Friday, January 16, 2015

Gluten-Free Feature Friday: Gluten-Free Fare at Medieval Times

I wrote in a past post that one of the hardest things about going gluten-free is not being able to be as carefree whenever you eat out. What is even harder is going to any special event where food will be involved. People with food allergies and intolerance often feel left out and forgotten when it comes to any cool, unique dining experience.

Thankfully, awareness for these conditions are growing and accommodations are becoming more readily available. But people with food allergies are still not able to be as carefree as they would like to be.

That is why I was SO excited when I found out that the medieval dinner and entertainment company, Medieval Times, offers a menu exclusively for those with gluten sensitives! That meant my boyfriend and I could go enjoy a knight night full of merriment and fare without a gluten-induced hangover later on (which is far worse than an alcohol-induced hangover, in my opinion).

To take advantage of this worry-free feast, I decided to get my boyfriend tickets to the Chicago Castle for Christmas, since he had mentioned a few times that he would like to go. He was very excited when he found out about the tickets, but even more excited when I told him about the gluten-free menu!

Now, for those of you wondering, Medieval Times does not advertise their gluten-free menu on their website. They do for their vegetarian meal, but they give no other diet-modified menus. However, after calling and making our reservations they assured me that they DO have a gluten-free menu. They told me they would make note of it but to also needed to let our server know that day.

And honestly, there is not much difference between their gluten-free and regular Bill of Fare. The only items you do not receive are the garlic bread and the apple pastry dessert. I was assured that the other items are prepared gluten-free and would be safe for those with sensitivity to gluten. So even if you do need the gluten-free options, you are still getting (close to) the same delicious meal as everyone else!

So, one brisk morrow Sir Anthony and I set out on our 2-hour journey for the good land of Chicago to feast among the king's court and bask in an evening of chivalry! We arrived early for our 5 o'clock tournament (much to Anthony's surprise because I am ALWAYS running late...) so we were able to walk around the Great Hall and watch the Knighting Ceremony before we were allowed to be seated.

The Great Hall was like stepping right back into Medieval Times!
We were then summoned by the king to take our seats in the Tournament Hall and seated in the Red and Yellow Knight's section. If was our job to cheer our knight on to victory during the show while simultaneously enjoying our meal. I apologize to those around me for possibly causing them all to go deaf from my screams (I was always referred to as "opera girl" in choir so, believe me, a sister has quite a set of pipes!)

We were then greeted by our man-wench (yes, man-wench, his words) who told us he would be serving us that evening. I then let him know that both Anthony and myself had requested the gluten-free options. He assured us that this was no problem and then took our pre-set plates so when they came around with the food, they wouldn't serve us the gluten-containing items. He told us that our main course would come out all at once.

Oh yes! One thing I almost forgot to mention! The real kicker whenever you visit Medieval Times isn't just listening to Ye' Ol' English or watching men battle on horses, it's that you have eat your entire meal with your hands! No utensils allowed in this joint! That is also what makes it that much more fun!

Thus, when the lights dimmed and the fog began filling the arena, we were ready to enjoy the jousting festivities and utensil-free dinner!

Our first course was the soup, which was a creamy, tomato bisque.

Creamy Tomato Bisque Soup to start of the meal!

Which was simply delicious! Anthony and I both greatly enjoyed this first course! It was a fantastic way to kickoff our meal! This is also the part of the meal where everyone else was served garlic bread. That soup was so fantastic though, we did not miss it!

After slurping our soup bowls clean, we were on to the main course! Which I was not only pleased with the meal, but I was pleased with how it came out! Our man-wench brought our meals first (an added bonus of having the gf meal) and they were completely covered with plastic wrap!

Now, most people may have been turned off by this, but I was completely impressed. Why? Because not only did these chefs want to make sure our meals were gluten-free, they wanted to be sure they STAYED that way! With no chance of cross contamination, even on its way of being served. Hats off to you Medieval Times for going that extra mile!!

Anywho, back to the meal itself!

The main course; half an oven-roasted chicken, spare ribs, and roasted potato!

The meal consisted of half an oven-roasted chicken (or baby dragon, as they called it), spare ribs, and an herb-roasted potato. I am salivating just recalling this delicious meal! It was outstanding!!

The chicken was juicy and tender and oh-so flavorful. The spare ribs were great! A bit fatty for my taste, but either way, still delicious.

We also got an extra rib on our plate to compensate for not getting garlic bread. Our ribs also did not come with sauce, where everyone else's did. But it was just as flavorful without it.

But the showstopper of this dish: the potato! This was, by far, my boyfriend's favorite part of the meal. He LOVED that potato! And I was right along side him. Those spices they used brought that potato to a whole new level! I though it tasted a bit like pizza spice (may sound odd, but stay with me here.) Uh! I could have eaten about a dozen more of those!

With our hands needing a couple half-dozen napkins and our tummies almost satisfied, we were onto dessert!

For dessert; a bowl of fresh fruit!

Anthony and I were served a generous bowl of assorted fresh fruit! Such a satisfying, light way to end a hearty meal. The usual dessert served was a apple pastry, looked like an apple turnover. Since I could eat fruit until the cows come home, I was mighty happy with our dessert replacement.

The fruit was super fresh and ripe and a great way to end our dinner! We were given a plastic fork to eat our fruit, so we were allowed to break the "no utensil" rule. Although I would have been fine with eating it with my hands, since I normally have fruit as a finger food.

Anthony and I had a wonderful evening at Medieval Times! Our gluten-free dinner was scrumptious and our Red and Yellow Knight ALMOST won the tournament (he was so close!!) We had a night full of laughs and enjoyment and we were so happy we could eat a delicious gluten-free meal that we didn't have to slave over at home!

And we did not feel sick later that night, the true testament of a gluten-free meal! So, all of you with gluten worries, rejoice in knowing this is one place you can visit for a worry-free adventure!

You can find other Medieval Times castles in California, Florida, South Carolina, and even Canada, among a few others! Be sure to check out their website to see if there is a castle near you and for show times!

Medieval Times is great fun for anyone, gluten-sensitive or not!

Have you ever enjoyed a dinner at one of the Medieval Times?

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