Restaurants seem to be having a beer renaissance. In some restaurants beer is used in sauces, toppings, and even desserts. Although I’m sure there’s lots of people out there who are very happy with this development I’m obviously not one of them. I’d in fact really like it to stop. Really, please stop. I get that a gastropub or a bar is going to have some food with beer in it but over 3/4 of the menu? Really? For Celiacs, that restaurant just isn’t worth the risk. Some may say then choose not to go to these places. Most of the time that’s what I do but when you have friends picking the place or when you’re in a new city with few options then sometimes it’s not that easy. I’m frustrated when I find a new place to try and then find after reviewing the menu that the options are slim to nothing for me to eat safely. That’s such a let down.
It’s also tough when just from the menu I can see that a restaurant doesn’t understand what being gluten free means. Yes, the FDA has put regulations in place but I’m afraid that has just made restaurants more cautious about what they claim is gluten free. I’m fed up with the restaurant that claims to have gluten free pasta but cooks it in the same water as the regular pasta. I know it’s about education but how can we educate people to take the right precautions and not be afraid at the same time to serve us? That’s where I’m stuck. Some places have figured this out beautifully-Disney for instance. I know a large organization has many more resources but they’re not enlarging their kitchens they’re training staff about certain protocols and procedures.
It’s also tough as I’ve found the East Coast to be lagging behind in their restaurant education about Celiacs and gluten free compared to the western half of the country. Give me Austin, Phoenix, Colorado, LA, or Portland any day. I’m pretty confident of a large range of options for gluten free dining. I just don’t find that same assurance in the East. I feel so blessed to be gluten free now then instead of even ten years ago when no one had heard of gluten free. But that doesn’t mean there’s no struggle. I want to go to a bar just like anyone else. I don’t want to do away with beer (heck I’d love to drink it if I could) but please keep it out of my soup.