I was shopping recently with my 3 year old in a mall when lunchtime rolled around. 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 that you don’t let them go hungry for too long or you’re really asking for it!
We stepped into a new-to-my-area Mexican food place called Chipotle. I started with my usual questions about tortillas and fryers and marinades, blah blah blah (it’s get so tiring sometimes — I wish I could just order like un-allergic people), 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 deliciously crispy corn taco shells. Or you can skip the tortillas all together and order a rice bowl or have them make you a salad. Everything is yummy!
For those with kids, you can order just 1 taco! You choose what you want them to put on it as you go down the line. Also, quesadillas are not on the menu but can be made by request.
For those with food allergies, there is no eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts used at all. If you can’t have soybean oil you are out of luck, as this is the oil that is used for everything, including in the fryer (I wished they used another kind of oil).
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.
So, I am officially 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 (thanks to my readers for reminding me of this).