Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The GF word is spreading

Exciting news! Gluten free eating is in the news. It is just a short blurb, but there is a much longer report out there covering the material from the Department of Health and Human Services. This is exciting. The first steps towards reliable GF labeling on foods. Yay!

Actually, the word really seems to be getting out. I was at a workshop this past Saturday. I was picking over the snacks trying to find something safe. It struck up a conversation about dietary issues and being gluten free. One of the women asked "Oh! Do you have Celiac?" Whoa! She knew three people who had just been diagnosed. Two other women there each knew someone who has it. We are many, apparently. (Well, we already knew that. Now the rest of the world is starting to figure it out!)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Adobo Grill

Yes, it is a chain restaurant. I should feel opposed to the place. The thing is...they were wonderful! Last night we had superb service. Our waiter very quickly bought me a gluten free menu when we requested it. An entire menu of GF options! Everything looked fantastic. He was incredibly helpful for both of us, pointing out vegetarian options for the Veggie Dude (thank you Lynn). We had started off with a drink at the bar while we waited for our table. Mojitos. Fantastic and not made in a tiny glass. I ordered the Enchiladas en Verde Mole. I actually chose a vegetarian option, it just looked so good. Enchiladas filled with butternut squash and mushrooms. Veggie Dude ordered the Vegetarian Platos. It included such dishes as Corn Flan and (I believe) Pumpkin Tamal. It looked amazing, even if I couldn't eat it. For dessert we ordered Mango en Mango: frozen mango mousse with mango slices topped with mango sauce and raspberry puree. OMG! So good. (We discovered a shared love of all things mango.) Now, Adobo is not cheap. This would not be an every weekend sort of dining experience. The thing is, how many restaurants can you go to and know without question they will be able to accommodate your dietary needs? Not many. The extra money may just be worth it. I would highly recommend this restaurant to any person with dietary needs, GF or otherwise. They did a truly exceptional job of working with us in a friendly manner.

Oh, and the Veggie Dude was great. :) Much fun was had. Keeping my fingers crossed that it continues going so well.

Alright, off to take some photos of the goings on in my neighborhood. They are filming a movie on my street! Exciting, but it plays havoc on the already tight parking situation.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Challenges can be encouraging

Oh baby, it has been a long time since I last posted. Where has the time gone? I can hardly believe we are half way through January. I guess it is a good sign that 2007 has started off with lots of activity. Positive, fun activity at that.

I have been a dancing fiend! This New Years was the first time I went out to a big party. Usually we gather at someones house and celebrate together. This year most of the people I regularly celebrate with had plans with significant others. It all worked out perfectly. I was able to go swing dancing to ring in the New Years and I didn't feel guilty for ditching my long-time friends.

Something that I have come to realize in the new year is a new challenge to being gluten free. It takes a special guy (or girl) to date a person who is gluten free. Dating in your late 20's/early 30's is frustrating enough. (Don't let anyone tell you it is an easy task!) You are already dealing with the typical problems: commitment phobes, pressure to become intimate too quickly, or both of you being way too busy with your careers. Now add in trying to go on a dinner date with someone with dietary restrictions. It becomes a major planning event. If the person is only casually interested, are they really going to put forth the effort to accommodate your eating needs? If they aren't going to put forth the effort, is it worth your time to go out with them? It seriously narrows the field. This whole gluten-free thing can make even the most Low-Maintenance gal into someone considered to be High-Maintenance. Man! I always prided myself on being LM. Grrrr! Stupid immune system!

Tonight I am heading out to dinner. On a date. I picked the restaurant the first time. (Much easier that way.) He made the plans this evening. He made a suggestion yesterday that I was on board for: a nice restaurant downtown. I have never been there and there would be live music. Also, it is a pretty swank place. I figure that at a place of such high quality the chefs could make me something without any problem. I was quite looking forward to this meal. See, as a die hard Chicago lover I have this thing about eating out. I would far prefer to go to one of the millions of small independently owned establishments than to a chain restaurant. I even avoid some of the bigger, well-known independent places. Sorry Frontera Grill, you get too much buzz. Rick Bayless may be good, but I taught his daughter. They don't get my money. (And the one time I went there was OK, but not fantastic.) Anyhow, the gentleman in question called this evening. He put in the effort. Apparently, he could not find out any information about the menu at the place he wanted to take me. What did he do? He popped online, did a little research, and found a restaurant with a gluten free menu. (Here is where my small establishment rant comes in.) We are going to Adobo Grill. I have heard good things, particularly in regards to how they handle Celiacs and our dietary needs. I was just leery of suggesting the place since it is part of a restaurant chain. Silly, I know. But he made the effort! He looked into options and took into consideration what I would need. Huh. I haven't had someone do that in a long while. It's really nice.

Now perhaps I should add in a tidbit of info that I have not yet shared. He is probably more sensitive to my dietary issues that the average bear because he is vegetarian. He can understand the difficulty of finding food that fits your diet. Although I have to say, finding a restaurant that can cater to GF and veggie...fun times. Yup. We will be the most HM pair there.

So yes, any suggestions for GF, veggie meals would be appreciated. I am excited by the fact that this is a guy I could cook for and use ingredients like eggplant and endive and he will be happy. (I swear I have a few friends who would rank as the pickiest men on earth!) This could be fun. Wish me luck tonight!