The Salad is Gluten Free

Today I went to a luncheon at a local restaurant.  As a group, we had checked to see if they would have gluten free items for us at lunch.  We were told (twice, by the way) that there would be a gluten free option.  When I arrived, I spoke to the owner and asked about gluten free options and the answer was “The salad is gluten free”.

Now, if I had a dime for every time I heard that, I would be pretty well off.  Lettuce is gluten free.  What a concept.  I bet next you’ll be telling me that carrots are.

The problem was that it was so non chalant, like I didn’t matter as a consumer.  I explained to him that two of our membership had inquired so that we could make sure anyone that needed to be gluten free would be taken care of.  He responded that there were gluten free menu items but only the lettuce salad would be gluten free so I asked about the dressing, which was.

My issues were as follows:  1.  If you tell a group that there will be gluten free options, please stick by that.  I realize that salad is easy but it’s not the lunch I pay for.  2.  Don’t be non chalant about it.  This is something real, not something that I choose to do, and would much rather eat like a normal person.

All in all, this isn’t the first time I’ve had a run in with this place and will try to go there as little as possible.


I’m a traveling woman…

I typically don’t travel much and when I do, it’s pretty much to the same locations over and over.  Recently, our company was taken over and that means traveling for trainings.  I’m excited about this possibility since I’m getting to go to a few places I haven’t been before and a few that I haven’t been to in a while.

Last week my travel took me to Reno, NV.  I have never been to Reno so I was excited to go there.  We were staying at the Grand Sierra Resort and it looked like a nice place but I am always a little hesitant eating in cities that I’m not familiar with.

My manager and I flew in on Monday and, after quickly unpacking, headed straight to In N Out Burger.  I’m in LOVE with In N Out as I know the fries are straight from the potato and the protein style burger is safe to eat.  It was everything I’d dreamed of…and believe me, I was dreaming of In N Out Burger.



That night we had our first gathering with the new company at Charlie Palmer’s, inside of the Grand Sierra.  I spoke with the server and explained my need to be gluten free.  He was knowledgeable and was able to tell me what was safe to eat from the salads and appetizers to the dessert and everything in between.  He even made the whole table have the creamed spinach without bread crumbs so that I would be able to eat it.

Two nights later I was on my own as my manager had flown home.  I had posted on Twitter that I was looking for places to eat in Reno.  I got a few suggestions from the Reno/Tahoe Visitor’s Bureau and other people in the Twitter-sphere but got a suggestion from one of my co workers that proved to be a gem.  She told me to check out Great Full Gardens and it was amazing.  They are all organic and used to a gluten free lifestyle so it came as no surprise to me that they would be able to accommodate my needs.  I had the best grilled cheese sandwich and amazing homemade tomato soup.  I could have eaten that the rest of my life, I think.

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

Amazing from Great Full Gardens!

As I was waiting for my taxi, I wondered around the area and found a cupcakery two doors down.  This place was super special as Batch Cupcakery bakes only gluten free, paleo and organic cupcakes.  Oh, be still my beating heart!  I LOVE cupcakes.  Sometimes more than I love eggrolls.  So I couldn’t help but walk in there and figure out which of their four, yes four, types of cupcakes I wanted to take back to the the hotel with me. They had lavender, pumpkin, red velvet and one other kind.  I took the red velvet and headed back to the hotel to go for a run so I could earn the deliciousness that I was about to have.  It was as amazing as I imagined!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

Red Velvet deliciousness from Batch Cupcakery!

The last night I opted to go to PF Chang’s as they have a great gluten free menu and I rarely get to have Chinese fare anymore.  Their lettuce wraps were amazing as usual but I opted to try their GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken with brown rice.  It was so good and had amazing flavor.  I went home fat and happy!

The next day I left Reno after having an amazing experience.  I am looking forward to going there again in the future.

Oh, on my way home through Salt Lake City, I ran across this sign in the B Concourse:

Salt Lake City Airport

Salt Lake City Airport

Awesome!  I didn’t get to eat there on the way back but next time I’m in that airport, you bet I’ll be looking to see where I can eat!

Thanks Reno for a great experience!

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The nightmare comes true

As a Celiac, my worst nightmare is being served the wrong food.  When we had a Carino’s here, they served me regular pasta once and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  I complained, the kitchen manager said “we need to train better” and it was a LONG time until I ate there again.  Only then did I tell them I was gluten free when I was seated but when the server came over to get my drink order, when I ordered food, when the food came, etc.  I checked and then triple checked.

Last week I wanted soup for lunch and was going with my mom.  She is also GF and eats at Chili’s a lot and since they had soup there, I thought I’d try it.

Chili’s isn’t my favorite place to eat.  I’ve just never been a fan of their food but I’m willing to step outside my little box and go somewhere that isn’t my favorite.  We were seated, asked for a GF menu and they have a nifty Ipad thing at each table now with allergen menus, games and where you can also pay your tab.  I took a look at the menu, decided on the unlimited soup and salad combo and ordered the soup off of the GF menu, reiterating that I needed to be gluten free and also asking that I not have cheese on either.

Since it was unlimited, I decided to have a second bowl of the soup.  I flagged down another server, who had been assisting ours, and asked for the GF soup, no cheese.  He looked at me, said “that soup doesn’t have cheese on it” and my heart sank.  I had been served the wrong soup.  He was apologetic and brought me the correct soup the second time around.

When our server came back, my mom kinda let her have it.  She told her that we had, several times, told her that we were GF and the soup that was brought wasn’t.  All she said was “I’m sorry” and stood there.  I explained to her how sick I get but it didn’t seem to register.  We asked for a manager and all we got from her was “I’m sorry” and I told her that her staff needed better training.

I can tell you that that may be my last visit to Chili’s…ever.  Not only were they not attentive to my needs but, when a huge issue of negligence came up, no one seemed concerned.  A place like that does not deserve my business.



On the road again…

I love traveling, even if it’s day trip or a work trip.  New areas, new people to talk to, gets me really excited because I love adventure!

The thing I don’t love is eating out.  I’m always “that person”.  “Angela, where can you eat?”  Then there is asking the server for a gluten free menu and the disappointment when they don’t have one or say “I think it’s ok”.  Sigh.  I try to do as much research as possible before heading out but when you’re not sure what area of the, let’s say, Denver metro area you’ll be in, it’s hard to plan.

What are your suggestions?  I have apps on my phone but they aren’t always up to date or don’t always have the restaurants that aren’t chains.  I always take snacks along but after two days of eating “snacks”, well, you just can’t keep doing it.

I am grateful that, on this trip, a good friend of mine who is aware of my need to be GF will be along.  He will make sure we have somewhere safe for me to eat but…there is always that chance of me NOT being able to eat.

So, these are my thoughts as I get ready to go on this trip!  Wish me luck!


What do you say?

When you are gluten free and go out to eat or go to someone’s home for dinner, it can be hard to stress that gluten free eating is important.  I’ve been gluten free for a year and a half now and one of the things that I struggle with is how to tell people that I absolutely cannot have anything with gluten in it.

For example, when you go to a restaurant and tell them that you can’t have wheat products, they seem to get it.  But when you are a Celiac it becomes more than that.  You can’t have barley or rye either and cross contamination is a WHOLE other subject.  I have told people that I’m Celiac and can’t have anything with gluten and get the glassy eyed look.  Sometimes they seem to get that it’s important (Celiac does sound like it could be bad) but not WHY.  When I ask if they have anything gluten free, a salad is a common answer although a lot of dressings have wheat.

So, what do you do?  Should you go into detail about Celiac Disease and what consequences it can cause?  How do you handle this?