Safe Gluten-Free Dining in Denver, Colorado
- By Aimee Eiguren
- Published 10/24/2008
I am a 38 year old woman and native San Franciscan, now living in northern Nevada...I'm also a Blogger. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease on April 15, 2000 - the Millennium year proved to be quite significant for my life, minus any YK2 computer crashes. My diagnosis arrived sincerely just in the nick of time, because at the ripe old age of 30 I was on my out of this life, due to almost a decade of severe sickness, complications and misdiagnoses. There are still many a day when a flash of my pre-diagnosis past enters my mind and I remember glimpses of my life during those years of confusion, sickness, despair, and ultimate frustration. I don't recall ever feeling fearful of what was happening to me though, because the funny thing about the human spirit is - we fight to live; it's innate to our souls...and of our being. However, I can honestly say that my parents and brother would not concur with my last sentence because they were laden with the fear and uncertainty of my future more than I - my job was to fight through, research, keep living, keep filling up my soul with whatever joys and enjoyment I could still physically and emotionally take in...and I did just that.
I would be honored for any of you out there to take a look at my blog and see what you think, or better yet, please subscribe to receive my blog postings...it's easy to do from the home page at www.glutenfreebowlofsoul.blogspot.com.
In my opinion and from my experiences, I have found that eating out at perhaps more "up-scale" restaurants seems to be a safer bet vs. faster food or even take out. I don't mean this to sound "snobby" in any way, shape, or form, but it seems that higher-end restaurants want to get it right and take more care with their meal preparation—now, I realize that this is by no means a 100% guarantee for eating safely just because you are paying more for your food, but from my experiences I have found that wait staff and chefs seem to be much more educated when it comes to eating gluten-free, under these circumstances.
With that said, the two Italian restaurants that I visited in Denver, one for a lovely dinner with my brother and the other for a late lunch/dinner, were both terrific. Truly, one of the highlights of this week's business trip to Denver was discovering the restaurant Panzano, in downtown Denver on 17th Street. At first I was a bit alarmed with the limited "bar menu" we had to choose from given the time of day, but I quickly learned that our server was very educated on eating gluten-free. He guided me through the menu and went out of his way to create a gluten-free Caesar salad, and wonderful antipasti plate that was fabulous, but the best part of the experience was when our server asked if I would like my own basket of gluten-free focaccia bread! Uhhh, "what did you say?" I replied...I continued, "Are you SURE it's gluten-free and safe"...he responded "Yes, it is" and they do all the fresh gluten-free baking every day in their bakery that's designated for celiacs and not contaminated. In that case I said, "PLEASE bring me some bread! And wow, was it delicious—I ordered two plates!
The other restaurant that I visited was in the downtown Theatre District, called Prima Ristorante. It was also very enjoyable, sans the focaccia bread! The restaurant is tucked inside the lovely Hotel Teatro on 14th Street and is well worth the visit, especially if you are looking for a safe and enjoyable dining experience. I had ordered a wonderful asparagus appetizer and a salmon entree that they specially prepared for me in a separate, gluten-free pan. Our European waitress was very aware and double-checked everything I put in my mouth, including reviewing every ingredient in the homemade sorbets that they serve. I felt very well taken care of, and therefore was able to fully enjoy a rare dinner with just my brother and me.
The next time any of you are in Denver, I encourage you to visit either or both of these great restaurants and enjoy all the delicious choices offered and care given to you during your meal.
Enjoy and safe travels!
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