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Aug 27, 2006 12:02 AM

"Special Needs" restaurants/stores in San Francisco

Hello All,

Recently, I've been directed by several physicians to eliminate gluten [a protein found in wheat and most breads], dairy AND sugar from my diet. "What's left?", you may ask. I know, I've asked that myself...

Are there restaurants in S.F. that you can recommend which do not use gluten, dairy or sugar in their cooking? I would appreciate knowing about any stores/deli's that sell food free of the above ingredients and where they are located. Downtown? Any where else?

We are planning our annual trip to S.F. in early November, so I've got time to plan my meals, where I can and cannot eat.

After reading several books, I have learned that there are alternatives like goat milk and soy but man, am I going to miss the your clam chowder, sourdough and Ghiradelli chocolates!

All recommendations will be most gratefully received!

Many thanks [from someone who loves your city] for taking the time to respond!

Alain...San Diego

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  1. just throwing some ideas out...

    you may have some luck at medicine eatstation, a new vegan restaurant in crocker galleria mall, downtown sf. they do wonderful things with wholesome food. while i don't know (and doubt) that their entire menu satisfies your requirements, you may have some options there.

    maggie mud's is an ice cream place in bernal heights that has extensive dairy-free options; they may have sugar/dairy free too. though i don't know for sure, i bet they do.

    thai house express is an absolute favorite of mine (and the board's). if you did a rice noodle dish (does rice have gluten?) or a stir fry and talked to them about the sugar-free thing, i think that would work out too.

    burma superstar does several very interesting salads (tea, rainbow, and ginger) that may fit your requirements as well. i'm a bit pressed to think of what else you can eat there (they make a coconut rice that is just fab), but it might be worth calling them to find out.

    you may also have luck doing deconstructed tacos/mexican food. there are many threads opining on "the best burrito in sf," which sometimes boils down to which place does the best with certain kinds of meat. a plate of perfect meat with fresh salsa and guac (and rice?) would be sure to satisfy. but you're from san diego, so maybe it won't lol.

    also, 7 ways of beef at pagolac (vietnamese) may fit your requirements. you grill the beef, you "shabushabu" the beef (i don't know the vietnamese term), and then 4 kinds of grilled beef, and then beef jook. several of the ways involve wrapping the beef in rice paper wrappers with fresh herbs, though nuoc mam has sugar in it (i think) so i guess the sauce is out. their claypots/stirfries may be ok for you too, and instead of rice i'm sure they can make rice vermicelli (sp) instead.

    and (assuming rice is gluten free), sushi. there are many threads on this topic too.

    if you ate carefully, chinese could work for you too. a wonderful steamed fish (or fried!), veggies, maybe a duck. koi palace is the general favorite (with dissentions) for chinese. they may put sugar in the dishes though; i don't know enough about making chinese food to tell you that and the koi palace staff does not have stellar english skills. you may have better luck at yank sing; the waitstaff speaks good english and will be able to guide you through the menu.

    hope this helps!

    1. I have Celiac disease, so I can help with the gluten part. If the dairy issue is just lactose intolerance and you can have small amounts of milk products (as is typical with gluten intolerance), then it will be SUPER easy for you in SF. I eat everywhere without a problem. What kind of food do you like? Almost all non-chain restaurants in SF will do GF, but many prefer you call ahead to warn the chef. I had a few hostesses try to tell me not to worry, but the chefs that I have talked to generally like to be warned ahead of time. I have not found Chinese to be easy though because of the soy sauce issue, and at Slanted Door, they were familiar with the issue, but had to change the implementation of everything. Mexican is a great option with corn tortillas (just make sure you know farina, flor (sp?), and cervesa (sp?) to make sure the food doesn't have any of that in it). Middle eastern, Indian and of course California cuisine also have worked well. And chocolate - well, if you are not milk allergic, but are lactose intolerant, you can enjoy dark chocolate and MANY places and XOXO truffles that everyone loves has a GF/soy milk version (OK, not sugar free, but it is all about controlling the amount of sugar right?).