by Colette Bell.
When I was first diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I thought, “Well that’s it, no more eating at restaurants anymore.” At that time (not that long ago) there were very few safe choices if you were going out to eat. One of the first place I found with a gluten-free menu was a chain. Not to say that I don’t go to chain restaurants, but I would certainly prefer healthier, more local choices. So as I started researching, I also started to feel a lot less overwhelmed. Life wouldn’t be quite so bad after all. One thing I quickly learned is to not be afraid to ask questions of any vendor or server. Don’t be afraid to be “that” customer. The restaurants want you to have as safe of an experience as you do.
Below is a list of local places I’ve found that have decent gluten-free options.
First is White Lion Baking Company. I first found them on Facebook (of course) and started following White Lion’s path in Paleo baking back when it was a husband/wife team in the city (Brighton or Brookline, I believe). I had even reached out to them for advice and spoken to the previous owners. They sold the business and it was moved to Mashpee (Yay! I’m going!). This past weekend, I went with a good friend of mine to sit, have coffee and Paleo treats (get it, White Lion … “pale leo”- Paleo? Clever, yes?). Paleo foods are inherently gluten-free. Our only, and I mean only disappointment upon arrival was that this is not a sit down location. It’s carry out only (they deliver as well). So much for coffee talk, but we ordered our goodies, hopped back in the car, sipped our coffee, ate our snacks and headed on down the road. We tried the magic bars, the chunky monkey muffin & the carrot cake cupcake – Wow!! Great ingredients, great recipes, deliciously amazing treats! I of course brought some home for my boys and they all loved them. We will certainly be visiting again!
The next place I’m going to mention is Martha’s – a little drive-up, or walk-up former coffee shack by Benny’s on Court St. in Plymouth. Many locavores are aware of Martha Stone, Martha’s Stone Soups, etc. Her reputation preceeds her and is very deserved. My youngest and I drove up after preschool last Thursday to peruse her wares, my son chose a smoothie (he has been getting over a sinus infection and hasn’t had a huge appetite), smoothie was the perfect choice for him. I got soup. They had a flourless chocolate cake that day, as well, but I’m trying to lose weight and chose not to indulge. We’re now making this our regular Thursday “date” routine. On our most recent trip, the little guy chose a smoothie and a tuna melt – he devoured it all. I was going to get soup, but since I had leftovers at home, I refrained. Luckily for me, my guy shared a few sips of his smoothie with dear old mom.
Now you know one of my absolutely favorite ways to stay gluten-free and eat local and organic is by way of South Shore Organics. I can’t say enough about the service you get, the personality behind the business and the love for what they do. This is the simplest way to stay safe, fruits and vegetables, seems simple, right, but in the overwhelming scheme of celiac, or a gluten-intolerance diagnosis you can forget to simply go back to basics.
Now on to Lindsey’s Family Restaurant. I had heard of Lindsey’s before and we always intended to try it, but for some reason or another, never made it there. When I received a gift certificate to Lindsey’s I quickly went to their site to check the menu and to my delight I found a Gluten-Free Menu.
Another great way to try local flavor and seek out gluten-free finds is to visit your local farmer’s market – I have been to Marshfield, Plymouth, and Carver markets all quite regularly and the vendors at each are so proud to talk to anyone about their wares and their knowledge. Vendors and local foodies know each other, know where to find what you’re looking for and if not are willing to help you find it. Food adventure is their game, you just have to ask!
Check out the Gluten-Free Registry to find things that are close to a specific location. Great if you’re traveling! If your favorite GF restaurant is not listed, let them know about the registry. (This registry helped me so much in the beginning, it’s how I discovered Sam Diego’s, 99, Chili’s, etc had a gluten-free menus.) Another good resource for traveling is the Gluten-Free Travel Site.
Thankfully, there are tools to help! And again, don’t be afraid to ask. Just because a restaurant doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer. Restaurants in Massachusetts must have an allergen certificate (if they don’t you might want to run in another direction). They should have a ServSafe certificate as well. All these tools are in place to help them serve the public safely. They should have some general knowledge of allergies and you are your own best ally in keeping yourself safe!
Be aware, be prepared, be safe, and eat well!!
Colette is a wife, mother and entrepreneur of sorts. Some might call me a “hippy” (my husband included!). Since finding out she is gluten intolerant, she has been working a start-up business venture, or Adventure if you will, preparing gluten-free meals to order and delivering them throughout her local community. Along with cooking gluten-free meals, she also enjoys developing a variety of allergen-friendly recipes (and will try to label them as such.) She made it a bit of a mission to educate people on how to live well and gluten-free and on a tight budget.