My cousin Julie

This is not the sort of thing I usually say, but I want to send a big shout out to my cousin Julie.  She is my only living relative (that we know of) who also has celiac sprue.  

My cousin Julie absolutely ROCKS!  (And that IS something I would say.)  She made me (and my aunt and uncle) the best gluten free dinner I've had in forever... something amazing of the indian variety with lentils (she gave me the recipe.  I haven't dared look at it yet as I'm not sure I'll be able to come anywhere close... but maybe by the time I get home I'll get up the nerve to give it a go.)... she also made GF bread which is always a feat.  Add a little wine to this and I was completely overcome with the gastronomic delight of the whole thing.  Seriously overcome.

BUT THEN!!!!  She asked me to go to her favorite restaurant for lunch the next 
day--which I believe was only yesterday, though I'm losing track of time in this whirlwind trip around the US...  The restaurant is in Grand Rapids, MI and is called Maria Catrib's.  I was so impressed with the place (and especially Maria) that I took a picture of it when I left.  Maria who runs the joint brought us GF cookies as an appetizer.  I tried to buy her remaining stock when I was leaving the restaurant, and to my dismay, the remaining stock had gone into my stomach earlier in the meal and there were none to carry away in my suitcase.

I ate a grilled cheese sandwich.  This may very well not be something that impresses those of you who are not gluten intolerant.  For those of you who are, you completely understand me.  I was able to go into this restaurant and choose between something like 12 sandwiches AND I had a choice of THREE different kinds of bread.  I'm teary eyed just thinking about it more than 24 hours later.  And after my cousin returned to work, I had a big piece of flourless chocolate cake--to make up for the fact that I couldn't take any cookies home with me.