Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gluten-Free Cape Cod, MA

Every year around February, I begin planning our summer vacation. It has been a long standing tradition in my family to visit Cape Cod, MA. I went every summer as a kid and I like to think of it as my second home. I have continued this tradition with my husband and daughter, even though my husband laments that he would like to visit other places at some point. I love the Cape for many reasons. The ocean (of course!), the quaint little villages, the shopping, the many, many family activities found there and of course, the restaurants.
For a good six months before vacation, I spend time googling places to stay, places to visit, making lists of things to pack, gazing at webcams, dreaming of that first day when I can stick my bare feet in the sand. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I have added emailing some of our favorite restaurants to find out if they are willing to give out allergen information for their menu items. Some restaurants reply by happily providing a list of items where no gluten ingredients have been added. Of course, there is always the disclaimer that cross-contamination may occur and that they can't always rely on their suppliers for complete allergen info. Other restaurants never reply at all. I'm guessing they probably don't want to be held responsible for making someone sick. I have even heard stories of restaurants who, upon finding out that someone has a food allergy, have refused to serve them. In any case, I have been able to find two Cape eateries that I will be visiting this summer.
BZ's Mexican Pizzeria - 682 Main Street, Dennisport, MA.
They advertise gluten-free pizza on their website. They even state that they have specially trained their staff about cross-contamination. You can bet I will try it!
Sundae School Ice Cream - 381 Lower County Rd., Dennisport, MA
They also have locations in Harwichport and East Orleans.
We visit here every summer and there is no place like it. Homemade ice cream, hot fudge, real whipped cream and a bing cherry on top! I received at email response to my request for allergen information this morning. As I suspected, all their ice creams are gluten-free, with the exception of those with mix-ins such as oreo cookies, brownies, etc. Also, cones are out. The ice creams and hot fudge are sweetened with corn syrup and there is only vanilla and sugar added in the whipped cream. Now, my disclaimer is that I didn't ask about whether the vanilla used in the whipped cream or the cocoa used in the fudge is gluten-free. If you are super gluten sensitive you would need to ask more questions along with asking for a clean scoop to be used. For my needs, this information is good enough. I'm lucky that I don't become seriously ill from ingesting a small amount of gluten.
As with any of us who are gluten-intolerant, we have to use our own judgement when dining out in restaurants. Lord knows, I have eaten more salads than I have in my entire lifetime since being diagnosed last year, simply because it's just easier. No croutons, no dressing, no blue cheese, has become my mantra.
I am also looking forward to visiting Trader Joe's. Since there are none of these stores in our area, it is always a special treat. This year, it will be especially fun to look for their gluten-free items. I plan on taking a small cooler just in case I find some goodies to buy on the last day of vacation to bring home. Hopefully, there will be room in the car.
Now, where's my flip-flops?


lace1070 said...

What great news that you can eat some good stuff while on vacation! I sooo miss the Cape ~ we aren't going until Labor Day weekend. Have a great time ~ Lace

Kat said...

Thanks for the great info - I have to remember this the next time my hubby and I go to the Cape! :)

~M said...

Thanks for the info! According to most sites I've read, celiacs/gluten-free folk don't get sick from vanilla due to the distillation process (similar to vinegar...all vinegars are gf except malt vinegar - or alcohol that is distilled like hard liquor without additives).