Gluten-free dining at the San Francisco Giants game

Gluten-free dining at the San Francisco Giants game

Sammy and I ventured to San Francisco this week to attend the San Francisco Giant’s Autism Awareness game. Every year the Giants dedicate a game to autism awareness and donates a portion of the proceeds to Autism Speaks, an organization, “dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.”

I recently heard that AT&T Park now has gluten-free hot dogs so we were super psyched to go. The last time I went to a Giants game I had to bring all our own food and then had to threaten the door attendant with my child’s wellness and safety when she almost refused to let us through the door with our gluten-free (GF) food. To her credit, she did end up letting us bring the food in to the stadium but it didn’t get our experience off to a good start. To go somewhere and not have to take a cooler full of safe food to eat is a fantasy of mine. I’m sure it’s something most people take for granted.

Thanks to GF in SF blogger I knew exactly where to go to get our anxiously awaited steaming hot GF hot dogs…Pavilion, Section 112, Great House of Brews.

GoGiants

The star of the show, Sammy, recovered from autism and super psyched about the Giants!

Brews

Great House of Brews is the hiding spot for our beloved GF hot dogs

sign

$8.25 for a hot dog…what a bargain!

GF MEAL

Our gluten and dairy-free meal

Our GF and dairy-free meal cost only $16.75 a person. What a deal! Sadly, this is the condition of my GF life. Overpriced GF food no longer shocks me. I’m just glad I didn’t have to plan, buy, prepare and roll a cooler full of food into the park and then proceed to fight with the door attendant about bringing the food in…I would have paid $50 to buy this overly processed meal purchased in the stadium.

hot dog

The co-star of the show…GF goodness in a bun

I had to check the ingredient list as we are dairy and nitrite-free as well. The cashier was very nice about it and accommodating. Thank goodness for small acts of kindness and generosity.

ingredientsMany people ask me whether various lactates are dairy based. Here’s what I found about sodium lactate: “Sodium Lactate is a liquid salt that is naturally derived from the natural fermentation of sugars found in corn and beets. In food, Sodium Lactate may be used as a preservative, acting as an inhibitor of bacteria growth.” So, no dairy in these dogs but there are nitrites. Darn…I guess you can’t win every battle. With our hopes so high, I had to go ahead and take the nitrite plunge. To minimize other toxicity, I did bring my own ketchup. I have found that restaurant ketchup sends Sammy off like a rocket. I’m guessing it’s the high fructose corn syrup but I’m not exactly certain. He eats Organicville ketchup at home sweetened with agave syrup and does fine with it so I brought a small container of it to the game. All was good. The hot dog was really tasty. The bun was Udi’s so it was GF and dairy-free too. We did not have any noticeable reaction to the nitrites in the hot dog.

The House of Brews only offered one GF beer called Omission. It’s a beer that is made from barley but removes the gluten. I have a friend that is fairly sensitive to gluten that tried it and said it’s good and it didn’t bother her but several celiac doctors have recommended not taking a chance on the beer. I did not try it as I did not want to ruin our fun night with multiple runs to the bathroom if I were to have a negative reaction to the beer. You know how long those girl bathroom lines can be at big events. I opted for water and then ran across a lemonade stand that confirmed that the lemonade was made with water, lemon juice and sugar only. No high fructose corn syrup or yellow dye #5. These two ingredients are common in restaurant lemonades BTW.

ommission

The only GF beer option…Omission

lemon

Pure lemon goodness…so I was assured

Other GF options at the stadium are peanuts, kettle corn (cooked in corn oil…I was told), Kettle brand potato chips, Cracker Jacks (GF but not processed on a dedicated line), Ghirardelli ice cream and hot chocolate (if you’re not dairy-free) and cotton candy (although full of sugar and color-dye…oh yum).

autismawareness

In short, it brought tears to my eyes to buy my son a simple hot dog at a ball game. I am very grateful to the rising awareness of gluten sensitivity. Overall, AT&T offers only a short list of GF options though. Check out this Web site to see what other ball parks across the nation are offering. Some even have GF pizza (although not dairy-free, I’m sure).

The things we loved about autism awareness night at the Giants game:

autism speaks

Raising money for Autism Speaks and raising awareness of autism in the community

playball

An awesome baseball team called the Giants!

fans

The awesome fans that fill this stadium and show undying enthusiasm donned proudly in bright orange and black apparel. Sammy remarked…”It looks a little like Halloween here, doesn’t it, mom?” Why yes, yes it does.

theglove

The glove.

slide

The kid’s slide that goes right through a large Coke bottle.

samEating

Enjoying GF hot dogs actually bought at the stadium (smile from mom).

fun

Dancing around and cheering the Giants on while eating our GF hot dogs.

williemaze

San Francisco’s tribute to Willie Mays

muni

Riding both the BART and Muni trains to get to the stadium…Sam’s a train lover.

serious…and my favorite moment…watching how seriously Sam observed the game. For the first time, he was more into the game then the slide and play area. He paid close attention to balls, strikes, outs and the score. This is him above watching the game. I love those ears. There is nothing more in the world that pleases an autism mom more than watching her child have an everyday “typical” experience. Praise God.

4 Comments

  1. That is great to know Kim…your story is the next best thing to being there!
    Hurray to the Giants and to you!

    Super article,
    MC 🙂

  2. Wow, what a great article! Your practical advice on where to find the GF/DF items is duly noted for our next Giants game. We love Udi’s buns for hamburgers and hot dogs, conveniently stocked at Trader Joe’s (but often out of stock as they are very popular). Saag’s is an excellent purveyor of traditional German-style meats so any dog of theirs should be extra-tasty! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful account of your adventure with Sam.

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