People wonder why you won’t drink a deliciously chilled Coors on a hot summer night at the Greenville Drive game. Women scoff when you won’t eat their homemade baked treat, sending laser beams of hate and “you think you are better than my food” thoughts.
I am here to say that being gluten free sucks, 95% of the time. Sure, it makes me feel better since gluten is toxic to my body (Celiac Disease if you want to learn more about it). But overall, it is more expensive, more complicated, and most people just don’t get it.
To those wondering why there is not a beer in my hand at Fluor Field – I wish there could be. And to all the haters, I love baked goods – cobblers in particular. I miss them all the time. Sometimes I have dreams that involve eating a gooey cheese pizza from Tito’s paired with a big, double beer from Monterrey’s…chased with a heaping serving of locally grown peach cobbler and a dollop of homemade vanilla, since we’re dreaming here. Maybe my waistline should be thankful for my disease…
So when I want to feel like I am not “missing out” on some of the best treats of life, I go to Larkin’s. And before I go any further, let me state that this is not an “ad” of any sort. I just have been a gluten free diner in Greenville for three years and have never experienced better treatment than at Larkin’s.
After adjusting to the shock of what I could not eat upon diagnosis, I began to discover a new world that contains good food. I learned about crème brulee, all the ways one can enjoy quinoa, all the best brands for gluten free versions of pantry staples, and where to go for a fine treat. As it turns out, deprivation leads to creativity, and a new appreciation for a special recipe or meal out.
At Larkin’s, being gluten free means you receive warm bread to dip in the satiny olive oil concoction at the beginning of the meal – something I had not experienced since the PG days as I call them (Pre-gluten free). You enjoy a variety of menu options catered to your needs, and for me that usually involves a steak. You sop up the sumptuous juices of said steak with the creamiest and cheesiest whipped potatoes known to man. You might order something green…but odds are you started with the made from scratch Caesar salad they are known for, sans croutons – but I haven’t asked yet to determine if they have them in the kitchen. I forget about croutons these days…
If you haven’t gorged too much on the abundance of flavor in this meal, you might enjoy the crème brulee or whatever seasonal treats have been adapted to suit you. I always choose the crème brulee – and adore it with every taste bud I didn’t burn while refusing to wait before my meal cooled.
It isn’t that hard to treat a gluten free diner with consideration. It involves adaptations to preparation, sure – but overall, the restrictions are always clear and the reward always an extremely satisfied and LOYAL customer. But sometimes, I am treated like a burden on a restaurant and their lack of education or refusal to be creative lends itself to lackluster dishes, under-sauced and spiced. Most of the time, I don’t really mind because the food tastes okay and I know I require special attention. But all of these experiences make one like Larkin’s a true memory of a special meal.
And that is why I’ll keep coming back…only wishing someone else would foot the bill…