Gluten-Free In Los Angeles: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Bubba Gump 7Chaz wanted to walk to Universal City Walk from Dawn’s house. Totally doable walk, but I lacked the energy to walk the steep hills with all the up and down the stairs and driveway I did at Dawn’s in the days prior. Instead, we drove with the intent to walk around after having lunch.

Honolulu, please!

Honolulu, please!

It took us some time to decide on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. because mobile reception was horrible and I couldn’t use my Find Me Gluten-Free App. This meant looking at what was available and going by what we knew. And we knew Bubba Gump has a dedicated gluten-free menu, having been to the one in Honolulu several  years ago when I was just gluten-free and dairy-free.

Bubba Gump 2I started with an Adult Root Beer Float (root beer float with rum). I figured after holding down the fort for seventy-two hours without anyone’s head catching on fire, I deserved it. Plus, it was like having dessert first and I like having dessert first. It makes me feel empowered.

Bubba Gump 3Then I went with the Shrimp and Veggie Skewers. I tried the butter sauce, and while it was good, I preferred the simplicity of the shrimp and veggies on their own.

Bubba Gump 4We strolled around, checking out stores here and there. I found myself a new coffee mug with different Hello Kitty faces all over it. Of course I found a lot more Hello Kitty things I wanted and convinced myself it was not a good idea. Besides, I wouldn’t have enough room in my suitcase.

Coasters can be artwork

Coasters can be artwork

Then I found this amazing Wonder Woman poster in the window of a comic book store as we left it. After some searching I discovered the artist is Ant Lucia and she did it as part of a series for QMx. I had every intention of ordering the print but talked myself out of it because I have nowhere to hang it. And prints like that shouldn’t be hidden away in a closet.

Bubba Gump 6To end the day out, we saw Lucy at the AMC Theater there since it was the only movie playing soon either of us had an interest in. If you ask me, I’m still not sure about the movie other than Luc Besson has done better.

Gluten-Free In Lost Angeles: Katsu-ya

Katsu-yaGoing without sushi for months is excruciating. I was more than willing to oblige Dawn’s desire for sushi for dinner one night after bringing Mara Jade home. She chose Katsu-ya for takeout.

The restaurant has horrible reviews for its service in the restaurant, but great reviews for the food. I don’t think any of us would’ve handled poor service well that night. My order wasn’t my usual long list of maki rolls and nigiri since Chaz and I ate a late lunch that day.

Chaz and I used to eat Japanese food a lot in the days before I went gluten-free. The last four years I’ve stuck with sushi and sashimi. We are spoiled by our local sushi chef, Ken, who gets his fish direct and not through a middle-man. That’s an important thing out here in the Midwest. It means fresher fish which in turn means non-fishy tasting fish. Every Japanese restaurant we go to with friends and gets compared to Ken and his restaurant. Most never measure up. The last time we had sushi in California, two years ago, we weren’t impressed. Sometimes you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

My order was simple, Chirashi sushi. Basically sashimi served over sushi rice in a bowl. Honestly, simple sushi is the way it was meant to be. Not sushi with all the sauces, fried tempura, and cream cheese. Really, cream cheese in sushi is an abomination. I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you like the extras in your sushi. I’m just saying all that extra stuff runs counter to the intent of sushi. You should be able to taste the fish, rice, and vegetables, not all the crazy stuff added to it to appease Western appetites.

The tako (octopus) was tender, which is rare to find. My big test is the salmon. Truly fresh salmon will feel like butter in your mouth with just a hint of the taste of salmon. Katsu-ya passed my salmon test. I only wish I had thought to order more because once my sushi was gone, I was one sad Debi.

I’d be happy to order takeout from Katsu-ya the next time we visit.

Anyone else in the mood for sushi now?

What Will It Take? World Suicide Prevention Day 2014

phone Cali 316September 1st marked 2 years since I received the text that made me feel so alone in the packed L.A. Coliseum. 2 years since my cousin took his own life.

Mental illness is one of the main risk factors for suicide.

Stigma still surrounds mental illness. It still needs attention. It still needs to be discussed openly without judgment. It deserves the time on TV that Stand Up 2 Cancer gets. It deserves the time the Muscular Distrophy Association gets. Easter Seals and every other medical condition with TV fundraising/awareness specials.

Robin Williams is gone and the only people still talking about how he died are the people affected by mental illness. Either those diagnosed or their loved ones. Yes, it’s great to be nostalgic for the days when Robin entertained us as Mork from Ork and encouraged free-thinkers in Dead Poet’s Society. I’m nostalgic for the days when my cousin was still a baby and the days when he made me laugh as he got older. I can be nostalgic all I want, but it doesn’t change the fact that both of them committed suicide.

People say how “tragic” Robin’s death is. What about all the celebrities who died of “accidental overdose”? Those deaths were tragic and the same theme runs through all those deaths. Would our beloved comedy genius still be with us if this topic wasn’t still taboo? If all those accidental overdoses had been ruled “overdose” and we faced the root of the problem instead of the end result? If we didn’t moan about the tragedy until they were buried and threw the topic in the grave with them, covering it with dirt and forgetting about it?

What if we were as open about mental illness as we are about cancer? What would the discussion look like? What would change for those who need services? What would change with insurance coverage for said services? What would change for those in rural areas with inadequate access to needed services?

Social, psychological, cultural and other factors can interact to lead a person to suicidal behaviour, but the stigma attached to mental disorders and suicide means that many people feel unable to seek help. Despite the evidence that many deaths are preventable, suicide is too often a low priority for governments and policy-makers.” –Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative, World Health Organization, 2014

All it takes is 1 time for an attempt to be successful.


804,000 people take their own lives every year. That’s about 1 person every 40 seconds. Several people will have taken their own lives by the time you finish reading this post. For every 1 person committing suicide there are approximately 20 who attempt suicide. That’s 1,600,000 attempts per year.

Health-care services need to incorporate suicide prevention as a core component. Mental disorders and harmful use of alcohol contribute to many suicides around the world. Early identification and effective management are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need.

Communities play a critical role in suicide prevention. They can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide.” –Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative, World Heath Organization, 2014

What will it take for you to do something? To make this as important as finding a cure for cancer.

Whatever it is, don’t wait for someone you love to commit suicide before doing something.

The time is NOW.


Links to suicide prevention and behavioral health resources:

International Association for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services LocatorJonathan copy