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

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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)

Image Source
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?). 
Saturday, February 4, 2017

Path-of-Life Product Review (Giveaway)

As a gluten-free college student, I am running from classes, to work, to my internship with little time left in the day for actually preparing a full meal three times a day. Although I prefer home cooked meals, the reality is that I rely on the convenience of microwave food most nights to save precious time for studying.

Microwave food gets a bad rap for being unhealthy and bland, but at Expo East last year, I found a brand that is anything but: Path of Life organics. Their line of organic, gluten-free vegetables and grains can stand alone for a meal, or serve as substantial side dishes. They cook in four minutes, and have an easy (and short) ingredient list. 

When Path of Life offered to send me some samples for a review, I agreed without hesitation, because I couldn't wait to check out their full line of products. Not only were they fun to try, but they fit seamlessly into my weekday routine- a real win/win. With real vegetables, grains, and mixes of both, the meal possibilities are truly endless.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cava Mezze Grill Review

Before heading back to campus to start the spring semester, my mom and I took advantage of my final weekend of winter break to stay in Tysons Corner, VA and explore around Washington D.C. 

Tysons Corner is retail-dense suburb that's roughly half an hour away from D.C., and is home to several gluten-free friendly restaurants- both chain and independent. With so many options, it's a great place to stay when visiting the areal.

After deliberating where to eat, high recommendations of Cava Mezze Grill on Find Me Gluten Free persuaded me to check out this restaurant, which is the fast casual cousin of Cava Mezze, a sit-down restaurant also with locations around the area.

Cava follows in a common trend in restaurants these days with a DIY approach to building Mediterranean-inspired bowls. It's up to you to pick the toppings, proteins, and dressings according to your tastes. With fresh flavors, and mostly gluten-free fare, I found Cava both easy to navigate and chock-full of safe options that ensure anyone with food restrictions is not missing out when dining here.
Monday, January 30, 2017

White Envelope Arepa Bar Review

After a month away on winter break from school, I am excited to be back in Baltimore and tuned in to the latest and greatest on the gluten-free food beat in Charm City. 

After landing at BWI, I had my sights set on R. House, a new food concept launch pad in the Remington neighborhood of the city. Part concept incubator, part urban market, this old warehouse space brings together ten food and drink stalls from local chefs who promise to pioneer the next generation of eats. 

What initially drew me to R. House in the first place was White Envelope Arepa Bar, a 100% gluten-free stall in the market, which features arepas- a South American signature dish that's a favorite of mine. 

Arepas feature toppings such as shredded meats and vegetables sandwiched between grilled mesa patties, and are naturally gluten-free (in most cases) the good news for Baltimore arepa lovers is that White Envelope's are all 100% gluten-free.
Friday, January 27, 2017

Create Your Nature Review

My final dispatch from Florida during my winter break from college comes from Winter Park, where I investigated Create Your Nature, a build-your-own smoothie and salad restaurant. With tons of naturally gluten-free and dairy-free options and a menu featuring nothing but healthy choice, it's a win/win restaurant concept.

Orlando's restaurant scene is still in the development stage, and it's nice to see quick-serve restaurants like this start to enter the scene to balance out the myriad of gourmet burger joints in town. 

Create Your Nature stands out from other health-focused restaurants because of the simplicity of their offerings, after all it comes down to three choices: smoothies, oat bowls, and salads. Don't let the simplicity fool you, Create Your Nature's menu allows for creativity and customization on your part.

Most of the menu is gluten-free and dairy-free, and made with real, simple ingredients, which makes for a nutritious and delicious breakfast, brunch, or lunch on-the-go. 
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

San Clemente Cookie Dough Co. Review

If I have discovered anything in this world as a foodie with food restrictions, it's that gluten-free, vegan cookie dough is the stuff dreams are made of. Whether you are craving oven-hot cookies or an indulgent snack of raw (but safe) cookie dough, there's really no losing when it comes to gluten-free, vegan dough.

I've heard buzz surrounding San Clemente Cookie Dough Co.'s vegan, gluten-free cookie dough, as they've worked for years on a perfect recipe for delicious, but healthy(ish) raw cookie dough. Now ready to launch, they are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to get the project off the ground. 

When Mike, the founder put out an all-call for taste testers to promote the dough's launch, I happily volunteered for the responsibility to put the dough to test. I've seen many a gluten and dairy-free dough in my life, and wondered how this new product would stack up. 

What's awesome about San Clemente is that there cookies are not only safe for those avoiding gluten and dairy, but their cookies are egg-free, soy-free and organic too. 
Monday, January 16, 2017

Sweet Utopian Review

Ever since Raphsodic Bakery closed, Orlando has been lacking a local (non-chain) bakery. I'm always on the hunt for gluten and dairy-free fare, so when I began to hear buzz about Sweet Utopian, a gluten-free and vegan nut "mylk" purveyor and bakery, I knew I had to check them out.

Sweet Utopian was founded with a simple mission- producing quality goods with real ingredients. In the words of A.B., the owner, no one has high-fructose corn syrup or MSG in their kitchen pantry, shouldn't we expect more of the food we eat? 

I love baking, because I get to connect with the ingredients and share the finished product with friends and family. However, as my life has gotten busier, I find that I bake less, and visit bakeries more. With high hopes that Sweet Utopian would pass my taste tests and be a reliable local bakery, I could't wait to test them out.
Sunday, January 15, 2017

Goose Feathers Cafe Review

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In the final stretch of my winter break from college, I traded the warm weather of Florida for the more seasonably appropriate weather of North Carolina so I could visit my aunt and uncle. 

In driving the distance between the two localities, Savannah, Georgia proved to be the best place to find many gluten-free options for lunch. After comparing several options, I decided upon Goose Feathers Cafe because they offered something simple that's hard to find gluten-free: a deli sandwich. 

Goose Feathers Cafe, now in its 31st year, is a cute, bustling cafe that offers the best of breakfast and lunch in a delicious brunch service all day. Although many items- especially their artisanal baked goods- are not safe, what options they do have for gluten-free guests are worth taking note.
Friday, January 13, 2017

Wahlburgers Review

Before diving into the gluten and dairy-free options to be had at Wahlburgers, a newcomer to the Orlando "premium burger scene," I'll admit that I have very minimal knowledge about who the Wahlburgs are and what they've done in the entertainment world.

With the help of my good friend Google, here's some context: Wahlburgers was founded by Paul Walhberg, the chef among the Wahlburg brothers (Mark and Donnie). The creation of his Boston-based burger restaurant sparked a television show, and eventually expansion beyond Beantown (see that here).

You don't need that level of analysis to enjoy Wahlburgers, but it certainly will help the decor and menu items make a little more sense. What makes a lot of sense? Their gluten-free offerings, which are certainly numerous.
Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Smoothie Room Orlando Review

I have been on a smoothie kick of late, as I have visited many new-to-me smoothie shops in recent weeks. Although it's currently winter, I don't really let cold temperatures deter me from seeking these nutrient-dense blended beverages. 

While in visiting Orlando I made a point to check out The Smoothie Room because unlike major chains, they do not add sweeteners, syrups, or sugars to their smoothies. While smoothies are high in sugar as a basic fact, I like mine sweetened naturally by whole, real fruits.

The Smoothie Room is located in the bustling SoDo shopping center (South of Downtown), and the day I visited, they were definitely embracing the nice temperatures by opening up their front door to bring in sunlight and air. 
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dandelion Communitea Cafe Review

When people ask me about the east place to find gluten-free and dairy-free eats in Orlando, I always send them first to Dandelion Communitea Cafe. Located in quirky and small-business-rich Mills 50 district, Dandelion has been purveying allergen-friendly fare long before it was "cool." 

With plenty of plant-based eats, a dazzling array of teas on tap, and a great vibe derived from their friendly staff and art-filled interior, it's impossible to not fall in love with this Cafe.

After years serving the health-focused foodie community of Orlando, Dandelion recently introduced a menu change to ring in the New Year, so naturally I had to check it out while in town for the holidays. With changes both large and small, I decided it was high time for an updated post, as my last one was published in 2014
Friday, January 6, 2017

Gluten-Free Options at Orlando International Airport (MCO)

I am a frequent traveller, and pass through the Orlando airport several times a year, as my family lives in Central Florida. Although I rarely stop to take stock of dining options in the airport and bring my own stash of food instead, it is helpful to know what's at the airport so in the event of flight delays or other circumstances (forgetting your safe food- I've done that several times) you know where you can go to get gluten and dairy-free food.

I did a post covering gluten-free and dairy-free options at Orlando International Airport (MCO) back in 2014 but much as changed at the airport since I first looked in to safe options. 

In writing this, I have to put out a disclaimer that options might change without notice, as MCO is always changing up food and retail options. I will do my best to update accordingly, and will note when locations close or new ones open. To see MCO's full retail and eatery directory as well as hours for each store, click here

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dewey's Pizza Review

The last of my reviews from my recent visit to Cincinnati is Dewey's Pizza, a regional chain pizza company that has gluten-free offerings.

Pizza is among the trickiest of foods to navigate when dining out gluten-free because there are so many moving parts. From the oven, to the utensils (pizza cutter, sauce ladle), to the free-flying flour in the kitchen, so few restaurants understand the nuance and importance of doing right by their gluten-free parsons.

I'm happy to report that Dewey's is not one of those restaurants, and does care about gluten-free diners. While not a dedicated restaurant, they do take precautions, and have a 12" pizza that ensures those with celiac or intolerances don't miss out on the fun of pizza night.
Monday, January 2, 2017

Bagger Dave's Review

While in Cincinnati next week, my parents wanted to meet up with former friends who lived in our old hometown near Dayton. As a good halfway point, we decided to meet in West Chester, Ohio, and I went to work researching places to eat at. 

After considering chain restaurants I have been to before, I decided to try Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern after seeing their many gluten-free options. Bagger Dave's is a regional chain with locations in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. 

Gourmet burger places have totally been a hot trend in recent years, but Bagger Dave's scores points for not only featuring gourmet burgers but also featuring a menu of other options as well.
Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tropical Smoothie Review (Giveaway)

The dawning of a new year is a time when most people take stock of their health habits and refocus on how to make the new year happier and healthier. 

As 2016 was coming to a close, Tropical Smoothie Cafe reached out to me and offered to team up for a fun giveaway to kick off 2017. I needed no persuasion to accept the offer, as Tropical Smoothie Cafe is my favorite of the "chain" smoothie places around, and I had yet to write a review of their smoothies.

What I love about smoothies is that they are perfectly capable of filling in as a meal (breakfast or lunch) or can be a mid-day snack to tide you over between meals. They're endlessly versatile, and pretty gluten and dairy-safe, as long as you make sure to ask about hidden ingredients. 

Tropical Smoothie's food options are limited for those with allergies, but their smoothies are very accommodating. With protein-packed, superfood, and decadent dessert varieties, their smoothies satisfy any time of day and the many safe options mean that you can taste around the menu on every visit.

Sleepy Bee Cafe Review

In the holiday week between Christmas and New Year, I was able to return to Cincinnati, Ohio to celebrate the end of the year with my family. I visited Cincinnati earlier this year and really enjoyed exploring their foodie offerings. On this return visit, I couldn't wait to continue exploring. 

On the recommendation of my cousin and sister, we decided to go out for breakfast one morning at Sleepy Bee Cafe, a cute breakfast cafe in the Oakley neighborhood northeast of the city. 

I so rarely eat breakfast out, so this morning outing was a real treat for me. As I entered the restaurant, I instantly fell in love with the cute decor and bustling atmosphere, and settled in for a good meal.