Gluten-Free In Seattle: Hugo’s

While in Seattle, I had to make sure I took Chaz to some of the touristy places. The second day we hit Pike Place Market…

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Pike Place Fish Co., famous for their fish tossing while filling orders. All the tourists taking pictures were on the other side. Everyone where I was standing was ordering fish.

We wandered around the entire market, checking everything out. I found a place not far from Pike Place Fish Co. with boba tea and ordered one to drink while we walked. We each bought a new shirt from a vendor and I admired the pretty flowers on display. There were also Big Ass Grapes – I shared that picture on Instagram and Facebook. It was too funny not to.

After lunch, we went to the Seattle Space Needle..

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Anyone from the PNW and remember the old Rainier Beer commercials? Even while taking this picture, I was thinking: Raaaaaaaaaiiiiineeeeeeiiiirrrrrrr Beeeeeeerrrrrr

Then on to Chihuly Glass & Garden…

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One room was just a glass ceiling with all of these pretty glassworks encased in it.

Amazing artistry. Some simple and some elaborate. It was difficult picking just one picture to share with you.

Last, the EMP Museum…

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Connor MacLeod’s katana from Highlander in the Fantasy exhibit.

There was so much to see in the museum and we managed to get to all the exhibits but three. The exhibit for Nirvana was a must for us music nerds. Dave Grohl’s drum set? HELLOOOO! Then the Gibson guitars, including Eddie Van Halen’s. Okay, there were a lot of celebrity guitars there, but his was the only one I took a picture of and remember. At this point I needed a break and sat down while Chaz walked around. We moved on to the Star Wars costume exhibit: AMAZEBALLS! I didn’t think it could get better than that until we went into the Fantasy exhibit. Costumes AND props from so many fantasy movies: Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings… They even had the katana from the first movie I fell in love with as an adult, Highlander.

There was so much more to see there, but they close at five and we cut it close. Part of me was sad that we weren’t going to be in town when the Star Wars costume changed to Hello Kitty. I lived.

I could not pass up the opportunity to finally meet two long time internet friends, who happen to be married to each other. The agreement I made with Twin was that she and Mr. Music would treat us to dinner at a gluten-free restaurant she loves, Hugo’s. After our day of sight-seeing, we headed over to my friends’ home to talk story a bit before heading to the restaurant.

We were greeted with homemade seeded crackers already waiting for us. While perusing for the menu, I may have squealed when I saw New Grist and Greens beers listed in their beer selection. Okay, I danced in my seat too. It was exciting to finally see a good gluten-free beer listed; not one made by a big beer company that is as watery as its gluten-full counterpart, or one masquerading with the label “crafted to remove gluten.”

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Greens isn’t easy to find where I live and it’s rare when I see it on a menu.

I ordered a Greens Dubbel Dark (my favorite), and it stood to reason I should have a burger go with it. They mix grass-fed ground lamb with grass-fed ground beef for a juicy burger with richer flavor. Plus, they make their own gluten-free breads in-house. I was not disappointed.

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Hugo’s Burger, sweet potato fries, and Greens Dubbel Dark.

For dessert, Twin and I each had the Raw Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. A great way to end the meal and form a food memory with friends I’ve known for years online and finally met in person. Thanks again for dinner, Twin & Mr. Music!

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Raw goodness!

Hugo’s is out of the way, but well worth the drive for a menu full of nothing but gluten-free options.

Gluten-Free In Seattle: Capitol Cider

Capitol Cider 1I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a post that wasn’t about advocacy or purity protocol oats. When information needs to be shared urgently, the fun stuff takes a back seat. With my manuscript for The Downward Spiral now in the hands of my beta readers, I finally have time to share some fun stuff.

Last fall, Chaz was given sabbatical time by his boss. We went on a five week road trip, driving out to Seattle, working our way down the coast, and then returning home. The worry, as many of you know, is always, where will it be safe for me to eat? On the road, I made sure we had snack foods that included jerky and hard-boiled eggs, as well as dried fruit, peanut butter, and purity protocol oats for safe breakfasts when needed, and sandwich fixings for rest area lunches.Capitol Cider 4

I was overjoyed when we hit Seattle and we discovered fully gluten-free restaurants. The first one we tried was Capitol Cider in the Capitol District of Seattle. They have Sunday brunch where you can order a mix of breakfast and lunch or one or the other. My eyes were bigger than my stomach after perusing the menu. I wanted one of everything…mostly because I could. When does that happen for us when we’re out to eat? We even concocted the idea to just stay all day and eat our way through the menu. That didn’t quite work out, but we still enjoyed ourselves.Capitol Cider 2

I started off with some Stumptown coffee. If you’re a coffee lover, you should try it. It ranks up there with pure Kona coffee for me.

Capitol Cider 3They have a huge menu of just the hard ciders they carry. They have flights to try a few at a time, and you can even buy cider to take with you. I went with the International Flight which were unfiltered ciders from Europe. They are drier than what you might be used to with some of the domestic ciders, and were reminiscent of the mead my college buddies used to homebrew. My favorite of the three was the one from Normandy. It was rich and full, almost like the cider version of a stout beer.Capitol Cider 5

We ordered the doughnut holes to start and ho-lee-WOW. When I shared the picture of them on Instagram, I proclaimed them to be the best gf doughnuts ever. They aren’t the spongy ones that you get from Krispy Kreme. They’re cake-y with no aftertaste or strange what-is-that-in-my-doughnut taste like you get from some gluten-free baked goods. Plus, they came with the not-too-sweet berry compote as a dip.Capitol Cider 6

While I love breakfast foods, and they had a lot to choose from, I ordered the fish and chips. I’ve never been anywhere I could order that before. My rationale was I can get breakfast food most places. I can’t get fish and chips just anywhere. I was happy with that decision even though I would’ve loved some malt vinegar to go with it. It was still delicious, again without a weird taste or an aftertaste.Capitol Cider 7

If you go to Capitol Cider, make sure you take some time to walk around and enjoy the neighborhood. Lots of fun little things to spy on the walk and treasures to behold in stores —- like records.

As I share this adventure with you, I hope your takeaway is that while your diet may be “restrictive,” it doesn’t have to restrict your travels. If I can live on the road for five weeks, so can you. Don’t let having Celiac or NCGS stop you.

Trust Your Gluten-Free Oats & Support A Gluten-Free Farm

Gluten-free oat field & Heart Mountain. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Gluten-free oat field & Heart Mountain. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Imagine a pile of dirt you swept to the middle of your kitchen. You set down the dustpan, pressing the lip into the floor while sweeping all that dirt into it. Then, you pick up the dustpan only to find a line of dirt that was left on the floor (that line is called a deedle — no joke). You groan and repeat the effort, but there’s still another deedle, albeit a smaller one. Do it again and there is still an even smaller deedle. And so you keep repeating until you feel you can’t see it anymore…but it’s still there.

Now imagine the floor is a delivery of oats and sweeping it up is the sorting method companies like General Mills and Quaker are using. Sweep (sort) as much of it as you want, but you’ll always have that deedle. I’m calling them: dirty oats.

It’s a sordid mess…

Thanks to Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog, she set out to compile a list of manufacturers and suppliers of clean oats — gluten-free oats grown under purity protocol, the only oats recommended for those of us with Celiac and NCGS. What she found were companies of gluten-free oat products were already using dirty oats.

Purity protocol/clean oats are grown from pure seed stock in fields that have not grown gluten containing grains. They are harvested with equipment, transported by trucks, and stored in grain towers that are gluten-free and have not done the same for gluten-full grains. Think of it as the perfect restaurant you dine in…everything they make your dinner in has never touched anything with gluten nor has it touched the work surfaces.

Mechanically sorted/dirty oats, are not safe for us by any means. You can put it through whatever test you want to get it below 20ppm, but they will always be dirty. To help you with this visual of these types of oats being dirty, I want you to take a second and go to this post from Gluten Dude, scroll down to the picture of the sorted grains. Those barley and wheat grains were mixed in with the oats. This is why I previously used the analogy of picking croutons out of your salad and still eating it. It’s the same thing.

Companies are turning to dirty oats, even ones we’ve trusted in the past (as you’ll see by their absence from the list GFW put together), and we’re getting sick for their increasing profit margins because the dirty oats are cheaper for them. If we continue to buy from companies using dirty oats, we’re lowering the demand for clean oats. It’s Economics 101 and there’s been a shift in the demand which has created an excess supply because it’s not being sold.

GFO dedicated gluten-free oat mill. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

GFO dedicated gluten-free oat mill. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Right now, GF Harvest may be putting their 2016 crop on hold because of this shift — they still have clean oats stored, unsold. I had the pleasure of meeting Forrest Smith several years ago at the Allergy & Gluten-Free Expo. Forrest started growing oats and milling them with a countertop mill under purity protocol as part of an FFA entrepreneurship program in high school. He is passionate about providing our community with truly gluten-free oats; it’s in his eyes when he tells his story. He was diagnosed with Celiac at age 2 and many more in his family have been diagnosed since. The family founded GF Harvest in GF Harvest and handles the growing and milling of the gluten-free oats themselves. This is a true family farm that needs all of us to demand clean oats.

This is not a sponsored post and I am not benefitting from this post in any way. This is about awareness of our gluten-free food supply and support of a farm who does right by our community. If any other farmers of purity protocol oats openly stated they were in this position as well, I’d be supporting them without hesitation. These are the people who should be getting our dollars, not multi-million/billion dollar corporations who only want more money in their pockets.

Also understand that if we continue to buy from corporations using dirty oats, production of clean oats will end. We already give up a lot in our diets now, do we really want to give up one more thing because we aren’t using our collective voices and our money to keep the supply of clean oats in demand?

Please consider supporting the Smith family and their farm. They have a special starter pack of three different types of pure oats with free shipping and (while supplies last) a bonus. Go here for the special offer.

GF Harvest Amazon Store

Sunrise during field inspection. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Sunrise during field inspection. Photo provided by Seaton Smith