It is so refreshing to walk into an establishment and be handed a gluten-free menu. Getting together with friends is about the time spent together and memories being made, not worrying about the food that you put in your mouth and whether or not it will make you sick. I always feel better when I am handed an actual menu with gluten-free menu items listed than being assured by the server that my meal will be safe and menu items can be modified for me. Though I will say that can be deceiving if the menu is out of date. The best thing ever is seeing something like this at the top of the Chile Verde Cafe menu:
While I am sorry that someone else deals with some of the complications of following the gluten-free diet, I am happy that my needs are clearly understood here.
There were plenty of options to choose from. So many that I think I changed my mind more than once while waiting for my friends. Items highlighted in red are made in a common fryer and therefore are not safe for those with Celiac Disease. The manager was very accommodating and had the chef make me some special baked tortilla chips with blue corn tortillas. My own basket! I made fast work of these while browsing my menu choices.
I have tried the Uncle John Fajitas in the past. They are basically fajitas served without the flour tortillas, or advertised as “Low Carb”, but they will serve corn tortillas upon request. They are fantastic, but I wanted to try something different this time. I wish I had a bigger stomach because I would have ordered more than one thing! The Gourmet Mahi Mahi Tacos caught my eye, as did the Stacked Blue Corn Enchiladas. I settled on the Southwest Taco Salad (no tortilla bowl) with shredded beef. I still had plenty of blue corn chips leftover to eat along with my salad, so I didn’t miss the bowl.
I almost forgot to snap a picture of my salad, but remembered just after I discovered the jalapeno peppers were way too hot for me. I love the flavor, but man, those peppers had some serious heat! The shredded beef had an authentic Mexican flavor and the spice paired perfectly with the creamy avocado slices and cool lettuce, tomatoes and olives.
Chile Verde Café now has two locations in the Columbus area: the one one at Polaris (Gemini Parkway in front of Costco) and the original on at Carriage Place (on the corner of Bethel Rd. and Sawmill Rd.). The regular menu can be viewed online, but the gluten-free menu is available at the restaurant.
I look forward to visiting Chile Verde Café a lot more now that they have a location much closer to our house. If you happen to live in Columbus or are passing through, put this place on your list of “must try” places.