What an experience this past month offered me! I navigated a road trip from Seattle (where I did not stop to eat) to Cleveland making stops in Ellensburg WA, Missoula MT, Livingston MT, Billings MT, Medora ND, Fargo ND, St. Paul MN, and Madison WI! Along the way we ‘googled’ local restaurants, perused menus and made our picks based on my ability to dine with ease.
Here’s the result:
Our first stop – Fiesta En Jalisco in Ellensburg, WA (mexican) where we dined on excellent Carne Asada and Chile Relleno (egg only dip) with perfectly made guacamole and margaritas. I was super hungry since I had flown directly from Cleveland to Washington with only cashews and coffee to snack on. While there was a bit of a language barrier I chose the simplest meal in order to make sure that I was not going to be glutened. The menu was pretty straightforward so I felt pretty confident that all was well, not having any reaction was a welcome outcome! Off to Spokane……
We arrived in Spokane too late to find anything open for dining. The following morning (after a quite horrible hotel experience) we were anxious to make our way out of town and get on the road. We headed to Rockwood Bakery and Coffee shop on the road towards the expressway. It was quite nice. While they had no gluten-free baked goods available at the time of our visit they did have fresh fruit in the form of bananas, blueberries, figs and dried cranberries, Chobani yogurts, a lovely cup of decaf
(decaf was hard to find on this trip, many shops did not carry decaf at all). For my travel partner – fresh made steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and other great coffee options!
Next stop Missoula! What a city – vibrant and active with lots of pedestrian traffic on Saturday morning at the Farm market. We opted to have a lunch at Five on Black http://www.fiveonblack.com, a Brazilian bowls kinda menu! Structured much like Chipotle – choose rice or greens to start your bowl, top with your desired protein or two kinds of stew (feijoada or a vegan option), more toppings raw greens or cooked, sweet potatoes, beans then top with a sauce! Voila! Everything made in house. Everything gluten-free (except the beer???) They even offered Brazilian Cheese Breads to accompany the bowl. The food was excellent! The staff was knowledgeable and super friendly! Satiated for the next leg of our trip – off we go………
On the road to Billings, Montana we got hungry – really hungry. The legs of our drive were timed at about 3 hours of driving and then breaking for rest stops. On this leg of the drive we just wanted to eat. Since we couldn’t wait to get to Billings we stopped in a sleepy little town called Livingston. Our searches for dining kept leading us to the chain Rib & Chop Houses http://ribandchophouse.com/– of which there are about 5 in various cities in the Northwest U.S. – since there is one in Livingston we thought ‘let’s check it out”. So glad we did! They have a dedicated g-f menu which was super helpful since there are some sides that are not acceptable. I went with the Grilled Ribeye accompanied by a Caesar Salad which was quite sufficient enough as a meal and my companion had the BBQ ribs and fries (sadly, not g-f). The restaurant menu states that they have a Life Coach/G-F consultant for their menu but they also offer Omission beer as their g-f option so that was disappointing. All in all the meal was super good, the food fresh and tasty and the server was knowledgeable and shared my points about the beer with the bar manager so hopefully they’ll remedy this one. Now that I’m home I’ll follow up with my own email to both the restaurant and the consultant.
When we arrived in Billings we saw next to our hotel a cafe billed as New Asian, TAO. My companion felt that the perfect end to this day of travel would be a glass of Sake so we trekked on over to cap off the night. But of course the food smelled so good and the dishes coming out of the kitchen looked so delectable that Sake was never going to sufficient. Let’s eat! The menu had many items that could be modified for g-f but amazingly not the Pad Thai! We had Drunken Noodles and Pineapple Fried Rice both with pork. Both meals were made to accommodate my g-f request and both were extraordinarily good (if you know me you know I am not fond of Thai food) and perfect end of night snacks. We took the remainder of the dishes back to the hotel, it was the perfect amount for breakfast before hitting the road to Medora, ND.
On the way to Medora we stopped for coffees and snacks at a Starbuck’s – finally able to have a Decaf Americano I opted to have a ‘Dream Bar’ (the krispy cereal/marshmallow treat). Our only other stop was at a local ice cream store. It was a sweet treats morning!
When we arrived in Bismarck, ND our ‘google’ search led us again to a couple of steak and mexican places but we wanted something different so we chose The Walrus Restaurant http://thewalrusrestaurant.com/
The place for beer – that is – unless you’re gluten-free:(
We shared a great Spinach Salad with bacon, chopped eggs, toasted pecans and a warm bacon dressing. I chose the Grilled Local Walleye, it was a truly beautiful dish. Mark chose Jamaican Jerk wings (which he had been talking about all day) accompanied by a platter of fresh celery, carrots, and broccoli for dipping he declared this dish to be one of the best! Mark had a local brewery beer but for me no beer here either – again – offering only Omission.
In the morning we hightailed it to the breakfast bar to enjoy fresh fruit, mixed nuts, yogurt and coffee. Back on the road – destination – Minneapolis. Which we skipped because traffic was a real nuisance. Instead we continued on the road to St. Paul, MN. Upon arriving in St. Paul our search led us to an absolutely delightful area of St. Paul. With a walking park tucked amongst the mix used buildings of retail, residential and offices – dedicated bike lanes along the curbs – outdoor sidewalk cafe dining for the many restaurants along the path. We chose Barrio – yup – Mexican again. https://barriotequila.com
This Barrio is no relation to the CLE Barrio chain but restaurant was cute and inviting on this beautiful day, a great menu with lots of g-f options, but sadly no beer. We had made to order guacamole, Tacos Carnitas and Steak, and Shredded Pork Tamales. No g-f beer offering but amazing Margaritas! Reinvigorated for the drive on to Madison WI we hit the road again.
Our arrival in Madison brought us into the city along the lake just before sunset. The park was filled with people walking, riding, trekking and hanging out. It was quite a nice night to arrive. Being tired we decided to check into the hotel, clean up and head to the dining room to see what we might find. There was nothing really available that called to us so we instead opted to head to the next door Pub and check it out. We ended up having popcorn for the final night of our road trip. It was the perfect finish. I did have to drink soda water with lime again but having popcorn made up for the loss of the beer.