27 May 2008

Gluten Free Tips: Restaurants (Southeast Idaho) (UPDATED 27 May)

I'll do a more generic restaurant post at some point, but at the moment I'm just going to focus on restaurants in my area that have been good for my GF needs, primarily for any visitors who might be in the Pocatello/Idaho Falls area with similar needs.

Sizzler: Excellent salad bar. Avoid, of course, the croutons, rolls, breadsticks, breaded chicken things and so-called "macaroni salads". But there's always a good selection of fruits and vegetables. For the one in Pocatello, get off at the Pocatello Creek exit, go west, and just past a small hill, you'll see Sizzler on the right. I've also ordered their ribs without incident. I used to order their broiled shrimp, but it's nearly impossible to get it through the employees' thick skulls that they CANNOT put it over the rice pilaf garbage, so I gave up on that.

Chang's Garden: Chinese place. Good buffet for the non-gluten-challenged. Very accommodating staff for those of us who need GF. Pretty much, so long as it's not breaded, it can be made GF. I go there often enough that the owner greets me with "No soy sauce! No MSG!" in a fairly thick Chinese accent. Soy sauce has "wheat" as its second ingredient, so make sure to ask them to leave it off. MSG can sometimes be made for wheat, and tends to give me a headache anyway, so I also ask them to leave it off. Good dishes: Curry Chicken in Coconut Cream, Chicken Almond Ding, Cashew Chicken, Chicken with Peapods (most of these can also be made with pork), Pad Thai, Wor Bar. Again, always ask for "no soy sauce; no MSG". For reference, the "House Special" sauce does contain soy sauce, as does the hot and sour soup. The last time I asked, the egg drop soup did NOT...but I generally ask them not to bring me soup, so I haven't asked about it in a while.

And Chang's is in the same plaza as Sizzler. Just get in the rightmost lane and go around the corner at the light. Turn right just past the Dairy Queen and you should see it on the left.

Oliver's: A good selection of salads. As I don't use dressing, I have no idea if the dressings are GF or not. This one's on 5th street, and it's probably better if you look up your own directions.

Canton Place: The one in Idaho Falls is very accommodating as well. It's another Chinese restaurant. They won't meet every request, but "no soy sauce; no MSG" has never been a problem. Also, they will make at least some of their breaded goods with a corn starch batter. One waitress told me that that's all they ever use, but I am not 100% convinced of this yet, so ask. If you can find the mall in IF, Canton place is almost straight across 17th from it, in the same plaza as Tuesday Morning. There's also a Canton Place in Blackfoot, which made food I could eat, but I was only there once and have no memory of how to get there. It may be near the hospital.

Chili's: Decent selection of gluten free items on their allergen menu. If you say "gluten free" the waitress may or may not know what you mean, but if you ask for the "allergen menu" she should be able to find it for you. I quite liked the Guilt-Free salmon, but didn't care for the Guilt-Free Chicken -- tasted of way too much black pepper for my taste. The link to the menu should work until 30 April; I'm not sure if it will work beyond that.

Pier 49: Gluten free crust available for their 12 inch pizza. Quite good texture and flavor. For the Pocatello one, it's in the same plaza as Chang's Garden and Sizzler, so get off I-15 at the Pocatello Creek exit and head west, looking for a middling shopping center on the right, just past the hill. Pier 49 is in the cornermost building, where Pocatello Creek meets Hi-Line/Jefferson and becomes Alameda. Map. Pier 49's Site.

Anyway, those are my regular restaurants around here, and the ones I trust most. More generic advice about restaurants later.

GF Tips Index


Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the Sizzler manager in IF told my husband, who is gluten-intolerant, that unless one asks only one of their steaks is automatically GF due to seasonings.

Anonymous said...

Also, Chile's has a GF menu that's not bad, Friday's is pitiful, but The Outback's rocks. They even have a special gluten-free dessert that's amazing.

bluemex said...

Please send any available info on gluten free offerings in grocery stores or restaurants (or anywhere else!) in or near Ketchum Idaho. We're here to help a friend and I'd love to find GF beer and other products. Thanks, bluemex