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Sara S.

Gluten-Free In Big Bear, Ca

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There was another question about this in 2008, but I figured I'd start a new one since that one didn't have any replies and is 4 years old.

I just got back from a trip to Big Bear, CA, and I had some good experiences there.

I ate at Cowboy Express and didn't get sick. I ate the crab legs because it was the safest thing I could think of. They normally don't offer it for lunch, but when I called ahead they told me I could get stuff off their dinner menu, especially if I told them what I wanted ahead of time, so they could get things like baked potatoes (that aren't prepped until dinner) ready to go. On the phone, I was handed off to the manager right away, and both the waitress and the manager knew what celiac disease is. When we got there, the waitress was considerate, and the manager came by to make sure we were happy. There were a couple of downsides, though. When we got to our table there were crumbs on it, so I had to ask them to wipe down the table. And when I got my plate of crab legs, a (breaded) french fry had falled on the plate somehow, getting crumbs on the plate. Since the crabs are in their shells, I figured it was ok, and the manager happened to come by so I asked for a new plate. I didn't get sick, and they were very considerate about the whole thing, so I would definitely eat there again.

Another place I liked was the Tea & Coffee Exchange (right where the 18 turns, at the Village). They offer coconut milk, which made me very happy as I'm dairy intolerant and like to avoid soy milk. I drank there twice and didn't get sick (whereas I get sick at Starbucks). They also had gluten-free cookies from Alternative Baking Company. I am not sure how safe that brand is, but I used to love their regular cookies before I was diagnosed. So if you're able to eat them, you can find them at Tea & Coffee Exchange (at least as of now, June 2012).

Lastly, I wanted to mention that my group ate at Nottinghams and the waitstaff were cool with me bringing my own food to eat.

Hopefully this review is helpful to anyone interested in going to Big Bear. Even though there aren't many places to eat out, there are plenty of grocery stores in town, so I found it very manageable.

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