Sunday, April 8, 2012


Last night I helped celebrate a friend's birthday. At an Italian place. Which, mentally, for me, that meant salad. As a celiac, I have become familiar with the restaurant salad. Ridiculously overpriced, generally mediocre, and rarely satisfying. I'm not a salad-loving kind of girl. But, most of the time, it means more to be surrounded by good company than devouring an exceptional meal.

However, it turns out that we went to Maggiano's. And my knock-me-over awesome friends checked it out beforehand on their smartphones. So when I walked in the door, they said, "They have gluten free!"

They mention gluten free pasta substitutions on the menu, but recommend that you let the server know so that a chef can come talk to you. A chef came and talked to me! That was certainly a first. In an effort to not be difficult, I chose the simplest dish that came to mind: chicken alfredo. He then reminded me that the creme brulee is also gluten free, so I could also have dessert. I could have kissed him.

For a place that offers gluten free options, they seemed much more knowledgeable than a few places I've been to. Usually the waiters are clueless, while the chefs are more gluten-savvy. Here, everyone seemed on the ball. I was not offered bread (don't you love it when you tell them you have celiac disease and then they plop a bread basket in front of you?), and she made a point to tell me that she could mix up a salad without croutons if I wanted one. I chose the spinach salad, which was so good that I practically licked the bowl clean. I said practically- I remembered my manners, haha.

When it arrived, the server said, "gluten free pasta," when she handed it to me.

I have to tell you, even though it was confirmed by the chef and the waitress, I was skeptical of the gluten-free-ness. I felt like there might have been a mistake in the kitchen. It was too good. I've always been able to tell gluten free pasta from regular pasta. In the end, I took faith and ate it. It was really delicious. The creme brulee was equally delicious, and by the end of the night I was stuffed. I walked out with a serious food baby.

And to put the icing on the cake, they gave me an extra portion of gluten free chicken alfredo to go. On the house. That's also never happened before.

So, was the pasta really gluten free? I had some discomfort last night, but I think that may have been due to stuffing my face rather than gluten. I figure if I had eaten that much gluten, I'd really be hurting.

It was a tad bit pricier than normal- For a glass of wine, a salad, entreee, dessert, and capuccino, it was about 45 dollars before tip. You know it's a good meal when the gluten free pasta is so good you are skeptical of it's authenticity. And creme brulee to boot? Maggiano's is a win in my book.