Friday, January 27, 2006

CLAIMING AN ALLERGY THAT DOESN'T EXIST. Some very respectable celiac diners recommend telling waiters that one has an allergy to wheat, barley, rye, and oats. I disagree. I think one should be honest and not claim to have an allergy if one doesn't have one. That way you spread the word about the celiac disease without getting get caught in a lie, losing the respect of the people who are serving you, and doing a disservice to those who have real allergies.

In the January 25, 2007 New York Times, food critic Frank Bruni writes about posing as a waiter and presents some food for celiac thought:
I encounter firsthand an annoyance that other servers have told me about: the diner who claims an allergy that doesn't really exist. A woman at X-10, which is a table for two, or a "two top," repeatedly sends me to the kitchen for information on the sugar content of various rubs, relishes and sauces.

But when I ask her whether her allergy is to refined sugar only or to natural sugars as well, she hems, haws and downgrades her condition to a blood sugar concern, which apparently doesn't extend to the sparkling wine she is drinking.

She orders the sirloin skewers, requesting that their marginally sweet accouterments be put on a separate plate, away from her beef but available to her boyfriend. He rolls his eyes.

Monday, January 23, 2006

RESTAURANT WEEK 2006. There are slim pickings among the GFRAP restaurants participating in restaurant week. Asia de Cuba (home of the lavish Latin Lover dessert) tells me it will accommodate gluten-free orders on its $24.07 lunches, which are 93 cents less expensive than what it has been offering all along. Tropica is on the program, but I'm told that there are no bargains on the gluten-free options.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A NICE TOUCH. Shanel of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group organized a prix-fixe dinner at Candle 79. Last Wednesday the restaurant provided each of us with a little menu (pictured), which I thought was a very nice touch. As far as I was concerned, the culinary highlight of the meal was the Chocolate Mousse Tower.

Here is a sample of Candle 79's complete gluten-free menu. Contact the restaurant if you'd like to confirm that it's up-to-date.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Thursday, January 19, 2006

TEAM GLUTENFREE GOES EAST! Lately I've met a bunch of celiac and celiac-friendly women who love to run. One of them is Colleen Farrell, who is helping to organize a fundraiser scheduled for June 11, 2006 in beautiful Lake Placid, New York. The event as planned will involve a marathon, half-marathon, and four-person relay. It is affiliated with Team GlutenFree, which combines sports and fundraising to support celiac research, awareness programs, and camp scholarships. TeamGlutenFree has mainly been active in the West, so this event is relatively convenient for those of us on the Atlantic side of the continent.

The event is also not very far from Irises Cafe and Wine Bar, a GFRAP restaurant in Plattsburgh. Here's the restaurant's gluten-free menu.

For more information about participating in the Lake Placid event, contact Colleen at