Much like mystery novels, restaurant menus can keep you guessing, you will encounter twists and turns until you crack the case and decide what’s safe to order. But before taking on the challenge of eating at a restaurant that does not have a gluten-free menu, you need to know what gluten is and where it is found (Chapter Three) so you can successfully avoid it. While you can ask your server about what is gluten-free on the menu to save time, it’s wise to get into the habit of analyzing the menu yourself so you can be sure.
Look first to eliminate the obvious glutens: sandwiches because of the bread, pizza because of the crust, fried foods because of the flour batter, and pasta dishes because of, well, the pasta. After reading several menus in this fashion, you will get a feel for a menu’s gluten-free ratio, the approximate percentage of possible versus impossible foods. The higher the ratio in favor of the possible options, the easier time you will have. Soon, you’ll develop a personal intuitive-percentage that determines whether you stay at a restaurant or move on.
After eliminating the obvious gluten culprits, look more closely at meals that could be gluten-free, like entrée salads or meats with a gluten-free starch like rice or potatoes. These are possible foods, but your research is not through, you must find out if there’s gluten hidden within them.