Los Angeles Gluten Free Restaurants
Anyone out there gluten intolerant?
Looking for restaurants in Los Angeles area (especially Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey).
Just discovered I have been sick because my body can't digest the protein gluten.
About 1 in every 100-200 people have it and it takes the average person 11 years to be diagnosed.
It doesn't just cause bloating, it can cause lymphoma, narcolepsy, lupus, hepatitis (!), depression and all sorts of skin disorders. The small intestine gets damaged by the gluten and it is an auto immune disease called Celiac. Itchy rashes, weight loss or gain, anemia, Parkinson's...
This disease is so serious and can be treated so go online and check it out!
If you know a child or adult who is ill and can't figure out why? A gluten allergy is a possiblity.
I'm gluten intolerant, not officially celiac, but I can't digest a lot of things, and I eat just about everywhere. You just have to be careful about what it is you eat, and it depends how strict you need to be. I avoid all the major flour/wheat/oat offenders, but don't worry about soy sauce or mustards. It's actually prepared or prepackaged processed foods that are the biggest problem, and not so much restaurant eating. Sushi is so easy, just avoid tempura and again, soy sauce if it's a problem. Salads, anything rice based, anything simple actually. Vegetarian restaurants are especially kind, just stay away from Seitan, as it's pure wheat gluten. Some tempehs have glutonous grains in them, but other than that, all proteins- from tofu to chicken to salmon- are good. If you are concerned about sauces, either get grilled or just ask what's in the sauce- most places are happy to check ingredients. Obviously you're not going to get a sandwich or pizza, but you can eat corn tortillas, which are a saving grace. there are also good storebought brown rice tortillas, and a lot of gluten free lines coming out. Whole Foods has a bunch- their own, another one I forget the name of with AWESOME chocolate chip cookies (taste just like Chips Ahoy), Glutino and Enjoy Life is a good one just expanding. It takes getting used to, but once you get it, you'll find it's not always fun (like when you crave a bagel) but it's not hard to enjoy eating either- and it's easier to keep weight off!
the new place opening culver city will be called the "sensitive baker," and according to the owner's blog, they're opening june 17th.
10836 1/2 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232
btw, be careful with all the recommendations for gluten-free items that are available at regular bakeries like mani's & sweet debbie's. if they're not produced using separate appliances in dedicated gluten-free kitchen space, they're most likely contaminated with gluten from the other products made on the shared equipment.
Not so quick on the sushi!!
THERE IS USUALLY SOY SAUCE IN SUSHI RICE!!!
(if you don't believe me, next time you go out for sushi, ask!)
Some celiacs get sick from a bread crumb, and must be that thorough.
Be very careful eating out!
That said, HUGO'S (W. Hollywood, on Santa Monica Blvd) is a favorite place of mine, as they're very good about answering ingredient questions, and often have GF pancake specials!
Another great place is CRU, a raw foods restaurant in Silverlake - everything is gluten free! And the food is fantastic.
Also .. re: MANI'S CAFE, they have wheat-free desserts, but not, as far as I can determine, gluten-free (spelt or barley flour? malt sweeteners? who knows). I sent them an email trying to clarify whether any desserts were GF and got no response. I don't believe they are knowledgeable about gluten. Their chocolate, for example is sweetened with barley malt.
BABYCAKES (a vegan & GF cupcake emporium in NYC) is opening a store in W. Hollywood sometime later this year.
I don't think there is ever soy sauce in sushi rice. Some chefs season sushi with various sauces (many of which contain soy sauce). I assume the chef could make stuff without, though it might not taste quite as good.
Typically, sushi rice has a mixture of rice vinegar and sugar, and maybe some salt, and the rice is sometimes cooked with kombu. According to the book "The Zen of Fish", a lot of places now use a powder to replace the kombu (to impart a bit of an umami flavor via some glutamate), but either way, I don't think there would be any soy sauce in the rice ever.
Will, that is a very dramatic response. I was told that by someone making sushi (with soy sauce in the rice) from a recipe and subsequently asked next time I went out for sushi and was told yes, there was soy sauce in the rice. It may certainly be an uncommon occurrence, despite my shock horror in previous post, but when we're talking about celiac disease burying your head in the sand helps no one who is so sensitive they can have none at all in their diet. I once got sick from eating GF pizza because it was not isolated from the other pizzas in cooking. If someone had told me no one ever gets sick from one crumb of gluten touching their food and then I got sick from one crumb, I would be no less sick because their opinion was that it was impossible.
update: Mani's has closed. Cru and other raw restaurants (such as Planet Raw in Santa Monica) continue to be easy for me to eat at. Other places that are happy to break down their ingredient lists (or even keep lists of what is gluten free): Sage Vegan Cafe in Echo Park, M Cafe de Chaya (Melrose / LaBrea), Hugo's, Doomie's Home Cookin in Hollywood. Babycakes is open downtown and will be opening another branch in Larchmont Village!
it was a few years ago though .. i don't remember for sure. It may have been Chaya in Venice that confirmed it.
I've just avoided sushi since. I like it with soy sauce and that involves bringing my own wheat free tamari which I don't generally carry around with me.
My point was really just that it's something to add to the list of things one with celiac disease must ask at a restaurant. Knowing what to ask is far more valuable than anything else. For example, does the restaurant you're ordering french fries at also fry breaded items in the same deep fryer? If so (and it's usually so) the fries may make you sick. The more of these things one discovers, the easier it is to know how to break down a menu and figure out what you can have when eating out.
Also I forgot to mention: there is a new GF bakery in Los Angeles, called the Breakaway Bakery. Everything there is also casein and nut / peanut free. It's on Pico near Fairfax.
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I have a gluten intolerance as well, so I feel your pain, although I sometimes intentionally torture myself for the few moments of gustatory pleasure.
That said, sashimi is a good option, so long as you either bring your own gluten-free soy sauce or Bragg's (the real stuff w/ gluten KILLS me).
M Cafe de Chaya has some good options, as does Eat Well on Santa Monica, not necessarily a gluten free menu section but plenty of options. Hugo's has the same.
Jack Spratt's Grille offers many gluten free options.
Of course, steakhouses where you can order meat or grilled fish (lobster at The Palm or Ruth's Chris for me) w/ sides of steamed or grilled veggies are tasty and safe.
Mani's Bakery offers some gluten free bakery items; Debbie's Sweet Organics also offers some gluten free cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and brownies that are pretty darn good, as well as lower cal and fat to boot.
I enjoy Mongolian Barbecue as well since I can control my ingredients, but I always have them clean the grill before stir-frying mine- they have to do it anyway at some point, so why not before me.
I might be mis-recalling, but I think just maybe Madeleine Bistro does some gluten free options, but I might be mistaken.
I'm sorry for you; it's tough for a bit, but then you get used to it, and on some levels, your palate becomes more attune to raw tastes of foods, unhindered by all that gluten... And of course, you'll decide when future pain is worth the present taste. Good luck.
Funny how different things affect different people. As I said above, soy sauce doesn't bother me at all- or maybe i'm just thinking it's normal discomfort, because it's not like I'm drinking it straight and on an empty stomach. I do also torture myself - like the bread at Jones, or BLD- and some tastes here and there. but that I can feel immediately. (or at least the next day.)
Where can you get Debbies besides ordering online? The brownies sound awesome, but then again, maybe I shouldn't find out!