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Is mayonnaise dairy free? May 26, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Is It or Isn't It? , add a comment

Mayo is typically made with eggs and a lot of oil making it both lactose an gluten free. This is a great base for salad dressings like thousand island and sauces like my favorite chipotle mmmm.

But wait. You’re still not in the clear. Many restaurants use milk products in their thousand island and god-knows-what is in the bottle at the grocery store. Ask for sauce ingredients and keep reading your labels. If you use the word dairy free in your ask, make sure you qualify it with milk or lactose free or you will surely get “it has eggs in it is that ok?” And when asking whether or not a sauce is lactose free, qualify it with “mayonnaise is ok” because most people do not know the difference.

My favorite brand of mayo Best Foods happens to carry gluten free labeling. Try their olive oil version it’s delish and a little bit healthier. You’re not one of those Miracle Whip weirdos are you? All joking aside I haven’t checked that label and have no idea what’s in it. If you have please share.

Is it or isn’t it gluten free? Rice May 11, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Is It or Isn't It? , add a comment

Grains can be the most confusing thing to figure out. I’m often asked by servers if rice is ok because people aren’t highly educated about different types of grains. It’s not the level of detail taught in elementary school. Or in college for that matter.

Rice is a gluten free grain. It is not a wheat product and typically does not carry the risk of cross contamination in factory processing. Especially if you make it at home and rinse it thoroughly prior to cooking.

Rice is in fact a go-to staple and wheat substitute allowing you to keep common items in your diet like rice pasta or noodles, and rice flour bread, cake or dusting for fried foods. Rice flour will need to be mixed with other gluten free grains to mimic the airy texture of cake or bread because it’s dense and heavy.

Be aware that many processed boxed rice products contain wheat in the seasoning mix. Look for ingredients such as modified food starch, wheat flour or gluten. If you’re dairy free look for milk, cream and whey. These are risks both off the shelf and dining out. Stick to plain rice and you’ll be safe.

The Best Bar Food Can Be Got at Ruth’s Chris May 5, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dining Out , add a comment

Living downtown San Diego I’m fortunate to have so many good dining choices. Rarely do these include bars because the menu and service just doesn’t live up to the high maintenance needs of my gluten and lactose free diet. Most bar food is fried, breaded or full of cheese dressings so pubs are out of the question unless I’m drinking my dinner. Ruth’s Chris is absolutely the exception. My significant other and I had a busy week, working most evenings, and needed a spot that would allow us to fuel up and quietly co-work. We tried the Ruths Chris bar on the harbor. It was lovely. They just redesigned the booths with velvety fabric and we are big booth fans. We like to sit together and I’m always cold so need to cuddle up in restaurants.

Here are a few things that made it exceptional:

Being treated with respect and care is a big deal for someone with special dietary needs. There are recent occurrences of chefs or restaurant workers who are annoyed with people’s food allergies and act carelessly. Restaurants with an educated staff who respect people’s food choices health related or otherwise earn big points with me. I’ll be a loyal patron for life. If you ever go to Ruth’s Chris in San Diego say hi to James at the bar or tweet him ahead and they’ll have a gluten free menu ready for you. And try his martini, it’s to die for!