Not far from where we live in Chicago there is a neighborhood restaurant called Mon Ami Gabi–this restaurant is part of the Let us Entertain You group.
Of course it all started with my usual phone call to the manager on duty, Stephanie–after a pleasant conversation she asked me if I wanted to speak with the chef who would prepare our son’s dinner that evening. My requests were met with, “of course, we will be able to make that for him. Would he like a gluten free bun to go with the flat and seasoned hamburger?” I have only been asked this question once before (at bistro 110, which by the way was also divine and a total GF success for us!)—I must have stammered something like, ” uh…no thank you, no bun but are you able to make your crispy fries in a dedicated gluten free fryer?” The answer was again, ”Absolutely.” Ya baby…BINGO.
After checking in with the hostess, I informed her of my earlier conversation with the chef. She knew all about it. The very knowledgeable waitress came over and hand delivered a loaf of hot and crusty gluten free french baguette bread. This special delivery freaked us out because it was completely unexpected. After smelling, tasting and quadruple checking that the bread was warmed up in it’s own container away from the deadly wheat–it was safe for our son to eat— he did TWO loafs!
When the perfectly cooked and seasoned burger arrived (two loafs of bread later) he wasn’t so hungry. My husband ate most of the burger and the GF boy ate the amazing skinny and crispy fries!
Even though he was too full for the burger, the GF housemade chocolate mousse was devoured!
Mon Ami Gabi and lettuce entertain you totally “get ” the allergy thing. The fact that they have a normal looking gluten free menu actually made me cry. Phone ahead and speak with the manager or the chef who will prepare your allergy free meal.
While dining out allergy parents always get the pit in the stomach feeling until they don’t see swelling of the lips or hives around the mouth. It takes a giant leap of faith to dine out with a life threatening food allergy. It also takes a giant leap of faith for restaurants to put themselves at risk to provide this invaluable service to their customers.
Thank you to all the chefs at our favorite Chicago restaurants who have used my pots and strainers, answered my probing questions and provided those perfect flat hamburgers and skinny gluten free fries! If you are in Chicago, call ahead and try one of these places–tell them the gluten free guy sent you, explain the severity of your allergy and you should be very safe and happy!
mon ami gabi –GF bread, hamburger, perfect fries
m burger–hamburger, fries–only fries in the fryer
oak tree–amazing hand cut fries, house made vegetable soup
piccolo sogno–chef tony will make GF pasta, roast potatoes–call ahead and he will make almost anything for you!
ben pao–asian, extensive GF menu–
pf changs–asian, extensive GF menu–divine!
five guys–fries, burger–craving it now!
homers ice-cream-available at whole foods or their store in wilmette–ask for a clean scooper!
bob tail--ice cream–ask for a clean scooper
dairy queen–dilly bars–we only get the packaged ice cream treats
hugo’s frog bar/gibsons–huge list of items which are naturally GF–they will make fries in clean oil–crispy and perfect
Le Colonial–Vietnamese, gluten free menu
Vinci- Italian–gluten free menu
Happ Inn-Northfield, Illinois–mexican/american, gluten free menu
Fattoush-lebanese–gluten free menu
Big Bowl-Asian–gluten free menu
Coco Pazzo-Chicago–call ahead, chef will prepare anything for you!
Steve’s deli--Chicago–they will clean the slicer and cut any deli meat–
Dalucianos–Chicago-Italian–the mecca in West Chicago for Gluten free food!
Shang Hi Terrace, Penninsula Hotel Chicago–phone ahead and let the manager know about the gluten allergy–remind them again when you arrive- chef will make you a divine meal!
Tocco–Italian–call ahead, they wil make gluten free pasta with any of their sauces–fish and steak also gluten free
Four Seasons Hotel–Chicago they will accommodate most allergies–head chef Kevin Hickey
Spiaggia cafe/ or restaurant–call ahead–they will safely accommodate a gluten allergy
Jewel Grocery store–Chicago Broadway-has a great selection of gluten free items