Let’s face it, finding dedicated gluten-free restaurants and cafes is very challenging as such places are nearly nonexistent. Oftentimes, those of us who must adhere to a gluten-free diet for medical reasons (allergy versus preference) are delighted to find regular restaurants which offer gluten-free selections. However, that elation will fade away quickly when we are faced with cross-contamination issues and restaurant staff who are clueless with regard to serving and handling food for those patrons with a gluten allergy. The matter becomes even more complicated when chefs have no idea about the ingredients they incorporate into certain “gluten-free” dishes. One such example is serving gluten-free spaghetti or pasta with vodka cream sauce. Although the pasta itself may be gluten-free, vodka oftentimes is not. Incorporating vodka into the sauce will cause patrons who are gluten sensitive to react.
This is why I love to share information with others who have a gluten allergy about regular restaurants where cross-contamination has not been an issue for me. One such establishment is a little Japanese-owned Italian deli tucked away in a busy outdoor shopping mall in Torrance, California. The restaurant is called Mama Says, and they pride themselves in serving healthy fast food. This is evident as soon as you walk in to the deli and find bright orange carrots painted on its walls.
Their menu includes a variety of wraps, fresh salads, pastas, soups, and dinner plates. They can prepare any pasta dish with gluten-free pasta for an additional $2. The selection includes: Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino, Spaghetti Marinara, Spaghetti Eggplant Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Spicy Chicken Marinara, Spaghetti Salmon In Pink Sauce, Spaghetti Carbonara, Mixed Seafood Spaghetti, Spaghetti Shrimp Marinara, and Spaghetti Vegetable Garlic. They also serve several vegan items such as Carrot Garlic Bread and Eggplant Parmesan, to name a few. Their dinner plates are served with a side of spaghetti and house salad and include: Oven Baked Salmon With Herb Dill, Grilled Chicken With Olive Oil, Tofu Steak With Sesame Dressing, Sliced Filet Mignon, and Chicken Meatloaf. The restaurant does not serve soda, but you can choose from other selections such as lime mint lemonade, bottled water, and green tea.
The restaurant is open daily from 11 am – 9 pm. It does tend to get busy during the usual lunch and dinner hours, and on weekends. If you arrive and find that seating is limited, place an order to go and enjoy fresh, healthy fast food as only Mama Says can provide.
Wishing you good health and happy eating!
The Gluten-Free Geisha
Address: 2621 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance, CA. 90505
Phone: (424) 263-5682