Friday, July 11, 2014

Celiac Roadtrip, Part 4: Hiking and Chipotle

As I've shared, my road trip from California to Colorado was full of adventures, from delicious gluten free bistros to getting up close and personal with giraffes. One of my favorite adventures, though, was the day when Dad and I hiked around Starsmore Park and my family raided Chipotle for the first time.

Colorado won my heart with its natural beauty. A deer greeted us in our own (rent) backyard when we first arrived and while we were driving around town on our second day, a bear walked right across the road! 

Our friendly neighborhood deer...
So when Dad and I woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning, we decided to explore the lake. The hike started out according to plan and, when we reached the water, we rested and watched packs of dogs swim (and fetch) their hearts out. And then we decided to try to take a short cut on the way back...we entered the forest looking for the main road and ended up finding an abandoned junk yard of old cars. Sadly, we were too worried about survival to pause for a photo...

After climbing up a dry riverbed and swatting aside dozens of plants, we finally realized that the road we were looking for was on the other side of the mountain. Oops. In the end, we arrived home safely from our (slightly longer than expected) hike. Ironically enough, when we shared our tale with the house owner, he had never even heard of the car yard! 

We did survive!
To celebrate our survival (and reward our hungry stomachs) my family decided to finally try out Chipotle. I've been dreaming of their Mexican food ever since I visited the restaurant with friends during college. I wasn't able to eat anything at the time since I was on the liquid diet, but I drooled plenty! On our road trip, we chowed on Chipotle twice and I'm already looking forward to my next visit!

When I researched Chipotle online, I found mixed reviews on how they handle celiac customers. Everything Chipotle serves is naturally gluten free except for their flour tortillas, so cross contamination is the largest concern. At the advice of fellow celiacs online, I decided to order a burrito bowl (a bowl filled with rice, beans, meat and toppings) and ask workers to change gloves before handling my meal. 

Chipotle: Celiac friend or foe?
Like I mentioned with Outback, chains vary by location in terms of their employee training. At the first Chipotle I ate at, I ended up asking a different employee to make my meal since the first person didn't speak English well. At the second one, though, as soon as I mentioned "gluten", the girl washed her hands, changed gloves and personally made my entire meal. 

In terms of taste, my entire family was impressed. I love the freshness of all the ingredients and, even though I usually dislike tomatoes and guac, I gobbled down my salsa and guacamole! Considering the amount of times I've watched my family devour chips cooked in shared fryers, I also love that Chipotle's chips are gluten free! Even better, I find that a burrito bowl is big enough for two servings and tastes amazing as cold leftovers. 

YUM!
Adventures don't always follow a plan, but, as our car score proves, sometimes those are the best kind! Especially when they end at Chipotle covered in guacamole and salsa!


Has a hike or adventure of yours ever changed plans and turned out better? What do you think of Chipotle? Comment below! 

5 comments:

  1. Your chipotle burrito bowl looks beyond amazing, Casey!! I have yet to go to chipotle since going gluten free 2 years ago, so I am going to go soon after your amazing review! I am so happy to hear that you had a great road trip and found plenty of gluten free options! the coquettes food looked especially amazing! :)

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    1. I wish you luck and hope you find a place as accomodating as my second Chipotle! It was indeed an amazing trip and Coquette's was a total highlight! :)

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  2. Hi Casey! If you go to Chipotle again, you can actually ask them to grab your food items from the back, so they haven't been contaminated at all. At least some locations will do that, but personally, I'm not a Chipotle fan.

    I've been waiting to read about hiking! Although, I must admit I still can't tell where you went. I'll probably figure it out right after I submit this comment though. My favorite spots are the Incline in Manitou, North Cheyenne Canyon, Red Rocks Open Space, and Pikes. :)

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    1. I actually asked for that in the first location and they couldn't do it, which is why I didn't feel as safe as the second location. With chains, it's all about the location it seems. Oh yes, the hiking is AMAZING! I am totally jealous!! Apparently the place we found is called "Point Sublime" - my dad looked it up on Google maps after we arrived back home! It wasn't super sublime for us, but I guess the cars like it! ;)

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    2. Cool! I've never been there, but there's a ton of historical looking pictures of the spot online. I KNOW! The hiking is awesome here. I'm trying to squeeze as much in as I can because I move back east in two weeks. :)

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