Featured Gluten-Freedom Lifestyle Travel

Gluten-Free Dining in Destin, FL

August 10, 2016

This summer I had the privilege of vacationing in Destin, FL with Brett and his family. While Gluten-free travel can sometimes be a bear, I know that one of the best things I do to prepare for any vacation, is to start my research about a week ahead of time. My hope is that whoever reads this post can add this info to their future travel tips, making the gluten-free lifestyle that much less stressful. So- without further adieu, here is how I successfully handled a week of gluten-free travel and dining in Destin! Saturday morning, after a quick (and not so great) breakfast of overnight oats, Brett and I hopped into a Lyft and headed to the airport. imageI don’t typically feature fashion in my posts, but I had to share with you all this DSW find. This backpack got me through my entire trip. It’s by Madison West, an LA based brand I’d never heard of before spotting this gem in DSW. This backpack is extremely light weight, and has plenty of pocket space to divide up your travel essentials. (Aka an entire section was dedicated to gluten-free snacks)imageIt’s black with gold detailing, making it fashion forward while still going with anything (in any season) and has a fun pattern on the inside, bringing light and visibility to what would otherwise have been a black hole. It has adjustable straps and vegan leather pulls, making this a real winner for me.imageThe best part about this bag? It’s $39.95! Click on the DSW link above to check it out. Right now it’s only in grey and pink online, but looking in your local DSW probably would increase your chances of finding one in black.

Once we got through security we realized that not only did we have a ton of time to kill (thank you TSA pre-check) but that our breakfast had failed us. We were starving! So what did we do? We pulled up the Find Me Gluten Free app and happily discovered that Harry Carry’s Seventh Inning Stretch (Chicago-Midway) had phenomenal reviews, and a gluten-free menu! Our breakfast was your typical gluten-free eggs, fruit and potatoes (which they will fry separately for you) so I skipped the photo opp, but my gluten-free bloody mary was pretty great. imageWe arrived in Destin that afternoon and spent our first dinner eating in, ending the night with a walk on the beach.imageThe next night we ventured into Harborwalk Village to Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi for dinner. I started off with their drink special, a blood orange mojito. I’ll be honest- I wasn’t expecting a cocktail this beautiful! It was refreshing and citrus-y, and I loved it. imageSeeing as we were in fresh seafood territory- we decided to make the most of it and try some of their fresh oysters. My first impression? Lemon juice and a little cocktail sauce make even the slipperiest of delicacies worth trying. I had two oysters, and then decided to save myself for the other apps to come. imageNext up we tried two of their sushi rolls (modified to be gluten-free of course). This first one, the El Fuego, was out of this world spicy. I like to think I can handle my fair share of heat, but my god. Even Brett had to take a sip of water.imageThis next roll,  the Tiger Roll (GF preparation) was fresh and delicious. And nowhere near as spicy as the first! If you like sushi, try some from here. Both rolls were truly tasty.imageFor our main course Brett and I split the grouper, and his sister and her husband split the snapper. Ours was served with a pineapple butter sauce that if allowed to, I’d bathe in on a daily basis. Brett’s sister said that the risotto that accompanied their snapper was to die for. The fish, of course, was fresh and came with a QR code that could tell you exactly where it had been caught. Unfortunately, with the evening lighting, both of our entrées photographed like mushy messes- so I’ve left them out of this post.imageWe ended our night with a walk around the area and some fudge for dessert. The next morning, we used the GF app to find some pizza!imageHere’s what I have to say about Merlin’s Pizza: Was the pizza good? Yes. Was it the best pizza I’ve ever had? No- but we were just looking for something tasty and this hit the spot. Was the service the worst service I’ve ever had? Yesssss. The place is small, so if there’s no room to sit down, you order at the counter. After we ordered our pizza, we noticed a woman get up so we sat down and waited for our pizza. Because we had ordered at the counter, the servers who were helping other tables refused to acknowledge us. All we wanted was some silverware. Everyone who worked there was pretty much rude, and looked miserable, and I’d never go there to dine ever again. Get your pizza, and get out!

How I dealt with being glutened on vacation:

Sometime later that day I went to a coffee shop and got a fancy drink, and then had a gluten-removed beer that evening. By 9pm that night I was writhing in pain- I’d been glutened and didn’t know how. The next day, after no success with my usual remedies, Brett took me to Whole Foods to get some turmeric. This drink (while not the most tasty thing in the world) helped. I’d say I was back to feeling pain free by the next morning, and back to “normal” in three days, tops. Tumeric has amazing anti-inflammatory properties, and it can be a great aid in relieving your symptoms.imageOur last adventure before Brett’s sister and the kids took off involved dolphin spotting on Boogie’s glass bottom boat. If you get sea sick- I recommend starting off in the air conditioned parts of the boat. You WILL see dolphins, and some other sea life. This was a fun way to end their part of the trip.imageOur last night in Destin, we stayed close to our house and walked to Pompano Joe’s Seafood House. This place was super casual and super fun. We had a view of the beach from our table and could watch the sun go down! (I recommend calling ahead and having someone go snag a table and a cocktail- we waited over an hour for ours.) Feeling a little cautious I opted for something I knew could be very hard to gluten- King Crab legs and a baked potato! Let’s just say I worked hard for my dinner. imageFeeling full and (finally) tanned, we stopped at a local bar for one last drink before heading back for a night swim.imageOn our last morning in Destin we attempted to sign up for banana boating! You can sign up on the beach, but by the time we got there they didn’t have anything within our time frame. So- we settled for some Piña Coladas and hung out in the waves until it was time to pack and head for our flight- to Nashville!imageWe had an amazing time in Destin (being glutened and all) and are so thankful to have been treated to this vacation! Next up on the blog- our day and a half in Nashville! You can look forward to some of the prettiest gluten-free chicken and waffles you’ll ever set your eyes on. So subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out!

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  • I love Destin! My parents spend their winters there so I go every year. I too have to eat a gluten free diet, so if you ever go back and need more options, let me know. They even have a donut shop that has mini GF donuts….so good! And I second you on Merlins, not the best, but a pizza nonetheless.

    • I will definitely be reaching out if we end up back in Destin! Min GF donuts sound right up my alley!

  • Susan Beacham

    Gorgeous food! Nice tip on the bag. I’ll be interested to know if the bag holds up to further travel – keep us posted!