My sister, Caitlin, and I spent last week climbing and eating our way through the hills of San Francisco.
(Full disclosure: neither of us must contend with any food intolerances, so we did not have to do any prerequisite planning around that).
However, one of the perks of living in or traveling to a larger city, of course, is the increased availability of delicious food that does fit into a modified diet. Many of the menus from restaurants where we ate specified gluten-free options in an effort to ensure an inclusive dining experience. A favorite stop from this trip was Hot Cookie in the Castro District. Their toffee chocolate chip cookie is a dream come true, and in an effort to recreate the magic for all to try, I made the gluten free peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies from the blog.
I added toffee chips in addition to the chocolate chips and would highly recommend that you do the same!
Recently, I also had the opportunity to visit Montreal with my family, and I kept coming across recommendations to visit several farmer’s markets while researching things to do and places to see. (Tourists also frequently ask me about the many farmer’s markets around New York City.) This is a bit of a new phenomenon to me: the idea that farmer’s markets make it into guidebooks as must-sees in cities around the world. Though, they are the perfect place to go to be immersed in the daily lives of the people who live where you are traveling; and odds are there will be plenty of fresh food to account for any restrictions. Also, if you ever find yourself in the Jean-Talon market in Montreal, I suggest seeking out a little, unassuming fruit called a sweet granadilla–slurping the seeds as loud as possible enhances the flavor!
Exploring the food in a new city is obviously the most delicious way to learn about its culture, but I think it’s also one of the most important. It is telling to me that when a city is broken into neighborhoods dominated by a particular nationality, there might be a monument or two, maybe a museum or a church relevant to the history of the people in that neighborhood; but there are always dozens of restaurants celebrating the food from the homeland. And now that we are living in a world that is more and more aware of the food allergies and restrictions many people must manage, hopefully more and more places will expand their menus to be as inclusive as possible.