Monday, June 30, 2014

In the World of Wellness: Gluten Free Dining Out

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.


In the World of Wellness: Delicious gluten free food, no matter where you go
Delight Gluten Free
Being gluten free (by choice or not by choice) is no easy task. You run the risk of everything from food not tasting like food at all to cross contamination in the kitchen. The good news is over the last few years dining out gluten free has gotten a lot easier. Ohmygoodness, so much easier, hallelujah!

Here are some of my favorite tools and tips for dining out gluten free, as well as some of my very favorite restaurants around.

Find Me GF App 
The Find Me GF app has been my saving grace ever since I discovered it. I use it whenever I travel and even when I'm at home, to double check the gluten free options around me. Thanks to this little handy dandy tool, I have discovered some of the most amazing gluten free places around the country. If you yourself are gluten free or if a loved one is gluten free, install it. Immediately. It will make all of your lives easier.

Delight Gluten Free Magazine
Never in all of ever have I loved a magazine this much. While the recipes and articles are great, my very favorite part of it is the Travel & Leisure review section. Each edition features multiple reviews of cities across the world. Did you catch that? Across the WORLD. My latest copy featured Cape Porpoise, my own home, Phoenix, Port Douglas, and Victoria. I've saved every copy I've ever gotten because they serve as amazing resources when I'm planning a trip. I refer back to them and plan in advance where to eat. This, plus my Find Me GF app truly makes traveling a piece of gluten free cake.

GlutenEase
In my purse there are a few constants: my ID, money, Burt's Bees chapstick, and GlutenEase. If I ever accidentally eat food that's become contaminated with gluten, I pop two of these babies and wait for their magic to happen. We all know there's no cure for gluten allergies, so these aren't magical pills that completely take the symptoms away, but they are your best friend when you've accidentally encountered the big bad gluten.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Once a year the boyfriend and I hit up Las Vegas. We are probably the most boring people in Las Vegas at any given time because we go to the City of Sin for two reasons and two reasons only: To watch the shows and to eat. To eat a lot. For me, in particular, Las Vegas has some of the best gluten free options around. I kid you not when I say I impatiently wait all year until I get to go back there and get my grub on.

The true test of any gluten free meal is how much my non-gluten free boyfriend likes it. Mon Ami Gabi  is one place he would prefer my GF menu to his own gluten filled one. Last year, the chef made homemade bread and a cherry duck confit that I dreamed about for months after. The boyfriend and I would randomly, on several occasions, talk about the duck and the bread and the cherries and ohmygoodness we'd wish we were back there eating it again. I even wrote to management and begged them to keep the duck on their menu as a regular item (it's seasonal right now). This year, I had the corn beef hash for breakfast (one of my favorites whenever I can find it) and it was the best I have ever had. Seriously. Also, one key thing to note is that they've started using Udi's bread now. Still good, but the loaf they baked prior was out of this world amazing.

As you know, Las Vegas is full of buffets, which are normally terrifying concepts for the food allergy stricken. Not the case with the Bellagio. We dined there for brunch and they provided me with my own personal chef who guided me around the buffet and meticulously went over each section and what I could and could not eat. While they don't have GF pizza or pasta on hand, she personally offered to make me some in the back and bring it out. She was also available if I had any other questions later or needed anything at all. The Bellagio gets 5 stars in my book for the absolute best customer service ever.

Two burger places you must check out are Holsteins and the Burger Bar. The Burger Bar has everything from build your own burgers to one of a kind shake creations. We go there every single time we're in Las Vegas. I just discovered Holsteins this year and my mushroom burger was melt in your mouth amazing.

San Diego, CA
There are so many delicious gluten free options in San Diego that I might have to move there.
Snooze was my favorite of all places. The wait might be long, but it is worth every second. The OMG French Toast is named that for a reason and the Sandwich I Am sauce is ridiculously good. Not to mention the most blissed out waiter I've ever met. The man radiated happiness! It's a great place to dine and they're located in Arizona (yay for me!) and Colorado as well. We just went to the location here in Arizona and the food and staff were equally amazing.

Coronado's gold sand
Other must try places include The Mission (the portions are gigantic) 2Good2B (the whole place is a dedicated gluten free restaurant), Blaze Pizza (they take extra care of switching gloves and using GF tools), Rockin' Baja Lobster (wow tacos, wow), the Red Marlin at the Hyatt (most amazing pork ribs in the world), and last, but not least Portofino Cucina Italiana (with the best GF pasta I've ever had, seriously). Some of these didn't show up on the Find Me GF app, but were referred to us by locals. The locals always know.

Also, as a travel nut, I must recommend checking out Coronado Island while you're in San Diego. The sand, oh my, the sand. It looks like gold glitter by the ton was poured on it. If you're a book nut, I highly suggest checking out Bay Books while you're there. The owner is a long time friend of the boyfriends family and truly has one of the most adorable bookshops I've ever been in. I would have stayed there all day if I could have.

Dallas, TX
There are two places in Dallas I wish I could have brought home with me: Boomerjack's, who has the best nachos I've ever eaten in my life, and From Across the Pond, an English pub just outside of Dallas that's dedicated to good gluten free dining.

Madison, WI
If you find yourself in the lush greenness of lovely Madison, Wisconsin, I highly recommend checking out The Great Dane. I've eaten there every time I've been in Madison and am never disappointed. They also have a gorgeous beer garden to dine out of, which is just too relaxing and lovely to miss.

Arizona
I'd be remiss to leave out my own state, so here are some of my very favorites here in Arizona.
Both Joe's Real BBQ and Joe's Farm Grill are two gluten free friendly places to eat that kill it in flavor and hometown awesomeness. Joe's Farm Grill is my favorite of the two and you might even recognize it from the Food Network! Nourish is another newer favorite that is all gluten free and oh-so good. I should also mention Picazzo's, an Italian resteraunt in Tempe that is entirely gluten free and entirely delicious. The salads, the gnocchi, the everything...mmmm! The Melting Pot is pure heaven and their gluten free options are no different. I've already mentioned them before in an earlier post, but Frost Gelato is not to miss. I mean it. Go here. As soon as you get in town. Let's not forget that one time I went camping and didn't die, which lead to a made-from-scratch, just for me berry pie at the restaurant located within Rose Canyon Campground in Tucson, AZ. They seriously made it just for me, a gluten free kick-ass pie! I love them. I don't remember the name of the location, but it's within the campgrounds up where all the lodging and restaurants are. Go check them out if you're spending some time in the great outdoors! If you're heading up to Payson, my hometown, the very best gluten free pizza I've ever had anywhere in the world is at Pizza Factory. They toss 'em, they're awesome.

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