When the rains came-a soggy, gluten free weekend in Maryland

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Ellicott City Maryland flood


We got back yesterday from a very soggy weekend visiting family in Maryland.  We hopped on a plane at Nashville International early Friday morning to arrive at Baltimore at 12:00 PM.  I have not flown since 1997-things are a bit different, to say the least!  There was no TSA, no 3-1-1, and planes had a lot more room.

I had brought some gluten free snacks with me as I was almost sure that I could not eat anything at the airport.  Also, my in-laws are not gluten free.  I planned ahead for lunches at my mother-in-law’s house by bringing gluten free crackers.  She planned on tuna salad for my lunch for both days.  Unfortunately, something in the tuna salad made me sick.  I made my own the next day with just mayonnaise, salt and pepper and I was fine.  I also think that drinking soda on the plane contributed to my upset stomach.  I have not had soda since April.  I don’t think I can handle the HFCS anymore.

My mother-in-law had given me a list of restaurants to choose from.  I had reviewed their menus and given her four choices.  The first night we went to Kelsey’s in Ellicott City.  They had a pretty good choice of dishes that were either gluten free or could be made gluten free.  The waitress was very attentive to my dietary restrictions and checked with the chef, who also made my dinner so that there would be no cross-contamination.  I had the spinach salad with grilled salmon:

Spinach Salad *
Bacon bits, diced red onion, sliced hard boiled egg, raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Grilled, or Jerk chicken +4.99 Blackened chicken +4.99 Grilled shrimp +7.99 Grilled steak +7.99 Ahi tuna +Market Grilled Salmon +7.99
I noticed that the Fish and chips were marked with a * which meant it could be made gluten free:
Fish and Chips *
Pacific‎ Cod dipped in homemade beer batter and deep-fried, served with fries..
Beer is not gluten free, but I asked.  She said it was made with Killian’s Irish Red, which is not gluten free-so why is it marked can be made gluten free?  This is a glaring issue.
 Maybe the chef could have used gluten free beer, but this should not be marked gluten free.  It could make someone sick if they didn’t know that beer has gluten,or assume they are using gluten free beer.
My husband and mother-in-law had crab cakes.  Oh well, can’t eat those anymore.  They said they were excellent.
On Saturday, everyone came over to get together for lunch.  Mom had ordered sandwiches and salads, which unfortunately I could not eat.  I had the tuna.  We had decided to go to Carrabba’s in Ellicott City for dinner.  As we left, it began to rain really hard.  We thought it would blow over, but the rain got worse as we ate dinner.
As we left, it was like a monsoon.  This was a historic rain-Ellicott city was completely flooded.  We were about two miles from the worst of it-we were lucky we left when we did because we would probably not have gotten back to her house.  The next day, the story was all over the news.
Carrabba’s has quite a few gluten free options.  But since I have to watch for dairy, and now nuts, anywhere I go becomes a real challenge.  The waitress here was great also, and she knew what was in every dish.  I was really impressed with her knowledge. I was going to order the Chicken Marsala but she told me it had “almost a whole stick of butter” in it.
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 I have never made Marsala with butter, but maybe that’s just me.  I was really disappointed.  I ordered the salmon instead:
but again, the white wine sauce had butter.  She told me that I could have the sauce from the Tilapia put on the salmon:
I thought that was great-very accommodating.   I also had the side salad with balsamic-she brought out a cruet of olive oil and a cruet of balsamic-I had never seen this before but I thought it was great-I could control the amount of oil and vinegar.  I find that restaurants put way too much vinegar in their dressing.  I really appreciated this.
The salmon was delicious as was everyone’s meal.  The only damper (pun intended) was the weather.  It was coming down in torrents.
I would recommend both of these restaurants if you are in the Ellicott city area.  Just not in a rainstorm!
We flew back to Nashville yesterday afternoon-because of flight cancellations the night before, our plan took off late.  We arrived home very worn out.
I always plan ahead when traveling-it will make your life so much easier.  If you do visit family, try to prepare your own food.  While family members mean well, you just never know if there is something in the food that will make you sick.  If you can’t do that, be prepared with anti-diarrhea medication.
Try to enjoy time with your family.  Family gatherings usually center around foods we can’t eat.   Try to make the best of it.  Travel can be difficult even without food allergies and restrictions.  It can be even worse with them.   Always scope out restaurant menus and options online.   Don’t be afraid to speak up to the waiter about dietary issues.
Our next trip is Hawaii in September.  I am planning all food in advance and we will be traveling light-with gluten free snacks, of course!

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