Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gluten Free Goodies at Irish Pub

**Update: Since I last wrote this post, the ownership at Cooper has changed, and I do not endorse their gluten free practices any longer. Please read this review from the Savvy Celiac for more information.

Tonight, I had the pleasure of sampling the new Gluten Free menu that's going to be featured at Cooper's Irish Pub in St. Louis Park, just north of downtown Minneapolis.

I was SO excited when I won entry to this event via Crystal Grobe (AKA @CafeCyan) and a contest she did on Twitter earlier this week.

Cooper's opened about two years ago, and is part of a few Irish Pubs in the Twin Cities area owned by Kieran Folliard, a native Irishman himself.

Kieran Folliard (right) conversing with fellow Gluten Free diners

All Kieran's pubs offer a delicious food and drink menu, and I'm often at their sister pub, The Local, for post-work happy hours.

The night's event started with a delicious Gluten Free Beer, Bards. For a lady who's all about light, simple beers, this was a great sip and enjoy beer for cocktail hour, or with dinner.

Bards Nutrition Facts

As you an see, the beer isn't too bad calorie wise either, and is locally owned by Minnesota Business people, and then brewed in New York State.

Next, we were able to dig into the food, and let me tell you, it was delightful.

First, the chef Nick explained to us each item: from a wide variety of Wisconsin cheeses and sliced meats, paired with rice crackers and fruit, seared tuna with gluten free soy sauce (soy sauce is one of those surprising items that can be chalked full of gluten!), spinach and artichoke dip with veggies and gluten free bread, and my personal favorite, their signature chicken shots!

I was most impressed with their chef speaking about their Gluten Free practices to avoid cross contamination, and how the kitchen staff is taught to use different pans, wash their hands thoroughly, etc. to make sure Gluten Free items stay, in fact, Gluten Free.

My favorite, chicken shots, battered in rice flour

My plate: Rice Crackers, Cheese, Genoa Salami, Fruit Chutney, Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Chicken Shots

Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream with Homemade Strawberry Sauce and Whipped Cream

One of the best aspects about tonight's event, is that I felt normal when it came to eating out. I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to double check every single, freaking little thing.

There are times, I HATE being Celiac more than anything. Like in Boston, when I pulled the waitress aside to tell her about my allergy and she loudly asked the rest of the table, "Anyone else here with a food allergy I should know about?" I wanted to crawl under the table and melt. Or family functions, where I feel like I'm being so ungrateful to family who've worked hard to prepare a meal, only to find I can't eat it.

Ben and I love to go out to eat and going to dinner parties. We love trying new places, and socializing with friends over food and drink; before I had Celiac it was an enjoyment that I took for granted. Now, I'm often anxious about going out to eat. I call ahead, I look up reviews online from other celiacs, and I often bring my own food to other people's homes. I do all this, and still sometimes, I end up being tainted, have a reaction and walk around with a bloated stomach that I've lovingly (read = sarcasm) named my wheat baby for a couple of days.

Tonight, everything that was served to me, I could eat and drink with ease, it was so liberating. I know that people have to deal with a lot worse things in life, but it was nice to feel like one of the crowd, and not have to fret, or make a fuss about what's on my plate. It made me sad for many kids with Celiac, who feel this way at school functions, birthday parties or sleepovers; at least I'm an adult and can comprehend this affliction more than they can.

By far though, the highlight of my night, was chit chatting with Kieran and having him tell me that I should bring in a picture of MY Cooper to hang on their wall as the restaurant's mascot since they share the same name.

After all, who wouldn't want this face on their wall to attract more business? :)

1 comment:

iservepharmacy said...

I love Irish Pubs, once I went to a one of those Irish pubs that there are in UK and there were some strange guys and girls, but I had a blast with my friends