Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tijuana Flats Gluten-Free Options

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When it comes to the Orlando dining scene, it's hard to ignore the proliferation of Tijuana Flats locations and the loyalty of their local fans. The restaurants serve up good food at good prices in an atmosphere that's colorful, funky, and all-around celebratory of weirdness. 

The chain's first location was in Winter Park, and ever since then, they've enjoyed widespread success and have been able to sustain their commitment to fresh fare.

Curious about Tijuana Flat's gluten-free options, I inquired via email about what would be safe with their corporate offices. I've had their burrito bowl-like entree (the norrito bowl) a while ago, and was curious if there's anything else I could enjoy. Besides the gluten-free cautions, and green lighted items, I discovered that their food manifesto is worth noting as well.

As for gluten-free options, the following items are NOT safe: 

  • Flour tortillas
  • Wheat tortillas
  • Ranch dressing
  • Avocado ranch dressing
  • Churros

All other items are presumed safe, but due to shared spaces and a non-dedicated kitchen, there is potential for cross-contamination. The fryers are not dedicated, as they are used for flour, wheat, and corn tortillas, so use discretion when deciding what to eat. In fact, from the information I was provided, those with severe gluten sensitivity are cautioned that even the gluten-free items are not recommended.

As for options that are left for gluten-sensitive eaters, these items are suggested as safe:
  • Salad (without shell)
  • Norrito bowl 
  • Burrito (without tortilla)
  • Any item made with corn tortillas (nachos, hard tacos, enchiladas, tostadas)

With that being said, these listings do not take into account other allergies or sensitivities, so be sure to ask your local manager or restaurant about your specific dietary needs.

I also want to note their "Keepin' it Fresh" policy for all diners regardless of degree of gluten sensitivity. In Tijuana Flats locations, there are no microwaves, nor freezers, nor canned foods so that all food is fresh each and every day. Every meal is made to order, so don't be afraid to pick and choose what you're ordering. Chicken, pork, and steak are all hormone free. The beans are vegetarian and lard-free, and the cooking oil is trans fat free. 

While this is not a review per say, I hope it provides some insight and guidance before choosing to eat at Tijuana Flats. Remember that ingredients can change, so contact the restaurant for updated information. This review is current to the original publication date and may or may not be updated. 

Have you been to Tijuana Flats? Comment below and share your review! 

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