gluten-free in Austin

We walked through the door of our home late last evening, bedgraggled from a day of traveling and bedazzled from the five days behind us. It took me all day to look at photographs and try to digest even a tenth of what happened to us this past week. Here I am, at the end of this night, still mostly wordless.

I’ll try to write a bit here. The photographs will probably have to stand mostly on their own. But I’ll write.

Austin, Texas. We love you.

I adore Mexican food. Not only because it’s mostly naturally gluten-free, but also because it’s so damned good. Hot chiles, soothing cheese, pulled pork, corn tortillas, black beans. These all appeal to my senses. Deeply.

In Austin, we ate Mexican food that blew open my senses. We ate lunch at La Condesa the first full day we were in Austin, with a table full of women whose work I adore. (Danny was often, and happily, the only guy at these feasts.) The seville-orange pork tacos made me want to hand out bites to everyone there. The Mexican street corn, with cojita cheese, reminded me it really will be summer soon.

(It was more than summer in Austin. More than 100 degrees most of the days. 92 at 11 pm. We dripped with sweat and covered Lu with sunscreen every hour. We survived it. But wow.)

That lunch was so good that we went back for more the next day, with a new group of people. We laughed and talked and learned of unexpected connections. This time, I had acelga tacos: fat white beans with smoky chard and a cilantro sauce. Don’t be surprised if you see them on this site soon. I’m sort of obsessed with them.

Austin is stuffed with great restaurants, and I had a list of recommendations in my pocket. However, this place was so great we went twice in two days.

And then there is barbecue. Austin is barbecue heaven.

The first night we ended up at Lamberts, an upscale barbecue place with refined tastes and pork chops as big as my head. Everyone at the table shared deviled eggs with smoked paprika and caviar (you might see those here soon too, minus the caviar. yowza.) and talked as the heat started to fade from the sky. This group of women moved me deeply, as we talked about our love of food, the sense of community we felt, and the need for graciousness in this culture.

All this with hot sauce, smoky beans, collard greens with brisket tips, and cucumber gimlets (without the gin for me).

After eating, Lu ran around the patio, underneath the white light strung above us, dancing to the music she hummed under her breath. We all leaned back in our seats, feeling the breeze on our faces, and sighed into the evening.

As the light faded in the sky, Lu danced on her daddy’s feet. They shuffled around, a slow sweet two-step together.

Austin felt like magic that night.

We were in Austin to do more than eat. (However, it was clear that most of the people who come to Austin come to eat. Damn, what a food town!) We were there for the annual conference of the IACP. I wrote last week about the honor I felt at being asked to speak this year. That anticipated  honor didn’t come close to what I actually felt.

I’ve been thinking all day about how much I want to say about those astounding few days. I could tell you stories about the astonishment I felt when people whose work I have adored for years stopped me in the hallway to say, “Shauna, I’ve been wanting to meet you!” I could give you a long list of the people I met or the people at our tables and link to them all. But in my mind, that feels like bragging, some weird way of saying “Hey, look at me!” That’s not the point.

(However, I do have to say that Dorie Greenspan was there, and I had several chances to talk with her about baking. I kind of wanted to faint. She is the soul of graciousness. And she is genuinely interested in gluten-free flours.)

Instead, I will say how grateful I felt that people did not treat me — a woman who writes about gluten-free food — as a second-class citizen. I felt embraced, fully. The folks who were attended my session on gluten-free living (in my mind, I called it Why Gluten-Free Matters Even to Those Who Can Eat It) were warm and open, full of questions and applause. This was a conference full of people who love and live in food. They get it.

At one gathering, the deputy editor of a major magazine came up to say hello, wanting to meet me. And she said something that has made me feel happy ever since. “I’ve been thinking about it lately. It’s clear that gluten-free is no longer a niche. This is here to stay.”

People who love food and care about how it’s made? They understand.

Danny and I had one of our best at-the-table experiences of our lives in Austin. Franklin Barbecue.

People, this place alone is worth a plane trip to Austin.

The first day of the conference, I turned to my friend Penny de los Santos, who lives in Austin. “Where do we go for barbecue?” I asked her.

“Do you want to go to a place for the atmosphere or food?”

I’m surprised she even asked. Food, of course.

“Franklin,” she told me. “You have to line up at 10:30 in the morning to get in, and they only stay open until they run out of meat, so go early. Go.”

Go we did. We lined up in the 100-degree heat with friends who were as excited as we were. Lu didn’t mind the wait as soon as she found a little friend her age. By the time the doors opened at 11, we were ready to faint from the smell of wood smoke and meat. By the time we had reached the top of the stairs, I stared at the porch, willing us there with food in front of us. Inside, as we stood in the line that snaked along the walls and windows, I watched a family prepare to eat together.

I couldn’t wait.

I love this place. Screw the atmosphere. The menus here were written on brown butcher paper and stuck on the wall with black electrical tape. See the menu on the right? Those are you choices. A pound of brisket? Sausages. Sides. A pulled pork sandwich. They had turkey that day. You can tell from the sign taped up on the menu.

My 8 tablemates and I ordered a huge platter of 1 of everything, except the sandwiches. And they were kind enough to order the whole platter gluten-free. You know what that entailed?

I asked the owner if he could pull off his gloves before cutting our brisket. He had been touching buns all morning. He called out another employee — his black gloves would have taken 20 minutes to strip from his hands, he said kindly — who put on a new pair of gloves and started fresh. That was a gluten-free meal.

 

This is some of what we ate. Tender, fatty brisket. Homemade sausages with the smoke still clinging to them. Pulled pork hiding underneath the paper. Ribs that truly did fall off the gone. And turkey that surprised us all with its juiciness.

After some of us stood on our chairs to take photographs of the table scene, we dove in. After all that waiting, there was something urgent about eating, something deeply pleasing about reaching in for more with greasy fingers and touching the hands of friends around the table who wanted to fight you for another piece of brisket. (good god, that brisket.) We were bonded together, like family, over that brisket.

It was magnificent food. We ate it on brown paper with plastic forks while drinking candy-red sodas. There was nothing fancy, no formality.

Great food certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.

The last night we were in Austin, we had the joy of sauntering into a dinner held at Boggy Creek Farm. Some of the best restaurants in Austin were there with food: feral pig roasted slowly, lamb barbacoa, more ribs. We sat on benches on green grass and looked out at the fields full of growing tomatoes, while we balanced paper plates full of food on our knees. We talked with friends around us and listened to the rustle and hum of the chickens in their cages. I looked up at one point to realize that warm sun was shining through a fig tree, an oak tree, and a pecan tree around me.

There were a few moments in there where I thought my heart would explode with happiness.

Lu met a new friend, a darling girl named Delfina who befriended her and took her by the hand to see the chickens. A fabulous band played on the porch, with much of the singing coming from a cowboy-booted woman playing the accordion. We spent time with new friends, fabulous photographer Marshall and his radiant wife Katey. Within a few moments of talking with them both, we realized that if they lived close to us we’d be in each other’s houses, bringing over casseroles and laughing at brunch. Instead, we just basked in that early evening light on our faces and laughed with them in the moment.

Look at that last photograph of Lu. She understood. That’s what the evening felt like: triumphant and running toward it.

This time in Austin? It was a gift.

You see, Danny and I? We feel blessed. Five years ago, when I first attended the IACP conference, I only dreamed of writing about food for a living. In a lot of ways, I had a more secure job back then: teaching high school with insurance and benefits. However, I wasn’t that happy. I plodded along and waited for my chance to go home and write. That’s when I felt truly alive.

Now? We may not always make much of a living. (Come on, we’re a chef and a writer.) We went back and forth about spending the money to bring Danny and Lu along on this trip. But we did. We know to throw our arms wide open and embrace it, then hope for the best. We may not always make much of a living, but we have such a life.

Great food. Better friends. Gatherings. Connection. Understanding. New friends. Urgency. Laughter. Early evening light. Being in the moment. Music on the porch. Embracing.

Most of the best moments of my life have been at the table. This week brought even more.

Austin, Texas. We love you.

Thanks, y’all.

 

p.s. It’s late as I write this. Silly late. Tomorrow I’ll come back and add suggestions of places we ate safely and experiences you might like as well.

106 comments on “gluten-free in Austin

  1. Kerri

    Beautiful pics of Austin!! I’m glad you enjoyed your time in our dynamic city. My husband and I moved to Austin thinking we would be there for a year… that was eight years ago! So much great food and so many great people. Thanks for the lovely post.

  2. Gemma

    These photos are wonderful and the barbecue – wow! Incredible. I really hope to be able to eat real barbecue one day.

  3. Caitlin

    I realized while reading this that I never considered gluten-free to be a niche. Never wondered if people ate gluten-free as a way to lose weight or be hip or hide an eating disorder. Thank god I dated someone in college with celiac. Being with him made me realize that no matter how much I love pasta and bread made with wheat flour, living gluten-free wasn’t a trial. It was a chance to try new things and explore new tastes. He’s why I tried cocoa-rubbed pork tenderloin, blueberries in stir fry, and so many other things. And I feel so lucky that I don’t have this mental block about living gluten-free, although I will say that I’m glad that stores and restaurants offer more options now. That “tapioca loaf” he used for sandwiches was AWFUL 🙂

  4. Maggi

    Oh, I’m so happy you enjoyed Austin. It is one of my favorite places to visit. Seattle is the other and New Orleans one more. I have to say, your outlook on living is so very inspiring. Writing about food, or not. Gluten-free or otherwise, people everywhere could learn a great deal if they just opened their mind to living fully like you and Dan and Lu have.

    Bless you all! 🙂

  5. SASKIA

    Great post!

    I love that you guys had such good family time together.

    Family is everything.

    …and I really love that your whole table ordered gluten free for you. Don’t you just love it when people are so supportive like that, when they don’t need to be? I love it when I take Master 6 who is a coeliac to a friends place, or camping or out for a meal and they will ALL eat gluten free, cook gluten free or help us pick somewhere that gluten free is not such a TRAUMA! (as it still is at times when you go out!!)

    Sas x

  6. Michelle

    I am soooooo freaking happy that you all loved TX. That place holds a very special place in my heart.

    You must listen to this Guy Clark song. You will have goosebumps and warm tingling feelings. Seriously!

    Cheers!

  7. Molly

    I’m at a loss trying to decide if the Mexican street corn and some of the most delicious-looking BBQ (six-napkin-worthy, at least) makes up for it being 92 degrees at 11PM. Hmm…yup, I think it does.

    1. Raele Ohana

      Come! I’ve lived in four states, five cities, and traveled to a hundred, but nowhere compares to Austin. It puts you right at home! You’ll love it. 🙂
      Before you come, check Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Austin 360, Austin Chronicle online, and Stubbs BBQ for events, dates of shows and shindigs, and whatnot. Right now it’s wildflower season in the Hill Country! Just beautiful.

  8. Liz

    I grew up visiting my (much) older sister in Austin. I live in New York now, and while I eat well everyday, you’re about to make me cry. I can’t wait to visit her next month, not only because she’s the coolest person I know, but also because I am in need of some serious barbecue and Mexican food. And Dublin Dr. Pepper.

  9. Rachel

    You have a wonderful blog and I truly enjoy reading it, but this is twice now in the last two posts that you have used the term ‘second-class citizen’ to possibly apply to someone who is gluten-free. I understand that the intent is completely innocent, and it is certainly true that it can feel as though your rights are being ignored or limited when eating gluten-free at a restaurant, but the term implies someone whose civil liberties and legal rights are limited, who is being treated as somehow less than a citizen. It may not seem like an important distinction, and I never thought I would turn into one of those people who nitpicks with perfectly lovely bloggers, but I have learned the difference firsthand and I can honestly say that while I sometimes hate how I’m treated at a restaurant, or hate how I feel after I’ve been fed something with gluten, it is virtually nothing in comparison to actually being treated as a second-class citizen in your country.

    1. shauna

      Rachel, I’m sorry you took offense at the term. I do feel you are reading too much into it, particularly as this has become a colloquial term now. However, I have to say that I recently learned that eating is now covered under the American Disabilities Act. This means that any public space that cannot feed someone with a medical condition safely is actually abrogating that person’s rights. So in a way, the phrase is true in the way you are intending. Mostly, however, I am speaking for thousands of folks I hear from who feel they are treated this way by family and restaurants. It really does feel that serious to some folks.

      1. cathy

        Shauna, could you please quote the text from the ADA document about eating? Thanks! Or a link would be fine. Ever so thankful.

        1. Stephanie

          Section 504 of the act applies to accommodating food allergies and disabilities in federally funded schools. I am not finding such a requirement for private establishments.

        2. Kimberly

          Shauna, I adore this site and have read it for many years.

          As a recent law school graduate who studied the Americans With Disability Act, there is not a clause that mandates public places to provide allergy free food. The only place that is mandated to provide allergy food is federally funded schools (Stephanie mentions this above). Public restaurants do not have a duty to provide allergy free food under the ADA at the present. As with all legislation, the ADA is a malleable document and may be altered in the future to include this provision.

        3. shauna

          Yes. It applies to schools. I was told about this during the conference in Austin and don’t know those fine points. It was really in a larger context of the discussion of the phrase “second-class citizen.” And believe me, there are plenty of schools where kids don’t get gluten-free food! We have plenty of work to do on this.

        4. Suzan McMann

          I have to jump in on this as the mother of kiddo who is not getting GF food at school. The schools on Vashon are awesome with their Experience Food project. Lots of organic stuff – nothing out of a can – vegetarian substitutions. Nothing for Celiacs or kids with gluten intolerance, though. Parents have to take care of their GF kids – lunches, snacks, in class Bday parties. Is he a second class citizen? I know he certainly feels like one on pizza day – today is pizza day. On days like today he feels like being GF is a punishment. He’s 10 and has Aspergers. Always having to take his lunch is one of the things that makes him feel like an oddball – possibly even a “second class citizen.” Coincidentally, we were discussing how easy it would be to have GF pizza at school on the way to school this AM. I’m getting ready to talk to the powers that be.

        5. Suzan McMann

          I did it. I spoke with the director. There was already a meeting planned to evaluate how things have gone this last year – this first year of the Experience Food Project. She thought I made a valid point. She said there are GF kids at the HS, too. No promises – but GF food will at least be discussed. There may be days on the monthly menu that are marked as GF days. She’s willing to work with me. Yay!!!!!!!!

    2. Ana

      Rachel, I agree with you 100%. Gluten allergy in a public space is something the ADA wouldn’t touch with a 10 ft pole, nor should they. My family was “blessed” with a variety of allergies, including some that wont just make us sick, but will send us to the hospital. I don’t depend on the restaurant to feed us safely, that’s my job. I do my research to make sure I know who’s using what oils, if the foods are hand made or premade, what the ingredient list is for sauces ect. Most of this can be answered at the corporate office. Many of the foods on this blog would be banned if the ADA took that step. Public schools are different because they are federally funded as opposed to a private business. Let’s not start claiming food allergies and issues are a disability on par with not being able to enter a store safely (due to not being able to walk unassisted) or having life threatening seizures, or something else totally out of your control. I can control what goes into my body, and there are plenty of options to make up for what I cant eat.

  10. Tricia

    Beautiful insights into time and energy well spent, Shauna! Austin seems like such a wonderful place, I can’t wait to visit now. IACP is such a wonderful community as well, I’m so happy (and totally not surprised) you were so heartily embraced there. Thank you kindly, for doing what you do. Cheers! ~Tricia

  11. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    I adore this post. I love how people are embracing and accepting the gluten free way of life too. I love how you described the wonderful place where you had the gluten free meats, and I *cannot believe* that the owner was gracious enough at such a busy place to comply with having a co-worker change his gloves for you. How wonderful!

    Next year, I’m going to IACP… and someday, I’m visiting Austin!

    1. shauna

      Oh, do go to Austin! It’s incredible. And what I am finding, over and over again, is that the people who truly care about food, and want to feed you, will always make time to make sure you eat safely. That’s why I love places like that.

  12. Kelly S

    You have made me so homesick I have tears running down my face at work! I am so glad you enjoyed Austin! I’m not sure I miss the heat, but everything else? Yes!

  13. Cheryl Arkison

    It was great to live vicariously through y’all (sorry) through Twitter. I can only look at this post, however, and see deviled eggs. The craving hasn’t gone away…

  14. Addie Broyles

    I’m thrilled you love Austin as much as we do! It was so nice to see your lovely family out and about all last week, and thanks for the lunch at Condesa. I’ve never been happier to skip away from the Hilton. 🙂

    Can’t wait until our paths cross again!

    1. shauna

      Addie, we loved spending time with you! That’s one damned fine town you have there. And on the plane ride home, Danny was reading the paper and pointed, “Hey, it’s an article by Addie!”

  15. jen robins

    ahhhhhhh! i heart austin in a bad way. i’m a texas native, went to university of texas in austin and stayed for another 8 years until meeting my husband. it is the best!!!! i cannot wait to go back and while i was not gluten free while living there, i am confident, that going back i will find just as many things to love about the food without the ‘g’! i’m so happy you loved austin like i do – what a place!

  16. Lisa

    It was wonderful spending time with you and I’m so thrilled you fell in love with Austin. Looking forward to seeing y’all again–soon and often!

    1. shauna

      I understand why you’re a homesick Texan now, Lisa. I feel like I am a little bit too. The people are so open-hearted there. And what a meal we had at Lamberts.

  17. Johnna

    Oh, how I love Austin! There is never enough time on our visits to eat at all of the places on my wish list. Now you’ve added to that list. Thank you for the lovely post!

  18. JennC

    I await your recommendations as I’m going to Austin in a few weeks to visit my brother. Thanks for another great post!

  19. Vive

    What a beautiful post, Shauna. I’m so glad to hear that Austin rolled out its welcome mat to you. It did that so me when I came here 12 years ago for graduate school and I haven’t left yet. It’s wonderful to see my home so celebrated on your blog. And you ate at some of the many most wonderful places here. Franklin bbq is across the street from my office and I can watch the line starting to form from my window while I work. And Boggy Creek is where I go when my soul needs nurturing. I’ve wandered those acres on leisurely Saturday mornings. A few weeks ago I grabbed my co-worker and we held a joyful planning session sitting back on old wooden chairs near the fields. A chicken came and poked around my ankles.

    Thanks for reminding me how much I love my hometown. It warms me to think of you and Danny and Lu finding such joy here.

  20. amelia saltsman

    It was grand, wasn’t it. Your post and pics express it all so beautifully, thank you. Yay, Delfina and Lu!

    1. shauna

      Lu’s still talking about Delfina. “Fina show me chickens on farm!” We must get them together again. And what a joy it is to know you now.

  21. Hope

    I absolutly love Austin! And I love the photo’s you’ve taken but I have to know, please tell me, what type of camera you are using!?!? My daughter has found an interest in photography and I’ve been looking around for something she might like w/ great quality. You’re photos stick out and grab my attention more than any other other blog I keep up with. THank You so much and have a great day!!!

    1. shauna

      Gosh, thank you! I have a Nikon D100, which is about a 10-year-old digital camera I found on Craigslist. My friends who are photographers have taught me it’s the photographer and the light that matters, not the camera!

  22. Noelle Michelle

    I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Texas. I am from/live in El Paso, but I go to Austin to visit family as often as I can. I love, love, love that city. Thankfully El Paso is well stocked (to the brim) with Mexican food options, but there are still many places that aren’t GF friendly. But when I’m in Austin an entire new GF world opens up for me. If you do go next time, try to go to Toy Joy. Its an offbeat toy store with an ice cream shop in the back. They have…wait for it…vegan soft-serve in GF cones. And it tastes great. Happy travels!

  23. Jamie M.

    Shauna,

    Once again your writing has brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing not just your most recent adventures but how it makes you feel. I’m so thankful to you and brave others for furthering the gluten free cause and changing it from another fad diet to reality. And thank you for giving me hope that one day I’ll find that right person or one thing to do with my life other than my job with insurance and benefits that makes it feel real and amazing, like I always imagined it would be. It gives me motivation to keep going!

  24. Suzanne

    Shauna,
    I just knew you would love Austin the way we do. And it is especially gratifying to read about it from your perspective. I followed you on twitter in anticipation of possibly seeing you out somewhere. So glad that you and your precious family had such a terrific time and I hope you come back soon. By the way, yesterday’s high of 103 was the earliest in the season the temperature ever reached 103 in the history of temperature keeping in Austin. Wish us luck!

  25. Ellen W

    I am missing my home state and some good BBQ. My family is trying to move and Austin is at the top of the list. I grew up in the Houston area and am a proud Texas Aggie. I left the state for grad school and after 11 years, I am ready to go home and be closer to family. As someone who has been gf for less than a year, it is great to see a city with so many wonderful places to eat gf. Even though I like cooking and baking, I would love to go to a bakery or grocery store that had fresh baked goods I could enjoy.

  26. Dixie Caviar

    Shauna, I had the pleasure of attending your “Blog to Book” session which left me in complete and total awe. You truly sparkle! Then getting to sit at the same lunch table (albeit on the other side) at La Condesa was a real “pinch me” moment. What incredible and inspiring women all in one place, and all working TOGETHER to make things happen.

    As a first time attendee, IACP and Austin took amazing care of me. I look forward to next year, and then the next, and only hope that one day I can look at it from your perspective. Thanks for sharing this touching and heartfelt post.

    Best,
    Nealey a.k.a. Dixie Caviar

  27. Francie Kelley

    I am so glad you enjoyed our lovely city. Austin is a wonderful place to be gluten-free. Not only do we have all these great restaurants we have wonderful grocery shopping with an amazing array of stores and Farmer’s Markets. Next time you are in town, let me know and we can arrange for you to speak to our GIG group.

  28. June Scott @ Inspired by

    I’m so glad you were able to experience Austin! We live about an hour away and are looking forward to recommendations on “safe” places to eat!!! Your pictures are wonderful! The ones of Lu particularly seem to capture the “heart” of what you are sharing! Blessings to you, Shauna, and your family 🙂

  29. Tami in Oregon

    My son went to college in Austin and I love visiting him there. I wasn’t excited about him being so far away, as you can imagine, but he picked a really great place. I’d move there in a heartbeat if I could!

  30. sophie

    Great post! This bumps Austin up on my “to visit” list. Just curious, how did you know that the meat (including especially the sausages) was gluten free? I’m always so paranoid about eating food in a place that also serves bread. Were you not concerned that the person handling the bread would have cross contaminated the meat?

  31. Maria A

    Hi Shauna,
    I loved this article on Austin. I was at the IACP meeting and in the audience at your talk. I came back home to Chicago and looked up the NY Times article and the recipes you mentioned. I am inspired by your passion for food, family and life! All the best to you and yours!

  32. Marla Ferguson

    I just loved this post! Being a Texas girl myself and living in Korea at the moment, this had my mouth watering! How I miss the food and the people. I’m from Abilene and a couple of these Austin restaurants reminded me of two of my favorite restaurants: Joe Allen’s BBQ and Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and giving me a moment to reminisce of home.

  33. Beth W.

    Lovely post. It makes me hungry! I wanted to say that I have a hard time finding gluten-free BBQ, at least here in San Francisco, where many places use soy sauce in their sauces/marinades. It’s always good to inquire before digging in.

    1. LeeAnn Balbirona

      That’s what I was wondering…how do you get folks to admit what “secret ingredients” go into their barbeque sauce? Every bottled sauce in the stores here has wheat-laden soy sauce in it. Where do you find gluten-free bbq? At home, I just make my own using the gf soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire etc. It would be nice to have more dining options for eating out though! (I’m in Washington state.)

      1. shauna

        I have found that most folks, if you tell them it’s a food allergy, will tell you what is NOT in their sauces. Danny makes barbecue sauce from scratch and it doesn’t have gluten!

      2. sarah

        LeeAnn,
        Try Stubb’s BBQ sauce – says GF right on the label. It’s also an Austin restaurant/music venue whose sauce has gone global. Hopefully your Whole Foods or grocer will have it!

  34. Alice Henneman

    Janet Helm recommended we read your blog on your experience in Austin. So glad I did! Loved the pictures and the thoughts and feelings behind them!

  35. Irvin

    I love your recap. LOVE. IT. I felt like I was there, gloriously living and basking in the heat and love of it all. One of these days I’ll make it to an IACP. I hope. Until then, I’ll just read your recaps and live vicariously.

  36. Madison

    It was wonderful meeting you! Your chat on blogging was wonderful and I was blown away by how real, down-to-earth and kind you were to all in attendance. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us!

    Cheers!

  37. Boulder Locavore

    Shauna this is such a wonderful, senses-filling post! Both your writing and photography convey the essence both of Austin and your experience there. As a gluten free person I was glad to hear of the reception to your talk. I still cringe when reading random articles about how gluten free diets are not truly based in medical need. For those of us who do not have a choice that reminds me our condition is still misunderstood so the more education the better. It can be so difficult to evaluate family travel against the cost of it. I do think especially with children, these are the moments that weave their life tapestry and remain the overriding punctuation marks as they reflect on what was important within their family. I’m so glad you all went. I think kids really are shaped by these experiences in a positive way even at Lu’s little joyful age when she might not remember it all as she gets older! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

  38. Selena Darrow

    Damn Shauna! This post is another exciting reason why I love IACP so much. Discovering (and meeting) you and your fantastic blog. And the photos– you captured the essence of Austin. Makes me hungry for some BBQ,– can’t wait to go back

  39. Muffin Tin

    Well, I’m starving. Please post more about the acelgas tacos you had. I’ve made a version with spinach and raisins. I love smoked paprika in deviled eggs.

  40. Sarah

    Oh Austin,
    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and cool
    My arms can reach, when swimming Hamilton Pool.
    For the Worlds Best barbecued brisket place.
    I love thee to the level of every day’s
    Odd encounter: drag rats and homeless men:
    I love thee freely, especially when
    You’re running for mayor and winning the race.
    I love thee for the passion put to use
    In your each day, creatively, with faith,
    I love thee with a love I could never lose –
    Born in college. I love thee with the breath,
    Flavors, smells, of all my life; and, if FSM choose,
    This summer I’ll love thee better in person.

    I lost the sonnet there. Hook ’em Horns… I think I spent more time at Spider House than I did studying poetry. Anyway, thanks for this post! I’m happy to have some new restaurants to try out when we visit this summer!

  41. Sarah

    Also, never knew Big Red was born in Texas. Though, come to think of it, I haven’t seen it since we left… craving now.

  42. Laura

    Shauna–
    I wish I could have been at your seminar. It was too bad IACP doesn’t set up the conference in such a way that other food professionals and writers who may not be able to pay the fees could pay for single events there (although it was possible to do so for the book fair and expo). I’ve followed your website for a long, long time and find it an inspiration for GF cooking and food writing.

    Next time you’re in Austin, also give Ironworks a whirl for top BBQ. You’ll find the best beef ribs ever–huge, meaty and double cut; the brisket is a good contender for Franklin’s crown, too. Come back, soon!

  43. Anne A

    Thank you so much for the kind words about my hometown. And bringing to light new places to eat GF. I live here and just get stuck in going to the same places.

  44. Cheryl

    For a very tired lady, you managed to write a wonderful description of your trip! Reading it made me feel warm and tingly (really). Your blessings will never run dry, Shauna, because you always remember to notice them and give thanks.

  45. Annelies

    Shauna! Thanks for posting such lovely pix and descriptions of restaurants in Austin. I wrote a few of my Austin eats from a visit earlier this summer. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Franklin or La Condesa, though they are definitely on the list for next time. Lambert’s makes some good food and the atmosphere is nice.

  46. MamaMeGF

    Shauna, I love the photos! It was so nice to finally meet you at IACP and I’m so glad Lucy and Danny came with you. It was so special to meet them in person. 🙂

  47. Kristina Vanni

    What a fantastic summary of your experience in Austin! These photos are simply breathtaking. I didn’t get a chance to meet you at IACP but I wanted to say ‘hi’ now 🙂 I included a link to your blog in my recap of the trip to Austin on “The Daily Dish.” I hope to see you at another conference soon!

  48. Dianne Jacob

    Shauna, you knock me out. I love the photos and your writing filled with enthusiasm and positive energy.

    I’m glad we got a few minutes together in Austin. By then it was the end of the conference and I was tired, but it was enough for me just to sit with you three, and watch Lu explore the world.

  49. Lauren

    I cannot begin to tell how wonderful I find your writing. Thank you for the last thoughts in the this post. We currently make a good living but are really struggling with missing a life. Our girls are growing fast and my husband is missing it. We are constantly flirting with the idea of making a real change – words like yours help encourage us. Thank you.

  50. knitlass

    Hey GFG – love all the stuff you do – although the flour alchemy scares me a bit!
    Anyway, thought you might be interested in this – Carolyn Steel and her book Hungry City. She has been raving about NY on her blog – see here http://www.hungrycitybook.co.uk/blog/?p=115
    and uses some of the city’s work on food and food deserts in her lectures. I saw her again this week. Anyway, it strikes me that this fits in many ways with the things you stand for – good, local, fresh, seasonal ingredients, so I thought I would share…

  51. InTolerantChef

    Wow, what wonderful food! I love the brownpaper instead of plates too! Just goes to shaw what happens when you do a couple of things really,really well!

  52. Rachel B.

    As delicious as the Franklin BBQ place sounds, I was surprised to read that you drank the Red Soda with high fructose corn syrup and sugar in it when I thought you were focused on eating healthy.

    1. shauna

      Oh goodness, I drink about 3 sodas a year, if that. Sometimes you just have to let go into the experience.

  53. Kristen

    I love Mexican food too, both for itself and for its naturally gluten free-ness, so I was quite disturbed to find corn tortillas at Whole Foods the other day that had wheat as an ingredient…
    :0(. It made me wonder how many other corn tortillas add wheat…?

  54. Sandi

    Wow those pictures brought tears to my eyes. We moved away from Austin 7 years ago and I really miss real BBQ. There is an amazing little gluten free restaurant in Lakeway, near Lake Travis called Java Dive Organic Cafe. The owner is gluten free and their baked goods were delicious.

  55. Lisa

    Loved this post! I looooove so much that you said, “We may not always make much of a living, but we have such a life.” I stand by that motto everyday, you just put it into perfect words! You certainly do have such a life, a week away at somewhere as delicious as this place sounds, with your family. What a life! 🙂 You made my mouth water with all your pictures! I’m in Australia and my dad cooks on an open wood fire and smokes meat, sausages, chicken etc in a wood smoker. You made me homesick! 🙂

  56. Judy

    Hi Shauna,
    I just love your Austin post and pictures. Wow, I’d be tongue-tied meeting Dorie Greenspan! And for her to look to you for help in g-f baking must be really exciting!

    Thanks so much for your help in gluten free baking. I have your gluten free crusty boule dough from Artisan Breads in Five Minutes rising right now in our warm sunroom! The dough should be just great to bake for the Farmer’s Market on Wed. It will get a nice overnight in the fridge, too.

    Question–can I bake these in a loaf pan? Should I use only one pound of dough, or should I use less/more?

    Also, I read your post about mixing flours. Really a great help! But, since I am really new at g-f baking, I want to try some tried and true recipes. I was also looking at the KAF tender high rising sandwich loaf. I got conflicting information about potato starch from KAF. They said potato starch isn’t gluten free, but theirs is. That doesn’t sound right, but I thought I’d check with you.

    I called KAF to see if the g-f bread would retain the moistness longer is I added some potato flour. I had purchased potato flour from them for my gluten baking, but haven’t used it yet. The Farmer’s Market is on Wed. I bake on Tuesday, and don’t want to do much prep of the gluten free items on the same day as everything else–to keep them separate. So I’ve been putting them in loaf pans overnight after they rise in the loaf pans.

    Even so, the gluten free items seem to lose moistness the next day! Would adding some potato flour help? Potatoes are gluten free, right?

    THANKS SO MUCH, SHAUNA,

    Judy

    1. shauna

      Potato starch is definitely gluten-free, or it should be! And each individual bread recipe is different. Our whole-grain bread certainly doesn’t lose its moisture by the second day!

  57. The Healthy Apple

    What a great post; I am dying to get down to Austin, Texas…it looks so much fun and I am so glad that you had a great time! This BBQ looks delish…Glad you are enjoying your summer thus far.
    xo

  58. JennC

    I would like to know more about HOW to order gluten free. Looking at the restaurants you visited, they don’t have gluten free on the menu. Yet you seem to be able to eat well – HOW do you do it?

    How do you communicate to wait staff your needs without giving long lists of ingredients you can’t have? The barbeque, for example, how did you know the sauce or marinade didn’t have gluten in it? Did you ask? Did you assume?

    PLEASE HELP — Any suggestions, or help on how to eat out successfully would be great.

    I feel I’ve mastered GF in my house, even baked a bit, but going out to eat fills me with trepidation. As a result, I often feel silly talking with restaurant employees. And because I’ve gotten sick eating out, I often don’t trust what they tell me.

  59. Lia

    I thought I recognized those first pics! 😉 So, so, so great hanging with y’all in Austin. Can’t wait to see you again …

  60. Pepper O'C

    I am so glad you loved Austin, I live a little further south and I ADORE going up there for the fine culinary choices they have. Down in these parts I have to say I am “alergic to wheat” (celiac is “one of em fancy words for dem fancy northerners” as my NUTRITION professor said… argh!) and so I get offered the white loaf instead of the wheat loaf. 🙂 interesting to say the least. I will be so happy to go back there in September for the Got Guts 5K.

  61. animasolaarts

    Ah, home of my alma mater (St. Ed’s, represent)! I do love Austin so much. You went to some great places but there are so many more to explore with delicious gluten-free options. (And for those asking how to find out what your options are: Research! Call and talk to managers beforehand. If they don’t have a gluten-free menu, see if they can accommodate you. Send emails and ask questions; bring your allergy card! If you don’t have allergy cards – for heaven’s sake, order some from Triumph Dining in multiple languages. Give them to your server. Insist they take the card and show it to the kitchen and tell them you need it back. Your life will change!)

    Do visit again when it gets cooler. And if you’re stuck going in summertime, a visit to Barton Springs or one of the local watering holes is a must.

  62. sarah

    we were so glad to have you. i loved being the “volunteer” of your IACP session. what a honor. do come back…when it’s not 100 maybe. 🙂

  63. Michele

    I’m thrilled to read about some of your recommendations here. We have family in Austin and will be driving through there on our move to New Orleans (hoping you have some good foodie recommendations there!). La Condesa looks amazing and it’s making me HUNGRY. It’s at the top of the list along with Rio’s Brazilian Cafe!

  64. Jessica Atkinson

    Shauna, Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I live in Austin and have been dying to check out Franklin BBQ but have been too scared because I wasn’t sure how much they knew about Celiac Disease. Yesterday my husband and I got there at 10:30 and stood in line for 2 hours for quite possibly the best Texas BBQ we’ve ever had (and we are very selective)!

    One note I would like to include for your other readers, however… I did confirm that one of their sauces DOES contain gluten. It’s the espresso sauce (the darker one on the table) and it contains soy sauce. Everything else is safe for Celiac consumption. Thanks again!

  65. Marisa H

    I hope you didn’t have chopped beef or the sauce at Franklin’s! They told me today it includes soy sauce. Ironworks also told me their bbq is not gluten free. Such a disappointment.

    1. shauna

      Marisa, I did not have the chopped beef or sauce at Franklin’s. They knew what was in every dish and gave us a huge platter full of gluten-free food!

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