Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GF Restaurant Review: Plaza Garibaldi

So I went, for the second time, to a place in Philadelphia called Plaza Garibaldi. I found this picture of it on Google. It's a little Mexican-American restaurant in South Philly, a few blocks from where my friends live. We were all gathered to see Cirque du Soleil (which was awesome by the way), but first wanted to catch a good meal. I had been to this particular restaurant about a month prior and became really sick as a result. The staff could not speak English very well, and I suck at Spanish, so I don't think the whole "gluten free" concept was understood. Half way through the chicken enchiladas I ordered, I noticed a familiar taste from a not-so-distant past. It tasted a little like KFC! I immediately started dissecting the meal and discovered, much to my horror, that the chicken was floured! I ended up suffering from that for days.

So back to the present... When I realized we were all going to dine at that particular restaurant,  I did a little research to make communication easier with the wait-staff. I found a great website on Gluten Free Restaurant Cards.  Some good person put together  a wide array of cards in many languages for people with gluten sensitivity to use. Each card tells the waitstaff exactly what gluten is, and how important it is for you not to ingest any of it.  This time at Plaza Garibaldi, I was prepared with a Spanish language card I had printed out. When the waitress came to our table, I said hello and handed her the card. She read it and brought it back to the kitchen.  Afterwards she came back out and pointed to a variety of things of the menu I could eat. She even came back to show me the ingredients to the corn meal mix they used to make the tortillas for the meal I ordered.

Although there were a good number of possibilities, I chose to go with the "Bistek Xocimilco," which is "Rib eye with melted cheese and mushroom, served with potatoes, guacamole, rice and beans, and served with large, soft, corn tortillas."  It was simple, and delicious.  But better than that, I ate my meal with no worries at all. That little translation card helped me enjoy a wonderful stress-free night out with my friends.

The cards are great, and essential to any GF person when traveling to foreign countries. They are also useful in a variety of places within the United States with possible language barriers (i.e., Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Japanese, Mexican restaurants). I just wanted to share this little resource with everyone.  And of course, if you live in or visit Philadelphia, check out Plaza Garibaldi and have a good meal. The food is great, reasonably priced, and the wait-staff are super friendly.  Just make sure to bring your GF translation card:)

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