I survived my first week without gluten! I’ve made it pretty clear that this transition period has been quite difficult (damn you, bread). I’m getting more used to things and feeling a bit less crappy, though I’m finding missing bread to be pretty hard. But my two main takeaways from this first week have been 1) I’m so lucky I don’t have a severe allergy, because basically everything *could* have a trace of gluten in it, and 2) I’m so lucky that I live in New York City. I go out to eat a lot, and I wasn’t going to let a lack of gluten stop me. I dined out quite a bit this week, and learned a lot about the highlights and difficulties.
Mainly, get ready to ask questions. You are going to feel like you’re being annoying. Learn to get over it, because it’s the only way you’re going to be able to dine out. While some restaurants will mark gluten-free options on their regular menu, if they have a gluten-free one, you’re going to have to ask for it. If they don’t, you need to ask anyway. For example, Otto will do any of their pastas gluten free, but the menu makes absolutely no note of this. You’re also going to need to be on top of your server when the food does arrive – if he or she doesn’t say that it’s the gluten-free version of what you ordered when brought to the table (assuming there could be a gluten version), ask. When I went to Otto, the waiter “forgot about our gluten free conversation” and brought me the regular pasta of what I had ordered (sitting and watching everyone else eat while your food gets re-made isn’t fun, but it’s better than accidentally eating gluten). (And what if I had had an allergy?!) Rubirosa, meanwhile, where I also went this weekend, has a full gluten-free menu and immediately confirmed that my order was correct when it came.
Takeout is obviously a bit trickier to confirm, so you have to be pretty trusting. My pizza from Two Boots was marked as gluten free, and one bite told me it definitely was (the crust was weirdly a bit sweet, but actually quite good!).
Also remember that you need to ask questions when you’re getting anything that isn’t naturally, obviously gluten free. I went to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf this weekend craving an ice blended, and remembered last minute to ask if their powders were gluten free. I had to talk to three employees to get the answer, but the fantastic news is that they have an almond flour base!
Overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by most of the gluten-free eats I’ve had this first week. It’s really just bread that I’m having the most trouble with – seeing it on the table when you’re dining with gluten-eaters is torture, and store-bought GF bread is just not the same (challah, I dream of you).
I feel like most of my posts have been a bit rant-y lately, so to make it up to you and leave you on a positive note, here is one of my dogs being super smiley and cute (ignore my hair looking atrocious):