Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I can have a flower, just not flour.

Whats one of my favorite cuisines? Chinese. The language barrier at some of my old favorite Chinese spots has caused a problem with trying to explain my dietary needs. It can be a very frustrating thing. I actually asked a one restaurant, "do you use flour in this dish?" thinking that the word flour would translate better than wheat, barley, rye, gluten blah blah. Turns out, it was actually more confusing. First they though I wanted them to put a flower in my dish (I do only eat well presented food of course!). I explained a little bit more, the waitress took a trip back to speak with the chef, and came back excited to tell me "he said we can definitely put flour in your food if you want".  Luckily, I was in a good mood that day. I decided to resort to a tool that I had yet to experiment with. I have this app on my phone called "GF Card". It's supposed to explain your dietary needs in all different languages. I've been afraid to use it thinking that maybe a celiac-hate group created it and when translated the message really says "I love gluten. Fill my mouth with gluten." Turns out, it's legit. The waitress and her friend read it together and seemed to have a much better idea of what I was talking about. That being said, I'm still not sure that what I was served was gluten free. So I wouldn't give this restaurant my recommendation if your looking for gluten free. However, here are two places I've been more than happy with: Mandarin Gourmet- located downtown, can prepare you meal with gluten free soy sauce P.F. Changs- pretty good sized GF menu and they have gluten free soy sauce available That's all for now- I need to catch up and tell you about my gluten free adventures to Virginia Beach and Chicago! - Cheech

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sorry it's been so long

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Well, I do have an excuse which may serve as good news for some of you: Sometimes I forget I have Celiac Disease. I've finally got this gluten-free thing down and life is near normal again.

That being said, I do still have some positive experiences and even some negative to share. I'll do my best to continue sharing on a more regular basis.

So here we go. Who misses pizza? I've never really loved pizza but there is something about the simplicity of all your food groups in one bite that's as easy as pizza. At first I just made some at home using Udi's shells. These shells are great! They are a thin crust though. If that's not your style, I have used Bob's Red Mill pizza crust mix which is a much thicker but equally delicious crust. These pizzas are great but I was still missing out on one of the big reasons people love pizza. How many times have you said "let's just order pizza"? I had been missing that phrase. I had heard about a few places around but nothing in the neighborhood until I heard about Lucci's having gluten-free pizza. They have one size (somewhere in between small and medium). The crust is made by the local gluten-free bakery. Overall my review is good though I do have a few concerns about their practices to avoid cross-contamination. For one of my orders, we noticed that they were using the same cutter. My suggestion would be to just explain your needs to them when ordering. The concern is only with the handling, which is easily fixed, not with the actual ingredients. Anyone else have suggestions on other gluten-free pizza in the area?

*Sneak peak*- Stay tuned for "Cheech and the Windy City- a gluten-free adventure"!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Banana Bread Recipe

I love banana bread and was not willing to give up my favorite banana bread recipe. It still works great with gluten-free flour. I always use Bob's Red Mill Baking Flour, (I actually do the Amazon Subscribe-and-Save with this), but I'm sure whatever you use is fine. I do find it helpful if your serving to non-celiacs to throw in chocolate chips, extra bananas, and/or icing to help mask any gluten-free taste.This works great as muffins or cake too!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

A Gluten Relapse

A month or so ago, I had my worst experiences at a restaurant yet. I've had some pretty bad experiences at other restaurants but as my mom always says "All is well that ends well". This experience, however, did not end well.

I was out to lunch with my brother at Mitchell's Restaurant downtown. When the waitress came to take our order, I gave my usual speech. "Do you know or if you don't could you ask the chef- blah blah- gluten-free yada yada". The waitress came back and said that the chef suggested grilled chicken and vegetables. I knew that they have sides of rice there so I told her I'd like the chicken, vegetables, and a side of rice if it was okay for me to have. Everything seemed to go pretty well. My brother and I were talking most of the lunch so I wasn't really studying my food, rather just enjoying it. It wasn't until I got back to my desk at work that I thought to myself, "What did I just eat? Was that rice pilaf? What is in rice pilaf? Isn't it orzo? Isn't that pasta?"

I realized that I should probably just call the restaurant to be sure rather than just convince myself it was orzo if it wasn't. When I called as ask the person on the other end of the phone if she could ask the chef what was in the rice. After talking to at least 5 different people and getting responses such as "what do you mean, it's just rice" and "is orzo
pasta?" and even someone suggesting that I drive straight to the ER to take care of my self rather than staying on the phone with them, we finally came to the conclusion that I had indeed consumed gluten during my lunch experience. I emailed the manager and he promptly responded and ensured me that he would talk with his waitstaff to explain them what a gluten free diet is and how to handle it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eat'n Park's the place for smiling celiacs (dah do do)

After Erin from Eat'n Park posted a comment on an earlier post about Eat'n Park having a celiac friendly menu, I grabbed a friend an tried it out for dinner this week. I was fairly impressed with the experience. On the back of the regular menu, they have a menu designated for their "celiac friendly" items ( When I went to order, my waiter informed me that he would alert his manager of my order. The manager came to our table and went over my order with me. During my entire experience, there was only one tiny complaint I had, and I'd barely call it a complaint. The manager said she had a few question to ask me about my "allergy". I corrected her and said it was an intolerance. Then she asked how severe my "allergy" was. I'm not sure why this was relevant. It seems to me everything should be handled with great care regardless of the severity.

I ordered a burger to try out their GF buns which were surprisingly not bad- one of the better that I've tried. The manager checked on me a few more times to ensure everything went well.

Overall great experience. As I said, the only small critique was that if your menu mentions the term "celiac" there's an assumption that you understand the disease and won't mislabel it as an allergy, but now I'm just being picky!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Subscribe and Save

My sister-in-law introduced me to's subscribe and save program. For many of their items that you use on a regular basis, you can sign up for a standing order to be automatically sent to your house. Not only is this program SUPER convenient, shipping is free and you even get a discount on your product! So how does this tie in to gluten-free? Well, amazon also offers loads of gluten-free products.

Here's an example of how this works for me. I'm a total breakfast person. There's two things I need within 20 minutes of waking up: food and coffee. I might as well go back to bed and try again if I fail. I had several easy breakfast meals before. Bagels oatmeal, cereal, granola-- also read gluten, gluten, gluten, gluten... So I was on the hunt for a "normal" gluten-free cereal and found Chex. Chex are awesome and normal people (my husband) eat them too! A box of Chex in the local Giant Eagle is about 4 bucks. With subscribe and save, I get 6 boxes of chocolate Chex delivered once a month for under $15 without having to go to the store! Yeah. For reals.

I also get some hard to find products like gluten-free flours and whatnot. What a great idea, both for Amazon and me! Check it out.

PS- I also use it for normal things like deodorant.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lewes, DE is gluten-free friendly

I have a lot of reasons to love Lewes, DE. To me, it's more than just a beautiful, historic, beach town. It's where I got engaged and where I got married. This past April on my anniversary trip visit, I found multiple new reasons to love it. I think a lot of tourist locations are like this, but the Lewes and Rehoboth Beach areas were great with gluten-free accommodations. Here's a highlight of my 3 favorites (saving best for last):

Agave- not only did this wonderfully decorated gem of a restaurant have great margaritas, they also had amazing salsa with GF corn chips and a nice selection of GF menu items.

Blue Moon- Always a delicious meal. Blue Moon actually did a fantastic job catering my wedding and again exceeded expectations for my anniversary dinner. They have an amazing menu that always features fresh products and a lot of things done in house like their cured meats and sausages. The owners even brought in two gluten-free cupcakes from a local bakery for us for dessert! Mmmmm... Just writing about it makes me crave a Blue Moon meal!

Hobos- This experience almost made me cry. Finally, someone who gets me!! The entire restaurant philosophy is to take care of people with food allergies and intollerances specializing in gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. In fact, one of the first things they'll probably ask you is if you have any diet restriction. I asked what on the menu I could eat and they said anything! They prepare each meal separately and specifically for you. They substitute when necessary, but all of the food was great! They were so knowledgeable and the customer service was great!

Lewes will always be very special to me. If you ever get a chance to go to Lewes or Rehoboth, you'll be in great hands