Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fried fish, french fries and beer

A few Gluten-Free Updates - by Susan

Having to eat gluten-free isn't always easy.  I found out almost 8 years ago I had couldn't eat any gluten at all.  Back then it was almost impossible to eat out and eat gluten-free.  I'd go into a restaurant and utter the words "gluten-free" and they would look at me like I was nuts.  Many chefs would say the couldn't (or wouldn't) do a gluten-free meal for me.

Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and usually oats.  The current thinking is that 1 in every 100 people have Celiac disease.  If you add in the people who are allergic to wheat or have a wheat sensitivity (which is now being recognized as a completely separate issue) then you have a very large group of people that can't tolerate gluten.

Thankfully things have changed drastically. I don't get those funny looks any more, almost every restaurant I go into nowadays knows what gluten is and can modify a number of dishes on their menu's to make them accommodate my needs.  Even better, many restaurants now have separate gluten-free menus.

There are some things that are hard to find in gluten free dining.  One of those is any fried food.  This being Cape Cod, the home of fried fish and clams, it's been very difficult to go all these years and not, at least a few times a summer, have fried fish.  I really missed it but it's probably a lot better for my waistline not to have it.  No matter about that.... I need my fried food fix.  Even french fries are difficult to find.  A potato does not contain gluten however, french fries in most restaurants are fried in the same oil as all other fried things (like batter dipped fish) and so they become contaminated with wheat.

This summer I found Chatham Fish and Lobster Co. at 1291 Main Street, Chatham.  (it can be hard to find so look for the building in the pix here)  They do gluten free fried food and they do it well!  I have to tell you, eating fried fish, french fries, and sweet potato fries for the first time in years was such a treat.   They also have a nice but small selection of cookies, brownies, and bread.   As you can see by the picture I started eating before I could get my camera out, I'm sorry I just couldn't wait!

Two other gluten-free updates:

I'm sure the GF crowd out there knows that British Beer Company has an extensive gluten-free menu now.  The food is great, the staff seems well trained in things gluten-free, and they have 2 gluten free beers available too.  I don't love the pizza there, the crust is too thick for my taste (however; my daughter likes it) but I love, love, love, their chicken Caesar wrap.

99 Restaurants have a decent gluten-free menu and they too seem to be well trained in making sure things ordered gluten-free actually come gluten-free.  One thing I love about 99, they have a separate fryer for french fries so you don't have to worry about cross contamination, you can eat the fries with abandon!  The only real negative I have with 99, and it's a BIG one: they do not have any gluten-free beer.  What is with that??  A gluten-free menu and no gluten-free beer?  It use to be you had to go with tiny independent breweries to buy a gluten-free beer but now Budweiser makes Redbridge a tasty and GF beer.  So come on, 99 get with it and have a GF beer on your menu!


  1. I was psyched to read that about Chatham Fish & Lobster! I just started my new "gluten-free" diet and I'm trying to adjust to the draztic changes! Because one of my best friends growing up had Celiac disease (I always felt so bad for her, who knew it would be me years later!) so I already knew the basics. It is a lot easier now like you said, things are labeled, there is actually places you can go out to eat for more than a salad! I just wanted to put it out there, I went to The Box Office Cafe today in Chatham on Route 28 and I was shocked at how Gluten-friendly they were! They will adapt any of their sandwiches or pizzas to gluten-free bread and pizza crust and... get this, IT WAS GREAT! Its a fun place to go eat whether you are gluten-free or not. All their pizzas and sandwiches are named after movies (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Club Dread, Caddyshack, etc and the ingredients coincide with the titles) I think they still show movies at night on the large home-theater size flatscreen tv. They also had some delicious gluten-free granola and wicked good G-free cookies! It's a great place, the staff is friendly and very helpful, go check it out!

  2. Hi Susan,
    I'm a gluten free gal as of 3 yrs ago,Thankfully the food is getting better, It's good to know restaurants are becomming more accommodating to gf people, I do however love fried seafood brick oven pizza and a good beer, redbridge is drinkable, but how I enjoy a stout, I'll take gluten digesting enzymes so I can indulge on occasion, it definitely helps but can't do it too often. I look forward to my vacation time on the cape and the wonderful seafood! I do tend to indulge more than I should and suffer the side effects! Gluten for punishment!


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