****UPDATE 3/14/13 Baja Sol no longer feels that their menu if GF-friendly, as there is too much cross-contamination
I’d long heard that Baja Sol was celiac-friendly, but I’d never tried it out. I’m usually less venturesome, the more fast-food-like the restaurant is. this weekend I finally made my first trip to Baja Sol.
I visited the Eden Prairie location, because it’s a sit-down version of the restaurant. I was very nervous, since I knew nothing about the place, but all went well.
(this is a “Cantina”-style restaurant, of which there are two: Eden Prairie and Inver Grove Heights. I believe both Cantinas are similar, except perhaps that Inver Grove Heights doesn’t have a dedicated fryer for chips, but note that this is about the Eden Prairie/ Cantina location only, the Grills have different allergen information).
the first exciting thing to learn was that the chips are made in a separate fryer, in a different area of the restaurant! this means that we can partake in the salsa bar! I was told that there was only one salsa that contained gluten, and that was the tomatillo verde. that left about 5 or 6 other options for salsa. yum! that would be great for happy hours too!
when it came to the menu, supposedly we could have most things on the menu. virtually all of the meats seemed to be gluten free~ the steak, hamburger beef, chicken, carnitas, etc. the fish used in the fish tacos were breaded though, so that was the one exception that I found. they told me that virtually the entire menu could be made gluten free, which was exciting. I’m guessing it was mostly a matter of switching out flour tortillas with corn ones. I settled on the enchiladas, of which the red sauce was gluten free (the green one was not). any other fried products (besides the chips) were all done in a shared fryer, so even though the taquitos would otherwise be gluten free, for example, that wasn’t an option.
of the sides, I don’t believe that any contain gluten any longer. I opted for seasoned vegetables. because they’re usually fried on a grill with breaded items, I had a version that just had onions and peppers grilled in olive oil in a separate pan, which was surprisingly tasty. both the black beans and non-fried (pinto) beans were also gluten free.
all in all, I’m very excited to add a Mexican restaurant to my list. I know that Mexican Village Too! in St Cloud, MN and Abuello’s in the Madison, WI area do gluten free really well. I’ve also heard that some Mexican chains in the Twin Cities metro area will accomodate GF, but that usually doesn’t entail eating any of their chips, and usually means ordering fajitas (although Chevy’s does have an actual GF menu with a few more options). at Baja Sol, though, I was able to eat the chips, an array of salsas, and could choose from most things on the menu. it was a dream for me, since I’m a big fan of Mexican food.