going Gluten-Free Was A Real Game-Changer'" by Hannah Britt on express.co.uk

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I have no doubt that since this thread was last updated, dozens - if not hundreds - of area restaurants have introduced gluten-free sections on their menu.

Is gluten-free pizza crust really worth that much of an upcharge? I noticed on Pie-Tanza's menu that a plain cheese pizza is $9.69, whereas one with a gluten-free crust is $12.69 - is this a typical markup?

And, what do they make the crust from if not wheat flour? Is there any technical difficulty in getting the dough to work?

Absolutely true on the increasing prevalence of GF menus across the country and in our area. I'm not sure if the celiac incidence rate has change much in the past few years but I know a ton of people (including some family) who increasingly opt for GF items to some degree. In my own experience, the best "gluten free" dishes tend to be those that don't try to replicate something traditionally made with gluten. GF bread like Cathal Armstrong does is much more exception than rule. Heavy, sugar-laden or dense, soggy products are more the norm in GF breads, pastries, pastas or pizza crusts. There are, of course, exception but I think those rules generally hold.

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Absolutely true on the increasing prevalence of GF menus across the country and in our area. I'm not sure if the celiac incidence rate has change much in the past few years but I know a ton of people (including some family) who increasingly opt for GF items to some degree. In my own experience, the best "gluten free" dishes tend to be those that don't try to replicate something traditionally made with gluten. GF bread like Cathal Armstrong does is much more exception than rule. Heavy, sugar-laden or dense, soggy products are more the norm in GF breads, pastries, pastas or pizza crusts. There are, of course, exception but I think those rules generally hold.

If you are encountering that sort of GF pastry, head to the Happy Tart. All her pastries are wonderful. Trader Joe's brown rice pasta is really good (I actually like it better than wheat), and Rudi's bread is decent toasted. Mr. lperry claims to have eaten a "pretty good" bagel in Seattle, but he couldn't remember the brand. Rustico has the best pizza crust around here, although it can be unpredictable in texture, sometimes being breadier, and other times crunchier.

Celiac diagnosis is on the upswing, I've read because it can be checked quickly with a blood test now instead of the original test which was an intestinal biopsy. (urg.) Even if it's only a small percentage of the world population, the highest rates are in those of Northern and Western European descent, so if you have a restaurant full of white people, you're going to see it more frequently. I hope they find a cure soon. It's a royal PITA.

And, what do they make the crust from if not wheat flour? Is there any technical difficulty in getting the dough to work?

1) Any number of flours including but not limited to millet, sorghum, chickpea, potato, corn, rice, quinoa, etc. 2) Yes, but once you figure it out, you are home free. I've got a great GF baking blend I mix at home now that I made banana bread with yesterday, and you can't tell a difference. I wouldn't be able to use it in bready-bread, though, or in a pizza crust because it isn't protein-y enough. Good bakeries use different mixtures for different items.

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