Monday, July 17, 2017

Hill Country Barbecue Market Review

Barbecue can be difficult to navigate for people with food allergies. With sauces, rubs, spices, and meats that are all at risk for hidden gluten (or other allergens), I have had limited luck in finding safe BBQ. 

When walking around Penn Quarter, Hill Country Barbecue Market caught my eye because they always seem to be busy. I did some research, which suggested that they were pretty gluten-free friendly, so decided to check them out for lunch. 

Hill Country Barbecue Market prides itself on serving Central Texas-style barbecue, complete with a full smokehouse in the restaurant. Promising succulent meats, hearty sides, and uncompromising flavor, I was eager to see if they would live up to recently earning the "Best BBQ" crown from The Washington Post.  
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hill Country Barbecue Market Gluten-Free & Allergy Menus

This post features menus for Hill Country Barbecue Market. To check out my full review, click here (link coming soon).

This post features th Barbecue can be hit or miss for those of us with dietary restrictions. With hidden ingredients in meats and sauces, plus an emphasis on cornbread and other glutenous sides, I've had limited success in finding safe BBQ to try. 

When walking up the restaurant-dense 7th St corridor in D.C. one weekend, I passed Hill Country Barbecue Market, which seemed to be bustling. A craving struck me, so I did a little preliminary research before heading back there to try them out.

Hill Country Barbecue Marketing has locations in D.C., Brooklyn, and New York City, and from quick research, I assessed that they seemed to be gluten-free friendly. Focused on serving up hearty Texas-style BBQ, I was excited to see just how safe they would be.
Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jrink Juicery Review

Although I live a pretty healthy lifestyle, there are times when I don't always eat as many nutrient-rich foods as I could. That's why I am a big fan of smoothie/acai bowls, which pack nutrition into every spoonful. 

Jrink is a juice shop here in Washington D.C. that has several locations around the city. I've passed by their locations before but for one reason or another did not stop in to order. 

On a sleepy Saturday morning, I decided to finally check out their fare after a particularly hot week left me feeling me out of whack. With a menu full of cold pressed juices designed to boost your health, I was eager to see if I could find a beverage to meet my needs.
Friday, July 14, 2017

Red Velvet Cupcakery Review

For a city with such a rich and diverse array of culinary options, there's are surprisingly few dedicated gluten-free bakeries here in Washington D.C. 

I know several popular bakeries around town offer gluten-free options, but cross contamination concerns and finding gluten and dairy-free options has made me steer clear of those popular places. 

While enjoying brunch on the busy 7th St restaurant-dense corridor last weekend though, I decided to pop into Red Velvet Cupcakery on whim, wondering if they had any safe options. Knowing that I'd probably strike out, but taking the chance anyway, I was delighted to discover that they not only had gluten-free options, but every one of those was vegan as well. On the spot I bought one of every flavor and eagerly awaited my taste test of each cupcake.

Mandu Review

Although I consider myself to be pretty adventurous food-wise, I am ashamed to admit that I have a limited experience with Korean fare. In doing research to find new foodie spots to try, I stumbled across Mandu, a homestyle Korean restaurant that promised many gluten-free options. With many positive reviews and online menus indicating gluten-free awareness, Mandu has been on my list of places to try soon.

Located in the bustling Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, I stopped by Mandu after work and was excited to learn more and try something new. 
Thursday, July 13, 2017

China Chilcano Review

When I think of the Washington D.C. foodie scene, there are two things I know for sure: 
  1. Washingtonians love to go brunching on the weekends; and
  2. Chef Jose Andres and his menagerie of restaurants are a hometown favorite.
As a foodie with dietary restrictions, I have even more reason to love Andres' restaurants beyond their creative menus and consistently delicious food because they across the board know how to accommodate food allergies. With allergen menus, trained staff, and a working knowledge of the intricacies of accommodating allergies and restrictions.

Last weekend, I decided to check out Andres' Peruvian fusion restaurant China Chilcano after hearing rave reviews from my coworkers. I decided to venture out for brunch on a summer Sunday morning, and couldn't wait to see if the hype was truly to be believed. 
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

China Chilcano Allergy Menus

This is a post featuring the allergen menus of China Chilcano. To read my full review, click here

As a Washington D.C.-based foodie, I am a huge fan of our hometown super chef Jose Andres. His restaurants are innovative, creative, and are consistently stellar when dealing with food allergies. With restaurants ranging from fast casual to high end, there's a Jose Andres restaurant for any budget.

Recently I decided to check out China Chilcano, Andres' restaurant that celebrates the culinary traditions of Peru through Chinese and Japanese cooking techniques. As with most of his other restaurants I have tried, when I mentioned that I had dual dietary restrictions, the staff were quick to bring out their dedicated allergen menu. 

This post features snapshots of that menu, which details not only gluten-free and dairy-free friendly dishes, but also other allergens that can be removed from each dish. Vegetarians and vegans too can learn what's safe through the extensive markup of the menu.
Sunday, July 9, 2017

Gluten-Free Features at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Summer is in full swing, which means that I'm trying to seek out as much fun in the sun as I can before I have to go back to school. As a fan of the performing arts, I started the summer with a list of performances and venues around the Washington D.C. area I wanted to check out and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts topped that list.

Located in Vienna, Virginia, Wolf Trap is located on 117 acres of woodlands and hosts a wide diversity of acts ranging from musical theater to top music acts, author readings to movies with a live symphony. There's something for everyone in the summer lineup, and something going on almost daily during the summer months. 
Sunday, July 2, 2017

South Block Juice Co. Review

Since purchasing a high-powered smoothie blender several months ago, I have cut down on ordering smoothies when dining out. Most store-made ones have sky-high sugar levels, and I like to control what goes into my custom blends. 

I have had South Block on my list of places to try for months now, and when I was in the neighborhood of Union Market, I decided to stop in and give them a try. With a menu featuring smoothies, juices, and other health-focused fare, I love that South Block's offerings are made with real ingredients that are friendly to those with special diets. 

Despite being able to make my own blends, it is nice treat to break up my usual routine with an occasional stop at a smoothie or juice bar to get inspiration for new flavor combinations. Knowing that South Block's philosophy of using real food aligns with mine, I had a positive feeling about them before walking in.
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe Review

If there is one down side to working on the National Mall, it's that gluten-free food options are pretty scarce or quite a few blocks away. Because of the heat and humidity of summer in Washington D.C., I find the idea of a long walk for lunch rather unappetizing. 

After talking with colleagues, I have heard some pretty amazing things about Mitsitam, the museum cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian. With a menu showcasing indigenous food from the Western hemisphere, I guessed that the cafe would have several gluten-free options.

Mitsitam translates to "let's eat," which is a perfect name for this cafe, as it features several serving stations that profile cuisines by region. Diners can choose to sample foods from many traditions, and there are gluten-free food options at most stations. 
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Manos de Maíz Review

Of all the world's cuisines, Mexican food is near and dear to my heart because most of it is corn-based and gluten-free friendly. From tacos and guacamole to tamales and horchata, I love the diversity and bold flavors of Mexican delicacies. 

On the recommendation of coworkers at my internship site this summer, I decided to dedicate my Sunday to exploring Eastern Market, a wonderful menagerie of produce stands, artists selling their wares, and food vendors. 

I went mainly for the produce and art, but along the way stumbled into Manos de Maiz, a pop up vendor offering an 100% gluten-free menu featuring maizope. This delicacy features a thick corn tortilla layered with seasonal toppings. I have never encountered this type of food before, so was excited to try it out.
Friday, June 23, 2017

The Freshmobile Review

If I had to choose an official beverage of summer, limeade makes a pretty good candidate for the honor. I often associate this refreshing brew with street fairs and markets, and love how it perfectly blends sweet and sour.

While exploring around the colorful menagerie that is Eastern Market, a combined farmers' market and flea market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C., I wandered through the food vendors, not quite sure if any would be gluten and dairy-free. 

When walking by the Freshmobile booth, which was stocked with fresh fruit and veggies, I was offered a sample of their unique limeade, which is unlike anything I have tasted before. Impressed by the drink's refreshing flavor, I bought a full serving on the spot.
Monday, June 19, 2017

Veloce Review

Gluten-free pizza gets a bad rap, and I think that reputation is partially justified. Most pizzerias that serve up gluten-free pizzas serve up soggy or cardboard-like facsimiles of the real deal and charge twice the price. After finding really good pizzas at a few pizzerias, I have shied away from rushing out to try every gluten-free pizza out there.

When a strong craving for pizza struck this weekend, I researched neighborhood pizza options and stumbled across Veloce, the fast casual cousin of Pizzeria Paradiso, a popular D.C. pizza restaurant. Promising quick-cooking pizzas that don't compromise on gourmet ingredients, I decided to pay them a visit. If it went well, I would have a reliable pizza chain, if not, I was prepared to walk away so as to not risk getting glutened.
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Brown Bag Review

There's so many great places to grab an affordable gluten-free lunch in Washington D.C. that it's totally an embarrassment of riches. The only downside is that most lunch places open up around the lunch hour. While this makes logical sense, I like being able to pick something up on my way into work so that I can have food on hand if my coworkers want to go out to a non-gluten-friendly place for lunch.

Fortunately, Brown Bag has set their hours to be a solution to my dilemma. Opening early in the morning, they serve up lunchtime eats so that commuters can beat the lunchtime rush.

Brown Bag promises the their fare is made fresh in-house using clean ingredients and scratch cooking technique. With gluten-free options such as noodles and salads, I was intrigued to see just how gluten-aware this cafe would be.
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Soi 38 Review

Now that I am settled in to my new neighborhood in Washington D.C., I knew I wanted to find a good Thai food restaurant nearby because it was one of my favorite types of food. Whether dining in or getting take-out, I like to have several options nearby.

As I checked out local Thai restaurants, Soi 38 jumped out to me thanks to rave reviews I saw online and gluten-free markings on the menu. While many Thai dishes are naturally gluten-free, it's reassuring to see a restaurant proactively label which items are safe.

Soi 38 is located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and features cuisine inspired by Bangkok's night markets. With a blend of familiar favorites and fusion street fare and the menu, dining at Soi 38 promises authenticity and adventure.
Sunday, June 4, 2017

SKWR Kabobline Review

If there's one restaurant trend I can wholeheartedly get behind, it's the proliferation of fast casual "make your own bowl" restaurants that have popped up in and around Washington D.C. They make grabbing an affordable, healthy lunch easy, and coming many culinary varieties- Mediterranean, Indian, Korean, and more.

The latest of these type of restaurants I visited is SKWR Kabobline in downtown D.C. Offering a gourmet take on a street vendor staple- kabobs- SKWR has a menu that features naturally gluten-free and dairy-free options. 

SKWR's food is made in-house, and merges traditional and modern influences. Named for the traditional way of cooking meat- slow roasting over an open flame, SKWR makes ancient eastern eating approachable and fun.
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Thrive by Go Macro Review

As a student and intern, I know the importance of always having safe food on hand to avoid situations when I am stuck without a safe snack. Usually I always have a Go Macro bar (or two) in my backpack at all times, and love them for their clean ingredients, reduced-sugar recipes, and high amounts of plant-based protein. These aren't your typical bars that are candy disguised as health food- no, these have real substance. 

That's why I was super excited to see their new line of bars at my local Whole Foods Market. Called Thrive, these have the same short ingredient lists and plant-protein content, but are infused with ancient seeds and superfoods. Non-GMO, gluten-free, organic, and vegan, these are sure to please kids of all ages, and are an easy, delicious solution to your afternoon snack dilemmas. 
Monday, May 29, 2017

El Centro D.F. Review

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I moved from Baltimore to Washington D.C. for the summer, which means that there's a whole lot of D.C. reviews coming soon to the blog. After a long day of packing and moving, I decided to venture over to Georgetown to walk around and get fresh air. 

To decide where to find dinner, I consulted my Find Me Gluten-Free app, and after reading reviews decided to give El Centro D.F. a try.

With a menu featuring authentic Mexican eats, El Centro D.F. has a lot to offer for gluten-free eaters. From tacos to fajitas, enchiladas to salad, corn-based tortillas make most of the menu gluten-free.

El Centro D.F. is one in a few restaurants operated by Mexican-born chef Richard Sandoval. Inspired by the flavors of Mexico City, dining at El Centro D.F. promises to capture the essence and authenticity of meals he enjoyed with his family growing up.

Nationals Park Gluten-Free Grill Review (2017)

The roar of the crowd... the crack of the bat... baseball season is in full swing (pun intended)! While everyone can join in on the fun of cheering on the home team, baseball stadiums can be difficult to navigate as a gluten-free eater because hot dogs, pretzels, and other gluten-filled snacks are the staples of concession stands everywhere. 

Luckily, Nationals Park in Washington D.C, home of the Washington Nationals, has taken steps to include gluten-free eaters into the full experience of visiting the ballpark- hot dog and all. With a 100% dedicated gluten-free concession stand, and food policies that allow you to bring in outside food, it's easy to plan ahead to enjoy an afternoon or evening at the ballpark.
Thursday, May 25, 2017

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse Review

As I wrap up my time in Baltimore (for now) I made one final foodie stop before heading out of town at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Towson. I have heard for awhile that BJ's has lots of gluten-free options so I decided it was finally time to check them out.

This BJ's is part of the new Towson Square development, which features restaurants, a huge movie theater, and tons of shopping nearby at Towson Town Center. Their menu is lengthy, an there's a lot of options for those with food allergies and dietary restrictions. I arrived for late lunch, and was eager to see how my experience compared to my expectations.
Monday, May 22, 2017

Bella Gluten-Free Mix Review

It's been ages since I last embarked on a gluten-free baking project, because it has been difficult to find free time this semester. Luckily, with my final exams behind me, I was able to break out my mixing bowls to test drive the Bella Gluten-Free mixes that have been hanging out in my pantry for a few weeks now. 

What's awesome about these mixes is that they are allergen-free and go from shelf to oven in mere minutes. With fun packaging and super simple instructions, they make baking fun and totally not intimidating. 

The Bella Gluten-Free line of mixes ranges from sweet and savory and the sampler I received included mixes that would be perfect from breakfast to dinner, with desert thrown in on the side. From pizza to warm chocolate chip cookies, baking was a great way to unwind a bit after a long, stressful semester.
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Kasa Restaurant Orlando Review

Image Source
Visiting Orlando for a super short weekend, I did not have much time to explore and try out new places around town. However, when plans fell through for a dinner downtown, I had to scramble to see what dining options were nearby. 

After checking out a few restaurants, I felt comfortable enough to settle for Kasa Restaurant, whose staff assured me that their menu had some gluten-free options to chose from. With a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a nice evening for dining al fresco, I was optimistic about the dining choice. 

Just a few blocks away from the Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and other downtown attractions, the location couldn't have been better and more accessible.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SkinnyPop Microwave Popcorn Review

Microwave popcorn is one of those foods that can be tricky to find dairy-free. Although naturally gluten-free, butter and milk products are often used to provide the authentic buttery flavor made famous by movie theaters. 

Luckily, SkinnyPop has engineered a perfect solution for allergy-free eaters everywhere: microwave popcorn that's not only safe, but pops up into it's own bowl. These popcorn aisle newcomers are a perfect merge of convenience and satisfaction, and are sure to liven up movie night for everyone in your family.
Monday, May 8, 2017

Beau Thai Review

One of the truly great things about Washington D.C. is that you can find just about any type of food from around the world here. I love any type of non-American food (and it's usually more gluten-free friendly), but until recently have not sought out Thai food in the District. 

Thai food is my favorite of the Asian cuisines because it is just so flavorful and comforting. I love curries and the abundance of safe ingredients used, so I decided to seek out Beau Thai after looking for a gluten-free friendly Thai place in the city. 

Located in the Shaw neighborhood of the city, Beau Thai takes pride in serving fresh, authentic fare that has won "Best Thai Restaurant" in Washington City Paper's annual poll for several years in a row.

I stopped by during their weekend brunch, and was excited to get my first taste of Thai food in a while. With a beautiful dining room and large windows perfect for people (and dog) watching, I knew it was a perfect choice to spend a Sunday dining out.
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Luvo Planted Power Bowl Review

As a busy college student, time for cooking elaborate, healthy meals is hard to find sometimes. Between school, work, and interning, sometimes I need a quick meal to fill me up and fuel several hours' worth of activity. 

To do this, I often turn to frozen meals, which often have less than stellar nutritional and taste profiles. They're quick and easy, but less than satisfying. 

However, when shopping at Mom's Organic Market, I discovered a new-to-me brand and product that promised to be a solution for my healthy eating on-the-go dilemma: Luvo's planted power bowls. 

These bowls are 100% vegan and gluten-free, containing an impressive amount of plant based goodness in their seemingly small size.  Both bowls I tried pack plant-based protein, and reading their ingredient lists is refreshing, as every ingredient is both readable and recognizable. 

Could these frozen meals buck the frozen food stereotype and be both tasty and good-for-you? I had a sneaking suspicion going in that they would easily pass both standards.
Thursday, May 4, 2017

La Brea Bakery Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread Review

As a gluten-free eater, I am always in search of better sandwich breads, because gluten-free breads in general tend to have a lot to improve on. Whether it's a tiny size, crumbly consistency, or holes that take up a good part of the slice, gluten-free bread has gotten a bad rap for being subpar in every aspect to gluten-full breads. 

When La Brea Bakery reached out to me with an offer to try their white and multigrain sandwich breads, I was excited to give them a try. I admit that I had no idea that La Brea Bakery was in the gluten-free arena, but have seen their gluten bread at Costco which has earned rave reviews from my gluten-eating family.

What stood out to me the moment I unpacked the samples La Brea Bakery sent me was how much the bread resembled any loaf of bread you might find in the grocery store. It was soft, it was full-sized, and had a delicious bready aroma. Could this bread mark a large leap forward for what gluten-free sandwich bread can and should be? I was ready to put it to the test. 
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Amano Taco Review (R. House Baltimore)

R. House in Baltimore's Remington neighborhood is quickly becoming my favorite place in the city. There's so many gluten-free options and the vibe is absolutely perfect and foodie-centric. 

Especially on weekends, it's nice to be around the hustle and bustle of the diverse crowd and take advantage of dining al fresco. 

Although I have visited R. House a couple of times, I have totally walked by Amano Taco without realizing that it's a 100% gluten-free food stand. How did this fact escape me? I am baffled, but once realizing my faulty oversight, I made a bee line to the food hall to check out this authentic taqueria. As a devoted taco enthusiast, I have high standards when it comes to tacos so I was eager to see how Amano Taco would measure up. 
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Stall 11 Brunch Review (R. House Baltimore)

Baltimore is a nice playground for gluten-free foodies, with plenty of great options around town. One of my favorite new foodie hot spots in the city is R. House, which is home to ten up and coming food concepts from local chefs. I have been once before, but have been woefully negligent in my food blogger duties by not return to seek out more gluten-free options at the food hall.

For my second visit, I decided to set my sights on Stall 11, which is a plant-based, farm-to-table focused stand that has tons of great whole food-based options on hand. From smoothies to creative bowls, prepackage food options, and juices, there's plenty of clean eats to go around any time of day. 

What's really cool about Stall 11 is that they are serious about providing healthy, fresh, local fare. Much of the menu comes from Baltimore urban farms, which adds a new dimension of awesomeness to this venture. As soon as I walked into the stall, I knew I was in for a treat.
Friday, April 28, 2017

Oberlander Bakery Gluten-Free Black & White Cookies

I've discovered that Passover ushers in a gluten-free treasure hunt at local grocery stores as gluten-free versions of Kosher foods are stocked for the holiday. 

In a recent post-Passover run I saw a new-to-me brand that made a product I have never seen gluten and dairy-free: black and white cookies! I've seen gluten-free verisions of the striking cookies before but never a dairy-free version so I bought two boxes on the spot to try.

Oberlander Bakery is New Jersey-based bakery that's part of the Orthodox Baking Co., which makes several gluten-free treats for passover including a cookie assortment that features a colorful array of macron-like cookies. In this review however, the black and white cookies will take center stage.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chopt Creative Salad Company Review

One of my favorite restaurant trends in recent years has been the abundance of fast-casual lunch places that offer affordable, healthy food that can be customized to dietary restrictions and preferences. The latest of these type of restaurants on my radar is Chopt, a salad-focused eatery that promises "farm-to-fast food" eats that are anything but boring. 

Chopt utilizes farm-fresh ingredients that are locally sourced, which means that their food packs a nutritional punch. Additionally, they craft their menu with an eye on seasonal flavors so that they are taking advantage of the season's freshest flavors.

What makes Chopt unique is their one-of-a-kind method of making salads. Once a customer selects their ingredient blend, staff slice all the ingredients together on a chopping board using a giant knife. The ingredients are then tossed together with dressing, which ensures there is everything is mixed well. This slices and dices the concept of "tossed" salad!
Monday, April 24, 2017

Carmine's Review

Image from Google Maps
On my latest DC visit, Mother Nature was not on my side, at it was a raw, rainy day for trekking around the city. After battling the elements all day, I looked forward to enjoying dinner at Carmines, an Italian restaurant that ensures that everyone- including those with dietary restrictions- can enjoy the experience of sitting down to a family-style Italian meal.

While Italian food does have pitfalls for those who are gluten and/or dairy-free, Carmine's menu offers plenty to love for everyone. With gluten-free pasta as well as options for appetizers, entrees, and even dessert, Carmine's has been on my radar awhile for places to check out in the DC area.

Carmine's is a more "touristy" spot than I typically pick, but I was won over by the good reviews I had seen online about their gluten-free offerings. With thematic Italian music playing and high spirited atmosphere, it was easy to enjoy my meal here.
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Carmine's Allergy Menus (Gluten-Free, Dairy/Egg-Free, Garlic-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Image Source
When it comes to family-style Italian dining, Carmine's has certainly made a name for itself as a foodie destination. With locations in New York City, DC, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas, the chain is located at tourist hot spots around the country.

What's great about Carmine's is that they have something for everyone- including people with restricted diets and food allergies. Everyone can find something to eat, and the whole party can partake in the fun of dining at Carmine's. 
Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Greater Knead Bagel Chips Review

Anyone who has followed me for awhile has probably picked up on the fact that I am a super fan of The Greater Knead (formerly Sweet Note Bagels). Their gluten and allergen-free bagels and infectious entrepreneurial spirit makes it easy to cheer this passionate company on. 

I have written reviews before of their bagels (standard flavors, online-exclusive), but knew that their newest product would make even greater waves in the gluten-free world: bagel chips. 

For people who have a hard time finding bagels that are safe, bagel chips are a unicorn-like food that exists only in our imaginations. However, thanks to The Greater Knead, this beloved snack option is a reality- and is packaged in travel-friendly, convenient packaging too! Although I approach every review as non-biased as possible, I admit that it didn't take much for me to fall head over heels for these adorable snack-size packs.
Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lilly's Bake Shoppe Review (Part 2)

Last year, I wrote my first review of Lilly's Bake Shoppe's gluten-free Kosher baked goods that appear on the shelves of my local Wegmans every Passover (read that review here). From full-size cakes to macaroons, cashew brittle to chocolate rolls, the variety of sweets offered ensures that everyone can select something to love from the seasonal display. 

This year, I decided to sample more of Lilly's options since I only sampled to products last year- the chocolate roll and rainbow cookies. From cake to cookies, I was excited to reunite and fall back in love with Lilly's products. 
Sunday, April 2, 2017

Outback Steakhouse Review

Of the big chain restaurants out there, Outback Steakhouse has earned a rap as a reliable place to find gluten-free eats. Serving up gluten-free eats for over a decade now, the restaurant has partnered with registered dietitians to curate a menu of safe eats.

Offering everything from steak to seafood, loaded potatoes to a loaded brownie sundae, their gluten-free menu is certainly versatile. With locations around the country, they're a great place to keep in mind when traveling.

My recent visit to Outback marked the first time I have eaten at the restaurant since going gluten-free. A cousin of Carrabba's, which is one of my favorite chain restaurants (my review here), I entered my experience expecting the same level of gluten-awareness and variety of options. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

By The Way Bakery Review

My recent New York City trip was the third trip I have made to Manhattan since going gluten-free. Due to the limited nature of each trip, I was not able to seek out a gluten-free bakery until now, when I wandered into By The Way Bakery in the Upper West Side. 

I knew By The Way Bakery was 100% gluten-free, but I was downright giddy when I found out they were 100% dairy-free. That meant I could have anything- absolutely anything- on their shelves without restriction. So often when I visit gluten-free bakeries I have a limited selection of items that are dairy-free, but not here at By The Way Bakery.

I am so thankful that I stumbled across this bakery, because it quickly became a highlight of what was a dream visit for this gluten-free foodie.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Little Beet Table Review

For my final dinner in New York City, I needed no time to deliberate- The Little Beet Table had my vote. This sit-down cousin of The Little Beet, a fast casual eatery I have enjoyed before in D.C., promises the same peace of mind with a more swanky menu.

Like it's cousin, The Little Beet Table is 100% gluten-free, and curates a seasonally-aware menu that puts real food front and center. Despite it's location among Manhatten's hottest restaurants, The Little Beet welcomes you in, which puts you at ease and prepares you for a memorable dining experience.

Because the whole menu is gluten-free, there's no need to worry about cross contamination or the integrity of your meal. When bread and pasta appear on the menu- they too are 100% safe. 
Monday, March 27, 2017

DO, Cookie Dough Confections Review

The main perk of vegan cookie dough is that it can be safely consumed before baking- due to it's egg-free nature. While it's commonplace to sneak samples of raw dough when baking in your own home, DO, Cookie Dough Confections in New York City has decided to dedicate a whole shop to the enjoyment of raw cookie dough. With tons of sweet options and decadent ways of consuming cookie dough (sundaes, cones, etc.), DO is a sweet place to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Located in Greenwich village, DO's location is a nice break from the ceaseless sights and sounds of midtown/Times Square. Near Washington Square Park and NYU, it was nice to stroll through the neighborhood after visiting the shop. A word to the wise before you go though- this popular dessert emporium has been known to draw quite a crowd in its early days. When I visited- early evening- the line was down the block and they were letting people in in groups to avoid crowding the store.
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cafe Frida Review

On my second full day in New York City, my family decided to wander around Central Park and visit the American Museum of Natural History. As a light rain began to fall and we all started to hit a wall we decided that it was an ideal time to pick a lunch spot. 

After doing a quick Find Me Gluten Free search, I found Cafe Frida, which was located a block away from the museum- which was super convenient. Mexican food is reliably safe gluten-free-wise, so that knowledge combined with good reviews made me confident that Cafe Frida would be a great place to grab lunch.

What is awesome about Cafe Frida is that they place an emphasis on curating authentic Mexican flavors on their menu- this isn't a stereotypical Americanized Mexican eatery. Using real food made from scratch every day, it was clear to me that Cafe Frida was a great find on the fly.
Saturday, March 25, 2017

Senza Gluten Review

As a gluten-free eater, I am used to constant vigilance. I play 20 questions at every restaurant I visit and often feel more skeptical than comfortable with the answers kitchen staff provide. I am used to navigating around typical gluten-free problem zones: shared pasta water, utensils, and free-flying flour. 

Italian food is the arch-nemesis of any gluten-free eater because it's basics- pasta, bread, and pizza- are all traditionally flour-based. As a dairy-free diner, I find it doubly challenging to find safe eats, because cheese tends to be as abundant as wheat flour on Italian menus. 

That's why when it came to deciding on my birthday dinner location in New York City, I had no hesitation in selecting Senza Gluten, a 100% gluten-free Italian restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village. Here, celiacs can sit down to a worry-free meal, and for a rare moment let down their guard and truly enjoy the experience of dining out. 

Gluten-free food gets a bad rap of being a lesser imitation of gluten-containing fare, but at Senza Gluten, the food is no second-place contender. Authentic and artfully crafted, Senza Gluten offers both peace-of-mind and a culinary adventure.
Friday, March 24, 2017

Bareburger Review

Planning any trip is hard- especially when making a return visit because it's tough to find a balance between returning to beloved finds or seeking out new eats. 

On my second day in New York City, my family decided to give BareBurger a try because it promised both gluten-free safe food and had a menu we all could agree on. Located just a few blocks from the heart of the financial district, this Bareburger location is convenient and just far enough away from the height of the hustle and bustle. 

Bareburger is not-your-average burger place- and definitely stands out in a city laden with burger joints ranging from cheap to high end. They believe in sourcing real, organic ingredients from local farms- something you don't often find at chain restaurants. 
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sonoma Flatbreads Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pizza Review

The white whale of being gluten-free and dairy-free are safe versions of typical gluten and dairy-laden comfort foods. While a gluten-free option can be found, so often the product contains dairy (or vice-versa). 

As a college student, my freezer looks a bit different than others' in my dorm because mine is missing one of the staples of college life: frozen pizza. For three years now I have survived late night study sessions without frozen pizza to get me through, but at Expo East last year, I discovered a product that would change everything: Sonoma Flatbreads' gluten and dairy-free Fire-Roasted Vegetable pizza.

Yes, there are other companies that have attempted the gluten and dairy-free frozen pizza, but what I've determined are the hardest parts to master is the crust and cheese. No one wants to eat a gooey, oily mess atop a cardboard crust, which I thought was the epitome of gluten and dairy-free frozen pizza. However, with Sonoma Flatbread's innovative new product, you too will join me as a believer that gluten and dairy-free pizza has finally arrived.
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Enjoy Life Foods ProBurst Bites Review

In the gluten-free and allergy-free world, Enjoy Life Foods is a total rock star. Their products are all free from the top eight allergens, and make enjoying food non-scary. Although there are several gluten-free brands out there, few have as many options as Enjoy Life Foods with their chocolates, baking mixes, cookies, and other snacks.

Their latest product launch is their ProBurst Bites, which promise the power of protein with the pleasure of chocolate- a total win/win. In four delicious flavors, they promise to be a versatile solution to your snacking needs. Made with plant-based protein, these bites may taste like decadent truffles, but they are actually good for you (at least compared to other sweets). 

One of the cool things about being an Enjoy Life Foods official blogger is that I have the opportunity to sample and spread the word about their new products. These ProBurst Bites are definitely a product to take note of! 
Saturday, March 4, 2017

Food Allergy Bakery Review (Carolina Cupcakery)

While I love finding good places to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner on the road, I am always on the hunt for gluten-free bakeries- but often come up short. Finding safe baked goods (that I don't make myself) is the ultimate treat, and once I discovered that Food Allergy Bakery had allergen-free options, I knew I'd have to make a stop in Chesapeake, Virginia before heading back to the Norfolk airport. 

Food Allergy Bakery is an offshoot of Carolina Cupcakery, a Cupcake Wars veteran that was founded on the belief that cupcakes can both taste good and be made with real ingredients. 

Although housed in the same location, Food Allergy Bakery products are made in a dedicated kitchen, with rigorous protocol in place to ensure no cross contamination (including dedicated air systems). If you've been craving the experience of going to a bakery and having tons of options to choose from, read on, because Food Allergy Bakery might just be the bakery of your dreams.
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Baker's Crust Bread Market Review

In passing through Norfolk, Virginia last week, I sought out a restaurant that had lots of gluten and dairy-free options and high recommendations on Find Me Gluten Free. After searching through the results, Baker's Crust stood out with both rave reviews and many options.

Baker's Crust seems to be a counterintuitive name for a gluten-free friendly restaurant, but if you look beyond the name, their options for gluten-free dining are pretty expansive. Pizza, pasta, and bread are all on the menu, and the staff are trained to recognize the importance of allergy-friendly dining. 

Baker's Crust is a regional chain in Virginia with several locations in addition to the one I visited, located in the Ghent neighborhood. Surrounded by cute shops and cafes, it was a nice location that was easily accessible from downtown Norfolk where I was staying.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Nona Lim Soup Cups Review

Soup is always a good go-to for lunch or dinner, because it's endlessly versatile and satisfying. When I typically pack soup-to-go, it involves packing soup in one container and bringing along a glass container to warm it up in the microwave. While that's a solution that works- it's annoying to have to pack so many accessories just to heat a bowl of soup.

The culinary engineers over at Nona Lim have come up with an intuitive solution to this dilemma- soup cups that go from fridge to fully heated all while in the same container. Better yet- consuming them is a task that can be done without utensils. Picture this: the functionality of a coffee mug filled with the deliciousness of gourmet soup.

I first encountered these soup cups at Expo East 2016 (see that post here), but have only recently spotted them on store shelves near me. The full line of soups includes both both soups and broths, but I could only track down the soups. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gluten-Free Options at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI)

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I wholeheartedly and absolutely love my local airport: Baltimore Washington international Airport, BWI for short. It's conveniently located, easy to navigate, and has plenty of food options for a traveller with dietary restrictions. I've flown in and out of the airport several times, making mental notes about gluten-free options but finally decided to put (metaphorical) pen to paper so that you can use this resource next time you are traveling.

From fast food to fro-yo, smoothies to sit-down restaurants, BWI has options any time of day for travelers. In fact, it was ranked the healthiest airport in the country (read more)! Because this is a compilation instead of a review, note that gluten-free options can vary and change, and you should always ask to speak with staff about your dietary restrictions before dining out.
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Larabar Bites Review

Larabar is a company that has made its name in making energy bars that provide a nutritional boost while also featuring more indulgent flavors. Before their new energy bar bites caught my eye at Target, I assumed their products were not safe, but was floored when I found out that they are all gluten-free.

These new energy ball bites combine the functionality of the bars with the presentation of a truffle for a snack that is both sweet and satisfying. Made with real, pronounceable ingredients irresistible in their flavor profile, they promise to make treating yourself good for you as well.

The bites come in four flavors that have less than ten ingredients each: double chocolate, mint chocolate, cherry chocolate, and chocolate macaroon. Because I am not a huge cherry or coconut fan, I decided to focus my review on the mint chocolate and double chocolate bites.
Friday, February 17, 2017

Cat Cora's Kitchen Review (Atlanta Airport)

As Airports go, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is a behemoth with several terminals and a nonstop flow of people coming and going. On my latest pass through Atlanta, I had a little extra time on my hands, which meant I could explore the foodie options around. At Hartsfield-Jackson, you've got the typical lineup of fast food joints and convince stores, but I was looking for something a little more substantial, because I had not had breakfast and still had a while to go until I landed back in Baltimore.

When looking at a directory, Cat Cora's Kitchen stood out to me because she used to be the celebrity chef behind Kouzzina, the now-reborn Disney restaurant that had excellent gluten-free options. With real food on the menu, and a gluten-free menu to guide me, I had high hopes that this "airport food" would break the bland stereotypes often assigned to it.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Canyon Bakehouse Heritage Style Gluten-Free Bread Review

Canyon Bakehouse has already won me (see that post here) over as one of the best gluten-free breads on the market, but if there's one overarching downside to gluten-free bread, it's that it's tiny. No self-respecting lunch packer wants to pack a teeny tiny sandwich that can be eaten in a few bites when gluten-eaters can enjoy full-size sandwiches that are so large they have to be cut in half. 

Enter Canyon Bakehouse's newest bread: their heritage style loaves that are a whopping 1.5 pounds, and impressive in their dimensions. Finally gluten-free bread is entering the big leagues, and I couldn't wait to try it out as a college student who relies on packed lunches to get through my long days. 

This new Heritage Style bread comes in two varieties: honey white and whole grain. They are gluten, dairy, nut, and soy-free, and are worth taking note of because they are kind of  a big deal (too soon for another "big" joke?).