2017 was a year of extreme highs and extreme lows for me, with lots of other moments sprinkled in the mix.  It most certainly was a year of travel and adventure and for that I am a million times richer.  2017’s travel list included: Brazil (You can read my GF Rio de Janerio travel guide here), Patagonia – both Argentina and Chile, the Bahamas (You can read my GF Bahamas travel guide here), two trips to California, Chicago, St. Louis (You can read my GF St. Louis travel guide here), Telluride, Estes Park, and a massive move to KOREA.

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” — Author Unknown

Love to travel and never stayed at an Airbnb before? I absolutely adore Airbnb for gluten free travel since it allows you to have a kitchen.  I have a great deal for both of us!  Use this referral link and you will get $27 in travel credit! 

In 2017, I discovered a gluten free community online, that I didn’t even know I needed. You know when you find something and you wonder how you ever existed without it before?  Yep, that’s exactly how I feel.  I connected with people from around the globe and it has been a source of tremendous joy, excitement, and possibilities for me.  For that, I am forever grateful, because I know this is simply the tip of the iceberg in what is to come.  Speaking of icebergs, ever been to Puerto Moreno? That was a definite highlight of the year for me, with travels in Patagonia.

2017 started on a massive high climbing Fitz Roy Mountain in Patagonia on New Year’s Day.  Dreams do come true when you set a goal, work like hell to get there, and focus on what truly matters most to you.  2017 was a year of that.  Tucked in bed by 10pm on New Year’s Eve and ready to take on 2017 with a BANG.  My friend and I got up early and started the New Year off right.  Fresh air, fresh perspective.  Not hungover.  It was my definition of the perfect way to start off 2017.

2017 also included some extreme lows for me and did not go the way I had expected.  Extreme heart break that truly knocked me at my core a few days into the new year and then falling for someone else months before my move, were not in the plans.  But you know what?  That is life.  At least that is what I am learning over and over again.  Life gives us twists and turns and working toward bigger and bolder dreams is in fact possible with the right mindset.  2017 has finished off with this alone being my biggest teacher:  I am responsible for my mindset.  Regardless of whose “fault” something is or what has happened, I am still responsible; me and only me.  Shifting my mindset is the biggest gift I am taking from 2017 into 2018, knowing that I will continue to create a life I want.  Will it be hard and scary?  Of course.  But will it be 1000% better because I have deliberately chosen to create, participate, and be in charge of the direction? Absolutely.

I am not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions or a big focus on the New Year for two main reasons: 1. I am not a NYE fan (anything past midnight 9 times out of 10 is not my friend – no need to pretend you are someone you are not, and I am not a night time person) and 2. I believe in making changes throughout the year, instead of solely focusing on the big and commercial times of the year that others expect us to focus on change.  However, I am a fan of reflection, changing your circumstances, and being a bigger, brighter version of yourself, so if New Year’s is the time to do it – then GO FOR IT.

I thought it would be fun to do a wrap up on 2017 with 17 amazing gluten free finds of the year.  Here they are in no particular order:

1. Buenos Cruces Restaurante – El Calafate, Argentina

By far some of the best lamb I have ever tasted.  If you are in Patagonia, lamb is a must.  And this place is very aware of gluten and can help you navigate their menu.  It was such a treat to have this meal at the end of a long hiking day.  El Cafate is an incredible town and full of stunning scenery that is not to be missed.

2. Lake Side Beer – Gluten Free Beer in Brazil

Discovering this beer was an enormous treat during my time in Brazil.  The national drink of Brazil is a Caipirinha made with cachaça (sugarcane hard liquor), sugar and lime.  I actually came to love these, but was so thrilled to have a gluten free beer option to drink during the heat.

3. Tapioca (crepes) – throughout Brazil

Discovering this naturally gluten free food was one of my favorite GF finds of the year!  I have learned to make it quite easy and am completely obsessed.  You can see my tutorial on how to make tapioca crepes here.  Anyone that came to my house in early 2017 was fed tapioca crepes, thanks to my suitcase full of already hydrated tapioca flour ready to make the crepes.

The trend is picking up quickly and you better believe this list of tapioca creperies (outside of Brazil) are on my dream list to visit in 2018/2019:

4. Lion’s Choice – St. Louis, Missouri

Discovering that one of my favorite childhood chains now carries GF buns, that they individually wrap as to eliminate cross contamination was a dream come true!  They have a way of seasoning their roast beef like no other. They are famous for their roast beef for a reason.

5. New Day Gluten Free – St. Louis, Missouri

This 100% gluten free establishment is what GF dreams are made of.  The owners are incredibly kind people and my experience visiting on a trip back to St. Louis was nothing short of wonderful.

6. Chicago’s Pizza – Chicago, Illinois

I honestly never thought I would have deep dish pizza again.  Although my insides would probably be better off if I never did, I still dreamt of the day I could have some again.  Well, dreams come true at Chicago’s Pizza that’s for damn sure.  They have mastered the art of GF deep dish.  I have no idea how they have, but they have.  Make sure and add it to your Chicago itinerary because it is the only place I know of that does Chicago deep dish GF in the city.

7. Wheat’s End Cafe – Chicago, Illinois

100% gluten free cafe that is the coziest.  I absolutely adored the vibes here.  The owners are delightful to communicate with and they are doing things right at their amazing gluten free establishment.  You will want to stay for hours on end, drinking all the coffee.  Or is that just me?

8. Berriegood Co – Denver, Colorado

Açaí is a Brazilian superfood that is here to stay.  My fantastic friend, Kali, owns Berrigood Co. and I couldn’t be more proud to know her.  Moving to Korea meant stepping off of the Junior League of Denver board of directors, that I was more than enthused about being a part of for the upcoming year.  Kali is the current President of the League and embodies incredible virtues of what it means to be a woman leader in the Denver community.  I’m grateful for a home to return to in Denver to get to know Kali better and celebrate her amazing success owning Berriegood Co.

9. Yellowbelly Chicken – aurora, Lakewood, arvada, boulder, & Vail, Colorado

Writing this post has made me extremely excited to return to my lovely state of Colorado next year.  Yellowbelly now has expanded to have 5 locations!  They have gluten free fried chicken, that is completely safe to eat for us celiacs.  I did quite the happy dance the first time I discovered this place in Aurora at the super fun Stanley Market.  Bring your glutenous eating friends.  They truly will not know the difference.

10. Just BE Kitchen – Denver, Colorado

This paleo cafe is so bright and cheery, you can’t help but be in a good mood while being there.  I find comfort in cozy spaces and this place has such a cozy and welcoming vibe.  The food is incredible and since it’s paleo, you can safely order anything on the menu.

11. Simple Mills – Buy Locally or Shop Online

I am completely in love with Simple Mills products and extremely thankful I am able to find them online in Korea through both Coupang AND iHerb.  Their simple ingredient mixes are not to be missed.  They are naturally gluten free, paleo friendly, and non-GMO.  What’s not to love about that?!

12. Ghost Town – Telluride, Colorado

Telluride is a magical town.  Hiking trails can be accessed from town and has some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenery.  One of my closest friends got married there this summer, and it was the definition of stunning backdrops. I dissevered Ghost Town on this trip and let me tell you – they have their gluten free toast options on point!

13. American Gluten Free – subscription service in the usa

Erika, the owner of American Gluten Free has truly created something amazing.  Subscription services exist in our world today for a myriad of things.  Yet, the gluten free world has been a bit behind.  Erika had a love for great food, the need for a GF diet, and the desire to help, so she created American Gluten Free.  I am so happy to have worked with her this year and discovered her fantastic business.

14. Soom Soom – Los Angeles, California

Chicken shawarma anyone?  Almost the entire menu here is gluten free.  Don’t mind, I’m just wiping up my drool as I type this because my meal was that freakin’ good.  My motto for this place: Mediterranean food done right.

15. fōnuts – Los Angeles, California

I think you are either a donut person or you aren’t.  I am.  Sweet or savory, I have always been sweet.  fōnuts has the cutest mini, GF donuts you have ever put your eyes on.  Grab a good number of them, because if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to just eat one.

16. The Nilk Factory – Seoul, Korea

What a gem of a place.  Korea has been extremely challenging to navigate the gluten free life, in terms of eating out.  Language barrier, soy sauce, and fried chicken galore.  It is more difficult than I expected or imagined.  Essentially the word convenience does not exist in my life of eating here.  I love to cook, so life is truly A-ok and manageable.  If I lived in Seoul, I would have a more convenient food existence and would be frequenting this place.  They specialize in nut milk and almond flour cakes.  The carrot cake was heavenly.

17. Sunny Bread – Seoul, Korea

I can’t express how wonderful it was to meet Sunny, the owner of Sunny Bread, in person recently!  She has found her market in Seoul and just opened a second location!  She grew up in the States, so she speaks both English and Korean. I was so happy to find her cakes and muffins on my self guided gluten free food tour of Seoul recently.

What did I miss?  What would you pick on your list if you had to pick from 2017?  Tell me in the comments below.  I am always up for hearing (seeing) and better yet EATING the best of the best in the gluten free world!

6 Comments

  1. Great round-up. I’m happy we connected this year! I can’t wait to read more about your travels in the new year.

  2. Thank you to Mentioned TAP NYC!!
    I’m so happy to see our Tapioca Crepe spreading around the world!
    We wish you a happy 2018!
    I hope to see you soon visiting our store in Manhattan/NY (267 Columbus Avenue).

    • Yes!! I cannot wait to visit you. Tapioca Crepes are my serious obsession after my time in Brazil! Thank you for what you are doing for the gluten free community and beyond!

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