Safe Harbor

Our customers truly are amazing people and I wanted to share this story with you because it is such a positive message and it made me cry! On, Friday, some regular customers came into the cafe for lunch.  This family has many serious food allergies and Celiac Disease.

-Mom: Fish Allergy    -Dad: Shellfish Allergy and Celiac   -Son: Allergies to Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Legumes, carrots, coconut and strawberry and Celiac Disease  -Daughter: Allergies to Peanuts, Tree nuts and Legumes.

Dave summoned me out to the dining room to see them.  They were anxiously waiting for Dave and I to come over to chat with them. They presented us with a card. They said it was for their 5 Year “Cafe-iversary “; they have been coming here to eat for 5 years!

The card and message inside said:

Thank you for your kindness, your generosity and your caring. You’re a great example of everything that’s right with the world.

There was a hand written note inside as well:

Maureen and Dave,

It is hard to find the words to tell you what you and your cafe mean to us; I will try my best. It has been five years since we found refuge in the harbor of your cafe. We have been through a lot due to food; just as you have. It was like finally coming in from a storm-tossed sea and finding calm, refuge, safety and those who understood what it was like being out “there”. 

My children saw, for the first time; inclusion. They learned that there are people who do care that they live through a meal! They belonged somewhere outside of the haven of their home and that is everything.  

Five years ago, you helped restore a faith in humanity, helped us feel hope and understanding in what can be an isolating existence. The cafe is open at a cost to your time and energy; but also it hard not to feel the thought behind every sticker, placement of artwork, sign, logo and basket.  You serve not only hungry customers, but the greater good; for every person, especially children, who walk in and think, “whoa, I actually do fit in somewhere, I’m not alone in this after all!”

You open a heart and a world of possibility and are their “safe harbor” in what sometimes feels like a world of storm tossed seas.  These past five years have been some of our toughest; but knowing you has eased that and we thank you. 

Happy Cafe-iversary!

We both teared up and I cried.  As I reflected; I came to the conclusion that Dave and I (and our staff) are immune to the fact that what we do is special; because it is all we do, all day, every day. It was so nice to actually hear their appreciation and read what they had to say. It was also so welcome; it was a reminder to all of us. I shared it with our staff, because without them, we could not do what we do. The staff loved reading the card and note.

We truly have the most wonderful customers. A month or so ago, some regular customers came in and left us a very generous tip…it was so unexpected, but it  definitely lightened our financial burden that month. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful customers.  We want to thank all of you, for being great customers. We are so thankful for the wonderful artwork that the kids leave us on the bulletin board and for all of you sharing our information with friends, family and in your online forums. Most of all, we are thankful for all of you for trusting us to safely feed you and your family.

We are honored and working hard at blazing a trail and making a positive difference.

Thank you all for being so supportive!

Jennifer’s Way Bakery Closing

I am sad to say that Jennifer’s Way Bakery in New York City is closing it’s doors. However, from the posts on Gluten Dude’s Facebook Page and on Jennifer’s Way Bakery/Storefront Page, you can’t really tell. It looks like she is closing because she states that she is selling her mixers and cookie sheets, etc. One would not do this if they were simply moving. Many were asking her on her facebookpage if she was moving or closing and she is not responding to that question. So, time will tell. Here are the facebook posts:

Jennifer’s Way Bakery Posting August 26, 2017:

I opened this place 5 years ago with the one goal- help people like me feel safe while enjoying food. It has been a long long road and so hard running my own business. I’ve had some amazing people along the way lend their time and love and some awful soulless individuals who tried to take something pure and make it for their own gain. To everyone’s disbelief and against odds I have remained standing. Only a handful thought I could even stay open for more than a few months, never 5 years. I am so very proud of not only what I managed to withstand here but so beyond thrilled how many of you I was able to help and feed safely. I celebrated birthdays, weddings and holidays with you and served your children their first safe cookie. My heart is full. However it’s is time to move forward now. My lease on this magical little space is up and I must move on now. I am FAR from done with bringing you safe, reliable, TRUST WORTHY delicious food, it’s just time to regroup.
Tomorrow, sun, if you are in the city and feel like coming by bakery I am having a huge sale on everything from baking sheets to baking pans to my very first kitchen aid mixer! I will also be whipping up some treats as well. Hope to see you all and ……….. stay tuned, I am not done.” 

Gluten Dude’s Post 09/25/17

“Hi folks. Not sure if you are aware but the Jennifer’s Way Bakery in Manhattan is closing up shop. It was a great 5 year run, her lease is up and she’s now planning her next location. This coming Wednesday, Jen, myself and Mrs. Dude will be there from 3:00-6:30. Jen is doing a book signing. And if you have purchased my book, I’d be happy to sign it as well. So come on by, say hi and have some gluten-free goodies. We’d love to see you. Address is 263 E 10th St, New York, NY.”

Either way, I hope she is able to stay in business and open in a new location. I know she put her heart and soul into it and am hoping that nothing but good things happen!Jennifer's Way

 

Vacation, Eating and What I Learned

For those of us with Celiac and/or Food Allergies..we know how it is when any of us say that we are going on vacation.  Inevitably, we get asked two questions:

Where/who are you going with?         Where will you be able to eat?

I found myself getting so excited to be able to say that we were going to the beach with my family….the food part was not even a concern for me and I just said; “I am bringing all of my own food”. Sometimes we hear; “oh, that must be so hard”.  Actually, it is not hard! I would rather be safe and enjoy my time with my family. I don’t mind eating before we all go out somewhere…what is important is that we are all together and that is what makes me happy!  (I don’t try to bring my own food into another restaurant)

As many of you know, we (Dave and I) don’t get out of the cafe, deli and bakery very often. If we do, it had never been the two of us together at the same time!  Thanks to our wonderful staff; Susan, Jessica, Yvonne, Emily, Ryan, Alana and Dominic; we were finally able to take four days off (Mon-Thurs) of last week. Our staff safely fed our customers while we were gone. I am so grateful to them for allowing us some much needed time off.

Every year, my family gets together at the beach in Maryland and Dave’s family gets together on Lake Michigan. Two years ago, Dave went to see his family for five days and I actually made a trip to Narragansett and Newport, RI to spend time with some family there.  In five years, that has been it folks.  Thanks to the generosity of our friends Jim and Joyce; we were able to go this year because they let use their condo at the beach.

Another exciting part of this was the ability to see my sisters, brother in laws, nieces, nephews, my son, grandson and daughter in law and some close friends. Having a grandson who lives 10 miles away from the restaurant is great, however, the problem is that I have not been able to bond with him. I saw him for a few hours on Christmas Eve, drove 45 minutes to his birthday party in Feb; only to be able to stay for 30 minutes and return to work….that was it. Any other time they have to bring Cody here to see me and this environment is not conducive to bonding with a 1.5 year old.

The bottom line for me is that vacation is about being out of our normal environment…getting away from our exhausting jobs and being able to spend time with those who we choose to be with. For me it was my family and close friends. That is what I was excited about. I think our culture puts too much emphasis on food.  Eating food is just what we seem to do when we are surrounded by people.  The important part for me is the people I am with. (I brought lots of cupcakes for the big bonfire on the beach and everyone enjoyed them!)

For me these 4 days were so great; I did not turn on the TV for 3 days. I spent time with my family. I got to bond with my grandson, Cody, take him to dip his feet in the ocean, play with him in the sand and read books to him. I was able to witness what and incredible mom that my daughter-in-law Kristen is!

Mostly, I am so grateful for the great one-on-one time I got to spend with my son Mike. I was so glad that he told me that he wants my “time” and for me to be “in his and his son’s life”.  He knows very well how committed I am to what I do and he understands my passion (after all, he was one of my first employees 7.5 years ago), but he also expressed his concern over how much I work and how he feels that Dave and I are missing out on so much family time.

What is so great is that Mike share’s my work ethic and his nickname at his job is “Passion”…because he is so passionate about what he does. I found the role reversal very interesting when he used my own words back to me; “I want your time”.  That is music to a Mom’s ears!

We discussed the delicate balance that we all have to walk between personal life and our jobs. I know that I could not have done this when he was young and he said how glad he was that I was home with him when he was growing up. We discussed where I envision One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli and Bakery in 5 years and he was not at all surprised by my answer. Then he said he is willing to share me with all of you because he knows that we need safe places to eat. But,  he is “putting me on a time limit to get it all done”.

I better get back to work gang!

PS: No, I never felt left out while my family and friends were dining out… I never felt more included…because I was actually there with them and not hearing about their experiences from someone else!

bonfire oc 2017 9

Four Day Trip from TX to Eat With Us!

We are always so honored when we meet people who come a very long way to eat here. Quite frankly, we have the nicest customers!  This weekend we had a wonderful couple visit from Fort Worth, TX. I was able to talk with Aldon and Ashley and I loved their story so much, I thought I would share it with all of you!

Aldon is a Firefighter and Ashley is a massage therapist. They were talking about what they should do for their eleven year wedding anniversary.  Ashley said “let’s go somewhere where I can eat, find a peanut free and gluten free bakery to go to”. (Ashley has a lifelong severe Peanut Allergy and a pretty severe gluten intolerance) She added; “Aldon is in denial about his gluten issues!”

Well, Aldon took it to heart and started researching. He found us through the Gluten Free Passport Website (Click Here). He was thrilled when he learned that we had a bakery and a cafe and they could actually eat meals and not just live on sweets for 4 days!  He arranged for his parents to watch their two daughters, one with a severe Peanut Allergy and one with severe gluten intolerance.

Aldon really wanted to surprise Ashley so when she was inquiring, he told her they were going to Boston to visit a GF/PF Bakery. Meanwhile, the plans were in the works. He booked reservations at the Wayside Inn (click here)  located in Columbia, MD.  The Wayside is a great place to stay because the owner, David, gets it when it comes to food allergies.  He has a soy allergy and his daughter has Celiac Disease.

When they landed and rented their car and were heading out to eat, they drove here and Ashley was beyond thrilled when they walked in and she learned that she could eat everything in the place! They enjoyed pizzas, sandwiches, chicken parm pasta and lots of treats, donuts, cupcakes and more. They also went and saw the sights and enjoyed all that Old Ellicott City (Click Here) has to offer; including the Firehouse Museum dating back to 1889. One day they headed out to Annapolis. We were able to pack them a Turkey Bacon Avocado Club Sub “to travel” for a picnic.

Believe me when I say this, we truly have the best and most generous and welcoming customers! While I was listening to Aldon and Ashley; other customers were hearing them share their story. Eric and Kim sent them over a package of our “thin mint” cookies and Patti sent them over a couple of candy bars.  We treated them each to a dessert for their anniversary as well. I guess you can say that Aldon and Ashley were truly welcomed back to the table!

Aldon has definitely raised the bar for all of the men out there when it comes to anniversary surprises!  Happy Anniversary Aldon and Ashley and thank you for spending so much of your special weekend with us!

Aldon & Ashley

Another One Bites the Dust

Wow, this makes me sad; seeing another place bite the dust! I definitely loved Eva Ruth’s Bakery in Middletown, RI when I went back “home” to see family!  They had a full bakery and did a few sandwiches too.

Some of you probably remember me writing about my visit a couple of years ago. I was so happy to be able to support this awesome place when I went back to visit family.   Not only did they make great GF; they also made great Dairy Free items.  This was an awesome safe place for me when I was there 2 years ago.  I wish I could have visited more often but I have only taken 1 vacation in the past 5 years.  The website is down; this is what Ruth had to say on their Facebook page:

Dear Valued Customers of EvaRuth’s Speciality Bakery:

After seven years of business, the bakery will be closing permanently. This is a very difficult decision for me to make since my love for the bakery, its mission, and of course for you as customers remains undiminished. Concerns however related to my health and revenue make this decision best – while hoping that EvaRuth’s product line might again become available to you. The store’s final days and hours are:

Friday, April 21st 9:00am – 3:00pm and Saturday April 22nd 9am – the sale of all prepared foods and frozen bakery products. First come – first served.  Once again, I thank you for your dedicated patronage over the years and hope the best of health for each of you!  

Lesson: Please support the Gluten Free & Allergy Free places who’s sole existence is dedicated to keeping  you and/or your child safe when eating out!

Thank you Ruth for sacrifice on behalf of the Celiac and Food Allergy Community!Eva Ruths GF Bakery

St Pat’s Day; Safe GF Beers and Food!

How do you navigate Saint Patrick’s Day with Celiac, Wheat Allergy or Milk Allergies? Well, I am gonna give you some insight and talk about the food and the beer. Yup, where do you get some safe food and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly when it comes to Gluten Free (GF) and Gluten Removed Beers!

When I remember St Paddy’s day, I think of corned beef, Irish Stew, Colcannon (Irish Potato Salad) and beer.  I have great memories of my childhood and the parties my parents would throw with our friends, neighbors, parish priests and nuns all letting their hair down to celebrate Saint Patrick; the Patron Saint of Ireland.

Who was this Saint Patrick and why do we all want to party with this guy?  Why do we have this religious and cultural celebration each year on the anniversary of his Death; March 17th?  Well, it started off as Religious Holiday in the 1600’s; a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics because it was he who brought Christianity and Catholicism to the Pagans of Ireland. It is said that he taught them about the Holy Trinity using a 3 leaf clover.

Shamrocks

I guess everyone caught onto all of the fun that the Irish were having and now this holiday is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival!  Ah, those were the days..not that I was around in AD 385-461, hanging out with St Pat, but passing on traditions is what the Irish do best. However, way back in once upon a time, time;  I could go to church, come home and celebrate and I could drink beer; real beer. Most Catholic Dioceses allow consumption of meat on Friday when the holiday falls on a Friday during Lent. The good news is that you have dispensation if you live in the Archdiocese in Baltimore or Washington, DC!  The Cardinal said…let them eat meat!

The Danger Foods on St Paddy’s Day: These memories get my mouth watering  for the real deal folks! Many don’t realize it but a whole lot of beer (Guinness) can be put into the stew and even the corned beef or something as innocent as a burger! (yes, a burger). Not to mention that the stew in mainstream places is thickened with flour too. Although, you don’t need to thicken with flour when you have potatoes in a stew.  Then there is the butter and milk in the mashed potatoes in a shepherd’s pie. Wow, talk about feeling left out. Not this year gang, you can have traditional Irish fare without sacrificing taste or getting sick! Here we go gang; first the food and then the Beer.

FOOD: We have you covered with safe food at the Cafe, Deli and Bakery; then you can pick up your safe beer on the way home!

-Traditional Irish Stew: Maureen’s recipe with Beef and Lamb and a soft roll to soak up the juice; Free of Gluten, Dairy and Top Allergens

-Traditional Reuben: Maureen’s recipe available free of all top allergens or choose real Swiss cheese.

-Irish “Cream” Whoopie Pies: Chocolate and mint “cream” filling!

irish stew 3

Beers: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Taste Good GF Beers:  I have not had them all, so the other source is Gluten Dude!

-Pyro (Burning Brothers Brewing out of MN, co founder has Celiac)  Click Here

-Glutenberg (Quebec, Canada; owner gluten sensitive) Click Here

-Harvester Brewing (Ground Breaker Brewing out of Portland, OR) click here

Taste Bad GF Beers:

-Redbridge: I really, really, really tried to like this one back when it came out; it was my only choice and tasted like sorghum, bitter, yuck enough said! Turned m

Ugly Gluten “Removed” Beers that you should not drink if you have Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity or serious allergy to wheat or rye or barley!

-Omission

-Daura

-New Planet

I have had several gluten sensitive customers tell me that if they have 2 or more of these “Gluten Removed” beers, they get sick..so why would a person with Celiac. Gluten Sensitivity or a Food Allergy try them? It is like people knowing that “GF” Cheeri-oh-nos, as I call them, are not safe but are still eating them. Then they go to the doctor when they can’t understand why they don’t feel good and he says their celiac antibodies are high. Crazy. Here is the info you need to know about Gluten Reduced Beers and why they ARE NOT safe referencing a study done by GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group). Click Here

What does Gluten Dude have to say? Click Here

 

Non Hybridized Wheat and Spelt

Okay, the subject on “non hybridized wheat and spelt” comes up time and time again so I thought I would set the record straight for all of you.  I had a good laugh last week.  At first it was not funny..I was actually concerned. So here is the story and I am going to use this as a learning experience for you all.

A customer came in saying she had to eat gluten-free (GF). She went on to say that she eats healthy GF breads made with Spelt; also known as Farro or Dinkel.  She wanted to make sure my breads contained this “healthy” Spelt in them.  I think she wanted to educated me about healthy GF eating. I explained to her that we are a GF Facility and that Spelt is NOT Gluten-Free and not allowed in my facility!  She  was stunned.  We were very busy and I was going to try to talk with her further but she just walked out. Maybe she was embarrassed because her husband looked stunned when I said Spelt was not GF.

A person with Celiac Disease (CD) or Gluten Sensitivity (GS) or Wheat Allergy cannot eat Spelt and cannot eat Non Hybridized Wheat when they are traveling in Europe!  I hear so much garbage about this from customers and people on the internet.

Spelt/Farro/Dinkel is gluten. Non Hybridized ancient grains are just as toxic to a Celiac as the modern grains! PERIOD.

There are nuns in Europe producing “GF” Communion Wafers with non-hybridized wheat that they are saying is Celiac Safe.  Wrong. It is testing at 80 ppm….it is not safe folks! There is a safe GF Host out there gang. If your church won’t get it, you can choose to abstain! (I have done several posts on this)

No, I don’t take communion at church and I think GOD is okay with that decision. I could take communion and be sick for ten days and not be able to supply safe meals to those with CD and Food Allergies.  OR    I can skip communion and continue helping others suffering from CD and FA)  Mmmmm, this decision is “no brainer” for me and I don’t think there is a GOD who would hold this against me.

Eating Ancient Grains in Europe: I have heard gluten sensitive people say they went to Europe and ate “ancient non-hybridized wheat” and drank beer and they were fine. Really?  A Celiac would not do this.  So, to the GS folks who do this; maybe you just felt great because the food is so much fresher and not filled with junk and preservatives like it is here so it can sit on a shelf or a sidewalk and remain unchanged for a year!

food-festivals

Modern Wheat Breeding Does Not Contribute to Gluten Toxicity! (ie, the breeding of modern wheat is not what is causing CD or GS or allergies)

-Stay safe and don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

-Don’t believe that GF Cheerios are really GF.

-If you have CD, GS, Wheat, Rye or Barley Allergies, you should not eat Spelt,  Ancient Grains, or “GF Cheerios”. Period! (lots of posts about Cheerios on my blog)

http://naturalsciencenews.com/2016/12/13/modern-wheat-breeding-practices-do-not-contribute-to-gluten-toxicity/