Celiac.com 08/31/2015 - It is possible that Oregon could be one of the gluten-free friendliest places on Earth. I had never been there before, but after a road trip to Oregon this summer I will definitely be back.
One interesting thing that I already knew about Oregon before my trip was that, for some reason, it is a hotbed for the test marketing of new gluten-free products. Many large corporations roll them out there first, before launching them in other states. These companies also pump a lot of marketing money into Oregon to promote these products—on a level that I've not seen in other states. Here is a picture that I took in downtown Portland of a huge billboard for Coors Peak Copper Lager. Not only can I not find this new gluten-free beer anywhere in the California Bay Area, but I also have never seen advertising done here on this scale for any gluten-free product.
Besides large corporate chain restaurants which offered unexpected gluten-free options, every local or family owned restaurant that I ate in also offered gluten-free options and/or a gluten-free menu. In fact, there is even a huge food truck culture in downtown Portland that is centered in parking lots near the China Town area, and many of these trucks advertise that they are either entirely gluten-free or have gluten-free options.
So you may be wondering where I came up with “ Gluten is the New Al Qaeda” in the title of this article? While in Portland I visited their huge “Portland Saturday Market,” which covers most of the waterfront in the downtown area on Saturdays and Sundays from March through Christmas. In one of the booths I found a vendor who was selling t-shirts and tote bags with this phrase on it, and since I happened to need a tote bag I picked one up. Looking back on this trip now I believe that this vendor's idea pretty much summed up my gluten-free experiences in Oregon—where those who are gluten-free will find many like minded people and therefore wont' have to waist much time explaining themselves when they order food—and a place where gluten is now being avoided by many Oregonians like most people in the world hope to avoid Al Qaeda!