TWIN FALLS — After nearly a year of struggling with health issues, I was finally diagnosed with a gluten intolerance this summer.I was frustrated it took such a long time to get answers, but I was mostly relieved. My symptoms vanished nearly immediately after eliminating wheat, barley and rye from my diet.
The diagnosis led to a big question, though: What am I supposed to eat?
Thankfully, there are many naturally gluten-free foods, including meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables, rice and potatoes. There are also options — although somewhat limited — at local grocery stores for items such as bread and pasta.
I’ve also been spoiled by my husband, who’s an excellent cook and is vigilant about making sure there’s no gluten in the ingredients he uses. And when left to my own devices, I’ve figured out how to cook gluten-free meals too, at least the very basic options.
Eating in any setting outside of my house is trickier, though. It’s stressful not knowing what ingredients are used, and I don’t want to take a chance of triggering symptoms such as burning nerve pain in my legs and feet, fatigue and a sharp headache. There are times I’ve made stupid mistakes.
I’m absolutely not a foodie and I have an unsophisticated palate. When I go out to eat, I’m just thankful to find something I can consume. It’s an added bonus and a source of excitement to find food that actually tastes good.
Eating gluten-free has become trendier and more common in recent years and, as Twin Falls continues to grow, the choices are starting to expand.
Here are six restaurants with gluten-free options:
4 Roots Juice Bar and Café
I follow 4 Roots Juice Bar and Café on Facebook, and have noticed pictures of delicious-looking meals and desserts with the hashtag #glutenfree. I had visited the café before, but not since going gluten-free, so it piqued by curiosity.
I recently decided to go in and check it out. I learned, to my surprise, the regular menu is entirely gluten-free — something I haven’t encountered anywhere else in Twin Falls. Now I’m kicking myself for not visiting earlier.
I ordered a brown rice bowl, but there was a variety of other options. I was salivating over the desserts in a display case, including lemon bars, brownies and cookies. I managed to avoid that temptation, but plan to come back soon.
Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
Location: 1563 Fillmore St., Twin Falls
Info: 208-320-2877 or https://www.facebook.com/4RootsJuiceBar/
Jakers Bar and Grill
A couple months after switching to a gluten-free diet, my now-husband and I received a gift card to Jakers Bar and Grill. I’d heard the restaurant — one of my favorites in town — has a gluten-free menu and was curious whether the rumor was true.
When I asked about a gluten-free menu, the waiter was extremely kind and brought one out. I was thrilled to see a list of gluten-free possibilities — items from the regular menu without wheat.
One of the biggest hurdles when eating out is deciphering which dishes contain wheat if the menu doesn’t specify. Even trace amounts can cause problems, and can be found even in salad dressings and gravy.
The gluten-free menu took guessing out of the equation, making it a stress-free dining experience.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Location: 1598 Blue Lakes Blvd. N., Twin Falls
Info: 208-733-8400, http://www.jakers.com/twin-falls/ or https://www.facebook.com/JakersBarandGrillTwinFalls/
Pho Taki Restaurant
Shortly after we started dating, my husband introduced me to pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. It’s one of our absolute favorite dishes.
Our go-to place for pho is Pho Taki Restaurant in the Asian Food Market. A few weeks ago, we dropped by the restaurant to place an order for chicken pho. We waited in the store while the food was being prepared.
My husband spotted gluten-free lasagna rice noodles, which we ended up buying. The same shelf included other gluten-free items such as cereal, flour and cookies.
Eventually we made the exciting discovery, via the market cashier, that just about everything at Pho Taki is gluten-free.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 pm. Monday through Saturday
Location: 404 Addison Ave. W., Twin Falls
Yellow Brick Café
Earlier this month, I met up with a group of friends at Yellow Brick Café in downtown Twin Falls for dinner. Looking at the tapas menu, I wasn’t sure what was gluten free, but the cashier asked the chef and she assured me a dish with tofu and rice was safe to eat.
I love meat and generally don’t order vegetarian dishes, but it was absolutely delicious. Yellow Brick Café has other gluten-free options, too. The only downside was it took a while to get our food on the unusually busy Friday night.
Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Location: 126 Main Ave. N., Twin Falls
Info: 208-731-9837, https://www.facebook.com/theyellowbrickcafe/
Prasai’s Thai Cuisine
Here in the newsroom at the Times-News, Prasai’s Thai Cuisine is one of our go-to lunch spots. My favorite item on the lunch menu is drunken noodles. A couple of months ago, I was thrilled to find out they don’t contain wheat.
With many dishes at the restaurant made using rice noodles, there are quite a few gluten-free options at Prasai’s.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Location: 428 Second Ave. East, Twin Falls (downtown); 1563 Filllmore St., Ste. 1A, Twin Falls (Prasai’s Thai 2 Go)
I’ve enjoyed the gluten-free pizza from Domino’s, but was excited to hear about another option coming to town.
The gluten-free crust at Blaze Pizza — like others I’ve encountered — is a bit floppy, so I ended up folding it in half to form a makeshift calzone. I miss the fluffiness of regular pizza crusts, but the pizza was delicious and I enjoyed the basil topping.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week
Location: 1925 Fillmore St., Twin Falls
Do you know of other excellent gluten-free restaurant options elsewhere in the Magic Valley? I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com.