Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gluten Free in SoCal - Part 2

This post is a continuation of our first few days in SoCal.

Thuesday through Thursday, we spent in the Disneyland area. As far as allergens go, everyone we spoke to was incredibly accommodating, which was nice. It was the norm to have managers come over to talk to us as soon as they found we were gluten free, and even chefs come out to assure us they had personally overseen that no cross-contamination occurred!

On Tuesday night, we walked around Downtown Disney and decided to eat at the Rainforest Cafe. While they do not have a dedicated gluten free menu we were very comfortable with the menu and selections we made. We were a little disappointed to find out that the lava nachos appetizer contained gluten :( but we had wonderful dinners, both gluten free: my husband ordered the Tuscan Chicken (no Dijon mustard), and I ordered a special that was shrimp and veggies wrapped in parchment paper. Both were extremely yummy and we left very full. (By this point, my husband was starting to get annoyed at all the souvenir alcohol glasses I was collecting, though, lol).

Wednesday, we ate breakfast at our hotel (The Anaheim Sheraton) and then went to Disneyland. We had a blast! It was off-season so at least in the morning, there wasn't much of a wait at all for rides, though it got more packed as the day went on. Now, the thing with Disneyland and California Adventure - if you go to Guest Services and request a list, they'll give you a packet that lists all the safe options at all of their eateries. It's a pretty comprehensive list, and includes pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers (both with buns), fries fried in a dedicated fryer, and a lot of other things. We ate lunch in the park - my husband ordered a gluten free pizza (there were three other people there waiting for gluten free pizzas as well, as they're made to order!) and I had a salad.

For dinner, we went back to Downtown Disney and ate at Tortilla Jos. Their menu clearly marks all the gluten free items, and they had a wonderful outdoor, heated patio which we loved. How often can we eat outside in January?? We were extremely hungry after our day at Disneyland, and we ordered a bunch of stuff - first, they come with chips and salsa. We ordered a nachos appetizer, and my husband ordered their crispy tacos while I ordered the shrimp tortillas, all gluten free.

... The problem? Portion sizes. It was WAY too much food, and our eyes were significantly bigger than our stomachs. We left stuffed and didn't eat a lot of our food.

On Thursday, we went back to California Adventure and, since we had a park hopper pass, rode on a couple of our favorite rides at Disneyland too. For lunch we ate in California Adventure, at a place that did gluten free burgers/buns and fries. We weren't that thrilled with the overall quality of the food there, but they can get away with it in the park!

For dinner on Thursday we went back to Tortilla Jos. This time, we ordered only the nachos, to share, and dessert. They had a coconut-rum flan with pineapple that was gluten free and absolutely sinful. It's worth the trip to California just for this flan. (My husband also wanted photographic evidence that my always-cold self wore a T-shirt, outside, in January. Note the awesome "Nerds Rock" shirt). ;-)

On Friday, we left Anaheim and went to Ontario. We were flying out of Ontario very early in the morning, and we wanted to stay close to the airport. Plus, I'd read all about this huge outlet mall, Ontario Mills, and just had to check it out. The mall did not disappoint - 10 wings of stores, including Coach Factory outlet (and Coach Men's), BCBG, Calvin Klein, LOFT, Betsey Johnson, Saks off Fifth, bebe, Guess, etc. Unfortunately, we didn't want to eat at the Rainforest Cafe again, and no restaurants in the mall knew what gluten was! We left the mall for lunch and found a Claim Jumper in Ontario, and then went back and spent some time at Dave & Buster's playing games (my husband deserved it, he was a wonderful sport about spending the entire day shopping).

For dinner, we tried Mimi's Cafe. We actually hadn't done any research on them, but we popped in and decided to ask if they had a gluten free menu - they did! My husband had the best steak he's had on his trip so far. I stuck with soup and salad. Excellent food and the most reasonable prices we'd seen in California.

That night we knew we'd be leaving before anything opened for breakfast, so we bought cereal, fruit and snacks from Trader Joes and a local convenience store for breakfast and on the plane. The plane ride was tiring, though, with layovers in Houston and Cleveland. Again, we hunted down food in Houston - we finally found a Wendy's where my husband ordered a Baja salad, but by the time we landed in Albany we were starving and headed straight for Outback steakhouse.

Overall -- we had a wonderful time and saw a lot of great people and sights, and I'm so glad we went. We both needed a vacation. However - I'm grateful to be home and cooking in my own kitchen too!

1 comment:

John at ALB said...

I discovered about this bakeshop who sells gluten free and really no preservatives breads and sweets. I just can't buy a lot coz the freshness don't last that long since there are no preservatives.