My hubby and I made a trip up to Blowing Rock, NC this past weekend. This was my first trip since going gluten free, and I have to say with a little meal planning and restaurant research, eating gluten free was totally doable! Before we left on Friday, I made a batch of peanut butter cookies and a pot of chili beans to take with us. I also packed GF tortilla chips & salsa, GF peanut butter & jelly, and Udi's bread to take along. We also stopped by a grocery store and picked up fruit and yogurt to have on hand too :)
We knew there was an Outback right down from our cabin, so that's where we headed on Friday night. Outback has a separate GF menu and has become one of my go-to restaurants. This, however, was the best GF dining experience I've had since going GF! To start, we had an awesome waiter who was very knowledgeable about the gluten free menu and meal preparation. I asked about the chance of cross contamination on the grill and he suggested that they could cook the chicken on foil for added safety! YEAH! When he brought the food out, he made a point to tell me that the chef who prepared the dish has a wife with Celiac Disease! So of course, he would know the importance of keeping everything GF! Such a great Outback experience!
Saturday morning we ate in for breakfast....I've decided that a kitchen is a must-have for a Celiac on vacation! What a life saver! We stopped in at a local restaurant for hubby to grab a bite to eat, then made the short walk back to our cabin for my lunch...some of the chili beans I had prepared beforehand! Then I had a peanut butter cookie for dessert. YUM!
For dinner I had called a few places and asked if they had GF items and how they accommodated GF needs. I called three restaurants and we decided to try one that said they were very careful about cross contamination for those with Celiac Disease. When we got there however, the waiter was not sure what items were GF, and even after checking with the chef, seemed uncertain. The GF choices were extremely limited. So...we politely said we'd have to go somewhere else. I think this was my first time leaving a restaurant since going GF, but I'm glad we did because we ended up at a wonderful place and had a fabulous dinner!
It's another restaurant I had called beforehand, The Best Cellar. Our waitress was rather new, so I asked if there was a manager or someone who knew the menu well who could tell me about GF options. A waitress came out who was very familiar with the GF options, and hubby and I both decided on the filet. It was covered with peppercorn...delicious! I ordered mine without the cream sauce. I also asked if they cleaned their grill for GF items, she checked and said they could do that too! For sides I had the mashed potatoes and the asparagus without hollandaise. The meal was fabulous!!
Never be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask questions when you have Celiac Disease. It's a must, and in my experience, servers are very willing to do whatever they can to create a good experience...just always make sure you speak up politely :).
We ate in for breakfast again on Sunday. For lunch, we wanted to try a popular place off the main street, The Village Cafe. We previewed the menu, and I was certain I could find something gluten free. When I asked the hostess if they had a table available, I also asked if they had gluten free items. She said they could certainly accommodate me. She even checked with the chef to see what soups were GF. Once we were seated at our perfect little table on the patio, she came and said that the Black Bean and Smoked Chicken Chili was gluten free. Since she was there, I asked her what else on the menu was safe. Among other items, she listed the Caesar Salad. That made my decision easy....Soup and salad, please...without croutons, of course! :) She even told me next time we come, to call a couple of days ahead and the chef would be sure he had some GF soups on hand! WOW :)
What an awesome trip! If you've never been to Blowing Rock, NC, you should definitely make the trip if you're not too far away! Such a wonderful little town with great shops and some great gluten free options too!
I managed to make my peanut butter cookies last all weekend, snacking on them for a great dessert....but I finished them off on the trip home....I must make more!!!...Will share the recipe I found at Against the Grain soon :)
Allergy Free Wednesdays http://laurasglutenfreepantry.com/2012/05/allergy-free-wednesdays-blog-hop-week-18-luscious-lemon-bars-grain-free-fruit-squares-thai-iced-tea-more.html