It’s hard for me to write this post without giving a bit of background. I’m gluten intolerant. I eat gluten-free at home (which is clearly not that often). I try to avoid it in restaurants, but I don’t make even a fraction of the effort someone truly living gluten-free must. I’m not Celiac and I’m not barley sensitive and this makes it easy for me to cheat and just accept the consequences. Depending on how much gluten or what type was in my meal, my stomachache will range from a slight nuisance to a crippling pain (Cheese Nips were the culprit I first identified in a more severe attack). I’ve always considered Seattle to be a fairly gluten-free friendly city. Lots of places identify their menus as having gluten-free options, but often when you look at them, that just means they have salads and if you choose carefully, you can get some gluten-free dressing.
On the suggestion of a former co-worker, B and I decided to have our pre-game dinner last night at Deschutes Brewery & Public House. First of all, it’s a gorgeous space and was filled with life on this Friday night. We sat down and the first thing I noticed was the secondary menu the host handed me.
I was so excited! This wasn’t any two item gluten-free menu. It included so many items they could make gluten-free. They have an in-house bakery and brewery, so both the gluten-free bread and the gluten-free beer were made on site. Going to this game was a big deal for both me and B and, as silly as it sounds, I almost wanted to cry when I realized I could have whatever I wanted to eat (including a pre-game beer) without worrying I would be miserable later in the evening. I had the Oregon beef, blue cheese and bacon burger and a beer. We started with gluten-free sweet potato fries with aioli. B had the meat lovers pizza.
Now, this bun might not look like much, but it was wonderful. It was a little thin, but that was fine by me. I don’t like too much bread on my burger. Of course, the most important thing to note is that it tasted like bread!! As anyone who has experienced gluten-free bread will tell you, most of it is three times the weight of regular bread and completely impossible to use because it practically disintegrates in your hand. I mentioned to our server, Daniel, that it was awesome and he said their baker had worked extra hard on it. I’m extra grateful. I was also really impressed with how seriously the staff took the gluten restriction. When I ordered the sweet potato fries gluten-free, he immediately pointed to the bottle of mustard on the table and said, “Don’t eat that. It’s not gluten free.” The woman who brought the fries to the table reminded me again. When we ordered our entrees, Daniel asked if I wanted soup, fries or salad with my burger. I asked what the soup was and before he told me, he said “It won’t be good for you. It’s not gluten-free.” Thanks to Daniel and Deschutes, I successfully had my first completely gluten-free restaurant meal that didn’t leave me feeling one bit deprived. In fact, I felt quite the opposite. I love you, Deschutes Brewery!
I also left encouraged that good gluten-free bread is an option. I’ve been on a mission to buy Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s new cookbook as I’ve heard they have an excellent bread recipe. Now, I’m extra motivated. We’re hoping to shop a bit today in Portland and I’ll definitely make a point of ducking into the first bookstore I see.
We had a great time at the game and were so happy to see so many other UK fans in the stands. I’m fairly certain there were more UK fans than Portland fans. Though totally unrelated to food, the sense of community B and I felt at the game was overwhelming. For him, it was like coming home. For me, it felt like being accepted into an important aspect of B’s life, not just by him (UK basketball has been an important part of our relationship for awhile now), but by the other fans we met and talked to. It was so amazing to see the support and feel the connection to hundreds of people we’ve never met. As B’s mom has told me on a couple of occasions, “It’s just Wildcat love!” It didn’t hurt that we won, either.