Bake Sales Are My Bitch / Celiac Disease / food allergies

Gluten-Free Travel: It Gets Better

Bottoms Up Pizza, FTW!

I’m so sorry because that headline is a TOTAL LIE. But I thought I would start positive, so we could all feel good for the half second it took to read it. I’m nice like that.

YOU GUYS. I’ve been on an epic travel adventure and have hit every single time zone (if you count the Denver airport, which I DO) in America over the past five+ weeks. I’ve been werking book events, hanging out with screenwriters doing writer stuff, and a little family vacation snuck in there. Which brings me to my first gluten-free travel tip: Travel solo, so you never have to consider any one else’s needs. Ever.

Yes, that is a great tip. You are welcome. I stand by this tip because while I was in Chicago, Vermont and New York I staked out the recommended joints and made my day work around delicious gluten-free pizza and muffins. I had a real live amazing donut in Chicago that rocked my ever loving socks off. gluten-free-chicagoAnd while I built in time to walk to many gluten-free and amazing restaurants in Chicago (shout out to Do-Rite Donuts, Lou Malnati’s, Burger Bar and Brightwok Kitchen!) when I tried to do the same in Virginia, well . . . it did not go as well.

I want to thank all of you for your amazing gluten-free tips all over Virginia. And had I been solo, I would have eaten the gluten-free hell out of Virginia, but what with a schedule and people other than me wanting food, it did not work out as well as I’d hoped.

The first morning of our grand historical tour through the southern region of Virginia really set the tone for the whole trip. For in spite of me pre-ordering a load of gluten-free donuts (because, of course I would), my dreams of getting up, getting fed, and getting on the road to another location where extended family awaited, would have been the ultimate.

Instead, I woke up, discovered that no one had answered my pleas of, “What’s a Hugenot?” so I could locate the gluten-free donut truck, so we drove around Richmond for almost an hour trying to find breakfast. At that point my children were cranky, hungry, and did not give a shit about my gluten-freeness. Understandable, yes. This is how families work. Still, I was out a donut or five, and this particular disappointment set the tone for the entire trip—food-wise.

It turns out that some restaurants don’t like to update their websites so you show up to a joint expecting a decent-sized gluten-free menu of delicious offerings, and instead are handed a small piece of paper with literally nothing on it you can eat. This seems like bad business, since even though the other 3 family members could eat off the menu, I get hangry and storm out of restaurants and because they love me/feel sorry for me, they leave too. Dear reader, this happened more than once in Virginia. And I find that confusing. I didn’t get the memo that it was menu changing season, and therefore everything you read on the internet was a lie.

Luckily I did find a few great places with safe gluten-free offerings, and I only had to send my husband out for peanut butter once. This was especially fortuitous since he brought back CHUNKY peanut butter, knowing damn well I eat like a child. I mean, I’ve been married to this man for almost 12 years and not once has he seen a jar of chunky fucking peanut butter in our pantry. When I asked him what could possibly have possessed him to pick up a formerly perfect product, mangled by sharp chunks, his only defense was, “I thought you’d think it was fun.”

Do you know what was fun? My ‘select’ box on United Airlines on the way home because the whole GD thing was gluten-free. Now that is sad. But it was a nice moment, nonetheless. Oh, and this lady singing for us at the King’s Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg (where I did eat well, and gluten-free).

Check her out! That place is a trip, ya’ll. So do yourselves a favor and get your history on and tour through Virginia. Just maybe bring your own food. Or don’t bring your family. It’s really a personal choice.

For this summer, at least, I’m mostly staying put and eating in my own home. With one exception when I take a quick jaunt up to Napa, but girlfriend is staying at a gluten-free hotel. A GLUTEN-FREE HOTEL. This may be the only place I travel from now on. I mean, wine tours and gluten-free waffles. That’s what gets better. Isn’t it swell I started and ended on a positive note? God bless you, summer travelers. And good freaking luck.


16 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Travel: It Gets Better

  1. THANK YOU for this very timely post. Kind of. Not really. Oh, holy hell, you just burst my bubble and made me want to cry. (But I probably needed a reality check).

    Going on an annual trip that my family has been taking for about 15 years. Only this year, I’m traveling with a celiac diagnosis. Yay, me! I’ve been doing my homework because we definitely have favorite restaurants, as I always try to plan my meals ahead. We have three kids (two teens and an oh my god 😳 baby, our six year old) and I try to not call attention to by “special needs”.

    Well, there’s one restaurant in particular that we make our “fancy expensive” treat for the week. We spend a FORTUNE on food with teenagers. My teenagers LIVE for this place and I used to as well. It’s trendy and busy and the staff isn’t always warm and fuzzy. I saw that they had atrocious reviews on gluten free apps and websites as not being helpful or friendly about special dietary needs. So….I send them a super friendly message on Facebook inquiring as to their gluten free offerings. Was over the moon when I got a reply back saying that they would check. 10 days went by, no reply. Finally, I asked again and after a few days I got a reply saying to talk to my server and they would try to accommodate me. Ugh. Seriously??? Anyhow…..I know you’ve been there/done that, but I had to share. Thanks for all you do!!!! Erin

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. A gluten free hotel in Napa????!!! Well now, that sounds promising. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. FWIW, I found some amazing GF foods in the Sonoma valley (Healdsburg side of things) including GF fried chicken in Santa Rosa/Petaluma and carrot cake in Petaluma (so good we went back the next day to get a piece to go). Not sure how celiac-safe they are, but they had the options.

  3. I’ve been busy and a bit out of touch, but your mention of Virginia brings to mind an amazing place that we found just up the road from the Baltimore airport (BWI)–and it was in fact the first and last place we ate while we were in town, which you really need to try if you haven’t:

    We had decent luck generally in the Baltimore/Washington area, but that place is singular.

  4. Pingback: How to Gluten-Free Relax | Gluten is my Bitch

  5. Two weeks ago I flew from Minneapolis to Portland Oregon on Delta Airlines and they offered me (and everyone else in coach) GF pretzels and a Kind bar. Whoopie! The third offering was a gluten filled cookie.

  6. I was in Chicago in June and made a special point of getting to Do-Rite Donuts. Best.GF.Donut. Ever. It had been 2+ years since I had a donut that actually made me happy.

  7. Two years gluten free. It has been miserable traveling and eating out. I have a secret! Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines offers a GF kiosk of food at the Windjammer Buffet and also many GF choices on the dining room menu. I have to say, I have enjoyed my last two cruises and didn’t have to guess if something was GF and risk the evening stuck in my cabin. Do you have any idea how tiny their bathrooms are? So if your travel involves cruising…Royal Caribbean is the best.

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