Defensive Dining Questions

The following list of defensive dining questions was adapted from the Alamo Celiac, GIG support group with their gracious permission.

  • Do salads contain croutons? If so, can salads without croutons be made in a separate bowl to avoid cross-contamination?
  • Are salad dressings homemade, or do they use commercial brands? Verify which dressings are gluten free, and ask what substitutions can be made for non-gluten-free dressings.
  • Is cheese served on salads or entrées? What type of cheese is it? Most “real” cheese is gluten free, but some processed cheese is not, especially if it is seasoned. Blue cheese, and its close relative, Gorgonzola, are traditionally made from growing mold on bread crumbs; whether or not to consume them is an individual choice. If the cheese is pre-shredded, verify it is “real” cheese.
  • Are soups homemade? If so, how is the stock made? Is any soup starter, flavoring, or bouillon used? Be wary of any soup broth that is not pure stock.
  • Are meats, poultry, and fish marinated? If so, does it arrive at the restaurant pre-marinated, or is it done at the restaurant? Verify all ingredients, as soy sauce is often used in marinades. Some local restaurants use beer (make with barley) as a marinade, so be sure to check that also.
  • Which meat, poultry, and fish are prepared without any breading?
  • Do the meat, poultry, and fish come into contact with breaded items during the cooking process, such as on the grill or in a sauté pan? If so, what can be done to avoid the cross-contamination? Suggest clean pans and utensils.
  • Which entrées are served with a sauce? Ingredients of the sauce? Is it possible for a sauce to be made without a gluten-containing thickener?
  • Which items are cooked in a deep fryer? Is there a separate fryer for items that do not contain gluten?
  • Which side items are gluten free? Is rice cooked in a broth?
  • How are vegetables cooked? Some restaurants steam vegetables in the same water that is used to cook pasta.
  • Ask about brands of condiments used. Does the restaurant always use the same brand of a particular product, or do they substitute?
  • Are any desserts gluten free?
  • For Mexican restaurants: Are the corn tortillas pure corn, or is wheat flour added for better texture? If tortillas are made on premises, are the corn tortillas made in a separate area from the flour tortillas? Are they dipped in the same oil before heating? Can they be heated and served separate from the flour tortillas?
  • For Asian restaurants: Do they have wheat-free soy sauce? Can a celiac bring in their wheat-free soy sauce? Are rice noodles served? Are egg rolls or other similar items made with rice wrappers cooked in the same oil as those with flour wrappers? Are cooking pans and utensils washed between entrée preparations to avoid cross-contamination? What other sauces are used in the restaurant? Ingredients?

Last modified on Thursday, 01-Dec-2016 14:45:53 MST

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