In a sometimes unfair and cruel world, a slice of pizza and an ice cold beer can make it all seem a little better. On a catastrophic morning, a warm cinnamon roll gives you strength to conquer the day. But if you’re having a crummy day and happen to be sensitive to gluten, or worse suffer from celiac disease, you can eat strangely dense and cardboard-like muffins and accept that the world is perhaps more unfair and cruel than you once thought.
Never mind the gluten-free diet fad. Some of us are left with no choice but to cut out gluten, an evil and sneaky protein found in wheat, rye and barley, because our bodies reject it in the foulest way possible; in the instance of celiac disease, consuming gluten makes one more vulnerable to several different types of cancer. Eating out sans gluten can be traumatic and seemingly impossible. Not only are you the only person at the table with specific questions and requests, which is often met with eye rolls and annoyance (you guys gotta stop doing that to gluten-free people!), you’re also likely to spend more money than your friends on something arguably edible. Luckily Albuquerque restaurants have caught on and are starting to offer gluten-free alternatives to menu items, and a few of those restaurants are getting it right every time.
510 Central SE
Never mind the gluten-free diet fad. Some of us are left with no choice but to cut out gluten, an evil and sneaky protein found in wheat, rye and barley, because our bodies reject it in the foulest way possible.
For gluten-intolerant folks, pizza is about as tragic and off-limits as it gets when dining out. Nothing compares to flour-based pizza dough, so there’s no use expecting that fluffy crust you get with traditional dough. But Farina has a gluten-free crust that won’t remind you of all the things you’re missing. The crust isn’t made in house, but it makes going out for pizza as laid back and delicious as it is for your gluten-consuming counterparts. Expect to pay a few extra bucks for the alternative crust, but I promise it’s worth it. And the waitstaff won’t roll their eyes at you.
3523 Central NE
Rice is a gluten-free girl’s best friend, but what’s the point of having rice if you can’t have soy sauce? Surprisingly, soy sauce contains gluten, making Asian cuisine almost but not quite gluten-free. Fan Tang has all of their gluten-free entrées marked on their menu and are also happy to adjust entrées to accommodate your gluten needs. Try their sweet and sour chicken; traditionally a sweet glaze, Fan Tang mixes Sichuan chili and garlic to the recipe, leaving you with a slightly spicy, sweet and totally awesome gluten-free dinner for under $10.
501 Copper NW
Gluten-free bread typically falls apart the moment it’s touched or makes contact with anything, but Al’s Big Dipper offers gluten-free bread that’s satisfying and could even pass for “real” bread. The days of packing every lunch so as not to send your body into the ninth circle of hell are over. Grab a lunchtime sandwich with confidence at this charming sandwich shop located inside the Main Library downtown.
1111-B Carlisle SE
There’s a little corner of gluten-free heaven next to Michael Thomas Coffee on Carlisle. Though the dining room is tiny, Gluten Free Gourmet Foods has an expansive gluten-free menu that hosts everything from quesadillas to chocolate doughnuts. While a lot of gluten-free bakeries make great bread, this humble shop boasts great bread and killer gluten-free tortillas that can be purchased by the half dozen for $7.50. Try their green chile and chicken quesadilla. Unlike most gluten-free tortillas that are ultra-dense and crack easily, their tortillas are light and bendable, perfect for breakfast burritos, quesadillas or sandwich wraps.