Well, this is embarrassing.
I downloaded Find Me Gluten Free while I was in Santa Cruz over vacation. Although I had many fine meals as a vegan in Santa Cruz, that was a) 10 years ago (jesus christ) and b) before I needed to avoid gluten. We had already visited Saturn Cafe for lunch (more on that later) and we needed ideas for dinner. So Find Me GF allows you to search by your immediate location or by inputting an address. I’ve used it in DC and Oakland since I downloaded it and found that it has places I am familiar with and some I didn’t realize had gf options.
It turned out that one of my old favorites, Planet Fresh Gourmet Burritos, still exists and all of their burritos are available gluten-free (meaning “on a plate,” but whatever). So this is what we had for dinner: beans and rice and veggies, sauteed tofu and maybe a little too much shredded lettuce for my taste, but I picked out most of it.
So once you’ve searched by location you can sort by distance, rating or see the results in a map. There are adds, but they’re not very annoying (in this case it was a “Featured!” restaurant that is nowhere near the address that I searched). Each listing includes a star rating, links to user reviews, key words and links to the website and menu if available. Since a lot of restaurants’ definition of gluten-free is a piece of meat on a plate (um…yum?), being able to browse the menu and see if there’s something I really can safely eat is kind of awesome.
There are some great user reviews that include information like whether the restaurant uses a dedicated fryer, how helpful the servers are and a variety of other useful insights. Since this is the kind of app that will only get better if more people use it, I think you should probably download this and play with it.
You can also filter your search by the keywords (in bold below the address in the image above). There are roughly one zillion filter options, from “vegan-friendly” to “wings,” so you can actually find a thing you’re in the mood for instead of reading every single menu.
Why this app is so awesome: maybe you’re in an new/unfamiliar city and you’re hungry. Maybe you’re tired of going to the same three places in your city. Maybe you’re trying to impress a date and you don’t want to make yourself sick doing it. I can think of like a zillion reasons you need this app.
Of course, it isn’t foolproof. When my vbfitwww and I got stuck in traffic on the way home from Muir Beach, Find Me led us to The Counter in Corte Madera. It’s a Bay Area chain…you’ll like it more than I did if you’re a meat-eater. (This was before I learned how to filter my searches.) The Counter’s veggie burger is vegan but not gf, so I ended up with an order of fries and a roasted vegetable appetizer. This was tasty but not so awesome for my IBS. I was already having stomach pains less than an hour after we finished dinner. It wasn’t the worst attack I’ve had, but I didn’t feel awesome the next day.
Stay tuned for more vacation updates this weekend.