It's just something you have to learn to deal with. Or avoid. I've vacillated among a few different approaches.
At first, I actually tried to explain myself and CD to restaurant staff. Ha. I live out in the Midwest Boonies. While it is more likely to find someone who has actually seen a wheat field, people are still pretty darn clueless about gluten in food.
Then I tried just eating at selected places, ordering the safest thing I could find.
Now I'm to the point where it is going to be a place that has an obvious, officially-printed gluten free menu AND a clear understanding of cross contamination. (PF Chang's anyone? That place will cause me to go broke. Mmmm... super kudos to them)
I got glutened last weekend from Chipotle. Now, I love their food and the fact that they are very forthcoming about allergen information. However, walking into that place feels a little like walking into a casino... high-stakes gambling about to begin. The process there just screams contamination. Now I've gambled there several times and come out ok, but there have been times that have left me wondering.
There was no wondering last weekend, if you catch my drift. I woke up Saturday morning feeling like I got run over by a bus. I spent a little time in the ladies' room. I'm just starting today to be able to make it through the day with only two cups of coffee. My dermatitis herpetiformis blisters that appeared are just starting to calm down. The sores in my mouth are starting to heal. Thank God. (I don't say that in vain, I am truly thankful)
So what is the point of this post? Really, there are two.
1. Watch out for places like Chipotle and Qdoba. I figured they were too good to be true. Even if they change their gloves, how many glutened gloves were already reaching into that cheese?
2. I happened to email Applebee's about gluten because someone was going to bring food into work and wondered if there was anything there I could eat. I got pretty much the answer that I expected, and I wanted to post it here. Needless to say, I will continue to avoid Applebee's like the plague. On a positive note, at least they don't claim to be able to meet my dietary needs and then disappoint.
Thank you for your recent request for a list of
gluten-free menu items available at Applebee's.
Due to the frequency in which we change our
menus, as well as the small risk of cross-
contamination, we can not provide the list you
requested. The health and safety of our guests
is simply too important to risk sharing inaccurate
or outdated nutritional information.
You may call us at 888-59APPLE and a Guest
Relations Coordinator can work with specific
requests regarding any of the FDA's Top 8
Allergens (milk, soy, wheat, eggs, shellfish,
fish, treenut and peanut) that may be contained
in our core menu items. You can reach us between
7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday
and 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Friday, central standard time.
Guest Relations Coordinator II
Right. Like I'm really going to even think about eating there.
Totally not worth it.
Be careful out there, GF friends, it's a dangerous world.