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La Jolla (san Diego)
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My husband and I are going to La Jolla in April for 4 nights as part of a yearly manager's retreat. This will be a trip with a lot of firsts for me. -- The first time traveling gluten-free. The first time being away from my kids for more than a weekend. The first time going to one of these things. AND... The first time I've met 95% of these people.

Ack!!!

I've been doing my homework on the food. There's a Whole Foods in La Jolla. I emailed the hotel to get communication going with their restaurant. I'm pretty sure, especially since there's a Whole Foods right there, that the chef is at least familiar with celiac, at least on a limited basis. I'm also going to request a microwave in our room, and a mini-fridge if they have one. If I've got an open-minded restaurant, a microwave and a mini-fridge, I've got no problems as far as my personal food needs.

The thing I'm more worried about is how to deal with the other spouses as far as whatever outings we'd be going on. Because non-celiacs can just stop into whatever restaurant or deli happens to be in front of them, and order lunch.

I really just want to blend in. I'm certainly not embarrased at my food needs, but I don't want to make a big deal about it. I'm not worried about being hungry at all. I rarely eat more than one big meal a day. I don't get ravenously hungry like I used to before going gluten-free. But I don't want people to feel like they have to eat somewhere that I can eat, or worry about making me feel left out.

I'm not going to eat something that I don't feel is safe. I'm going to be way more careful than I even am at home. There is no way I'm going to risk get glutened on vacation.

A big concern I have is to make sure people (like the boss's wife) are comfortable eating whatever they want around me, without feeling like they're making me uncomfortable by eating pasta, bread, or whatever, while I'm sitting there drinking an iced tea and eating a gluten-free Alpsnack bar (yum, by the way).

We're also going to be moving to the town where the company is located (Northern CA, not La Jolla) sometime in the next year. It's kind of a small town environment there, so these will be my "peeps". These will be the people who I go to playgroups with, and am in the PTA with. So I need to make a good impression. I'm not worried so much about being a cookie-cutter "boss's wife", as I am about not sticking out like a sore thumb.

Any tips, social or food-wise?

I'm planning on looking into and emailing a lot of the major restaurants, as well as talking to Whole Foods to get some recommendations of restaurants/chefs. But I'm more concerned about just those spur-of-the-moment tourist trips to different places.

I don't know. I'm freaking out more about hanging out with people I've never met more than anything. For five days. And in La Jolla? Oh. My. Gosh...

I did meet the boss' wife once. She seems really nice and easy to get along with.

I hope.

Ack!

:lol:

Nancy

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I live in San Diego. Yes- there is a Whole Foods in La Jolla. You can print their gluten free product line online. Also, there is a Trader Joes, and a Henry's store in La Jolla. Both of these have full gluten free menus that are printable offline. Go to glutenfreesd.com for more info about local stores and restaurants.

There is a restaurant in La Jolla, actually, on La Jolla Village Drive, called PF Changs, that has a gluten-free menu. It is delicious excellent Chinese food. Also, Outback Steak House is another option here.

Let me know if you need more info on addresses for these websites/menus, and/or locations.

Good luck!

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Nancy - Good Luck to you! I love La Jolla. I've been there many times; my sister used to live there. I hope you have a great time. It doesn't sound like you are overly concerned about eating dinner out, but I want to suggest Flemings Steak House. There is one in La Jolla, and they have a gluten-free menu on their website.

http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/menu_nut....htm#glutenfree

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at our local Flemings last month. I had a delicious meal, and our waiter was very good. I printed out the gluten-free menu and brought it with me.

Usually when I go out for a meal with business associates, I tell them I am allergic to wheat. I don't elaborate on gluten / Celiac unless they ask, and they usually don't. When it comes time to order, I ask the waiter to come over near me so that I can quietly ask questions and order. Sometimes I get up from the table to talk to the waiter or manager privately.

As far as stopping to eat during the day, try to steer the group to places that are more likely to have something you can eat. A deli for example may have fruit, cheese, Lays potato chips, yoghurt or hard boiled eggs. Also, La Jolla has some great Mexican restaurants. You may want call some of those to see if they can accommodate a gluten-free meal.

It sounds like you are well on your way to having a great trip. Don’t worry about blending in. It’s good to be a little different! Who knows, you may find that one of the other people in your group has a friend or relative that has Celiac.

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you're pretty much set in that area. if you google 'gluten free' and 'san diego', you'll find a bunch of stuff. there's whole foods, trader joe's, pei wei ('fast food' version of pf changs), and a bunch of other more local options. you shouldn't have a problem at all.

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Ahh! Bully's Mex North - La Jolla brings back so many memories! Whenever I go out I try to schedule it during non-peak hours so then the staff has a little more breathing room to help. And let the staff know that you have a condition and need their help. Most of the time people are willing to help. Do you have the Triumph dining cards? Those have been a godsend for me sometimes. I keep mine in my purse at all times. And as for sticking out - don't worry about it. You can't help having a medical condition. It's how YOU deal with it that will leave an impression on others. When I've been out with others, I'll usually let them know my diet choices are limited since I have celiac and can't eat anything that has wheat. But I don't limit the choices of restaurants if there is a selection of salads I can eat. Better than nothing, and even though at times my stomach rebels at the thought of yet another salad, for the most part I'm along for the company, not the food.

Hope this helps. Relax and let them get to know you as a person with celiac. Hey, we all have our quirks!

Annette

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Hi - I live in San Diego and I work in La Jolla. You won't have any problems. Like others have said, there's Whole Foods, Henrys, Trader Joes - and there's also a great place called Jimbos not too far away. There are health food stores everywhere. The Whole Foods has a massive salad bar and a taco/burrito (bowl) bar (I've never gotten sick from either) if you need to pick up lunch or something in a hurry.

Check out glutenfreeinsd.com and let me know if you have any more questions about how to find gluten-free food in that area.

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My brother lives in La Jolla. He's a picky eater and a health food fanatic. He shops at that Whole Foods AND he says that some of the other normal grocery stores are just as expensive (so why not just shop at WF?).

One restaurant you will find EVERYWHERE around San Diego is Rubio's. I love this place! They are a small chain of Mexican restaurants. Their signature item (fish taco) has wheat because the fish is deep fried, but there are other options there.

Rubio's Store Locator

Allergen Info (pdf file) - they don't guarantee against contamination (they have fryers) so it depends how sensitive you are.

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One restaurant you will find EVERYWHERE around San Diego is Rubio's. I love this place! They are a small chain of Mexican restaurants. Their signature item (fish taco) has wheat because the fish is deep fried, but there are other options there.

Rubio's Store Locator

Allergen Info (pdf file) - they don't guarantee against contamination (they have fryers) so it depends how sensitive you are.

I loooove Rubio's and I miss it so much! There is wheat in all of their marinades and they don't have any dedicated fryers or grills. I used to eat there on a regular basis and it made me very sick every time. Here's some more info on them you might want to read before you eat there:

http://www.kintera.org/site/pp.asp?c=ewK0LjP7E&b=139169

It was very sad for me to give up Rubio's :( . It is very un-San Diegan of me not to eat there but I don't consider it safe. Just my opinion.

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I loooove Rubio's and I miss it so much! There is wheat in all of their marinades and they don't have any dedicated fryers or grills. I used to eat there on a regular basis and it made me very sick every time. Here's some more info on them you might want to read before you eat there:

http://www.kintera.org/site/pp.asp?c=ewK0LjP7E&b=139169

It was very sad for me to give up Rubio's :( . It is very un-San Diegan of me not to eat there but I don't consider it safe. Just my opinion.

All of them? It looks like just the chicken from their webpage. I guess it all depends on how sensitive you are. I'm new to this, so I don't notice small amounts yet. Dang. I like Rubio's.

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All of them? It looks like just the chicken from their webpage. I guess it all depends on how sensitive you are. I'm new to this, so I don't notice small amounts yet. Dang. I like Rubio's.

Hmmm it looks like they keep changing it. It's strange on that allergen form - one version of carnitas has wheat and the other doesn't. I do absolutely love the health mex chicken tacos. Yum. Rubio's is the one food I am genuinely sad about having to give up. Maybe if you go in when it's not busy they'd be willing to clean the grills and such. That would be awesome. I'm not big on worrying about CC all that much but I didn't feel entirely better on the gluten-free diet until I gave up Rubios. But then again I was eating it atleast once a week.

:)

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Yeah, I noticed that their chicken taquitos were gluten-free so I sent them an email. I haven't seen past versions so I didn't know they were changing it... I think everyone is changing menus/recipes right now because of the new FDA thing and the McD's law suit.

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Wow! Thanks everybody for all the tips and advice. I'm feeling a lot better about eating out there. I will definitely get the dining cards. For some reason I forgot all about those.

I'm another Rubio's fan who has been missing the fish tacos. We have one in our mall here. It would be so great if they developed a couple gluten-free options, and redid their marinade.

Another question I have is what is the weather like in early April? Does it tend to be rainy or chilly still? I'm trying to figure out what kind of clothes to get. Right now I'm kind of in a stay-at-home-mom clothes rut. Lots of jeans and my husband's t-shirts. I have a few things that are nicer, but you know what I mean.

Nancy

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Another question I have is what is the weather like in early April? Does it tend to be rainy or chilly still? I'm trying to figure out what kind of clothes to get. Right now I'm kind of in a stay-at-home-mom clothes rut. Lots of jeans and my husband's t-shirts. I have a few things that are nicer, but you know what I mean.

Nancy

Hmm I can't remember exactly, but I think it's too early for the "June gloom" You're right on the ocean and it's the Alaskan current right off shore keeping springtime cool in the morning, but you can expect 70's at least every afternoon. But too cold for swimming in the ocean. But if you head inland to the mtns you can expect 80's. If you can, make a side trip up to Julian in the Lagunas. It's a nice little ex-mining town turned tourist. And if you can't make both the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, definitely go for the Wild Animal Park, IMO.

Annette

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I would not eat the taquitos at Rubios' -- I have never heard them say they use dedicated fryers.

Those suckers would be covered in gluten-laden oil....

While you are in SD, check out Donovan's steakhouse -- they do an incredible job and have several gluten-free items.

Fleming's in La Jolla is also really good (the flemings potatoes are incredible and gluten-free)

I would also recommend George's at the Cove, The Crabcatcher and Henry's in La Jolla...

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Meredith-

Ditto on Rubios. I talked to someone there and all of their marinades have wheat in them, and their fryers are not dedicated. Boooo hooooooooooooo!!

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Nancy - wow what a nice trip you are going on. I love San Diego, only been once but if I could have my house on same size there as here in GA I'd move there in a heartbeat! I'm guessing this would cost about 1 million dollars+ literally so unless I start playin the lottery and win too - I will sadly never live in San Diego. Lived in Sunnyvale CA (silicon valley) 10 years ago and loved it there too. But San Diego on the water as in La Jolla - it can't be beat.

Now I hope you haven't left town yet as I actually have some helpful information for you. I was in SD in early May '04. It was perfect weather. Very nice breezy days, cool mornings (sweater for outside breakfast) and cool in the evenings (heater on patio for outside dinner). I'm cold natured so I never go anywhere without a sweater of some type. Casual for day, dressier type for nights. I think you will have sligtly cooler temps in early April. I do not think it will be tank top weather for sure. I remember being chilly at the hotel pool even in early May. By now you have probably looked on weather.com and know the temps for your whole trip. Have a great time!!!! Post how it went when you return.

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I live in San Diego (work next door to PF Changs, yum) There is also a place in the mall there (across from Changs) Called Saigon Noodles. Everything (except for 3 dishes) is made with rice paper or rice noodles and is gluten-free. Just a fast food stand in a foor court, but quick and good.

Also, I am from DC and one thing I notice about CA is that nothing is weird here. I used to say "no bun' when I went out and they'd assume I was on Atkins (even if I got fries) :) Now, since I have grown more sensitive, I start to ask a question, and they are like "Oh, wheat/gulten free?" Seems to be common. Went to a place called Top of the Cove, on the beach in La Jolla and my waiter was celiac!! It seems to be pretty common... my local dive bar knows me and if I ask for a burger, they know to leave off the bun and make a salad instead of contaminated fries.

I think you'll have nmo problems and even be able to order food without anyone at the table noticing. Seafood is usually safe and there is tons of it here!

April weather is generally nice (as opposed to...) 70's and sunny. I would bring a sweater/light jacket for night time, especially if you are near the beach.

Have fun!!!!!

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George's, Top of the Cove --- so Good!!! I had the same waiter when I was in SD!!!

Also, The Prado in Balboa Park is a great place to eat (I used to work there)

At the Prado, get the Pressed Salad (arugula and strawberries) and for an entree, get the garlic/rosemary chicken (soo good and the garlic sauce is gluten-free) or if you are at dinner, get the boneless spare rib dinner (OMG, so yummy!)

For dessert, get the tahitian vanilla bean cream cheese flan (no cookie with it)

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Just got back from La Jolla. It was good. Only got glutened once. This is after another big, really, really, REALLY bad, drama/trauma with a family member. I ended up almost not going because I couldn't trust that family member with my kids almost at the last minute. That person has been through so much and I really thing just reached the breaking point. (Might be celiac - blinders on - unaccepted genetics.) But my MIL and FIL rode in and saved the day. (?!?!!???) The first couple days I just relaxed around the hotel. All I wanted to do is curl up and sleep and cry. But my husband was great, my friends were great and my family was great. I even made some potential new friends at the conference. Had a massage and room service. (Company covered EVERYTHING. :o ) Room service was great about the gluten-free stuff. I never got glutened, although I only ate from there a few times... I didn't have the celiac conversation with ANYONE other than the hotel restaurant/staff. I just wasn't up to it. I think if anyone had looked at me cross-eyed during a gluten-free speech, I would have just burst into tears. I ate out a few times, and just asked for no sauces, plain, no dressing, etc. Somehow got glutened once, probably cross-contamination. It ended up being a great vacation for my husband and I. We were just able to relax together and not have to worry about anything. Wanted to touch bases with all of you who gave me so much good information on being celiac in SD. I'm really kind of disappointed in myself for not being more assertive in my gluten-free status. But, I did the best I could considering the circumstances.

San Diego was SOOOOOOO pretty. Gorgeous blue skies, hangliders, surfers, aquariums, wonderful food (even without the sauces...). Loved it.

Nancy

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