You know when you know something, but you don’t really want to know it so you just ignore it and hope it goes away? That’s kind of how I felt about Chuy’s, my formerly favorite restaurant in Austin, Texas (besides, Frank, obvs). The quirky Elvis-loving home of gen-u-ine Tex-Mex, I never missed an opportunity to enjoy a swirl margarita and my favorite burrito when I was in town, which is of course, smothered in queso. (Not the margarita — never the margarita.)
Sure I go around saying that Mexican food is a good friend to the gluten intolerant, and it is. But Tex-Mex relies so often on the flour tortilla, that it is in fact, your enemy. That’s right, I said it. Tex-Mex is your enemy. Go ahead and put Tex-Mex on your shit list. A fact which was proven when I dared to return to Chuy’s (not to be confused with Chevy’s) last night.
First of all, I’d love to thank my server who knew what was up, and even when I tried to gluten myself, would not allow it. And I’d also like to totally not thank my server for dashing my dreams at ever eating at Chuy’s ever again. She was very complex, that Emily. You see, it’s hard to order anything at Chuy’s that isn’t wrapped in a flour tortilla. Even when I discovered my old friend, the chicken flauta, was actually made with a corn tortilla I thought my luck had changed. But alas, it was fried in oil with the flours so it was out. Same goes for the crispy tacos. Sauces? Most have gluten. Delicious, crispy, chips? I don’t even want to go there.
So this is what I had for dinner. Introducing the Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom Enchilada.
It was dark in there. It’s a party place, what can I say?
I do not wish to disparage the Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom enchilada. It was, in fact, a delicious chicken enchilada with a cheesy jalapeno sauce that I very much enjoyed. But it was no bean and cheese burrito smothered in Tex-Mex sauce, nor a chicken flauta dipped in sour cream and queso. (Hmmm, how was it I gained so much weight when I lived in Austin?)
Which is perhaps why I’d been avoiding Chuy’s, other than the fact that after one eats at Chuy’s you’re not allowed to consume any more calories for a week. My college fave has no place in my grown up world of digestive disorders and being a responsible drinker. But I knew that already.
Have you had to give up your favorite restaurant since going gluten-free?
I used to really love Olive Garden, but they are pretty much on the no-go list now. I think everything on their menu has gluten in it.
Janae, I believe most Olive Garden locations now offer gluten free pasta. I’ve been there before and I may have gotten a linguine noodle in my gluten free penne, which the manager vehemently swore was gluten free, but it totally ruined my appetite. If you’re feeling adventurous and can handle the smell of fresh baked breadstick goodness that you’re not allowed to have, then maybe venture out to the local Olive Garden. I’ll stick to PF Changs.
I’ve actually eaten some delicious gluten free meals at both Chuys and Olive Garden!
Chuy’s??? Do tell.
YES! I’m not celiac, but doing gluten-free with the kids…and one of our fav pastimes is eating out. So now we bring food for them, and we’ve noticed their behaviors are MUCH better if they don’t eat out at all. The real downside is that now half the restaurants we did frequent tastes like garbage: Red Robin, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bravos!, Macaroni Grill…we’re ruined for dining out 😦
One of my favourite diners in Toronto, because we went almost exclusively for pancakes (they are heavenly!), and one of my favourite lunch places, because it is a sandwich place.
I lived in Taiwan, and love Chinese food. I’ve been to PF Chang’s twice and it’s been a big disappointment. Did I mention I was vegetarian? They have a large gluten free menu, but it all has meat in it. Last time I was there, I asked if they could put tofu in the plate of boring steamed veggies, and they waiter had to check because the tofu had gluten in it! I haven’t had to just give up a restaurant, I’ve had to give up a whole cuisine. 😦
I don’ t know how people give up meat with their gluten, I really don’t. That’s HARD.
I was thinking the exact same thing! Kudos to you, Ken. Wow. I don’t really miss any restaurant in particular, because I didn’t eat out a whole lot. But I do miss being able to just eat whenever and wherever with friends.
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Not a restaurant, but I had to give up my cranberry-Orange glazed scones from Starbucks, and donuts.
It is my understanding even the chicken has gluten from the marinade… and that the only protein you can get is shrimpp, even then youhave to ask them not to put gluten sauces on it.
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