Being back in Seattle has made me truly appreciate the gluten free resources I have available to me in Denver. When I am at school, I am able to literally cross the street from my dorm building and have access to everything from healthy japanese food to mexican food to the best hot cocoa in town. Here in little old Bothell, Washington, I have less options. Don’t get me wrong, Seattle is considered a mecca for gluten free dining. It just takes a little more effort for me to get into the car, drive through traffic into the city, find parking, and pay $15-$20 for a plate of food. Eating gluten free is obviously important to me, but I don’t have that kind of money to spend at restaurants. I have felt a little lost here, feeling like eating gluten free is almost harder here at home, than when I am away at school. I just haven’t been gluten free in Seattle as long as I have been gluten free in Denver. In fact, my roommate knows more about my eating habits than my parents do at this point. Not to mention that more kitchen= more spaces for gluten to creep in.
It has been great to see my friends from home, but there are some downsides to social gatherings that I have come to realize. We, as humans, are social eaters, and going out to eat at a restaurant is the natural go-to grown-up “play date”. My friends have been extremely patient with me and are always conscious to ask me where I am able to eat. Unfortunately, almost all of the gluten free friendly places I can name are super fancy restaurants that us college students cannot afford to eat at, so I end up letting them decide while I just drink a soda and eat the Larabar I brought along with me. I ran into this debacle the other day, when my two friends wanted to go out to dinner. I left the restaurant decision up to them, too lazy to try and find a nearby Celiac friendly restaurant. They chose a chinese restaurant and I thought to myself: “Hey, maybe I could just get some steamed rice and vegetables! I was able to do this at a thai restaurant before!” Boy, was I wrong…
The waitress, who was very Chinese, came over to our table to take our orders. I asked her for some steamed rice, and a side of plain steamed vegetables. She proceeded to tell me that they didn’t offer plain steamed vegetables: the only way I could order veggies was as a main dish with some kind of garlic butter sauce. No matter what I said, she was not going to allow me to order this dish without the sauce. I told her about my gluten “allergy”, after which she proceeded to stare at me like I was speaking, well, Chinese (in her case, English), and she called me a “picky eater”. WTF lady. So, long story short, I ended up with a $1 bowl of steamed rice as my dinner. Gee, thanks a lot for your warm hospitality, Chinese restaurant.
Anywhoozles, I am still in the long process of compiling a list of trusted gluten free dining locations in my area, to which I can bring my friends. On my list so far I have Flying Apron Bakery (with a new location closer to my house!), and Grilla Bites. A measly list, yes, but most importantly, a trusted list.