Being Gluten Free at Sundance
Those who have been to Park City, Utah during the Sundance film festival will most likely tell you about the totally insane food situation. It is not exactly surprising, with the cities population suddenly exploding by at least ten thousand people crowded restaurants are a given. If you do find a restaurant that looks like it has room to spare, it is most likely hosting some sort of private event. There are the occasional free samples to be found, but those are too small and inconsistent to rely on for sustenance. That said, it’s not impossible to find someplace if you’re willing to wait a few minutes. That is, of course, assuming you do not suffer from food allergies.
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about four years ago, a genetic condition whose only known treatment is for the patient to go on a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is a difficult diet to do, although the more widespread diagnosis of Celiac and it’s recent status as a fad diet has lead to a greater awareness among restaurants and food producers. Because of the crowd that indie films generally attract, I was not really worried about my ability to find food that I could eat. What I found was much more inconstant.
A majority of the restaurants I’ve visited so far have had absolutely no gluten free options, not even an indication on their menu as to what might contain it. That may be for the best, as I’ve also been able to eat only two or three items at an alarming number of them as well. I thought I had found a safe haven when I saw an Udis restaurant in the middle of town, as they are a well established gluten free brand. Unfortunately, at the time of writing they have had all day private events every day of the festival, which I personally think is despicable for a brand that caters to such a specialized diet to do. I’ve also found that most of the free samples contain wheat, but complaining about free samples is a little petty.
This is not to say that I have been starving. The local supermarket has a decently sized gluten free section, as well as a few frozen options. Oddly, my best success rate so far has been at Asian restaurants, which is strange seeing as less expensive brands of soy sauce all contain wheat. These are a small fraction of the food available, though, and for a place that has attracted such a large crowd for the past few years, it seems Park City still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to this issue.