Monthly Archives: November 2013

Those Dang Toasted Coconut Chips | Triumph Dining Product Review

dang coconutAround 3:00pm I often crave a crunchy snack and it’s usually more about the crunch than the hunger. I note this because only certain snacks will satisfy. Fortunately I think I’ve found a new one to add to my approved list: Dang Foods Coconut Chips. These chips are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, cholesterol free and a good source of fiber. And most importantly, they offer a great crunch. I’d describe it as a little firmer than a potato chip.

The shape isn’t what you’d find in a standard potato chip either, it’s closer to a Frito or an uncooked egg noodle – long and thin. They are crisp pieces of toasted coconut. Typically I’d say I’m a moderate fan of coconut. These chips were good and the rest of my household agreed. Click to continue reading »

Preference vs Allergy | Triumph Dining

I’ve noticed a trend recently when dining out. When I ask about gluten-free options or order my food a certain way I get this question, “Is this an allergy or a preference?”

I’m never quite sure how to respond. For me, neither option applies. I do not have an allergy to wheat or gluten but I do have very real and very specific issues when I eat it. I would never call it a preference since I don’t feel I have a choice in the matter. If I eat it I’ll get sick. I’d label mine and intolerance but I’m sure the guy behind the counter doesn’t really care to get into my symptoms or the negative test results I’ve had when being screened for celiac.

So what is with this new question? Honestly, the first time I heard it I was a little offended. My first thought was, “Neither! And it’s none of your business. Just prepare my food the way I asked you to.” Now, however, I’m beginning to realize that it’s the food industry’s new way of seeing how sensitive you are. Essentially they want to know if they’ll kill you if there are bread crumbs that come in contact with your salad or if you are just trying to eat low carb or cut calories.

Are restaurants are going about this properly? Are they treating gluten-free as a trend similar to low fat, low carb or paleo? Do they realize there is a specific risk involved for many people who follow gluten-free diets that is more akin to a life-threatening food allergy than a desire to cut calories? Though I hate the question, it does allow servers to address the consumer’s risk tolerance and shows that maybe they understand that there is a difference between a preference and a health risk – a difference between wrapping the sandwich in lettuce and having a designated gluten-free prep area.

“Allergy or preference?” I don’t like the question but are we at least headed in the right direction toward a better understanding of our GF needs?

Mario Olives | Triumph Dining Product Review

Triumph Dining Product Review Mario OlivesWe love olives in my house. In fact, a can of black olives was always in my stockings on Christmas mornings and it’s a tradition I’ve passed on to my children as well. At family gatherings there’s usually a relish tray with black and green olives and I always order them when we go out for tapas. My kids eat cheese pizza or pizza with black olives only. On nights when our meals need another pop of color or if there’s not enough fresh produce on hand to throw in our salad I’ll open a can of black olives. Whenever I do I always have to leave half of the can separate for the kids who inevitably end up with one on each finger before they eat them. When I traveled to Turkey I wished I could bring vats of olives home in my suitcase. Click to continue reading »

A Tale of Two Restaurants | Triumph Dining

Out to eat a lot photoEither with my family, colleagues, or clients, I go out to eat a lot. Sticking to a gluten-free diet means I need to do a little more leg work before trying a new restaurant.

I recently planned a dinner for my work team. Aside from my food restrictions we also have a person on the team with a soy and nut allergy and someone who does not eat beef. Planning for one food allergy is hard enough but it gets even more complicated when there are multiple restrictions and taste preferences.

I called ahead to the restaurant to make sure they could accommodate our special needs. I asked about the types of cooking oils they used and whether they have a gluten-free menu. The cooking oils were all fine for my soy-allergic boss but they do not publish a gluten-free menu. The person on the phone, however, assured me they could accommodate our needs and took down our food restrictions in the reservation notes. Click to continue reading »