Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gluten-Free Universal Studios: Margaritaville

I saved my favorite gluten-free restaurant option at Universal Studios for last - Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Universal's Citywalk!  I told Hubs right away when we planned the trip that I wanted to visit, as I've heard so many good things about how gluten-free friendly they are - and they did not disappoint.

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What I found most exciting was that I would be able to eat normally there, because they carry gluten-free buns for their burgers AND have a dedicated fryer for their french fries.  I haven't had a burger on a bun in a restaurant in over two years, and french fries are a rare delicacy too since so many restaurants use shared fryers.

When we arrived, I asked if they had a gluten-free menu, and they immediately pulled it out.  I had a whole page of options, from appetizers to desserts.  

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I was surprised to see that there were even a couple margaritas available.  For those of you who may not know, sour mix often has gluten, so I usually avoid any cocktail with sour mix - but Jimmy Buffett knows what's up and uses the good stuff, apparently.

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This is the Who's to Blame margarita on the rocks, which is easily one of the best, if not the best, margarita I have ever had.  Perfect balance of sweet and tart, with a nice fine-grained salt on the rim.  Delicious!

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We ordered the chips and dip as a starter - we debated the nachos, which looked great, but ended up deciding it would be way too much for just two people.  Turns out, so were the chips and dips - it was a huge bowl of chips and two big bowls of salsa and fresh guacamole.  Really tasty, but we snacked on them for awhile before getting our entrees and I wished I'd saved more room for the amazingness that was coming our way...

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Cheeseburger in Paradise!  Juicy and massive, on a full-size gluten-free bun, and fresh piping hot crispy fries on the side.  The bun was actually pretty good, so I asked the waitress what brand the buns were, and she reported that they were Udi's brand, which just so happens to be carried in my local Publix.  Score!  Will definitely be buying a package for our next cookout.

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I did the best I could, but after the appetizer I couldn't even finish the burger, much less the fries.  But it was so good that I talked Hubs into going there for lunch on Sunday and we skipped the appetizers - it was even better on an empty stomach :)

Like all the other restaurants I've reviewed this week, it gets super crowded, but we were able to get "priority seating" by making a reservation using the OpenTable app.  If you're staying at an on-site hotel, showing your room key will also get you priority seating, so be sure to flash that if you have one!

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