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Surviving PAX East on a GF diet?

LevelUpLadyLevelUpLady Registered User regular
Im extremely new to Gluten Free (Im a month in now) and after flying and traveling a little bit Im realizing fast how limiting it can be for the unprepared.
I am making plans to make sure I don't starve somewhat.

Anyone go to Pax before on GF and have any tips? tricks? This is my first one so I feel it would be easier to plan if I knew what to expect!

Thanks so much!


  • QuintiousQuintious Registered User regular
    Put your fad on hold for a week. I say this with all seriousness. An unfamiliar city that loves its bread and pasta as Boston does is not the place to be trying something like that out. You might - MIGHT - be able to subsist on sides of corn and dinner salads all week at Sauciety. Either that or plan on eating a lot of steaks all week at the Irish pub. If you're mobile, your venues expand, but your options remain largely consistent.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm not sure calling anyone's dietary restrictions a fad is going to be helpful advice. In previous food threads for pax east there have been many posts about places for GF. I think someone did a GF map even.

  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    I'm allergic to gluten rice and corn, and I FEEL YOU.

    There is a grocery store not that far from PAX. I stock up on a bunch of fruit and lara bars and beef jerky.

    As for eating out, lots of places can be accommodating if you just ask.

    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    Gluten free isn't easy to do, but I think salads are options at a few places, yogurts, etc. These can probably hold you for the day, but for meals you'll have to walk a little bit to find a bit more variety.

  • LevelUpLadyLevelUpLady Registered User regular
    If there's a GF map that would be awesome! I can get around no problem so no worries about that.
    I just didn't know if there was anything nearby that was a favorite of any other gf people or any tricks for places that are closer then you sometimes find on yelp or searching for gf food places/choices. Snacks that work better then others while walking around a con all day (mm spillage all over my con bag haha).

    We're coming in Thur morning so hitting up a grocery on the way from the airport sounds like a good plan!

  • HalfazedninjaHalfazedninja Author of Jake Howard: Multiverse 101! Behind YouRegistered User regular
    I'm doing Paleo (I've lost 20lbs in a month) but I know my diet is going to have to be put on hold partly while I'm in Boston. I'll try to be a Paleo friendly as possible, but I know at some point point I'll have a burger :smile:

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  • AnnaRoyalAnnaRoyal North CarolinaRegistered User regular
    I am checking an extra smaller bag to take my own foods. Mainly because last time my boyfriend and I spent a few hundred bucks on hotel food alone lol. And also because we are on a diet to help bring down his blood pressure and what not. I have gotten a food saver and have precooked all of our meals, sealed them up and put them in the freezer. Our flight is only an hour so I am sure they will still be frozen when we get there. I have even made all of our own snacks like jerky and trail mix. I would say you could bring some with you if you have room in you bag or if you don't mind checking another bag.

    I love Tacos.
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  • cookiekrushcookiekrush Registered User regular
    I'd recommend bringing some of your own snacks at least. Most restaurants have gluten free items, or can accommodate your needs. I'm actually a really big fan of My Thai Vegan Cafe. I'm not sure how gluten free they are, but a lot of the dishes I can't see them using any wheat or yeast.

    Yelping gluten free stores/restaurant might be your best bet if you're doing it on the fly.

    I took a peek on yelp, and some people have gluten free lists that they created with reviews. Maybe that'll be a good starting point? The big name that was most common to avoid is PF Changs.

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  • ransimransim Registered User regular
    The Cookie Brigade generally has a pretty healthy supply of GF cookies, we have a couple brigadiers who can't have gluten. We had 800 GF cookies last year, 8 different kinds.

    I also know the Westin has a few items on their menu that are GF, though its expensive, and you can also check with @aerynkelly‌ she might have some great recommendations for East as well as she's GF and might have some great restaurant/food recommendations.

  • LevelUpLadyLevelUpLady Registered User regular
    These are great suggestions everyone and thank you so much! I was just a little overwhelmed since I got the news only a month ago so I figured I'd ask on here :) I've thought of bringing the snacks but pre-sealing and freezing never occurred to me. Going to look into that.

  • imnotalawyerimnotalawyer Registered User regular
    I am really unfamiliar with the criteria for gluten free (read: I am blessed with the stomach of a goat and I can eat anything) but you might find these Yelp links (with maps!) helpful!,+MA,+USA,+MA

    One Yelp user has also created curated a list but it is less mappy...

  • imnotalawyerimnotalawyer Registered User regular
    I also think that this is the post that zerzhul was referring to.

    I hope this is helpful. Power to you (and more gluten for me)!

  • SilcrisSilcris Registered User regular
    Hey Level Up lady! i am celiac (though still sometimes will sneak some gluten!) and i wouldnt mind splitting a lunch or sharing some noms together. I feel your pain! PM me if you want some advice on GF life, i've been in it about two years now :) And my cheating is tolerable and wont make me throw up now because I usually am very consistent.

    Also :( it's not a fad, I had to drop out of baking and pastry classes because I couldn't be anywhere near flour. I very much miss gluten!

  • LevelUpLadyLevelUpLady Registered User regular
    edited March 2014
    Have I mentioned yet how much I love all of you? This helps so much thank you!
    Silcris! Will definitely PM you and figure something out. I'm a foody and I love to bake so that is my current mission is to figure out how GF baking works.

    omg the findmeGF app.. omg. Def. texted hubby and said we were saved haha.

    I've decided everyone feels this way when the doctor tells them they have to be GF.

    zerzhul on
  • aerynkellyaerynkelly nothing to see here, move along Registered User regular
    ransim wrote: »
    The Cookie Brigade generally has a pretty healthy supply of GF cookies, we have a couple brigadiers who can't have gluten. We had 800 GF cookies last year, 8 different kinds.

    I also know the Westin has a few items on their menu that are GF, though its expensive, and you can also check with @aerynkelly‌ she might have some great recommendations for East as well as she's GF and might have some great restaurant/food recommendations.

    Definitely bring your own/buy stuff at the grocery store. In the convention center itself you won't find anything gluten free (except some of the gf cookies Ransim mentioned.) If you are just gluten intolerant you can get away with getting a burger, without the bun, but if you're Celiac it's not really worth the risk. I was never even able to find a salad in the convention center that was safe to eat.

    As far as restaurants nearby - none have a gluten free menu (or didn't the last time I was there) but can usually accommodate. The hardest thing about restaurants around the convention center is they fill up quickly during PAX, so either make reservations, or go further into the city. If you're going to be driving in Boston (which personally I don't recommend) or feel like traveling away from the convention center, there are restaurants like PF Changs that do have good gluten free menus and practices. Eating at restaurants are always a risk, even when they offer gluten free.

    You're welcome to PM me to talk about living gluten free in general if you like. It can be overwhelming when you first start out, and having people to talk to helps.

  • KryzilyaKryzilya Registered User new member
    I'm gluten intolerant, and was fully GF at last PAX. I live locally so I was able to bring food for myself each day: protein bars, nuts, hard cheeses, lettuce wraps, leftovers (if they were good cold). If your hotel room has a fridge, you can stock up on a variety of foods and bring them with you each day in a cooler bag.

    There's a Legal Sea Foods within walking distance of the convention center and they have an enormous GF menu and are extremely aware of cross contamination issues. I generally go there once every PAX to get a big meal (and breathe in some fresh air during the walk).

    Good luck, and don't pay any attention to people who think it's a fad!

  • benthensbenthens Allentown,PARegistered User regular
    If you ask at the food court during Pax they will clean one of the stoves to cook you your food. When I was ordering I said i had a Gluten allergy and they did that. I don't know how it will go this year but it never hurts to ask. I have been GF for 4-5years now. This is my 3rd PAX GF. Like everyone else said most of the food joint if you ask to see a gluten-free menu they would likely have one or a allergy menu. The allergy menu is a must have for most food businesses now a days. I hope this helps.

  • JaysonguyJaysonguy Registered User regular
    It really depends, are you Gluten free because it sounds like fun or are you gluten free because if not you'll get sick?

    If you just think it's fun to be gluten free eat anywhere they say it's gluten free and have fun at PAX

    If you need to be gluten free I'll tell you what I do.

    Fridge at PAX is a big deal. I would stock yogurt in there to have with granola.
    I like this kind
    With this yogurt

    Ensure is a great thing for PAX, I can work an entire day at the show and only have a high protein ensure for breakfast and lunch.

    Also it's not bad to stock up on some cereal, Chex is gluten free, same with Cocoa Pebbles

    Now here's the thing about eating out when gluten free. Most places that are gluten free aren't. Yes, they'll have a gluten free menu and people who don't get very sick if they eat gluten will eat there and say "oh it's gluten free and so good, I feel normal again!" but in reality there's people making minimum wage who don't care about things like cross contamination and that means that anytime you eat at one of those you roll the dice. When you're home and roll the dice and get really sick that's one thing, to roll the dice and have a sick day of PAX is past awful.

    My suggestion for eating out is to pick a place that is completely gluten free and not one of those places that serves gluten and gluten free meals.

    If you have a microwave I would grab some Progresso Soup
    and some rice to make it a little heartier

    Also here's a thing, best pasta made today for gluten free people?

    I had to deal with over a decade of gluten free living before that was available, enjoy jumping on board late.

    If you need any help with anything feel free to ask. I've been doing it longer than most so I know all the pitfalls that can come up.

  • benthensbenthens Allentown,PARegistered User regular
    I need to try that Barilla pasta. I been eating a Wegmans brand gluten free corn based pasta. I know the feels though. I started 7ish years ago because i was getting sick. Note I am a celiac and i roll the dice all the time but i do my research on what is safe and what isn't more then most think. Pax is a tough on for a celiac and not just a gluten diet goer. Gluten intolerent is safer then Celiac but keep your eyes and ears open. What @Jaysonguy‌ said is all true if you have the money spend it to get healthy gluten-free food. If you are willing to take the risk then follow the Gluten-free food guide @zerzhul‌ linked. For next year can we try to cater to the GF people in the food land areas?

    You are your own judge.

  • aerynkellyaerynkelly nothing to see here, move along Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    I don't want to derail this from the PAX topic so I'll just ask: is there a gluten free thread? PA is such a great community, it would be nice to talk to other GF people.

    edit: it looks like it's gotten too contentious in the past, which is a shame.

    aerynkelly on
  • RachiekinRachiekin Registered User regular
    I've had to be gluten free for the past 6 years but did find some Boston restaurants that haven't made me sick and I am very sensitive. There is a Legal Seafoods (Legal Harborside) within walking distance from the convention that has gluten free fried clams and fish. Just make sure to tell the server that it is very important that there is no cross contamination with wheat/gluten. Other Legal Seafoods around Boston even have a gluten free stuffed lobster! I have also had good luck with PF Changs and Temazcal Cantina. Bringing some food from home like gf cereal and sandwiches is also a good idea and I will be doing the same. I do enjoy going out for dinner though. Before ordering, ask a lot of questions about how they are making their food gluten free. If I hear questions like "what is gluten?" or "what is cross contamination?" I do not eat there. A really good restaurant will even have the chief come out to speak with you.

  • LevelUpLadyLevelUpLady Registered User regular
    It's great to hear that there's a group of experienced GF eaters going and thank you for all the food suggestions. I'm slowly learning what GF stuff tastes good and what doesn't as I buy and try. There is definitely a sharp line between good and bad it seems! We have a fridge in our hotel room so I think Im good with that part and flying in early thursday will give us time to hit up a grocery store before the evening events.

    It's definitely not by choice and I wouldn't have made such a fuss if I could have just gone a weekend eating gluten with no problems. Believe me I would love to go bar hopping and snarf down fried goodies without worrying again!

  • RachiekinRachiekin Registered User regular
    Yeah going gluten free isn't easy or fun but I noticed there are many more options now then when I had started. The positive thing is it has forced me to be a better cook and try some foods I normally wouldn't have. Most Indian food is gluten free. You just have to make sure they are careful with their naan bread for cross contamination.

    There are some really great recipes at Glutenfreeda I mix my own gf flour and my husband loves the banana waffles even though he isn't gluten free. Also Brazilian Cheese bread is to die for and that's made with tapioca starch so it's another natural gf food.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    While I am sure those are great resources, let's keep this on topic for pax :)

    If you want a general gluten free help thread, try out the help/advice section of the forums.

  • DirewolfDirewolf Boston, MARegistered User regular
    Not to be one of those people that associates salad with all dietary restrictions, but Sweetgreen is opening a new location 8 minutes from the BCEC this week (actually, grand opening is today). While there are definitely gluten items on their menu, I also think they have something for everyone. I've been to their original Boston location quite a few times and it's pretty damn tasty. Plus, they do take-out.

  • [email protected] Registered User regular
    edited April 2014
    I found out that there's a Wegmans 7 miles away in Chestnut Hill.

    If you've never heard of Wegmans, it's okay. It's a supermarket that has a huge gluten free section of food and cosmetic products. You can find big brands like Udi's and Ian's next to Wegmans' own line of gluten free products, so there's lots of variety. Don't know how expensive they are compared to my local Weggies, but I doubt they're ridiculously so.

    Anyway, here's the address if you or anyone else is interested in stocking up for the con: 200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

    [email protected] on
    If games are just for kids, I'm never gonna grow up.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Wegmans is literally the best thing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I can't stand having to live without a wegmans #fwp.

  • benthensbenthens Allentown,PARegistered User regular
    This is off topic but I miss having a Wegmans around. I moved up into MN and were I am there are none in many miles. Well I don't think there is any in the whole state.

  • SepiothSepioth Boston, MARegistered User regular
    edited April 2014
    Unfortuntally that Wegman's in Chestnut Hill is not open yet.

    Other Supermarket options:

    Stop & Shop supermarket (1 mile)
    Whole Foods supermarket (2 miles)

    Stop & Shop does carry Gluten Free products. Depending on the store and the size they may have a Natural Foods section which will have a larger selection of GF products. Usually though they are mixed in with regular products throughout the aisles and have their shelf tags labeled with the logo you see in the link.

    Whole Foods does the same thing as well. After some trial and error trying to get their store locator to locate teh store in Boston I finally got this. A list of GF items they sell in that store. Not sure how accurate it is but hopefully it helps you out. It was updated on March 21st so it is fairly current.

    Sepioth on
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