I’ve only been back from Austin, Texas for a few hours and already I miss the ease of dining as I struggle to figure out where in the world to grab take-out that will appeal to my picky daughter and my celiac self. Because basically, my mind was blown this week as I chowed down in the best city in Texas (and quite frankly, a five state radius). Here’s what happened in the first 36 hours I was there.
I went to three restaurants in a row that handed me a gluten-free menu. Three! Three gluten-free menus — in a freaking row! They know how to treat a girl who can’t hang with wheat. Also, check out that grocery store aisle above in Central Market. So much g-free business I had to walk away without buying anything so as not to buy EVERYTHING. Whole Foods, you need to take a lesson from the greatest grocery store of all time. Alternately, Central Market — please come to California. You know you want to, especially in the summers.
So here’s where I dined, and you should too if you’re looking for a good gf time in the live music capital of the world.
Mexican food is always my go-to when I’m feeling shaky about eating gluten-free, so it’s no surprise that a Tex-Mex restaurant will be celiac-friendly. But these people not only have an entire menu, they stopped me before I ordered a sauce (that I didn’t see on the gf menu, but thought, hey, why not? Yes, that’s how excited I get about chili con carne) that had hidden gluten. Was it good? Hells yes.
I’ve been in love with Central Market since the first one opened when I was a college student at UT. So I actually expected the royal treatment when I went there for lunch, because they can do no wrong. Sure enough, a laminated gluten-free menu was waiting for me. I love you, Central Market. And I always will.
My brother and sister-in-law decided on an easy fast food’ish spot near my mom’s new place, and Red Robin was it. They like the burgers, I like the really large, and detailed gluten-free menu. In a chain/fast food joint! Also, they have this crazy Statue of Liberty thing going on. Good times.
This is my brother and sister-in-law’s restaurant, so there is obviously some bias. But the fact that they had a gluten-free hot dog bun, and beer on their menu before I was even diagnosed, shows that there wasn’t any nepotism involved in the g-free options at this gourmet sausage joint. Nice one, big brother. Nice one. Also, they have Big Buck Hunter. So I temporarily took leave of my senses and let my daughter pretend to shoot a rifle. Sue me, I was high on a gf bun.
Unbelievably, I voluntarily went to an Italian restaurant. Guess what? Amazing gluten-free options. You know why? Because you’re in Austin, and apparently everything is magical in this city. They had a buckwheat pappardelle, which I did not have. But instead, the very rad waiter directed me to this Berkshire pork chop and squash goodness and a tuna tartar appetizer that made me a little less frightened to venture into Italian territory. Also, they do have gf pasta, but I decided that pork sounded pretty dang good.
I did a quick Internet search before heading to Taco Cabana. What with that whole “gluten in the beef tacos” incident at Taco Bell, I wasn’t going to trust any fast food chain. But like so many times before when I needed a taco after a night of drinking, Taco Cabana did not disappoint. Huge options that are all g-free, and delicious. Margaritas too. You’re not going to get that when you run to that other crappy border.
So basically, Austin rules. Go there, eat, and don’t get sick.
you should challenge to have GF menus in their restaurants. how interesting and information for the GF family! thanks!!
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interested to know if any of these places cooked on GF cookware to avoid cross contamination? We’re headed to Austin in October with two celiac kids who get prettty sick from cross contamination. Any words of wisdom? Thanks! Kara
Hi Kara! I now Maudie’s uses separate cookware, and many of the other places are naturally gf so there’s little danger of any cross contact. I can’t recall off the top of my head exactly who else told me every detail about production, but outside of my big mistake in going to Chuy’s, I’ve never been gluten’d in Austin. Have fun!!!!!
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Really? We tried a few in Austin and they both had no dedicated fryer, and told us that they did nothing for Celiacs. In fact, at one place the guy at the counter asked, “so, is gluten like cheese? ” Taco Cabana’s website says that they are not GF.
This is the first post on this blog that we’ve found that is not accurate.
When I went to Cabana two years ago, they told me it was safe. I haven’t been back since then, so I don’t know if they changed, or if their wording just got more accurate and they realized they were not as safe as they said they were. Either way, there’s a million more options in Austin, so you certainly don’t have to go there!