Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disneyland Gluten Free

We were taking the kids to Disneyland for the day; to do the Halloween thing.  And this is my first time back since my diagnosis.

What am I going to eat?  How many hours are we going to be there?  How much food do I have to bring?  You know the same old same old - worries and concerns.

Well, Disney has done a great job for those of us with Gluten issues.  I searched the web and found many people with good experiences.

First step:  Go to City Hall in Disneyland (it is on the left soon as you enter the park) and ask for their Gluten Free list.  The lady behind the counter knew exactly what I was looking for and handed over the 6 page list which included Disneyland and California Adventure.  It said it was valid until the end of the month so they must keep it up to date.

The list included snack and vending carts that have GF products.  A few examples are the fresh fruit carts, frozen lemonade, cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn, turkey legs and some ice cream.

It also listed the restaurants and what GF items that they had.  This list included the Tomorrowland Terrace, Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, Rancho Del Zocalo, River Belle Terrace (only 1 item available here - so I would recommend skipping it),  Hungry Bear Restaurant and Plaza Inn.

For your sweet tooth they list the Cone Shop and all ice cream is Dreyers and they state it is all GF except Cookies and Cream and Tollhouse Swirl.

At the Disneyland Grand Hotel you have a few options too.  The Storyteller's Cafe for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  We have stayed here before and had Breakfast there every morning and it was good.  I was not GF at that time but they have a decent list on the handout.  The Napa Rose is they higher end restaurant and you can sit in the Lounge and get the full menu.

In California Adventure you have a bunch of choices too.  They list Award Wieners (request a GF bun), Ariel's Grotto (here you are prompted to ask to speak to the manager), Boardwalk Pizza (they list you can request a GF shell), and the Golden Vine Winery - Trattoria.

We have eaten at the Winery - Trattoria and after more that half a day with the kids, nephews, wife and sister a glass of wine was a necessity so we headed over.  The waitress was not surprised by the GF request and she stated that they serve about 20 Celiacs a day.  I had the Caprese Salad and the Garlic & Herb Roasted Chicken.  When the chicken arrived it sure a hell looked like they covered it with breading and stuck it under the broiler.  I questioned the waitress and she agreed that it looks like breading but was only parmesean cheese.  Well, both dishes were good and I had no symptoms following my meal.

As with any place you need to be vigilant and check with the wait staff, manager, kitchen regarding any food you order.  I don't know if the Pizza Port has a separate oven for the GF crust - if not the risk of cross contamination may be high.

I arrived with my own fruit, bars (my favorite are larabars and think thin), nuts and I brought some of my own homemade GF pizza.

You can do it and the folks at Disney seemed to be very helpful.  Grab your friends or family and kids and head on up to see Mickey and the gang.

Enjoy,

The Un-Gluten Guy

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bakery

So I am not a real sweets person but the occasional cupcake is always a treat. Muffins and scones used to be my favorite, especially walnut cranberry scones.

Well, what the hell am I to do now.

Enter 2 Good 2 B located in Encinitas

Their who we are page tells the story of Mike, a self proclaimed foodie, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007 and his attempt at creating GF food that was more than edible, it was delicious.

They have cupcakes and cakes that are out of this world.  And we are not talking just the GF world.  People that have tried these don't know they are GF and still rave about the soft, moist texture of the cake.

Bread, they have that too (and sometimes croutons and breadcrumbs).  I have had the rosemary and the baguette.  Both delicious.

As far as muffins, I am a fan of the banana walnut.  They even stay good for about 3 days.  The first time I had one of these soft, moist muffins with just the right balance of bananas and nut I went back to the counter for a second.

Breakfast I have not done yet but the have waffles, muffins, panini's and toast.

For lunch I have had a pressed sandwich on their homemade bread.  This was the first sandwich I had had in over a month so I has a small place in my heart.  I thought, wow, I can have a sandwich made of bread - and it was delicious.  Turkey and cheese on the rosemary bread.  It hit the spot.

So if you are in the area stop in, I guarantee you will be happy.

Happy GF eating.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where the hell am I going to eat??

This list hopefully will get quite big but so far I have found two that I trust.

First is George's California Modern in La Jolla, California.  See my previous BGF (before Gluten Free) blog on food at hisherfoodie.blogspot.com. The food here is by far my favorite restaurant in San Diego and has the best food.  For most though it will be a bit pricey.

The take all food allergies into account.  They do not have a GF menu but the waiters all know what is gluten free and what is not and what can be altered to be GF.

This has been my big issue.  If the waiter doesn't even know what celiac disease is, or what items contain gluten I am just about out the door.  At George's they know their stuff.

I had the Chino Corn Soup (sans crouton to make mine GF).  This is a rich creamy soup with fresh corn from Chino Farms in Rancho Santa Fe.  The bone in Halibut is prepared perfectly with a nice sauce.  Flourless chocolate cake for dessert.  Most important no upset stomach the next day so no cross contamination.  Definitely plan a meal here.

My second find was Urban Solace.  This quaint restaurant is in North Park in San Diego.  They have a GF menu which is big.  It has a number of entrees and apps.  I had the tomato fennel soup - delicious.  We split a blackened shrimp with corn grits (GF of course).  For dinner I had the chicken, roasted perfectly with potatoes on the side.

They just opened a new restaurant in Encinitas that I was told does not have a GF menu but approximately 80% of the menu is GF.  That is the next one on the list so check back for more.

The UnGluten Guy

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gluten Free Brownies

I am not a sweet tooth guy, more of the savory type.  But when I cut just about everything out of my diet I was looking for something cake-like and sweet.  I was at Trader Joe's and saw their gluten free brownie mix.

Now if you have been to TJ's they have a good size list of their gluten free products.  If you live in San Diego, I have been to the Trader Joe's on Mira Mesa Blvd and they have made your life easy.  All around the store they have placed little blue G's to indicate that the product is gluten free.

And now - Back to the Brownies.

The TJ's were easy to mix and bake.  Taste wise they were good.  A bit dense and chocolately.  Not really a cake like quality.  Although there are many things at TJ's I like.  I won't but this product again.

Wildtree.  My mother-in-law found this company and gave me a few of their products.  These were also easy to make.  A bit more light and fluffy than the TJ's.  The chocolate flavor was average.  They had that gluten free taste unfortunately, you know, like something is missing (yeah - gluten).

Well, what is my favorite.  A bit pricey but for 18.95 it is worth the money.  These are a bit more complex to make.  You need to melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, mix the eggs & sugar, mix in the mix, fold in the chips then bake.

All I can say is that they are the best Brownies I have ever had.  My family wolfed them down (I'm the only one that has celiac).  You would never know they were gluten free.

Who makes them you ask?  Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc mix.  I found it at Williams Sonoma who now carries more and more gluten free stuff (but more on that later (see flour and cookies)).

When you need that soft, chewy, chocolatey, moist dessert - here it is and well worth the 10 to 15 minutes of prep and the price.

Enjoy,

The Un-Gluten Guy

My new Un-Gluten Life

I grew up eating everything and anything.  I would cook up a storm at home and that was always full of homemade pizza, pasta, cakes, cookies, bread, sandwiches - get the idea.  Then it hit me.

At age 38, out of the clear blue, like an anvil in some looney tunes cartoon falling out of the sky onto my head.  Days, then weeks of pain, stomach bloating, lethargy, weight loss.  Being a guy and being stubborn it took a while before I finally sought out medical intervention.

They thought maybe an ulcer.  Off to the endoscopy lab and down the throat with a scope.  Well, no ulcer and really not much of anything.

Until, the biopsy came back.  Looks like celiac disease.  Off to the lab for blood tests.  Yep, celiac disease.

Well, at least its not cancer.  Don't like that answer.  If it was cancer I could eat whatever I want.  But probably good it was not cancer.

After the disbelief, depression, anger, confusion and a few more weeks of eating gluten free before I felt better it was time to get started.

Damn, this is hard.  Have to clean the kitchen, search out gluten free food for the house and gluten free restaurants.  Time to get rid of the beer - the friends liked that one.

Its only been a few months but its getting better and easier.  Note, I did not say easy, but easier.

I thought I would keep a blog.  To remind me and let you know what I have learned.  So i'm gonna put down all of the things I have found, tried and taste tasted.  Things such as pizza dough, bread mixes, chips, treats, beer and give you my two cents.

The other thing is lunch.  It used to be easy to make a sandwich for work.  Now it takes a bit more time and ingenuity but i'm learning.  So I thought I would throw in my recipes so you can make them too.

Enjoy (but without the Gluten)