Gluten-free in Malden?
I have a cousin coming from Italy. She needs to eat gluten-free. Does anyone have experience with eating gluten-free here in Malden? I have heard that Vietnamese is generally safe, and Abiata advertises gluten-free bread. Any suggestions and warnings are welcome.
Why don't you call up a few restaurants that you might be interested in ahead of time and see if there is a chef or manager that understands about celiac and the need for gluten free.
There is alot of gluten hidden everywhere that people not experience in food allergies won't know about.
Explain that you would like to bring a guest on whatever day and that you would like a few choices that will be gluten free. See if they will type up a special menu for your cousin so she can order safely from that menu. When you go in, remind the server that you need to have your cousin's dish gluten free and I'd would even ask to speak with the chef or kitchen manager if they don't offer.
Many restaurants may seem safe but you don't know if the seasonings they use will contain gluten...Soy sauce is a big culprit. I have traditional soy sauce in my kitchen and then also a gluten free one. There can even been gluten in yogurt and chocolate.
Not intentionally searching for the Italian theme, but this place in Everett seems to be advertising gluten free pizza and other offerings:
I have also heard great things about this bakery in belmont:
I would also try to find out if she is celiac or just gluten intolerant (and if so, how intolerant sensitive she is). ie: is just gluten free food sufficient or does she need to be concerned about cross contamination as well?
Considering she is coming from a region that to me seems it would be a gf challenge, perhaps check with her what type of restaurants she frequents and how she approaches them, so you can repeat the same here. I am so appreciative when visiting others for them serving me things because they are gluten free or taking me to places that have gluten free. But just because it is gluten free, unfortunately doesn't automatically mean I will always like it. So finding out her preferences and approach will probably help you alot.
Vietnamese is good due to their use of rice noodles, but be careful what other things they put into their soups, etc.
Good luck and keep us posted where you go!
Still trying to target Malden, there are also Chipotle and Not Your Average Joe's in Medford. While not particularly Chowworthy to this board I am sure, both do have gf options and more impressive, they both seem to be well educated on it as well.
I tend to be wary of some of the places that seem to be jumping on the trendy gf bandwagon and who give a false sense of security, if they don't fully understand or train their employess about proper food handling regarding it.
But in most cases (even if they don't advertise gf), if you call ahead to find out what choices might work and/or go during quieter hours, most are usually more than welcoming to oblige where they can, since it might be a special order in alot of instances.
While no place dining out can be 100% guaranteed, all my celiac friends are grateful for Chipotle. You identify yourself as gluten free and they are ready to wipe down the lines and do glove changes. I think most places have to put legal disclaimers about cross contamination, but at least they dont pretend to not fully understand the scenario.
Unfortunately it is not my favorite burrito style place (not what I remembered from when it opened in Colorado in the 90s), but it is decent healthier food fast. And with them being very clear what can and cant be eaten, it leaves the majority of items available for gluten free, which is so nice having so many options. Their bowls are hearty!
From Chipotle's website: "Gluten Intolerance/Celiac Disease Most people wanting to avoid gluten can eat anything we serve except for our large and small flour tortillas, and possibly our red tomatillo salsa (there is a small amount of distilled vinegar in it which some gluten-oriented websites still say might be problematic, although most don’t). Everything else is fine to eat for most people wanting to avoid gluten, including our crispy corn tacos and our corn chips. However, you should know that it’s possible our corn may have a small amount of gluten from potentially co-mingling with gluten-containing grains in the field. If you are highly sensitive and would like us to change our gloves, we would be happy to do that at your request. Additionally, because our folks work with wheat tortillas all day long, there may be the possibility of cross-contact in our restaurants. We encourage you to carefully consider your dining choices".
I went to Blue Fiji in Medford Sq this week for the first time. They were so accommodating for Gluten free, so perhaps a potential option for you and your cousin for sushi/chinese?! They were very proud of having San-J gf tamari sauce when I asked. (If you were not aware, soy sauce is not gluten free, but tamari is. San-J seems to be the most popular brand).
Which they immediately followed up offering they would be glad to try modifying almost anything on the menu they could to gluten free! Really?!! I was in heaven!! So many choices!! The meal was delicious, fresh, and they were wonderful hosts!
Disclaimer - I am gf intolerant, not celiac, so did not review cross contamination. But being they were talking about potentially offering a small gluten free menu in the future as well, I am sure they would be comfortable discussing their cross contamination practices with you if required.
If wanting to go further out of the Malden area, my other favorites are House of Chang in Cambridge for gf chinese (ask for jasmine or kathy to help you with gluten free) and Burtons Grill (although it is starting to get more of a chain feel to it now). Otherwise doing CH searches will probably uncover most of the other ones in the Boston area.
I unfortunately do greatly understand about not wanting chains. Especially for someone coming over from Italy! Again good luck!
Thanks again everyone. I really wanted to avoid large chains, so this is what we ended up with. We had beef pho noodle soups at Pho Hoa in Malden. They don't have a gluten free menu, but I read enough about Vietnamese restaurants in general to feel comfortable ordering a basic beef noodle soup for my cousin. We made sure that they don't use soy. We ordered fantastic pizzas from Nana's on Main Street in Everett. They have a gluten free menu that includes pizza, wings, and salads. They deliver to Malden. We also ate at Four Burgers downtown. They have a gluten free bun, and their sides (including French Fries!) are guaranteed gluten-free. I introduced my cousin to the wonderful world of American baked goods through whoopie pies at Modern Pastry.