CDF Expo and Conference: Where to eat?

This will be my first time attending the Celiac Disease Foundation National Conference and Expo. The conference is in Pasadena, CA, home of the Rose Bowl (Go, Bruins! But I digress…)

Breakfast and lunch on Saturday (gluten free, of course) is taken care of as part of the conference, which leaves several other meals to round out the weekend. Although I’m bringing food with me, I would really like to find safe, good restaurants for dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.

I did my usual research using Yelp reviews and came up with a few (insert your favorite sad emoji here) possible choices within a 20 minute walk from the conference.

For this list, I included restaurants where the reviewer seems to need a celiac-safe meal (and gave a positive review), where the owner seems knowledgeable, or where the restaurant seems to have a clue (e.g., has a dedicated fryer).

I stayed away from pizza and crepe places (due to the likely chance of cross-contamination from non-GF pizzas and crepes), restaurants with unsafe reviews  (e.g., gluten-free farro salad, unable to safely correct a mistake, someone got ill), cafeteria-style restaurants, and restaurants that caution people with celiac to be careful. (Your criteria may differ.)

As with any other dining experience, we have to judge the safety of a particular establishment on the particular day and time we are there. Ask your usual questions and pay close attention to how they answer as well as what they say. Be vigilant, ask questions, and trust your instincts.

Here are the four* restaurants I found. Walking times are from the convention hotel.

Amara Chocolate & Coffee, 9-minute walk
Chocolates, coffee & tea, sandwiches (gluten-free bread for sandwiches; menu lists 100% gluten-free arepas)

Green Earth Vegan Cuisine, 13-minute walk
Vegan, Asian fusion + “burgers”

The Counter Pasadena, 16-minute walk
Burgers! And, at least at one time, a dedicated fryer.

Real Food Daily, 17-minute walk
Vegan. More GF breakfast options than lunch and dinner (a couple of GF bowls).

If you know of any good, celiac-safe restaurants near the convention, please leave a comment! Or better yet, add the restaurant to Celiac Safe Eats! And, by all means, if you have a negative experience at any of these restaurants, please post a comment here or on Facebook ASAP. Thanks!

*Removed Sage Cafe and Kind Kreme. Partly my bad: they serve pizza, and I confirmed they make their own wheat pizza dough. But the response to my other questions was not comforting. See the link for more information.

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