Restaurants to the celiac are like cellphones to the teenager. Great in small doses and with the right data plan, but they can leave you crying in the bathroom just as easily.
When my family wanted to celebrate Easter early by devouring some not-home cooking, Outback Steakhouse immediately popped in my mind. Before my diagnosis, we didn't travel the Aussie route. We were more of a Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out or Chinese food kind of family when our stomachs (or wallets) wanted an evening out. When terror of being glutened became a regular order of mine, though, we decided to give the gluten-free friendly Outback a shot. Tonight was my third visit and my third bulls eye!
Before being seated, we always tell the hostess that we need gluten free menus (point for Outback!). It's always refreshing to visit a restaurant that not only caters to gluten free, but makes it easy.
On my first visit, my stomach was starving for food, but full of butterflies. When ordering, I specifically stressed "celiac." Imagine my delight, then, when the waiter immediately shared that his best friend was newly diagnosed! This was my first gift from the celiac gods!
The food was the second. I picked the grilled Mahi Mahi with steamed vegetables. I ordered the exact same dish tonight with an added house salad (minus the croutons, of course), but I'm also a big fan of the tilapia.
In terms of appetizers, the only one I've ever tried has been a house salad. It is nothing spectacular, but I love to start my meal off with the fresh mix of greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and cheese (dressing on the side). I've heard that some Outbacks offer gluten free bread, but alas the food gods haven't been this generous. Instead, mom and I just drool over my dad and sister's gluten-filled loaf (which luckily disappears fast).
It's the entrees that have made "kangaroo" a drool-worthy term. So far, I've ordered the tilapia once and Mahi Mahi twice. Celiac has definitely turned me into a fish person! All three times, my fish was cooked to perfection. Tender but cooked through, and while the flavor is understated, the accompanying lemon always makes it pop! I also love the portion - it's more than enough for two servings (and their fish is a bomb salad the next day!).
The fresh seasonal veggies are just as delicious. Broccoli, snow peas, squash and carrots all steamed to the point of being soft instead of soggy. I'm picky when it comes to my veggies, so clearing my plate is a good sign! As for their other options, my Mom adores their gluten free filet mignon and grilled shrimp with a baked potato!
The best part of Outback is that when I roll out the door, my belly is full and my mind is worry-free. I've never gotten glutened, even when rubbing elbows with my gluten-loving sister and dad. And the staff has always been just as knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten contamination as the waiter on my first visit.
|And food is the only thing on my thoughts...|
For me, Outback is my IPhone. It's versatile (one day, I will finally devour their Chocolate Thunder From Down Under - a GF chocolate and nut brownie with I d cream). It's dependable. And (even better than an IPhone) it's freaking delicious!
Happy early Easter everyone! Do you eat GF at Outback? What is your go-to restaurant? Comment below!