Over the weekend we went to the gluten free and food allergy expo over in Plano. I know talk about PARTY! Nothing says a wild night like a food allergy convention!
I rarely get east of Grapevine, in fact, I prefer to stay in my little 5 mile radius bubble and even then I’ve been known to say, “ugh, I don’t want to drive ALL THE WAY over to Target”. When Target is roughly four miles away. Even more sad, are the times I’ve gone without whatever we needed at the time bc I didn’t want to drive all the way over there. So when I first heard about this expo on my “find me gluten free” app, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go ALL THE WAY over to Plano. That’s far, with a lot of traffic to fight. If I could just stay home all the time I’d be happy. If I could grow my own food, I’d be set. I already have Burgundy Pasture Beef deliver my meat. And if I could get this blog to take off, I could make money on it and I wouldn’t ever have to leave the house! I promise I’ll still wear pants (no I won’t) and make-up (HA) and deodorant (ok that I will wear).
Ok enough on my crazy dreams of being a hermit.
We went over to this expo on Sat, and I was impressed.
There were so many companies there offering everything from lipstick and lotions, to beer and baked goods. That’s right, I had beer. For the first time in several years I might add. I don’t drink anymore, and I forgot how much I liked beer. I always wondered how they made gluten free beer, and how gross would it be? The answer is, not gross at all. In fact, I sampled three different beers, from two different companies and they were all very good.
Every booth had a list of major allergens on it, so you could easily see what was in the product. For the first time in a long time, I was confidant in eating outside my home.
They also had freebies and samples that would make a born moocher like myself happy.
Roughly 18 million Americans have a gluten sensitivity, and those of us do, eat out 80% less than those who are not, yet we still spend two billion dollars a year on GF products, that is roughly the price of a loaf of gf bread. Ok not really, but close. On average, a gluten free product us about 242% more expensive than its glutenous counterpart. These numbers are doing nothing but growing.
The smart restaurants are taking notice and offering us options. The savvy ones, are training their staffs to know about gluten, to avoid cross contamination, and to make us feel safe enough to eat there. Think about the money the others are missing out on. By the way, I am available for such training.
At the expo, I finally got to put a face to my new buddy from Local Oven. You know I love this company. Maybe I can get them to deliver too? One day while eating a burger at my parents’ house, my niece looked at my bun and said “what are you eating? It looks soft?” These guys do it right.
When we left, we were not hungry, but we needed an actual mean instead of bites of cookies and truffles…. So I pulled up my app and found that a place I had loved once before, Bavarian Grill, offered a gluten free menu. A big one too!
I even asked the waitress if that was really the GF menu where she proceeded to tell me which items on the menu were cooked in the same grill as the non GF things, so depending on my sensitivity, what my best options were. I HAD OPTIONS! This was unheard of! Options AND a knowledgeable waitress? I must be dreaming. Of course it helped, that at the top of the GF menu was a Local Oven logo. I knew I was safe. I could let my guard down. I was not treated like a pain in the butt, and I was able to eat. The food as always was delicious, and when they brought my husband out his bread basket at the beginning of the meal, they brought me one out as well.
I know this is way out of my radius, but I am willing and eager to go back! If we had a place on the west side that made me feel this comfortable about eating there, I’d go often!