Monday, February 11, 2019

Shouk Review

If there's been a theme emerging in my recent blog posts, it's that I've been delightfully surprised by new-to-me fast casual restaurants that have elevated the build-a-bowl model to exciting new levels. As such, I was excited to give DC-based Shouk a try, as their website promised a fresh take on bowls inspired by Israeli cuisine.

What's notable about Shouk is that the restaurant's menu is completely plant-based. They use no animal byproducts, and rely on fresh vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds as the building blocks for bowls. That means everything is dairy-free, and much of the menu is gluten-free friendly too (but be sure to skip the pita). 
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Little Sesame Review

If you are a hummus-lover, this review is especially for you, because DC's Little Sesame elevates the middle eastern spread from a grocery-aisle staple to the star of the show. 

Located in the bustling Golden Triangle neighborhood (in the former home of Veloce, may it rest in peace), Little Sesame brings a decidedly different take on the current fast-casual bowl craze. With a fun and inviting space and focus on real, artfully prepared ingredients, the restaurant is a refreshing break from the mold of my usual go-to bowl places around the city.

Enticed by rave reviews and an intriguing menu, I was excited to see how Little Sesame would measure up compared to some particularly impressive experiences I've had lately.
Saturday, January 26, 2019

Momo Yakitori Review

After doing quite a bit of travel to New York City recently, I have definitely been looking forward to pay renewed attention to gluten-free eats in my home city of Washington DC this month. 

As it happened, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's (RAMW) winter restaurant week, occurring right in the middle of January, was the perfect excuse to seek out new eats in the new year. The beauty of RAMW restaurant week is that the menus are structured so that you get the rare opportunity to have a multi-course meal for an unbeatable price at some of the region's top restaurants.

RAMW's website makes searching by neighborhood and cuisine a breeze, which is how I discovered Momo Yakitori, a Japanese restaurant in the quiet Brookland neighborhood. Serving up creative takes on the traditional yakitori style of street cuisine, Momo Yakitori's menu also happens to be completely gluten-free, which sold me on dining there in an instant. Excited to discover another dedicated gluten-free restaurant in DC and have a rare opportunity to enjoy Japanese fare, I eagerly anticipated my dinner each day leading up to it.
Thursday, January 24, 2019

La Esquina Taqueria Review

If there's one genre of food that I simply don't get enough of here in DC it's tacos. 

When I lived in Baltimore, I was spoiled by having two 100% gluten-free taquerias in the city to satisfy my cravings. Since leaving Charm City, my taco consumption has dramatically decreased, so when 100% gluten-free La Esquina's midtown taqueria popped up as nearby restaurant when I was looking for a lunch spot close to Studio 54 (where I was catching a show), I didn't need more than a second to to decide that was the perfect pre-show stop.

On the brisk, grey, January day I visited, La Esquina's colorful exterior was a wonderful break from the less-than-magical streets now that the magic and cheer of the holiday season are over. From the moment I walked in, their helpful staff welcomed me, and immediately asked without my prompting if I had dietary restrictions (and also explained that they were completely gluten-free without me having to ask). Already at ease and eager to see how their tacos would measure up against some of the greats I've enjoyed over the years, I ordered a small feast to sample around the menu.
Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dig Inn Review

Over the past few months, I've been lucky enough to find myself in NYC for both work and for fun. On one such trip, I received a tip from an Instagram follower (thank you @shrinkmuch!) to check out Dig Inn, which serves up seasonally-inspired bowls that are made with farm-fresh ingredients that are naturally gluten-free.

With this description I'm sure Dig Inn sounds like every other fast-casual, healthy fare, build-a-bowl concept that is popping up in these days. I must admit that I too was skeptical initially because this mold of restaurant has reached a saturation point. However, always on the lookout for quick, affordable, and (most importantly) safe food in New York, I decided to check my preconceived notions at the door and see if Dig Inn could break the fast-casual mold or stand apart from the pack.
Sunday, January 6, 2019

Mänchi Review

If there's one edge New York City's culinary scene has over Washington DC's, it's the abundance of 100% dedicated gluten-free restaurants. While I greatly appreciate non-dedicated restaurants that go over and above to accommodate gluten-free guests, there's just nothing like the peace of mind that comes from walking into an eatery and being to eat anything on the menu (or almost anything, as I am also dairy-free).

On my latest weekend jaunt up to city, I wanted to make a point to seek out new restaurants, as during my most recent trips I have revisited old favorites I have reviewed before. To aid my planning, I pulled up this list of gluten-free restaurants in New York City from Erin Smith (from the Gluten-Free Globetrotter blog). 

After reviewing her list, the fast casual Indian food eatery Mänchi jumped out to me. Located just steps from my arrival point, New York Penn Station, I knew this would be the perfect first stop in the city after my three hour train journey from Washington DC.
Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 5 Restaurants of 2018 (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

And just like that, 2018 is in the books. I seem to say this every year, but I can't believe just how fast (and at times how slow) this year has gone. 

As years go, this one was marked by change, as I started a new job and completed a full year as a resident of Washington, DC. I didn't think it was possible to fall deeper in love with this town, but nevertheless I end the year far more enamored with it than I began. 

Between the restaurants I've discovered and the new recipes I have put to test in my (new) kitchen, 2018 has been a year of experimentation and widening my horizons. Speaking of horizons, opportunities to travel have brought me to the Midwest, South, and NYC, which have allowed me to explore beyond my beloved neck of the woods.

As I look back on the year that was, I wanted to share my top five restaurant discoveries from 2018 to celebrate great food and great teams that care about serving gluten and dairy-free diners safely. Year after year it is precisely experiences like the ones I share in this post that making blogging a true joy, and keep me engaged and excited to share them with you.
Friday, December 14, 2018

Ambar Review

Although I am celebrating my one year anniversary of becoming an official Washingtonian, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't been as adventurous lately with exploring my city's food scene. Wanting to break out of my usual routine and comfort zone, I was excited when my mom came to visit recently, because it provided an opportunity to get out and explore.

For a year now, I've heard absolutely glowing reviews for Ambar, a Balkan restaurant in the cozy Capitol Hill neighborhood. Because exploring the nearby Eastern Market flea market on the weekends is one of my favorite DC pastimes, I knew Ambar would be a perfect choice so that my mom and I could visit both without moving our car (a critical consideration in that area as parking is at a premium). 

As my first time visiting Ambar and my first time enjoying Balkan food, I was excited to see what this experience would have in store.
Monday, November 12, 2018

Indikitch Review

During my visit to New York City last month, I was excited that I had a several evenings to search for new food options after the workday was over. 

One such discovery was Indikitch, a New York City-based chain that spices up the fast casual assembly line model with Indian flavors and flair. 

I am a huge fan of Indian food and have been adding more and more Indian flavors and styles of food to my home cooking, but it's still such a treat to be able to enjoy Indian food when eating out. The cuisine is naturally inclined to be gluten-free friendly, and Indikitch's menu has a lot for gluten-free foodies to love.
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Gluten-Free Options at Grom (New York City)

In reading (and bookmarking!) my friend Alexis's recap of her recent gluten-free odyssey through Rome (on her blog Alexis's Gluten Free Adventures), one eatery she mentioned popped out to me: a gelateria called Grom. I knew that name rung a bell for me, and I quickly put two and two together that I had walked right by one of Grom's New York City shops this past summer. I had no idea that the gelateria was 100% gluten-free, and knew that I had to pay them a proper visit when I was next in the area of one of their stores.

That's why when I found myself with 20 minutes of down time before catching an off-Broadway performance in the West Village, I knew I wanted to head over to Grom to investigate further. Lured by the promise of my first visit to a 100% gluten-free ice cream shop, I was thrilled that I would have an opportunity to have the "normal" experience of visiting an gelateria without fear.