Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Friday, 20 December 2013

With a Grateful Heart.....


You'll know I'm your secret Santa 
if you get something from
the dollar store.

The other day, my youngest spawn asked me, "Mommy, what is your favorite holiday?" and I just smiled at her. What was I thinking? Oh for fuck sakes. That's what I was thinking. Let's look at the definition of "holiday" shall we?

Holiday:
"A day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event. Any day of exemption from work. A time period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment. A period of cessation from work or one of recreation."

Every mom in the world just laughed until their kegel weak muscles leaked.

A holiday? REALLY? Where is our day off work? When do I get a stat? An exemption from duties happens.....when? Never? Oh okay. As a matter of fact, the birth of a baby over two thousand years ago means more work for us Mommas....a lot more.

I write often about not fussing with stupid shit like the details of a well decked out hall. I believe that if Mary can give birth in a crappy stable, we should stop giving a shit about ironing the napkins. If the mother of all mother's shrugged and said, "This will have to do!" then so can we.

But we can't shirk it all off now can we? We can't just throw our hands up, open a can of beans and flick on re-runs of Americas Funniest Home Videos can we? Well, we could, but that wouldn't do anyone any good now would it? Because we don't do Christmas for us, do we? We do it for them....all of them. We all have a THEM. Most of the time, they are our spawn but we also have husbands, wives, friends, families, teachers, pets and work people to DO Christmas for.

Christmas is not a "holiday" for Moms and there is no way to get around that. We can sit and be all koobayah about the whole thing and buy everyone a goat in Zimbabwe - which I am sure my Mother would love rather than the Talbots blazer. We can have the kids craft a tree out of shredded up bed sheets and decorate it with moth balls or some such garbage found on the 7th Circle of Hell also known as Pintrest. We could make Kale chips instead of cookies and give the Elf on the Shelf to some homeless guy so he can be tortured at midnight to think of something to do with the little fucker.

 BUT SOMEONE STILL HAS TO DO ALL OF THAT!

That someone is the Mom.

So how can we possibly enjoy ourselves during the most hectic and exhausting part of the year? How do we not be resentful and cranky and want to murder the lineup of people at Costco who are waiting for a free sample of something they are never going to buy? How do we stop ourselves from wanting to punch that lady in the throat who is squabbling over fifteen cents at the Department store because a Flutterby Fairy is impossible to carry at the same time as a giant package of Lego? How?

It's really quite simple, we have to be grateful. We have to train our minds to replace the anger and frustration with a spirit of gratitude. We have to, because no one else is going to and like Santa, your children are watching. If you teach your kids nothing else in this world, teach them gratitude.

This isn't as tree-huggy as you might think. I'm not telling you to go into full lotus in the middle of the Santa line at the mall and start chanting. If you want to, that's cool but know that I will totally take your spot if you slack.

It's just about training your brain to embrace your life and the people in it.

It might not be easy at first but you can do it. I know that the shopping cart is brutally heavy and I know that pushing it through a snowy parking lot feels like a Survivor challenge but try to pause, for just one moment and be grateful that such abundance exists in your life. Be grateful that you can spend a mortgage payment to feed people you love.

 I know running out for that ONE MORE THING pisses you off beyond comprehension but try to be happy that you live in a world that everything you could ever possibly want is within a ten minute drive and that you can most likely afford to buy it.

 I know that you forgot the teachers gift and now you have to pull one out of your ass at ten the night before the last day of school. Be grateful that our children have teachers and teachers that deserve a gift because they love your spawn almost as much as you do.

Try...I know it is hard, believe me I do but try to be grateful that we have SO MUCH WORK to do because we have SO MANY PEOPLE that rely on us to love them enough to do it. We Mothers are never alone for Christmas and that is something to be truly grateful for.

There is nothing so wonderful as seeing your disheveled, bleary eyed children rip open that wrapping paper at 5am. There is no feeling so precious as hearing them scream "Thank you Santa!" and you and your partner in crime smile at eachother over your Baileys and coffee. Being a mom on Christmas morning is the best thing in the world. The hours of baking and wrapping and shopping and decorating and lists upon lists upon lists are all worth it at that moment.

Don't wait for that moment to be grateful, spread it out.You did that. You did it all and if you can do it with even just a small sense of peace, you will enjoy it all much more.

More on my Gluten Free Christmas to come, I promise. But for now, just stop, breathe, know that you make the magic happen for those you love and it is worth every second.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Now, go get drunk.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

An Image for Every Body

This is going to make some of you angry and for that I apologise but I can not keep quiet any longer. This post isn't necessarily about Celiacs but it is about our bodies so that counts right?

When did being slim become a bad thing? When? Seriously?

I know your first response is; pfft Laurie! Take a look at the media and at the TV and how REVEARED all the slim women are in the world. Maybe Elle MacPhereson is worshiped, but I, a regular gal living in the world today, am not.

As a woman of slight build, I am feeling more and more assaulted in the world these days. Specifically on facebook and other social media sites. I'm not allowed to share my thoughts on a pintrest post because I don't understand what it is to be a REAL woman because I wear an A cup and size 4 pants. I think that's ridiculous.

 I am seeing more and more posts that imply because I am the size I am that, I must be shallow, selfish and unhealthy. I must work out ALL the time, implying of course that I am abandoning my children in the process or that I DON'T eat and have a problem. I assure you, this is not the case.  

Slim girls can be healthy too. Fact.

Comments I hear from people are, "you're so lucky to be skinny" or when we are shopping and I am hunting for my size I hear a lot of, "show off". Would you prefer I buy a size twelve to make you feel better? Could you buy a size six for me? You buying a DD bra makes me feel insecure, can I voice that? No?

Please note that I am talking about size and not weight. I don't weigh myself, I encourage you to avoid the scale as well.

I think scales are for meat at the butchers and boxers at the ring....no one else.

My size has varied over the years - please see the "My Fat Ass Post" on this blog. After I had my second spawn, my friend Pat came to visit to see the baby, he took one look at me and said, "I thought you pushed it out already?" Then we laughed a bunch and I gave him a beer and the baby. My size went back to my normal-ish size after a time. How much time? I don't know. I don't care and frankly, neither should you.

You are the size you are and I am the size I am and that needs to be just fine.

If it's okay for some women to have curves and hips and a little flab under their arms, why is it not okay for me NOT to?

I embrace the, every woman for every body, everyone is unique and beautiful. I completely agree that we are all our own version of a goddess, I just don't understand why slim girls can't be included in that?

Why are we the enemy?

I know my size fluctuates as EVERYONES does and that is totally fine with me. I run when the weather is nice and go to yoga when it is not. I have been known to attend combat classes and throw in an Insanity workout every once in a while.

 If I don't do these things will I panic that I will become a bigger size and therefore hate myself?  NO! I work out because I like it. I love it in fact. I love the idea that I am strong, and healthy and can do a  headstand and throw a kick ass punch. I like that about myself. I'm sorry you don't. But for the love of GOD shut the hell up about it would you?

Of course, this may change. We are at the mercy of our bodies and one day, I may be twice the size I am now. Will I be as happy? I don't know that. I love being able to beat my kids in a race, do a cartwheel and hike up the side of a mountain with them. I like having the amount of energy I do right now. Would I have this much energy if I was twice my size? Maybe. Maybe not.

What I do know is that I am thrilled with what I look like just as someone who is twice my size is happy with themselves. The implication that I am this size because I don't eat, or don't eat what I want or obsess about my size is insulting.

Don't look in my grocery cart and I won't look in yours.

I read comments about famous singers or actresses and how skinny they are. "Eat a sandwich!" they say or "She's disgusting!" And you may think that but what right do you have to say it? Why, because Taylor Swift is slim, do you have the right to mock her or assume she has an eating disorder? She might have an eating disorder, but that's none of your business. It is no more your business than it is for you to question how many bags of Oreos Rita MacNeal ate to get to the size she was. It's none of your business.

Mind your own body and I will mind mine.

Let's just let it all go. Let's stop the caddiness and the back handed comments. Instead of teaching our daughters to hate the slim lady on the cover of the magazine, let's focus on her loving herself and being lovely to those around her, no matter what.

Kindness, soulful happiness and love of yourself are what matters, not your size, or mine. Let's stop talking about how we all look and just focus on WHO we are inside. Be happy, be whatever size you want to be and let everyone else be the same.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Why Am I hungry? Seriously?


Here we are, on an airplane at 35,000 feet. I am on vacation….well, I am supposed to be on vacation. But right now, I am on the verge of tears. Ah, fuck it, I’m crying. Full on weeping and thank god I have my lap top to write it all down or I might explode. Why am I crying? Well, I’m crying because I am frustrated, I am crying because I am embarrassed, I am crying because I am angry and I am crying because I am hungry. In my 37 years upon this orb, I have yet to find another response to those emotions other than tears. Don’t you dare think that I am some weepy emotional wreck, I really cry very little. I am not a drama queen and I despise those who cannot take things in stride. I, right now, cannot take things in stride.

 I am flying to Cancun to watch one of my favorite people marry one of my other favorite people. My favorite person of all, Trev is at my side and my children are at home with another fave, my wonderfully, supportive sister. I have a glass of wine, a lap top and a week of child free relaxation ahead of me.
So you may ask, Jesus, Laurie, could you be more of a fucking whiner? What the fuck?
 Quit crying for the love of God. What could you possibly have to cry about?

I agree and am going to stop crying quite shortly. I just need sometimes to wallow in my own self-pity. And that’s okay. Okay? So, let’s break this shit down and get to the bottom of my tears shall we? Won’t this be fun? Hey? Who ever said I wasn’t good to you?

Why am I frustrated?
Because despite the fact that I booked a gluten free meal on this flight 7 months ago when we booked, I don’t have one. The lady across from me has one, some guy three rows back has one but not me! I am frustrated because I confirmed my Celiacs on more than one occasion with the airline and the travel agent and yet, I sit here starving. I am frustrated because sometimes it fucking sucks to have Celiacs while everyone around you has a hot pizza or a Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

Why am I embarrassed?
Because now the people around me have heard the word CELIACS about fifteen times. They are trying to eat their food, enjoy the movie and start their liquor fueled vacation. Instead, they have heard me tell now, four flight attendants that I have Celiacs and need a gluten free meal. They heard me confirm with the flight attendant BEFORE TAKE OFF that I needed a GF meal, they heard me ask about it when the lady across the row got a GF meal, they watched as the flight attendants all stood around our row humming and hawing about who was going to give me the bad news and they had to watch my face as they tried to hand me a banana on a tray, as my gluten free meal. I’m not even REMOTELY exaggerating. They put a browning banana on a tray and tried to hand it to me like it didn’t see three other people get a cute little airplane box full of a “meal”. Now, the poor suckers in rows 15,16 and 17 are listening to me cry. I am embarrassed. The lead flight attendant has been loud and verbal and everyone from rows 6-10 knows that I have Celiacs. I don’t like making a big deal about my Celiacs. I beg of you, notice me for my cute shoes, my pretty face, my funny lines, my writing, my hair, my random 30 second dance parties, my need to tuck in the shirt tags of strangers…. but DON’T notice me for my Celiacs. EVER.

Why am I angry?

Because I asked and asked and asked and the flight attendants tried to pass off a banana on a tray as a “meal”. I am angry because they didn’t acknowledge me, they just shrugged from one to another, each of them avoiding the fact that I CAN SEE THEM and their awkward whisperings to each other about my lack of meal. I am angry because when the lead flight attendant came up to talk to me she shrugged at me and said, “I have nothing for you. The GF meal isn’t even that good.” And then when I refused the brown banana replied like I was a petulant toddler, “Oh so now you aren’t going to eat anything?” I am especially angry because when she shrugged and said loudly, “there is nothing I can do.” I had to reply, “You could apologise.” And she muttered, “I apologise.”

 I am angry because I did my part. I fulfilled my part of this bargain. I checked with the travel agent three times, I confirmed on the phone yesterday and I confirmed with the flight attendant before we took off. I am angry that no one else has to hold up their end of the bargain and its okay.

I am angry at myself for falling for it all. I should have known better. I should have brought something. Things like this have happened to me before and yet when the travel agent told me I was going to get a GF meal on the airplane I giggled in glee and shivered in the indulgence of it all. I fucking fell for it and I, of all people, know better. I just wanted it to go so well, I wanted it all to be so nice and worry free and yet, here I am, hungry, angry and frustrated and no one can do one thing about it.

Why am I hungry?

Seriously? You have to ask?

One flight attendant did stop and sincerely say, “Ma’am, please let me get you something to drink. What can I get you to make it better? I really am so sorry, I would be upset too if I were you.”

And I thanked her for saying that because if the “LEAD” flight attendant had said that, I would have thanked her for her honestly and moved on.

I hope that the resort does a better job.

Okay – so the resort did do a much better job. I had fantastic meals and lots of Gluten Free love. Of course, I was also three sheets to the wind by noon so they might have just fed me lay chips and pickles at every meal and I’m not sure I would have noticed.  I shall blog more about this when someone fills me in on the details.

I had a fantastic time and, despite conversations with three Sun Wing reps, did NOT get a gluten free meal on the return flight....shocker

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Thirty Ways To Know A Celiac

1) More people have discussed your digestion, abdomen and poop than you ever thought possible

2) You have the grocery budget of Donald Trump

3) Someone has told you that GF bread is available at the store. You act shocked and laugh behind your hands.

4) Someone has told you that they can make a perfect GF bread that tastes just like Olive Garden Breadsticks. You act shocked and laugh behind your hands

5) The sight of a countertop littered with breadcrumbs elicits a fear response in you akin to a peek into Jeffery Dahmer's freezer

6) You have physically restrained yourself from sucker punching the jerk at the table that vocally talks about how his stupid sister is a 'celiac' now and how the whole thing is made up

7) You fart....a lot

8) You can fart with a stealth that is awe inspiring. You can blame your actions on the closest baby/ old person/ dog with a straight face

9) You have had to explain seven million times WHAT  gluten is and WHAT it does to your body. You say the word 'villi' more times than your gastroenterologist does.

10) You try to explain your disease in the broadest of terms and yet have always had to go into horrid detail at a  baby shower because people won't let it go

11) If a server shrugs at you while you are trying to talk about your Celiacs, you want to deliver a karate slice a la Jackie Chan to their throat.

12) You believe that when your intestines are threatened, that you have the skills of Jackie Chan

13) You have at least fifteen people in your life who think they have Celiacs

14) People tell you all the time how much your bread looks and tastes like crap....while you are eating it

15) You have had the corn pasta vs rice pasta debate for hours. Usually with someone who hasn't had either.

16) You have been unexpectedly poisoned and have secret codes that you have developed with your spouse and friends to communicate that you have to get home before you start moaning like livestock

17) Everyone and their dog have told you what you can and can not eat

18) You have someone in your life who simply, no matter how many times you explain, do not understand what you can and can not eat. These people ask questions like 'are carrots gluten free?'

19) These same people might think that they can pass their gluten on to you like it lives in them. They say 'I washed my hands before I touched your chair.' You stop yourself from yelling, 'It's not HEP C it's GLUTEN!"

20) You dream of sourdough bread every once in a while.

21) You can't remember the last time that you ate at a buffet. You aren't upset at this.

22) You have lied about things that contain gluten in an effort to not eat stuff you hate. "Well, um, aspic salad could have gluten in it. Sorry."

23) You have had some of the most epic baking fails in the history of man kind. You wear these like purple hearts.

24) You nod and smile at the acquaintance who has cut out wheat from their diet in an effort to lose weight/ be smarter/ have a baby/ join the navy.

25) You don't kick these people in the privates when they moan to you about how hard it is for them to stay away from ice cream sandwiches, as they eat a fistful of Ritz Crackers.

26) Dirty Utensils terrify you

27) You have two toasters

28) You bring food with you EVERYWHERE. You have had bread shipped to another country so it is there for your arrival. This costs you a great deal of money. You don't care. See number 2.

29) You feel stronger and brighter and cleaner than you did before your diagnosis. You can not explain this to people. When you do, they resent you and promptly cut gluten from their diets.

30) You are proud of yourself and your loved ones for embracing this disease and not being afraid to try new things. Every day you do not get poisoned is another day of health and vitality and a vote towards a bright and shining life.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Is that hot or not? The Keg - Keeping it Real

Trends irritate me. Mainly because I never feel like I am ON-trend. Somehow, I am always several steps behind. I missed when hats became cool in the early ninety’s only to wear one white crochet piece of shit to death a year after Jennifer Aniston dismissed it along with Brad Pitt.


Gluten Free is the big trend in restaurants right now and I hope it is a trend that continues and doesn't fizzle out like Technicolor t-shirts and the pet rock.


 I have discussed (at length) on this blog about the dangers of trusting a ‘Gluten Friendly’ menu from a chain restaurant. The problem with this trend is in the training. Offering gluten free menu options isn't the half of what restaurants need to do if they want to tap into this new marketing goldmine. They have to train from the head to the tail of the restaurant.

I fear that so many restaurants are in such a hurry to catch up to this trend that their training quality is suffering.

People who choose gluten free as a healthy diet choice have less chance of getting sick from cross contamination but our bodies are amazing machines of adaptability. The longer you are away from gluten in your diet, the more sensitive your body will come to it. Most studies are showing that although consuming gluten won’t harm your intestines like it harms mine, it might certainly give you a hell of a tummy ache and make you feel like a big piece of shit for a while.

Restaurants are going to very soon, have to learn to be far more cautious with their cross contamination or else they are going to have A LOT of complaints on their hands and not just from Celiacs. An amazing example of a restaurant that understands good training is The Keg.

The Keg is no trend and as such, it is one of my faves.

The Keg has been around for years and is known for its quality steaks, prime rib and seafood. It’s also been known for its quality of service. The Keg has embraced the idea of ‘if its not broken – don’t fix it’. Frankly, The Keg does most things well and it is a rare and shocking occasion that you hear of someone not enjoying a meal there. Of course, the price point for this kind of quality is always high but at the end of the day, you pay a bit more and get a lot more.

The Keg has followed this standard right into their Gluten Free Menu. The menu itself has plenty of options from salads to the best of the best entrees. The difference sits mainly in the details – of which The Keg dazzles in spades. After ordering, the manager comes to your table and discusses your meal at length. This is a touch that I encourage every single restaurant to incorporate into their gluten free practices.

This extra set of eyes helps me breathe easily and relax during my meal. I know that someone other than my server (who has at least three other tables all with their own individual needs) has their eye on my ball. (Feel free to giggle at that – I did). They also have the manager run the food which again makes a massive difference and avoids me being the caddy bitch who interrogates the poor server with ‘are you sure it’s gluten free’? To which I often get a vacant ‘deer in headlights I just saw Miley Cyrus perform at the VMAs’ look and it sends me into a panic.

*side note - every blogger LAST week talked about Miley Cyrus. I, once again, am behind the trend and talking about her this week*

Once at The Keg, the chef himself ran my food out to me. This of course causes me to act all Princess Stephanie of Monaco and take on a fancy accent to say, ‘Why thank you good man.’

Now, some restaurants might counter my manager suggestion with:

“Oh but you foul mouthed little witch, my manager doesn't have TIME to visit every allergy table!”

To that I answer a resounding, “Bullshit.”

I was a restaurant manager for quite a few years (too many) and I can tell you that visiting tables should be your night leader’s job.

They should not be washing dishes, expediting, bartending or drinking in the walk-in cooler. Wait, I did all those things when I was a night manager! However, it was a rare and magical occasion that involved a dishwasher with the Norwalk virus that would find me in a business suit being protected by a garbage bag spraying dishes. A sad but true story.

If your night manager says they don’t have time to talk to tables because they are too busy, get rid of them. They are lazy bastards.

The Keg manager explained the chain of events that would take place during the preparation of my meal. The grill cook was cleaning their grill as we spoke. New salad bowls were being pulled from dish to toss my salad. (stop it!) The sous chef had been informed as well as the expediter. This is important to note as that means that there are now three sets of TRAINED eyes double checking everything that goes on my plate.

This is a level of service that I am happy to pay for.

In addition, The Keg’s food is off the chain delicious and indulgent. Their prime rib can’t be matched because they have over the years perfected this recipe. I know it might be more trendy to eat your Gluten Free meal at some tiny little downtown exclusive bistro that you have to make a reservation six years in advance and where the server looks at your shoes and handbag before they say hello but I beg of you to head back to that place that you might have forgotten about over the years.



The Keg has managed to stay on-trend with their Gluten Free Menu and maintain their standard of quality that we have all come to expect. 

Now - off I go to buy some leg warmers, drink bubble tea and learn what a 'twerk' is all while wearing my Varnet hat and Chip and Peppa shirt.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

VACATIONS MAKE ME HAPPY!

http://www.robertq.com/travel/blog/post/top-gluten-free-resorts


Top Gluten Free Resorts

After surveying more than 500 hotels and resorts about their restaurant menus, here are the top gluten-free resorts.
ARUBA
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Riu Palace Aruba
BAHAMAS
Riu Palace Paradise Island
CANCUN
Beach Palace
Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa
Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun
GR Caribe by Solaris Deluxe Resort
GR Solaris Cancun
Great Parnassus Resort & Spa
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
Iberostar Cancun
Isla Mujeres Palace
Live Aqua Cancun
ME Cancun by Melia
Royal Solaris Cancun
Sun Palace
COSTA RICA
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
Hilton Riu Guanacaste
COZUMEL
Cozumel Palace
CURAÇAO
Curaçao Marriott Resort & Emerald Casino
Hilton Curaçao
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
Hotel Catalonia Bavaro Resort
Hotel Catalonia Gran Dominicus
Riu Palace Punta Cana
Melia Caribe Tropical Resort
Ocean Blue
Paradisus Palma Real
Riu Bachata
Riu Bambu
Riu Merengue
Riu Palace Bavaro
Riu Palace Macao
HAWAII
Fairmont Kea Lani
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Halekulani
Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach
Sheraton Kauai Resort
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
The St. Regis Princeville Resort
The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Turtle Bay Resort
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
IXTAPA
Barcelo Karmina Palace Deluxe
JAMAICA
CocoLaPalm a Seaside Resort
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall
Secrets Monetgo Bay
LOS CABOS
Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos
Golf & Spa Resort
Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort
ME Cabo
Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Grand Spa
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa
Villa La Estancia
PANAMA
Trump Ocean Club Panama
PUERTO RICO
San Juan Condado Plaza
RIVIERA MAYA
Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
Omni Puerto Aventuras Beach Resort
Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla
Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda
Playacar Palace
Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Riu Tequilla
Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun
Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun
Valentin Imperial Maya
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita
ST. LUCIA
Anse Chastanet
ST. MARTIN
Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa St. Martin
ST. THOMAS
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
VALLARTA
Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Spa
CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta
Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta
Melia Puerto Vallarta
Riu Jalisco
Riu Palace Pacifico
Riu Vallarta
Sheraton Buganvilias Resort
& Convention Center
Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach
Resort & Spa
Villa La Estancia
Villa Premiere Hotel & Spa

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sunday, 11 August 2013

La Brasserie!

Let's talk about girlfriends. I have a lot of really great girlfriends and I can tell you that if you do not surround yourself with amazing girlfriends, your life will be short and empty of crazy weird conversations like: 
“Have you ever wished you were a hair on Ryan Goslings head?” or “Can you do the Macarana backwards?” See? Enriching.

 My girlfriend Jane is one of those girlfriends for me. She is the only person in the world to get away with calling my husband a nickname. She calls him, “Wolfman” because of a strange incident we had about fifteen years ago on a dark road and a very large, ill-behaved husky. My Trev allows such nonsense from no one other than Janey. It is for reasons like this that I love her. She is also one of only three people in the world who can pull off bright red lip stick. It’s like her, Angelina Jolie, that Latino chick from ‘Orange is the New Black’ and Dame Edna – wait, that’s four. Still, very impressive.

Jane lives out of town so when she came to visit we all got together at La Brasserie in Kennsington. Snap! Why have I not eaten at this place before? Why huh? It was fantastically good. I would like to tell you that I perused the menu carefully and was very discerning with my many choices but I can’t because I saw, “Gluten Free Fish and Chips,” and saw nothing else for the next ten minutes.

Our server at La Brasserie was fantastic. I asked about cross contamination with the fryer and she checked with the chef before insuring me that everything would be fine. I even changed the ‘chips’ part to poutine because, well, that’s just self-explanatory so if you can’t understand that, stop reading because you are dead to me. Go on, now.

Fuck off if you question gluten free poutine.

When I started eating said fish and chips and I was absolutely wonderful so I stopped listening to everyone but my own happiness. One of the girls had a baby or some such thing. I think it was even there, maybe, who knows? I was eating crispy, flavorful fish and chips and poutine! By now, everyone reading this appreciates my poutine choice and if any of you non-poutine lover fuckers are still hanging around, I will find you. When I was done the amazing food, I snapped back into the conversation.

The atmosphere is casual but classy with a warm open kitchen and a great view of Kennsington. It resides over the Wine Bar which is a great place to reside. The wine list huge and the cocktails delicious. 

Go to La Brasserie in Kennsington. You will LOVE it. I have to be back and try something other than the fish and chips but honestly, I don’t think I will be able to. Great service, great food, awesome atmosphere. Four Stars.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sorry to be a jerk but.....

I think people who take joy in others failures are the shittiest type of people. I think we can all be a little petty at times; that chick at work who is always in the bathroom fixing her makeup rather than working falls in the mud and we feel a little surge of glee at her new appearance or that boss that was always so shitty to you gets fired himself, we feel happy that they are sad. These are minor examples and I think it's just human nature. There are people though that feel genuine happiness at others sadness and it is a routine, common personality trait of theirs. I don't like those people and I think that bloggers can be those people.

That's why I have to be careful. I always try on my blog to be funny and charming and educational at the same time. I try not to be mean. I know some bloggers like being mean, I know they wield this forum like a weapon and I desperately do not wish to be one of those people.

That being said...

I have some bad things to say about some products and I was so hesitant to say them because I think the people that make the products are  most likely super wonderful people and I don't want to hurt their business.

But I have to be honest.

My family camps almost every single weekend in the summer and I am always on the look out for great GF finds through my fine province of Alberta. On our last trip to Gull Lake, I realized that I was very close to Lacombe where the Totally Gluten Free Bakery is. I first met the Totally Gluten Free Bakery at the GF Expo and fell in love with their bread. It was fantastic so when I had the chance, I loaded up the spawn and hit the road to the Totally GF Bakery.

I always find it exciting to be going into a store whose shelves are stocked just for me. I am literally like a kid in a candy store and maybe I come off as too forward when I walk into a GF store but I always expect to get into a lengthy conversation about the products and the owners of the store. This usually happens very organically and often I let them know that I write a blog somewhere in the conversation.

There was no chatting at the Totally Gluten Free Bakery in Lacombe. The store itself is spread out in a lovely manner, it is bright and clean and even has a little seating area. It was the staff that made it unwelcoming. Here is how the conversation went:

Girl appears from the back of the store rolling eyes at my presence. (albeit I had two loud boys with me who at the time were most likely making fart noises BUT they weren't running around or breaking anything)

Me: Hello! I love your store.

Her: silence

Me: I saw you guys at the GF Expo in Calgary. I love your bread!

Her: Yeah?

Me: Yeah! I have never been here. So what do you have?

Her: *makes weak arm movement indicating the whole store* 

Am I asking too much for a few recommendations or a quick tour of the store? Maybe or maybe not, depends on whether or not you want me to come back I guess. I shop around for a while and grab some things. There are tasters of some waffle thing and I try one.

Me: That's so good!

Her: Silence - opportunity for talking up and selling what ever waffle thing that was is lost

I bring my things over to the counter. She doesn't make eye contact, doesn't even tell me the amount, just sees my debit card and pushes the machine towards me. The boys were still making fart noises but it was actually a little funny.

Me: Well thanks a lot! Have a great day.

Her: Yeah  - do you want your receipt?

SIDE NOTE - Celiacs ALWAYS want the receipt because we claim our purchases.

So we left and I took another little waffle thing for the road because they were so good, I would have bought them and much more if a little effort was made. I doubt that this is the way the store is every day and maybe I caught them on the "we had to call in zombie girl because all the cool kids were sick" day but I am in no hurry to return to the Totally Gluten Free Bakery.

I do love the bread from there, the cookies were dry and I think had been sitting too long but the cheese buns were amazing. I also bought a package of Stellas perogies because I love perogies and they were almost more disappointing than the store experience.

Made in Alberta so I REALLY wanted to love them!

They totally fell apart! Ewwwww


Maybe I got a bad batch but this is what happened to the first three I cooked. The next three were better but the flavor just wasn't there. The filling was bland and lumpy and the dough was spongy. Sadly, I would not recommend these either.

So it was a bit of a bust for GF shopping this weekend. Again, I am not being mean for the sake of making someone sad, I am just telling my experience as it happened.

I don't think I would make the trip back to Lacombe. Maybe everyone else has had a different experience. Let me know here or via twitter @afreakingceliac


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ten Days of Guts, Glory and Determination



I wasn't born in Calgary. I didn't move here until I was fourteen years old. It wasn't for lack of trying though. My Mother was born here, moved shortly after getting married and spent the next twenty years trying to get back. When I was a child, I didn't know that Calgary was the name of this city, I thought it was called, 'home'. I swear, that's a fact. We would ask our Mom where we were going and every time she would answer, 'we are going home.' So I honestly thought that was the name of Calgary. When I finally moved here, I understood what she was talking about.

Calgary became my home and I quickly embraced the culture. I had been to a lot of Stampedes before I had moved here and seen every Stampede parade, even if it was just on TV, I saw it. I have to tell ya, I loved the bands. I loved the bands more than some girls loved Kirk Cameron before he turned all weird and 'I can hear God's thoughts'.

After high school I auditioned for the Calgary Stampede Show Band. You may insert your 'one time at band camp' joke here but I can tell you that The Calgary Stampede Show Band is no joke. The Stampede Band is known for it's precision, musicality and down right entertainment. They are particular about who gets to wear the C and the Lazy S and auditions are rigorous.

I was terrified when the Drum Major Dan watched me sight-read a piece of music, even more frightened when we were put in groups to follow a machine gun fire of marching instructions and didn't sleep until I got my letter informing me that I was a member of this elite group.

 The Stampede Band taught me dedication, loyalty, teamwork and exactly what I am made of. Qualities that at eighteen are more valuable than gold. Mostly, it taught me how amazing the Calgary Stampede truly is. I know the Stampede like the back of my hand. We spent every single day there for years and would have at least ten performances a day all over the park. When we weren't rehearsing, or trying to get a nap and a meal in, the Stampede members were roaming the grounds taking in all that it had to offer. I loved every single second of it.

 I traveled the world with the Band and everywhere we went, people knew who we were. Not in some vague 'I think I saw them on a lame cable access show' sense but in a real, 'holy crap the Stampede is awesome' kind of way. It was pretty amazing at the age of twenty, walking down a street in Sydney Australia and have people come up and ask you where you were performing next so they could be there.

Above all other things, the Stamped Band taught me pride. Pride in my talent, pride in my team, pride in those fantastic bright red cowboy boots we marched in (still to this day the most comfortable footwear I have ever owned) and mostly, it taught me pride in my city.

The Stampede has been a symbol of this city for a hundred years and when flood waters ravaged the Stampede grounds two weeks before the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth the city was in shock.


How were we going to have one of the biggest events in the world when the grounds are under water? I know how, with the same determination that makes this city great. With the same grit that makes the band great. With the same 'we don't give up no matter what' that Calgarians innately have.

 We often call Stampede 'Ten Days of Glory' but this year, the ten days before the Stampede were the highlight. It took everything this city had to make the Stampede happen and walking up to the admission gates I sure hope that I wasn't the only Calgarian to get a lump in my throat seeing it all laid out as if nothing had happened.

This city is nothing short of amazing and being an alumnae of the Showband and watching my band march the parade on streets that a week before were knee deep in water was a wonderful sight. Watching them dazzle on the Saddledome steps that days before were underwater was a powerful thing.

Pride doesn't sum it up. I don't know if anything could.

So please, if you haven't gone down to the grounds, you need to get there. If you have Celiacs you have LOTS of options. No, I'm not kidding, you have lots of options. The Avatara Pizza people are there, amazing GF pizza.

These guys are right outside the Big 4 and make all GF Fries and Chips.



These tacos from Los Compadres were amazing! Everything is Gluten Free.

 Add to that popcorn and cotton candy and you have yourself a party in your belly. If you are looking for something healthy, the Hidden Valley Ranch booth near kiddie land has salads for a dollar.





Please get down to the grounds, even if you are one of those 'I don't do stampede' misers. Not only because people come from all over the world to see what you have in your own back yard but because the world is watching. And when the world is watching, this city, and its Marching Band steps up - trust me, I've been there.
The Calgary Stampede Showband on The Saddledome Steps







Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dunk that Donut Bitches - just not at Timmys!


UPDATE - Tim Hortons has failed me.


I wasn't expecting to get a letter from the president or anything. I WAS hoping for a little something along the lines of 'it's something we are planning on in the next three years' or some shit like that. This letter reads like the most polite 'go fuck yourself and your diseased ass' I have ever read. I don't think that we are going to see a GF muffin at Tim Horton's ....maybe ever.

And that sucks.

I thought that once I threw it in the mix with the likes of Dunkin' Donuts, that they could hold their own. Not so. 1 in 133 Canadians have Celiac Disease and more are looking for a Gluten Free diet because they want to be cool like us Celiacs. I thought Tim's might give a little shit about that. Not so.

Don't get me wrong, I am still swinging by the drive through for a Medium Mocha Iced Capp today. Because they are delicious. I just wish I had the option of having a donut too.


Dear  Laurie,
Thank you for your interest in Tim Hortons products and thank you for taking the time to contact us with your suggestion for gluten-free products.
At Tim Hortons we are aware of the daily challenges faced by our guests with special dietary needs and this is an important issue for us.  Each guest call and suggestion is logged and tracked in our database so it can be reviewed by our Research and Development group who are responsible for new product development.  In addition to monitoring our guest suggestions, we are also closely monitoring statistics and information on conditions like Celiac Disease, Diabetes, Food Allergies, and Heart Disease.
As you are aware, at this time we do not offer a Gluten-Free baked good, however for your reference our allergy information sheet is attached.  We hope you find this useful in determining which of our products might be suitable for your diet.
We appreciate your suggestion for the addition of Gluten Free choices to the Tim Hortons menu.  It is through listening and reacting to our valued guests that the Tim Hortons chain has been able to achieve and maintain our success to date.  Please call us on the toll free guest service number at 1-888-601-1616 if you would like to discuss this further.

Best Regards,




The TDL Group Corp.
Manojie,

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Dunk that Donut Bitches

Okay okay okay - everyone just calm the fuck down out there. Put your panties back on and breathe okay?

You all right?

DUNKIN' DONUTS IS OFFERING GLUTEN FREE DONUTS!



I hear you. I get it. I understand the excitement on this one. I, personally, am not a donut fan and as far as I know, we do not have any Dunkin' Donut locations up here in the great white north. But I understand the excitement here. It would be nice to have the option of eating something at a donut shop.

Here in Canada, we have the fine coffee of Tim Hortons on every corner. I don't want to start a fight here, well, okay I DO want to start a fight because we would win so I am just going to say it.

Tim Hortons makes the best coffee in the world. Hands down, full stop.

Timmys has become an iconic Canadian symbol. There are people who have travelled from one end of this country to the other eating ONLY at Tim Hortons coffee shops. It's true and the rest of us are uber jealous that we didn't think of it first and get to go with them.

We love our Tim Hortons.

But I can't eat ANYTHING there. Which sucks so I understand the draw of the DD making Gluten Free Donuts.

In the interest of fact finding, I have contacted Tim Hortons and asked if they have any intentions of having gluten free items available at their stores. I will wait to hear back and will let you know the outcome.

In the meantime...settle the fuck down and go eat a Dunkin Donut and let me know how they taste.

To make me feel better about not having a donut, tell me they taste like sawdust.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Are you sure you can eat that?

Let's talk about this for a second. I have a disease. My disease does in no way effect my instincts for natural preservation. It does not effect my common sense and it doesn't change the fact that I am an adult capable of handling my own affairs.

I find that some people discover I have celiacs and immediately take control of this situation. They think that for some reason I am incapable of handling it myself. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate people who ask me what I can and can not eat. I love it when someone texts me before a party to ask what brand of tortilla chips I can eat. This might be the only thing at the party I can eat and that is totally fine but I love them for caring enough about me to ask.

 I don't however, appreciate people injuring when I am two seconds from biting into something, "Are you sure you can eat that?"

It is the ultimate insult to imply that I am either so careless with my own health or so stupid that I need a wing man for my intestines. I don't know why Celiacs get treated like this, I think it might be the new GF fads that are rocking the western world. I would never imagine asking a diabetic what their blood sugar numbers are before they have a glass of wine or dessert. That would be the height of rudeness. I assume that they have their disease completely under control and if they need my assistance for anything, they will ask. Why then does everyone consider themselves master of my disease?

Everyone who eats gluten free by choice now fancies themselves an expert on being me. Make no mistake, ye who can eat at every party without a care, or who can leave the house for longer than four hours without packing a lunch because you can buy something on the road, or who can eat  every single thing at Tim Horton's - you do not know what it is like to be me and you have no right to claim that you do.

"Are you sure you can eat that?" is a question fraught with passive aggressive tones, none of which are welcome in my world. If I am three seconds from shoving it in my gullet, I am sure I can eat it. If I am mistaken, (which has happened - more than once) I am the one that will suffer, not you. So (as the kids say these days) mind your own fucking business.

Also, some Celiacs can cheat and are willing to do that every once in a while. I understand their desires because if I didn't get so sick that I wished I was dead, I can't tell you I would not have eaten a big mac last week. Who knows? But I can certainly tell you that if i was going to cheat, that would be none of your business either. None, nadda, zip,zero.

It is no more your business what I eat than what you eat is my business. How would you feel if I came up to you while you were mowing down on that bag of chips like it owed you money and asked, "Are you sure you can eat that?" and look pointedly at your slightly large behind. Or what if I enquired after your cholesterol levels while you were ordering extra bacon on your burger? Would you like that? I don't think so.

So keep your expert opinions to yourself. Shower your Celiac with love, not parenting.

And to answer your question, YES I can eat that.
How do you know?
Becuase I am eating it, that's how.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Happy F*&king Mothers Day

Happy F#$king Mothers Day. Yeah, you heard me. Happy F#$king Mothers Day. I say that because I am finding that more and more mothers are ruining this day. This should be a day that we are celebrated and appreciated above others. Somehow, it has become the day that we complain more than any other. It's as if motherhood caught some women off guard. Did you think that growing another person in your torso would feel good? Did you think pushing it out your vagina would tickle? Were you under the impression that this newly formed fetus that now lives with you would come out knowing how to sleep, eat or respect you? Are you fucking nuts? Why are we surprised when a two year old acts like a two year old or a seven year old basically thinks we are assholes. Who told you that teaching another human addition or how to shit in a toilet would be simple? Why do you think, after being a teenager that living with one would be fun?

 Motherhood is hard....get over it. You don't get to bitch incessantly when the job that you signed up for is difficult. You and you constant moaning and whining at parties and self sacrificing facebook updates give the rest of us a bad name. Quit feeling sorry for yourself that you took the best job in the world and turned it into a death sentence.

Because it is. Motherhood is the best fucking job in the world. Why? Because it does suck sometimes that's why. Because if it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be worth having. Because you love your employers so much you want to literally flog anyone who even attempts to hurt their feelings. Because they love you so much that they hate you sometimes and yet still do what you say. Because you get to teach another human being how to walk and how to talk and how to open a pop can. Because you get to feed them anything you want to and take them anywhere your heart desires and they will follow you to the ends of the earth because you are their mother.

OWN THAT SHIT AND QUIT FUCKING COMPLAINING THAT IT IS HARD! NO ONE, NO ONE TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE EASY.

Let them spoil you today and be delighted in the hand made things that got pressed into your face this morning when you were supposed to be sleeping in. Read what they say to you because they mean it. This is your paycheck. This is your annual bonus. This is your appreciation luncheon with the department heads. Revel in your greatness, because you are great.

Tonight, we are going out for dinner because mommy doesn't like cooking on Mother's Day. We are going to the Phoenix Grill. I haven't blogged about the Phoenix before and I should have because they are solid. They have a big gluten free menu that includes everything from salads (my fave is the spinach) to tilapia (amazing with a side of quinoa) and BBQ ribs and the food is great. It always comes out fast and hot and I have never been poisoned there. They don't have a kids menu but they really make an effort to accommodate the spawn. The most notable thing about the Phoenix in my opinion is the service. We have never received poor service there, ever. The hostesses are amazing, the managers personable and the servers quirky, funny and knowledgeable. Outstanding people, really. Our fave server is a girl named Mel who remembers us every time we go. She is totally hilarious and knows enough to comment on my little girls nail polish. She's smart and knows her shit when it comes to the food and Celiacs.

So make it down to the Phoenix Grill for lunch or dinner. I'm sure they will be nice to you even if you don't have Celiacs or you are not a Mom.

From now until next mothers day, try really hard not to bitch so much. Especially try not to bitch so much on the internet because one day, your kids are going to read that. They might not get the impression that you thought they were worth it, because I certainly don't get that impression. We all have our moments when this job gets us down and that's when you have to go and get that card they handed you today and read it. Call your spouse or your best friend and talk about your hard day but the next time you have a good day, talk about that too.

 Understand that you took the toughest, best job in the world that you can not retire from. Try to love it more than you love complaining about it.

Happy F#$king Mothers Day

Sunday, 5 May 2013

I found this article and I have no idea how I feel about it. Basically, we have to avoid MORE foods GAH! Take a look and let me know what you think. I warn you, half of it looks like they just made up some words.

CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Suck it Jimmy Buffet, Anejo has arrived.

I hate that song by Jimmy Buffet, "Margaritaville". Frankly, I hate most things that Jimmy Buffet did (or has done - is he dead? Who cares?). Like seriously, the song starts, "Nibbling on sponge cake..."WTF?Was there no other word choice there Jimmy? And people make fun of Katy Perry lyrics. Okay, I make fun of Katy Perry lyrics too BUT I HATE the song Margaritaville. Anything that makes a sweaty, smelly stranger at a wedding run over and drape their rolly polly arm over my shoulder, sloshing beer down my dress so we can all do a group sing makes me want to punch someone in the throat. That's why I hate the song "Margaritaville."

That being said, I love a good Margarita...like...a...lot. Let me be specific here. I don't like grown up Slurpee's that don't taste like liquor and come in flavors reminiscent of a pedophile's ice cream truck circa 1983. No, I like a short tumbler, loaded with lime and booze and ice and salt in that perfect harmony between thirst quenching and languishing, relaxing flavor. I love a well made Margarita.
And Anejo makes a good Margarita, no, that isn't right. Anjeo makes an amazing, mouthwatering, knock you on your ass, force my daughter to marry one, fantastic, delicious, perfect Margarita, in a whole bunch of flavors.

That one lasted only long enough to take the picture. Isn't it gorgeous?


They also make a hell of a Gluten Free meal.

Anejo is located on 4th street in that delightfully beautiful building that 4th Street Rose used to live in for years. Trev and I and some friends went to Anejo for dinner before going to see Cirque du Solei (which was amazing, highly recommend). Anejo's atmosphere strikes a balance between fresh brightness and intimate coziness. The menu matches the atmosphere.

Everything on the menu sounds and looks so amazingly fresh and bright, yet it all looks and tastes like home cooking. This delicate balance is no simple feat but one that Anejo takes on with ease. From the tacos to the ceviche to the molcajete -it is all delicious and fresh and made with love from beginning to end. We adored the table side guacamole and salsa making for both our servers charm and talent. The end result being the best guacamole I have ever had. Pair that with the best margarita I have ever had and you have one happy lady on your hands.

 There are loads of GF options available to the Celiac at Anejo. I felt completely comfortable with every step of the meal and my server's ability to handle it. They showed great knowledge of what I could or could not have and made me feel like it was no big deal, although, I know how much of a pain in the ass I am.

Did I mention the amazing margarita's? I have? Well, let me just make it clear, that they were amazing. I had a whole bunch of them. And, as we were leaving, some stranger started to sing that fucking song and I punched him in the throat thus making my night complete.

Go on by Anejo for a deliciously perfect GF meal, and a few (like twelve) margaritas and don't sing the song, or I will find you.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Calgary GF Expo

I need to apologise for not posting as often as I should. I have been working a lot on my newest novel and I have been neglecting my Celiac Duty. (Tee Hee, I said DUTY)

Ok - I have yet to blog about the GF expo here in Calgary. I was very excited for the GF expo and dragged my friend Megan along with me for the ride. Before I write my review of this event, let me make it clear that I suck at planning shit like this so I am no barometer for their quality. I can't plan them and yet I expect grand results. I feel like they have to be somewhere between Charlie's Chocolate Factory and the Mall of America. I am like a big weird baby who expects bright lights and highland dancers everywhere I go.

That being said, I was somewhat underwhelmed with the YYC GF Expo and I can give specifics about what I loved and what I didn't love.

DIDN'T LOVE
- The fact that there was ONE restaurant there. Really? You could only get ONE restaurant to come and share their wares? I wanted to see all those places that claim to have GF Menus and Celiac trained chefs handing out their menus and/or samples.
- There were no monkeys dancing
- That the big names handed out stuff that we have ALL had. Udi's handed out their white bread and Glutino handed out their pretzels - both of which everyone with even a slightly damaged villi have had many many times. Both these companies have new and exciting products, ones that should have been pulled out for everyone to try.
- It said on my ticket that the venue was in one building but it was in a different - slight annoyance
- Some companies selling items didn't bring enough to sell to everyone or they charged an ARM and a LEG for their products and it smelt like a fleecing
- We needed more foot rubbing and general pampering


LOVED!
- ALL the new products - it was fantastic to see  - look below for my winners of the day
- That there was even a GF expo! I am so thrilled that Celiacs is making a name for itself and we have to have a tradeshow for all the great products
- How many people were there - I like being surrounded by Celiacs - they are a happy folk
A bevy of Celiac's listening to some really really smart person
 


WINNERS of the Day

Lettie's Best Bread - they weren't selling anything but were handing out gorgeously HUGE samples of amazing bread - loved Lettie's Best

The Totally Gluten Free Bakery - bought a loaf of their white bread and I think I gained about ten pounds when I ate the whole thing. Soft, delicious and held up well unfrozen for over a week. Totally Gluten Free Bakery

This is me, eating bread, in public! Weeeeee!
 


Protein Bar Super Bar - My winner of the day. I LOVED these protein bars and gobbled them up so fast, I never even got a picture of them. I also didn't take down the website. I have the following picture of the ladies at the booth so if anyone knows where to find more of these bars, let me know because I adored them. I would put this picture on a milk carton but beacause most of us don't drink milk either, it would be useless. Please find the following picture on the side of all Guar Gum packages. Maybe then some Celiacs might see it.
Who are these woman and where can I get more of their magic food?

I loved that there was a Gluten Free Expo but for next year (and there best BE a next year), more products, more restaurants and more ferrets on motorcyles.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The PizzaBerg Cafe


I was completely prepared to HATE the PizzaBerg Café. I was so ready to visit, leave angry and write a scathing review here on the blog. Scathing, I tell you.

 I was pissed that my OCHRE GRILL had been replaced. I was pissed and stomping my feet like a baby.

I am saying it now, PizzaBerg Café is pretty good. It’s better than pretty good, it’s damn good and the service is excellent and they give a crap about the Celiacs of the world.

We went there a couple weeks ago and were thrilled that the owner’s mother has Celiac so he had every answer I was looking for. He knew exactly where each and every item in his store comes from and where it is produced to ensure that the items he says are GF are indeed GF.

 They have GF pasta and GF pizzas and GF appetizers and GF desserts. I decided upon the tenderloin medallions and it was served with a flavorful sauce and brown rice pasta. The pasta was cooked perfectly which is no mean feat I assure you.  It was heavy though and I didn’t even come close to finishing it making it so I could not enjoy the GF desserts. Trev had the lasagna and said it tasted fresh and homemade. The kids shared a peperoni pizza and they said it was awesome. The service was attentive and thoughtful and everyone seemed more than eager to please.

My only complaint with the PizzaBerg Café is the menu. They don’t have a kids menu which would make my life easier; the spawn agreed this time on a pizza to share. Such an event is as rare as seeing a leprechaun dance on a unicorns ass with a horseshoe piercing his nose. We need a kids menu to avoid exposing our children’s deep hatred for each other.

 The menu also doesn’t have a lot of lighter options. For this family of mainly clean eaters, we could not make the PizzaBerg a weekly ritual like we did the Ochre. I would recommend some lighter, higher end entrees (steak, chicken or a nice fish) with lots of quality veggies on the side. That will find us there more often. A few creative salads would be nice too.  I think a less hefty menu would benefit the Café in attracting the local clientele as well. Being 17.5 wheelchair rotations from a senior village puts the café in a position to be able to aim their menu toward a more Betty White level of customer.  Variety would ensure their longevity in my opinion.

Overall though, I bow my head and say in all sincerity, I misjudged you PizzaBerg Café, you are a safe and delicious place for Celiacs in South Calgary.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

THIS ENDS OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM


I have talked about it a lot. To the point where most of you are thinking, “Dear God you stupid bitch, shut the fuck up about it.” But I just kept talking. Why? Because I believed in it, that’s why, because it was a fantastic concept, because it was unique and original and full of promise.

           

            Today I learnt that The Ochre Grill is closing.

            A Moment of Silence Bitches.

            Please don’t mock and please don’t roll your eyes. There are VERY few places that a FAMILY with a Celiac mom can eat at. And DON’T remind me of all those lovely small dark, eclectic places on 17th ave that I can eat at. I say a resounding fuck you. You have no interest in having my children waiting for 40 min for a table outside any more than I do. We suburban moms don’t pay for parking when we have spawn with us. Why? Because it’s a waste of fucking money that’s why. It is a waste of money for me to drag my kids on a 45 min drive to have them wait 30 min for a table and then sit and try to occupy them while I negotiate a gluten “friendly” menu that looks more like an list of designer perfumes or wallpaper than freaking food, then try to get them something they will EAT that is both beige and shitty enough and yet drink enough wine to make it all worthwhile.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to put on a pair of heels, head down town and sit indulgently sipping wine and eating deliciously expensive Gluten Free food. I’m just not doing it with two children.

            Mommy needs two hands and no stories about science class to drink her twelve dollar glass of wine. 

            The Ochre Grill provided us with a comfortable environment for families, great service and an extensive Gluten Free Menu made with fresh good food that even my kids enjoyed. We went at least once a week  for over a year and felt like a part of the family. I could just sit down and order anything I wanted and they all knew I had Celiacs and they all knew what my kids liked and they knew that almost everything out of Trev’s mouth was a joke.  Our Friday nights will never be the same.

 We were totally devastated last night to hear that it is closing and a place called “PizzaBerg” is coming in. I tried to e-mail “PizzaBerg” to ask about GF options and their email bounced it back. Ugh….

            With any luck the Ochre Team will open the same concept at a better location. When they do, I hope they let me know because I will be there with bells on.  

Until then, this ends our regularly scheduled program. *SOB*

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Pamp up the Chef - Pamp it Up!


A friend of a friend contacted me and asked if I would host a home party for Pampered Chef. Usually, I am not a fan of the home party. Not that I am against a party. I actually love throwing parties at my house. I just usually find the home party facilitators to be overly pushing, overly giddy people that are under the impression that this is not only the first time I have had people at my house but that I may not live without whatever cream they want me to get free. I feel like they pressure my guests to spend a bunch of money which is the opposite of how I want people to feel at my home. My biggest compliment ever was from a friend who said, "I always feel so comfortable at your house." This does not gel with, 'give me all your money in exchange for a mop."
 
So I still agreed to have the pampered chef party and promptly sent Jill (that's my new best friend’s name) the Celiac.com list of can and cannot haves, instructions for how to cook gluten free and a specific detailed rundown of all things GF and I half expected her to throw up her hands at me and stomp away from my picky ways. She didn’t though. Let it be known that Jill Kolman doesn’t give up on Celiacs, and she can cook.


Jill talking in my kitchen

Jill has been a pampered chef consultant for a year but has been addicted to the products for five years. A mother of (brace yourself) four, she is also an accomplished Red Seal Chef and a hell of a kisser. She’s funny, and charming and completely un-snobby which you should know is one of my favorite qualities about another humanoid.

A pampered chef party in case you didn’t know, because I didn’t, is a home party where you pre-purchase the raw ingredients for several dishes and the representative comes to your house, uses buckets of wicked little gadgets and tools to make something in your kitchen. Let me repeat that, you have a party that someone MAKES THE FOOD FOR YOU with all these cool toys and you just sit and drink. No shit….mix the thrill that you get when you see a cool item being demonstrated at the home show, with wine, cheese and good friends. It was good good times.

She shows up at my house with literally baskets of stuff and she just moved right in. Being a Celiac has given me a creepy level of control freakishness about my kitchen. I don’t think anyone, other than my husband or I have ever cooked in my kitchen. Jill really gave me no option, she took over and pushed me out and that was that. My kitchen became her office and it was strangely refreshing.

She made us a pineapple salsa, a chocolate lava cake (in the microwave) and a raspberry fizz cocktail.

 Pineapple Salsa – off the chain wicked awesome. She used the Pampered Chef chopper and hand food processor and had this gorgeous fresh bright salsa within seconds. Very impressive. We gobbled it up and I put the left overs on my scrambled eggs the next morning. So delish!
Pineapple Salsa


Raspberry Fizz Cocktail – It was served in this neato pitcher that mixed up the contents for you. It was really tasty, even better for those of us who added buckets of Vodka to it.

Chocolate Lava Cake – Turned out fantastic. It had several hiccups on its journey to greatness though. The main problem was that I am an asshole and thought I had sour cream when in fact I did not, I had cottage cheese thus forcing my guests to dash to Sobeys to save the day. Thanks to Vicki and Ash for being wonder women. The second issue with the GF Choclate Lava cake (and I warned Jill of this) that GF baking is a wiley shitty bitch. GF baking is like the boyfriend who reads you love poems in private but when you go to a party to show him off he acts like he doesn’t know you and has never heard of Keats. Jill practiced this cake twice before coming to my house and it decided to be a pain in the ass and look like this. She and I had a therapeutic moment where we decided that the cake is not acting like this because we aren’t lovable but rather because it doesn’t have the emotional maturity to love itself. We ate the shit out of that cake  and it was delicious.
The delish chocolate lava cake that hated itself


Big gadget awards go to the push measuring cups, the scooping spatuals, the bamboo non pourous wooden spoons and the garlic press.
Gadgets of Fun


Crazy kick ass measuring cup
 

Quote of the night, “Keep pumping till it’s hard and then it will spray.”  Jill said this when discussing the oil sprayer and I loved the fact that we are all over thirty and still had to take a knee on that one we were laughing so hard.

Overall – I would highly recommend a Pampered Chef party to all Celiacs. Jill was great and embraced the GF crap with all her might. I was very impressed.

Me making salsa, Kendra laughing at me
 
You can find more information on Jill and her Pampered Chef business HERE.