Saturday, April 19, 2014

Viva Las Vegas GF style

For my 42nd birthday, my husband surprised me with a trip to Vegas.  After my initial excitement, the reality set in.  Oh crap, I have to figure out food.

My husband booked us a room at New York, New York and when researching the hotel, they actually had a few GF options.  So I packed my bag, complete with Imodium, zofran, an anti stomach spasm medication, probiotics and digestive enzymes....and hoped for the best.

To supplement my meals, I bought a few Go Picnic meals.  Think shelf stable lunchables for celiacs.  I didn't have enough time to buy them online, but I found that my local Walgreens carried a couple of options.  I purchased a couple each of the Hummus one and turkey peperoni one. They have several snacks in each box.  I opened up the boxes and emptied the contents into a zip bag.  Here is what the boxes look like.  Please be aware they make other meals that are not gluten free, so be sure to check you packaging.  Often you can find deals on Groupon.

I used a groupon and purchased more, because they don't need refrigeration, they are perfect to keep in the car in case of a celiac emergency (starving but no where safe to eat)

We arrived in Vegas by 8:00 am and started looking for somewhere to eat.  My Find Me GF app gave good reviews for Il Fornaio, however when I asked, they didn't have a GF breakfast menu.  Bummed, but starving, I picked what I was hoping would be a harmless fruit plate with cottage cheese.  I stressed to the waitress how sensitive I was and my concerns about getting ill.

A few minutes later, the manager came to me with my fruit plate.  They had made sure to use a clean cutting board & knife, which they also had sanitized.  That made me feel so much safer.  And they brought me a beautiful fruit plate, which included dragon fruit, mango, papaya, banana, Asian pears, berries, kiwi and pineapple.  It was perfect. 

That night, we went to another restaurant within NY NY that had good reviews within the Find Me GF app.  The restaurant was called The Nine Fine Irishmen.  I spoke with my server, stressed my concerns and we spoke about options.  They did have a gluten free menu.

After speaking with my server, I decided upon grilled salmon, grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes with goat cheese, bacon and chives. All were outstanding.  My favorite was the mashed potatoes.

Most of the rest of my meals were supplemented by my Go Picnic meals.  However, our last night there, we did go to Il Fornaio again.  The hostess had told me that all of the pastas could be gluten free with GF pasta.  We had a great server and when I explained my concerns to him and placed my order, he told me that pasta sauce had flour in it.  Yikes!! I asked him what he would recommend and again, the manager came to my table.  Honestly, to me, that is a sign of a good restaurant.

He and I spoke and I asked him what he recommended for me.  He made a few suggestions, and I ended up going with a Salmone con Spinac, which is grilled salmon over organic baby spinach salad with red onions, mushrooms, toasted walnuts and warm vinaigrette.  It was beautifully presented and again, yay, I didn't get sick! 

Then comes my biggest mistake and it was my own damn fault.  After a long night of gambling, cocktails and fun, I went back to my hotel room at 1:00 am and was hungry for something hearty.  So I looked at the room service menu and chose what looked like the safest bet.  Potato skins.  They were so cute and they hit the spot....then they didn't.  When I woke up my guts were not happy.  It was the morning we were going home, and between frequent bathroom trips, Imodium, and fluids,  I made it home safely.  I was down and out for 5 days though, with fatigue and that general just feeling poorly I get when I get glutened.  So, stay away from room service.

On a side note, I highly recommend going to see The Frank Marino's Divas show.  The  female impersonators were fantastic and the back up dancers were pretty amazing too.

Overall, I consider it a successful trip.  The trip also had a lot of meaning to us.  We brought along some ashes of my son's best friend.  He was 21 when he died suddenly in a car accident in August 2013, so we sprinkled his ashes all over Vegas for his family.  RIP Layne.

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