At home my staple Indian dishes are butter chicken, curry chicken, aloo gobi and vegetable biryani. It’s funny how quickly butter chicken became boring in India. I think I only ate it twice as there were so many other more delicious meals to try. I am proud of how many different types of dishes I tried while in India. Actually, during my trip I started asking Negi Chef to surprise me with the dinners he prepared me. This was a fantastic way to try a wide variety of dishes and it really opened my eyes and taste buds to a whole new world of Indian dishes.
Prior to my first day in the Gurgaon office, Negi Chef told me he would prepare me a lunch to bring to work. Perfect, I thought, that way I would know that I was eating safely and gluten free. After all I was told a few times to only trust the food at the hotel, not the stuff at work. Well there I was my first day at our Gurgaon office, packed lunch in hand. When I got there and asked my colleague where the kitchen was so I could put my lunch in the fridge he said there was no fridge. “Wait, no fridge? But how will my lunch stay cold then?” I thought. Instead, he brought me downstairs to the cafeteria and he asked one of the vendors to put my food in the beverage fridge full of pop. Well, from then on I had a new routine of eating my lunch during first break so that it had less of a chance to go bad. Then I’d eat a banana or Lara bar during dinner break.
Quickly I learned how much I love traditional Southern Indian breakfast dishes and I am proud to say I only ordered a plain cheese omelette a couple times throughout my stay.
Masala Dosa was hands down my favourite breakfast. It was just disappointing that I could only eat it on the weekends since they weren’t able to make it on the weekdays when I ate breakfast at 3:30 p.m. before work. For the first week I actually stayed up until 8:00 a.m. after work so that I could eat this for breakfast before going to bed, but I quickly realized this was greatly messing up my sleeping pattern. Dosa is a thin rice flour and yellow lentil pancake wrapped like a crepe and usually filled with delicious potatoes. It is served with coconut chutney and lentil broth. The breakfast chefs on the weekend would always know my order. One morning I had a conversation with the Dosa chef about how making dosas is a skilled technique. The batter is made ahead of time and then has to be left out for a while before cooking it. To cook, the batter is quickly poured in a circle on the grill and flattened out into a perfect circle with a wooden tool. They were so good, I hope I can find them in Toronto!
I think we all agree that traveling gluten free can be a bit scary. What about language barriers and awareness levels? Do they understand the risk of cross contamination? Will I be able to taste the local food or will I be stuck relying on fruit, nuts and granola bars, essentially only skimming the surface on the local culture?
But here I am on a short term business assignment in India. I will be living in a hotel in Gurgaon, a subdivision of Delhi, for the next five weeks.
I’d like to proudly say that it has always been a dream of mine to work overseas. Here I am at age 25 having just got back from a work assignment in India. It was challenging, exciting, rewarding and scary at times…but I did it! When I was asked to go abroad, I didn’t stop to think that it might be difficult to find gluten free food. I promised myself three years ago when I found out I had to let gluten go that I would never let gluten stand in the way of me living my life or traveling the world. I’m happy to say that my severe gluten intolerance did not stand in the way of fulfilling a lifelong dream. I took the challenge in stride. This time I was lucky since India is one of the most naturally gluten free cuisines in the world and I was staying at a nice hotel, but it still gives me confidence that I can successfully, safely and deliciously travel the world for business and pleasure and not let gluten hold me back.
Playa Cabana located on Dupont St. has been rated the city’s best taco and they recently opened up another restaurant, Playa Cabana Cantina, in the Junction. Ryan and I love tacos and so we had to go test them out on our recent excursion to the Junction. There is a great vibe inside the restaurant; the decor seemed very authentic with its bright neon signs…much better than other over-the-top, tackily decorated restaurants I’ve been to with cactuses and sombreros! There was a great bar area too!
On a whim, Ryan and I decided to spend last Saturday in the Junction. When our original plans fell through, we decided to explore a new area of Toronto that neither of us had been to before. Since food drives most things for us, we decided to try this new highly rated taco joint in the Junction. The restaurant is called Playa Cabana Cantina and you can read more about our food experience there soon. So purely because we wanted to try these tacos, we decided to go to the Junction to spend the afternoon. To my surprise, I discovered that the Junction is a wonderful area for people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerances. Almost every little shop that I went into had something gluten free to eat!
Mexican food is one of the most naturally gluten free cuisines in the world, which is great news for me since I LOVE Mexican food! After an afternoon of exploring the CN Tower with two colleagues who were on business trips in Toronto (one from India, the other from Texas), we were on the lookout for food. Since my colleague from India had never had Mexican food before, I couldn’t resist stopping at Milagro Cantina for a late dinner. It’s a tacky decorated Mexican chain restaurant with three different locations across the city – but it serves good food and big servings. I mean what’s a better dinner lineup when you’re starving than guac and tacos with a margarita?! Yum!
It is very well known around the gluten free and allergy community that Disney is a pro when it comes to catering to food allergies and intolerances. Whether it’s Disney World or a Disney Cruise, you can bet you and your family will be taken care of! When Ryan and I decided to spend a day of magic at Disney World while we were visiting his grandparents in Florida, I was ecstatic to see Mickey Mouse as I hadn’t been since I was 9, but I was also excited knowing that I would have a good meal ahead of me.
Earlier this week I had a romantic Winterlicious date night at Aria. But on Friday night it was ladies’ night, no fellas allowed. Word spread and it seemed like everyone was in the mood for a late night Winterlicious dinner at Sorrel followed by a night on the town.
It ended up being one of those nights where the company far exceeds the food. My meal was pretty good, but by far nothing to write home about. Thankfully the wine was delicious and flowing, and all night we laughed and had a great time catching up with amazing friends.