Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vaccine for Celiac disease?

Not Edinburgh-related, but interesting nonetheless: Celiac Disease Vaccine Shows Promising Results in Phase I Trial. A BBC article from last year on an earlier phase of the research can be found here.

(Thanks to the Gluten-free Goddess Blog for pointing this out, by the way.)

I'm looking for contributors

Headline says it all. I keep meaning to find the time to write down recipes (or link to others), add reviews, tips, etc. Or I pester friends for the same.

So in the meantime, if you have a place or product to review, a recipe to contribute, or other tips, do e-mail me at robrwo {at} gmail {dot} com.

Warburton's Gluten-Free Bread

I've recently noticed that Warburton's now has gluten-free breads and rolls, at least at a local Waitrose. I've not yet tried it, though. If you have, please submit a comment.

It seems to be about 50p more for a loaf than Genius bread. Also note that Genius breads are (still?) based in Edinburgh.

Back in March I wrote a piece looking at whether it is worth making your own bread.

Some More Gluten-Free-Friendly Eateries

A couple of my favourite restaurants in town are The Apartment Bistro (7-13 Barclay Place, Tollcross, EH10 4HW, allegedly with a web site) and it's sister-restaurant, The Outsider (15/16 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1EE). They often have several gluten-free options available on the menu. (I've been told that they do not put flour in their sauces.) The food is excellent at both places, and I often find myself trying to imitate some of their recipes.

Another place, just outside of town, is the restaurant at Dobbies Garden Centre in Lasswade (EH18 1AZ). The restaurant has several cafeteria counters with coffee/beer/wine, breakfast, sandwiches, hot meals, and deserts. They claim to offer gluten-free bread for sandwiches for an extra 50p, though when I was there, they were out of out of gluten-free bread, so I can't comment on the quality. They also had Honeybuns gluten-free cookies and cakes, though.

(It occurs to be that you can find Honeybuns cookies at the Cameo Picturehouse Bar, by the way.)

The Kwok Brasserie (44 Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside, EH9 1ST) has excellent Chinese food (including some lovely dishes not available in other places), good prices, and has many items on the menu that are or can be adapted to gluten-free. (UPDATE 9/9/11 - their lunch buffet is not gluten-free, but you can still order dishes from their main menu, and they are as always friendly and accomodating.)

A friend who visited Edinburgh recently stayed at the Kildonan Lodge Hotel, and says that one of the hotel's managers eats gluten-free, and so the chef is willing to prepare gluten-free meals. I have not yet had the chance to try it, though.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gluten-free Travelling

The Travel Gluten-Free web site has, of course, recommendations of gluten-free places to eat when travelling. It also includes some recommendations for Edinburgh (with some reviews from this blog, thanks!).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Gluten-Free-Friendly Restaurants in Edinburgh

It's tourist-season again, so it's a good time to post a list of a few more eateries.

In Morningside, I've recently tried the Waiting Room (7 Belhaven Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 5HZ). It's an American-style sports bar/restaurant (think TGI Fridays without the flair, or Applebees), but they have a large menu with many gluten-free options. (UPDATE 21/3/12 - They have since redesigned their menu, with nothing explicitly labelled as gluten-free.)

In the New Town, there's The Dogs on Hanover Street. It features "nouveau Scottish" cuisine, and they have an alternate gluten-free menu (as well as dairy-free and vegetarian menus) if you ask.

In Leith, there's La Favorita (325-331 Leith Walk, EH6 8SA), an Italian restaurant with modern cuisine. They serve gluten-free pizzas and pastas. They also deliver. Their sister restaurant Vittoria (113 Brunswick Street, Leith Walk, EH7 5HR) also has some gluten-free options.

Giuliano's (18-19 Union Place, Leith Street, EH1 3QN) has gluten-free pizzas, and is often open late.

Actually, many of the Italian restaurants in Edinburgh have gluten-free pastas or pizzas. I don't have a complete list.

Hateful Tortillas

Today I tried some gluten/dairy-free tortilla wraps from the Love More brand:

They can be considered thick flat breads or thin pancakes, but not tortillas.

That made them too brittle---even when heated. (If they required an alternative form of heating, such as steaming, it didn't say on the package.)

Which made them useless for wrapping anything. Even just bending them slightly caused them to break.

They tasted like rice pancakes, not tortillas. (The first ingredients are "water, tapioca starch, rice flour, wholegrain maize flour".) There's nothing wrong with the taste of rice, but rice flour is dense. And these things were very dense. One of these will fill you up.

I don't recommend using these for tortillas or wraps. Maybe as a base for mini-pizzas or quesadillas.

I also don't understand what marketing genius came up with the brand name, "free from foods". I like food, and don't want to be "free" from it.

On a positive note, in April I posted a review of good tortillas, and where they can be found in Edinburgh.

Appreciation: Aer Lingus

Almost every time that I've flown across the Atlantic, the airline has forgotten my request for gluten-free meals. (The one exception is a flight that had my gluten-free request for the outbound flight, but not the return flight.)

When I contact the airline's customer service department, I'm usually told that I should have called them a day before, despite having selected gluten-free when booking the tickets on the airline's web site. (That is, when they are polite: I was told by a rep of one airline that there were under "no obligation" to provide food on an intercontinental flight.)

This is made worse when airlines are too cheap to cater meals beyond two choices, with just enough for the passengers, and no more.

I'm used to this, and usually bring a bag of trail mix.

Back in April, I flew Aer Lingus between Dublin and Boston. Despite booking the flight on their website, and noting a gluten-free diet, this information was lost by the time I had the flight. HOWEVER, the cabin crew handled this by looking for something that I could eat: the flight wasn't under-catered, and had enough variety that the crew were able to put a meal together, even replacing a desert with a piece of fruit. They also encouraged me to contact customer service.

I did contact customer service, who not only said they would follow up, but they actually did follow up with a letter (shown right).

So, thanks to the cabin crew for caring about non-first class passengers, and thanks to the customer relations folk for listening and responding.

For comments, what are your experiences with airlines and dietary requests?