Being on a gluten-free diet can make eating out a major drag. No, you can't have that cake. Beer is out of the question. And Italian restaurants? Those are just gluten fiestas with a side of wheat balloons.
Sales of gluten-free foods have surged 68 percent in the last two years, but most of that increase has been in prepackaged goods. For those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies, finding an accommodating restaurant requires close navigation of the menu and an understanding of the unusual places (such as salad dressings and sauces) where gluten may be hiding.
Nicole Cogan has spent the last six years figuring out how to eat gluten-free in her hometown of New York, and she has shared her adventures, reviews and menu analyses on her website and Instagram feed, NOBREAD. This month — which just so happens to be Celiac Awareness Month — NOBREAD.com launches in L.A. with insight on how to avoid gluten at around 200 popular restaurants, from Alimento to Terrine.
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The list includes well-known allergy-friendly hangouts such as Sage Vegan Bistro, Native Foods and EVO Kitchen, but NOBREAD also nails down gluten-free items at more unlikely places: Eggslut, Faith & Flower, Osteria Mozza and République. And the website is a first-of-its-kind resource for L.A.'s bread-less, with Cogan and her team of interns and contributors adding around three new restaurants a week to the L.A. site.
"I want diners who are going to a pizza hot spot or a restaurant where they assume they can’t eat anything to see that there are, in fact, plenty of gluten-free options to order," Cogan says.