Sunday, March 17, 2019

Beyond Bread Review

Wherever my travels take me, I try to seek out and support 100% gluten-free establishments. Few and far between, these dedicated cafes, bakeries, and restaurants are truly an oasis in a gluten-full world and provide the rare experience of dining out without fear. 

That's why as soon as I landed in London, I started my first morning in the city with breakfast at Beyond Bread, a lovely little gluten-free bakery whose stellar reputation put it on my radar long before my plans were set to visit the UK. I've seen countless other gluten-free bloggers and foodies share mouth-watering photos of their gluten-free baked goods and couldn't wait to have my turn to enjoy their delicious offerings.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Oliver's Fish & Chips Review

Of course I couldn't travel thousands of miles to the UK without seeking out one of Britain's most iconic food pairings: fish and chips. 

After crowdsourcing recommendations for the best gluten-free fish and chips eateries via social media, Oliver's Fish & Chips in Belsize Park quickly made my short list of restaurants to visit. Not only do they have an abundance of gluten-free options, but they dedicate each and every Wednesday to going completely gluten-free.

Dedicating an afternoon to the enjoyment of fish and chips and exploring nearby Camden Market area, I eagerly anticipated enjoying one of my favorite pre-gluten-free meals on UK soil. 
Sunday, March 10, 2019

Leggero Review

For gluten-free diners, dedicated gluten-free Italian restaurants are the closest thing we have to the iconic "candy room" scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You mean everything on the menu is safe? Even the pasta and bread? Absolutely. Therefore, any opportunity to visit such a restaurant makes me want to burst out in spontaneous song. 

In doing my pre-trip homework on eateries I wanted to dine at in London, Leggero topped the list not only because they were a 100% gluten-free establishment, but the pasta, bread, and other dishes on the menu are all crafted with care in-house. Promising attention to detail and an innovative take on Italian cuisine, I made sure to arrive at Leggero with a hearty appetite and culinary curiosity. 
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Leon Review (UK)

Leon's Oxford location.
I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the United States because I live and work in the only US city (to date) that has Leon. This British fast food chain wowed me last year with their American debut and impressively delivered gluten-free friendly fare that was not only healthy, but absolutely delicious. 

As I was planning my recent UK trip, I knew for certain that stopping by one of Leon's many locations in London was a must, both as a comparison to their stateside shop as well as to try their highly-regarded gluten-free chicken nuggets, a menu item that has not made it across the pond (yet). As it happened, I was able to stop by Leon twice while overseas: I had lunch at their Oxford location and breakfast at Heathrow Airport before jet setting back to the States. 
Saturday, March 2, 2019

Gluten-Free Options on United Airlines International Flight (2019)

Up until now, my frame of reference with airplane food is the pint-sized and often gluten-laden snacks handed out at cruising altitude. Now that I've been gluten-free for several years, I've learned to approach any air travel like a chipmunk, stashing snacks in my carry-on to ensure I'm never without safe sustenance when traveling. 

However, when booking tickets for my first international flight to London, I was excited to see a gluten-free option listed as the meal selection option. While I would still plan to have plenty of snacks (because I guessed there'd be a high likelihood of dairy showing up in the meal), I was excited to see what would be served, and how edible it was (or looked). 
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Jaleo Review (Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week Menu)

Here in DC, Jose Andres is one of the district's most beloved residents. Not only are his restaurants excellent and very allergy-friendly (I've reviewed Oyamel, Jaleo, and China Chilcano), but Andres is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization to empower and strengthen communities around the world with education, training, and social enterprise. 

Of his many restaurants, Jaleo is definitely a crown jewel, and features an exciting menu of Spanish tapas, paella, and sangria in a colorful and energetic space. With a recent visit from my mom coinciding with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's winter restaurant week, I knew we had to make plans for lunch at Jaleo to seize this unmissable opportunity to sample several courses off the menu. Although I have dined a Jaleo once before (several years ago), this visit would be my first time dining at their flagship location in Penn Quarter so I eagerly anticipated this opportunity for the full experience.
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.