The title of this entry suggests that I eat at the restaurant in question quite often. Actually, I do not. I was at the hotel for four nights, but only ate at the restaurant twice. That's how I survived it without compromising my gluten free diet.
The point of this article is not to rant against the hotel, but to illustrate what can go wrong at a restaurant, and how to deal with it and remain gluten-free.
The Problem with the Restaurant
I was a hotel attending an intensive course to help me with the direction of my life and my business. Because I have a gluten allergy and given that there would be no time to look for food outside the hotel, and anticipating challenges in finding food to suit my allergy requirements, I mostly bought my own food. I ate at the restaurant twice, and this was not a happy experience.
Because the course I was attending involved a lot of people, they had a buffet arranged for us. Before buying tickets for the buffet, I told the hotel staff what my allergies are, and asked if I could be accommodated. I was told this was possible.
Luckily, I only pre-purchased the dinners. When I showed up at the buffet, it turned out that I could really only eat the salad! The first night, Cindy, a really service super-star, was able to arrange an alternate meal for me. The second night she was not there, and the staff came up with something that technically I could eat, but really was pretty unsatisfactory.
Bringing My Own Gluten-Free Food
Breakfasts and lunches did work really well because I bought my own gluten-free food.
I do not eat gluten, but I can eat oatmeal. I brought a one-cup immersion heater to boil water, and added that to a bowl of instant oatmeal. Adding walnuts and almonds made it a pretty good and complete breakfast.
For lunch, I bought rice cakes, and canned meat (which I found at an Italian store in my home town). The cans have pull-tabs, so they are easy to open, and do not stink like fish, so that worked very well.
Planning for Next Time
I have another similar trip coming up in March. This time I will bring dinner as well as breakfast and lunch.
I have not planned my meals yet, but I have purchased a single-burner electric stove which I can fit in my suit-case. Some camping pots and implements will complete my kitchen. I will probably have rice with something out of a can – not exciting but better than restaurant food. If I can, I will try to come up with something interesting, but it will all have to work as airplane luggage, so there will be challenges. I'll add more when I have worked out the details.
More About Immersion Heaters
A few people have been asking what an immersion heater is. You put it in to a cup or mug of cold water, plug it in, and it heats up. After a time, the water will boil.