As some of you already know, Juan and I kicked gluten out of our kitchen earlier this year, when he was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease (which really just means he cannot eat gluten).
While I started experimenting with gluten-free recipes because I’d first read Wheat Belly in early 2014, we started cooking fully gluten-free only sometime in January because gluten can do bad things to Celiacs, such as skin rashes, headaches, interrupted sleep, and most importantly, hurt the small intestine.
And to be honest, Juan has seen improvement in his health after eating exclusively gluten-free at home – but the difficult part is when we dine out.
When were were still living in Buenos Aires, we had only a handful of fully gluten-free restaurants that we could trust, and we’d dined so much as these restaurants that we even got to know some of the owners on a first-name basis; once, one of the owners even give him a free slice of cake, just because.
After relocating to Washington, DC this month, we realised that there aren’t any fully gluten-free restaurants available (at least not any that we know of – and mind you, Juan has googled and read quite a lot of forums and blogs).
While many restaurants in DC offer gluten-free options (partly because of the fact that gluten-free has become a trend), we realised that most restaurant employees in these restaurants don’t understand the concept of cross contamination.
So while Juan may order a gluten-free dish (by definition of not containing any gluten-containing ingredients), he often suffers from gluten exposure because of cross-contamination (when gluten from other ingredients in environment comes into contact with his gluten-free dish).
Because Juan is extremely sensitive to the effects of gluten, he often finds himself suffering from gluten exposure within an hour of being “glutened”.
We love dining out though, so that hasn’t deterred us from trying more restaurants with gluten-free options, and yesterday, we found one that seemed to understand Celiacs, at last!
Juan was googling and reading celiac forums yesterday when he saw that several celiacs had recommended this burger place – Plan B Burger Bar (situated at 801 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, DC).
We headed there, the sun shining bright that Sunday afternoon, and crossed our fingers hoping that he wouldn’t get “glutened”.
When we arrived and asked the waitress if there were gluten-free options, we were pleasantly surprised to be handed with a gluten-free menu, and for the manager to personally come out to explain to us that there was even a dedicated fryer to cook gluten-free options.
Now, a dedicated fryer may not seem like a big deal to you if you’re not a celiac, but for Juan, that was great news – because it meant that Plan B Burger Bar understood the importance of preventing cross-contamination.
We ordered the waitress’ recommended Phili Steak burger, which came with Plan B’s fancy fries. The fries were crispy and with each bite there was a crunch that we could literally hear.
The burger, as you can see, was large with a whole wheat bun (which can be swapped out for a gluten-free bun) sandwiching the following: a fresh and homemade burger (no antibiotics or hormones), sautéed onions and slathered with garlic aioli and American cheese sauce.
Best of all, the price for the burgers wasn’t expensive. Most burgers (with fries included) were under $13. While the burger could have been slightly juicier in our opinion, we thought it was pretty good bang for its buck. Plus the dedicated fryer scored it an extra brownie point.
I asked Juan how many points he’d give it: 8/10.
I guess we’ll be back!
P.S. Check out Juan’s burger-happy face. Yay!