let's talk about shopping...

... grocery shopping.

i'm kind of a health nut.  my boyfriend is most definitely a health nut.  and after years of being nutty we've kind of turned away from the non-organic food purveyors of the world for everything but our paper products and cleaning supplies.  the major issue we're suffering from in doing this is a financial one.  yeah, whole foods, you know i'm talking about you.  you are a pricey little number, aren't you?  but alas, i do like whole foods.  and that is why it is first on my list to discuss.

if you're living a GF lifestyle, i'm willing to bet that you find yourself lost amongst the shelves at whole foods market about once a week.  maybe even more if you're livin' large without the aid of an auto to help you carry those biodegradable bags home.  (forget about lugging those suckers in the rain.  don't go there.)  whole foods has so many GF options, scattered in their bakery section to their packaged goods to their prepared foods.  heck, they'll even bake you up a GF cake and write your name across the top if you're really pumped about it.  they've also gone through the trouble of preparing info about GF diets, store-specific lists of products that gluten-avoiders can consume, and recipes for those of us that are so inclined.

i will be sort-of inclined on saturday.  dan is heading out early that morning to take the LSATs and when he gets home i want to have a warm batch of chocolate chip cookies waiting for him.  (how great am i, right?)  no, he's not GF, but i want to eat some too!  as long as the mix is tasty enough he doesn't seem to mind at all that he's going wheatless during snack time.  i usually go with one of pamela's cookie mixes, but i may venture out for something new this time.  maybe.  pamela's are just so good!  i'm heading to whole foods at some point today to grab some stuff and we'll see what i can find.  

i love playing that game.  

the last time i went out on a wild food hunt i wound up snaring myself some pizza crust mix made by namaste foods.  oh my word.  it was crazy good.  probably the best GF pizza crust i've ever had, and i've had a whole bunch ranging from mixes, to pre-made, to complete frozen pizzas.  It was wonderfully seasoned with oregano and rosemary and it baked up to a thin, lightly crispy, browned crust.  i rolled it out into an oblong, uneven mess on a large cookie sheet, and i topped my 1/2 with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and some chili flakes.  dan went a little more loopy and added some chicken strips and pepperoni to his.  even though i rolled the crust thin, it held up to dan's meaty masterpiece, and it reheated just fine for each of our subsequent pizza meals that came from that initial, massive creation.  i give this one 4 thumbs up, because dan's here adding his thumbs to mine.  wish i had a picture to share.

okay, okay.  come back with me to the topic at hand.  let's wrap this bad boy up with my second health-food store of note.  this one, while not super GF friendly, offers unbelievable deals.  i have to say that this one is probably my favorite.  

trader joe's-alicious

the prices at this joint are unreal, especially if you've become accustom to the whole foods money scale.  i frequent this place to grab some flash-frozen fish filets that are usually only about $4 or $5 for two large, fresh pieces of salmon or halibut.  i was there yesterday and picked up a large bag of frozen jumbo shrimp for only $5.99.  (i am going to cook from a recipe tomorrow night!  more on that then...) 

TJ's is not the place to get your GF cake mixes, pastas, or anything specialty like that.  it is the place, however, to nab some amazing kalamata hummus, organic bananas, slivered raw almonds, chicken tamales and whatever cheeses strike your fancy.  this time the goat cheese struck mine.

i say that they're not super GF friendly.  well, that's in comparison to whole foods.  they really do try to lend a hand, and in an effort to gain affection from our side TJ's has prepared a GF list of products sold in its stores that's available on the website or via this link here.  i suggest you take a peak before going because some of the options on there might surprise you.  i was a bit surprised and i've shopped at TJ's a billion times before between chicago and when i lived in boston.  

okay, on to the fun stuff.  joe (we're on a first-name basis now) has special contracts with various vineyards and wine distributors, and this allows the store to sell wines that you will not find anywhere else for prices that will make you feel like you've already had a glass or two before going to the store.  ever heard of two-buck chuck?  it's actually $2.99 chuck now but this is where it comes from.  unless you're 19 and really want to get wine-tanked with a bunch of friends, let me suggest another option for your palate.  my most favorite wine there is called zarafa.  

i'm missing the necessary accent marks because i haven't a clue how to type them.  anyway, the sauvignon blanc and pinotage from this brand are mighty tasty.  the former is light and delicate and absolutely delish when sipped with one of TJ's fish dishes.  the latter is an airy red with an incredible cherry aftertaste that i'd imagine would be fantastic with some dark chocolate.  or maybe some pamela's chocolate chip cookies.

it's time for me to write a grocery list.  happy shopping gluterinis.


got a lot to say today.

my sister, who lives in brooklyn and is oh-so up to date and UpToTheMinute about so many things posh and handy, has made me aware of the gluten-free restaurant awareness program.  this is a tremendous resource for anyone heading to the new york area, however, it just hasn't quite taken off in chicago just yet.  i say this because my zip code search for GF restos within chicago resulted in only ONE listing, and it was for outback steakhouse.  while i have nothing against a chain with decent recipes, this is really a sad showing.

chicago.  where are you?


i have to hand it to the gluten intolerance group though.  they've gone and done a lot of the work by making this sort of list available and checking on those GF menus to make sure that they meet certain requirements.  but wait, that's not all.  they will actually help a place become GF by providing the restaurant with info about GF dietary needs, how to maintain an allergen-controlled kitchen, and ways to train their staff so that they are aware and educated.  furthermore, there are levels of GF recognition, and they list these with the participating restaurants and rank them by stars.  how handy is that?  i'm into handy.  check it out.


now onto the next topic ~
i can dig some good chain dining every once in a while.  if anything, knowing which places are good and suit your tastes always comes in handy if you're traveling.  let's start out with a little moo-goo-no-gluten.

p.f. chang's.  i'm sure you've seen it.  walked past those faux foo dog statues guarding the front doors.  maybe even climbed on top of one of the creatures and made yourself a little kodak moment.  perhaps next time you should head inside.  it's kind of fun to enjoy a little chinese, especially since it's just so difficult to find anything that is truly GF (or without MSG) unless you make it yourself.  well, you already know that the home-cooking biz is not for me, so i opt for professionally done meals.  and i must stay that i've had some good ones here.
GF menu breakdown:

starters/salads = 2 options
noodles = 1
entrees = 9
vegetarian entrees = 2
sides (also vegetarian) = 2
desserts =1

i have had 2 things off the menu on 2 different occasions.  one was the buddha's feast, which is for the vegetarian sect or just for those that would like to detox and eat chinese at the same time.  it's basically a little basket of steamed veggies that comes with the GF dipping sauce.  it's bland.  the sauce is kind of bland.  and the veggies are, well, steamed and just steamed.  but, if you're a health nut or just madly in love with your vegetables, you may enjoy it.  i would not recommend this dish for the heartier eaters among us, but i like it.

the next item i tried was the singapore street noodles dish.  this consists of super thin vermicelli rice noodles, made yellow with a nice, light curry sauce.  nicely jullianed veggies are mixed in along with shrimp and chicken.  i really like this one.  the vegetables are crispy and the flavors are strong (beware of garlic!  but you don't eat chinese and expect to chat it up without popping some altoids after).  it's a big portion for me so i took 1/2 of it home for lunch the next day and then used what was left for a side with dinner.  it reheated well, and made my whole apartment smell like it for the next 12 hours.  which made me hungry all over again.

reservations:  yeah, on a friday or saturday night if you're heading to the one downtown.

cost:  $25-30 per person for dinner

p.f. chang's china bistro
530 n wabash ave
chicago 60611

there are lots of other locations so check out the website if you're dining outside of downtown chicago.


let's go outback tonight.. doo doo doo (got that song in my head along with visions of boomerangs).

steak?  shimp?  hankering for that hearty feast at a reasonable price?  then go outback tonight.  it's decent.  i'll give it that.  but everything is incredibly salty-ish which gives me the feeling that it's been preserved to all heck so whatever you could possibly want will be ready at a moment's notice.  but that's just me.  i know lots of people that love this place and one person in particular that even calls this her favorite spot.  i have to be honest and say that my tasting of the menu has been very limited, and so their steaks and pork and so forth may actually be quite good.  the variety on their GF menu is certainly good.  here's the breakdown:

starters = 3 options
salads = 3
steaks = 7 with various options to add stuff on like shrimp
grilled entrees = 4
fish = 6
"classics" = 4 (this is stuff like baby back ribs)
sides = 8
desserts = 3
burgers and sandwiches = 6 (but they suggest you order it without the bread and bring your own bun, building your burger at the table.  to me this is cheating having it on the GF menu then!  also, the "aussie fries" are not GF, so you're outta luck.)
kid's entrees = 5
cocktails = 8

reservations:  eh.  if you're so inclined.

cost:  about $20 per person

outback steakhouse
8101 w higgins road
chicago 60631

since this place is super duper chain-eriffic, there are TONS of locations.  you can find another one here.


lastly, i have a double rule-breaker.  bonefish grill is another place that i have not been and while it is in IL, it is not in chicago.  but, i thought i'd list it since they (1) fall into the chain restaurant category, and (2) they have a separate and established GF menu.  from what i gather about this place, it's basically a seafood joint (duh and, of course, duh) that touts freshness and so forth, but it also has some steak and pork and such on the menu.  here's the GF breakdown:

starters = 2 options
salads = 3 
(there are no listed GF soups)
sides = 1, and to add to that their usual entree add-on of seasonal veggies is GF, with the zucchini being the exception.  this confuses me.)
grilled fish = 9 (plus 3 sauce options to go with that)
specialties = 3 (1 chicken and 2 steak)
alcoholic beverages = all wines and cocktails 

reservations:  can't say.  never been.  

cost:  about $35 per person

bonefish grill
no chicago locations, but there are a WHOLE BUNCH of others listed on the website.

super. thanks for asking.

hello, and welcome to the insomniac hour.

this is day number ? (lost count) that i haven't been able to sleep the night through. not even close. i'm lucky if my eyes stay shut for an hour or two at a time. it's not that i don't fall asleep. it's that i don't stay asleep. and once i'm up, i'm up. but the thing is, i don't live alone and the apartment is not at all a big one. oh hell, we live in a "soft loft" and have a 2-foot gap between the walls and the ceiling in the living room/kitchen, bedroom and office. this means that i can't spend my nights casting spells and brewing brews or even watching tv.

so i lie in bed.
just lie there.
in bed.
lying there.
under the covers.
eyelids peeled back so far my eyelashes shake hands with my eyebrows.
i lie there.

it's a good time for my mind to wander, but i don't always have a good time when it does. it tends to find those extra spooky moments from that episode of paranormal state that i knew i shouldn't watch but did anyway. things in my bedroom are dark and the faint bits of light take on the form of other things and

was that a face? did i see a face?

i am most certainly haunted by a brain that doesn't know when to shut up. it retraces the day and the year and even finds ways to go back and evaluate the future. i make plans that i forget and i listen to my dog snore as he sleeps deeply with his hind leg in the air and his groin exposed.

i think about my dogs and i think that it's funny and almost ironic that i wound up with 2 adopted animals with more food allergies than i have. no corn, no soy, no wheat, no barley, no oats, no shellfish, no preservatives, no sweet potatoes... i feel like they're kindred spirits in a way. they count on me to keep them healthy and i understand and do my best and i'm pretty sure that even if my best weren't enough they'd still feel like the luckiest dogs around. they're just like that. it makes me feel good.

and as i type this i remember how just a few hours ago my boyfriend came running into this room just having returned from the gym, and with one grand gesture he peeled his t-shirt off to show me that he can almost flex one of his pec muscles. he was proud and we both smiled and i love how we are both able to truly enjoy the little things.  unless those little things are green beans. he does not enjoy those.

i live for the details.

i don't know what got me here. sure, things are not perfect. never have been. never will be. i don't know why i deserve the things that i have. i don't think i do. don't know how i possibly could. and so, between my family, my friends, and this life that i live i know that i have to somehow earn this and then tip the scales in such a way that i'm lighter from giving. but i don't know how to do this. i do know that whatever i do it has to be big and so i lie awake and uneasy at night, trying to spin those last few pieces into position. until they fall i will make you some tea and wash some of your socks with my laundry and feel heavy and grateful.

this insomniac's hour is done.


pig's feet and puppy dog tails

meat alone is always gluten-free, isn't it?  although i choose not to feast upon the land-dwelling type, that didn't stop me from making a trip to the peoria packing & butcher shop in the near-west side.  

it looks like a little bit of nothing with a little bit of a parking lot out front.  it's actually not a whole lot when you walk in, but the bits of this and that placed out on table tops was enough to make me stop and look.  and look.  and walk from table to table just to see what the heck a skinned turkey neck looked like anyway.  as i strolled through the aisles of bleached tripe and cow tongue twice the thickness and of equal length of my arm, i couldn't help but feel like i was being watched.  did someone know i didn't belong here?  that i wasn't going to actually eat any of this?  or worse...

that i was shopping for my dogs???

it was like 20 lasers burning into my back and i turned around ever so slowly.  cooly.  calmly.  visions of a bloodied, wild-haired, cleaver-bearing butcher flashed through my brain and i inhaled the cold, damp air.  

oh.  my.  goodness. 

my eyes caught the gaze of another pair, frozen and still, stuck in the visage of what must have been a rather large pig.  this head was stacked upon another head which was balanced on another and all of them were looking my way like some insane mona lisa-esque art installation.  my dogs are so not getting one of those.  

where's the chicken?

the place is basically a refrigerated warehouse filled with cuts and slabs and racks of everything you can imagine.  if you're especially adept at preparing a whole fish for a meal i'd imagine their prices on that tilapia are quite good.  in fact, the prices on everything were better than quite good.  and as i carried my little basket in the crook of one arm and with my plastic-gloved hands, i got lots of tasty bits for 2 hungry raw-eating dogs.

dan came along and he found some polish sausage and beautiful sirloins for himself.  this is, after all, a place for people food.  and there were people-a-plenty filling carts and baskets with all sorts of ingredients for stews and bar-b-ques.  and it all was so plentiful and so fresh it felt almost a shame to leave only to know that it would all be packed away for the evening and then lights-out for the night.  

sometimes a sincere feeling of gratitude can overwhelm you in the oddest of places.  and so, while in the snouts and ears side of the room i looked back over the other 3 corners and was amazed at how much we have and have available.  and how much we take it for granted.  and how in this little cold warehouse of a butcher shop you can pop in and grab those 75 chicken wings you've been hankering for and never really truly know what it feels to want.

and they may come in handy for the super bowl on sunday.

peoria packing & butcher shop
1307 w lake st
chicago 60607

monday - saturday:  6am - 5pm
sunday: 9am - 3pm


my stove plays mean tricks on me.

oh how i wish i could cook.  

i wish i understood spices.  i wish a beautiful fish fillet would speak to me, and tell me which flavorings it craves.  and sides.  what was that?  you want a nice, leafy arugula salad with a light lemon vinaigrette to sit next to you?  oh of course.  i knew that.

but i didn't.  i'd be lying if i said that i knew.  

sure, i can cook things that are okay.  palatable.  edible.  most of the time they come from a box, or even more frequently, from a wonderful little pre-mixed spice shaker that i nabbed from the local jewel-osco grocery.  luckily, i live with a man who thinks that the knock-off version of shake-n-bake, when tossed over chicken, is his own homemade 5-star meal.  i do not have to deal with the burden of terribly discerning taste buds.  one of my dogs ate part of a sock the other day.  they also enjoy my cooking.

i feel obliged to say that i have a handicap -- something that has prevented me from deserving that finely-fitted toque.   i am an apartment dweller.  my kitchens have always been tiny.  cheap appliances.  countertops that disappear underneath a cutting board.  don't even get me started on storage.  i own a food processor that can handle 1/2 cup of anything at its max and i still don't know where i'm going to put the dang thing.  i don't own a set of beaters.  i do, however, have a blender, and have learned the hard way that mashed potatoes should never be made in one of those.  i could have built myself another set of cabinets with the cement that resulted from that little experiment gone awry.

okay, so it wasn't an experiment.  i honestly thought it would work.  

so now do you know why i don't write about cooking?  i admire the blogs that do.  i drool over the wonderful dishes that they whip together with expertise and slight of hand.  i can almost taste the photos that they post, as if they are not only professional chefs but it seems like ansel adams lies resting in their family tree.  if you want to learn how to actually make something yourself from scratch, my most favorite (and in my opinion, the most outstanding) blog on living gluten-free is gluten-free girl.  but wait, if you go to her side, you may never return here.  

so now i'm assuming that i am writing to myself.  i find me entertaining most of the time.  

as far as actual cooking goes, there will be very little of that on this blog.  i just can't compete with what's out there, and i wouldn't want to eat my own creations anyway.  if i am feeling especially ambitious some day and it actually turns out okay, i'll post it.  but plan on seeing mostly resto reviews, chicago findings, and the occasional baking expedition that starts with a box of GF "just add water" mix.  some of those are amazing.  some just aren't.  and i'll tell you all about that too.  

aren't you pumped?  oh wait.  you're reading that other blog.  
well, i'm excited.


i'm going to break the rules a little bit here.  already.  

isn't that what rules are for?

i am writing about a place that i have not yet been.  but this allows me to bring up a very important topic for conversation: 
when was the last time you had one of those?  there's a magical place called swirlz cupcakes that's right here in chi-town.  why do i think this is so fabulous?  because they make GF cupcakes, of course!  (and reduced sugar ones, but not a combo of the two.)  what's more, is that they have a rotating schedule of flavors for ALL of their sweet little cakelets and that is inclusive of the the GF variety.  

i've been to places that sell GF bakery items, but there's always something lacking.  oh, i know what it is...  


it always seems to me like place X finds a decent recipe and then it sticks to its guns like its life is on the line.  never mind that customers inevitably get tired of the same old same old and start looking for another place to nosh.  weren't we once nomadic creatures?  by nature we get tired of things and our bodies crave variety and newness and differentness (sometimes webster's words are just not enough) and it's in the meeting of these desires that we feel full.  so, no.  no thanks.  i'll pass on that same-tasting dinner roll that i've had a billion times before.

this brings me back to swirlz and the wonderful world of mini cakes.  if you check out their flavor list, you'll see that they alternate their GF goodies.  yes!  someone that's willing to take a risk and try a new recipe!  how fabulous.  there are 6 different cupcakes to choose from and you can decide which to get simply by showing up to the place on that day.  did i mention how much i want to sink my chomps into a luscious chocolate grasshopper mint?  never before have i been confronted with cake options that extend beyond your chocolate/vanilla basics.  be still my heart.

holy cupcake, i think i love this place.

swirlz cupcakes
705 west belden 
chicago 60614

monday - saturday   10am - 7pm

PS:  the designer in me wants to say that i'm really digging their website design and cupcake logo.  nice job, folks.  oh, and did i mention that the name of the place is all in lower case letters?  yeah, i'm kind of into that.  plus i love the fact that their GF symbol is a cute bit of a swirl, and not a giant, menacing "GLUTEN FREE" or pen drawing of a wheat stalk with some form of "NO" symbol thrown on top.  


i want more.

okay.  so right on the heals of my last blog, i have an entry about a place dan and i checked out last night:


this place has a special GF menu that you can check out here.  i have to say that my dinner was super good.  since it was our first visit, the manager stopped by and offered us a free appetizer and we enjoyed 2 skewers of deliciously grilled, bacon-wrapped scallops.  the accompanying apricot sauce is not GF, and i don't eat meat (just fish), so i had my 3 scallops naked.  i have to say, they really didn't need anything as they were quite tender and tasty.  
for dinner i ordered the portabello mushroom and goat cheese sandwich off the GF menu.  it was SO GOOD.  we're talking a wonderfully seasoned mushroom cap with a cupcake-style swirl of goat cheese on top, and tart, tangy roasted red pepper slices and bits of some green (arugula?) all on a soft GF bun.  on the side i ordered herb-butter broccoli which came out as this massive spear laid in a small dish with a delicate butter sauce and tasty seasoning.

i shared this side with dan who ordered the red skin mashed potatoes (also GF).  those were quite delish as well.  dan got his meal from the regular menu and enjoyed a nice bit of steak with grilled shrimp skewers and it must of have been pretty tasty because he ate the whole thing.  i wound up taking 1/2 of my sandwich home only to eat it a few hours later because it was such a treat.  i haven't had a sandwich in almost 6 years!  but even if you scarfed down a sandwich yesterday, you'll still love it.  we enjoyed all this mingled with some nice pinot grigio and talks about things that made us laugh.

the atmosphere of the place has kind of a cool 1940s vibe to it with old pictures blown up on the walls to drive that idea home.  we were lucky and wound up against a wall in a booth, where we could see the crowded main dining area packed with tables and chairs and people and wait staff winding about carrying heaving trays on their shoulders.  they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. but dan and i tend towards quieter places and so our out-of-the-way location was much appreciated.  

reservations:  YES yes and yes.  i made ours on opentable, where you can earn points towards dinging dollars and such.  i had this pegged down a week in advance, although if you make yours on wednesday you'll probably get something decent.

cost:  with appetizer, dinner and no wine, plan on it running around $40 per person.  my sandwich only came to $10 and our app was free, so we made out with a smaller bill.


159 west erie street
chicago 60610

alrighty. here goes.

i am not a celiac.  nope.  

i apologize if you've found your way to this blog hoping to learn from the wise words of the diagnosed.  i have not officially been diagnosed.  and while you may not find any wise words here either, i do share something in common with the person that would find this blog and stick around long enough to read this far.  i am a very intolerant person.  perhaps intolerable?  i guess that's for others to decide.  but one thing is for sure and it's that my body does not appreciate or welcome the myriad of grains and additives that most celiacs must avoid.  perhaps i discovered my affliction before it had a chance to develop into something more.  perhaps this is what i've got and it's all it will be.  while so many things seem up in the air, these are a few things i am sure of:

1.  i was a colicky baby;
2.  i have lost many a grandparent and great-grandparent from digestive cancers that may very well have been a result of this life-long intolerance;
3.  i suffered from chronic, daily, dulling headaches which started once i hit my teens;
4.  i became lactose intolerant;
5.  i would take 2 bites of something and not be able to eat for the rest of the day and became allergic to anything within view; and
6.  my doctor couldn't do anything about it except send me a condescending GI specialist who kept asking me if my issues were caused by boys.  

boys?!  can boy troubles make you lactose intolerant?  sure, maybe a loss of appetite and lack of sleep could be related to the relationship woes.  but what about this rash on my swollen lips from eating that apple?  did the opposite sex cast a spell on me and cause that too?  c'mon buddy.  there's something else going on here.  see ya.

* *

i hated my parents and loved them all at the same time when they moved the family to london, england, away from our nice home with our nice yard with the great big climbing rock in good ol' new jersey.  okay, so for most that's a major upgrade.  and at the time (the summer after my senior year in high school) it seemed like a great adventure that i wanted no part of because that was supposed to be the last few warm months for backyard parties and beach (shore) bonfires before leaving my very best friends forever and heading off to college.  i fought to stay and i lost.  i packed.  i cried.  i got rashes from fruit.  i moved.  

scene opens with my mother and me in the health section of a bookstore in london.  enter dr. (professor) brostoff's book about food allergies and intolerances.  the elimination diet.  and my mother's happy surprise that this brostoff guy worked in london.  oh joy of joys.  another doctor.  

she read the book.  then i read the book.  i cut out every last food that caused a reaction, might have caused a reaction, and just looked at the me wrong way.  i kept a food journal and i cut out wheat.  those next 2 weeks were full of withdrawal and sweaty sleepless nights, cravings and wretched mood swings that i'm sure made me wretched to deal with.  but there was a calm after the storm, and those headaches that hovered like a rain cloud were gone.  my head was lighter on my shoulders and i could think without getting tied up in knots.  that heaviness and fatigue began to dissipate.  

oh.  wow.

this is when i saw dr. brostoff.  i got the chance to tell the man in person that his book had changed my life.  but, at this point i was still suffering from other random food allergies and he treated me for those with kinesthetic tests and saline/allergen drops under the tongue that i gave to myself every day.  (the kinesthetic test for these allergies was awesome and crazy and i can go into that at another time.)

as the months went on i could eat and be hungry for the next meal.  for a year i rotated potentially and previously offended fruits and veggies and after time those annoying rashes left and never came back.  after 6 months i put my lactade in the cupboard and left it there for good.  this new diet was magic.

the reason i say that i am not a celiac is because i have had blood tests that show that i react to gluten but not to the severity that a celiac would.  so, i have to be strict with my diet but i can bake "normal" cookies for friends and not react to having wheat flour in the apartment and not be too concerned about cross-contamination with flour dust getting into the air.  i'm lucky.  i know this.  but i also work hard to keep myself healthy.

this whole experience has changed my outlook on the world.  finding what i can eat influenced my life in profound ways, and i truly believe that we can heal all sorts of problems by figuring out this magical mix of foods that work.  my whole view has changed and i've never been happier, and i've never been healthier.  well...

one thing that i love and hate to do is go out to dinner.  i love a friday night out at a new restaurant with my boyfriend just sipping some nicely chilled wine and eating something delicious.  i hate a friday night trying to find something off the menu to order, afraid to tell the waitor that i have an "allergy" because of all the hullaballoo that results as the chef leaves the kitchen to talk to me in fear that i'll collapse on the dining room floor and then find myself legal representation.  i find it absolutely awkward to be treated like i'm different and then have a scene made about the ordeal.  i just want to order a salad and a meal and enjoy some good conversation.  ever try to use one of those "my food allergy explained" cards that you hand to the person taking your order?  they look at you like you've just announced that you're a carnivore and would like to order that woman's child that is seated behind you.  mmm.

so, this brings me to chicago.  i got here in october and while i haven't had much chance to really check out the dining world that this city has to offer, i plan on making my rounds.   and i plan on using this blog to write about any of the "chosen" spots that offer a GF menu or are especially and easily accommodating.  if you've found your way to this blog and have some places you've already discovered, share them!  the more choices we have the more fabulous meals we'll all be able to enjoy.

so that's it for now.