I suppose I could forage through the salad offerings, but there’s always the problem that the chicken or turkey have likely been injected with gluten and the dressings have ingredient lists a mile long, with several questionable or forbidden items. And hamburgers are just not fun to eat out without the bun. Plus, they really would have to hold the fries for me, not to mention that fried foods may share grease with gluten-bearing foods.
But over time, I’ve found two fast food restaurants where I can eat.
How comforting that when I enter Chipotle’s and say, “I’m gluten-intolerant,” I hear, “Gluten-free—Everyone change your gloves!” Or, today, I had my personal chef who immediately removed his gloves, washed his hands, re-gloved, and made sure he was the only one touching my food. The line of customers backed up behind me as I was assured that the recipes hadn’t changed and that I could still eat the black beans (no tomatoes, peppers, or pork) and the lime-cilantro rice, cheese*, sour cream, cilantro, and lettuce* on crispy corn tortillas. (*I was informed that gloved hands that might have touched gluten pick up the cheese and the lettuce, so my chef reached underneath to minimize that possibility. Consider omitting the cheese and lettuce if you have a severe allergy to gluten.)
Before entering Chipotle’s for the first time, I had checked their website for ingredients and even called the restaurant, anticipating a great experience. The manager also could not eat tomatoes, but he had found that the tomatillo sauce worked for him. I’ve enjoyed it each time I eat out at Chipotle’s, and for someone who misses her peppers and tomatoes, this spicy sauce is something to look forward to and as close to a tomato as I’m going to get. (And it’s the only time I “cheat” on my no-nightshade diet.)
I’ve also enjoyed my veggies on a lettuce wrap at Jimmy John’s, where I can get real avocados, cheese, cucumbers, and sprouts. When I ask them to change their gloves, they might not alert the store out loud, but they work with me while I educate them about being gluten free.
Now, when I have only a limited time for lunch, I have some options that don’t include salmon, rice, and broccoli, the meal I typically order at a sit-down restaurant. I love salmon, but sometimes I just want my food fast!
(Note: This endorsement of Jimmy John’s and Chipotle is made by Nancy Browning solely based on her real life experiences; there was no payment by or any other relationship with either Jimmy John’s or Chipotle.)