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Aruba
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Just returned from a week in Aruba and thought I'd share. Our 13-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed and I was nervous. Did my research before we left and called or e-mailed a few places. While she's not sensitive and wouldn't necessarily know if she got glutened, we felt the restaurants we visited were very attentive and caring. The manager at El Gaucho, the steakhouse, was very knowledgeable and assured me that the kitchen has separate prep areas for everything. The meats are not made with any marinades, either. DD had steak and rice. At Yemanje Grill, which has a full gluten-free menu, she also went with steak and rice and even sampled some of the side sauteed veggies, which were gluten-free. At Que Pasa? they checked off which items on their regular menu were gluten-free, although I caught a mistake--they indicated their chicken teriyaki was gluten-free even though it has soy sauce. Just goes to show you can't always trust a restaurant to know what's gluten-free! She did well with steak and rice (sensing a pattern here?). At Hostaria di Vittorio, they grilled her a chicken breast in butter and lemon and cooked our gluten-free pasta in clean water. We also brought gluten-free pasta to two casual Italian spots, Casa Tua and Tomato Charlie's, and were assured that they cooked it for her in clean water as well. The remaining dinner was at Linda's Dutch Pancakes because we knew Linda serves gluten-free pancakes.

There was a decent selection of gluten-free foods at Kong Hing Supermarket, and the manager even got a case of Udi's bread for us prior to our arrival. Otherwise, we would have bought the Food For Life gluten-free bread. I didn't see any other gluten-free bread anywhere in the supermarkets.

Hope this helps anyone considering Aruba for a vacation!!!

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I thought i would add to this topic rather than starting a new one - all of the old Aruba posts were very helpful to us in planning our trip. Our 11 year old was diagnosed 7 weeks before our trip, and I was slightly panicky about the whole thing - but we had a great experience! We stayed in a condo so took a lot of food with us - cereal, pasta, crackers, bread, etc. And I'm still glad that we did because it saved money - but everything I took we could have bought in Aruba. Specifically, go to Ling and Sons grocery store. We live in a small town, so to us going to Ling and Sons was like when we go an hour away to a store that carries a decent amount of gluten-free items. They must have had 10 varieties of Tinkyada pasta. I even saw Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour. And in the freezer section they had Rudi's bread and Kinnickinnick donuts - my daughter was in heaven! Earlier in the week we went to SuperFoods, and they had a decent amount - but sort of like my hometown grocery store vs. the great variety at Ling and Sons.

 

In terms of restaurants, we went to Tejas de Brasil and had a good experience - they were very deferential to her and very helpful. But it's a lot of money for somewhat mediocre food, in our view. I guess we're just not huge eaters and to pay that much for the buffet isn't really how we like to eat. We didn't go to Yemanjah's Woodfire Grill until the last night - and I think we would have eaten there every night if we had discovered it sooner! She was treated like a princess - even got her own loaf of warm gluten-free bread along with her own garlic butter and olive spread. She was a huge fried calamari fan previously, and was moaning about not being able to get calamari. They have a calamari stew and she insisted on ordering that for an appetizer - I was a little worried because it's very different from fried calamari. But it was delicious and she was thrilled. She ordered the kid's grilled chicken and it came with rice and a yummy salad. And they even had her favorite - creme brulee - for dessert. The rest of us had things which were probably gluten-free, too - and my snapper on a bed of pesto risotto was one of the best things I've ever eaten. The whole meal was delicious - and cost us less than the Tejas de Brasil meal!

 

We also had a good experience at Pinchos Grill, which is on the waterfront in a gorgeous setting. The food isn't as spectacular as Yemanja's, but the setting is unbeatable. My daughter had the shrimp ceviche for an appetizer and she ordered the kid's burger (without a bun or cheese, please) for dinner. I asked the waitress how they cooked it, and she said "on the grill". I asked if they could cook it in a pan instead and she said no, because they don't have any pans. So then I asked if they could cook it on foil, and it came still surrounded in foil and was perfect. It came with chips and a snack pack pudding - which she took home so that she could have the berries and whipped cream instead!

 

We went to Linda's for gluten-free dutch pancakes and gluten-free pizza twice. That was a treat for all of us! My husband also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread because he wanted her to be able to taste it, and it was delicious. The gouda there is just wonderful!

 

Maybe it's because we live in a small town with very limited options, but I thought it was really easy to be gluten-free in Aruba. I know that a lot of the research on Celiac is done in Denmark, and since Aruba is a Dutch colony or protectorate (or whatever it is - I guess I really should know that) I think they are a lot further along in their understand of gluten-free than lots of places in the US. I guess I should qualify all this by saying that I don't know how sensitive my daughter is - she didn't have any overt GI symptoms prior to diagnosis and has only (we think) been glutened once since going gluten-free, and her reaction then was throwing up within 1 to 2 hours. But she didn't have so much as a small stomach ache and her poop remained as it's been since she went gluten-free (prior to that it was apparently much softer and more frequent - so in hindsight she did have GI symptoms). So all is good! Go to Aruba - it's good for the soul and for the gluten-free diet!!

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I thought i would add to this topic rather than starting a new one - all of the old Aruba posts were very helpful to us in planning our trip. Our 11 year old was diagnosed 7 weeks before our trip, and I was slightly panicky about the whole thing - but we had a great experience! We stayed in a condo so took a lot of food with us - cereal, pasta, crackers, bread, etc. And I'm still glad that we did because it saved money - but everything I took we could have bought in Aruba. Specifically, go to Ling and Sons grocery store. We live in a small town, so to us going to Ling and Sons was like when we go an hour away to a store that carries a decent amount of gluten-free items. They must have had 10 varieties of Tinkyada pasta. I even saw Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour. And in the freezer section they had Rudi's bread and Kinnickinnick donuts - my daughter was in heaven! Earlier in the week we went to SuperFoods, and they had a decent amount - but sort of like my hometown grocery store vs. the great variety at Ling and Sons.

In terms of restaurants, we went to Tejas de Brasil and had a good experience - they were very deferential to her and very helpful. But it's a lot of money for somewhat mediocre food, in our view. I guess we're just not huge eaters and to pay that much for the buffet isn't really how we like to eat. We didn't go to Yemanjah's Woodfire Grill until the last night - and I think we would have eaten there every night if we had discovered it sooner! She was treated like a princess - even got her own loaf of warm gluten-free bread along with her own garlic butter and olive spread. She was a huge fried calamari fan previously, and was moaning about not being able to get calamari. They have a calamari stew and she insisted on ordering that for an appetizer - I was a little worried because it's very different from fried calamari. But it was delicious and she was thrilled. She ordered the kid's grilled chicken and it came with rice and a yummy salad. And they even had her favorite - creme brulee - for dessert. The rest of us had things which were probably gluten-free, too - and my snapper on a bed of pesto risotto was one of the best things I've ever eaten. The whole meal was delicious - and cost us less than the Tejas de Brasil meal!

We also had a good experience at Pinchos Grill, which is on the waterfront in a gorgeous setting. The food isn't as spectacular as Yemanja's, but the setting is unbeatable. My daughter had the shrimp ceviche for an appetizer and she ordered the kid's burger (without a bun or cheese, please) for dinner. I asked the waitress how they cooked it, and she said "on the grill". I asked if they could cook it in a pan instead and she said no, because they don't have any pans. So then I asked if they could cook it on foil, and it came still surrounded in foil and was perfect. It came with chips and a snack pack pudding - which she took home so that she could have the berries and whipped cream instead!

We went to Linda's for gluten-free dutch pancakes and gluten-free pizza twice. That was a treat for all of us! My husband also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread because he wanted her to be able to taste it, and it was delicious. The gouda there is just wonderful!

Maybe it's because we live in a small town with very limited options, but I thought it was really easy to be gluten-free in Aruba. I know that a lot of the research on Celiac is done in Denmark, and since Aruba is a Dutch colony or protectorate (or whatever it is - I guess I really should know that) I think they are a lot further along in their understand of gluten-free than lots of places in the US. I guess I should qualify all this by saying that I don't know how sensitive my daughter is - she didn't have any overt GI symptoms prior to diagnosis and has only (we think) been glutened once since going gluten-free, and her reaction then was throwing up within 1 to 2 hours. But she didn't have so much as a small stomach ache and her poop remained as it's been since she went gluten-free (prior to that it was apparently much softer and more frequent - so in hindsight she did have GI symptoms). So all is good! Go to Aruba - it's good for the soul and for the gluten-free diet!!

Thank you! It makes me feel so hopeful when I read posts like yours! Oh, I want to travel again!

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