Friday, September 23, 2005

GFT has Moved

Well, that was fast. The old page is still there, but I have mirrored it on a server where I work. It has a bad URL, but what can I do? The good news is that there are no more annoying GeoCities ads. Here it is:

I made some small updates, but, as always, I appreciate intel, especially since I don't dine out as much as I used to. And, as I always say, you too can join this blog.

I've added the ability to comment on the restaurant listings on the GFT page. I hope it works okay. I am thinking of moving the page because I am tired of the Geocities advertisements.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Triumph Dining Cards

Ross, from Triumph Dining, was good enough to send me two sample dining cards (Mexican and Thai). I am not sure that I am in the best position to judge them because I have never used a dining card, and I have not tried these ones, but I think I will.

The cards seem to contain more information than other cards, although the only ones I have really seen are the samples printed in the back of Against the Grain, by Jax Peters Lowell.

The cards are laminated and can be folded to wallet size. English is presented on one side, while the language of the cuisine in question is printed on the reverse. I think it is safe to assume that the translations are accurate. Although there is quite a lot of text, the company states that most chefs can read the card in about one minute.

The cards include a listing of foods and ingredients that cannot be eaten, those that should be checked, and things we can always eat. A statement about contamination is also included. Clearly, there was much research carried out in preparing these cards. As an example, here is a section from the FAQ:

24. Why isn't rye on the Indian card?
The grain rye is almost unheard of in India. Multiple authoritative English-Hindi dictionaries indicated that there is no direct Hindi translation of rye. (Hindi is the official language of India.) Rye was defined only as a "type of wheat." In fact, our 3 Ivy-League educated translators and editors, all natives of India, were unfamiliar with rye as a grain. We also consulted with multiple Indian chefs, grocers, and food distributors, and no one was familiar with the grain rye in Indian cooking. NOTE: Please be careful not to confuse "rye," the grain, which is practically nonexistent in Indian cooking with "rai" the spice. Rai (also spelled "rye") is a small round mustard seed used in Indian cooking. The spice rai is gluten-free - though the name might suggest otherwise!

The Triumph Dining site indicates that Thai is the most celiac-friendly cuisine. I have heard that from other sources as well. Oddly, I have had a hard time finding gluten-free Thai food in Toronto. Recently, I was told I couldn't eat anything at a Thai restaurant on Bloor Street. Another local place has only one dish that is GF. I have yet to find a Thai restaurant in Toronto that uses wheat-free soy sauce. In New York last year, I was turned away by a Thai restaurant, because all of the dishes had either wheat-based soy sauce or were thickened with flour.

I think I will make a trek to that restaurant that turned me down with the card and see if it makes a difference. Maybe I was not clear enough. After all, I recall going to extreme lengths to describe my dietary restrictions to a Maitre D in a restaurant in Houston, only to hear him recommend a deep fried monte cristo sandwich! I went somewhere else.

The cards look professional, well-researched, and useful, but I will post a follow up after I try the cards.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

just when i started getting used to reading labels as well as kind of enjoying my new relationship with food, i stopped in at a corner store and grabbed my favourite kind of mrs vickies chips.
only to shove a couple in my mouth without reading the ingredients and so proceeding to do so while i'm chewing. there lo and behold is "wheat" and i'm like WTF? then i realized that my favourite kind, which i haven't had in at least a year, is sea salt and MALT vinegar.
duh me.
luckily i never swallowed it, and so i'm standing on spadina spitting into a plastic bag, swirling spit around in my mouth trying to get every bit out of my mouth. people walking by, looking at me sideways, like i have morning sickness or maybe i'm junked out. at least my kid was with me. for some reason, being around my kid gives me permission to look neurotic but not actually really be neurotic.
so far so good. i have some intestinal complaining going on but i don't think it's going to knock me over for days. i hope.