My Gluten Free Girlfriend

Gluten Free Recipes & Reviews

Eating Corn Free At PF Chang’s

Eating Corn Free At PF Chang's

Every year I receive gift cards to local restaurants for Christmas. This year I got one for PF Chang’s. I was very hesitant to go there since I could not find any information on weather they could handle my corn intolerance. I had been there multiple times before and they handled my celiac gluten free meals perfectly. Since needing to go corn free as well I was afraid that there would be nothing I could safely eat.

I went on there website and noticed that all of there meat is listed as marinated with cornstarch. I relegated myself to getting a plain steamed veggies meal and enjoying the company of my family while they ate awesome PF Chang’s goodness.

I let the server know about my celiac and corn intolerance. She immediately told me about the nifty allergy matrix system their restaurants use. They type in your allergens and it spits out all of the safe menu items and items that can be modified to suit your allergy needs. I was excited to hear this.

The server came back a  few minutes later to inform me that corn was not in their allergy matrix, but the manager would be right out to help me figure out what they could make me that was corn free.

Before the server even left our table the manager arrived. She was extremely nice and told me salmon and chicken would be good protein options for me. They could make them fresh without the cornstarch marinade.

I chose chicken. She then asked how well I tolerated spicy food, I love medium to spicy foods and told her so. She quickly decided that the Chang’s Spicy Chicken could easily be done corn free and gluten free. She also suggested that I get it with a side of Garlic Snap Peas since the Chang’s Spicy Chicken did not come with many vegetables.

I was so excited to be able to eat a corn free meal at a restaurant! I know the salmon would have been an option too, but the chicken sounded so good I went with her suggestion.

They may have other corn free options as well if you don’t like spicy food. I didn’t ask about other options since the first option sounded good and I was ravenous.

Our food took slightly longer than normal to be brought out to us but I was glad that they were taking good care to keep me safe.

The food was amazing! The chicken was sweet and spicy with a light crunch. They dusted my chicken with potato starch instead of the normal cornstarch to keep it corn free. The beans were a great addition as well. I was told that the beans are not on their regular menu anymore but they always have them and will make them if you ask. I was extremely happy that they went to such lengths to keep me safe and my belly happy.

My server and the manager were friendly and helpful and made the experience of eating out fun for me. So if you need a restaurant that can adapt meals to any allergy PF Chang’s is the place to go.

Outback Steakhouse, Huguenot Rd. & Robius Rd. Chesterfield, Virginia

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse

We have visited this location on a few occasions, and they seem not to understand Gluten Free. More than once our gluten free burger has been brought out on a bun, requiring the entire meal to be replaced.

On 4/14, we ordered Outback using Midlothian Delivered. After our driver waited for an hour and twenty minutes, which is inexcusable on most nights and even more ridiculous on a Monday, our order was brought out and wrong. Our driver instructed the server if there is any chance the Gluten Free burger touched a bun, it needs to be remade. And, back the burger went. At least our driver, Ryan, knows about cross contamination. After another twentyfive minutes of waiting, the food was brought back out.

Let’s just skip the rest of the issues we had with our order, and move on to the following email sent to Outback, using their online contact form a couple of days later.

I am writing due to repeated failures in your staff to understand how to create a safe gluten free meal. I have had multiple experiences where my gluten free burger was brought out to me on a bun. The Huguenot Road location is the location where this happens the most.
I am aware that your establishment has worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to create a gluten free menu. I thought that adequate staff training was included in that GIG approved status.
My experience last night could have made me very ill.
I ordered Outback for my family through a great local delivery service Midlothian Delivered. The driver is well experienced with gluten free and saved me from getting ill.
He arrived at Outback and placed our order. After an hours wait for our food to be ready, he checked to make sure the order was right before leaving your establishment. He quickly realized that some of the burgers had the wrong toppings on them including my gluten free meal. He had to force the server to admit that my burger had at one point been on a bun and been taken off of it. The driver then explained again the seriousness of celiac and our food got remade. I ended up with a meal that was safe for me and I did not end up with any ill effects. If it had not been for that very knowledgeable driver for my delivery service, I would have been ill for up to 3 weeks from that one burger. Your staff really needs to understand the seriousness of this illness and understand the procedures for preparing a gluten free meal. If this can not be done please consider discontinuing your gluten free menu until it can be safely consumed on a regular basis.
I will be contacting the GIG about the multiple failures at that location ad maybe they can offer some staff retraining.
I ended up waiting a total of about 2 hours for our meal to arrive. That was not the fault of our delivery service. That was the fault of your restaurant directly.
I would like to also note that the others I ordered for were very unhappy with their meals as well. The bacon on the burgers was under cooked and two of the meals burgers had less that 6 french fries with them.
I previously enjoyed dining at Outback about once every two weeks. I will be discontinuing eating there from now on. My health is much more important than a juicy burger.

A few days later, we had zero response from Outback; so, we tweeted them as well. As of this posting, we have still heard nothing. A “Gig Approved” restaurant, with a customer who had an issue, and Outback will not even respond. Sad, Outback, sad.

One last thing. This was my (Alan’s) and my dad’s meals. Have you ever seen so many fries in your life [sarcasm]. If you want a great burger and fries, and safe service, head to Five Guys. There locations do it right and faster than we can write their reviews.

Rating by Alan Cook: 0.5 stars

California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza Review

California Pizza Kitchen GLuten Free Pizza Review

California Pizza Kitchen

11800 W Broad St.
Richmond, VA
(804) 364-9047‎

When I first read that California Pizza Kitchen would be making gluten free pizzas available I immediately went to Google to get some facts. This is not the first time the restaurant has offered gluten free pizzas. A few years ago they sold them and had a mixed response as to how gluten free and celiac safe they really were. California Pizza Kitchen realized quickly that they needed to stop serving those pizzas and research how to provide a completely safe gluten free pizza that all gluten intolerant and celiacs could enjoy with out possibility for cross contamination. In October of 2013 California Pizza Kitchen once again rolled out a gluten free menu including four delicious gluten free pizzas. This time they teamed up with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).

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Mellow Mushroom Richmond Va Gluten Free Review

Mellow Mushroom Gluten Free Review Richmond Va

Mellow Mushroom Richmond Va Gluten Free Review

3012 W. Cary St.
Richmond, VA

Update: Scott at Mellow Mushroom contacted me today. “As for the gluten free pizza, it sounds like the pizza wasn’t fully cooked.  Every shift over the next couple of days will be making two gluten free pizza’s, one under cooked and one cooked properly, and will have the staff sample and see for themselves the difference.  Hopefully this will stress the importance of properly cooking gluten free pizzas.”  I have been offered a gift certificate to try again. In fairness to the company, my family will be revisiting the location soon using the certificate. I will post an update to this review at that point based on the quality of food and service.Update 7/29/2013:

My family revisited Mellow Mushroom around 5 pm on a Monday evening. I was given a gift card by the management that paid for this meal. The staff was very pleasant and accommodating and our meal was well prepared and tasty. The gluten free pizza was cooked correctly this time and it made a huge difference in the texture and flavor. Like I said in my original review, I had eaten at the Raleigh NC location and had a great meal. I expected that the underdone pizzas, order mix ups, and hurried staff at the Richmond location during our first visit was due to the time of day and day of the week we came as well as the newness of the location. If you would like to enjoy a gluten free pizza with your buddies the pizza at Mellow Mushroom is good. The toppings are fun and flavorful, and the crust when properly cooked is a crispy, thin, and tasty. The regular pizzas were a hit with my parents both times as well.

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Shane’s Rib Shack

Shane's Rib Shack Gluten Free Review

Shane’s Rib Shack

11501 Busy St, North
Chesterfield, VA
(804) 893-4642

Let me start out by saying I highly recommend this place for gluten free barbecue.
Now on to the more detailed review.We began taking exterior photos as soon as we got out of the car. The restaurant was not busy since we came around 130 pm on a Wednesday the weekend before their grand opening celebration. When we walked in we were greeted by a man who I assume was the manager. He asked us who we were with in a friendly manner. Alan being, well, Alan replied that we were with ourselves. He’s such a goof. I told him we were with and here to write a review. He showed us to the counter and offered to let us sample anything we wanted before we ordered. He then left us in the hands of the friendly cashier. It was nice to be treated so well.We wanted to try a bit of everything so Alan ordered the Shack Sampler with 1/4 Baby Back Ribs, 2 Grilled Chicken Tenders, 1/4 pound of BBQ Pork, Green Beans, and Potato Salad. I ordered the Two Meat with a 1/2 Chicken, 4 Baby Back Ribs, Baked Beans, and Coleslaw.We made sure to ask for no Texas Toast. Everything was ordered off of the gluten free menu. The cashier mentioned that a possible ingredient might not be gluten free in the potato salad and went to check. More than one employee confirmed that it was in fact gluten free and I had no issues with it. I was very glad they took the time to check. We were given cups and told to go ahead and sit and the food would be brought right out to us.The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating.Since neither of us ordered the BBQ Chicken, we asked for a sample to try for this review. It was tender and very flavorful. The chicken comes in chunks as opposed to shredded. The flavor was mild and slightly sweet with a bit of pepper. This left us with a palate to try out the signature sauces on the tables.

The mustard sauce was my favorite. I liked the brown mustard
flavor and it was not overly sweet. Overall the other sauces were on the sweet side.The
original BBQ sauce was a combination of sweet and sour with vinegar being a prominent flavor.
The spicy and the hot were very similar in flavor starting out mild and sweet and turning
spicy at the end.

Shane's Rib Shack Meal Gluten Free

The food arrived very quickly and the employee even brought us plastic ware and napkins. When
we looked at the large portions we knew we would be taking home leftovers. You get a ton of
food for your money at Shane’s. Since we already had a taste for good BBQ from sampling the
chicken, We were eager to dive in to the meats.

Shane's Rib Shack Chicken Tenders Gluten Free

Alan’s grilled chicken tenders were good. They reminded him of home grilled chicken. They were a tad dry but it did not affect their flavor. They had a nice smokey flavor from the grill and some yummy crunchy spots as well. We had them plain but you can get them tossed in any of their BBQ or Buffalo Q sauces.

Shane's Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Gluten Free

The Baby Back Ribs were meaty and amazing. They were really tender with a pleasant amount of char and sauce. The sauce was sweet but complimented the smokey ribs well.

Shane's Rib Shack Half Barbecue Chicken Gluten Free

The half chicken was the surprise of the meal. I confess I only ordered it because we were writing a review. I would not normally order chicken on the bone. It turned out to be my favorite thing I tasted besides the ribs. The half chicken was very large. The skin had a delicious barbecue flavor and the meat was juicy and very tender. I will definitely be buying this again next time we visit. I had plenty of leftovers from this and it even made a nice chicken salad the next day.

Alan liked his pork BBQ. He normally prefers Carolina style but thought this was very juicy and tender. It had a light flavor and like the chicken BBQ left room to play with the signature sauces. Surprisingly I liked the chicken BBQ better than the pork.

The sides were standard for a BBQ place that borders between sit down and fast food. The coleslaw had too much dressing for my liking, but otherwise it was pretty good. It reminded me of really good prepackaged slaw. The vinegar flavor played off of the mayo well.

Alan loved the baked beans while I found them too sugary. I mixed in some mustard BBQ sauce and it fixed the sweetness for me.

Alan liked the green beans and said they reminded him beans he ate as a kid and liked. I found them overly peppery but otherwise thought they were ok.

I thought the best side was definitely the potato salad. It was creamy without being overly mayonnaisey and had a nice touch of mustard and relish.

We ended up taking home leftover ribs chicken and sides. The employee came and cleared our plates and brought to go boxes and a bag. We used the restrooms before leaving and they were very clean. On the way out many of the employees thanked us and encouraged us to come back soon. I will definitely be back this weekend for their Grand Opening!

Shane's Rib Shack

Rating by Laurie Clark: 4.5 stars

Shane's Rib Shack on Urbanspoon

Burger Bach Gastropub Restaurant Review

Burger Bach Gastropub

Burger Bach Gastropub

10 South Thompson Street
Richmond, VA
(804) 359-1305


Burger Bach Gastropub

This place really understands gluten free food and makes a fantastic meal!

While I was thrifting for items to resell, I happened upon a new restaurant with fantastic gluten free food; Burger Bach. The burgers are made from grass fed beef, all but two of their extensive list of sauces are gluten free, and they offered a local gluten free hard cider.

New Plymouth Burger (no gluten free bun photoed due to additional allergies)

New Plymouth Burger (no gluten free bun photoed due to additional allergies)

I had the New Plymouth burger it comes with two slices of bacon, two thick slices of brie, perfectly grilled onions, mushrooms, and a tarragon mayonnaise that was subtle and didn’t overpower the light creamy cheese. I did not try the gluten free bun as I have additional food allergies, but the burger and topping were fantastic and filling on their own.

The burger does not come with the traditional american side of fries. Instead they pair it with a crisp refreshing salad lightly coated in an apple vinaigrette dressing. The fresh basil MADE the salad!

Burger Bach Small Fries

These were tasty and cooked in a dedicated gluten free fryer!

My guest and I shared a small fry and ordered three of the many dipping sauces. By far my favorite was the cilantro flavored sauce. The jalapeno and the honey mustard were excellent too. I ordered unsweetened tea and was brought a bottle of Honest Tea Green Tea. It was tasty, but not what I am used to in a unsweetened tea.

The staff was great. Our waiter Kabo was fantastic. He recommended a locally brewed hard apple cider I had never tried. Kabo showed me the dinner menu pointing out his favorite items and answered questions I had about the gluten free menu knowledgeably.  Overall the experience was extremely pleasurable. I will definately be returning for the half off seafood during happy hour from four to six.

Rating by Laurie Clark: 4.0 stars

Burger Bach on Urbanspoon