Gluten free Chicago-Le Colonial and Gluten free New York-Lilli and Loo

Thirteen years ago the only gluten free item I could find at a restaurant was white sticky rice and coke.
Thirteen years ago there was no such thing as a restaurant with a gluten free menu–at least not in Chicago.
Chicago is almost catching up to New York with gluten free options. We now have restaurant owners and chefs who show real commitment to providing gluten free options. Real commitment requires knowledge about cross contamination, training and re-training of all staff, and remaining vigilant every minute of every workday.
Commitment is a wait staff which understands the gluten free menu, commitment is when the waiter knows  “Wheat is in soy sauce so we substitute gluten free Tamari.” Commitment is when the manager delivers the allergy meals to the table; commitment is a chef who KNOWS to use a new pot, strainer and utencils when preparing gluten free pasta; commitment is NOT a manager who asks, “how serious is the allergy anyway?” Commitment is a different color or different shape plate for the allergy meals.
Both Le Colonial in Chicago and Lilli and Loo in New York show commitment. Commitment to providing customers with a safe meal, a large and exciting gluten free menu, staff who truly ‘GETS IT’–this is commitment.
Last week in New York we ate dinner at Lilli and Loo three times–that’s how divine the food is!
Maggie, the owner and Jenny our server are completely aware, educated and on top of all things gluten free. They put up with my OCD asking of, “Are you sure this is the gluten free version?” The plates are all square for gluten free dishes, that’s how they are sure—we saw A LOT of square plates being served during our three meals!
The food is diverse and divine—every visit we beg Maggie to please please please open a restaurant in Chicago. She explained the commitment it requires— Maggie explained that everyday is a training session—reminding the cooks and staff to be vigilant—every minute of every day they are in her restaurant. That’s why we love Lilli and Loo!
Chicago is catching up! Our family’s new favorite gluten free friendly place in Chicago has been a personal favorite of mine since they opened many years ago–Le Colonial. They have a rather new gluten free menu–it is BIG and diverse! Le Colonial serves up AMAZING Vietnamese food. To make the items gluten free–they omit the soy sauce and substitute with other great stuff! I wish I knew what the chef does to make the food soooooooo divine!
Last week the gluten free boy tried the #23 sauteed spicy chili  shrimp with onion and asparagus–it was his first time trying shrimp and he LOVED IT! The people at Le Colonial ‘get it’. The gluten free food looks and tastes as divine as the ‘normal’ food. At Le Colonial the gluten free boy doesn’t feel like he is missing out on anything. I am so grateful that Le Colonial has committed themselves to serving not only gluten free but they also offer shellfish free and nut free menus! When you call to make a reservation alert the host to your allergy so they can be prepared when you arrive! Tell Raphael the gluten free boy sent you☺

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#41 wok-seared lemon grass chicken–gluten free!-Le Colonial
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Broccoli sauteed in #41 sauce! Le Colonial
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Thai Basil Chicken–Lilli and Loo!
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Gluten free boy and the genius, Maggie @ Lilli and Loo, NYC.
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Vegetarian spring rolls-wrapped in rice paper wraps @ Lilli and Loo!
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General Tsao chicken– amazing @ lilli and loo!

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