Traveling with food allergies can be a daunting experience. Let’s be honest, regardless of the severity of your food intolerance, you are literally putting your health (and your faith) in the hands of a stranger!
- What if they don’t know where gluten is?
- What if they know nothing about cross contamination?
- What if they think I just want to be trendy and don’t take my requests seriously?
These are some of the questions that may have crossed your minds before eating out; even more so if you were about to travel and be away from the kitchen for a long period of time.
As you know, I definitely spend more time on the road than I do at home, and in the last few years I developed some strategies that make my travels pleasant, healthy and allergy free.
But it was only during my recent stay at the enchanting Rosewood Cordevalle in San Martin, California that I pushed my limits a little bit further.
This trip happened right when I was completing the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol, and after being on the AIP for a few months, I really didn’t want to risk compromising the hard work I did.
This time I did something I have always been ashamed to do before (as I though they would have immediately classified me as crazy :). I created 2 complete lists that included all the foods I couldn’t eat and the ones that instead I could enjoy or that I had already reintroduced (like coffee and rice).
I emailed these lists to the resort management a couple weeks before my arrival, and beside my initial embarrassment, this turned out to be a winning strategy as it made things crystal clear in the kitchen (or, in case of the Rosewood Cordevalle, I should say kitchens) and I had one the most amazing food experiences I can remember!
Not only was the entire staff, from the chefs to the servers, informed about the food restrictions I had to abide by; my two lists, that were printed out and hang in the kitchen, gave them the possibility to be creative and come up with the most amazing dishes!!
For my entire stay at the Rosewood Cordevalle, I felt like I was assigned a personal chef that was able to fulfill all of my cravings and my experience at this immaculate luxury golf resort become truly unforgettable.
Our Healthy Morning Routine
Since we like to exercise in the morning, we avoided going to breakfast and opted for quick room service smoothies (made with coconut milk on request) and sat by fire before our workouts enjoying a hot coconut cappuccino (literally, one of the best I have ever had!!)
The gym was amazingly equipped, but on sunny days we loved going on long walks around the golf course, climbing up and down the hills covered with vineyards.
…And all of that walking made us hungry for lunch! 🙂
Allergy Free Lunching at "One Iron Bar"
The place where we consumed most of our meals was the One Iron Bar, whose outdoor sitting area overlooks the Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and while you wait for your courses to arrive, you can spot families of deer and wild rabbits grazing in the greenery.
The Lunch Tasting Menu was our default choice, as for $50 you can get an appetizer (and keep in mind that a full size pizza counts as an ‘appetizer’ here), soup or salad, entree and dessert! Such an incredible value!!
On our first day, Alec ordered the gluten free pizza with burrata, olive oil and local heirlooms (and said it was amazing) while I went for a Seafood Salad with octopus, shrimp, scallop and lobster dressed with a special nightshade free “salsa verde” they custom made for me by blending olive oil, lots of herbs and a splash of apple cider vinegar to give it a kick.
As an entrée we both chose the Catch of the Day with mushroom risotto, which the kitchen was happy to modify to accommodate my special food requests.
I am quite fixated with risotto, as it’s a dish I grew up with and that’s very popular in the part of Italy where I am from. Well, I couldn’t believe I could enjoy a version of this famous Italian dish – an ocean + a whole continent away from home – that tasted even better than I could remember.
Maybe it’s because I am a sucker for anything coconut related, but this mushroom risotto simmered in coconut milk and olive oil and cooked with veggies and mushroom was incredibly creamy while having the grains “al dente” and cooked to perfection.
Imagine this already incredible dish topped with a juicy fillet of halibut, crusted with a rub of herbs and crushed garlic, and you can understand why I had this dish three days in a row!!
Other favorites at One Iron Bar were the Kusshi oysters with cucumber, cured red onion, wakame and maldon salt, and simple dishes like sautéed broccolini and roasted sweet potato or grilled wild Alaskan salmon.
The Grilled Octopus, served with a squid ink dressing, was quite possibly the most unbelievable dish we tried. I had it the first night of our stay, during our dinner at the beautiful Il Vigneto, and I ended up ordering it three more times during my stay because it was so exceptional!
And, last but not least, how can I not mention the awesome custom nightshade free guacamole they prepared for me, served with cucumber and carrot crudités and some diced green apple to give it a boost of flavor?! Simply a-ma-zing!
We rarely made it to dessert, as the savory dishes were so filling… but when we did, we opted for a cup of fresh mixed berries or for the bitter orange sorbet (dairy free); and one day, when Alec felt like he was in cheat mode, he got the beautiful plate of chocolate covered strawberries you see here.
What I appreciated the most about the service at the Rosewood Cordevalle is their amazing flexibility and the desire to satisfy their guests even at the cost of stretching the rules. So many times you hear your server coming back from the kitchen saying: “sorry, this dish can’t be made without ….(fill in the blanks)”.
At the Rosewood Cordevalle, every desire becomes a reality thanks to the creativity of the chefs, that by the end of my stay were so familiar with my food lists that I didn’t even bother checking what they put on my plate.
And trusting someone to that level when you are eating out is priceless!