Once upon a time, I could eat anything. I traveled the Valley of the Sun, nibbling here and there, happy in my gluten-filled world, blissful in my celiac-disease ignorance. I had many favorite dishes that I would return to again and again.
Now that I can't eat them, you should. Here are five:
Blueberry brioche toast from Tammie Coe and her husband MJ Oh, bliss on a plate. I would revel in the deliciousness of this amazing piece of pastry that was the result of the dynamic duo's combined skills. A piece of brioche made by famously good bread maker Michael John, covered with an almond paste, sliced almonds, and fresh blueberries, then broiled to caramelized delectability. There is no equivalent in my gluten-free world, so I must only dream of days past.
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Chicken-fried steak at the TEXAZ Grill This crisp, gravy-smothered Texas-size plate of steak goodness got me through my pregnancy 19 years ago. I had morning sickness and afternoon-sickness and late-night sickness. I threw up. A lot. The smell of the parking garage made me throw up after work on a nearly daily basis. My husband cooking with fresh basil drove me out of the house. But the chicken-fried steak at the TEXAZ Grill, which was called something else back then, along with the sides of mashed potatoes and corn and a bucket of root beer (no caffeine, no aspartame for my fetus), would settle my tummy right down. It was my favorite pregnancy meal, and my best friend would take me there at least once a week. It is perhaps responsible for many extra pounds that never came off, but I also think it made my son a happy camper and helped shape his friendly, down-home personality. Maunapua at Aloha Kitchen These amazing steamed buns filled with barbecue pork always took me home to Hawaii. I think they should be named the official national sandwich. Barbecue in a handy enclosed bun so it doesn't fall into your lap. What could more American. Perfect. Now you know.
Pad Thai at Thai Lahna Restaurant Oh, how I love Pad Thai. The noodles, the chicken, the slivered vegetables, the peanuts. But same problem with this dish -- wheat-laden soy sauce. And sometimes the noodles have some wheat flour in them. I'm determined to find another way to get my fix of this dish.
Apple Pancake at the Original Pancake House Last, but not least, this amazing puff of pancake pastry with sautéed apples and cinnamon that's so tempting people are happy to wait the required 30 minutes for it. As their menu says, copied but never duplicated. And certainly not in the gluten-free world.