Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Celiac Awareness Month

It's Celiac Awareness Month.

Obviously, anybody reading this is already aware, and I have nothing new to add. But let's hope the rest of the world becomes more aware.


Monday, April 2, 2018

No hot dogs or beer with Shrimp

I attended opening day at Marlins Park in Miami last week (to see the Cubs, not the Marlins), and was very plesaed to be able to enjoy a gluten-free hot dog and beer from a dedicated cart.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to do the same when the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp open their season at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
The Avoiding Gluten cart at Marlins Park

The Shrimp (is that what we call them for short?) will have gluten-free snacks available and a gluten-free cider, but unfortunately no hot dog or beer.

To his credit, Ernest Hopkins, director of food and beverage, is well aware of cross-contamination concerns with gluten-free concessions. And the reason the Shrimp don't offer things like hot dogs is that he doesn't think they can safely provide gluten-free options like that.

But, it's still a disappointment because as I've said many times, hot dogs and beer are part of the ballpark experience.

I was also disappointed when I attended several spring training games at Florida ballparks last month and couldn't find gluten-free hot dogs or beer. But I was pretty confident that I would find them in Miami, and I was rewarded.

On my last visit to Marlins Park three years ago, I was pleased to find a dedicated cart with gluten-free items but irritated that the cart was called the "Fit Cart." Like hot dogs and beer are part of a fitness regimen.

I was able to talk to the Marlins' executive chef and he assured me that the name of the cart would change. Sure enough, as you can see on the photo, the cart is now the "Avoiding Gluten" cart. I assume they used that name for legal reasons in case someone challenges the notion that the food meets the FDA standards to be labeled gluten free.

But again, on a cart where everything "avoids" gluten, I am pretty confident that the food I get is gluten free.

Some may be disappointed that the options are limited but all I want at the ballpark is a hot dog and beer. I was very happy.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

No gluten-free doughnuts at the Mini Bar

I was looking forward to the opening of the Mini Bar, a new doughnut shop in Jacksonville Beach, because it was promising to offer fresh gluten-free doughnuts. At least that's what the Times-Union story said.

So I went to visit this morning and found, of course, they don't have gluten-free doughnuts.

We can talk about how unreliable the Times-Union has become since they whittled the staff down to nothing, but let's talk about the doughnuts instead.

Basically, they told me they are considering offering gluten-free doughnuts, but they haven't figured out a way to do it safely (free from cross-contamination) and to keep them fresh. They considered making a separate batch of gluten-free doughnuts early in the morning before they start making the other doughnuts, but then they might not be able to keep them fresh.

So, we still have to do without fresh gluten-free doughnuts.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Party City calls celiacs "gross"

I thought we had moved past this and it's been an awfully long time since I've posted anything on this subject (I mostly post these days when I find something new to eat).

But you should read this post from the Gluten Dude, one of the top bloggers out there. I haven't seen this ad and I don't want to, but apparently this retailer called Party City was running an ad which makes fun of celiacs, referring to "people like that" and saying it's "gross."

It's just a reminder that when Celiac Awareness Month comes up, we still have work to do.

You can read the blog here:


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Jersey Mike's does gluten-free right

I walked into a Jersey Mike's today for the first time, after they rolled out their gluten-free subs this week, and I was impressed.

I ordered a gluten-free sub, and the worker immediately went to change his gloves. I complimented him on that move and he told me this was his first gluten-free order, but he was obviously trained well. Jersey Mike's appears to have a very good gluten-free procedure.

After changing gloves, the worker proceded to wipe down the meat slicer. I think he actually went overboard cleaning it, but I did appreciate it. When he was done, he changed gloves again.

Then he took a gluten-free sub roll out of the wrapper and placed it on a clean tray. That's also part of the procedure -- they use the tray to ensure that my sub doesn't come in contact with surfaces where other subs were made.

And finally, the procedure requires that the one worker who started it with fresh gloves completes the sub, rather than hand it off to another worker.

I definitely was impressed with it all.

I ordered a simple sub -- turkey and provolone -- because it was the special of the day. It was good. I'll probably try more adventurous subs on future visits. And there will be future visits, because I felt very good about the whole experience.

This particular Jersey Mike's was in the Winn-Dixie shopping center on Baymeadows Road, off of I-295. I have to assume that other locations have the same procedures.

So if you're in the neighborhood of one, you'll want to give it a try.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Jersey Mike's introduces gluten-free sub rolls

According to a story posted by Nation's Restaurant News, Jersey Mike's Subs will be offering a gluten-free bun at its stores nationwide beginning next month.

This is great news. Jersey Mike's has at least 10 stores in the Jacksonville area that I counted on its website.

Currently, the only sub chain in the area with gluten-free buns is Larry's Giant Subs. Larry's is a local chain and I eat there often, but it's always nice to have other options.

According to the story, Jersey Mike's worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group to train its staff to deal with cross contamination issues, which is also good news.

The story says there will be a $1.50 surcharge for regular gluten-free buns and $3 for giant subs.

You can read the full story here:


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lots of food options at EverBank Field

I finally got to EverBank Field today for a gluten-free food tasting hosted by Delaware North, the company that took over the Jaguars' concessions last year.

The concessions menu is still a work in progress, executive chef Sean Kinoshita told me, but you'll be amazed at the gluten-free options you can find at the stadium this year.

We were supposed to do this food tasting before the Jaguars' first home game, but Hurricane Irma ruined that plan and we were finally able to do it today. It's still timely, with the Florida-Georgia game coming up Saturday (these same food items will be available there) followed by Jaguars home games on back-to-back Sundays.
A sampling of the gluten-free food
choices at EverBank Field.

The options are numerous, from several varieties of hot dogs and sausages on gluten-free buns as well as hamburgers, barbecued pork and smoked turkey.

And you can get a combo with french fries because, yes, the french fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer.

Kinoshita and the Delaware North staff are keenly aware of cross-contamination issues and Kinoshita said he has been working with the concession staff to make sure they understand the importance of it.

We also got to sample varieties of nachos (I really liked the barbecued port nachos) and a burrito bowl with chicken and/or pork.

You can find these food items at concession stands throughout the stadium, and the Jaguars' website has a pretty good guide on where to find them:


The one drawback is there is gluten-free cider available, but still no gluten-free beer. But the staff indicated they will work on getting Redbridge or some other gluten-free beer.

Like I said, the menu is still a work in progress, but I'm very happy with the progress I've seen so far. I plan on eating at my next visit to EverBank Field when the Jaguars return home next month.