Thursday, December 11, 2014

GroundBreaker Brewing - Gluten Free Beer and Gastropub

I have been traveling up to Oregon to go fishing from time to time.  It was in June of 2013 that I first found, what was then called, Harvester Beers.  It was a gift from the gods for someone who enjoyed beer but could not consume beers that contain gluten.

I am not an expert, I can not pick out all of the ingredients and tell you what to eat which each particular brew.  I can tell you I like beer and I like to eat.  I used to enjoy New Belgium Fat Tire, Rogue Dead Guy, Sierra Nevada and Stone Levitation.  So you can see I was not into light or non-hoppy beers.

As far as GF beers go, I have tried New Planet, Glutenberg, Epic's Glutenator, Bard's, Redbridge, New Grist, Dogfish, and Green's (I have been reluctant to try any of the "gluten removed" beers).  I don't think you can comment on something unless you know how it compares to the competition.  Well, hands down GroundBreaker is on top by a large margin.

For those of you that do not know, GroundBreaker is located in Portland, Oregon.  Attached to the brewery is a GF Gastropub.  You can go in and eat anything (its all GF) and drink anything (all the beer is GF).  I love going in and ordering a flight - just because I can.  The food is delicious - one of my favorite soups was a roasted butternut squash with quinoa and kale in a pork broth.  Their appetizers and daily flatbread pizzas are delicious.

Paxton was nice enough to send me a sample of some of the new GroundBreaker Beers to try.  I so wish they were distributed in San Diego.  For now I carry home as many as I can fit in my luggage whenever I travel to Portland.

First let me tell you about IBU or International Bitterness Units scale is a measure of Bitterness.  Most American IPAs have an IBU between 40-70.  And if you didn't know ABV is alcohol by volume.

The first one I tried was IPA no.4.  This is made with roasted chestnuts and roasted lentils.  It's listed at 90 IBU and 6.8% ABV.  They state that it is "packed full of bitterness, flavor and aroma."  I would strongly agree.  As soon as I opened it it smelled delicious - I got a strong aroma of the hops.  Upon pouring it there was a nice head and darker golden color to the beer.  They make it with Newport and Crystal hops and you can definitely taste the hops.  By the time I finished this one I was craving another.  Although IPA no.2 used to be my favorite, IPA no.4 has taken the lead as my favorite GF beer.

Next on the list was IPA no.5.  At 60 IBU and 5.6% ABV it will make the IPA lovers happy.  They make this one with chestnuts and lentils too, but add candi sugar, Crystal hops and Santiam hops. I really enjoyed this one.  It may not be as hoppy as no.4 but it is all IPA.  If you are an IPA fan like I am, you have to try this one.

How about their Pale Ale?  This was one of the first Harvesters I had ever tried.  Although I am more of an IPA fan the Pale is delicious.  It is listed as 30 IBU and 5.8% ABV.  This is lighter and crispier.  After a hot day in the sun this is more refreshing than the hoppier IPAs.

Their Dark Ale weighs in at 35 IBU and 4.5% ABV.  I really enjoy the flavor but a whole pint is a bit much for my tastes, so its makes a great pint to share with friends.  I especially like dropping a scoop of GF mocha chip ice cream into a scotch glass and filling it to the brim with the Dark Ale.  Consider it a daddy' root beer float.

Their experimental ales have always been amazing.  They had a coffee pale ale that was amazing with chocolate desserts and another tum yum with lemongrass and coconut.  I had the oppurtunity to try two new ones:  Squash Ale and St. Denny Ale.

The Squash Ale is 30 IBU and 5.7% ABV.  They make is with squash, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander.  If you could bottle the fall season this would be it.  The spices are not overpowering.  I was making some roasted chicken and polenta for dinner.  I was going to steam some broccoli and instead of using water I added a bit of the beer to the pan.  The broccoli was delicious and in steaming it I could taste the nutmeg and coriander in the vegetables.  I can see this perfectly complementing a plate of mashed parsnips, a roasted pork loin candied with some brown sugar topped with some pickled red onions.

And lastly the St. Denny Experimental Ale.  This has 25 IBU and 6.5% ABV.  You need to go to their site and read their press release.  This is a great story about a local home brew expert and his influence in the creation of this Ale.  This was a really nice ale.  It was dark with an amber hue.  A nice beer aroma without alot of hoppy bitterness.  I really enjoyed this - you should try one.

As always I am a huge fan of GroundBreaker gluten free beers.  I used to enjoy beer until I had to go GF.  And although there are many GF beers on the market the GroundBreaker brews are the ones I really enjoy and look forward too the most.  What is even more impressive is that my non-GF friends who have tasted GrounBreaker have all really enjoyed each of their brews and many were surprised to find out it was a GF beer.

So find yourself a GroundBreaker or plan a trip to Portland so you can visit their Gastropub - when was the last time you could order anything on the menu at the pub and a flight of GF beers.


The Un-Gluten Guy

P.s. For those of you that want order some for yourself or if you feel so inclined to send me a gift - GroundBreaker Beer is always a good option.  They have handed over online ordering to Bring on the Beer.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

As if dealing with Celiac disease is not enough I was continuing to have abdominal symptoms.  I wasn't eating gluten.  I had blood test to verify that there was no accidental contamination going on.  Switched to lactose free dairy products - no improvement.  My doctor recommended a breath test to rule out SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).

Symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, diahrrhea, heartburn.  I seemed to get a acid reflux like taste in my mouth and some bloating.

In addition to celiac disease, other diseases that may lead to SIBO include diverticular disease, crohn's disease, alcohol abuse and liver disease.

The overgrowth of bacteria can lead to malabsorption.  This can result in low levels of B12, iron and vitamin D.  Low vitamin D can lead to inability to absorb calcium which can result in muscle twitching (which I was getting) and it can lead to osteoporosis.

The diagnosis can be made non-invasive with a hydrogen breath test.

For the test I had to fast overnight.  After arriving I had to blow into a bag like this.  Next, they gave me a sugar water drink.  Every so often, I think it was every 10 minutes or so, I would have to blow into the bag again to give a sample. A time consuming test but pretty simple and non-invasive.  I got a call about a week later with the results.  My test was positive for bacterial overgrowth.

Treatment is with antibiotics.  My physician recommended either doxycycline or rifamaxin (Xifaxan).  Doxycycline is generic, cheap but can result in sunlight sensitivity while you are taking it.  Xifaxan is more expense and not all insurances will cover it.  I was able to get it covered and felt better after a few days.

Re-occurrence is common.  I did have a relapse about six months later and took another round of antibiotics.  So far so good - but time will tell.

I found a informative site by a woman who specializes in SIBO -  You can also find some information at emedicine.medscape.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Food Soul Chef

During my trip to British Columbia I had the pleasure to enjoy the cooking talent of Chef Julie, a Red Seal chef, from Canada.  Her food was amazing and she did an incredible job of feeding me delicious, safe, gluten free food for a week.

After many requests from many people she started a site called Foodsoulchef that offers up many of her recipes.  Many of the recipes are gluten free but those that are not are easily converted.  I have been talking up her blog to friends and thought I would list it here so you too can enjoy her recipes.

Some of my favorites are:

Cazeula from Culo de Mundo, Chile

This is a rich, hearty soup.  You can easily make it vegetarian.  I have at times used chicken instead of lamb.  Feel free to substitute yams for potatoes or butternut squash.

Sexy Beet Soup (her name not mine)

This is one I really like.  I like beets and the black beans and peppers add protein and some heat.

Blackberry-Apple Crumble

This one is awesome.  Have it for dessert with ice cream and/or whipped cream.  I even eat it for breakfast - with the almonds in the crumble it fills you up.  Be sure to use GF granola.

Quinoa brownies

This was one of the first things I ate when I arrived at the lodge.  Super good and healthy.  What is crazy is that there is no flour used just quinoa.

And there are many more - salads, appetizers and entrees.  Check it out I think you'll like it.  Keep and eye out for her pot de creme - my favorite desset that she made while I was there.

The Un-Gluten Guy

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Maine, Canada and New Jersey - Our Summer Vacation

Wow, summer is over and school has started.  I am not really sure where the time went but we had fun.

Our Uncle has a family cabin up in Maine that has been in the family for I don't know how long.  It is located on Big Lake which is just one of the many lakes found throughout the state.  My wife took me there once while we were dating but our kids have never had the chance to visit.  We made plans to head east for a summer trip.

Luckily having your own cabin and kitchen means you can cook gluten free and where the cabin is there are not too many options to eat out anyway.

We packed the usual suspects: Jovial gluten free pasta, peanut butter, Udi's gluten free bread, Rudi's gluten free tortillas, Spicely gluten free spices, granola bars and other snacks, Justin's peanut butter cups and Pamela's pancake mix.

Searching online I found a Gluten Free Bakery in Bangor, Maine that was close to the airport.  Raegamuffin's is a place to have to visit if you are in the area.  It is a wonderful 100% gluten free bakery.  We loaded up on baguettes, seeded bread, donuts, cookies, cinnamon buns and pizza crust.  They also had pre made sandwiches on their homemade baguettes - so I picked up a few for myself.

Everything was delicious.  We should have picked up more baguettes because the kids ate them up.  All of the sweets were delicious.

Once we arrived at the cabin we did the usual cleaning of pots, pans and silverware so I could have some clean things to use to cook.  The kids had an easy time of entertaining themselves with the cabin and dock and the lake right out the back door.

We did need some other items so in Princeton there is a supermarket for your eggs, milk, juice, etc.  We picked up some fresh fruits and vegetables.  I did have one new find Casa Visco pizza sauce.  Gluten free and just what we needed for the pizza crusts I picked up at Raegamuffin's.  It was really good with the right amount of oregano.

We took some day trips.  Twice we made is to the town of Eastport.  It is a neat town right on the water.  Our destination was Quoddy Bay Lobster - I couldn't even find a website for it.  As you head toward Eastport you will see the signs but in the town you'll head towards the waters edge since it is off the main street.  The wife and kids had lobster rolls with butter.  I had a good old fashioned steamed lobster.  Cheaper than you would pay at any restaurant and oh so good and fresh.  The steamer only cooks the lobster so no risk of any contamination.  If you want a lobster roll bring your own GF hotdog bun.

One other great day trip was in the rain.  Living in San Diego the kids don't get rain very often so it was as added bonus.  Between Eastport and Princeton is Moosehorn refuge.  We were told about the blueberry picking and we went to investigate.  There are fields of blueberries for you to pick from and you are allowed up to one quart per person.  The kids had fun picking and eating and we used them in our pancakes the following day.

Being close to Canada we also took a trip across the border.  One of my goals was to find some Glutenberg beer and specifically their Red.  I did and it was delicious and I brought some back to the cabin to enjoy the rest of the week.  I really can't wait until its available in San Diego.

Another gem in Canada was the Ganong Chocolate Factory in St. Stevens.  You can take a tour in the museum which tells the history of the factory and chocolate making.  While on the tour it is all you can eat.  And, everything is gluten free.  Afterwards we stopped in the shop and picked up some treats, snacks and gifts.  While I was there I found peppermint spears and licorice and they were both gluten free - this was the first time I had found GF licorice.

Another item we picked up was Covered Bridge Chips.  These are Canadian kettle chips and GF.  The BBQ was good but I had to try the Creamy Dill pickle flavor and it tasted just like a creamy dill pickle.  They also had a lobster flavor chip which was more lobster flavor than Old Bay but still good.

And if you are in St. Andrews you have to visit Sweet Harvest.  This quaint, little restaurant was super knowledgeable and GF friendly.  The food? Amazing.  I had a spinach and artichoke dip served with GF potato chips and for dinner a huge bowl of this Italian style tomato based chowder like soup with more seafood than I can remember.  It was so good we got two servings to go and had it for lunch the next day.

How was the fishing?  The kids landed some nice fish but seemed to have more fun catching shiners and blue gill off the dock.  I think the wife one the prize for biggest bass of the week.

And what is more fun than catching frogs?

After more fun and fishing and board games we headed to Ocean City, New Jersey.  We usually do a few weeks there each summer but this year we splint the time between Maine and NJ.  One day we went crabbing in the bay.  On the way to the boat we happened to see a boat that made me stop.  It turns out the owner has had celiac disease for years.  I asked if I could take a picture.

New Jersey was more for relaxing with the family as my brother and his wife met us at the house as well as my sister and her kids.  The house was full but it was a lot of fun.  We went to the beach, crabbing in the bay and played late into the night on the Boardwalk.  One gluten free note was while I was on the Boardwalk we found Curly's Fries.  It just so happens that the curly fries are fresh cut potatoes cooked in their own fryer and gluten free.  The other spiral fries are seasoned, not GF and cooked in different fryers.  They were really good and it was so nice to munch on some greasy fried food on the Boardwalk.

Then it was back to the airport and time to fly home and get back to work.  If you are planning a trip to the Northeast plug some of these into your maps and make your way from place to place enjoying all of the safe and delicious GF food.

Until next time,

The Un-Gluten Guy

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vancouver, British Columbia

I decided to book a trip to the famous Dean River to go fly fishing for King Salmon and Steelhead.  Not only did it require some work on making sure I had the right gear, flies and travel arrangements but I had to plan food for the trip.  To get to the Dean from San Diego meant a layover in San Francisco, a night in Vancouver, another flight to Smithers and then a float plane to the lodge.

But when you fly over British Columbia in one of these you get to see some really beautiful country.

The lodge I booked with Blackwell's thru April Vokey's Flygals service and they let me know that their lodge cook, Julie, could accomodate my gluten free needs.  That was one big hurdle to get over since I would be there for six days in the middle of nowhere.  As any one would food sensitivies would do I still packed a fair amount of GF options to be on the safe side.

I made a section in my luggage for Schar GF bread, Glutino breakfast bars, Kind bars, tunafish packets, chocolates, applesauce packs, nuts, oatmeal packets, tamari sauce packets, and Lotus ramen.

In reaseraching the area I found the gals at Glutenfree Vancouver.  They were helpful and their website has lots of information.  If you are planning a trip to Vancouver make sure you bookmark their site.

I stayed at the Westin Bayshore for the night in Vancouver.  It was located on the water near the convention center and was a cool place to walk around and explore.  The other reason I chose that hotel was the resturant Seawall Bar & Grill.  I was told they were GF friendly and they were.  I sat at the bar and had the local heirloom tomato and barrata salad and for dinner I had the Salmon.  Both were very good.  The guys were well aware of the gluten free issue and told me how serious the kitchen takes all food sensitivities.

That evening I took a stroll to SMAK.  You have to go here if you are in Vancouver.  I want one of these in San Diego.  The place is 100% GF.  Open 5:30am to 10pm daily you have a place to go.  I ate their cookies for dessert and they were very good.  I returned the next morning for breakfast and had their sausage (house made) egg sandwich on GF bread, coffee and a mango smoothie.  I grabbed more cookies and picked up an asian salad to go for when I went to the airport.

I had the chance to walk around a bit, Vancouver is a neat town - a few hours is not enough.  The harbor is cool and along the seawall are lots of things to see.  I made it to Michael and Youngs Flyshop - lots of great fly tying stuff, rods, reels, outerwear, you name it they have it.  But then it was off to the airport for the flight to Smithers.

I landed in Smithers and was picked up and taken to the float plane.  If you spend time in Smithers the gals at Gluten Free Vancouver said that Trackside Cantina, Daddio's, Alpenhorn pub and Boston pizza are options.  The airport is super small but has a great grizzly bear.

At the lake I met Matt Joyce, who was going to be one of our guides for the week while April was off filming for a new movie.  Then we were off to the Dean on the single engine float plane.  Wendell, of Alpine Lakes Air, runs a nice outfit.  Clean, well maintained planes and he is one hell of a pilot.

Justin Blackwell and Steve Morrow met us on the water when the plane landed and shuttled us up the hill to the lodge.  I met Julie, who was our cook extrodinare for the week.  I believe she went to a culinary school somewhere but not sure, I never had the chance to verify the information.  She had breakfast on the table every morning, prepared lunch for us everyday for us to eat on the river and had dinner ready every night at seven.

The food was incredible, she assured me it would not be a problem to cook gluten free and keep my food safe, and she had already made a separate space in the kitchen to prepare my food.  Our table was the meeting place for breakfast and dinner (lunch we ate on the river).

Breakfast was the way to get ready for a day of fishing.  We had eggs many ways - poached, scrambled, eggs benedict (mine without the bread), pop overs (cooked in muffin tins) - and all were delicious.  Meats were sausage or bacon and both were super good.  There was always fresh fruit, orange juice and lots of coffee on the table.  The only thing I missed out on was the muffins and scones (these were not GF) but everyone raved about how good they were.

Lunch was served on the river.  Everyday we had a fresh, hot soup.  There was tomato, parsnip, potato, vegetable and a few others I can't remember.  Each one was delicious.  I remember having seconds on most and I had a third serving of the parsnip soup.  Each one was GF except a mushroom and steak and vegetable soup that was made with soy sauce (she did not have tamari) so she made a separate batch of soup just for me.  The first few days she made sandwiches for me with my GF bread and she would wrap them separately and label them with my name.  After my GF bread ran out I got tubberware full of salads, meats, cheeses, pickles and sometimes leftovers from dinner.  The one day that everyone was jealous was when my leftovers was the seared ahi tuna from dinner the night before.

What is a fishing trip without a few drinks.  They had wine and liquor and beer.  I was on a mission when I was in Vancouver to find some Glutenberg beer.  Unfortunately it was not easy but I did find a liquor store that had the Glutenberg blonde.  It is made with corn and it was very good.  I was hoping to find their other flavors the pale ale, red and IPA; maybe next time, especially their red which is made with chestnuts.  I really like the cans so you don't have to worry about the glass with other bottled GF beers.

Dinner.  Dana would ring the dinner bell at 7 p.m.  This gave us enough time to unwind, shower and relax after the day of fishing.  Appetizers were on the table before dinner.  There were meats, cheeses and other snacks.  The highlight was the fresh prawns that Justin trapped and Julie cooked with some garlic and butter.

For dinner Julie prepared meals that you would expect to find in any nice restaurant.  The first night we had short ribs cooked to perfection.  Other entrees included salmon, ribs, steak and seared ahi tuna.  Each came with multiple sides of vegetables and salads.  The night we had caesar salad she made a separate bowl for me without the croutons.  Some of the tasty salads had spinach and blueberries with a raspberry vinaigrette.

No meal would be complete without dessert.  There were always brownies available and they were GF.  She makes her brownies with quinoa, chocolate, butter and sugar - no flour.  She also always had these lemon bars with coconut that were delicious.  One of my favorites was her chocolate mousse dessert - I could have eaten three.  Julie made an entire lemon meringue pie one night and made me a GF knockoff below with a coconut chocolate crisp.

I had a great time getting to know the other fisherman - Brian, Ron, Peter, Ronnie and John.  Our guides Matt and Steve were incredible.  Dana and Julie were irreplaceable.  Justin was an amazing and interesting guy, its a shame he had to sell the place, I'm hoping the new owners can carry on with what he has created because I can not see how the experience could be any better.  Maybe it would have been better with more fish in the river but thats how it goes sometimes.

I thought I would leave you with a few pictures of the Dean.

Tight lines,

The Un-Gluten Guy

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Terra Verde Farms

We like salsa.  Salsa on chips, eggs, pork, chicken, shrimp, on platters, tacos, and burritos.  We make homemade salsa too but it is nice to have a go to jar available in the house.   There are lots of brands we have tried and a few that have found their way into our kitchen for being both good and GF (Organicville, Cookwell & Company and Mrs. Renfro's).

My wife picked up a jar of Terra Verde Farms Green Chile Salsa.  It is vegan, soy and gluten free.  It tastes fresh - a lot of that depends on the tomatoes and chiles and onions they use and they must have a great fresh supply of fruits and vegetables (yes, if you didn't know a tomato is a fruit).  The salsa has just the right amount of heat and kick.

They are located in Carlsbad, California (Just north of San Diego) and looks like they have another office in Arizona.  As of today they have a new website being produced so it under construction until the  end of July but I am hoping to see what other products they have available.

Stay tuned,

The Un-gluten Guy

Update 7/16/14

We picked up some more over the weekend and the tomato sauce was a hit with the kids.  We grabbed a pamphlet which noted that all of their products are made with no chemical preservatives, they are all natural - vegan - gluten and soy free.  Their list of preserves includes: apricot, peach-blackberry, plum, raspberry cocoa, blackberry, and strawberry lavender.  They offer blood orange and Meyer lemon marmalade.

How about marinades and sauces?  They have those too.  Listed are a blackberry lavender sauce, tomato walnut vinaigrette, peach pear apple ginger hot sauce, and plum chipotle.

Chile and Tomato products:  Green chile salsa, hatch green chile sauce (which we bought but have not opened yet), and tomato basil garlic sauce.

Other items include Spicy O's, Capsaicin Sensation Jalapeno Marinade, lavender pepper and maple pepper.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar, CA

My wife has visited Cucina Enoteca with her friends and was hoping that it would be a place we could visit together.  They offer GF pasta but the big question is was it safe for a gluten free diner.  She spoke with one server that has celiac and she told my wife that she ate their herself and that the kitchen was very good and safe when it came to preparing GF dishes.

We had family in town and we went out with the kids for an early dinner on Sunday.  Once we arrived we found out that the waitress my wife had spoken too was off that night.  Instead we were seated with Angelo, who was excellent.  He knew the menu well and went back to check with the kitchen to make sure what I was ordering was going to be safe to eat.

Cucina Enoteca is a sister restaurant of Cucina Urbana, which is a big favorite with one woman I work with who is a huge foodie.  I saw on the website that there is also a Cucina Enoteca in Irvine.

The restaurant is an Italian restaurant with an urban flare and very eclectic, but it has a warm atmosphere.  Out front was a vertical garden growing edible flowers and herbs.  Inside the door you are greeted by all sorts of interesting wine selections (note that on sundays there is no corkage fee for any bottle over 20 bucks that is purchased in their wine section).

Kids?  Yes.  They have a kids menu and the staff was friendly with the kids.  They each had a Hank's Root Beer (GF) and one had the pizza, the other had the pasta.  Neither one of them has to eat GF.

My wife and mother had the squash blossoms (not GF), the burrata, and the beat salad.  My wife raves about their squash blossoms.  I have made them at home in a GF version by making a tempura batter with rice flour and seltzer water.  Both ladies said that the beet salad was the best beet salad they have ever had.

So what did I eat?  They have a GF bread option.  I am always impressed when a restaurant has GF bread, even if it is Udi's heated up.  At Cucina Enoteca they have a home made GF flatbread.  I was going to ask exactly what it was made of but I forgot before we left.  I questioned them, as I always do, before eating it but I was guaranteed that it was made separately and safe for those of us that need to avoid gluten.  And it was good - a nice crisp crunch with a perfect amount of salt.

For my appetizer I had the grilled octopus.  Our server checked first with the chef, and yes, the dish was okay and safe for me to eat.  There is an aioli that is made with soy sauce but they use a GF soy sauce.  The cut was huge!!  Usually, octopus is serve as a small piece - much easier to cook and serve tender.  This was a big piece and cooked perfectly with a nice char.  The pickled mushrooms were amazing - I only wish there were more on the plate.  The really nice thing was that the guy that ran the food to our table presented it as GF octopus.  As you know I think this is a big thing - the kitchen communicating with the runners - and Cucina Enoteca came up with a gold star.

For dinner I had the Jidori Chicken.  The chicken was perfectly cooked and not dry at all and the skin had a crispy texture.  The other stand out on the plate was the crocchette.  I learned that they make their own polenta in house and it is GF.  The polenta crocchette seemed like it was mixed with some mashed potato and scallions then deep fried.  Fried?  They had me covered.  I was told that they do have two fryers one for gluten items (ie. the squash blossoms) and another for the fries, but to be safe they put on a separate pot of oil and cooked my crocchettes separately.  Big kudos to the kitchen for looking out for me.  How were they?  They were delicious, so much so that I am going to try to duplicate them at home some time.

So if you couldn't tell, I enjoyed the meal and the experience.  My wife is happy that we have found another restaurant that we can go to together and enjoy a safe meal - otherwise she was going without me (she loves their food that much).  Put this on your list of places to go next time you are in Del Mar.


The Un-Gluten Guy

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scottsdale, Arizona

The kids had a week off for Spring Break and we were looking to get away.  Friends of ours had visited the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona and raved about how much fun they had.  The husband has a gluten sensitivity and they told us about the gluten free menu and gluten free bread that was served during their stay.

So I looked into the hotel and found that their main restaurant Il Terrazzo has a gluten free menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The restaurant has a special area for GF food preparation even its own GF toaster.  If you choose to eat at one of their other restaurants, or by the pool, the food can be ordered through the main restaurant and brought to you.

The bread is from a local GF bakery called Gluten Free Creations.  The resort also gets GF chocolate chip cookies and I believe some other baked goods that are offered on the GF menu.

When we arrived in Scottsdale we stopped for lunch at Picazzos.  This is a chain of "Organic Italian Kitchen(s)" in Arizona.  They are over 90% Gluten Free.  All of their pasta, bread, sauces are gluten free.  They do serve regular crust pizza but also offer a GF crust.  It is all cooked in the same oven but I did not inquire about the pizza toppings (sauce, cheese, etc) to find out if they were separate or shared.  I had the Chipotle chicken pasta and a side salad.  It was delicious and the waitress was knowledgeable and put me at ease.

We then headed over and checked in at the Hotel.  Very friendly and helpful staff with tons of activities.  We planned on spending most of our time at the pool - and that's what we did.  One evening they had a birds of prey show that we went to before dinner.  The lawn areas had croquette, lawn bowling and jumbo Jenga (essentially Jenga with 2x4s) that the kids enjoyed.  We hiked Camelback Mountain one morning too as the resort backs right up to the mountain.  The kids enjoyed feeding the Koi each morning at 9:30.  Other activities that we did not have time to enjoy included golf, tennis, bikes, yoga, pilates, fitness center, photography school - should I go on.

For meals at Il Terrazzo the staff was great.  Only one time I mentioned that I had celiac and the waiter looked confused;  "I have an allergy to gluten" was my go to and they totally understood and conveyed with the kitchen.  Overall, the staff was great.  The bread service offered bread for the family and with my allergy he would always return with a fresh glove and a plate from the kitchen with GF bread.  I honestly could not believe the number of choices on the GF menu.

Our first dinner I had the octopus salad and for my entree I had the Salmon.  Both were delicious and brought to the table with the added "this is gluten free."

The third night we returned to Il Terrazzo.  I ordered the Octopus again (it was really good) and for my entree I had the pork medallions with roasted pears.  Each night I was given GF bread from Gluten Free Creations that was toasted and delivered to the table warm.  If you have kids that need to observe a GF diet they have a large selection too.

One night for dinner we ate upstairs at J&G Steakhouse which is the creation of Chef Jean George Vongerichten.  They do not have a separate GF menu but they said they could accommodate me.  My waiter seemed to be very aware and knowledgeable.  I started with the beet salad.  It was served by the runner and when I asked if it was GF he said "I believe so."  I looked - beets, yogurt, fried things??  I asked and was told by the server it was fried shallots and they fry them in the fryer.  I ask for the waiter and he honestly looked nervous when I pointed out the fried shallots.  He returned after speaking with the chef who cooked them himself in a separate pan with fresh oil.  It was delicious but another great reason for communication between waitstaff, the kitchen AND the servers.  For dinner I had their special a bone in bison steak - very delicious.

Breakfast was a special treat.  I had eggs benedict.  They serve it on the toasted GF bread and it was delicious.  I used to love eggs benedict but I honestly don't believe I have had it in a long time.

Lunch was a nice treat too.  We ate at the pool each day and I was able to order from the GF lunch menu from Il Terrazzo.  I had this amazing BLT with chicken, avocado and a fried egg on the GF bread with baked french fries.  It was so nice sitting at the pool and having a GF sandwich.

While we were there it was hot.  One afternoon we took the kids to the Musical Instrument Museum.  They have thousands of instruments from all over the world.  After a while the kids got bored as kids do so we took them to the interactive room.  In that room the kids got to play all sorts of instruments and they had tons of fun - the parents may have played a few instruments too.

On our last day we had breakfast and hit the pool.  The pool was fun - a water-slide for the kids, hot tubs, pools and pools and pools.  The main pool had a volleyball net, basketball net and a series of roped foam pads to walk/run across if you were agile enough.  They also just opened the padded water-fountain, water cannon play area for the kids.

After checking out we stopped for lunch before the drive home.  We ate at Nourish.  All of their dishes are GF, soy free and dairy free.  We started with the Sweet Potato and Avocado salad - it was simple and refreshing.  I then had the duck spring-rolls (but it was actually chicken).  These were very tasty.

For my entree I had the Teriyaki Wild Rice Bowl - this was delicious and my wife almost stole if from me.  The broth of coconut with ginger was a hit and it was topped with carrot, broccoli and cashews.

My daughter had the burger on a GF bun with sweet potato fries.  Its a shame they don't have a Nourish in San Diego.

Unfortunately, it was time to drive home.  We had a great time, the kids (and parents) are exhausted but relaxed.  We will definitely go back for the great service we had at The Phoenician and all of the great GF food I had in Scottsdale.

Safe Travels,

The Un-Gluten Guy