Monday, February 20, 2017

GFAF Expo Recap (San Diego, February 2017)

I was invited as a blogger to attend the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo held in San Diego, CA (Feb. 11-12, 2017) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  This was my very first official event attending as a blogger and also the first time I have been to a Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo.  The event was held on Saturday and Sunday with the same vendors both days but different speakers at each time slot for each day.

On Saturday, before the event officially opened, I attended a special breakfast with the rest of the blogging media team.  Our breakfast was sponsored by BFree Foods.  They provided us goodies bags with samples, coupons and some fun gadgets.  I have purchased bread from this company before but I had not yet tried their bagels which was one of the breakfast items provided to us bloggers.  I learned new information about BFree Foods, did you know they are a company from Ireland?  And BFree Foods is free of the major allergens, tastes good and is nutritious. The breakfast was delicious and it gave me a chance to get to know some of the other bloggers on a personal level.

After the breakfast I went around and started to talk with vendors and try some samples.  Upon arrival a very nice reusable bag was given to me which also had some coupons and samples inside. At each Vendors table the ingredients were clearly labeled on the packaging or inserts.  The event was divided up into two color sections Blue and Red.  The Blue tables were certainly gluten free and the Red tables while gluten free were also Nut Free. All vendors had a special card displayed on their table and checked off the potential Allergens in the products like dairy, soy, etc.  I was actually surprised at how many of the products were also Soy Free.  It was very easy to chat with the Vendors and they seemed very knowledgeable about their products should you have specific questions.  

Nima Sensor

There was so many vendors and endless supply of samples to try and new products to learn about.  One product that caught my attention was the Nima Sensor.  The Nima Sensor can actually detect gluten in food and be a potential life saver!  As the day went on I also met with several of the different vendors and hope to partner together on future blog posts to share their products with you.   My bags were so full of goodies I had to unload my samples in the car half way through the day.  The variety of samples was quite large ranging from snack foods (chips,cookies,etc) to actual meal sample foods (pizza, grilled sandwiches, pasta,etc).  They even had samples of gluten free beer and kombucha.  

I enjoyed listening to the guest speakers.  I felt like we were all walking the same fine line of living this Gluten Free lifestyle.  What I liked is these guest speakers were real people (like me), telling their story and sharing information with others.  I never once felt like anyone was try to sell me on a gimmick or even to push Big Pharma.  In fact one thing I really liked about this event was there were no Big Pharma companies there, let's face it taking a pill isn't the answer to everything.  Most of the speakers promoted healthy eating which I am learning is very important to your overall health.  You are what you eat, so it makes since if you are eating heavily processed food all the time you are likely going to feel sick.  I felt like many of the vendors products the ingredients were more non-gmo, mostly organic and healthier ingredients for you!

Just some of the many samples 

At this particular location, Saturday was more crowded than Sunday.  You certainly want to find a seat 10 minutes before the guest speaker goes on otherwise it was standing room only.  Each speaker spoke for about an hour and there was a 30 minute break in-between each speaker which gave you time to walk around to stretch your legs.  I certainly feel like while you can concur this event in 1 day it is beneficial to get the two day pass.  I wasn't able to get through all the vendors and listen to the speakers in 1 day. Each day had different speakers, so if you have someone you want to hear or meet you will want to check the guest speaker line up a few days before to check for any changes to the schedule.

Me & the GFree Foodie

I feel like this Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo is a great event to attend.  Even if you are not gluten free or have food allergies it certainly brings awareness to the community and you learn about new products.  I can say I had a great time and didn't have to worry about getting sick while I was there trying samples.  I am looking forward to attending this event again later in 2017 when they make their way to Northern California.

Do you know someone who is gluten Free? Please share this blog article with them.

For a list of future event locations please visit Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo website.

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo.  I am received complimentary admission to the event in exchange for participating on the blogger team.  I am also a part of the affiliate program for ticket sales. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Velocity Pizza (Fair Oaks,CA)

(This is a review of Velocity Pizza located in Fair Oaks, California.)

My husband has a friend he visits frequently who lives in this area and they always go out to local places to eat.  He has been to Velocity Pizza many times and noticed the sign that said they offer gluten free pizza.  On one of his visits he had a chat with the owner to learn more about this gluten free pizza and to find out if it was something that our son and myself would be able to eat.  Disclaimer my husband is not gluten free but he does eat gluten free when I cook at home.

I was proud of my husband to take the initiative to inquire about this pizza.  He told me all about it which had me interested to give it a try.  Before I gave it a try I wanted to ask the owner some questions myself.  The owner is very nice and took all the time I needed to have this conversation with me.  I really appreciate when business take the time to listen to concerns of their customers.

After speaking with the owner, it was apparent he has done his research on gluten free, celiac and cross contamination.  He even mentioned he has a family member who is celiac and while she doesn't visit the restaurant he does bring her dough weekly to which she prepares pizza in her own kitchen. He told me he does his best to limit the possibility of cross contamination for his gluten free patrons.  Once a week he deep cleans the machines and facility. After that is done that is when he makes his gluten free pizza dough for the week.  He freezes the dough and brings out a limited amount for each day.  He suggests one to call ahead to double check and potentially pre-order their gluten free pizza before they come.  They do sell out everyday!

GFPizza photo 1ippwy_zpsyo24d8nb.gif

The gluten free dough recipe is his own and he is very proud of it! He gave me a list of ingredients which consist of a mixture of brown rice flour, potato flour,whole grain sorghum flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, sugar, xanthum gum, sea salt, egg, olive olive, water and yeast.  If you are concerned please contact him to verify as his recipe is subject to change.  He has been serving Gluten Free pizza since Spring of 2016, but has been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years with a specialty in Pizza.  He suggested if you are celiac to let them know when you order so they can take extra precautions to make sure your pizza is safe.  Word of caution, cross contamination can happen in any establishment and this location does serve non gluten free food as well.

Now on to my review.......

I ordered two pizzas; one pepperoni and one hawaiian (pineapple & ham).  This pizza is thick and huge, it is cut into 8 slices. I was literally stuffed after 1-2 slices.  I have not had a thick crust gluten free pizza ever in my life.  He really piles on the cheese, which I love!  I enjoyed the taste and texture of this pizza.  It was so good and I had so much left over we literally ate it all week.  Next time I think I am definitely going to only buy one to share between my son and myself.  I highly recommend Velocity Pizza's gluten free pizza.  Another thing I love about this place is they have a mid-week special of any pizza is $10, yes even the gluten free ones too!