Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Subway Gluten Free

Yep, that's right, Subway has jumped on the gluten free bandwagon, and I must say, they've done a stellar job educating themselves on what it takes to make a gluten free sandwich, from start to finish. Here's my review:

Subway has branched out and is testing gluten free bread and brownies in 700 Dallas/Ft. Worth locations, so it's not at every store, but hopefully it will be someday! It looks like they train their staff about the dangers of cross-contamination. I don’t know if this trend is gonna stick around though, since they said my sandwich order was only the 6th order they’ve had in 3 weeks. But, I’m hopeful. I’m actually surprised that they are using this store as a test market. We’re kinda out there in the middle of nowhere! Okay, so here’s what happened:
I walk in and tell them I’d like to try the gluten free bread for my sandwich. The girl tells me she’s got to wash her hands and change her gloves, and she’ll be taking care of me. So, she gets out the pre-packaged bread(looks like a hamburger bun, but a bit larger) with knife included, on a separate sheet of paper away from everything, cuts it, puts it on a tray and puts it in the oven to toast. She then asks me if I’d like her to pull all the toppings from the back so there’s no cross contamination. Of course I say yes. So, every topping that I got was from a fresh container, including the veggies. She was the only person that ever touched my sandwich, and I watched her the whole time. Granted, it did take longer to get my order, and about 8 people went in front of me while mine was being made, but it was worth it to know that I was getting a gluten free sandwich from a restaurant for the first time in 4 years. I can imagine that it might be difficult at different locations, where the employees speak a different language to communicate your needs, but if all the stores with the test markets are being trained properly, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Oh, and the bread is fantastic. I was very impressed. I also tried the brownie, by French Meadow, and loved the fact that it is completely grain free, using only potato starch as the flour. Very moist and flavorful, but then again I love chewy, dark, chocolatey brownies. They also display a list of all the ingredients that are gluten free(most of them) excluding the meatballs, seafood, and chicken teriyaki..and I think there might have been one other thing. They even have a list of dressings and chips that are gluten free(I think most of the chips are too, since they’re by Frito-Lay, and Frito-Lay has an extensive list on their website of gluten free chips. Anyway, Subway in Aubrey at Providence on HWY 380, east of Denton rocks! Oh, and Subway does have a list of allergens on their website, including gluten free toppings here:

One of the employees also gave me an ingredient list for the bread:

Egg whites, corn starch, modified corn starch, tapioca starch, palm oil, sugar, distilled monoglycerides, organic honey, organic apple cider vinegar, Contains less than 2% of the following: yeast, rice bran and germ, salt, leavening(sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), pectin, xanthan gum, carbohydrate gum, guar gum, enzyme. Contains Eggs manufactured on shared equipment with soy

Brownie Ingredients:
Sugar, expeller pressed canola oil, eggs, potato starch, cocoa alkali processed, natural vanilla flavor, salt, xanthan gum, natural chocolate flavor. Contains eggs, manufactured on shared equipment with soy.

I do wish more people would take cross contamination more seriously. For full blown celiac disease, cross contamination can cause serious issues. There are several people out there that just don't worry that much about cross contamination, and that's why so many restaurants don't understand what the big deal is about it. I know there are varying degrees of gluten sensitivity, and I can actually usually handle a bit of cross contamination, but I feel like for everyone's sake, cross contamination should be a universal concern for all restaurants attempting to cater to the gluten free diner. So kudos to Subway for being educated in that department. Now I want Jason's Deli to follow suit! They offer gluten free bread but make no attempt to avoid cross contamination. If you have a different experience there, please share!

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