There are a lot of foods you have to give up when you go gluten-free, but one thing you should never be forced to sacrifice, regardless of dietary restrictions, is brunch. (That would simply be inhumane.) Mastering a few tips for gluten-free dining can be helpful so that eating out can be an enjoyable experience rather than a huge pain. Going out for brunch when you’re following a gluten-free diet is already pretty stressful, since you don’t exactly know what the ingredients are or how the food’s being prepared, whether there’s cross-contamination or not. Even if it looks like everything on the menu is safe to eat, there still might be gluten secretly lurking in dishes or in drinks that you wouldn’t expect.
Of course, one of the best things you can do when you’re gluten-free is talk with your server and have them guide you through the menu, but arming yourself with a game plan before you even sit down at the table can make the whole process much less annoying for everyone involved and reduce the chances of a miscommunication. These seven gluten-free brunch hacks will help you figure out what dishes to avoid, what questions to ask, and how to enjoy your gluten-free brunch with as little hassle as possible.
Beware of Your Bloody Mary
Though vodka is gluten-free, there still might be some gluten sneaking into your bloody mary. Some pre-made mixes contain gluten, while bespoke cocktails often contain Worcestershire sauce, some versions of which are made with malt barley. You can always ask about the bloody mary mix used at a specific restaurant, but if you want to be safe, opt for bottomless mimosas instead.
Go for Mexican
Luckily for those who love margaritas but are also on that gluten-free grind, Mexican cuisine is generally a safe bet. The rice that comes with huevos rancheros or a burrito bowl is gluten-free. You can even enjoy most breakfast tacos. Just make sure the tortillas are corn, not white flour, and if they’re not, ask your server if they can make that substitution.
Load Up on Sides
You don’t have to order an entrée at breakfast to get a full meal. Instead, get a few different gluten-free side dishes, like roasted vegetables or a small salad, sweet potato fries, even strips of bacon.
Opt for Eggs
Except for the English muffin, eggs Benedict are gluten-free, since a proper Hollandaise sauce is simply butter and eggs. Most classic egg dishes are actually gluten-free, from Denver omelets to a good, old-fashioned egg scramble, but when in doubt, opt for eggs and ask the server to hold the toast or English muffin.
Ask About Those Hash Browns
Though potatoes are gluten-free, sometimes hash browns and french fries are dusted with flour to get a crispier coating. You also might have to worry about cross-contamination if they’re fried in the same oil as other glutinous dishes, so ask about the preparation before assuming those french fries are fine.
If you arrive at your brunch destination only to learn that there are no obviously gluten-free options on the menu, scroll through Yelp reviews. More often than not, other gluten-free diners have had similar sames issue and can give you tips on what’s safe to order.
Bring a Backup
No matter how prepared you are to hack your brunch, you may still come up short at a restaurant, and there aren’t any gluten-free-friendly dishes to be found on the menu. It sucks to be put in that situation, or to feel like you’re being forced to order something you don’t really want to eat, so bring along a backup snack or two. You might feel a little silly pulling out your own meal, but it’s better to feed yourself and hang out with your friends at brunch than suffer from hunger or feel like you’re being left out.