Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Awesome Gluten Free Dining Experiences

I recently had THE BEST gluten free dining experience ever! I was with some coworkers and we decided to eat at HuHot Mongolian Grill for lunch. I had never been before and was skeptical because it is hard to eat Asian food because of the gluten in soy sauce. The concept behind HuHot is that you create your own stir-fry. This is done by walking through a buffet line and filling your bowl with the desired meat, noodles, vegetables, and sauces. Then you proceed to a large hibachi grill, give the chefs your bowl, and wait as you watch the chefs prepare your meal in a matter of minutes. You can eat as much or as little as you like, which is nice if you don’t like the meal combination you made the first time.

As soon as we were seated at our table, I asked the server if she knew of any gluten free sauce options. She immediately brought me a “Sauce Allergens” sheet to help guide me through the line. I was pleased to see a gluten free noodle option (Pad Thai) and quite a few sauce options. Of course, the meat and vegetables were gluten free. Not only did my awesome server provide me with the sheet, she also told the chefs and the manager about my allergens.

Before I even got to the buffet line to build my bowl, the manager came to speak with me to see if he could bring me anything from the back to avoid cross contamination or get me any additional sauces. Since they had just opened for lunch and we were one of the first people through the line, I let him know I was fine with what was on the buffet.

The chefs were even more impressive. As soon as I got to the grill, the chefs recognized me and confirmed that I was the guest with allergies. I let them know I was gluten free and they cleaned the grill for me. They brought out new utensils and a separate plate to place the utensils when they were not using them to cook. They cooked my meal on the clean grill separately from the rest of the meals and the utensils were only used to prepare my meal.

My meal was delicious and As Good As Gluten! Because I saw how it was prepared every step of the way and the staff was so attentive to my needs, I was confident that everything was safe to eat.

The staff continued to amaze me when I headed up for seconds. The chef remembered exactly who I was and asked how my meal had been so far as he continued with the same grill cleaning process without me even having to ask.

The food was great and the staff was beyond accommodating. I let them know that I will definitely, 100% be back. It can sometimes be hard to eat out when you are gluten free, and some places aren’t always helpful to accommodate our needs. It’s wonderful to find a great restaurant that goes above and beyond to meet gluten free needs. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures. But you can check out HuHot’s offerings here.

My experience at HuHot reminded me of another great gluten free dining experience that I haven’t blogged about before – Taco Del Mar. It is a quick service restaurant that I have eaten at numerous times. They advertise gluten free proudly and are especially accommodating to prepare gluten free meals. They have separate containers of all ingredients (i.e., meats, vegetables, rice, beans, sauces, etc.) that are kept on a different counter than the regular food. The employees wash their hands, change their gloves, use separate utensils, and prepare the meal away from the regular food. The staff is well-trained in cross-contamination and does everything they can to accommodate gluten free diners. The food tastes great and the staff is always friendly when preparing my dishes, which often involves getting out almost every gluten free container they have because I like my Mexican food piled high with everything (i.e., meats, vegetables, cheeses, beans, and all of the sauces I can have). J
Taco Del Mar

Have you had any extraordinary gluten free dining experiences? Where are your favorite places to eat gluten free meals?


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It's a product I bought, loved, and wanted to share with you!


HuHot Mongolian Grill said...

Thanks for writing about your HuHot visit! We strive to be as allergy friendly as possible, so it's great to hear about our employees being so accommodating.