I know I know, where’s the “and the city” part gone? I’ve been traveling a lot lately and want to report on the status of gluten-free in those travels.
My most recent trip was to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This beautiful spot is an outdoorsy person’s paradise. In the winter, people come mostly to ski and take in the view. In the summer there is much more: hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting, fishing, and horseback riding. In a place that is defined by its natural beauty and activities, you’d be correct to expect to find the natural and organic food trends to come with it. Jackson Hole certainly does not have the variety and quantity of gluten-free food establishments that New York City does, but for a small town that is populated by mostly tourists, a gluten-free traveler is not out of luck.
I have the privilege of staying in a garage apartment that belongs to Alex’s parents when I travel to Jackson Hole, which makes eating in a very attractive food option. There are three major grocery stores in the area, Albertson’s, Smith’s, and The Whole Grocer. Can you guess which one is the most gluten-free friendly? Right: The Whole Grocer. That doesn’t mean that Albertson’s and Smith’s don’t carry gluten-free goods, just that their selections are much more limited.
The Whole Grocer is a gluten-free paradise. They carry all their gluten-free specialty items in one aisle, labeled clearly “gluten-free” twice. It’s not the largest gluten-free aisle I’ve seen (that award goes to Whole Foods in Austin), but it certainly has everything gluten-free you could want, from cereal, to pasta, to baking mixes. I had actually stopped by the Whole Grocer on a mission to find gluten-free hamburger buns, which I’ve never seen in store before, but lo and behold the Whole Grocer has them in stock. These frozen buns were nestled among the largest selection of frozen gluten-free items I’ve seen. They had a huge variety of breads- including Rudis’-which doesn’t exist yet in the New York area, as well as waffles, muffins, and bagels. Their frozen GF inventory spanned two freezer rows. One more thing about the Whole Grocer: they carry freshly baked gluten-free goodies in their bakery section. That being said, the Whole Grocer is rather expensive and carries only organic foods, so I’d recommend buying your other foodstuffs at Albertson’s or Smith’s for a better deal.
Jackson Hole is not the small town it once was, and with millions of tourists coming every year, the restaurant/café scene has expanded and become more upscale. Here’s a list of restaurants that will cater to your GF needs:
This gem of a restaurant is located in the Stagecoach, one of the oldest and most famous bars in the Jackson Hole valley. In a bar, its décor is unpretentious and “rustic” but they serve the best Mexican in the area. They use corn tortillas for their enchiladas and tacos, which come in many varieties. If you want a margarita to go with your taco, you just take a few steps to the left and order it at the bar.
Also an area staple, Norah’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but is my favorite when you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast. I usually get scrambled eggs or an omelet with a hot chocolate for those below freezing winter mornings. If you like fish and have a large appetite, get the trout & eggs.
When we stopped by the Bistro for a nice dinner Wednesday night, we didn’t make reservations thinking that it wouldn’t be that crowded on a Wednesday night after tourist season. We were wrong. We waited 45 minutes for a table, but enjoyed some very strong drinks at the bar in the meantime. Rendezvous has slightly upscale prices but a casual vibe. While they don’t have a gluten-free menu on hand, each server carries their own list of what’s GF, so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.
JH Organics is a cross between a health store, new age bookstore, and café. Despite the strange vibe, they have the best selection of gluten-free baked goods – just get there before 3 pm when they close for the day.
Alex and I were craving sushi one night and were happy to find that Jackson has not one but two Japanese restaurants to choose from. Based on Yelp reviews, we went with Nikai. I called ahead to see if they had gluten-free soy sauce and they did, so I didn’t have to bring my own. Nikai is well decorated and has a warm and chic vibe- much unlike many of the sushi joints you find in NYC. Because of the lack of competition, prices are relatively high for rolls, but the atmosphere, quality fish, and delicious drinks makes it worth it.
I had a gluten-free loaf from this bakery that was delicious. Even though it was more of a corn bread, it was still awesome to have a freshly made loaf for sandwiches and toast!
Lotus Cafe serves organic and fresh foods with veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options. In fact, 99% of their menu is available gluten-free. They also have a gluten-free bakery on-site.
They serve lunch and light dinner fare such as salads, wraps, and sandwiches. All the sandwiches and wraps can be prepared gluten-free with Udi’s bread and Sonoma tortillas. They also have a list of which sauces and dressings are gluten-free.
In Jackson, even if you don’t see “gluten-free” advertised, chances are, the restaurant will be able to accommodate your needs.