Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Carlos O'Kellys 8/17/10

We ate at Carlos O'Kelly's for lunch. I was very excited when we walked in the front doors to see a sticker advertising a Gluten Free menu. The fact that they have one makes my anxiety of eating out go down a notch. We were greeted promptly, I asked for a gluten free menu, which they had ready to go. We were their first customers of the day. We were looking over the menus, my husband the glutenous version (3 pages) and me and my gluten free version (1 page). My excitement was quickly turned to pure apprehension when the first items on the lists were Salads w/o shells and all seemed OK, but then I got to the Salad Dressing options and found they had listed Hidden Valley Ranch as gluten free.

I asked my waiter if the menu was correct and pointed out that I didn't think HVR was gluten free and he told me he didn't either and went to speak to the manager. The manager came out as we were eating and Thanked me for pointing it out and they were going to do more research. I told him the MSG is always what makes things suspect for me.

The company has made claims they will label anything containing gluten, however you cannot find a list of ingredients on their website anywhere. I have seen on other web blogs emails from HVR saying what is gluten free, but they do not label any of it, and on those same blogs are comments from people who got sick from eating it (gf blog). I have seen different posts all over the internet as to whether or not HVR is gluten free, some going each way, so I tried it and I got sick. The ingredients change from time to time with companies, but until I see it on the package as declared gluten free I will not be eating it. Chances are if it still contains MSG I will not be eating it anyway, since I know I get sick from that too.

Amazon kindly lists the ingredients in their posts the ingredients list has several "trigger" words for anyone who is gluten free: modified food starch, monosodium glutamate (msg) and artificial flavors. Not all people with Celiacs or GI have issues with MSG. I personally do, the modified food starch in the country usually comes from corn, but not always, and one should always be suspect in what is in "natural" and "artificial flavorings. Why if its natural do you not just add the actual source in dried form? Here is a link to the amazon listing of Hidden Valley Ranch

Back to the meal - I ordered the Special Sancho "torte" which was basically corn tortillas layered with beef (or chicken), lettuce, tomatoes and smothered in several cheese topped with sour cream and a few more tomatoes. It came with a side of beans. It was fantastic. Our waiter was also awesome, he was attentive and made sure we were well taken care of during our visit. The management was also wonderful. If they can get a definite answer from HVR and decide its safe to put on their menu, so be it. I know as a gluten intolerant person I cannot eat MSG, so I won't chance it, but what I ordered on the menu was good, fully cooked and I did not have any ill effects. I would definitely go back to Carlos O'Kellys again.

Celiac board has different views on it too. One person says YAY the rest are suspect or got sick from it. As you know, its your body and you know what you can tolerate and unfortunately the only way to know is to try it. When that's my only option and I can't verify it with a resounding YES from the company, I avoid it.

Happy Eating!

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