Finding Gluten Free at the Denver International Airport

While searching for a safe gluten-free meal at the Denver International Airport, we were surprised and excited to find an Udi’s Cafe on Concourse B near Gate 22.

Udi's Cafe DIA

That was in 2013. In April 2014, the company changed the name of its restaurants to Etai’s. I guess after 20 years in business and the success of their bread, they decided it was time.

Although I haven’t been to the cafe named Etai’s, it appears that there is no change from the cafe named Udi’s, at least according to the company’s website and Yelp. Most everything is gluten free or can be. There is no online menu for the airport location, but you can get an idea of the dining options by checking out one of the menus for the other restaurant locations on Etai’s website.

If you want some ideas for eating in other airports, check out this blog.

Trip taken July 2013.

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Eating Buffalo

When you’re traveling out west, in places like Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and South Dakota, you’ll likely find buffalo burgers on just about every menu. Some places offer beef burgers as well, but when I’m in cowboy country, I usually opt for a burger made from the American bison. That’s right, a buffalo burger.

Bison

Why? They’re leaner, healthier, tastier and just a little different than a burger made from beef. Buffalo burgers are lower in fat and lower in calories, and higher in protein, iron, and vitamin B-12.

Although at once near extinction, (there were less than 300 in North America in the early 20th century), the American bison has made a come back, now numbering about half a million, according to the Defenders of Wildlife. There are now several  ranches and farms in North America’s west that raise the animal specifically for consumption.

Check out this recipe, if you want to try making buffalo burgers at home. (You should be able to find the ground meat next to the natural beef at your local supermarket.) Just don’t forget to wear your cowboy hat!

Buffalo Burger Recipe, Bison Burger Recipe | Simply Recipes.

When Traveling, Remember the Moscow Rule

While traveling in Paris many years ago, my American friends introduced me to the Moscow Rule. Not to be confused with the Moscow Rules, this rule has to do with shopping and souvenirs and is fairly simple. If you see something, buy it, because you may never see it again.

My friends told me that this rule originates from people standing in line in Moscow. If you lived in Moscow under Communist rule and saw people standing in line, you joined them, because whatever they were waiting for you most likely needed or would need and you may not have the opportunity to buy it another time.

Although I try to remember this rule when I travel, the times I forget are the times I regret. Like the time I didn’t buy the metal toy truck in Cape Town because I knew we’d see several more during our trip (we didn’t).

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Or when I didn’t buy a drum and then had to resort to the airport gift shop. Or when I passed up a pretty necklace at a price I saw quadrupled in future stores.

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Sometimes it’s easy to remember, like buying Lindt chocolates in Zurich, wool scarves with the family clan in Edinburgh, or maple syrup in Vermont. I find it more difficult to remember when I see something different. Is it something I truly want? Is the price a good one? Will I see it again?

Maple Syrup

To prevent those post traveling blues, remember the Moscow Rule: if you see something unique, something you’re unlikely to find online or anywhere else, snatch it up, because you may never see it again. Most likely, you won’t regret the purchase, and the memories it holds will bring smiles for a lifetime.

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On the Road: Looking for a Burger

You’re in unfamiliar territory. You’re driving (or flying) for miles, and you need a burger. Or at least someone in the backseat does. Besides the obvious and familiar chains, where do you find a good and quick burger when you’re far from home? Here are a few places we’ve found while driving up and down the West and East Coasts.

The West Coast, South West, and Texas

In-N-Out Burger: The menu at In-N-Out is simple and old fashioned: just burgers (made with 100% beef), fries (fried in vegetable oil), shakes (made with real ice cream), and beverages. If someone in the family doesn’t eat meat, they can order a grilled cheese. If you’re gluten-free, be sure to order the “Protein Burger,” a burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf instead of a bun. Messy but yummy.

IN-N-OUT BURGER

All Over (Almost)

Five Guys Burgers and Fries: We first discovered this burger place on a trip to Florida only to learn there was a location close to home. With another simple menu, Five Guys Burgers and Fries specializes in burgers and hot dogs with your choice of a plethora of toppings. And the fries are good and plentiful. But don’t come here if you’re allergic to peanuts. Five guys uses peanut oil and offers peanuts to customers as they wait for their burger. If you’re gluten free, just get a burger without the bun. The burger is gluten free, even if the bun isn’t. Five Guys is located in 47 states. If you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, or South Dakota, you’ll just have to travel.

Five Guys

New England

A small New England burger chain, Wild Willy’s has only six locations in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. While its burgers are made with certified Angus, all natural beef or even bison, Wild Willy’s offers more than specialty burgers. There you can get a grilled chicken or steak sandwich, or salad with fries or onion rings and a shake. If you’re gluten free, make sure to ask for a gluten-free bun, and check to see if the fries or onion rings are fried in a dedicated deep fryer. Last time we checked, both were gluten free at the Worcester, Mass. location.

Washington, D.C.

While traveling in DC in April, we discovered another simple and fast burger joint, just off the highway, Burger 7. Burger 7 offers a healthy alternative to those who crave a burger but are trying to eat healthy at the same time. The menu includes grass fed hot dogs and hormone free beef, turkey burgers and veggie burgers, whole wheat buns and lettuce leaf wraps, potato fries and sweet potato fries both cooked in olive oil, plus shakes made with organic milk. Burger 7 has three locations in the DC area, but we ate at the one in Tyson’s Corner.

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Where else can you get a burger? Do some sleuthing on the internet if you’re visiting a particular place or check out these links for favorite burger joints in Los Angeles,  Boston, the Midwest, in South Carolina, and across the U.S.

Who serves your favorite burger?

Trip taken 2012 and 2013.

In-N-Out photo used under Creative Commons from whatleydude.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries photo used under Creative Commons from kennejima.

Hiking to St. Mary’s Glacier

Have you ever hiked on a glacier? Or even seen one? You don’t have to travel to Alaska or even Glacier National Park, but if you live on the East Coast, you do have to travel west. In the Lower 48, there are over 340 glaciers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. A few years ago, we hiked on one of the more accessible glaciers, St. Mary’s Glacier, located north of Idaho Springs, Colorado.

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After parking in one of the two small parking lots, our group found the trailhead and began hiking on a sunny, clear, but cold February afternoon. At over 10,000 feet at the trailhead, the air was thin for flatlanders like us.

We huffed and puffed with children in tow (ages 4, 6, 10, and 12), climbing only 420 feet during the ¾ mile hike past St. Mary’s Lake to a snowfield.

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At the glacier, we took photos, the kids rolled, and we watched people glacading before we headed back on the trail.

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St. Mary’s Glacier is located in the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest, about an hour’s drive from downtown Denver.  The trailhead is located 9.2 miles north of I-70 on SR 275 (Fall River Road). For more information, check out www.protrails.com or call the Clear Creek Ranger District at 303-567-3000.

Trip taken February 2009.

Hiking to Boston Mine Camp

When is Boston not a city and not in Massachusetts? Answer: When it’s a mine in Colorado. When you’re tired of and/or exhausted from skiing in Colorado and or just looking for a change of pace, but still want to be outside, try snowshoeing or hiking into an old gold mining camp, the Boston mine camp.

On a winter break in Colorado, we took a break from skiing at Copper Mountain and ventured on a trail nearby. The sun was warm, and the snow was packed enough that snow shoes weren’t an absolute.

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With the kids pulling sleds and stopping periodically to throw a snowball, we hiked the 1.8 miles from the trail head to the former Boston mine camp where just an old log boardinghouse and log cabin remain from the days of gold mining activity in the early 1900s.

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We hung out in the Mayflower amphitheater, watching cross country skiers, exploring the old cabins, sledding, and enjoying the views, before heading back to the car.

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For those more adventurous, you can hike the full Mayflower to Clinton Gulch loop as described in Mary Ellen Gilliand’s book, “The New Summit Hiker” and in an article published in The Summit Daily.

Directions to the trail head: Drive Highway 91 south 6.2 miles from the exit 195 off of Interstate 70 at Copper Mountain. The trail head will be on your left.

Trip taken February 2009.