On June 15th I traveled to Toronto, Canada with my daughter Rachel and two of our close friends to see Taylor Swift- every little girls dream! As most of us know, traveling to any destination can be stressful when you have a food restriction (for us it is gluten-Rachel has celiac disease.)
However, with a bit of planning, research, organization and communication your trip can be stress-free which leaves more for family time.
Here are some guidelines on how to prepare for any trip.
Once we purchased our tickets for the concert we had some work to do:
1. Hotel rooms:
We chose the Fairmont Royal York Hotel www.fairmont.com/royal-york-toronto for 2 reasons: 1. GF menu and 2. proximity to the Rogers Center where the concert was. Believe me this took some time and research but once we chose where to stay it made my planning much easier.
2. Where to eat:
Next, on our to do list of course were restaurants. Thanks to Google finding a GF restaurant is much easier than it was 10 years ago. Once I secured a list of 8-10 GF restaurants I narrowed down our search by location, menu, & reviews. Always read the restaurant reviews- the GF community is a very passionate group and will take the time to help spread the word if they have had a positive or negative experience.
(FYI- one popular allergy friendly restaurant site is: www.canieathere.com Use this site to find local restaurants based on your allergy needs & dietary needs.)
Our lunch destination was the arepa cafe' www.arepacafe.ca. An arepa is a simple flatbread made of ground corn flour, water and salt that is are popular in Venezuela and Columbia.
When our waiter came to our table I questioned him about the restaurant's GF menu, prep area...etc. Since almost their entire menu is GF I felt very comfortable having my daughter eat here.
This particular arepa (above) was enormous and filled with grilled chicken, black beans, cheese, herb mayo and a fried plantain! Oh, and served with a side of coleslaw. After we ate our arepas the girls wanted to look at the dessert case- who wouldn't right!! Rachel was so excited when they told her they had a few GF desserts-one being a caramel cheesecake made with GF crust of almonds & GF graham crackers! Rachel was so happy & satisfied with her arepa that I am actually going to try to make my own at home!
Our next stop was the concert-and boy did Taylor Swift put on a great show that night. We slept like babies and woke up and dressed for breakfast. The hotel's main restaurant "Epic" advertised GF menu options. Once seated, I questioned the waiter about Rachel's menu choices, prep area, ..etc This waiter was also very knowledgable about GF and what the restaurant could prepare for her. Her choice- a lobster omelette with brie and asparagus! GF toast from a dedicated toaster - I died and went to heaven!
Our 24 hours of girl-time was beyond what I had anticipated. With some planning, careful research, organization, and questioning any trip can be a positive, stress-free, safe one.
If you have had a great GF trip experience please share with us-we'd love to hear it! What tips do you have for planning a get-away when there are dietary restrictions involved? Recommend any resources for finding restaurants that are allergy friendly?
Thank you & safe travels!