When you have celiac you really learn to appreciate the times you can easily eat at restaurants with your gluten-able friends. To be able to walk into a restaurant and order and know you can eat something is such a great feeling to someone who is restricted in what they can eat. It is an even better thing when restaurants clearly list allergens on their web sites and what foods are safe to eat. Qdoba is one of those places. I am not much of a fast food fan, but burrito places are my indulgence, and I have always loved the roasted vegetables at Qdoba. It is nice to be able to get fast food that feels healthy and fresh compared to many of the alternatives. Earlier this year I wrote an article about the gluten-free options Chipotle, which is another favorite of mine and I am equally happy to go to either.
Most of their items are naturally gluten-free, and their allergen page lists exactly what has wheat and what could possibly be cross-contaminated with wheat. Unfortunately, their chips are out, as they are fried with flour tortillas, but they do offer soft white corn tortillas that are listed as safe. According to their allergen list everything is wheat-free except for the tortilla chips, strips, taco shells, flour tortillas, brownies, ancho chile BBQ, fat-free ranch dressing and the fat-free picante ranch dressing.
I have always enjoyed the flavor of their grilled vegetables which are not offered at Chipotle, so today I ordered a naked burrito (with no tortilla, served in a bowl) with the grilled vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper) and fajita vegetables (bell peppers and onions) and a side of their spicy queso dip. Today, I took my order to go and enjoyed the cheese dip at home with my own chips, but on other occasions I would bring my own chips. The location I went to today seemed very knowledge about how to handle food allergies.
As always, you need to be aware of the risk of cross-contamination whenever eating somewhere where gluten foods are prepared. My usual practice when going somewhere where I watch them put together my food is to let them know I am gluten-free, or sometimes I will just say I have a wheat allergy, because not everyone is aware of what gluten is. I then ask if they can replace their gloves and about 95% they are already happily starting to do this before I finish my sentence. Since it seems people tend to grab the cheese with their hands, I will sometimes ask if they can grab cheese out of a new container. Qdoba and Chipotle keep new cheese containers right under the work area, so they can easily grab some for you and not hold up the line.
Qdoba and Chipotle are both my top places to go for a quick meal. I am pretty sensitive and have always had positive experience at both of these place. At Chipotle it is nice to be able to have the chips to add some crunch to my burrito bowl, but Qdoba has grilled vegetables that I love and for a non-meater that is a great thing.