A Great Birthday Dinner Out with Celiac Disease

Melina Young Health Guide
  • For my birthday, my husband and I planned to go out to dinner. As those of you with celiac disease know already, eating out after being diagnosed is much different than the experience of eating out when you don't have to worry about gluten and cross-contamination. We had a gift certificate (that we have been holding onto since Christmas) for the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in downtown Seattle and I decided to see if it would work for us.


    I called in advance (while making the reservation) to confirm that they had gluten free options available. The hostess informed me that their staff was very knowledgeable and they always had gluten free options available. I was a little uneasy - I always feel that way before trying a new place - but I decided to give it a try.

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    Our waiter, his name was Chris, was pleasant and helpful from the minute we sat down. He let me know that the steak risotto was gluten free (it was amazing by the way) and they were able to substitute out the blue cheese (not gf) with parmesean.


    Then, something amazing happened.


    When he brought out the bread for my husband, he looked at me and said, "I know you can't eat this, so would you like a side of almonds?" This was the first time I have had anyone acknowledge that I would be unable to eat the bread - and offer an alternative. I happen to love almonds, so I agreed. They (like the rest of the meal) were delightful: skinless, with a light coating of olive oil and salt. It helped tide me over before my entree arrived, and I was filled with happiness at having something to do other than stare at a delicious plate of hot bread and butter cursing gluten.


    After dinner, we were brought free salted caramels (we happened to be out on Mother's Day and everyone in the restaurant got a free one) and a few seconds later, Chris returned with another dessert that looked a lot like a cake with a candle in it. We didn't order anything, and he said, "A little birdie told me that it might be your birthday!" - they brought me a free, blueberry mascarpone "cake" (a lot like cheesecake filling) that was entirely gluten free so that I could celebrate my birthday. Apparently, I mentioned to the hostess that it was my birthday when I made the reservation, but I wasn't expecting this at all.


    All in all, it was the best experience I have had eating out while gluten free - possibly ever. If you are in Seattle and needing a gf diet, I highly recommend stopping by Purple and hopefully you will have a similarly fantastic experience!


    Please note, there is always a risk of cross-contamination when eating out at a restaurant that is not ENTIRELY gluten free. While I had a good experience eating here, it is possible that someone else could experience an issue. I am not a representative of this restaurant or restaurant group, and simply had a good experience that I wanted to share in hopes that others could benefit from the information.

Published On: May 13, 2011