Since I’m traveling for a work conference this week and posts may be significantly shorter than normal, I figured I could give you guys a treat, and talk about some of my travels. Don’t say I never gave you anything. When I first started my gluten-free lifestyle, I needed to fly for work. I wasn’t concerned about meals in my destination – I was able to use sites like Find Me Gluten Free, Gluten Free Registry, and The World Is Gluten Free to help me find places that I can, and want to, eat. However, I noticed that airports didn’t show up on anyone’s list of gluten-free restaurants. This is probably because airport restaurants can be in a state of flux (Salt Lake City, as of publication), but crowd-sourcing, I believe, would help combat the flux-ness. Cuz flux-ness is a word. Really.
Laura over at Gluten Free Traveller provided me with an article about what she brings along during her flights, which is a great starting point if you are in need of ideas of food to pack. But therein lied my problem. I didn’t want to carry an entire suitcase of food with me. I’ve been a road warrior before, so I’m very nimble when I travel. I hate checking bags – if I can’t make everything fit into two carry-on bags, something’s wrong. Or, it’s a really long trip. A really, really long trip. The thought of using valuable space to store food that I may or may not need wasn’t that appealing. Yes, it was still early in my journey. I’m warming up to the idea of bringing food on trips, but I still don’t like the idea.
Therefore, the lack of airport restaurant listings on gluten-free restaurant finding sites and my strong desire to really not bring food with me sparked the idea for this post series. Selfishly, I knew I’d be flying more, so it’s part wanting to keep a list of things I can eat at whatever airports I fly through, but I’m sure I’m not the only one with Celiac Disease that travels through airports. Here’s what I’ve found to be gluten-free in Oakland Airport.
Starbucks (both terminals)
Starbucks is everywhere in the Oakland Airport. The good thing about Starbucks in the airport is that they have a well-stocked grab-and-go fridge. In the fridge is a decent selection of Odwalla juices, as well as a handy-dandy fruit parfait. What makes this parfait special is that the granola, which is not gluten-free, is held separate from the yogurt and fruit mix. I’m sure this is so the granola doesn’t become soggy, but an interesting by-product is that it is now gluten-free. Take the top off of the parfait, carefully lift the granola tray, and, if there are no crumbs on top of the yogurt, dig in. Don’t put the lid back on, however, as crumbs can fall off and contaminate the yogurt.
Gordon Biersch (terminal 2)
Believe it or not, but you can eat a this restaurant with a “brewery” theme. This salad has the salad dressing “on the side” and separate from the main portion, which is nice, especially if you can’t verify the ingredients in the salad dressing.
Other places to eat
Some places are going to be naturally free, and provide a different, healthier alternative to the other chains in the airport. Jamba Juice (terminal 2) is my personal go-to spot, as a power sized smoothie can fill me up for a bit. Long enough for the flight, and then some.
I haven’t personally tried out the Otaez Mexican Restaurant (terminal 2) on the right, but it might be an option if you stick to the standard ‘gluten-free mexican’ rules: no flour tortillas, etc. However, Subway and Peony Asian Cafe are off of my list for obvious ingredient and cross-contamination concerns.
Hopefully this helps you find gluten-free foods in the Oakland International Airport. Do you have any tips for flying gluten-free?