Thursday, August 6, 2015

Low Blood Sugar & Celiac Conflict = Dining at a Michelin Restaurant in Italy

Earlier this year while traveling in in Italy with a good friend (I'll call her JK for privacy), we started to have a conversation about issues that might come up related to celiac and diabetes at the same time.   You know, just in case.

Before I proceed with the story you should know that no matter where I go I usually carry enough sacks and diabetes supplies to last a few days.  Even if  I'm just going to the grocery store to pick up some eggs and milk.

So back to Italy..

After some internal deliberation the only scenario I could come up with would be if  my blood sugar is low and the only choice is to eat something with gluten or nothing, I'd eat the gluten.  Diabetes trumps celiac in terms of emergency eating.

In hindsight my statement should have been a little more detailed:  what I should have stated was "if my blood sugar is low and I don't have anything to treat it and there's nothing else around then yes, I'd eat something with gluten."

So how does this lead to a Michelin restaurant?  (I had only learned about Michelin restaurants a few weeks before after watching the movie 100 Foot Journey)   While searching online for ideas of where to eat near us, I came across  great sounding creperie for dinner and we set out on our trek to find it.   Note: We were in Perugia Italy, and the area we were staying made the hilly streets of San Francisco look tame.  With the help of GPS we got near, just as my blood sugar crashed. It crashed hard and came on quickly.  Some of this is a bit fuzzy, but I know I sat down and ate a protein bar.  JK wanted to stay with me but I convinced her I was fine (which I was) and she went on the hunt for a place to dine. The first place she went into Antica Trattioria San Lorenzo   said they could absolutely come up with something gluten-free.  I had walked by this place a few days earlier and noticed the Michelein status thinking "no way I'm going in there."  But I wasn't in the place to argue nor was it right after the scare I gave JK and the effort of her finding a place for us to eat.  It would have to do.

This restaurant was very quaint yet different then other small Italian restaurants we had visited.  It was a bit cavernous.  And quiet even though we weren't the only ones there.  We placed our order.  At one point the server brought over this butter knife and plate.  But, the butter never appeared.

First up was a cheese plate which was pretty good.  It was after my plate was cleared that I thought about taking pictures and stage whispered to my friend "is it ok to take pictures in a Michelin restaurant"? To which the server said "yes, it's fine.'  

tuna sashimi
We decided to each order a starter (my mind is drawing a blank as to what the Italian version is) and share an entree.  I picked a tuna sashimi plate which was delish.  JK picked gnocchi, thinking that would be a more traditional choice.  Only it wasn't.  We're not quite sure what it ended up being but it wasn't what either of us were thinking.

winner winner chicken dinner
Since JK's son was traveling with us I suggested to her that we take it back and he'd eat it at some point.  But no, we  were told "due to health safety we can't wrap anything up to go."  Uh. ok. No foil swan for you!
JK didn't really like the food, but she was a champ about it.  I promised her gelato and pizza.  But I was really enjoying my picks.  Finally the entree came.  Really good chicken with some vegetables and some sausage in the middle.  My only complaint was there wasn't enough of it.  I kept wondering when they were going to bring the rest of it out.

Finally it was time to decide on dessert. JK really wanted tiramisu but I convinced her it wouldn't be what she was expecting and reminded her about the gelato.

So, when you travel with someone who has 2 autoimmune diseases that are both centered around food you never know where you'll end up but you'll have fun along the way!

Lessons learned:
1.  Call the restaurant to be sure they are still in business before you head out.
2. If you are brought a butter knife, don't expect butter.
2. Yes, you can take pictures.
3.  The food you order may not be what you were expecting
4. No foil swan of leftovers!

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