Celiac Baby - August 2013
Gluten Free Travel: Napa's Inn on Randolph
It’s no secret that I love to travel, and that I write about places to stay or eat that are gluten free friendly. Eating gluten free shouldn’t hold anyone back from seeing the world, and I certainly wouldn’t want my son to think that he has to miss out because of his food restrictions. That’s why I get particularly excited when I hear about locations that are geared entirely toward the gluten free traveler. Inn on Randolph in Napa, California is one of those places.
The Inn on Randolph (www.innonrandolph.com) in downtown Napa was completely renovated by new owners Dan and Karen Lynch in 2012. Karen was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity seven years ago and wanted to provide a place for those who are gluten free or who have Celiac disease to be able to feel safe. “I always felt like I was being a pain in the neck,” said Karen. “My meals while traveling were often substandard substitutes—such as being served a frozen gluten-free waffle instead of the freshly prepared foods everyone else was enjoying.” She would sometimes choose to not eat or just bring her own food.
That mirrors my family’s experiences in many places. We now limit our hotel choices to places that have a kitchenette, just in case. The Inn on Randolph eliminates this need. The remodeled kitchen has never known a spec of gluten. “Everyone is served the same food and since we’re 100% gluten-free, there’s no risk for cross-contamination,” said Karen. This means that every delectable item on the menu is gluten free, including their signature breakfast dishes: smoked salmon, vanilla pancakes, bacon wrapped polenta, corn cakes with homemade applesauce, and Mexican soufflés.
The Inn itself is a historic 1860s Victorian estate that has been completely renovated to preserve the historical character, but provide every modern, luxurious amenity. The Inn offers accommodations within the Inn itself, or in one of the cottages on the property. Whether travelling for romance, business, or with family, there is an accommodation to suit your needs. Organic bathroom amenities, whirlpools, high quality linens, and relaxing décor add to the ambience.
For guests who plan to visit wineries, Karen provides guests with a complimentary bag of gluten-free crackers and is working with local Napa restaurants to help broaden the gluten-free menu options for her guests. There are already two completely gluten-free restaurants in Napa: C-Casa and Pica Pica. In addition, the inn offers gluten-free cooking classes taught by Jeffrey Larsen. “There’s a lot of emotion behind food,” says Karen. “The classes are more than just learning how to cook gluten-free; it’s about bringing people together to share in a supportive community and realize they’re not alone.”
The classes provide hands-on experience and a complete packet of recipes that guests can recreate in their own kitchens. The next class—a gluten-free guide to surviving the holidays—will cover how to make an entire gluten-free holiday dinner including appetizers, stuffing, rolls, cookies, and pies. The three-day class is scheduled for November 1-3, 2013.
When travelling gluten free, the question of where to eat is borne from more than just a desire to try local food, it is a matter of staying healthy and safe. Inn on Randolph takes the guesswork out things by providing a gluten free experience that doesn’t compromise on quality or comfort for guests.
Karen was gracious enough to provide me with the recipe for her gluten free granola. If you can tolerate oats (as my son can), this recipe is absolutely divine.
Inn on Randolph Gluten Free Granola
3-1/2 cups gluten free oats
1-1/2 cups gluten free cereal (i.e. corn or rice chex)
½ cup each of 3 different kinds of nuts, broken (i.e almonds, hazelnuts,
¼ cup each pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
1/8 cup each flax seeds and sesame seeds
½ cup each dried cranberries, dried apricots, cherries
¾ cup shredded coconut
peel/zest of 2 oranges. Save a bit to put in the liquid pot
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl
Combine in a small saucepan:
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola or some flavorless oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
some orange zest and ¼ tsp juice
Place liquids on medium heat and wait for boil slowly and evenly. Pour over dry mix while stirring. Mix well
Bake on a baking sheet at 350 for about 45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Baking time will depend on your desired crispiness.
Watch the edges—they tend to cook faster.