Friday, May 16, 2008

Cross-Country Gluten Free

My apologies for being absent these last few weeks; I took a road trip from Vancouver, Canada to New York and internet access was scarce. A few of the days we drove upwards of 450 miles, stopping only for gas (the timing of the trip could not have been worse--$4.19 a gallon in San Francisco!), so out dining options were limited to what was available at rest stops. I found that eating healthy while on the road, whether sticking to a gluten free diet or not, is challenging. We tried to frequent Subway over the like of McDonald’s and KFC not only because Subway’s salads are gluten free, but also because in general, the options are healthier.

The trip started out promising, with the Cinnamon Works bakery in Seattle’s Public Market advertising gluten free items in their window, unfortunately we got there just after closing so I didn’t actually get to try their “Monster Cookie” which apparently is not only the “best cookie in the world”, but is also gluten free! Next time I’m in the area, I’ll be sure to try one. I did, however, get to enjoy a delicious gluten free cup of joe at the original Starbucks store in the Public Market.
Unfortunately, after a day and a half delay in the Oregon wilderness (involving complications with out tow hitch), our in-city stops in Portland, OR and San Francisco were scratched or shortened so that we could catch up on our driving and I was forced to abandon my plan to discover gluten free gems in those cities. Instead, we stocked up at the supermarket and ate most of our meals en route. I would recommend this as a general rule for all road trippers—this way you have complete control over what you eat and when. We did manage to enjoy a wonderful tour of the William Hill Estate winery in Napa, CA and the wine selection I sampled was delicious. Wine, as you know, is naturally gluten and wheat free.

Another wonderful West Coast delight is In-N-Out Burger. Now, I don’t make a habit of eating fast food, but because of all the time we spent on the highways, we made a couple of stops here. In-N-Out prides itself on freshness and quality and in homage to the West Coast’s health-conscious, beach-body cuisine, they offer their burgers “protein style”, which means your burger comes in a lettuce wrap instead of on a bun. Lucky for those of us with celiac or a gluten allergy, that also means they’re gluten free. Ask for it without their spread, because they have yet to confirm that it’s gluten free. Their burgers and their fries are gluten free—the fries are cut from whole potatoes right in the restaurant and are fried in gluten free oil.

We had a fantastic trip, despite the rushed nature of it, and saw some amazing sights, which really opened my eyes to the incredible beauty of our country. For someone who loves to travel, I’d never seen much of my own country between the right and left coasts, as most of my travels have been overseas. It’s worth taking a cross-country road trip if you have the time...and the money for gas!

It’s good to be home and back to my staple gluten free eateries. One of my first stops upon my return was Zambetti’s in New City, NY to stock up on some of their gluten free pastas and snacks. That’s all for now. If you’re planning a road trip, remember to check out’s restaurant list to map out gluten free eating stops along the way.