Monday, September 30, 2013

The Last Runaway

Book Review

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier.

This is a new book by an author I have enjoyed reading.

I've read several of her books, the most recent being Remarkable Creatures in 2010.

Chevalier is a master at writing historical fiction.

Most of her books are based loosely on an actual historical event or person or creation.

Girl with the Pearl Earring paints a fictional narrative around a most famous painting and painter.  Remarkable Creatures is based on obscure, but historical figures.  Burning Bright depicts friendships with a historical painter-poet.

Historical fiction with what Ms. Chevalier does well.

It was easy to pick up this book and expect an enjoying read.

I was not disappointed.

The Last Runaway

Monday, September 23, 2013

Eating Gluten-Free at P.F. Chang's

Chinese Restaurants

When dining out, I really prefer the unique, mom-and-pop ethnic family restaurants. But since having to be gluten-free, the options for me at these small, homegrown restaurants can often be extremely limited or non-existent. (One fantastic exception to this is Chef Chu's!)

Being gluten-free has given me a new appreciation for large, corporate, chain restaurants. Not love, mind you.  Just appreciation. These chain restaurants have been very responsive in addressing the current trend of offering gluten-free selections.

(Note: I really hope this is not just a trend with the restaurants. I have no expectation, or hope, that I will be lucky enough to ever eat gluten again without getting sick. That is not a trend. That is a lifestyle. I sincerely hope restaurants are making permanent additions with their gluten-free menus.)

Chain or not, if I can be assured that a restaurant will make my meal safe for me, I am much more relaxed and comfortable. I like relaxed and comfortable.

And chains have the advantage of being recognizable and predictable when traveling to unfamiliar cities.

Predictable is a wonderful thing when you need to be gluten-free.

Now, in addition to predictable and gluten-free, let's add something. Add delicious! Now we are getting somewhere. 

P. F. Chang's even has even one more feature to add.
P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

P. F. Chang's 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bakery On Main Gluten-Free Granola - Nutty Cranberry Maple

Granola or Cereal?

I recently visited my parents. They have always been extremely accommodating with my gluten-free needs. But they are a granola-loving household.

Canister on the counter, always at hand, ready to fuel that granola love at any time of day.

And normal granola is almost never gluten-free.

I wasn't about to be tempted to eat their granola, but I was bound to find it difficult if I didn't have something safe for a snack!

So, shortly after arriving, on my first trip to the store, I figured I had better pick up something gluten-free to snack on while visiting them.

It is hard enough to not eat things I know will make me sick, but it is far worse to have nothing similar that is safe!

I was pleased to find Bakery on Main products in their local store. I have heard about them and seen advertisements for their products, but I have never encountered any in my own local stores.

Time to find out about their gluten-free granola. Just what I needed to distract me from that canister on the counter.

Bakery on Main Gluten Free Granola - Nutty Cranberry Maple

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Book Review

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming. 

I think everyone has heard of this. I do not think everyone knows who wrote this.

I think most people don't even know there is a book with this title. I think most people only know about the movie by the same name.

Well, I didn't read the book because of the fame of the movie. But that movie certainly does register a neuron or two.

I read this book because of the author.

Do you know this author?

I'm willing to bet a root beer that you don't. But I'll also guess that you know or have heard of almost all of the movies that have been made from his other books.

Movies like Casino Royale,  or Live and Let Die, or Moonraker. Have you got it yet? How about Diamonds are Forever? Or From Russia with Love?

Surely you've got it by now. You don't need the whole list.

Ian Fleming created the famous Bond. James Bond. 007.

Never heard of Fleming, eh? Yet you know Bond?

Well, I've read all fifteen of Fleming's James Bond stories. Read them. All of them. Have you read any of them?

Probably not.

You know why I think you haven't read them? Because you can't find these books in libraries or book stores any more. I know. I tried.

I had to resort to finding them on ebay. That's right. I had to buy the books on ebay in order to actually read them. Which I did, a number of years ago.

And then a couple of years after that, I loaned several of these Fleming/Bond books to a friend. And she read them.

And she just returned them to me a couple of weeks ago. And with them, she gave me a new book. She gave me the unauthorized, not-quite-sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Unofficial and non-sequel because Fleming is dead. But this not-quite-sequel will have to be for another blog post, another time.

This not-quite-sequel reminded me that there was still one of Fleming's books I had not read. Time to take care of that.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Run Forrest, Run!

Remember? Forrest Gump. The movie.

Haven't seen it? Guess what? You have homework. Go. Go do your homework. Then come back here.

This is a restaurant wholly centered on Forrest Gump, the movie. Slogans, trivia, merchandise, you name it.

It used to be Joe's Crabshack. That's what we were expecting to find. That's what we were looking for.

Instead, we got Gump. Bubba Gump.

Every which way, Gump.

And really, it wasn't bad. Not bad at all. And even somewhat entertaining.

But most of all, I found gluten-free Bubba Gump food!

Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company on Urbanspoon

Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to Nature Gluten-Free White Cheddar Crackers

Flavored-salt Crackers

I used to love crackers. Especially flavored crackers.

The ones with flavored salt covering them so heavily that they were furry.

Flavored salt. Not just plain salt. Cheese flavored salt. Bar-b-que flavored salt. Ranch flavored salt. Any kind of flavored salt.

And because I loved that flavored salt so much, I used to lick my salted-furry crackers clean.

Licked all that flavored salt off. Then I was just stuck with the plain cracker underneath.

Wow. My tastes have changed.

I don't crave crackers the way I used to and I don't crave the flavored salt the way I used to.

But sometimes, even when you need to be gluten-free, a flavored-salt cracker is nice. These fit the bill nicely.

Back to Nature White Cheddar Gluten-Free Rice Thin Crackers