Tuesday, September 6, 2011

86 the Gluten and the Cheese

Small g free snack at the Reagan Library that kept me going.
My employed friends all had a day off Monday, but no plans for the long weekend... that means impromptu day trips!

First was a trip to the Reagan Library Friday (that was a trip I made by myself), then there was the Malibu day with a couple of girlfriends, and finally, there was Solvang and the famous Pea Soup Andersons!

With all these events planned, I figured that this weekend would be an opportunity to test the waters with the gluten free road trip.

Damn, those tortilla chips had gluten. Going to restaurants is tough because you never know what they’re going to serve you. I took a daytrip with my friend Jane yesterday to the Danish town of Solvang to try the pea soup at Pea Soup Andersen's Restaurant and ordered one of the things on the menu I know usually is "g free," nachos! I asked them to 86 the cheese and to put avocado’s instead. My eyes beaming with pride when the delicious nachos came out, I showed my friend how easy it was to order a gluten free dish! Of course, I doused them with hot sauce and salsa.

But, to my dismay, the nachos were not made of corn, but of flour! What was I to do. I just ate around the nachos. Eating around the gluten may be an option for those with a minor gluten allergy, but not for someone with celiacs.

For someone with celiacs a mistake like that means eating what you ordered and suffering from a stomach ache all night. Or, even worse for someone who recently only found out they have a gluten allergy, having to explain to the waitress to take the food back because they have a "disease" that does not allow them to eat wheat.

To avoid this situation entirely, be sure to ask for a gluten free menu. Most chains will have a special separate menu listing the items that do not have gluten or list the modifications that can be made so that the dishes could be gluten free. Good examples are Chili’s, P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse, … (the list goes on).

Vacationers who don’t want to worry about finding a gluten free restaurant can go to a supermarket or Costco before heading out for the day and grab lots of food, stick it in a cooler, and set out for the day. Yesterday, a couple of my friends came to visit and I took them on a tour of Malibu… you know, all the beach spots that locals love. Though I was watching my gluten intake before, it was the first day I really tried to eliminate every trace of gluten from my diet. So, we went to Costco and grabbed some margarita mix, a couple platters of sushi, asparagus hummus dip, some potato chips, and any other g free snacks we found. Armed with all of our supplies, we headed to Leo Carillo to start our lazy beach day. It was packed with windsurfers surfers because of the big waves, making the view even more amazing (there were at least fifteen at any given time!). I had so much fun on my beach day escape from the real world with two of my favorite girlfriends!

My lazy weekend turned out a great success. I got my fill of beach time in and a nice bronze tan (or as close to bronze as I could get). Oh, and the pea soup was delicious!

Great find: Aebleskiver pan to make gluten free treats at home!
Tune in next week and I’ll have my official travel plans for the west coast leg of the trip

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