Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gluten Free Lipstick?

Yes, Lipstick.  No, I do not wear women's makeup, but my wife does.  In a way to prevent me from getting contaminated I looked into Gluten Free lipstick to match some of her colors for stocking stuffers.

Well, not that easy.  I first looked on websites - not that great.  I emailed some more companies and the responses were all over the board.

This is what I can summarize for you.

Dior give the okay that none of their lipsticks contain gluten and are not produced on lines that contain gluten.

Estee Lauder okay except signature Hydra Lustre which has wheat.

The Bobbi Brown rep of Estee was extremely helpful and responsive.  This is what she sent

Lip Color - Ingredients derived from Soy and Corn.
Rich Lip color SPF 12- contains ingredients derived from Soy and Corn.
Creamy Lip Color - Ingredients derived from Soy and Corn.
Metallic Lip Color - Ingredients derived from Corn and Soy.
Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 - Contains ingredients derived from Wheat, Soy and Corn

Lancome sent a list of 36, yes 36, ingredients that contain gluten and recommended cross referencing each box.

     Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
     Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
     Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil
     Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran
     Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
     Dextrin Palmitate
     Disodium Wheatgermamphodiacetate
     Hordeum Vulgare Extract
     Hydrolyzed Malt Extract
     Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
     Hydrolyzed Oat Protein
     Hydrolyzed Oats
     Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour
     Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
     Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
     Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer
     Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
     Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
     Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
     Malt Extract
     Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour
     Sodium C8-16 Isoalkylsuccinyl Wheat Protein Sulfonate
     Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acid
     Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
     Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
     Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten
     Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch
     Wheat Amino Acids
     Wheat Germ Glycerides
     Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride
     Wheat Protein
     Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate
     Yeast Extract

MAC asked me to write back with the exact color and style and they would then check back with the lab and then get back to me.  Great if you have a color.  Not very helpful if you are going shopping.

Revlon can't make a statement on being GF.

Sephora was very responsive.  All Tarte lipsticks are GF.  They also sent an email with other beauty products that are GF, if you want it email me and i'll forward you their email.

There you have it, my adventure in lipstick shopping for the holidays.  Pucker up and have a happy New Year.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We attempted to get away.  Dropped the dog at the doggie hotel and the kids at my sisters and we booked a night at the Ritz in Laguna Nigel.

The restaurant Raya is the brainchild of Chef Richard Sandoval and under Executive Chef Andres Jimenez it is run by Restarant Chef Marissa Gerlach.  It overlooks the Pacific in a quiet yet casual setting.

Their menu is marked with those items that are Gluten Free (always a nice start).  I let our waitress know that I had a gluten allergy and she said she would let the chef know.

They asked if we would like bread as they had bread plate but could bring out GF bread for me.  On with the bread, it was hot and freshly toasted, it was delicious - and it was Udi's of course.

I wanted to start with the smoked swordfish with pickled jalapenos that was marked as GF.  Not knowing where the corn tortilla chips came from I asked for cucumber slices instead.  Our waitress returned to say the Chef was putting on a pot of oil and would make my chips separate.  Well the dip was great with the cucumbers and the chips.

On to the soup.  They offered a pumpkin coconut soup.  It was a light and refreshing soup, not a thick bisque but with more texture than a broth.  It had a flare of thai cuisine but the topping gave off some heat in the Mexican style noted through the menu.

Dinner I had the Chimchurri Jidori Chicken.  Delicious.  This was over a bed of rice, kale, pomegranate and apples.  It was perfect blend of savory and sweet with a combo of textures that was over the top.

Chef Marissa even took the time to come out to see us at the end of the meal.  I hope I let her know not only how good the food was, but how impressed I was by the extra time and effort she took to prepare my meal due to my gluten allergy.

I would definitely go back and would recommend dinner at Raya to anyone staying in the area.

The only downside I had on the trip was breakfast.  Hate to cast a cloud on a great meal but breakfast with a new staff was a different story.  I let the waitress know about the gluten allergy.  I ordered an omelet with capers and salmon.  She offered the fruit instead of the potatoes but unfortunately they were out of the GF bread.

Out comes the plate from the runner.  I questioned the potatoes - a bit too crisp.  "Are they GF?", yes I was told.  "Are the cooked in a pan or a deep fryer?", fryer I was told.  Me, I won't eat anything out of a fryer for fear of cross contamination.  At this point I had eaten about half of the omelet and realized the capers were crunchy.  I cook my capers in a small fry pan at home but the fear settled in - would they cook them in the fryer?

Out comes the manager.  Yes, the potatoes are fried and they would bring the fruit that was supposed to come out instead.  And, Yes, the capers were fried in the fryer - Shit.  Out comes the Chef who apologized.  They comped the meal.  Luckily,  it didn't hit me too hard - a bit funny in the belly but otherwise okay - hopefully my intestinal lining isn't destroyed because I have had a few good months.

So, Raya.  Definitely go for dinner - you will be happy you went.  As for breakfast - I would go elsewhere or order plain eggs in a fry pan.  They said they would take in consideration marking the menu for breakfast with safe GF items and being the Ritz I would expect that in the future they will be extremely aware of the diners allergies.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Stella & Lucy

Stella Lucy was actually introduced to me when my mom was looking through a local magazine.  Luckily for me it is half way between my sister in Orange County and where I live in San Diego.

I didn't even know that they have a second store in Claremont.  The store was put together in 2008 in San Clemente after her husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

This does make shopping easy when the entire store is GF.  This was actually one of the first real shopping trips we took when I was diagnosed.  Right up front they have some kid toys which kept my kids busy while we shopped.  They have been very helpful and friendly every time we have been there.

Not knowing what was what my first trip was a bit of buying two or three brands of everything so we could figure out what we liked.

I found GF hoisin sauce made by Premier Japan.

They carry WOW cookies from the WOW Bakery in Washington, my favorite are the peanut butter cookies.

They have Udi's, my favorite GF bread.  But in addition to the sandwich bread and pizza crusts they also have the hard to find hot dog buns and hamburger buns.

The Pure Pantry, a local company, is also stocked.  Along with Snap Dragon rice noodles dishes are other asian style products.  They carry all sorts of pasta, pasta sauces and salsas.  Cereal and chips.

So basically everything.  If you can't make it to them they will deliver to you and you can order online.

For those of you, like me, that hate going to Whole Foods for one thing, Trader Joe's for another, Von's for another, etc, etc;  here you get one stop shopping and it is all GF.

Time to put away the groceries.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Casa de Bandini (Update 2.29.2012)

So one of the issues since I was diagnosed was mexican food.  I have had a hard time finding non-contaminated food.

As for restaurants I stopped going for fear of cross contamination.  For tortillas I found french meadow tortillas.  Salsa I make on my own.  For chipotles in adobo sauce I found San Marcos brand.

How happy was I to see a line at the San Diego GF Convention for food from Casa de Bandini.  This was the first mexican I was taken to in San Diego when it was in Old Town.  Magaritas, Mariachi Bands, good food and fun atmosphere make it a fun time.  They moved to Carlsbad recently and it is doing well.

For us, they have a separate fryer just for the Gluten Free menu and the only thing that goes in that fryer is corn.  They have a GF menu that you can view as a PDF on the website.

We tried it last night.  GF menu - check.  Waiter informed of allergy - check - no issues.  Asked for the manager who was extremely helpful, reassured me about the separate fryer and that the kitchen is aware of the GF food and cross contamination - check.

They brought out special GF chips - cooked in the corn only fryer.  Took a bit longer than the regualar basket of chips but they were hot, crisp and good.

I ordered their GF Rolls Royce Margarita which came with a shot of Pomegranate tequila which was so good we ordered a second shot.  I am usually a beer guy with mexican but the waiter didn't know if they had any GF beer so I just went with the margarita.

I had their chicken tortilla soup with a hearty broth, chicken, avacado and carrots - good.

For dinner I had the tequila shrimp over a bed of rice.  The plate had a tortilla bowl with the beans inside - manager please - yes, they cook them early in the day in the GF fryer and they are safe.

Dinner was good, no stomach issues and I'll definitely go back.  I am happy I found a place for mexican food.  In San Diego you can find a taco shop on every corner I am not comfortable eating at any of them anymore; Casa de Bandini fills my eating out void.

2.29.2012  We have been back a few times and not had any issues until tonight.  I ordered from the GF menu, told the waiter I wanted the GF arroz con pollo (chicken and rice for the non-spanish speaking crowd).  The runner caught it before I did - the cheese on the plate which I was informed is not GF.  He said that the kitchen didn't know that it was supposed to be GF.  The runner was on top of it, communicated with the kitchen and had a GF dish in front of me in a short period of time.  I got the bill and no 'GF' in front of my order (it had always been there before).  I spoke with the manager who said there are two ways for the waiter to input the order as GF.  He said they take it seriously but didn't seem too concerned about the issue.  I'll definitely order with the waiter and have the manager come over to double check the order and help communicate with the kitchen.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ruth's Chris

So I ventured back to a steak house for the first time since being diagnosed.  You would think simple, right - it's steak.  But I was unsure and researched it.  Luckily they have a GF menu and they seemed knowledgeable.

A few items are off the menu for me now.  Obviously the battered onion rings and the fries cooked in the same fryer.  Unfortunately the au gratin potatoes are off too.

Their Gluten Free menu is not online so let me give you a brief sample

Apps:  BBQ shrimp, shrimp cocktail, onion soup (no crouton), ahi tuna (no sauce), salads (no crouton and ask to make in separate bowl), all salad dressing okay except ranch

Entrees:  All steaks/seafood okay but no veal butter, so for the veal or lamb they put regular butter

Sides:  All okay except fried foods, creamed veg and au gratin potatoes and veg

Dessert:  Chocolate sin cake, creme brulee, berries

I had the shrimp cocktail and it was so nice to have the runner drop it off as the "Gluten Free Shrimp."

Dinner I had - you guess it - steak.

Dessert I had the Chocolate sin Cake.

The waitress was helpful and relayed the info to the kitchen and everything that was brought out was stated to be GF.  I had called earlier and spoke with the Manager - they had a GF menu when I checked in, and he stopped by the table to make sure everything was okay with the meal.

Great meal, great company and no issues with the food or my stomach.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gluten Free BEER

As a guy I obviously like beer.  I was not a beer only guy, I enjoy a glass of wine too, but I really enjoy beer.  After a day of climbing or skiing it hits the spot and on a summer day a cold one is the perfect drink to cool you off.  My favorites have been Fat Tire, Stone Pale Ale and the Stone Levitation.  A Negro Modela with mexican or an ice cold Corona on a hot summer day.

So you can imagine my inability to consume a good brew one I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.

So what to do?  I looked into it and there were a bunch of GF Beers out there.  So off to the store I went and picked up every beer I could find.

I got Red Bridge, Bard's, New Grist, Green's and New Planet Tread Lightly Ale.  To not bore you with a long dissertation on all of them I thought they were fair to poor.  Now, I used to enjoy a nice hoppy beer most of the time and making a beer with Sorghum makes it a bit light, a bit sweet and a bit unlike a beer.

If I had to settle on two, my favorites of the bunch were Red Bridge and New Planet's Tread Lightly.

Then I heard about New Planets' Off Grid Pale Ale.  I picked up a few four packs (yes, they come in 4's) and I was happily surprised.  This is the closest to a beer that I have found so far and I would say most people would not even know it is GF.  This now makes up a portion of my fridge and I'll be happy to enjoy this after a long, hard day.

Thank you New Planet!!

The Un-Gluten Guy

Friday, December 2, 2011


I found this in the strangest of places - World Market.  I was in there, killing time before a movie, and wandered back to the food section.  They had a bunch of Snapdragon food products on the shelf.  They have a few different flavors in the rice noodle boxes but they are not all Gluten Free so look carefully at the box.

Usually I am into cooking all from scratch but when its late and there is not time to cook this can save the day.

Indonesian Peanut was the first one I picked up.  Inside are some GF noodles and a seasoning packet.  The noodles are easy to make with some boiling water.  Easy so far - right?

Next you need to have some imagination.  I cooked up some shrimp with chopped ginger then added some red peppers, peas and carrots.  Add the noodles, a few tablespoons of water and the seasoning packet from the box and mix until it is all coated evenly.

Viola - dinner is served.

I have another box of Indonesian Peanut (obviously avoid if you have a peanut allergy) and we found a few more GF flavors (Pad Thai Ginger and Hunan Sweet & Sour) that I look forward to trying.

The Un-Gluten Guy

P.s.  Well since I first posted we have tried the Pad Thai and Hunan Sweet and Sour and both were good.  I made the Pad Thai with shrimp and snow peas and onions.  I prepared the Sweet & Sour with asparagus, carrots and corn and it was a good combination.