I’m a “yes” person. Don’t laugh. I like to share positive information with you kooky gluten-free peoples, rather than dire warnings. I even posted what I thought was an exciting gluten-free announcement from Starbucks, because I never learn. (P.S. Maybe don’t tweet news stories from three years ago, people.)
Which is why it is with a heavy heart that I make the announcement to celiacs everywhere that you cannot safely dine at the biggest hippie, gluten-free (or so I thought), vegetarian joint on the West Coast. And believe me, there’s a huge amount of competition in this particular category, so this is kind of a big deal.
Where, you ask?
Cafe Gratitude became my new BFF when it opened up in Larchmont Village in Los Angeles a few months after I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I mean, when a healthy, delicious, restaurant opens up and only has one gluten item on their entire menu right around the corner from your house, you kind of look at that grand opening as a gift from god. I love me some Cafe Gratitude. LOVE. I even put up with the craziness of the ordering process where you are forced to say, “I Am Vivacious” when you really just want some kale chips. Naturally, I planned on listing Cafe Gratitude in the resource section of my new book in the “No, Really You Can Eat Here” section. It’s a good thing I fact checked those restaurants because here was the response from the CG:
“We are not a certified gluten free kitchen. There is possible cross contamination. We do not recommend our restaurants to highly sensitive gluten free individuals. We do offer delicious gluten free food, but there is a possibility of cross contamination.”
Out of all the restaurants I spoke with — and we’re even talking Chuck E. Cheese here people, where everything in that joint is contaminated except the gluten-free pizza — the last place I expected to come back with an answer like this was Cafe Gratitude. After all, everything in the entire restaurant, including desserts, is gf except for one lone whole wheat bun for the veggie burger. Apparently that bun gets around.
Cross-contamination is a very real thing. Explaining that your kitchen isn’t certified gluten-free is also an honest answer to my query. But I cannot figure out for the life of me how come The Melting Pot is more cautious about their gluten-free guests than a restaurant that prides itself on healthy food and only has ONE GLUTEN ITEM IN THE ENTIRE BUILDING. Does someone come in every morning and take that bun and wipe it on all the counters? Does every fork get a good poke in the bun before being set out on their pristine tables? Are the wait staff required to roll around in the buns singing, “I Am Grateful” as they contaminate themselves? I just don’t understand. It’s weird, ya’ll. But umm, yeah, I guess don’t eat at Cafe Gratitude if you are one of those highly sensitive individuals. WTF?
“I Am Sad.”