Looking for a quick and tasty lunch when you must eat gluten-free can be challenging at best. And if you’ve got small children, you know can't let them go hungry for too long or you’re really asking for it!
The Mexican food chain Chipotle recently opened in a shopping mall in my area, so I decided to give it a try. I started with my usual questions about tortillas and fryers and cross-contamination and marinades (sigh!), when to my surprise, the worker handed me an allergen card for all the items on the menu!
The allergen card lists which items contain Eggs, Fish, Gluten, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts and Wheat. It is great that a restaurant chain has the awareness to do this, but the really great news is that the only thing on the menu that contains gluten is the flour tortilla, which is only used for burritos and soft tacos. Fryers are used only for corn tortilla chips and the crispy corn taco shells. Or you can skip the tortillas all together and order a rice bowl or a salad. Everything is yummy!
I love that you get to choose what you want as you go down the line. You can even order just 1 taco if you want, which is great for little kids! Also, quesadillas are not on the menu but can be made by request.
For those with food allergies, there are no eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts used at all. Be aware that they use soybean oil in just about everything. Also be aware that there is a note/disclaimer on the allergen card that reads: “Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, and/or food preparation at the restaurant. *Soybean oil, the only soy-based ingredient that we use, is not indicated as an allergen. If you have any concerns pertaining to consumption of soybean oil, please consult your doctor. For general information on food allergens, visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Web site at http://www.foodallergy.org.”
Reading about the company on their website, I have become impressed with their awareness and commitment to serving natural and organic food, and their mission of “Food With Integrity.” When someone told me that they were owned by McDonald’s, I just couldn’t believe it (food with integrity??) and checked up on that fact myself. Whew. They are not owned by McDonald’s. Chipotle became a subsidiary of McDonald’s in 1999, but Mcdonald’s divested completely from Chipotle and no longer has anything to do with it.
I am definitely a Chipotle Fan! I find myself going back there again and again for a quick, easy, inexpensive, tasty, kid-friendly, stress-free and gluten-free meal.
NOTE: For those who are extremely sensitive to gluten, be aware that because they do use flour tortillas to make burritos, there is a chance of cross-contamination from the touching of the tortilla with hands and utensils.
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