Gluten Free Dining

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we have a couple restaurant gift card giveaways in the coming week. Our first is for a $25 Gift Card to Burtons Grill. Burtons was mentioned in my last post in which I shared some of our favorite gluten-free friendly restaurant chains and the new gluten free items on their menus. If you'd like to learn more about what Burtons Grill offers, link directly to their amazing Gluten Free Menu, and find out if they have a location near you, visit their page on our website. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Burtons Grill? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite, and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Burtons Grill Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Burtons Grill's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. Any gluten free dining or travel review submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite between now and Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern time counts as one entry in our random drawing for the $25 Gift... Read more →


Just in time for Celiac Awareness Month, many of our favorite "gluten-free friendly" restaurant chains have added even more gluten free items to their already impressive Gluten Free Menus. There's bound to be a location of one of these chains near you…and keep the others on your radar when you travel. Our family finds that's part of the fun of traveling…getting to try some of the best GF-friendly restaurants that don't happen to have a location near us. Burtons Grill -- A chain with locations along the East Coast, Burtons is one of our personal favorites. We dined at their Charlottesville, VA location over our kids' Spring Break when we visited Monticello and Montpelier. Favorite items ordered included the Spicy Fried Calamari, Beet Salad, Mediterranean Chicken Risotto, and gluten free Fish & Chips (really…how often do you find gluten free calamari and fish and chips?!) Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano -- This chain, with locations in 10 states, is another favorite we look forward to visiting when we travel. They have many gluten free pastas on the menu, in addition to gluten free pizza (including two new ones). I'm looking forward to trying the Wild Mushroom Truffle pizza at some point. Another... Read more →


Those of you who've been following this Blog for a while know that one of my favorite gluten-free friendly chains is Burtons Grill. Although we don't have a location right near us, we've been lucky enough to visit several of their locations when traveling to the northeast (Massachusetts and Connecticut) and recently had the good fortune of dining at their location in Charlottesville, Virginia. This month, Burtons Grill is celebrating their 10-year anniversary (and they unveiled a beautiful new website). What began 10 years ago as one location in Hingham, Massachusetts has now grown into a 10-location restaurant group. From now until May 10, all Burtons Grill locations will be offering vouchers, loyalty prizes, flash sales, and sampling events (check out their Special Events page for details). When you dine at any of their locations, you'll have a chance to "roll the dice" for instant prizes and giveaways. This anniversary falls right in the middle of Celiac Awareness Month, and that's another reason to celebrate. Burtons Grill has unveiled a new Spring and Summer Menu that includes new "gluten sensitive" items. For those of you who've dined at any Burtons Grill, you know they already have one of the most... Read more →


On GlutenFreeTravelSite and on this Gluten Free Travel Blog, we enjoy being able to profile restaurant chains -- both large and small -- that offer Gluten Free Menus…and that take care to keep their Celiac and gluten sensitive guests safe. Today, I want to introduce you to Landry's Seafood, with 20 locations across the following eight states: Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, and Nevada. Just looking at these mouth-watering photos makes me want to hop on a plane right now to dine in one of their restaurants! Landry's Seafood was founded in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1947 and continues its original mission of serving "Gulf Coast cuisine." For guests who are gluten free, this includes many different types of fresh fish that can be prepared various ways, under the "Today's Catch" section of the Gluten Free Menu. There's also oysters on the half-shell, jumbo grilled shrimp, lobster, snow crab, and scallops -- as well as several steak and chicken options for landlubbers. Chefs are also happy to try and tailor any daily specials to make them gluten free, upon request. So if you see something that appeals to you on the "regular" menu or daily specials…but it isn't... Read more →


Almost every day, we hear about another great place for gluten-free travelers…and I get so excited to share these discoveries with you. That's our mission here at Gluten Free Travel Blog -- and also on our website GlutenFreeTravelSite…to help you take a true vacation from worry. We want to help you find places where you won't have to educate chefs or ask a zillion questions before each meal…places that give you confidence and let you forget about your dietary restrictions. That's why today, I'd like to recap some recent discoveries -- and also remind you of where to go to get more travel ideas on our website. Just a couple weeks ago, we announced a new itinerary for gluten free travel to Croatia, but are you aware of the other special itineraries for places outside the U.S. detailed on the Gluten Free Getaways page of our site? Keep in mind, these aren't "group" trips…you can follow the suggested itinerary developed by Celiac travel agent Ellen Morse OR customize it according to your own budget and interests -- AND pick your own dates of travel. Like cruising? If so, you're in luck…cruises are one of the most "gluten-free friendly" ways to... Read more →


While people diagnosed with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity typically learn the basics of cooking gluten free at home fairly quickly, dining out and traveling -- especiallly in another country -- can be intimidating. Some people decide it's just not worth it. But I think that's a big mistake. While it hasn't always been easy, I'm here to tell you that now you can take a wonderful vacation to many gluten-free friendly destinations and stay perfectly safe, providing you have the right tools at your disposal. London is a particularly gluten-free friendly choice, and I recently put together a guide to take the worry out of traveling to this amazing city for anyone following a gluten free diet. The great news is that there is no shortage of restaurants in London that understand how to prepare a safe gluten free meal. Gluten-Free in LONDON, my new e-book available on Amazon.com (and easy to read on any e-reader, tablet, computer, or smartphone with the free Kindle app) takes the hassle out of the overwhelming task of planning a trip to an international destination. And let's face it, we gluten free folks can't really be spontaneous when it comes to grabbing a... Read more →


Our family recently returned from a week in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. We have family out there and therefore are fortunate to visit every so often. As with any trip, we look forward to the chance to discover new "gluten-free friendly" restaurants we haven't tried -- including chain restaurants with Gluten Free Menus that don't have locations on the East Coast where we live. It's a funny thing about Los Angeles...one would think (and I also hear from many people living there) that it's rare to find a restaurant that can't prepare a gluten free meal. However, as you and I both know, catering to the "trend" of gluten free dining choices is very different from being properly trained in providing safe gluten free meals for those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity. So it's almost more of a challenge dining in this land of celebrities and health-conscious folks, since so many are opting to eat gluten free...by choice, not out of necessity. So the onus is on us to find the truly safe restaurants. Before every trip, I do a fair amount of research on restaurants. Before this trip, as with past trips to Southern California, I found... Read more →


I have to confess...French food has always been my favorite. Since I was a young teen and my parents took me out to my first truly French restaurant, I was in love with the food, the sauces, the bread... Ah...the bread. Well, that's not typically something you'll be able to indulge in at most French restaurants (unfortunately, I've found that too few offer gluten free bread), but you can still have a terrific meal while staying safe. Here are a few tips for dining gluten free at French restaurants, whether stateside or in France: 1.) Bring your own bread. To be honest, even if gluten free bread is offered at a French restaurant, I'm always nervous about where it's been baked and cut. There are just too many chances for cross-contact with regular bread and other sources of gluten. 2.) If you forget to bring your own gluten free bread (I always feel terrible if I forget to bring our son a gluten free roll), look on the bright side...you won't fill up on empty calories and will have more room for the wonderful French specialties (and maybe dessert!). 3.) Bring a gluten free dining card explaining your dietary needs,... Read more →


Welcome to my fourth post in a series on the topic of dining gluten free at ethnic restaurants. Today, I'd like to tackle Japanese cuisine, which can be a good and safe choice for gluten free diners, if you keep some key things in mind. To begin, Japanese restaurants will typically offer several styles of food: sushi, tepanyaki-style (grilled in front of you at your table), and tempura. Here's how to ensure a safe meal: 1.) Before dining at the restaurant, call and speak with the manager or chef. Ask them about what they offer for gluten free diners. Their knowledge of gluten free ingredients -- and how they avoid cross contamination -- should be readily apparent based on their answers to your questions. If they seem confused, uninformed, or misinformed, choose another restaurant. 2.) Ask them if they have a menu listing gluten free selections. Also ask if they have gluten free tamari to use as a substitute for traditional (gluten containing) soy sauce. (If not, ask if you can bring your own.) Our family likes San-J brand gluten free tamari, which is available in many varieties. I always try to purchase the organic and low-sodium version. (Travel-sized packets... Read more →


My husband and I have developed a real liking for Indian food over the past 8 years or so. We even take our kids to Indian restaurants on occasion. As long as we stick with relatively mild choices, they enjoy everything we order. It helps that the Indian style of cooking is, by nature, almost entirely gluten free. Of course, you can't have naan, roti, or any of the other breads, but there are plenty of other things that are so delicious, you won't miss the naan! As in China, there are many styles of cooking in India, depending on the region. Most Indian restaurants in western countries, like the United States, tend to focus on recipes of northern Indian origin like tandoori specialties (cooked in an oven) and curries, both shown in these photos. Indian cooking relies on spices for flavoring, all of which are gluten free, with the exception of something called "hing." Hing is a very potent spice, and a little bit goes a long way. The owner of Rangoli, the wonderful and highly acclaimed Indian restaurant in our neighborhood, said it is used more in recipes from southern India. He only uses it in one recipe... Read more →


As we all know, there's a growing number of people who are now following gluten free diets by choice. It's a double-edged sword. It has made restauranteurs more interested in offering gluten free options on their menus, but unfortunately, this is often driven by profit motives. Too many times, restaurants aren't properly trained (by organizations such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness or the Gluten Intolerance Group) in safe preparation protocol, and diners who must follow gluten free diets for medical reasons (Celiac or gluten sensitivity) can become ill. Italian restaurants can be among the trickiest types of restaurants to navigate, since there are so many wheat flour-based items on the menu...like pizza and pasta. If there is flour flying in the air from the pizza making, that poses another risk. As with dining out in general, everyone needs to personally assess Italian restaurant options and determine their own level of comfort before choosing a specific restaurant. But here are some general questions to ask, preferably before even walking in the door: Visit the restaurant's website. Is there a specific GLUTEN FREE MENU? While this doesn't mean you can let your guard down, it's usually a good sign the... Read more →


Each type of cuisine has its own potential pitfalls when it comes to dining out gluten free. That's why I've decided to start this new series of posts on dining gluten free at different types of ethnic restaurants. Almost every restaurant these days offers some sort of globally-influenced options on the menu -- even "All American" grills, sports bars, and steakhouses have a range of more sophisticated options. Knowing what questions to ask about certain types of food can help keep you from suffering the consequences of getting "glutened." For my first post, I wanted to cover Mexican food, since it can be one of the safer choices, from a gluten free perspective, when dining out. Most of the ingredients used in Mexican cooking are naturally gluten free, but there are a few potential pitfalls. Here's what to look for and to talk to the chef or manager about (notice I didn't say server...always ask to speak directly with someone who knows exactly how all the food is prepared): Request corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas. This should open up options that might not otherwise be available to you (like fajitas, which are typically served with flour tortillas). Verify the... Read more →