Recently my family went on vacation to San Diego to visit Legoland, the San Diego zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and Disneyland. Being away from home without the use of a kitchen presented a real problem for a family with 3 out of 4 avoiding gluten! Amazingly there was only one time someone got glutened and ironically it was from OUR own food! Somehow the PB or the jelly must have been contaminated and my poor daughter got sick on our first day driving to San Diego. We ditched the PB & J and bought new stuff and she was fine from there on out.
The first thing we did was Disneyland and we went ahead and made reservations for a character breakfast. When we made reservations all they could tell us was that they had GF options but they couldn't elaborate. I was a little nervous since we were paying about $70 for the 4 of us to eat breakfast there – I didn't want to pay all that money just for some scrambled eggs and fruit! However as soon as we got there the chef came out and talked with us. He asked about allergies and then offered several things he could make. He made us some GF waffles, hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon, and omelets. The waffles were seriously the BEST waffles I have ever had in my whole life and I've only been GF for 1.5 yrs. They wouldn't tell me all the ingredients but now I know great waffles can be made even GF. They weren't overly eggy nor did they appear to have much starch. Most times when I eat GF foods I can figure out what's in them but these waffles were a real mystery. Yes, it was an expensive breakfast but it was so worth it to be able to have a "real" breakfast out with my family and not worry about anyone having a reaction. (Since creating this post I've finally been able to re-create those waffles, see recipe here)
Legoland turned out to be another good place for GF. They offered GF hamburger and hot dog buns, French fries, and even their apple fries were GF. I never tried the hamburger buns because the hot dogs were so good. From research I discovered they buy their buns from a place called GNI Bakery http://www.gnibakery.com/default.htm I think until I figure out how to make my own I'll be buying hot dog buns from them!
Neither of the zoos offered much in the way of GF selections except for fruit and drinks but thankfully they allow you to bring in your own food. So we stopped at a GF café called Healthy Creations www.healthycreations.com and got sandwiches each morning before we went to the zoo. They also had the most amazing oatmeal raisin cookies and my kids loved their cupcakes. Oh and they made some pretty awesome chicken fingers as well.
For the evenings we went out to dinner instead of eating at the parks we discovered a few great places and stuck with those. First, a not so great place: I was so excited to learn that BJ's Brewery now offered GF pizza. They were one of my fave restaurants before going GF. However the night we went there I didn't feel like pizza and asked for their GF menu. The manager came with a little pamphlet with allergens listed for their entrees. The problem was that it listed wheat but not gluten. He assured me the ceasar salad would be safe without croutons. When I asked about barley and rye he clearly had no understanding of what gluten was. He then went on to explain how he eats their awesome deep crust pizza so often that he sometimes eats the GF crust just for a change and to have thin crust. Sigh. Anyways we asked him to leave the pamphlet. When I flipped it over the GF menu was on the back! And no, the ceasar salad was NOT GF, even without croutons. We did not go back there.
Two places that were fantastic though was a place called Borrelli's www.borrellispizza.net that had GF pasta and pizza. The pizza was AWESOME. It tasted like good Pizza Hut pizza. The pasta was pretty good too according to my husband. The other fantastic place, which was not in San Diego but we hit it on our drive there and back in Arizona, was Picazzo's. Picazzo's was basically a GF heaven. Almost everything on their menu could be made GF. We had wonderful chicken wings, garlic bread, hummus and GF pita bread, salads, pasta, and pizza. They even had GF chocolate chip cookies but we did not get a chance to try them.
So all in all we had a pretty good vacation that was thankfully almost entirely free of any reactions!