Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Chicago: FoodLife Restaurant June 22, 2010

I don’t usually write about restaurants in other cities, but since I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently I thought I’d write about a great place I found in Chicago.

first of all, any nice, upscale restaurants should be able to accommodate. in fact, the first restaurant I went to in Chicago last week, Keefers (which is mostly a steakhouse), started off with the waiter asking if anyone had any food allergies they should be aware of. I was impressed~ that’s the first time that’s happened to me.

however, for quick fare, it’s not quite as easy. you either need to do research beforehand or go to a chain restaurant that you know can accommodate.  but sometimes great treasures can be found by just asking. that’s how we found FoodLife.

FoodLife is located in the WaterTower, an indoor shopping center, which is at 806 North Michigan Ave. if you don’t already know, Michigan Ave is a major shopping street in Chicago, also known as the Magnificent Mile. American Girl store and Macys are in the same building.

anyway, FoodLife is a big food court where each person takes a swipe card as they enter, and you can go from stand to stand of different fares and get what you’d like from each, and then just pay on the way out. the whole process makes things simple. they have various stands: pasta, taqueria (Mexican), rotisserie, comfort, salad, sushi, stirfry, etc, etc. there are probably a dozen different types of cuisine in all.

when I was there last December, there weren’t a whole lot of options. they had a printout of what I could have from each cuisine stand, but I still needed to explain things to most of the workers (to avoid contamination). I also had to grab pieces of my meal from different areas, as there weren’t too many options at any given stand. I still enjoyed it, and was thankful for any options, but it wasn’t worth writing about.

however, I went back last week (I was craving some of their Mexican rice), and they had to print me a new gluten-free menu, as they were recently revising it. and I was impressed…  they had so many more options, including specialty items like gluten-free pastas, a dedicated fryer for tortilla chips, etc. and the staff was much more informed. I had WAY more options. since I didn’t really find much I could eat earlier in the day, I was starving and kept going back for more food. I was so happy.

beyond the expanded menu and greater knowledge of gluten ingredients/ contamination, it’s a really nice place in general. it’s so convenient to have an option right on Michigan Ave. plus it’s quick. and because they offer so many types of cuisine all in the same place, everyone in your group should be able to find something they’ll like.

if you’re in Chicago, I definitely recommend checking them out!

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