Monday, September 7, 2020

Gluten Free Takeout during COVID in the San Fernando Valley

 While stuck at home during COVID, it an be difficult to find GF options for takeout.  One can only eat Chipotle so many times before needing more variety.  My go to, to go place during COVID has been Cafe Orient in Chatsworth (website link here) They have many GF Options available, and prices are reasonable ($10-13 for most things but an extra cost for beef or shrimp). 

My favorites

- GF Sweet and Sour Chicken Chinese Style Stir Fry  (a recent addition to their menu)

-GF Yellow Curry with Potatoes, Squash, Snow Peas, and Chicken.  This is great with rice added at home.

-GF Pad kee-mau: Flat rice noodles with onion, tomato, basil, and a tamarind glaze (I get chicken or beef)

-GF Pad Thai (no explanation needed.  I get chicken and no egg...guess I know which comes first for me.)

There are also GF Tofu and Veggie Spring Rolls that are refreshing but a bit pricey.

The address: 20527 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best Gluten Free Hamburgers (with GF bun)

1. Stacked: Food Well Built - I've eaten the burgers twice at their Thousand Oaks location.  Great! Lots of GF options. Ipad ordering shows exactly what is GF and the management is well aware of cross contamination issues and how to avoid them. The GF buns and burgers would fool a non-celiac. My burger (one of them) included double patties, two cheeses, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli sauce, bacon, a scrambled egg, and more than I can remember.  Keep up the good work.  Photos to follow when I get around to it. Other locations in Torrance, Cerritos, and San Diego.

2. ????????????

I'd love to add to this list, though it is hard to find gluten free hamburgers that have a bun rather than just a lettuce wrap.  Let me know if there are others I should try...please don't recommend places that you know cross contaminate the bun or burger during cooking.

FDA finally defines "gluten-free" for food labeling

This came out on August 2nd, 2013...nice to know they are finally doing something about this issue...too bad it only takes effect after about year.  (technically a year and 30 days after August 2nd).

Let's hope they do something about restaurants and companies that knowingly cross contaminate their products, but still advertise them as being gluten-free.

If you have questions: 1-888-INFO-FDA

You may find the original news release on the FDA website through this link.
I have copied the information below.

FDA defines “gluten-free” for food labeling

New rule provides standard definition to protect the health of Americans with celiac disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today published a new regulation defining the term "gluten-free" for voluntary food labeling. This will provide a uniform standard definition to help the up to 3 million Americans who have celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive condition that can be effectively managed only by eating a gluten free diet.

“Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA’s new ‘gluten-free’ definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health.”

This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of “gluten-free” claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term "gluten-free" on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.” 

The FDA recognizes that many foods currently labeled as “gluten-free” may be able to meet the new federal definition already. Food manufacturers will have a year after the rule is published to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements.

“We encourage the food industry to come into compliance with the new definition as soon as possible and help us make it as easy as possible for people with celiac disease to identify foods that meet the federal definition of ‘gluten-free’” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

The term "gluten" refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains.  In people with celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. Such damage limits the ability of celiac disease patients to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other very serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers. 

The FDA was directed to issue the new regulation by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), which directed FDA to set guidelines for the use of the term “gluten-free” to help people with celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet.

The regulation was published today in the Federal Register2.
For more information:

El Pollo Loco's Not So Gluten Free Menu (not much of a menu when you factor in cross contamination)

Not to go off on a rant, but most of the items on El Pollo Loco's hyped Gluten Free menu are NOT celiac friendly.  It is great that they want to serve gluten free food, but after speaking with their guest services telephone number....I think it would be hard to make a truly gluten free meal.

For example, the fries and taquitos are cross contaminated in the fryer.  The chicken (something that I thought should be fine) is also NOT ok, as it is chopped in the same location as the chicken marinated in soy sauce (which contains wheat).  The customer service representative was kind enough to point out that many other items on the gluten free menu are probably also cross contaminated, and that I should check carefully with the restaurant manager before ordering.

Ask them yourself by calling 1-877-375-4968 (5am-9pm Pacific Time, seven days a week).

Why is there no corporate concern about cross contamination? Maybe the FDA will get involved when their gluten free food labeling law finally takes effect in August of 2014...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill Gluten Free Menu

Sharky's now has a gluten free menu. If you ask in the restaurant, there is a one page menu to order from.  It only appeared effective December 2012, so is very recent.  I have not located a copy on the website, but if you find it online please add the link as a comment.   They must have had a GF menu training recently...The cook was aware of cross contamination issues, he even mentioned that although the chips are made from corn, they are cross contaminated in the are not gluten free. The corn tortillas are prepared on a different griddle than the flour to prevent CC. There is even an AJ burrito bowl on the GF menu that is not on the regular menu.  I was at the Simi Valley location...if you'd like to go to the place that seemed on top of things. The other locations are also supposed to offer and be aware of the GF menu items.

Here is the link to Sharky's Gluten Free Options

It is a PDF file.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

McDonald's French Fries are not gluten free (and they even contain milk)

I have been operating under the impression that the french fries at McDonald's were gluten free because they have a separate fryer and therefore are able to avoid cross contamination.  However, I ate some fries on yesterday and didn't feel so great, so decided to do some research.  Lots of places online will mention McDonald's fries as being gluten free, but that is not the case.  Read for yourself on the McDonald's website on this link.
For those of you who believe I am capable of correctly doing a cut and paste from there, here is what it reads (as of the time of this post on Dec 5, 2012).
French Fries
Allergens: WHEAT AND MILK Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

I am not going to be eating any more of the fries. I know that beef flavoring was an issue for them in India, so if I travel to India I will investigate the possibility of eating the fries there...otherwise, no more golden arches fries for this celiac.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Gluten Free: Zankou Chicken...or Costco chicken?

Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I used to like the convenience of being able to go to Zankou Chicken.  Three or four of us would get the whole chicken with garlic, pita (eek. gluten), etc.

I drove past a Zankou Chicken that is opening soon in Granada Hills (@Chatsworth and Zelzah), so I decided to check if they have gluten free options (as more places become aware of GF needs, the options available are increasing). 

Lo and behold...gluten free options.  Obviously, you cannot get the pita wraps, but check the link to see what you can get....the chicken is the way to go in my opinion.  Their website has a handy PDF menu also.

The other place I noticed gluten free rotisserie chicken recently was Costco.  Cheap, well labeled, and GF...but you have to walk the quarter mile to the meat dept in the back of the store after surviving the parking lot. The chicken is not on their website, as it is an in store item...not something that they will send via UPS...use the website to find a Costco near you, then hunt in-store. (you do need to be a member..if you live somewhere other than the US and have never heard of Costco before).

In summary, if you are a masochist, you can save some money by getting a gluten free rotisserie chicken at Costco, but for convenience and flavor Zankou Chicken is hard to beat.