Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maybe I'm amazed...not anymore!

As Google still sends people to this page to discuss the blooming onion at Outback Roswell, I wanted to update this and tell you it no longer exists.

All extended GF food has been dropped from Outback Roswell.

Thanks for reading!

...but I have to say, I sure am happy! Kudos to Crossville Road Outback in Roswell, Georgia, for their trial period with an extended GF menu.

I'd read about it on the Delphi Celiac site, where my buddy Lori even posted details. And I honestly hoped our weekend in Atlanta would allow me to get there. I had to see it with my own eyes and taste it...

I just couldn't believe Outback would come up with a GF Bloomin' Onion.

Friday night, though, we made the pilgrimage to the Crossville Road Outback, and my GF dreams came true: I had a GF Bloomin' Onion for dinner, all to myself.

You'll see on the picture of menu above that this Outback had more than one GF offering -- Aussi-tizers included the onion, of course, Outback's signature dish, along with Coconut Shrimp, Wings, and mushrooms, too. All cooked in a dedicated GF fryer, all cooked with GF ingredients.

Oh, and pasta, made with Tinkyada GF pasta, and Kinnickinick buns for the burgers. Heaven. Nirvana.

It took a lot of planning and cooperation for this to happen at the Crossville Outback. I learned when talking to general manager Jared Molina that the extended GF menu was the brainchild of manager Julie Arens, who has celiac disease and is GF. It was Julie and owner Tom Propp who worked together to plan the menu, craft the recipes, and make the special adaptations to the kitchen to make this work.

For instance, there was that dedicated fryer for the GF foods. And Jared told me they had a special station (away from the other prep areas) where the GF meals are prepared. And each GF meal is prepared individually by a chef trained in GF cooking!

I enjoyed meeting Jared, Tom, and manager Brad Belvin that night -- each one talked to me about the care that was taken to make my GF Bloomin' Onion safe for me. They couldn't believe I would drive from Milledgeville for the experience, but hey -- when you love a Bloomin' Onion as much as I do (and miss it as much as I do!) well, it was easy to do.

And was worth it. I wanted to order a sampler of everything, but instead I got a half order of pasta and a whole onion. I took large quantities of both home because it was simply too much to eat.

And the verdict? Delicious. Crunchy and hot, the seasoning was perfect, and the onion was cooked to a perfect crisp. Served with the GF dipping sauce, it was simply.........mmmmmmmmmmm!

Jared told me to heat the remaining onion in the oven when I was ready to eat it, so instead of gobbling the rest down, I actually froze the remaining half. I hope it crisps up again when I reheat it.

I know the Atlanta GF Meetup group had dinner at Outback Sunday night, and Lori told me they had a great time. She raved over the Coconut Shrimp. Tom told me their group had ground from 24 to 30 to a max of 35. He said he was sorry he couldn't accommodate more GF diners.

I only regret I didn't get to meet Julie -- who was away training at another location -- and that this menu is a trial menu, and only at this Outback. In fact, you better hurry if you're interested in trying it. I think the trial period is up shortly.

But Julie, Tom, Jared, Brian, and our lovely server Jessica Raimonda (who kept my food away from my gluten-eating family's food) stars in your crowns for this. Jared explained to me that there was certainly risk in this endeavor -- after all, this Outback and its kitchen went out on a limb for us GF diners with the expansion. In a sense, I felt like the corporate office was upset they did -- after all, once people know about this GF Bloomin' Onion, they're going to want them at EVERY Outback.

Aren't you, friends? Admit it. You want a GF Bloomin' Onion, too!

You know what to do, right? Write to the Outback corporate office and PRAISE the Roswell Outback for its extended GF options. Encourage them to spread it to a few more. And while you're at it, encourage them to give a special humanitarian award to Julie, especially, and Tom, for creating this menu. And be sure to praise the warm and welcoming managers like Jared and Brad, and servers like Jessica, who make our dinners more special.

For that hour, I felt like I was safe, like I belonged. It was a fantastic experience, one I won't soon forget.

Much love, and go OUTBACK ROSWELL!



Cassandra said...

I am so freakin' jealous!!!

Gluten Free Steve said...

How very cool!

Danny, Jennifer, and Tyler Watson said...

That is so wonderful for them to try the GF thing. More and more people are needing that option and, if they're smart, they'll keep it up and spread it to other restaurants. It will likely equal big buck$!!

Glad you could enjoy some safe food normalcy!!!

Kate said...

OMG - ME TOO! Bring on the Bloomin' Onion, GF-Style PLEASE!

Julie, the mama said...

That is really cool of them. Hopefully it will catch on and become company wide soon.

Maureen "Hold The Gluten" said...

I read this with my mouth open (and watering!)... A GF Bloomin' Onion?? No way!! I am so writing Outback today! Great job :)