Over the past few weeks I have made two trips to Denver, CO—one to visit family—and the other for work.  During both trips to the Mile High City, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the knowledge of celiac disease and eating gluten-free is fairly prevalent. I always worry a bit before heading to a new location, or different part of the country/world, not knowing what the level of celiac awareness will be, but on these two particular ventures to Colorado I was very happy and excited with what I found!

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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