Local Gluten Free Dining Options
More and more people are choosing to cut gluten out of their diet. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins that create the elasticity in dough. It’s found in many cereal grains – most prevalent in the United States, it’s found in wheat. For people with Celiac Disease, their allergy to gluten is so serious that they don’t have much of a choice. For others, going gluten free is an option that may help you to lower systemic inflammation, increase energy levels or to lose weight.
Regardless of your reasons for going gluten free, most restaurants have options that can work for you with few modifications: salads especially are a great option, as long as you ask them to hold the croutons and verify the dressing is also gluten free.
If you’re looking to go completely gluten free, keep in mind that you should stay away from fried foods, even if the food itself doesn’t contain gluten. Most restaurants use the same fryer for frying all their foods, which can cause cross contamination. However, some restaurants do have a separate fryer; you can always ask. If in doubt, check with your server.
Fortunately, Wenatchee has a lot of restaurants that already cater to gluten free diners; many of them even state whether the food is gluten free or can be modified to be gluten free on their menu. Here are some options to consider for your next meal.
This Wenatchee mainstay has been around for years. They offer a wide variety of well-priced authentic Vietnamese dishes. Many of their dishes are naturally gluten free, and most of them can also be modified to be gluten free if you ask. The only downside is they are not open on weekends.
This East Wenatchee Thai restaurant moved into a new space at the beginning of the year. Their menu has a wide range of Thai food options, and clearly states which ones are either gluten free or can be made gluten free upon request. (Unfortunately, their curries are not gluten free.)
If you’re looking for a coffee and pastry or a sandwich option, try Café Columbia. They offer gluten free bread for their sandwiches, and have several pastry items that are gluten free, including chocolate and regular macaroons, granola bars and lemon pepper cookies.
If you’ve never tried a pupusa, you’re missing out. The simplest way to explain them is that they’re a grilled corn cake with a filling, but that description doesn’t do any justice to how delicious they are. Tropical Salvadoreño makes pupusas to order filled with cheese, pork or loroco, the flower bud of a plant used in a lot of Mexican and Central American cuisine. Tropical Salvadoreño also has a number of other typical Salvadorean dishes you can try, and handmade tortillas (also gluten free). Hit up the cash machine before you go in, though – they don’t accept credit cards or checks.
Sushi can be tricky for people who want to go gluten free, mainly because most soy sauces – and sauces with soy sauce as a base – naturally contain gluten. Fortunately, Iwa Sushi on Wenatchee Avenue offers a gluten-free soy sauce option if you ask, and their more traditional rolls and nigiri are gluten-free, too. If you want to bring a group for a Hibachi dinner, you can request that the entire meal be made gluten-free for your group. Be sure you ask first, though – their eel sauce and many of the other sauces that they put on their rolls contain gluten, as do their tempura battered options.
Wenatchee’s local Indian Restaurant is probably the most friendly gluten free option available. Seventy-five percent of their appetizers, most of their entrees and the majority of their desserts are all gluten free. Many of the “bread-like” items like crackers are made with garbanzo bean flour, so they’re gluten-free, too. India House also offers a $10.99 lunch buffet and a number of vegetarian options as well.
Check out South in both Leavenworth and in Pybus Market in Wenatchee for another great gluten free option. South specializes in fusion Central and South American dishes. All their wait staff is trained to be able to help you find gluten free options for your dietary needs. Their corn tortillas are gluten free, but be sure to specify if you need a strictly gluten-free meal so they don’t dip the tortillas in the fryer before they make your enchiladas!
You can request gluten free on almost any item they offer, the gluten free pizza’s are amazing! You can also ask about vegetarian, vegan and dairy free options.