Category Archives: Travel

Gluten Free Vermont goes to Los Angeles!

Highlights of gluten-free life in LA:

LYFELove Your Food Everyday (Culver City and other locations) : Order at the counter and sit down for a lovely dining experience! The counter staff know every ingredient in every item on the menu. Great for gluten, nut, rice, egg, and “you name it!” allergies. Also a great choice for vegan and children. Seriously, a menu that can accommodate everyone and that focuses on healthy food and cooking. When’s the last time you had air-baked, gluten-free, sweet potato fries?!

Factors Deli (Beverly Hills) : I stuck with huevos rancheros, but they also offer gluten-free waffles, pancakes and more!  Great service and I felt very safe in their hands.

California Pizza KitchenCapture2 (Beverly Hills): I stuck with the grilled peach spinach salad with grilled chicken… but CPK has upped the ante with their gluten free offerings. They received a lot of criticism for contamination issues when they first issued gluten-free pizza options. Now they have teamed up with the Gluten Intolerance Group to guarantee better efforts at avoiding cross-contamination. I was game to try it out but the crust has rice flour (I’m allergic) so I skipped it. Anyone out there tried their pizza recently?

Besides all these, I had a great time visiting my friends and family… They stocked the house with lots of fruit, yogurt and chips/salsa for me to snack on. I travel with GF instant oatmeal, so with all of this, I was pretty much ready to go. At the wedding they labeled all the food gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or such and there were tons of great options! [all of it was nut-free!] So wonderful of them to make the wedding safe for their friends with food allergies. Plus, fresh lemons for lemonade and cooking!

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XOXO,
GFVT

 

Gluten Free VT goes to Cape Cod @ParksideMarket

Ah, Cape Cod. Warm waters. Granite field fencing. Babies playing on the lawns. Sea grass and sunshine.

And the youngest, most inexperienced waiters in the world.

I lived on Cape Cod on and off for about 7 years. One thing never changed– most restaurant servers are your local teenagers.

Me: “I have Celiac Disease.”
Burlington waiter: “Oh, ok I will double-check on your order and let the kitchen know.”
Cape Cod waiter: “Huh?”

Me: “I am allergic to wheat.” (sometimes you have to make “medical metaphors” to get your point across)
Cape Cod waiter: “Well, we could substitute an English muffin. Does that have wheat?”

There are some truly fantastic places to eat gluten-free on Cape Cod, but that is a whole other post! This past week I was on the Cape for work and we went out for lunch. I was pretty hungry and hoping for something other than just a salad. We enter the Parkside, a new bisto/cafe in Falmouth, MA that claims to have GF options! I was up for the challenge.

Me: “I’d like to have your gluten-free bread on my sandwich but I have Celiac’s disease, which you should treat like a serious wheat allergy. Can you tell me how you prepare the sandwiches to avoid cross contamination? Could they use a clean prep surface and change their gloves?”
Her: “Yes, I will talk to them and make sure of that. We toast the bread but it’s a vertical toaster so there’s no crumbs or anything that can fall onto your gluten-free bread.” #palm/forehead!
Me: “Actually, touching the same surface as non- GF bread makes it not gluten-free. Please don’t toast my bread and, yes, thank you for talking to the staff before they make my sandwich.”

I must have put the fear of something into her because wide-eyed, she immediately took my order back to the kitchen (gotta love open kitchen plans where you can see what’s going on out back!!!) and gave them clear directions.

Great sandwich, no gluten issues. Even ordered from them again the next day.

The bottom line? Great lunch-time option in Falmouth and a reminder to always ask those annoying questions– it pays off in the end. Just add a smile and a tip to make the staff feel good about helping you out, not put-off

Safe travels and Happy September!

xxoo
GFVT

 

 

Gluten-Free Vermont goes to Canada

Navigating a new city and country is always tough when you’re Gluten-free. It’s outside your comfort zone, big time. Last week, I spent a few days exploring Montreal with my family. Saturday night we realized that Cavalia was showing Odyesso in near-by Laval. We decided to catch the show and grab dinner beforehand. So, how do you find a place that will handle your gluten-free needs?

I’ve increasingly had good luck with UrbanSpoon.com. A quick search of Montreal shows 243 gluten-free friendly restaurants. You can also view the results on a map to find places near you. I’ve found that restaurants rated with “$” are better for breakfast or lunch. Restaurants with “$$” or higher tend to have table service and a wider range of menu items. I also judge a restaurant based on user reviews. A place with 70% or higher seems like a decent place. Next, I also consider what types of food they offer and check out their menu online. From this, you can get a sense of what types of gluten-free foods you might be able to order. For me, I avoid seafood restaurants because I’m allergic to fish! Once you’ve picked a place, you might want to note a back-up place or two in case you get a bad vibe at the first one or its closed or such.

Another way to feel safer about eating gluten-free in a “foreign” place (even some US towns feel foreign to me!) is to take a card that explains your needs. My personal favorite has been CeliacTravel.com, which offers explanations regarding Celiac Disease to chefs and waiters in 54 languages! I kept a few of these in my purse when I was in Croatia and never had a problem! In hindsight, I wished I brought one with me to Montreal in French. I didn’t have any problems in Montreal but had a few uncertain interactions with wait staff.

Traveling in Canada, gluten free!

Traveling to Canada this summer? Our guest blogger discusses her experiences:

Traveling with a gluten allergy is getting easier and easier. I just
spent a week in Montreal – and we were able to find restaurants
sensitive and caring about gluten issues, including Celiac.

I ordered gluten-free meals on VIA Rail, Canada’s Amtrak, for a long
train trip from Montreal to Vancouver, BC. What a surprise to read the
VIA Rail magazine for June, Destinations, article, “Gluten-Free
Delicacies” – in both French and English. The article says that
according to Health Canada 1% of Canadians have Celiac disease and up
to 15% of North Americans have some degree of gluten allergy.
Much of the article highlights restaurants throughout Canada who have
gotten the message that providing for gluten-free customers is good
business.

The article lists resources for travel in Canada:
• a directory of gluten-free restaurants in Ontario at glutenfreeontario.com
• gluten-free products and services for restaurants at theceliacscene.com
• gluten-free brewers at lesbieresnouvellefrance.com
• recipes (gluten-free) in French from epicurean Josee Fournier at
bonheursangluten.blogspot.ca

My first gluten-free dinner on the train from Montreal to Tornot? Not
the absolute best, for sure. Chicken cubes, a tiny salad, some rice
and corn, overcooked green beans, white wine, yummy cold fruit salad
(melons), a rice cracker with butter… But you know, I liked it
(especially the fruit and the chocolate)—and was impressed that the
dietary request filed with VIA rail some six months ago was catered to
today by the car attendant’s quick scan of my ticket and a cheery,
“I’ve got your special meal!”

Late tomorrow we leave Toronto on the VIA Rail train to Vancouver, BC.
I’ll let you know how it goes as we get further from Vermont.

T.K. Writing for Gluten Free Vermont

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Portland’s Distillery Row @DistilleryRow @NewDealPDX @EastsideDistill #glutenfree

Home in Portland, day 1. Xmas shopping done. Mom suggests some family time– visiting “Distillery Row” on Portland’s Eastside (Note for you East Coast readers– this is Portland OREGON not Maine ;). An affiliation of several distilleries has sprung up over recent years. Obviously, this must be investigated.

Burnside Bourbon at Portland's Eastside Distillery

Burnside Bourbon at Portland’s Eastside Distillery

Our first stop was Eastside Distilling (http://www.eastsidedistilling.com/). A small space with a lively bartender, we enjoyed their tasting of Portland Potato Vodka and silver and dark rums. They offer bourbon and double barreled bourbon, which adds an exquisitely smooth finish. Next up was the Cherry Bomb Whiskey. Infused with Oregon cherries, this adds a nice flavor and sweetness without turning into cherry-flavored cough syrup. next we tried the coffee-infused rum. As the bartender said, no better way to starting a day when you’re out camping. The cold-pressed coffee infusion imparted an excellent coffee flavor. It would be excellent with ice cream or added to warm drinks. Or iced drinks! Next came their holiday liquor samplings– all with the white rum base– spiced (think chai

Portland Potato Vodka, Eastside Distillery

Portland Potato Vodka, Eastside Distillery

tea flavors), peppermint bark (chocolate infusion with peppermint oil) and eggnog. the tasting ended with a short cocktail of your choosing– hot apple cider with spiced rum or horchata (Mexican rice milk) with coffee liquor. We went home with some vodka and some liquors my mom will use in martinis. Note: if you end up buying something, the $5 tasting fee is waved so sample before you buy!

Offerings at New Deal Distillery

Offerings at New Deal Distillery

Our second (and admittedly final) stop was New Deal Distillery (http://www.newdealdistillery.com/). They’re situated in a large, open space with the tasting counters nestled in a corner among the distillery equipment. For $5 you get a flight of samples and go home with one of their shot glasses. We started the sampling with the New Deal Vodka. Crisp, clean and smooth– no doubt an excellent choice for any liquor cabinet. It was the next sampling, the New Deal Gin 33 that blew us away. New Deal has established its self as not just high class, but high quality. With a strong juniper nose and smooth finish, my step-father photo (25)couldn’t wait to get a bottle into his stash for future martinis. My folks sampled with unsweetened, cold pressed chocolate infused vodka. I thought it was a bit bitter, made directly from the raw cocoa. My step-father thought it was excellent– funny since I think he enjoys sweets more than my savory self. To each his own! Next up was a choice of either the coffee liqueur or ginger liqueur. I, of course, went for the ginger. What a bite! I love ginger and this did not disappoint. It imparted a strong and savory ginger flavor without overwhelming or making you feel like a ginger-breathing dragon. Which brings us to “Hot Monkey,” their spicy vodka. Infused with five different hot peppers, this has a smooth finish as far as the vodka goes but leaves your mouth with a bit of a burn. I’m sure its great with pineapple juice– in fact, the mixing options are endless! Needless to say, we left with a few more bottles and some new shotglasses.

Note that Distillery Row (http://www.distilleryrowpdx.com/), the affiliation of this neighborhoods distilleries, offers a “passport” which you can have stamped was you walk from place to place and sample the wares. At $20/each, the passport allows you free samplings at all member locations. Sounds like a great activity for out of town guests, birthday parties, etc.

As a side note– how do you feel about Bourbon and being gluten free? Once one of my favorite drinks, a good friend and I have have been debating if we get “the gluten hangover” from Bourbon. I took a (thimble-sized) risk yesterday and feel a little off today– but then I ate a fair bit of chocolate (which my stomach doesn’t enough as much as my mouth) so who’s to say? I know there are the purists who say even the distilling process can’t remove all the gluten… yet I know on principle it in fact should. Let’s go to the empirical evidence– are you gluten free? Do you drink Bourbon? Why or why not? Leave your response below.

xoxo

GG

The Traveling Celiac takes to the skies — the start of a long trip or what to snack?

Everytime I get ready for a long trip, I have a few piles while packing– clothing/toiletries, work stuff (computer, notes, etc), and food. When it comes to traveling GF, I think I have pack-rat syndrome (PRS). PRS involved packing more food than you will need and acting like you might be starving for the next two days to two weeks. In my carry-on, I have enough GF instant oatmeal to last me two weeks of breakfasts, some peanut butter, GF pretzels, kinda bars and numerous other granola-like bars (some which have weathered more than 1 trip in my backpack, I figured they’re squished but still good, right?).  I’m now at the airport and just ate some popcorn and drink a vitamin water. Ok, I was a little thirsty but PRS added an urgency to having something to eat while I could, god forbid I might not find food again for hours or days. It’s the YOU NEVER KNOW factor that leads to the compulsion of PRS. I’ve done all I can to provision for my self (requested a GFML– that’s airline code for a gluten free meal; CONFIRMED the airline has my GFML on file) so now its time to sit back and enjoy the flight(s). This trip I’m flying international on American Airlines and I’ve never had their GFML so I will be sure to post my reviews here later. In past travels, my general rule of thumb is outbound flights from the USA have sucky GFMLs and the inbound flights to the USA (aka someone in another country made the meals) are fantastic (once I had a passionfruit mousse!  Dare I get my hopes up?).