Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Gluten-Free on Eurostar (2019)

One of the most amazing things about visiting London is that not only is the city jam-packed with extraordinary things to do, see, and eat, but it's a day tripper's dream, with so many cool towns and cities only a few hours away by road or rail. 

Inspired by binge watching the Anglo-French television drama The Tunnel and buoyed by a couple years of high school French (aided by Duolingo), I decided to go on a day trip to Paris for a whirlwind visit to the city of light. I booked my journey on the Eurostar, which delivers you from London's St. Pancras station to Paris' Gare du Nord in a little over two hours, with lovely pastoral scenery in between (as well as the Chunnel). 

As a semi-frequent Amtrak user here in the States, I know to always pack food because the on-board dining options are nonexistent for gluten-free folks. I was pleasantly surprised that in booking my journey, Eurostar not only offered options for those following special diets (in some sections), but those options also included multi-course meals. That's unheard of here, and was curious to see what would be served on board.
Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Good Life Eatery Review

When I decided to book a second holiday to London this year and locked in my end-of-July timeframe, one of the top points on my itinerary was a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. Only open during the summer and select dates throughout the year, I was excited to get a glimpse behind the elaborate gates to see a palace steeped in history, but is also a modern, working palace. 

With an early entry time, I decided to seek out a good breakfast beforehand to fuel up for a long day of sightseeing. The Good Life Eatery popped up on several "best-of" lists and local blogs as a top gluten-free breakfast spot, and with a location in the nearby Belgravia neighborhood, I didn't need much persuasion to start my day there.

The Good Life Eatery was built on the ethos that leading a healthier life doesn't have to mean settling for flavorless food, and they welcome everyone through their doors, regardless of dietary restriction, or special diet.With an all day menu, they've got plenty of sweet and savory options on hand for to satisfy whatever cravings you have going in.
Saturday, August 10, 2019

Gluten-Free Eats at Broadway Market (London)

In planning my second trip to London, I knew I wanted to visit in July because it meant I could experience two things I couldn't when I visited this past February: a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and explore London's bustling street market scene. 

Whenever I plan trips to other cities, I like following gluten-free bloggers who live there to get an insider's look at the best things to do, see, and eat. One blogger who I've followed in planning both holidays this year is Laura from My Gluten Free Guide, whose website and Instagram are chock full of incredible recommendations all across the city. Through following her, I fell in love from afar with Broadway Market, which operates daily in East London with a special street market on Saturdays. 

I made sure to plan my travel dates and itinerary to leave Saturday wide open for exploration, and I couldn't have asked for a better day. With sunny skies and a sense of adventure, I was excited to see what gluten-free eats I would stumble across.

Helmut Newcake Review

It may seem silly, but when I decided to visit Paris as a day trip from London, my immediate thought was that I wanted to find an authentic patisserie that would enable me to enjoy authentic gluten-free baked goods, and quite possibly a gluten-free baguette. As it happens, Paris is home to many gluten-free bakeries, which made narrowing down which one I wanted to patronize during my limited time in the city a real challenge. 

I debated long and hard over which patisserie to stop by, but once I discovered 100% gluten-free Helmut Newcake, I knew this was the perfect spot for me with it's convenient location in the center of the city and promise of a full range of sweet and savory dairy-free options. 

After a long day of sightseeing by the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Eiffel Tower, the small shop was also a perfect place to pick up a late lunch before heading to Gare du Nord, my final destination to board a Eurostar back to London. As I entered I had high hopes that Helmut Newcake would be the French bakery I've been waiting for since I went gluten-free years ago.
Sunday, August 4, 2019

Yummy & Guiltfree Review

In planning my holiday to London last month, I knew I wanted to plan a day trip out of the city to get a change of scenery and take advantage of the city's many transport options that can easily connect you to points of interest throughout the UK and Europe. After considering my options, I decided on a day trip to Paris, which would be my first trip to continental Europe and would put my two years of high school French to the test.

Excited about all the sightseeing options in the city of light, I worried initially about food options, as gluten and dairy are predominately featured as a cornerstone of French cuisine. Luckily, in sifting through many gluten-free blogs and websites devoted to dining out sans gluten, my confidence that I could get a good meal or two grew exponentially.

Yummy & Guiltfree was listed on several of the websites I consulted because they not only are gluten-free friendly, but also mark dairy-free items on their menu (sans lactose). With sweet and savory options waffle creations on their menu, I didn't need much persuasion to make this my first stop in Paris for lunch once arriving via Eurostar midmorning.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason Review

As soon as I knew I was making a return trip to London, I was excited for another opportunity to enjoy a gluten-free afternoon tea. On my first visit back in February, I had a swoon-worthy experience at Claridge's in Mayfair (see my review) that introduced me to the treasured tradition of afternoon tea and made for one of my most memorable experiences during the trip. 

After researching several establishments offering gluten-free afternoon tea throughout the city, I decided to make a booking at Fortnum & Mason's Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Not only can they serve an entirely gluten and dairy-free tea fit for royalty, the location itself (not far from Piccadilly Circus) has a royal connection, as Queen Elizabeth II herself opened the space in 2012. Fortnum & Mason's menu has plenty to please diners following a wide range of special diets, as they have full menus for gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free folks. 

Donning a cute frock, catching an iconic red double decker bus to get there, and ready for a luxurious afternoon of tea, sandwiches, and cakes, I was excited to make this the star attraction of my first day in the city.