This year, we spent our yearly family vacation in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis holds a special place in my heart. I fell in love with it as a middle schooler, attended college there for a while, and met my husband there. I also did my first official blogger business trip (for my mom) to St. Louis, where I was hosted by Purina. Honestly, I would probably consider St. Louis to be my first love.
St. Louis is also where I received my Celiac diagnosis, and the place where I tried my first gluten free premade food. It was a frozen waffle, and it was so bad that I cried. In the subsequent years, I found many products and restaurants in St. Louis that were gluten free. During our latest trip, I was surprised by how gluten free and allergen friendly the city was!
Despite Chattanooga’s desire to see itself as a foodie destination, it can be seriously lacking in the gluten free and allergen friendly direction. (And I can only deal with so many “upscale Southern” restaurants, anyway. Branch. Out. Y’all.) St. Louis reminded me in no uncertain terms that we have a long way to go in the foodie department, and an even longer way to go in the allergy awareness department.
While traveling, I like to use the apps Find Me Gluten Free and Allergy Eats to find safe restaurants for me and the FPIES kiddo. There’s also a great Facebook group called Dining Out With Food Allergies. Most of the places we ate in St. Louis were recommended from these groups, or from personal experience. I had also talked to a few Celiacs in St. Louis before heading back in that direction. I intended to visit New Day Gluten Free, which was highly recommended, but the timing just didn’t work out.
A few surprising finds were gluten free buns at Lion’s Choice, gluten free beer at Grant’s Farm, and a gluten free Slinger at Fitz’s!
I stuck to one specific Lion’s Choice that I was previously familiar with, and never went during a rush. Mistakes are made more often during lunch and dinner rushes, so I wound up eating lunch at 10:45 am one day. I don’t regret it. Be sure to check the Find Me Gluten Free app, because while some Lion’s Choice locations were five stars, some were….less well-reviewed.
As far as the gluten free beer at Grant’s Farm? I actually didn’t order it! When Justin went to get his free sample of beer at the welcome area in the biergarten, the bartender asked what I’d like. I mentioned I couldn’t have wheat, and before I knew it, a sorghum beer was in my hand. When I looked up the beer, I noticed that it had some pretty low reviews. This isn’t because it’s a “gluten removed” beer and it was making everyone sick— apparently it just plain doesn’t taste like a real beer. I’m not a beer fan, possibly because I have celiac, so I can’t attest to that. I will say that it felt really cool to be able to do what everyone else was doing without worrying about getting sick! The gluten free beers are still in the bottle and are only uncapped when poured into a disposable cup for you, so there’s no chance for cross-contamination unless something totally bizarre happens!
I had a lot of other great food on our trip, and there will probably be more posts about it later.
You can also see more food pictures on my Instagram and Facebook pages! Since we’ve been on the go a lot, it’s been easier to share what’s happening on social media instead of sitting down to write a whole post about it.
What are your favorite food finds in St. Louis?