Monday, April 5, 2010

Adventures in Gluten Free Eating - Going on Vacation

Happy Post-Easter everyone!!

This weekend my hubs and I had the blessing of celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary - it kinda stunk that it fell on Easter weekend, but the good part was that the hubs got a three day weekend so I was able to book us a mini vacation down to Kansas City!

We really needed to get out of town, and it was nice to get away from things for a while. I tried to plan ahead for most things - I booked us a hotel that included breakfast, I planned out a few free/cheap attractions but still left us time for relaxing in the hotel pool, etc.

I even planned out some of our restaurants... but even so, it still was very difficult to find gluten free choices! I was suprised at just how difficult it was - some of the places we planned on either weren't located in Kansas City (you would think they'd have at least ONE Outback Steakhouse, right? Well the only one was almost all the way to St. Joseph, MO!) or the location was no longer in existence, etc. One place we did manage to find ahead of time and that was still open had a gluten free option, but then the gal that was at the checkout counter couldn't even say "gluten" correctly (she kept calling it "glutton") and didn't seem to understand what it entailed. Then when we finally got our food, it was subpar at best and later caused both of us stomach upset (it wasn't a gluten contamination issue, as my hubs isn't celiac, but rather some other type of yuck). Very frustrating!!

The hotel breakfast was also disappointing - the "cook to order" was only an omelet station, and they only had the same type of omelet each day. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of eggs to begin with. Thankfully, I had packed some gluten free granola bars and fruit strips for just such an occasion! :) At least for breakfast, I was prepared.

We had one great high point that was unexpected - I really wanted to go to the T-Rex Restaurant in The Legends Mall, and emailed ahead of time to see if there would be a way to get a gluten-free meal. Not only did I receive a great response from them assuring me that they could work something out, but when I arrived they sent out their head chef who personally went through the menu with me and designed a meal that was gluten free! They actually do have a dedicated fryer just for gluten-free frying there, and were willing to make me some gluten-free onion straws for my burger (which of course arrived on lettuce) along with some gluten-free fries. I hadn't had onion straws in MONTHS!! :) It may have been the highlight of the trip for me lol.

I also booked us a tour through Boulevard Brewing Company, which was fantastic but slightly too tempting for someone like me who has only been living gluten free since January when I was diagnosed. It took all my self control not to indulge! ;) Especially because at the end of the tour you get free beer. But, it did mean that my hubs got to have a few extra free beers because he got to have mine. It was probably the best gift I could have ever given him lol!

I was also able to talk to a local business in one of the malls, who had ordered some shirts from a company that were poorly made. I gave them my card and took theirs, and promised to send some samples. So there is a possibility I may be getting my products into a retail store for the first time!! :)

Overall, I'd say that our first gluten-free vacation turned out ok. Next time I will probably have to spend a little more time calling ahead and making sure restaurants are open, and that there are more gluten free options available. Well, either that, or pack a bunch of food. ;)

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