Friday, May 18, 2012

Frito-Lay advances its gluten-free program

Frito-Lay has always been a gluten-free friendly company. Not only are a lot of its products, like Fritos corn chips and Lay's potato chip,s naturally gluten free. But the company has a complete list of its gluten-free products on its website:

The company today announced it is taking further steps in its gluten-free friendliness. It has developed a program to validate that its gluten-free products have less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which is the proposed standard by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Frito-Lay said products that are validated will have a "GF" icon and/or a statement on the bag of the bag indicating the products are gluten free.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bb's has a gluten-free menu

I hadn't been to bb's Restaurant and Bar in San Marco since going gluten free. I knew they had a reputation for being gluten-free friendly. But I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that they do have a gluten-free menu.
The gluten-free options are mainly salads, which I was planning to get anyway before I knew about the gluten-free menu. It also listed three of their "little b's" appetizers as gluten free:

yellowfin tuna tartare
meze platter with hummus
almond crusted calamari

I don't know why bb's doesn't have its gluten-free menu on its website. I always feel better when I go to a restaurant if I see a gluten-free menu, even if the place has a reputation for being gluten-free friendly.
Anyway, I've always liked bb's and would probably go there more often, but it's a bit pricey. But I would say it's a good gluten-free lunch spot near downtown.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Celiac researcher says no to Domino's

In case you're still undecided about Domino's, Dr. Fasano of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland says it's unsafe:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Disclaimers and price aside, I liked my Domino's gluten-free pizza

Despite the disclaimers, I had to try Domino's new gluten-free pizza last night. As you know, Domino's announced the availability of its gluten-free pizza on Monday but also said that it could not guarantee that it's safe for celiacs, because of cross-contamination issues in its kitchen. In fact, when you order online and click on the gluten-free crust, a disclaimer pops up on the screen. I give them a lot of credit for honesty.
I'm a bad example for other celiacs because I never really get sick from eating a small amount of gluten. But I was fairly confident I could eat the Domino's pizza and, of course, I didn't get sick last night.
Anyway, I really liked the pizza. I hadn't eaten Domino's in a long time even before getting diagnosed with celiac, but I've seen all those TV commercials with the CEO claiming they've improved the product. I have to say my pizza was very tasty, with a good crust.
But speaking of the Domino's commercials, how about giving us a break on price? Domino's says the pricing of its gluten-free pizza varies by store, and my small pizza (the only size available for gluten free) with two toppings was $11.99 plus tax.
When I went to Domino's to pick up my pizza, I saw the big sign on the window about its Monday through Wednesday carry-out deal of a large three-topping pizza for $7.99. And when I got home with my pizza and turned on the TV, I saw the commercial for that $7.99 carry-out special twice within 15 minutes.
Talk about rubbing it in ... just how much price gouging is a celiac supposed to take? Oh well, let's face it, we're used to it.

By the way, Domino's wasn't the only national chain to make gluten-free pizza news this week. Chuck E. Cheese announced it will begin testing a gluten-free pizza and chocolate cupcake in its Minnesota restaurants, with the hope of rolling it out nationally if all goes well.
All I can say for Chuck E. Cheese is, it's about time. Gluten free is irritating enough for adults but I've long realized that it has to be awful for kids, who have to feel left out at birthday parties when they can't enjoy the treats that the other kids are eating. I would have thought that Chuck E. Cheese would have realized this a long time ago and taken steps to come up with gluten-free options.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gluten free at The Players Championship, and maybe at Jaguars games

Once again, you will be able to find some gluten-free concessions at The Players Championship golf tournament this week. And as far as Jaguars games go this fall...we'll see.
For at least the second year in a row, the Players Championship will have gluten-free bread available for sandwiches at some of its concession stands, according to Matt Rapp, executive director of the tournament. He did not know the exact locations and said not all of the stands will have the gluten-free bread, but it will be available. The stands also have garden salads available as a gluten-free option.
I met Rapp this morning at a Champions for Education breakfast at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse. Among the attendees of that breakfast was Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn, so I introduced myself and told him I wanted to put a bug in his ear about getting more gluten-free items at Jaguars games. They did have Redbridge beer last year, even if it was difficult to find, but I personally think it's about time they offer gluten-free hot dogs.
I got that same kind of blank look from Kahn that we often see from people who don't know anything about gluten-free food. I asked him if he had heard from any other fans asking about gluten-free items and he said no.
So I don't know if I made an impression on him or not. But also at the meeting was Bill Prescott, the Jaguars official who I started bugging last year about gluten-free food and who made sure that at least Redbridge beer was available. I told him I'd be bugging him again this year as we get closer to the season.
Let's hope for the best.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Domino's introduces gluten-free pizza, with a disclaimer

Big pizza news today. Domino's Pizza is becoming the first national delivery chain to offer pizza with a gluten-free crust. But the announcement does come with a caution.
The company is also saying that while the pizza is made without gluten, it will be made in the same kitchen as its other pizzas. So it can not guarantee that the pizza will be free from gluten cross-contamination.
The pizzas should be available today in local Jacksonville stores.
Domino's has consulted with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness about the gluten-free pizzas. It has even prepared a video online to discuss the issues of how safe or not safe it is for people with gluten-related disorders.
I give them credit for honesty. Unlike when California Pizza Kitchen introduced its gluten-free pizzas last year, Domino's does recognize the issue of cross-contamination and is giving us all the information it can. Basically, it says to use our own judgment in deciding whether this pizza is safe.
Personally, I'll give it a try. I know I probably won't get sick because I generally don't get instantly sick from ingesting gluten, as a lot of other celiacs do.
The gluten-free pizzas will be available in a 10-inch size only, and Domino's says prices vary by store.

Outback's Chocolate Thunder as good as it looks

It seems like when you look up the list of gluten-free restaurants in any city in America, Outback Steakhouse always shows up. The restaurant chain has a pretty good gluten-free menu with a number of steaks, as well as chicken and seafood dishes, on the menu.
But probably the most intriguing item on the menu is the gluten-free version of its Chocolate Thunder From Down Under dessert. It's described as a flourless brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings and whipped cream.
As good as it looks, I generally avoid desserts. But on my last visit to Outback, we got extremely slow service (long story), prompting me to complain. In response, the manager came over and offered a free Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. How could I refuse?
Bottom line: it was delicious. I felt sick afterward because I was already full before I started, but it was well worth it this one time. Maybe some other time if I starve myself all day, I can order one.
And let this be one more item debunking the myth that a gluten-free diet is a weight loss regimen.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May is Celiac Awareness Month

Today is the first day of Celiac Awareness Month. It's time to teach the world that a gluten-free diet is not for weight loss but is a treatment of a medical condition.

I'll have more on this next week in my monthly TU column, but I just wanted to mark the occasion.