hemhawseesaw

The ups, downs, and runarounds of Celiac Disease and food sensitivities

Archive for the tag “Charlottesville”

Gluten-free News in Virginia!

This is the ONLY gluten-free expo that occurs in Virginia (though we aren’t too far from the upcoming DC biggie). Check out their Facebook page as well, and get ready to attend Saturday, April 13!

And in other Virginia news, Charlottesville has just formed a local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group! The Website and Facebook list upcoming events. A welcome addition to the Richmond branch!

And in personal news… my dad has tested positive for full-blown Celiac Disease. HE NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN if I hadn’t pushed him to get tested, as he never had the crazy-intense onslaught of misery I suddenly contracted last Spring. Now to get the rest of the immediate family tested, though I’d of course prefer they NOT join our ranks, but so much better to know!

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Restaurant Review: Lemongrass

Lemongrass Thai-Vietnamese Cuisine popped up on several gluten-free restaurant search websites, and after perusing their online menu with gluten-free items listed I decided to give it a try. With a serious reaction to gluten, however, gluten-free items on a menu merit additional questioning. I made the mistake of purchasing Let’s Eat Out With Celiac/Coeliac & Food Allergies! from iTunes, so I can only read it on my iPhone (silly me, I thought for sure it would be accessible by Mac laptop as well!). The book itself is very informative about dining out in general, and features descriptions of 6 specific cuisines and potential allergens in common dishes. For the Thai cuisine, it even suggested questions to ask for each type of curry! I armed my faithful Charlottesvillian with said questions (fish sauce? soy sauce? flour in meat marinade? cross-contamination) and sent him to the restaurant during non-peak time (3PM). Now, I wasn’t expecting to be able to eat at Lemongrass. My demands seemed too steep. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear that absolutely no gluten ingredients went into the curries (the owner even showed the bottle of fish sauce to my messenger), and curries are prepared in a station separate from fried dishes. Of course, they cannot guarantee anything, as is the case with most restaurants. I also had recommendations from fellow Celiacs to back me up, so we went, and it was DELICIOUS. I had red curry, and two others in my party ordered gluten-free green and massamun curries, so we shared portions. The baby eggplants were particularly delightful. Eat here with ease!

Celiac Restaurant Review: The Local, Charlottesville, Va

The Local is tucked away in the little Belmont area of Charlottesville. The online menu stars items which can be made gluten-free, so with reassurance via email that cross contamination could be avoided in the kitchen, I made a reservation with high hopes. Unfortunately, I later discovered a negative review on Tripadvisor.com, suggesting that the staff did not fully understand the nature of severe gluten issues, and that the menu was not as amenable to gluten-free dishes as it would have you believe. I don’t eat grains, and I saw other items that seemed a bit more amenable to my diet than the burger and fries that the customer had ordered (though believe me, I would be pretty pissed if that item were listed as gluten-free, but in reality all you got was a beef pattie, no bun or fries, to make it such), so I decided against cancelling. Well, turns out the reviewer wasn’t so far off base with The Local as a whole. We ordered the cheese plate, which was great, particularly since most of the cheeses were low- to no-lactose, and there was swiss chard for me to use in place of crackers. The crackers that my table mate was served (separate plate) looked like Ritz crackers, though the menu listed bread, so negative points in that regard. When I ordered the pork chop with mashed potatoes and shoestring sweet potatoes, and gave my little gluten-free/Celiac Disease spiel, all seemed well. The server subsequently came to inform me that both of the potatoes contained gluten, and that the chef recommended substituting for asparagus. Asparagus is a high FODMAP, but at that point I was willing to go with the flow and suffer a tiny bit of gastric discomfort; however, am I wrong in thinking there should have been 2 substitutes for the 2 gluten-containing sides (btw, gluten in potatoes??), not just 1? Anyhow, I was psyched to taste some pork after several years worth of vegetarianism, but the cut was more than half unmasticatable fat, which I fleetingly and unceremoniously removed from my mouth after several minutes worth of cud-chewing. The sauce was tangy and spicy, but also a bit too sugary for my taste (though I may just be super sensitive to sugar now that I hardly eat it). So, meal completed, check paid, then I noticed we were overcharged by $13 and had to wait for a new check to be run.

Overall, The Local has a great atmosphere- exposed brick and wood, low lighting, long bar. And it’s menu and locally sourced ingredients sound delicious. But I wouldn’t go back, not just for the misleading gluten-free options, but also for the quality of the food. I really tried to like it, really I did!

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