A few months ago,the lovely people at Triumph Dining sent me a copy of "The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide" to review. It's a handy dandy guide to finding gluten-free restaurants when you're planning to eat out, or out of town.
More than ironically, I've been traveling so much in the past month, I haven't had time to read it...and then when WAS I out on the road, I was pretty much restricted to walking distance from the hotel or convention center, so it wasn't as much help to my immediate needs. Oy vey!
So how did I rate it? Still very helpful. There is a great section up in the beginning about how to communicate with the restaurants...by being informative and helpful vs. hysterical. Then I looked up California, and rated the spots in my hometown, Los Angeles. It has a few very solid GF places, like Fritto Misto in Santa Monica, who can make "pasta" from steamed vegetables. Less helpful was that they listed "The Old Spaghetti Factory" as GF even though they serve....spaghetti? And could cause some pretty serious cross-contamination issues for celiacs. Puzzling. Although this book can't begin to cover the thousands of restaurants in each state, I think the most helpful info is the covering of chain restaurants like Claim Jumper, Outback Steakhouse and Cheesecake Factory, which are more likely to be in all neighborhoods, along with phone numbers to check the menu ahead of time. And it'll also help spur some ideas for TYPES of foods that are GF....like Indian and Mexican food.
There is also a "Gluten Free Mall" section in the back, which offered some new vendors that I have yet to explore, but am excited about. (Anyone tried Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats? Who knew? Oatmeal cookies, here I come!)
I thought the coolest part of the package were the laminated restaurant cards, which detailed in several languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, French) your food allergies so that you can share them with the servers and chefs.
Like with all food-related information, please keep in mind that menus and ingredients constantly change, so don't rely on this as gospel, more as a very detailed travel guide.
Thanks again Triumph Dining Guide, for helping to make eating out a little easier for food allergic folks.