If you didn’t know, you do now that I eat a gluten-free diet, having a sensitivity to wheat. When I took it out of my diet about 6 or 7 years ago, the difference was pretty amazing. I felt well for the first time.
I don’t eat much grain of any type nowadays (non-GMO corn chips and quinoa — a seed, not a grain —being exceptions), and I eat at home more, but every once in a while I enjoy going out for a burger or dinner with a slice of bread, as long as I can get it gluten-free.
(And no, if you’re curious, I don’t cheat. It’s not like counting calories and cheating. Eating wheat makes me feel a bit sick for several days. It affects my digestive tract within hours, and seems to impair my brain too. I’ve learned that the hard way. I prefer well.)
It used to be difficult to find gluten-free dining out in Austin, but in the last year, more restaurants seem to be realizing it’s not just a passing fad. (Have you not heard of the book Wheat Belly? The cardiologist author says it’s likely that half of Americans are adversely affected from eating the optimized-for-agribusiness wheat grown today.)
I hated that when I asked about gluten-free food after seeing a menu that didn’t mention it, a waitperson brought out a piece of paper listing maybe 6 things, including salads that were always gluten-free anyway. Or said we don’t have a gluten-free menu.
Wow, way to make me feel handicapped and unwelcome.
I’ve posted in the past about how Hopdoddy Burger Bar on South Congress (now also on Anderson Lane) offers burgers on three different buns, and one of the choices is gluten-free (and baked in-house daily).
I think Hopdoddy may have been the first major burger joint in Austin to do so. The beef is hormone- and antibiotic free. It’s a popular, trendy, a-bit-pricey eatery that often has a line out the front door, but the line moves fast and the food is very good. Craft beer and shakes and fries give it a real “burger joint” focus.
I’d like to add that you can now get gluten-free burgers at Wholly Cow Burgers on South Lamar (also at Congress and 7th). They offer a “paleo burger” that uses portobello mushroom caps for buns as well as hamburgers/cheeseburgers using Udi’s GF buns. Other offerings with GF bread include Philly cheese steak and reuben sandwiches. The beef is locally raised and grass-fed.
Yesterday I learned that the Galaxy Cafe (3 locations: Slaughter and Brodie, The Triangle, and West Lynn) offers gluten-free bread and buns for its sandwiches and burgers. Galaxy also offers wraps made with rice-flour tortillas and gluten-free pasta, not to mention a flourless chocolate torte for dessert! All the meat, chicken, and eggs are natural, free-range, and hormone- and antibiotic free. This is my favorite place to eat out close to home.
I want to mention as well that Blue Dahlia Bistro (on East 11th, also now in Westlake) offers gluten-free bread with its delicious entrees (and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert as well). Blue Dahlia is one of my favorite places to dine: fabulous food, a casual European vibe, moderate prices, good wine list. They use local and organic ingredients as much as possible. The bread is delicious and comes from Wild Wood Bakehouse, located on Guadalupe north of UT. I haven’t been there yet, but since everything is gluten-free, it’s now on my must-check-it-out list!
When I first went gluten-free, pizza was something I craved and had to go without. I don’t have that craving any more, but I do want to note that if you’re getting a hankering for gluten-free pizza, more and more pizza places are offering it with a GF crust. (Note: They usually charge more for GF crust.) I found some reviews on Yelp.
Now for one wish: I wish that Central Market would offer more gluten-free soups at their soup bar. I’m glad they’ve picked up on labeling the major allergens their soups contain (wheat, dairy, soy, tree nuts, and so on).
It’s just that quite often, nearly all of them contain wheat — even the ones that wouldn’t have wheat in them if you made them at home, like chicken tortilla soup. Wake up, Central Market!