Some gifts are given without the giver or receiver ever noticing.
Friendship is a gift that people give to each other continuously. The conversations, advice, time spent, all of it, a gift. Having only a few close friends in LA, I have discovered just how much friendship and community mean and how they impact my spirit and quality of life.
Strangers give you gifts in kind words, sharing a table at a packed coffee house or letting you pass in line. Simple, small, moments that add up.
All of these things, so sweet, so filled with genuine feeling… but you guys, while all of that is sentimental and nice, the greatest gift of all, may just be sharing good food, with amazing people, with foods that you can actually eat.
If you or some one you know has food limitations (things they can’t eat or suffer the consequences, that kind of thing) you know just how incredible it is when you CAN eat, real food, like a normal person.
Example- A year ago I got to pick up and eat a hamburger for the first time in over three years. In-and-Out Burger makes their burgers “protein style” meaning they are topped with all the goodies and wrapped in lettuce, NO BUN, aka, gluten free, aka I can eat it! Picking up a hamburger may not seem like no big deal, but I swear to you, I nearly cried.
On our trip to Denver I had not one, but several of these experiences. I forgot how amazing it is to go into a restaurant and have them know what food allergies are. Not only are they aware, they have separate menues. Not only do they have separate menues, they will double check with the kitchen and make sure everything comes out without a hitch. Let me tell you, that, my friends, is #rare.
First stop in Denver (per usual) was Snooze, the most amazing breakfast you will ever eat in your life. They are home to the most incredible Gluten Free pancakes that have ever existed on planet earth. I am talking butter milk donut pancakes with coffee syrup or how about pear stuffed pancakes with hazelnuts and lemon butter!? I am drooling just thinking about it.
Later in the week we visited Ace, a recommendation that could have gone incredibly wrong. Ace is Asian Fusion, I am allergic to soy, so not only is gluten a problem, but nearly all Asian foods contain soy sauce, which would have dropped me like a brick. However, upon inquiring, we found out they had a celiac (extreme gluton free) and soy free menus, and you guys, it was amazing. Being able to eat Asian food that I didn’t make is rare, strike that, it NEVER happens.
Coffee shops offer gluten free baked goods, servers are willing to alter your meal to fit your dietary needs… it is magical, it is a gift.
Why so harsh, you may ask. I am a foodie, I dream in food. I love going out and experiencing new restaurants and discovering new flavors. It gives me such joy. I love cooking for people and taking them to the places I have discovered because I see it as giving them a gift as well, paying it forward.
For now, I will be happy in the experience. I will take the unspoken gifts and be thankful, no matter the stomach ache that may ensue.