The gluten-free guide to living


Danny Tajimaroa

P.F. Chang’s located on Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad offers plenty of alternatives to food plates containing gluten. 1% of Americans have Celiac disease, which is an abnormal immune response to gluten (a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye).

It’s always hard to say goodbye to something or someone you love, especially if your one true passion is carb-loading. Sometimes, health requirements prevail–as it does now for the gluten-sensitive.

Coming from someone with a gluten allergy and lactose intolerance, I understand how difficult it is to find restaurants that are delicious but don’t make me sick. Recently, establishments that cater to food-related illnesses have been launched all over Carlsbad. Of the 204 gluten-free eateries that have opened, the following are the most noteworthy.

Breakfast is especially tricky for people with allergies. Usually, it consists mainly of carbs–think pancakes, French toast or crepes–which, for the gluten-free, are inedible. The solution? Spend Saturday mornings at the Broken Yolk Cafe , which sells not only breakfast essentials (eggs and omelets), but also gluten-free pancakes.

“The gluten-free pancakes are really good,” Broken Yolk customer Mariah Marnee said. “The eggs are really good as well and do not give me any problems.”

Blaze Pizza, which recently opened in the outlet mall, serves individual 11-inch pizzas for $7.99. Blaze accommodates gluten-free customers by using separate sauces and wiping down all work spaces, exterminating any chance of cross-contamination.

“I have stopped ordering pizza from the other top pizza distributers; I only pick Blaze,” Blaze customer Diana Ross said. “I love all the fresh ingredients and options for all allergies.”

American restaurants that cater to this allergy are abundant, but ethnic places tend to be more difficult to scout. Chinese restaurants are often assumed to be safe because they serve noodles and rice, but often, this is not true. A key ingredient in the cuisine is soy sauce, which contains wheat; many restaurants pre-coat all meats and pans in soy sauce, making most dishes unsafe. To counteract allergic reactions, P.F. Chang’s uses a separate gluten-free kitchen, in which they make their own gluten-free soy sauce, entrees and appetizers.

“P.F. Chang’s has a lot more options for those with allergies; we take allergies seriously,” manager of the Paseo Del Norte P.F. Chang’s Marisa said. “We use completely different plates, woks, and oils for people with allergies. We also can make all of our big dishes gluten-free along with special gluten-free sauces.”

The most difficult meal is dessert because most restaurants and bakeries do not cater to gluten allergies. Nothing Bundt Cakes provides gluten-free cakes and frosting available upon request. They also wipe down their kitchen before preparing any gluten-free associated foods, which eliminates cross-contamination.

“Going gluten-free was a hard transition for me, and I did not know if I could live without things such as cake,” Nothing Bundt Cakes customer Hayden KellerMeyer said. “I love Nothing Bundt Cakes because whenever I eat it, I forget that it is gluten-free; it is so delicious.”

It’s evident that whether or not being gluten-free is by choice or genetics, there is no need to dread eating out in Carlsbad.