Gluten Free in OKC

Gluten Free in OKC Intro

By Cara McCarty / Photography By Aaron Snow | July 07, 2015
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EDMOND - OKLAHOMA CITY – NORMAN

Welcome! If you’re reading this as a celiac, gluten-intolerant, good-health-motivated, cool-points-reasons, hipster-loving, vegan, vegetarian, free-range everything, fill-in-theblank person...I’m glad you’ve given the first paragraph of this page a peek. You’re going to love me.

Gluten Free in OKC is the place to showcase the many options that exist for those of us with food restrictions and allergies. Each feature will give you a glance at the amazing food happening on the local level, chain level, or even in your home so you never have to be exiled to the salad section of a menu again. Your buddy will only watch Thunder games at The Mule? Cinch. Your parents will only eat at Chili’s? No prob. You can’t afford to eat out? I’VE GOT YOU, BRUH.

So what makes me interested in the GF lifestyle? I myself have been following a gluten- free diet since 2009 after being diagnosed with epilepsy and various strange food allergies. I cried when the nutritionist rattled off the list of “you can’t eat this.” I may have said, “HEY THERE’S LOTS OF BREAD ON THAT LIST!” #ilovebread—I’m sure you can relate. Before we get to the good stuff, let me just raise a pint of cider, (because GF beer is gross), and give you a “Hip Hip!” for willingly or unwillingly being on this gluten-free journey. I’m here for you, my people.

Let’s keep it 100: 1) I LOVE FOOD. I love pictures of food, I love smelling food, I love EATING food, I love watching people make food, I LOVE FOOD! 2) I am not a nutritionist/ dietician/medical doctor. I’ll pass on the nuggets I’ve learned in my own GF journey, but please remember that I’m not a certified professional. I simply love food. If you need nutritional counseling or health advice, please seek out a professional to help you. I’m not that professional! 3) I am not a chef. (I said I love food not that I love making food.) The advice and tips I’ll send your way are likely going to be credited to someone else and not to me (ahem: cookbooks). On to the good stuff!

What You Need to Know:

Difficulty Tax: Lots of places are beginning to offer gluten free (GF) options and they may not be on the menu so be sure to kindly ask your wait staff. But please beware! Most places also have what I call the “difficulty tax” which is usually an upcharge anywhere from $1 to $3 extra to enjoy the GF option. Personally, if it means I can eat an actual sandwich and not a lettuce wrap, or a hamburger complete with bun, or a PIZZA, I’m going to pay the fee and smile while I do it.

Secret’s in the Sauce (and dressing!): If you’re ordering something that comes with a sauce, spread, or dressing and you don’t know what’s in it: ASK (again, kindly). Here’s a pro tip: if it’s thick or creamy there’s a higher likelihood that flour is involved so take a pass. If it’s thin and clear(ish), then you’re probably good to go. Don’t forget about examining soup! It can be tricky.

Be Nice: Yes, it’s exciting to get to eat out when you have food limitations, especially when there are designated options for you, but don’t be a diva. Waiting tables is hard work. Working in a kitchen is hard work. By ordering a specialty item, it requires a little more work from those making your food and bringing it to you (hence, the difficulty tax). So be appreciative of that work, give compliments, and enjoy your food. It can go a long way.

Who’s Doin’ it Right: In the Neighborhood

Green & Grilled: 8547 N. Rockwell Ave., OKC Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-8pm. greenandgrilled.com

I love this little locally-owned gem! Their portions are just right, it’s extremely reasonably priced, and they have the friendliest staff. Go with the Grilled Chicken Combination Platter (they make their own spiced adobo marinade in-house, YUM). For your sides get the Sautéed Veggies and the Apple Spinach Salad. They make all their dressings and the Orange Vinaigrette is light and refreshing. Tired of meat? Get the grilled tofu! Wipe that look off your face, it’s actually quite delicious.

West: 6714 N Western Ave., OKC Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm. westbar.com*Happy Hour 3pm-6pm

I could eat here every day. West is a great go-to spot for brunch, happy hour, and all the things. You can’t go wrong. With only one exception, ALL of the sides at West are either naturally GF or they offer a “GFO” (Gluten-Free Option). Mac & Cheese for all the people! Order the West Airline Chicken. Poor name choice in my opinion (it tastes nothing like airplane food!) but they make up for it in taste. Grilled Chicken too generic for you? Be that way. Instead, go with the Zucchini Pasta (with roasted garlic, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan and pomodoro sauce) and add chicken. Or don’t. Either way, you won’t be sorry!

BONUS: West has a fantastic patio that’s open in almost all seasons. They also have a private dining room you can use and they take reservations.

Whiskey Cake: 1845 Northwest Expy., OKC. Mon-Thur 11am-11pm, Fri 11am-12am, Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-10pm. *Bar Hours differ. whiskeycakeokc.com

While Whiskey Cake is technically part of an out-of-town restaurant franchise, they have perfected the art of localizing their heart and soul. They operate on a “farm-to-fork” concept that partners with tons of local farmers and producers to bring quality ingredients to patrons. They even sell local products! (It’s also one of the most aesthetically pleasing places to eat...wink, wink to my fellow design lovers.) Your friends will be happy with the big selection of comfort food and beer and you’ll be happy with your gluten-free bun and cocktail while you google “Where’s the closest Restoration Hardware?” Order the Chicken & Cheese Melt and don’t forget to ask for the gluten-free bun! (Extra pesto mayo on the side, please!) BONUS: Whiskey Cake has an intimate patio that’s just as aesthetically pleasing as the inside and they take reservations.

I can’t wait to share with you more places that are working hard to include those of us with food challenges. Our little city is growing up! There are exciting things in the works including recipes, more photos, and hopefully some funny stories. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences dining out as a GF eater and your favorites spots. Find me on Twitter: @EdibleOKC_GF

What’s that? You want ME to come try your GF food for a future Gluten Free in OKC feature?! I’m blushing. Shoot us an email! (EdibleOKC@gmail.com) Bonus points if it includes bread!

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