September 14, 2020

eating out, transplanted taco inserts, and I scream for ice cream

I thought I'd share a few more nuggets about vacation, although my contact-lens-stealing, willingness-to-toilet-dive story cannot be beat.

Dinner out, take 1:  We ate dinner out twice.  The first night we walked into town.  I decided in advance I wouldn't make a big fuss if we didn't find something I could eat.  I would not punish everyone else for my celiac thing.  

Historically I have struggled to find a menu with enough GF options, and it has perhaps dampened the my mood.  Ahem, I'm looking at you Vancouver restaurant.  

The first place had Tacos.  I can usually eat tacos - minus the flour tortillas.  Coach insisted we check a few more places to be sure I had enough to choose from, as much as I was trying to be chill, he was trying to be accommodating.   We ended up back at the place we started.  Curly, a burger lover, was all set.

I asked if I could do tacos without the tortillas.  Um, no.  Their tacos and burritos had gluten in them - like in the meat or the sauce or something.  Sorry.  I panicked. Already ate a salad for my lunch.  

Coach later claimed that he did NOT start to grow impatient with me, but he DID bump the table hard and turn away in frustration.  I know this.  I think he caught himself and realized I was scrambling to choose under pressure.  Then he tried to act smooth, like he hadn't just behaved like a jerk his father.  I just wasn't feeling the burger with no bun.

I ordered chicken in a peanut sauce on a bed of noodles, hold the noodles.  Well, guess what's gross?  An abundance of Thai (was that even it, I don't remember) peanut sauce without pasta to soak it up or tone it the hell down.  I could barely eat it.  I picked the chicken out of it, and then offered it to family members who wanted to try it.

Ed was sort of giving me a look, like 'It looks and smells amazing, stop being difficult' then he sampled it.  His eyebrows shot up and he agreed, without the noodles it was all wrong, way too strong.  

Dinner out, take 2:  The last night we ate out again, technically it was our anniversary. Coach thought I was serious when I suggested we leave the kids at the house with a pizza while we went out.  I was like, NO.  Not doing that.  

A storm was coming.  Like a big 'un.  We found the place we had looked up.  They were no longer seating folks outside because it was about to get all 'Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore'

We decided to try a Mexican place in a strip mall.  Not the atmosphere I was hoping for.  I preferred a place near the water.  They told us it might be a 45 minute wait.  Nope.  

At last we went back downtown to a cute bar and grill.  The storm hit just as Coach parked across the street.  They could seat us, so I waved the gang inside.  The power went out right after we got to our table, but it came on a minute later.  We watched torrential downpours blow through the streets.

Coach ordered a pulled pork, nacho thing as an appetizer.  It was amazing and I had high hopes for dinner.  I asked for the tacos.  No tortilla.  On a bed of corn chips would be great.  The waitress acted like, YES.  NOT MY FIRST RODEO.

We waited forever for our food.  My tacos came out in flour tortillas.  She sent them back when I pointed out that I couldn't eat them.  Then they arrived at our table 1 minute later in a new basket.  Yep, we are classy people and eating food out of baskets on our 24th anniversary is acceptable.  

Me:  So, can you find out if this is the same taco dinner that you just brought me, because if the chicken was in the flour tortillas then I cannot eat it.  I'll get sick.

Waitress:  Let me check.  (a minute later)  Well, they aren't sure but they don't usually do that.  They usually start over, so let know if you want to re-order just in case.  

Me:  I'll just eat this.  (I didn't want to sit there and wait all over again, and I hate to make a fuss)

Um, the chicken was cold.  Was it the same taco inserts just dumped on chips?  There was hardly any food, mostly chips.  Coach was annoyed.  It couldn't really be classified as an entree.  

Meanwhile:  Reg, Mini, and Curly all ordered a southwest chicken wrap.  The girls wanted plain mayo instead of the spicy kind.  One of them ordered crispy chicken, the other two grilled.  Their dinners were all-kinds of messed up.  They just ate what they were handed with an obligatory eye-roll.  

I contemplated ordering another round of the appetizer since my meal sucked.  Ed admitted that his dinner was not really filling, but he wasn't interested in more appetizer.  Mini later told me that she wanted to strangle him for not agreeing to order it with me.  It was our last night at the house and I was out of other GF options in the fridge.

When we were packing for MI, and by 'we' I mean 'me', I started calling out things for people to grab.  I had a list of my GF food.  Curly grabbed the list  and packed my food.  She forgot to pack these.  It's my favorite food item.  Protein/granola thing with toasted quinoa and GF oatmeal and dark chocolate chips.  It was rough to get through the whole trip without these little yummy treats.  I keep them in the freezer.  Love the crunch.  

We drove downtown after dinner, and Coach asked if I wanted him to stop and get me ice cream.  We had taken the kids out for ice cream the night before.  I hesitated.  Then I said, HEY, YEAH.  I WOULD LIKE SOME ICE CREAM. (damn it - implied).

I got a smaller size than the night before.  None of the kids complained that Coach wasn't buying everyone an ice cream treat.  He reminded them that he had hidden bakery cookies back at the house.  We crossed our fingers that Tank hadn't found them.

I'm not sure if it is a coincidence or not, but after that taco 'meal' I did not sleep great for 3 nights.  That is sometimes how I react to trace amounts of gluten.  Fuzzy head, unable to sleep.  

I used to be big on packing food to save a buck when we traveled.  Then my motivations shifted - I bring food to avoid eating out and getting gluten by mistake.  I do better eating out near home, because I have a few go-to menus that I trust.  

This is just a portion of what we packed.  Some of this is food.  
The cold food was in a huge cooler.  It is a darn chore
 to pack food, but it makes so much sense.

Can I get an amen to the universal mindset:  Hooray for ice-cream?!

Well, I was going to share movies that we watched on vacay, but I gabbed too much about our eating out experiences.  More on movies later.  Oh, and the unexpected visitor on the beach.  Get excited.

I want to find a recipe for this pulled pork nacho appetizer, so if you make something like this please share.  


Kari said...

I think you run into problems with gluten the way I run into problems with MSG. I hate traveling for that reason because I am at the mercy of restaurants and I don't trust what they put in their food. So I bring food when we go to places unless we fly, which is rare.
So honestly, this pandemic isn't bothering me because I am not a fan of traveling for that reason alone LOL. (selfishly)

I feel your literal pain, my friend. :)
And now I want ice cream.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a pulled pork recipe - but I would love your toasted quinoa snack recipe! My daughter used to be anaphlytic to peanuts, so I get the "fun" of packing all the food.

Charlie said...

Do restaurants not have gf options? It’s really commonplace on menus here and my sister, who is a caterer, specialises in gf foods. I love eating out, it’s one of my favourite things to do, so I really feel for you to have those sort of shitty restaurant experiences. Especially when you are paying for the pleasure! You’ll have to come and visit me!

Anonymous said...

Is it obnoxious if I ask for the recipe for your beloved GF treat? It looks & sounds delicious.

Also... ice cream man. Just ice cream. <3

Kara said...

Oh man, I love ice cream, but ice cream no longer loves me. I eat it, and I spend the next couple of hours in the bathroom. Cheese isn't so bad, but ice cream, milk, whip cream, etc, all danger town items for me.

Ernie said...

Kari - I have had restaurants ask me if I have a diagnosis, because some people eat gluten free as a choice. I am always adamant that I will get sick. Not just a healthy eating diet for me. I do love me some ice cream, but like Kara said in my comments - I am starting to notice that it doesn't always love me back. Not as extreme as hers. Oh, by the way - I do soft sided coolers on airplanes, so there is a way to bring food on flights. Huge $$ saver too. My kids HATE that I pack food, have I mentioned?

Anon - I will share that recipe. Maybe in a post on its own on a day when I don't plan to post. Unless I can find the link - they I will share the link. Let me work on it. I could literally eat it all day and eat nothing else. Yummy. Just made a big batch this morning.

Charlie - Most restaurants have GF options or separate menus. Some say, 'Can't promise anything' - worded more professional than that. I was once (not that long ago) in a restaurant and they didn't know what gluten was. I can't remember if it was the server or the chef or maybe both? I just remember being dumbfounded. That restaurant is on the corner a half mile away from Irish dancing and it is now closed. Hmm, I wonder why? You are in England, right? I hated eating in Scotland. Just the other day Mini reminded me how I ordered a chicken breast sandwich without the bun and they brought me a chicken breast on a plate with maybe cheez whiz or something. I don't know. Maybe I blocked it. Mini laughs every time she recounts it. I would love to come for a visit.

Maddie - I will share the recipe - so delish! Yes, Coach knows me so well. Ice cream of GF bakery cake from Nothin Bundt Cakes can smooth over any situation. Almost.

Kara - We just went out for ice cream last night. The kids seemed to require a dessert because I cracked the whip and made people help clean the house. Like really clean. And don't let me catch you sitting down, kind of clean. Ice cream eaten in the evening does not usually work out well for me. Not as extreme as what you describe, and thanks for that by they way . . . ;) - but I do not sleep as well.

Nicole MacPherson said...

I'm honestly surprised that you have so many issues finding GF options - feels like every restaurant has options (GF is often grouped with vegan/ vegetarian options, so I notice.). That SUCKS. There is nothing worse than being starving and not being able to eat anything! And honestly, a lot of people are GF, I think those restaurants should do a better job at offering options, it's not like it was 20 years ago when it was rare.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I think these particular restaurants were ill-equipped because they were small places - in a small-ish town. I have better luck near home - bigger city, etc. I am a little particular, like I don't usually eat GF pasta. I'm not big on burgers. Sometimes wait staff are clueless and when they hesitate to know what I need, I get nervous that they aren't communicating properly with the kitchen. I can usually find something, but it isn't always what I want to eat - which is what can put a damper on a rare night out. At home, we always go to a very good steak place, and I always get petit filet mignon. They also serve the most amazing GF bread, like buttermilk biscuit. Doesn't taste gluten free. My guilty pleasure. Thankfully we only go there once or twice a year, because otherwise my waistline would suffer!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I thought a lot of restaurants had GF options now. No?
You poor thing...I do feel bad that your eating options are so limited and that you forgot your favorite treat. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, you're hungry and not sleeping. :(
With the crowd you're feeding, I can see why you pack so much food.

I've done pork carnitas in the crock pot before; we always start with a Boston butt.

Beth Cotell said...

Ugh! I feel so bad for you. Eating out is one of the things I find most enjoyable in life. I hate that it makes you sick. I think you and coach need a re-do and go somewhere nice with a large GF menu - just the two of you!

Ernie said...

Suz - There are a lot of places with GF options, but I think some rinky-dink places in a beach town in Michigan haven't gotten the memo. Plus if they are busy and they mess up (like "here's your taco in a shell, oops" - "oh look, here it is 30 seconds later no longer in a shell"), they don't always correct themselves. I avoid Italian places because I don't generally like GF pasta. My anniversary was last month - I am just getting around to sharing this feed-me-damn-it story. OK, so I am laughing because when I read you start with a 'Boston' butt - I read Boxer Butt . . . since we know you have a thing for those. And I now feel confident I would fail David Lettermen's 'know your cuts of meat' game. Boston butt, huh?

Beth - eating out is my favorite thing if it is ice cream. Hee hee. We ABSOLUTELY did a re-do for our anniversary a week or so after we got back. We went to my favorite place in the burbs. It's called Wildfire. We always go there and Coach's patients often give him gift cards there, so it is usually free. I love me some steak. This was the same night that I stumbled upon a sitting job on FB on our way home from the restaurant. It might be my favorite post of all time. I looked back and you did read it . . . it was funny AF. Wink wink. Anyway that's why we went to dinner that night.

Wendy said...

I live in southwest Michigan now (we usually head over to South Haven or St Joe when we want to hit the beach, both about 30-40 minutes from us) and if it helps, there's a Facebook group called Southwest Michigan Food Critics that might be a great resource on future vacations. You can search the group for the word gluten to see if there have been previous posts on good GF restaurants, or post your own query -- I bet you'll get lots of good local restaurant suggestions! :)

Bibliomama said...

I so feel for people like you who have to struggle to find good options at restaurants and then still have to worry that someone in the kitchen is careless and you end up paying the price. Added to having to reach consensus among eight people - oof, it gives me anxiety just thinking about it.

Ernie said...

Wendy - first, jealous that you are so close to the beach. How fun! Second, thanks for the tip. I will be sure to check that out before I head out to eat there again. What a great idea.

Ali - it is fairly unpleasant, but so much easier near home because I have 'places'. The agreeing thing with all of us can be a buzz kill, and to be honest there are a few kids who have nailed me on pouting or eye rolling at certain establishments, and I am sure you can imagine with this tough crowed I live with, they cling to imitations of me.