I Have Exciting News! (Hint: Big Ears)

My sons have shown very little interest in my blogging–except for when complimentary allergy-friendly cookies arrive in the mail. My husband likes to good-naturedly poke fun at my blogging at cocktail parties: “My wife gave up her day job to write a blog–for free.” Such a comedian, my husband.

But now they all think my blog is pretty darn cool.

You see I’m going to the very first  FOOD ALLERGY AND CELIAC CONVENTION in WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!!

I may or may not take the family . . .  they have four months to be really nice to me.

Here are the top reasons why I’m so excited about going–and why you should meet me there on November 22.

1. It’s WALT DISNEY WORLD people . . . c’mon who wouldn’t want to go to a convention in the magical kingdom?

2. I’m AN ALLERGIC FOODIE— I LOVE allergy-friendly and gluten-free food! FACCWDW promises food demos by topnotch Disney chefs and culinary professionals.  I’m pretty sure they’ll hand out samples, don’t you think? This means free food–food I can actually eat.

3. Experts–people who know more than I do about celiac disease and food allergies–will be speaking and answering questions. I’ve got lots and lots of questions.

4.  The behind-the-scene fairies of FACCWDW are two smart gals who look extra cute in those wings: Laurie Sadowski and Sarah Norris. Their desire to “celebrate awareness of food allergies and celiac disease” started it all. How could I not join in?

5. There will be a nondairy ice cream buffet.

6. I get to hang with the rest of the  Blogger Street Team. People like Erica of Celiac and the Beast, Janice of The Adult Side of Disney, and Christy of Celiac 411 . . . these and all the other bloggers are people I’d like to have a glass of wine with at the end of the day–wouldn’t you? I’ll introduce you to more of the Blogger Street Team later.

7.  The sponsors of the event, including Enjoy Life Foods and Allergic Living Magazine and many others, are companies that make my food-allergic/celiac life better. I’d like to shake their hands (and yes, maybe get a free chocolate chip cookie or two from Enjoy Life).

8. Disney is known as the “gold standard” of special dietary food preparation. Not only do I get to go to an awesome convention in an awesome hotel in an awesome setting, I get to EAT and not WORRY about getting sick. Magical? I’d say so.

Disclaimer: FACCWDW is not affiliated or hosted by the Walt Disney Company, or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries.

I’ve Got Exciting News! (Hint: Big Ears) first appeared at Adventures of An Allergic Foodie.

Not Your Average Airport Food: Hyatt in Orlando

I’m looking down from my hotel room in the Hyatt Regency, Orlando, Florida, watching people check in for their flights. I’ve never stayed in a hotel that’s actually inside of an airport, and I can’t help thinking about that Tom Hanks movie (The Terminal) where, because of immigration issues, he becomes stuck in the airport for months. When the poor guy runs out of money, he starts eating serving-sized ketchup and mustard between Saltines and bathes and shaves in the airport restrooms.

The only similarity to my staying here and the movie is that I haven’t left the hotel/airport since arrival. Except for when my husband and I got a rental car and drove it around the block to the hotel parking garage. (We didn’t know the hotel lobby was a five-minute walk from our gate. Guess we just wanted to pay the overnight parking fee.)

Hyatt, Orlando Florida

Unlike the character in the movie, my meals have been outstanding–and you know an allergic foodie rarely dishes out praise for hotel food.

Lucky for me, our hotel room is on the same floor as Hemisphere Steak and Seafood Restaurant. Lucky because when we walked to our room yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the menu with many “GF”s next to entrees. Always a good sign!

A few hours later, after my husband went off to a dinner meeting, I dined alone at Hemisphere. Of course, I am never really alone when I have Instagram, Twitter, and texting. Here’s the photo of my meal and view I posted to Instagram.

Hemisphere Restaurant in Orlando Airport

A moist Scottish salmon on lentils with a touch of cilantro. Delish. And the microgreens with beets and balsamic dressing that I inhaled before I could take a photo was wonderful, too.

Before I ordered, the pleasant chef came out to  discuss my allergies–kudos!!!–and though the kitchen staff got a little confused about the salad’s goat cheese (I can eat goat cheese but not cow cheese), I appreciated them leaving all cheese off because they wanted me to be safe. Besides, I took the goat cheese back to my room for an after-drinking apple and cheese snack.

When I travel, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS take along a package of Main Street gluten-free instant oatmeal for breakfast.  No need this time–this Hyatt actually has gluten-free muffins! Honestly, these are the best GF muffins I’ve tasted.

GF Muffins at Hyatt

What’s wrong with this picture? Yes, the GF muffins are served next to the gluten-laced muffins. However, the server went back to the kitchen to get me non-contaminated ones–along with a few extras for a midday snack.

As I waddled out of the restaurant, I asked the hostess if all Hyatt Hotels were so allergy-friendly. I didn’t mention that I ‘d stayed at a few in the past that weren’t.

She mentioned Hyatt’s new global initiative: “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.”

Kudos to Hyatt.

Marriott: I hope you are reading this!!! I have NEVER EVER ate breakfast at a Marriott, unless you count a brown banana and a handful of walnuts breakfast.

The pleasant hostess also mentioned the kitchen has rice and soy milk available for those of us with dairy allergies. Now it would have been nice to know this when I said I had a dairy allergy.  I also had to ask a lot of questions about the buffet line food. Are the potatoes cooked in butter? What’s in the sausage? Is the bacon cooked on the same grill as the pancakes?

If Hyatt truly wants to “carefully serve,” I suggest management comes up with an Allergy Menu including at least the top 8 allergens. While the staff today was top notch, a little more training could make them exceptional.

Still, if I had to be stuck in an airport for months, this is definitely the airport (and hotel) I’d want to be stuck in.

Not Your Average Airport Food originally appeared at Adventures of An Allergic Foodie.