My friend Katherine moved to DC around the time I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I went down to visit shortly thereafter for her birthday and she assured me ahead of time that we could eat lots of gluten free things. I took the bus down ready for a weekend of fun and safe eating. For her birthday dinner with me and a few other friends from college, Katherine, bless her soul, had chosen an Irish pub. There wasn’t a single thing on the menu I could eat. Everything was breaded, fried, or served between two pieces of bread. Internalizing my pity party, I decided to make it work. How about a burger without a bun and some fries? Turned out the fries were coated in some gluteny goodness. Ok, no fries. I ended up having a beef patty with a side of broccoli. It was sad.
Needless to say, I was still hungry after dinner. Katherine, a big fan of the 711 by her apartment, suggested we stop in to check out their gluten free options. It was here that we stocked up on potato chips, corn chips with salsa, and M&Ms. A gluten free meca of junk food, we also could have gotten popcorn, flavored rice cakes, trail mix, various other chocolates, and ice cream. It wasn’t quite a balanced meal, but this is where I first learned that in a pinch, I could always rely on these junk foods to hold me until something more filling came along.
The next night, not sure what gluten free food we could either get within a 10 block radius or delivered, we decided to just make dinner – baked chicken with risotto and a big salad. This is where I learned about Trader Joe’s perfectly sized frozen chicken breasts as well as how to make risotto. While this, and the 711 junk food discovery were both great learning experiences…next time I think I’ll google some restaurants ahead of time.