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Enjoy fresh and healthy gluten free options at Anna’s Taqueria

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 10.20.47 AMAnna’s Taqueria has been serving delicious Mexican food at six locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville since 1995. With its reasonable prices and customizable menu, Anna’s has something to offer everyone, including vegetarian, vegan and most importantly, gluten free options.

Even those of us with special diets and allergy concerns can enjoy fresh and flavorful Mexican food at Boston’s most beloved taqueria. Everything on the menu, except the large and small flour tortillas, is gluten free. There is, however, a possibility of cross contamination because of the wheat tortillas, and it is best to ask your server to change his gloves. As always, it is important to inform your sever of your food allergy.IMG_3250

A complete list of allergen information can be found here. Whether it’s gluten eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat or shellfish, Anna’s labels every menu item.

A recent sampling of Anna’s offerings provided me with a glimpse of what this local chain has to offer gluten free diners. Starting with refreshing beverages, which are made fresh daily, I first tried the horchata, made with milk, cinnamon, and almonds or peanuts (changes daily). Not too sweet, this was the perfect drink to cleanse my palate and offer some relief after trying the spicy salsa. It is very different from the Spanish horchata I am accustomed to, which is made with tiger nuts, but still quite delicious.

horchata and hibiscus tea

The hibiscus tea, on the other hand, was too sweet for my liking, but it was much lighter and less filling than the horchata. The lemonade, made with freshly squeezed lemons and sugar, was also a bit too sweet. The agua fresca was refreshing and light. Made with fresh puréed watermelon, water and just a pinch of sugar, it is an extremely popular beverage in Mexico.

Lemonade and Agua Fresca
Lemonade and Agua Fresca

Anna’s keeps it simple with fresh ingredients and authentic recipes. The tacos and the Mexican Plate can be ordered with your choice of grilled chicken, chicken ranchero (with onions, tomatoes and hot peppers), steak, steak en salsa roja (spicy red pepper sauce), lengua (beef tounge), carnitas (roasted pork with Mexican seasonings), chile verde (braised pork with peppers), al pastor (marinated pork with pineapple and red onion), grilled vegetables, or rice and beans.

I opted for the grilled chicken Mexican plate with rice, pico de gallo, lettuce, guacamole, and grilled vegetables. All plates are served with two warm corn tortillas on the side. The pico de gallo was incredibly fresh and flavorful, as was the chicken. IMG_3241IMG_3243Other ‘’toppings’’ include black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, cheese, sour cream and a variety of salsas.  Ordering at Anna’s is more like having a conversation with the servers on the line. They ask you what you want you can say yes, no, more, less; your meal is it’s 100% customizable and is made exactly how you want it.IMG_3242

I also tried the warm corn tortilla chips, served with guacamole and salsa. The guacamole was excellent. The chip salsa, as it’s called on the menu, is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, a variety of hot peppers and lots of cilantro!  The other three salsa options include:

Guacamolio –spicy green sauce made with avocados and hot peppers

Salsa Roja– red sauce made with hot peppers

Salsa Ardiente – a temperature hot, spicy green sauce made with hot peppers

IMG_3247Nut and Dairy allergies:

Beware, the guacamole has sour cream. Instead I suggest you opt for fresh sliced avocado or the spicy guacamolio. The horchata also contains dairy (milk). Each country in Latin America makes their horchata differently. Traditional Mexican horchata is made with rice, vanilla and sometimes cinnamon. Other varieties are made from tiger nuts, almonds, peanuts, or barley. Anna’s horchata not only has milk but it contains either almonds or peanuts, depending on the days batch. If you have any sort of nut allergy I suggest you skip this one all together.

The restaurant was packed at lunchtime, but the line moved very quickly. Anna’s is a great place to get tasty, authentic and healthy Mexican food. It’s [very] possible that they will serve gluten free tortillas for quesadillas and burritos in the near future, but they want to perfect the process before they start offering them to customers. With special attention given to food intolerances and allergies, I feel very safe eating at Anna’s, and know I will be back soon!

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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.

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