Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gluten-Free Gluttons: Pinstripes

I never thought I'd use the words "bowling alley food" and "gluten free" in the same sentence. Seriously. Think about bowling alley food, and what comes to mind? Cheap, greasy, gluten-y food, yes?

Then clearly, you've never been to Pinstripes.

I hadn't either, until the husband decided that's where he wanted to go for his birthday last weekend. Luke had been several times as part of company outings, and raved that the place was new, clean and "as upscale as a bowling alley can be." Also, they have bocce ball, which I've never played. So, we booked a lane, called up some friends and headed out.

Originally, I was going to pull my usual stunt of eating pre-event, but after doing some research online, I found out that not only does Pinstripes have a gluten-free menu, they actually take it seriously. In fact, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Research Center has hosted fundraisers there before, and if it's good enough for University of Chicago, it's good enough for me. And, they have wine. Lots and lots of wine.


We were there on St. Patrick's Day, and they had a special going that anyone wearing green got a free game. We also had some nice folks on the lane next to us give us some bracelets that were good for free wine. Free wine is, in fact, the best wine.

The place itself is gorgeous, and unlike any bowling alley I've ever been in. It's more like a restaurant that just happens to have bowling lanes and bocce courts. One of the things I hate about most bowling alleys is the smell - you know, that stale smoke smell? Not a problem here. It actually smelled kind of vanilla-y. Go figure. I also liked that the balls were sparkly. I'm very easily impressed.

When it came time to order food, I opted for the gluten-free pizza, because when GF pizza is an option, I'll have two. I went with basic cheese, although the egg and asparagus pizza definitely piqued my interest. They've also got GF pasta dishes, chicken, ribs - it's a fairly well-rounded menu. They even had desserts. The waiter guaranteed me that they were careful with GF items, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate that whole danged pizza. It was really good, with a nice, crispy crust. I'm not sure what kind of flour blend they use, but it held up really well and had a yummy taste, too. And, it didn't make me sick. We have a winner.

I am a little sorry to say that even awesome surroundings and multiple glasses of wine can't help my bowling game. It looks like I'm never going to go pro. In fact, my friends suggested that maybe next time I should insist on bumpers. Despite my abysmal score (and the soreness in my arm the next day), it was a fantastic evening with fantastic people. We will be back, Pinstripes.


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