Archive for March, 2010

Saying Goodbye to San Diego

Posted in advice, Restaurants, travel on March 31st, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, including my wonderful San Diego trip.  Our last full day in Coronado was amazingly sunny and relaxing.  In our usual fashion, we spent at the pool and the spa.  Such a rough life, I know.  Brittanny and I even splurged and got wonderful massages at Loew’s.  After our hour-long massages, we headed back to the pool for a late lunch and an afternoon in the sun.  We ordered take out from The Market at Loew’s and I enjoyed a delicious cobb salad with balsamic vinaigrette, instead of ranch.  (Clearly, we didn’t want to miss any precious sun time.)  While we waited for our orders, the chef even came out and spoke with me to double check what I could and could not eat.  They were amazingly attentive considering that we were just ordering take out in the midst of their crazy and huge Sunday brunch.   Since I didn’t get blue cheese on my cobb salad, they doubled the amount of avocado on mine.  Yummy!

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For our last dinner in San Diego, Brittanny and I went to the Hotel del Coronado, in the town of Coronado Bay.  Built in 1888, this historic hotel looks Victorian and opens up onto the water.  Because of daylight savings, we got to watch a beautiful sunset at the hotel while we enjoyed cocktails at the Babcock & Story Bar with a great view of the water.  For dinner we chose to eat at the more casual, Sheerwater Restaurant, as opposed to 1500 Ocean, Hotel del Coronado’s fine dining establishment.  I must clarify that Sheerwater is not a sports bar or a Chili’s by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact the entrees are quite fancy and not cheap.  Sheerwater’s decor is a bit more casual and beachy than the rest of the stunning and dramatic hotel.  We even sat outside, under heat lamps.  (San Diego restaurants and bars are all about the heat lamps.)  Sheerwater’s menu reminded me of a steakhouse, with an array of meat and seafood options with sides that can be ordered in addition.  All entrees come with a delicious, and flavorful, array of mixed veggies, including cauliflower, broccoli and baby carrots.

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As I enjoyed seafood the previous night at Osetra, I decided to go the ‘meat route’ at Sheerwater.  I ordered California Rack of Lamb and Braised Shank with Natural jus.  Yes, the rack and shank of the lamb both came as a part of my entrée.  My meat was so tender and the natural jus added a nice sauce that complimented the flavor of the meat well without overpowering the protein.  Brittanny and I decided to share a side of the Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  I consider myself to be something of an expert on mashed potatoes and Sheerwater’s might have been the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.  Creamy and buttery, but not bland.  The perfect amount of salt gave these mashed potatoes great flavor and using Yukon golds added a nice dimension to the flavor and texture components.  I could have gotten two orders of the potatoes for dinner and been totally happy.

The view of the water from Hotel del Coronado

The view of the water from Hotel del Coronado

The next day Brittanny and I awoke early and took advantage of a few hours of morning sunshine before going to the airport to head back east.  A great vacation full of delicious restaurants, beautiful weather, sight seeing, massages and reading time.  It didn’t even bother me that I missed most of the ACC Tournament games.  I’ll take sunny San Diego any day.

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Wow!  An entire vacation without getting sick.  In fact, I was out of town for a total of 17 days during the last month and didn’t get sick or contamination once!  Amazing.  Traveling always comes with a side of anxiety for those of us with celiac.  Dining out and eating in the homes of others makes me vulnerable and nervous.  I don’t get as much anxiety as I used to, but I must admit that I was a little on edge about being away from my kitchen for over half the month.  Thanks to great friends, family and overly accommodating restaurants, I stayed gluten-safe and feeling healthy.  I still traveled with snacks, packed my own lunches when flying, and ate lots of M&Ms, but overall, I felt very well taken care of throughout my marathon travel.  Being away is fun but it’s time to be back in my own kitchen, cooking and creating dishes to share with David and friends.
Sheerwater on Urbanspoon

San Diego: An Evening Downtown

Posted in advice, Restaurants, travel on March 30th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

After a day at the San Diego Zoo, on Saturday night, Brittanny and I headed downtown for the evening.  We went to the Beach Bar at The W Hotel, decorated with heated sand, huge TV screens, and private cabanas you can rent.  Apparently it’s quite the hot spot and Adrian Grenier, the actor who plays Vincent Chase on Entourage was even going to be there later that night.  After a drink and some delicious edamame, we moved on to the Gaslamp Quarter, a historic district with lots of restaurants and bars.  Our dinner reservations were at Osetra Water Grill (formerly the Fish House) and the ambiance inside the restaurant was very cool.  Osetra has really high ceilings surrounding the bar and they store all of their wine in a “three-story wine tower” that extends up to the ceiling.  The bartenders get harnessed in and are basically suspended in air when they need to retrieve a bottle of wine.  (I feel like there was a photo shoot once on America’s Next Top Model with a similar theme.  Am I right?)

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The Beach Bar at The W Hotel

Osetra was not very crowded so we got good attention and our waiter served us pretty quickly, maybe too quickly.  Our waiter made it clear from the beginning that I would not be able to have any of the sauces because they thicken them with flour.  I’m ok with that, but I don’t really understand why some restaurants still feel the need to thicken all of their sauces with flour.  There are so many good alternatives to a roux and a floured-sauce.  In my culinary opinion, flourless sauces have better flavors and show off a higher level of cooking.  Anyways, I’ll step down from my soap box now because I can’t complain too much about the meal, since it was still quite tasty, even without a sauce.  For a first course, I ordered the organic greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  A nice, simple salad but nothing fancy.  For my main course, I ordered the pan seared salmon (sans chive buerre blanc) with sautéed spinach and herb-roasted fingerling potatoes. The chef cooked the salmon perfectly and the spinach and potatoes complemented the salmon well.

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Osetra's Bar & Wine Tower

If you’re looking for a nice seafood restaurant (with items on the menu for meat eaters as well) in the Gaslamp District, I would definitely recommend Osetra.  The menu was pretty predictable, but both of our dishes were well made and flavorful.  The service was good and they kept me gluten-free.

After dinner we went across the street to the wine bar, Vin de Syrah, for a drink.  This bar was so cool for many reasons.  I won’t give away all of their secrets but it very much has an Alice in Wonderland theme going on.  You enter on the ground level and go down a stair case to enter the actual bar.  Once you get downstairs, you enter another room to get into the bar.  Let’s just say the entrance is difficult to find, and leads to a little embarrassment once discovered.  The décor inside is full of upside down umbrellas large fake flowers and other trippy decorations.  As I’m reading what I’ve written, this description makes Vin de Syrah sound cheesy, but I promise, on the inside it does not feel like you’re at Disney Land. This ‘parlor’ as its name describes it, gives off a distinctly unique vibe, while remaining classy.

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A Look at Vin de Syrah: This photo doesn't do it justice!

Vin de Syrah has a plethora of fun drinks and a great wine selection.  We each enjoyed a drink, did some great people watching and headed back to Coronado Bay.  If you’re staying in Coronado Bay, it’s definitely worth spending at least one night down town in Gaslamp, as it’s an entirely different feel, and the average age drops by about 30 years when you migrate downtown.
Osetra the Fishhouse on Urbanspoon

“Bee-utiful” GF Cupcake at Buzz Bakery

Posted in bakery, travel on March 26th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

This weekend I’m heading back to Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Maryland for my friend, Becky’s, bachelorette party and wedding shower.   The final trip in a month full of busy travel.  Yes, I was just up in the Northern Virginia area a month ago saying goodbye to my brother, Rob, and his family before they moved to Japan.  While I was in NOVA in late February, not only did I get to hang out with my adorable nephew, but I went to one of my favorite bakeries, Buzz Bakery and enjoyed an amazing gluten-free cupcake.

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Doesn’t it look delicious?  Not only is Buzz’s icing plentiful and oh, so buttery and creamy, but the cake part of the GF cupcake actually tastes like cake.  Of course I love the bee on top, as a reminder that spring might get here some day. (Note: bee is not edible.)  And if this yummy goodness that you see in the photo isn’t enough, when I dove into the cupcake with my fork (yes, I eat my cupcakes with a fork because I want to savor every bite), I found chocolate filling in the middle.  Basically an added bonus of icing.  Amazing.

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I’m so glad I showed up at Buzz when I did because I got the sole, remaining GF cupcake for that Saturday.  (My apologies to folks who came after me looking for the same gluten-free treat.)  Buzz makes gluten-free brownies too, but while still yummy, the brownie’s just not the same as getting a cupcake.  The gluten-free gods looked out for me that day.  If there were no gluten-free cupcakes awaiting me in the glass case at Buzz, I would have felt a little bit like Clark Griswold in National Lampoons Vacation, driving across the country to Wally World, only to find Wally World closed.

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Lions and Tigers and Bears: San Diego Vacation Part II

Posted in Restaurants, travel on March 24th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Despite cloudier weather, our second day in San Diego was still filled with good food and even some activity that went beyond lying by the pool.  After a delicious Friday night dinner that kept me safe from gluten, I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, due to A) my inability to sleep in, ever and B) the fact that the west coast is three hours behind my east coast brain.  I will say Coronado Bay is quite lovely at 5:30 in the morning and I had the opportunity to enjoy it wandering outside.  By 7, Brittanny was ready for the day too so we enjoyed some coffee and fruit at The Market at Loews, while reading the less than impressive local paper.

Saturday was not going to be optimal tanning weather, so we decided to be touristy and check out the San Diego Zoo instead of tanning and reading, my preferred vacation activities.  Many people recommended that we check out the SD Zoo and I must say, it lived up to expectations, and the $37 (!!) price of admission.  (We DC folks are spoiled by all of the free museums we have so the ticket cost caused a bit of sticker shock for me.)

After deciding to venture to the zoo, we then chose our mode of transportation.  Being that our hotel was in Coronado, cab rides getting into the city are pretty pricey and since Britt used to work for the American Bus Association, it only seemed fitting to take advantage of the public bus system.  We were quite successful in navigating the city via bus.  It took a little longer than a direct cab ride but our wallets thanked us.

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miley-cyrus-coffee-beanOur bus route required us to switch buses so we stopped at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to get a coffee.  Apparently Coffee Bean is a very trendy spot for Hollywood celebs, but we didn’t see any at 9am on a Saturday morning.  I, of course being less than trendy, had never heard of Coffee Bean but loved the coffee. and Britt’s smoothie looked great.  I’ve since learned from the website, Gluten Free in SD, that all of Coffee Bean’s, “Coffees and Teas are Gluten Free. Our Special Dutch Chocolate Powder, and our French Deluxe Vanilla Powder are both Gluten Free, so any drinks made with these powders are gluten free as well. Our Caramel sauce is also gluten free.  My guess is that their smoothies are probably GF too, but I’m not sure.

Once we arrived at the zoo, Britt and I took advantage of all of the perks that came with our ticket, including the guided bus tour and tram ride over the park.  Call me a tourist, but I loved getting to see the zoo and the amazing number and variety of animals.  My favorite zoo residents were definitely the meerkats.  They even had little baby meerkats.  Isn’t it amazing how the zoo can make you feel like a kid again?  Other highlights included the giraffes, sea otters, and reptile house.  The koalas were not that exciting since they sleep 22 hours out of the day, but still very cute asleep in the trees.

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After a busy morning, it was time for lunch so we wandered around Balboa Park, the area surrounding the zoo, and decided to eat at The Prado.  For those of you who know me, I’m always thinking about my next meal.  So after our early breakfast we investigated potential lunch possibilities in the zoo vicinity since I knew I wouldn’t be able to just grab a hot dog at the zoo.  The Prado is part of the Cohn Restaurant group, and their menu looked awesome, full of lots of fresh, potentially gf choices.  We sat outside and even though it was a little cloudy, the cool air was perfect.

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Our extremely helpful waitress  went back to the kitchen multiple times to check with the chef about my gluten-free options.  I decided to go with the “Prado Pressed Salad,” a beautiful array of baby arugula, shaved asiago cheese, strawberries, figs, and candied walnuts with a sherry shallot vinaigrette.  I couldn’t get the candied walnuts because they sprinkle them with flour, but the salad was still yummy. It was a tough call between the salad and the naturally GF fish tacos, but since I’d eaten Mexican the night before, I went with the pressed salad (And I’m a sucker for figs and arugula!)With the guidance of our server, I got grilled shrimp on top of my salad and the combination provided a refreshing and flavorful meal.  Delicious! After enjoying an outdoor lunch, we began our trek back to the hotel via the bus.  While not the most time efficient, we minimized our carbon footprint and our spending.  We returned to Loew’s with enough time to catch up on the college basketball scores for the day, and get ready for our evening in downtown San Diego.

Our bus stop near the hotel.  Even though we had to wait awhile, you can't complain about the view!

Our bus stop near the hotel. Even though we had to wait awhile, you can't complain about the view!


Prado at Balboa Park on Urbanspoon

Living Gluten-Free in the College World

Posted in advice, GF product on March 22nd, 2010 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Guest blogger, Lucy Glaize, used her first hand experience to respond to the points I made in my earlier post, Dorms, Tailgating & Cafeterias: Gluten-Free College Advice.  Lucy continues to make the most of her college experience, and does not let celiac get in the way of enjoying University of Vermont.  I am amazed by her positive attitude and the proactive way she embraces her gluten-free life.  From leading the UVM celiac group to running marathons, Lucy doesn’t let anything stop her.

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Be Prepared: I always keep a simple and easy snack like rice cakes and peanut butter in my room.  They are easy and tasty!  I bring rice cakes with peanut butter to class with me when I do not have time to sit down for lunch on campus.  I also like to mix it up and top this snack with raisins, chocolate chips, banana slices, etc.  Cereal is also a necessity to have on hand in the dorm room.  My favorite cereal combination is Nature’s Path Whole O’s mixed with Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise.  I also enjoy the GF Cinnamon Chex when I have a sweet tooth. I keep milk in my mini-fridge for when I want a full bowl of cereal, but also take dry cereal with me sometimes as a snack.  My roommate and I also have two “food baskets” in our room- one gluten free and one for her gluten-filled snacks.

Late Night Snacks: This is one of the harder parts of being gluten free at college.  Watching friends devour late night snacks like pizza definitely requires self-control!  My all time favorite “late night snack” to have on hand in my dorm room, is the Thai Kitchen instant soup.  It is essentially the gluten free version of Ramen.  There is a microwave in the common room on my hall that I use to make the Thai Kitchen easily in just minutes.  There is also a pizza place in downtown Burlington called Mr. Mike’s that is open late night.  Mr. Mike’s serves all sorts of sports-pub food and appetizers along with their pizza, including the tastiest sweet potato french fries.  I have been there during slower hours to discover that they fry their potatoes and their battered foods in separate oils at a decent distance from each other in order to keep the french fries gluten free!

Make Friends With The People Who Make Your Food: This is one part of having Celiac that I am good at doing!  It may be hard at first, but being confident about what you want to (and, more importantly, what you can) eat is very important.  The good news is most people now know a good bit about Celiac Disease or have at least heard of it.  Whenever I come across someone who doesn’t know too much about it, I take the opportunity to teach him or her about celiac in a way that makes them eager to help me out. I briefly describe gluten intolerances, explain in detail what exactly gluten is, and I add a couple examples of foods that unexpectedly contain gluten, such as soy sauce.  When I was a freshman at boarding school, I even printed out some info about Celiac for the cooks in the dining hall to post.  After establishing a good friendship with the people who cooked my food, they wanted to feed me exactly what I was comfortable eating.

The University of Vermont does an amazing job supporting a gluten-free diet.  Each dining hall has a gluten free section.  There is gluten free cereal, bread, frozen waffles, bagels, and cookies.  There are also separate jelly bins and a separate toaster reserved to be 100% gluten free.  The other dining services at UVM serve special gluten-free foods like falafels, soup, sandwiches, and corn tortilla quesadillas and tacos.  The people in the deli line are required to change their gloves and have a clean surface to prepare the gluten-free meals.  I also made friends with the man who makes sautéed vegetable wraps at one of my favorite places to eat.  He knows me now, and understands the importance of replacing the wrap with rice or quinoa then serve it all piled together on a plate.

If dining services at other colleges or boarding schools do not have these options, I suggest speaking directly to the chefs during slow hours, not at mealtime.  In high school, the chefs let me keep my own gluten-free bread and cereal in the dining hall.  The most important part to me about making friends with the people who cook your food is to get them excited about making gluten-free options available.  After exploring different places to eat on campus, you will find steady gluten-free options that you trust.  You should have the same opportunities to eat on campuses that other students do!

Tailgating:  To be honest, UVM does not have tailgating.  (In fact, it is the only Division I state university without a football team.)  However, I do like tailgating when visiting friends at other schools.  My mom also knows I enjoy events like this.  For example, at the Apple Blossom Festival parades in my hometown of Winchester, VA, all of the parade route yard parties have all sorts of delicious, open container snacks and hors d’oeuvres.  At Apple Blossom in 2004 (just one month after being diagnosed), my mom brought a bag of Lundberg gluten free rice chips with an attractive serving dish to some of the places we were invited.  The bowl of chips was set aside where no one else would contaminate them.  At first I was embarrassed to have a bowl set aside for my “special” snacks.  I quickly got over that, though, and was thankful not to have to carry my own snack or just not eat anything at all.   Keeping snacks off to the side or in my own bag is a discrete way of going about having gluten free treats at an event with lots of grab-and-go foods without having to ask or worry about cross contamination from foods I assumed would be gluten free.

Weekend Activities:  Whenever my friends and I take weekend trips to go skiing, hiking, etc., I always get a little apprehensive about meal times.  It is definitely necessary to bring my own breakfast.  It is easy to pack a box of cereal, and usually fruit and milk during a grocery store trip can be communal and remain uncontaminated during the weekend.  If we will not be cooking or if the group is too big to cook an entirely gluten free meal, I bring my own instant gluten free dinners.  Although they are not the tastiest, frozen Amy’s entrees and instant Thai Kitchen soups do the trick.  Of course for outdoor activities, fruit and nut bars are the perfect travel size snack packed with lots of energy.

I came along another bump in the road regarding easy, gluten free energy bars when I ran my first marathon in October 2009.  I definitely needed a little something to raise my blood sugar level during the race.  I do not prefer the small packs of energy “goo,” and of course could not have someone handing me bite size pieces of a peanut butter sandwich that would not crumble in a quick hand off.  The best option I came up with was having my sister pass me bite-size pieces of the gluten free bar made by Clif Bar called Clif Nectar. (I prefer the Lemon Vanilla Cashew flavor.)  It is much easier to chew (less crunchy) than the normal gluten free fruit and nut bars, but is still packed with lots of nutrients and energy!

Lucy, enjoying a Clif Nectar Bar, during her marathon

Lucy, enjoying a Clif Nectar Bar, during her marathon

Adjusting to the gluten free college life definitely takes time, and doesn’t happen instantly.  Initially, I was very anxious and hesitant about eating food that I did not prepare or that was not clearly labeled “gluten free.”  I started off just eating simple, low ingredient foods like salad until I fell into the groove of my schedule to figure out when and where I needed to eat.  As increasingly more people discover gluten intolerances, more and more gluten free options become available.  Living gluten-free only gets easier each day, even for college students!

New GF Pizza Place: The Kind Pie

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Foodie Buddha just alerted me to the fact that The Kind Pie, a new Italian spot in Buckhead, has gluten-free pizza crust.  I don’t know much more than that, or even what toppings are GF.  I will definitely be checking it out soon though!  Take a look at their menu.  Looks yummy!  The GF crust only comes in 10″.  Let me know what you think!

West Coast Vacation: Enjoying Mexican Food in Coronado Bay

Posted in Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, travel on March 18th, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Ahh, it’s a rough life.  I am one lucky girl.  In the last two weeks I’ve been in Naples, Florida and San Diego, California.  Both places provided a great escape from cold, rainy Atlanta.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Atlanta, but it was time to have a little distance from the Peach State.

Yes, in the same week, I got to see beautiful sunsets in Florida and California.

Yes, in the same week, I got to see beautiful sunsets in Florida and California.

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After five days in Naples, I flew briefly back to Atlanta on Wednesday night.  Enough time to celebrate my birthday (28…AAH!) with David, do laundry and repack.  Bright and early Friday morning, I set out for sunny San Diego to meet up with my high school roommate/best friend/maid of honor/personal fashion consultant, Brittanny.  David and Brittanny planned this girls’ weekend back in the fall and it was a perfect treat for my birthday weekend.

I had never been to San Diego before so I was a little nervous about the food situation, but I figured people on the west coast have a good grasp on healthy eating so I was hopeful that we would find places that understood all things gluten.  During my Naples trip, I had been spoiled because Jen and I had access to a full kitchen so most of our meals were made by us.  In San Diego I would not have that luxury, making my gluten-anxiety levels rise.

If there’s one thing Brittanny and I love to do, it’s lay out.  Yes, I know it’s bad for me, but I love getting tan.  Fortunately we stayed on Coronado Bay at the Loew’s Beach Resort so we had ample sun time in a beautiful setting.  We spent a lot of quality time at the pool, reading and soaking up rays, but we also did some touristy things, including the San Diego Zoo.  Even though the Loews is about 20 minutes from downtown San Diego, I would definitely recommend this hotel if you enjoy relaxing and not being too active on your vacation. If you’re looking for more action, I would recommend staying downtown at the W, where we went for drinks one night at their swanky rooftop ‘beach bar,’ complete with fire pits and heated sand.

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Brittanny and I arrived in San Diego in the early afternoon on Friday and immediately checked into our room, ordered a tasty adult beverage and went to the pool.  Isn’t vacation wonderful?  After a relaxing afternoon we headed into the town of Coronado Bay for the evening.  We ordered a drink at Tent City, a cute wine bar downtown.  It was so great to be able to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine.  I can definitely see how people who move to the west coast never come back!

After a leisurely drink we went to Miguel’s, a Mexican restaurant in Coronado Bay for dinner.  Brittanny called ahead to inquire about gluten-free food and sure enough, they were willing to accommodate me.  I was a little nervous because the restaurant was super busy on a Friday night and our waiter can most nicely be described as flaky.  He giggled a lot…very weird.  The hostess was confident that I could be helped and once I spoke with the manager, I felt at ease about safely ordering.  The folks at Miguel’s understood contamination and the manager made clear to me that they would cook my meal on a separate and cleaned surface.  Sadly, I could not eat the chips and salsa but they brought me a cheese quesadilla on corn tortillas as an appetizer with my own salsa.

For my entrée I ordered the chicken and steak fajitas, with corn tortillas, that they grilled specially for me.  The manager even brought mine out separately from the rest of our food, taking care to make sure I received the correct dish.  Britt ordered fajitas too and mine definitely looked different from hers.  This visual distinction is always a comfort for me because I know they restaurant has taken care to ensure my safety.  My meal came with black beans instead of refried beans.  (I prefer black beans anyways.)  The Miguel’s folks did not give me rice, and I’m not sure if this omission was because they add flour to their rice or if they thought rice contained gluten.  (Clarification: plain rice does not contain gluten.)  I didn’t think to ask.  The fajitas came with yummy grilled vegetables, including mushrooms, onions and peppers.  My meal was delicious and it sufficiently accommodated my craving for Mexican.

Miguel’s was a great start to our San Diego weekend, filled with delicious food, gorgeous weather and rest.  I did not get contamination the entire weekend, which is such a relief and allowed me to fully enjoy the trip.  Stay tuned for more details about the great places we ate in San Diego.
Miguel's Cocina on Urbanspoon

Gluten-Free Discoveries Around Town

Posted in advice, Atlanta, baking, GF product, product on March 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

When I heard Anne Palmer, program director for Johns Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future, speak at the Georgia Organics Conference a few weeks ago, she showed photos of all of the random places that sell food.  Think about it for a second…why does Petco sell soda?  Why does Office Depot offer an array of M&Ms and Starburst?  No one ventures out to Staples looking for a Diet Coke.  These items placed carefully at the front of the store are what we refer to in the Metcalf house as ‘impulse buys.’

I must say though, I enjoyed seeing Palmer’s photos of brightly packaged food in the oddest places.  I loved picturing her carrying her camera everywhere, waiting to photograph a random shelf of ‘food.’  I couldn’t help but think about my endless searches through stores for any gluten-free products.  In my own travls, or just around town, I scour any food store, airport, bakery, or restaurant for a possible GF treat.  Anyone who has traveled with me knows that I’m more interested in shopping at natural markets than clothing boutiques.

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When my friend, Anne, sent me the photo above, I was also reminded of Palmer’s photo slide show.  Of course I’m much happier about the shelf of food displayed in the picture because it’s all gluten-free.  No, Anne didn’t find this plethora of GF items at Pet Smart or 7-Eleven, but she did find it at…Target!  The Atlantic Station Target now sells quite the selection of gluten-free products, including my favorite pretzels by Glutino, Bob’s Red Mill GF oats, and the Betty Crocker baking mixes.  I can’t wait to go stock up.

Does your Target sell gluten-free items yet?  Feel free to send me any of your discoveries of unlikely spots where you find GF items.  We all need a little guidance as we navigate the gluten-free world!

Target at Atlantic Station – 1375 18th Street – Atlanta, Georgia 30363

Raising Children Gluten-Free

Posted in advice on March 11th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Being gluten-free is about me.  I’m the one with the special diet and I’m in charge of taking care of my body.  Having a young child with gluten-free needs raises a whole new set of issues and concerns.  I can give advice about raising children gluten-free and kid-friendly GF snacks, but I’m not living it.

My friend, Kelly Blanchard, has two daughters, one is gluten-free and the other is not.  Kelly is gluten-free, but her husband is not.  That’s a lot of needs to balance at the dinner table, right?  Check out her article in RVANews, Gluten-Free Kids, with great advice and insight on raising a child gluten-free.

Kelly Blanchard’s Gluten Free Kids

Welcome, Gluten-Free Guest Blogger, Lucy Glaize

Posted in advice on March 10th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

A former student and dorm resident of mine, Lucy Glaize, paved the way for me in the gluten-free world.  Lucy even ‘diagnosed’ me before any doctors could figure out the source of my health problems.  (Of course I didn’t listen to her at the time.)  Now a student at the University of Vermont, Lucy has a great perspective on living gluten-free, especially in the college world.

When I was first diagnosed I remember vividly two different encounters with Lucy.  In the first one Lucy informed me that I needed to make sure David brushed his teeth before he and I kissed.  Yes, a high school senior was giving me, her teacher, kissing advice!  Of course I’ve listened to every piece of advice Lucy’s given me, because she has quite a few years on me in the ‘celiac world.’  The other dialogue with Lucy that stands out to  me also happened soon after my diagnosis.  Lucy and I were at the Union Station food court in Washington, D.C.  with the entire 9th grade for an orientation scavenger hunt.  I was eating peanut butter I had brought with me from home and she was eating a salad, while everyone else devoured French fries and Chinese food.  I was complaining a little about how hard of an adjustment it was going gluten-free, and she responded, “But life is good, Mrs. Metcalf.”  So true, Lucy.  Life is so good.

Lucy will be guest blogging for Gluten Freedom about her adjustments, experiences, and adventures in the celiac world.  Check out her first post below:

Hello Gluten Freedom readers!  I know Betsy from my days at Episcopal High School.  We helped each other figure out the gluten free lifestyle at boarding school.

I was always smaller than my friends when I was a child.  My parents and pediatrician kept waiting for me to hit a growth spurt and grow up, but I never did.  After about a year of being tested for multiple allergies, I was finally diagnosed with a pretty severe case of Celiac Disease when I was 14 years old in March 2004.  During the first two months of following a strict gluten free diet, I gained 40 pounds and grew about four inches.  I looked and felt like a completely different person- I was finally healthy!

At the time of my diagnosis, no one (other than my doctors) that I knew had even heard of Celiac Disease.  It seemed close to impossible to eliminate gluten from my diet completely.  Luckily, my mom is a great cook, and she, my dad, and three older siblings were more than happy to transform our kitchen to be gluten-free friendly.  In the past six years, gluten free options have become exponentially more available and desirable.  I have learned an incredible amount about food and keep learning more each day.

After learning so much about nutrition by default, I did science fair experiments in middle school pertaining to gluten, projects and essays in high school about Celiac Disease, and declared my Dietetics major at the University of Vermont before starting my first semester in 2008.

I have learned to be gluten free at boarding school, overnight summer camp, a study abroad program in Spain, during a long-term nanny job, and at college.  Stay tuned for more details about my various gluten free experiences!