The Gluten Bigot

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gluten Free Disney World

As avid global travelers, one thing we really didn't want to do when we started having kids was have every holiday at Disney. Bricklet gets one holiday a year targeted at him, tops, the rest needs to have things for us. That said, a couple of months ago I did attend a conference in Orlando and J and Bricklet came to meet me there and we made a long weekend of it. I was a bad blogger and didn't photograph any of my food - but did learn exactly how hyper-friendly Disney is for food allergies.

I stayed at the HIlton Buena Vista, which was really GF friendly. I ate in all restuarants and each accomodated me. They had good quick grab items (like Kind Bars) in the deli. I was so really excited as this was the first conference I've been to where they had GF meals ready upon request (sandwiches, with bread that was actually good). 

We only went to the Magic Kingdom one day since Bricklet was still quite small and we have extended family in Florida, so we only had to sort out two meals. We ended up at Tortuga Tavern for lunch (it was meh), and Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe for a late lunch (also meh). While the food was really mediocre, the service was good everywhere we went. Oh, and I may have had more than one chocolate covered banana. Those things were totally as good as I remembered!

Downtown Disney has the only place I've been to with gluten free onion rings - Raglan Road. The place is horrendous in that Disney over the top tourist trap type way, but the food is very good (and GF onion rings FTW!). I went twice. My best suggestion is, especially over a weekend ensure you reserve (and reserve far ahead, the week prior didn't do me any good, so we only managed to get tables during the week) . 

T-Rex was the funnest place we went. Bricklet loved the animatronic dinosaurs - and it aligned with our goal of making him obsessed with dinosaurs (because they're awesome). We managed to get a day before late lunch reservation. The queue that you wait in when you have a reservation was quite shocking... but Downtown Disney + weekend = it is what it is. 

Out of Downtown Disney and the hotel we went to Ruth's Chris for steak (filet was great), Sea Dog Brewing (yum, burgers). 

My only disappointment was Erin McKenna's (Babycakes) was listed as still being in Downtown Disney, but it had closed / moved. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mommy Guilt Got Me

Last week I started a new job. After more than 3 years with my last company I had really outgrown the role I was in, and was itching to get back to a small company / start up environment. And I'm so happy I made the change because that quick pivot has made me excited to go to work everyday and is giving me adequate challenges and professional growth to make it worth my while.

Last week Bricklet's daycare also happened to have an impromptu parents event on Friday morning (at 10am no less). Everytime they have  parent event, all the parents go - and it's not atypical for both parents to go. 

For  the few they've had I've made a point of going for at least part of it to make sure Warren wasn't the only one without a parent. But last week I had my sparkly new job, and obviously want to start off on the best foot - so I asked my husband to cover. He hadn't even considered it. 

I made arrangement to go. Not ideal, but my new boss is cool and willing to accommodate. The plan was to work from home, drop by his 'school' then go into the office. Unfortunately I'm a dumbass and used to having several spare laptop chargers  - but didn't have one for my work laptop yet. So it died when I was working in the evening. Arrgh... into the office for me.

I asked my husband if he could drop in. He pointed out that Bricklet is in fact 18 months old and won't get if we are there are not, and didn't see the point of rescheduling his (super hectic) day even if it was possible to go. 

Of course I felt bad all day. Poor Bricklet, was he the only one whose parents didn't show? Is he old enough for that to make him sad? 

When they sent out the daily report for the 'classroom' they thanked the MOTHERS who came in. Note: mothers. No men decided to mess up their morning meetings. But the mamas did.


This combine with my (very involved and attentive) husband's lack of consideration in attending and the fact it was only women really called out to me what a gender trap these feelings are. My husband did not feel bad. I honestly still feel kinda bad about not going. But my husband has a job and he's trying to accomplish a lot of goals this quarter, just like I'm going to be trying to accomplish a lot. Neither of us is trying to coast, we're both climbing - so why should I juggle work for storytime when he (or any man) wouldn't? 

While I want to be there for all of Bricklet's things, I know this is the first of many I will miss. And there will be things that are legitimately important to him that I miss. I need to focus on keeping time in my pocket for those events, and not feeling bad about the ones inbetween.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Clocktower

If you are in New York, or will be visiting New York, please do yourself a favor. Drop everything you are doing and immediately book yourself a table at the Clocktower ASAP.  I've had my eye on this place since it opened in May. New York restaurateur + Michelin star chef and amazing reviews.

My husband and I recently went when a table happened to open at a reasonable time on a night we had the babysitter booked. The space itself is amazing. I didn't take any photos, but do a quick search you'll see this place is beautiful. My favorite was the billard room and bar area. Anyways, let's get to the food porn... (note, scrolling required)

Adult beverages started the night off - it was date night afterall. Of course I can't remember the name of my drink, but it had maple syrup and was really good (and effective). My husband and the Coldfashioned was I had a sip of and also really liked.

They had fresh gluten free bread for us. And whipped butter. And it was so good that even my gluten-loving husband wanted a second round. My only disappointment was the server offered a third one which never materialized.

I started with the spring leaf salad. The portion size was just right for a starter and it was very refreshing. Anytime there is artichoke in my salad I'm going to be happy though, in fairness.

For my main, I had something I very rarely have. In fact, I don't call off the top of my head when I had this any place but Asia de Cuba - I had the duck. It was ridiculously good. It was kinda perfection. Even the turnips were so good. I would go back just to have the duck.

This was where the night go really good - the only off the shelf gluten free option was sorbet. I wanted something real. The server checked with the kitchen for options, and they offered to make me the strawberries and cream omitting the olive oil cake to make it GF. I was sold. And I was so happy they did it, because lovely dessert. It wouldn't bring me back as a standalone, but it was a lovely ending to the meal.

All in all the food was impeccable and I will certainly be going back. The only two things I did not like: service was slow and deteriorated throughout the night - while this made it a genuinely British dining experience, it was really annoying when it took more than 30 minutes after dessert and drinks were done to get the bill. Also, only two toilet stalls in the whole place. The restaurant only seats 90, but 2 stalls. I waited 5 minutes when I needed the loo at the end, and it wasn't even busy at that point (read slow service) so it was quite annoying.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Meatball Shop

For some reason I have lived here for ages and not been to the meatball shop. I'm a fan of meat. I'm a fan of comfort food sides like mashed potatoes and polenta. And they have highchairs... so win!

The GF meatball option was chicken - not typically a fan of chicken meatballs, but with no options they were the defacto. I went to the pesto sauce since that sounded like a good lunch. On the side I made my husband get the mashed potatoes to share with Bricklet (and me), and I got polenta (to share with Bricklet). And an adult drink. They were allergy aware and noted my allergy to ensure gloves were changed during prep (win). 

The meatballs were insanely good. Again noting I'm not a fan of chicken meatballs typically. The pesto sauce though is where this place wins. It was seriously amazing. I am craving it now just thinking of it. Potatoes were very good, polenta was also very nice. Service was decent, and Warren enjoyed some sliders and we enjoyed out lunch outside. 

Definitely adding into the weekend lunch rotation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Damn You Dominique Ansel and your GF Options

For nearly two years I worked basically across the street from Dominique Ansel, home of the infamous cronut. Being a gluten bigot I never thought they would have anything for me, but they would come up on my GF searches. 

Since last week was my last week at work, it was the best time to investigate. I downloaded the menu and lo-and-behold 3 GF cake options and one cookie option. I will clearly state that this is obviously not a GF facility, so approach this as no GF ingredients and high risk of cross contamination and make your own decision. You will also be among a throng of tourists who think they can order 4 cronuts at 5:15pm.

My decision was to try it. Because of science, I got all three cakes: (from left) the strawberry pistacho pavlova, the giant blackberry, and the mini-me. The were all so fancy I felt a bit bad about eating them, but were so divine that that guilt evaporated into joy. 

The Giant Blackberry was where my husband and I started (did I mention I was at least sharing them?) - it was a great start. The mousse was heavenly, and the jam was some of the best I've had. And it was the most beautiful pastry to look at. Next we had the strawberry pavolva - this was actually my favorite. The flavor combonation wasn't standard, and they worked really nicely together. I thought it had the perfect amount of sweetness. Lastly we had the mini-me. While it was really good, it was extremely sweet. Maybe if I hadn't eaten the other two prior that would have been okay, but it was over the top for me. I would have it again, but certainly it's a share item and would go well with an unsweetened latte or cappuccino.

Will be making special trips there for sweets (or using Postmates) when treats are merited! 

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