Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

G-Free in New England

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I’ve discovered it is not only beneficial to be bold in our G-Free requests when dining out, but in so doing we are helping to raise awareness of the concern. This is all the more important as we travel.

In Wilmington, VT there is a precious little sandwich and ice cream shop (Jezebel’s Eatery)… next door to the Norton House (appropriately subtitled – A Quilter’s Paradise). This small quilt shop had been my destination… and my stay there so prolonged by all the fabulous finds that I had to eat lunch before journeying further. What a delight to find the owner not only aware of Gluten concerns, but she was also most accommodating. I asked for a “sandwich” without the bread to be served over lettuce. She was tickled to share that she has about 30 regular customers who all eat Gluten Free and she does this all the time. My meal was beautifully plated with turkey and Vermont Cheddar slices topped with her own balsamic vinaigrette dressing, with sides of chips and her own (delicious) coleslaw. Locally made gluten free chocolate ice cream in a bowl was the perfect finish to the meal.

After a day of exploring the countryside and marveling over splendid historic covered bridges, we stopped in North Conway, NH at an Applebee’s for dinner. We asked for a Gluten Free menu and the host said they really didn’t have any G-Free offerings, but that there was a restaurant in town that did (wasn’t that nice!!!)… and what a recommendation!

Rafferty's Restaurant and Pub in North Conway, NH

Rafferty's Restaurant and Pub in North Conway, NH

Rafferty’s Restaurant and Pub had earned the title of New Hampshire’s best restaurant in 2009 and they have the largest Gluten Free menu in New England (4 full pages). Apparently, the owners, Linda and John Rafferty, first became aware of Gluten issues when both their children were diagnosed with Celiac Disease about the time that they were purchasing the restaurant. John’s brother, Joe, is the kitchen manager and head chef.

Rafferty's Meat Lover's Pizza

Rafferty's Meat Lover's Pizza

The options were so extensive that it was truly hard to choose, but I couldn’t resist one of their home made pizzas. The crust was thin and crispy (just like I like it) and was hands-down the best G-Free pizza I have tasted out thus far.

Rafferty's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Rafferty's Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Of course, I just “had” to try their flourless chocolate cake for dessert. (This one was good, but P F Chang’s version remains my favorite.)

The owners of Rafferty’s are serious about raising awareness about Gluten and Celiac Disease. They quarterly host Celiac Disease Information Sessions. For more information, check out Rafferty’s Restaurant and Pub online.

Shopping for Gluten Free foods while traveling

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Well, clearly there are places around this great country that still have no clue about Gluten. Oh, my!

One would think that in a big city with guests visiting from around the world, that they would have heard about and made an effort to provide Gluten Free grocery items. Not so at Albertsons here in Las Vegas. I spoke with two clerks and neither had even heard of Gluten before. I showed them the few items in my cart that are “regular” products labeled Gluten Free and mentioned that they most likely would hear the term again. ;) They seemed shocked to learn that grocery stores “at home” had whole aisles dedicated to organic and Gluten Free foods.

I am now doubly thankful that I came prepared and that I have a full kitchen in which I can cook up my meals!!!

I brought my Arbonne Figure 8 protein shake powders (pre-measured with a scoop of Arbonne’s Figure 8 Fiber Booster for breakfast each day) and bought bananas that I have peeled and cut in half and frozen. These make incredibly delicious, rich, filling breakfast smoothies! :) I also brought from home my Arbonne Figure 8 Detox Tea, NRG Go3 Citrus Surge Fizz Tabs (these beverage tablets provide the sustained energy I will need in this action packet week), and Healthy Living & Weight Loss Chews (LOVE the Creamy Caramel… Great between meal snack to curb appetite and boost metabolism – helpful since I will be sitting in training sessions quite a bit).

I brought quinoa from home in measured amounts along with Gluten Free golden flavor/seasonings. I bought lettuce, eggs (to hard boil), feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts (from home) for delicious salads… and I bought Wish Bone’s Italian salad dressing (thankfully clearly labeled Gluten Free).
(My preference remains grapeseed oil and red wine vinegar as a dressing, but the bottled Italian salad dressing can be used for salads and as a marinade for chicken, and it is more economical, especially since I won’t be taking home any that is left at week’s end.)

I bought Nathan’s hot dogs and Heinz ketchup (both regular items, clearly labeled Gluten Free). I guess I can do without Gluten Free mustard this week.

Having searched the store for other meal options, I finally picked up my cell phone and called the Frito Lay company (1-800-352-4477). Many grocery items have 1-800 numbers on the packaging. The customer service rep assured me that the Tostitos Restaurant Style tortilla chips and their Tostitos Medium Chunky Salsa were both Gluten Free, though not labeled as such. With these in my cart, I added ground beef, regular (not light) sour cream, and cheddar cheese for taco salad. I don’t plan to spend a lot of time preparing meals and need meals that can go together fairly quickly.

I bought a can of mixed fruit to make the Gluten Free “Jel Dessert”  (brought from home) a treat. I also picked up some fresh fruit, “Pom”, Classic Hummus, and cashews… and should be able to make it through this week Gluten Free.

I remember the day when I could go into a grocery store and simply pick up anything that “caught my fancy”, but I wouldn’t go back there. Despite the additional challenges of living Gluten Free, it has made me feel SO much better there is no temptation at all to “slip”.

(Mom, be encouraged… you can survive your week in Hilton Head Gluten Free… with proper prior planning. :) )

Traveling Gluten Free

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Traveling Gluten Free can be challenging! Flying often requires a wait in the airport(s) and long flights mean missed meals unless you leave home prepared.

I had heard that Starbucks recently began serving Gluten Free goodies, but, alas, I couldn’t find a Gluten Free item at either my departure or arrival airport.

Having Gluten Free bars with me helped carry me through my 4+ hour flight, baggage claim, shuttle to my hotel, and the time it took to find a restaurant able to serve a Gluten Free meal.

Thankfully, my abode away from home allows me to cook meals “in”, but I will check online to see what other visitors to this “city that never sleeps” have to say about eating out here, Gluten Free. I am also curious to see if the local grocery store has a Gluten Free section, and how it compares with what we have at home.

I am resisting frustration at having to be so conscious about what/where I will eat… again. This feeling was ever present when I first started this Gluten Free journey, but in the safely of home and familiar surroundings, I have managed to thrive Gluten Free. Surely before I leave I will have re-gained that confidence.