Yesterday we took a road trip to our nation's lovely capital. We spent some time wandering around the Mall area before heading to Nationals Park for the Mets/Nats game. My main concern, not surprisingly: what can I eat?
Pickings are slim around the tourist areas of the Mall, besides overpriced food carts and museum cafeterias, but the Mitsitam Native Foods Café is a welcome exception. It's the cafeteria on the ground floor of the beautiful National Museum of the American Indian. There are four food stations, each one featuring indigenous specialties of a different geographic region, and all items are clearly labeled if they're vegetarian or gluten-free. The menu choices are thoughtful and creative, including buffalo/duck burgers, fire-roasted salmon, grilled bison steak, and quinoa salad.
Unfortunately they aren't kidding when they say "limited menu" after 3 p.m. When we got there at 4, only one station was open and there wasn't anything GF except for a few sad pieces of salad. Lesson learned! But the café is clean, sophisticated, and inviting; Mitsitam is definitely the place to eat interestingly and gluten-free on the Mall, but get there before 3 to do so.
I'd read that there were gluten-free snacks available at Nationals Park, so I was looking forward to investigating. There's a tiny cart in Section 110 called the Healthy Plate, which offers wraps, salads, yogurt parfaits (all non-GF), gluten-free chips ($3), and Redbridge beer ($6.50), which is made from sorghum. Noah's Pretzels does indeed sell gluten-free soft pretzels ($5.25), but I just can't recommend them. While I appreciate their effort, I thought my pretzel tasted awful. They are frozen and individually wrapped and heated so there's no cross-contamination worry. Mine was apparently produced in January 2009. Fresh, not so much. The main ingredient is tapioca flour, rather than a more promising flour blend, and the pretzel was dry, pasty, and had a displeasing flavor. Blech. Moral of the story: as always, dear celiacs, make sure you eat first, unless you can make a meal of chips and beer.