Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gluten-Free Hockey Night

If you are a regular reader, you probably know that my appreciation for all things sport is essentially non-existent. With one notable exception: Homegirl enjoys hockey. Not sure if it's the satisfying "thwunk" of faces on the glass, or the "come at me, bro" implied by the tossing of the gloves.  Might be both. I always joked that if I could skate, or shoot a puck, or be capable of any athletic attempt, I'd have loved to be a hockey player. Getting paid to wear layers and beat people up? Done.

Luke's always been supportive of this. A few years ago, we'd go to Blackhawks games all the time, since they were practically giving away tickets (actually, I think we did get free tickets a few times). It was before the team was really good, so it was a cheap night out. And also? I love nachos. But then 2010 hit, and they got all good and everything, so tickets got expensive, and we were limited to hockey on TV. Which is less exciting because a) you can't hear people getting slammed into the boards as well, and b) fewer nacho stands.

We managed to snag tickets for Monday night's game to celebrate a good buddy's birthday, and even though I've been feeling like buttcakes for a couple of weeks, I was still excited to go. I heard a rumor that the United Center was gluten-free friendly, and after Luke's trip to U.S. Cellular Field last summer to do GF recon work, I was pumped to see if the UC could keep up.

We hit gold on the first floor:

It's a crummy picture, because neither the hubbs nor I have a decently working camera on our phones, but here's the rundown. This stand, located at about section 116, offers ALL gluten-free treats. They offer hot dogs (and chili dogs) on GF buns, as well as nachos.  If pre-packaged is more your bag, the stand offers everything from Skittles and Popchips to healthier options like pumpkin seeds and Larabars. They also carry Redbridge GF beer and cider.

I'm not sure if the stand is out during other events at the United Center, but I'm assuming it would be. Since they do basketball games as well as concerts and other events (I know they bring the Ringling Bros. circus in ever year), it's nice to know that there are GF options.

Full disclosure: I was feeling really crummy, so I decided not to chance it with nachos (but if I had been feeling better, I totally would). I settled for a bag of Skittles and a bottle of water that I nursed all night. Obviously, you need to decide if you're okay with the risk of cross-contamination, but the stand IS on its own, not combined with a regular, gluteny stand. And they put a statement on the menu board that they take cross-contamination very seriously. If nothing else, there's always Popchips:)


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