Sunday, May 24, 2020

Taza Chocolate Virtual Factory Tour and Tasting Review

With an all-but-cancelled spring behind us and a rather uncertain summer ahead, like many of you, I've been slowly coming to terms with the "new abnormal" we are now living in.

As such, I've tempered my disappointment about canceled travel and events with closer-to-home adventures that have allowed me to re-discover my DC neighborhood and connect virtually with friends and family. 

Given that I'm not going anywhere any time soon, when I saw that Taza Chocolate was offering virtual tours of their Somerville, Massachusetts factory, I jumped at the opportunity to take a virtual trip to learn more about one of my favorite chocolate companies. I am already a huge fan of their line of completely gluten-free and dairy-free products! 

This online adaptation of their factory tour (via Zoom) not only includes a behind-the-scenes look at  ingredients and processes, but also comes features a delicious and interactive component- a bean-to-bar tasting!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants in DC to Support During the Covid19 Crisis

Like all of you, it's been really disconcerting to have the daily fabric of my life ripped apart by the coronavirus epidemic. Gone are the simple pleasures of workplace banter and high fives and my favorite things about Washington DC, which are the vibrant arts scene and delicious restaurants. 

It's clear this is a crisis unlike anything the world has ever seen, and it's going to have ramifications for the foreseeable future. In cities like mine, businesses large and small are reeling and seeking any kind of stable footing they can get. 

I've always been impressed by the solidarity of the DMV area and generosity of the gluten-free community, which is why I wanted to put together a post with a round up of local businesses in the area you can support to not only ensure local businesses can weather the storm, but that your pantries and freezers can be stocked with safe gluten-free food. If ordering out at this time is something you are not comfortable with, you can also order gift cards to lend your support now, and enjoy the benefits later once we are through the worst of this (with every hope that time comes sooner rather than later).

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Dairy-Free Oui by Yoplait Review

In recent months, the yogurt aisle at my local grocery stores has gotten a lot more crowded in the best possible way with mainstream brands introducing new dairy-free lines and already dairy-free brands introducing new products. It's certainly a great time to be in search of dairy-free yogurt and a long way from the sad days of off-textured and off-flavored versions I tried when I first transitioned away from all things dairy. 

I'm not going to lie when I say that I've enviously eyed the yogurt offerings of Yoplait's sub-brand Oui for years. The cute glass jars and focus on thick French-style yogurt with fruity fillings made with real ingredients seemed like a winning combination from afar. That's why when they rolled out their new coconut-based dairy-free line, I kept a close eye on local stores to see and taste them for myself. With the bar for dairy-free yogurt getting higher and higher, could these earn a place as my go-to choice for yogurt cravings?

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Commissary Review

When it comes to dining out, I disproportionately go for lunches and dinners rather than breakfasts, especially in DC. 

It's not that I'm not an early riser (which I am), it's that too often gluten and dairy-free options on a breakfast menu are so limited I'm stuck with very few options that don't exactly translate to something I can't make at home (such as omelets). 

In looking for brunch options during a recent visit from my dad, Commissary in Logan Circle caught my eye with rave reviews on Find Me Gluten-Free and versatile menus with gluten-free and dairy-free options across breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Excited by the prospect of adding another reliable brunch go-to restaurant to my rotation of DC favorites, I eagerly made a reservation to take advantage of my dad coming to town to visit.

Monday, February 17, 2020

North Market Pop Shop Review

Whether you are a city person or prefer wide, open spaces, living in or around DC offers the best of all worlds because there are so many places and geographies to explore within a reasonable distance of the Distract's boundaries. 

In light of the almost-spring-like temperatures we've had of late, my dad and I decided to take a short trek up to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to take in the historic battlefields (it's less than 2 hours by car). While I didn't see too many promising gluten and dairy-free options in the town itself, I was intrigued to see that our route would take us through Frederick, Maryland's second-largest city. 

In going down a gluten and dairy-free rabbit hole, I stumbled across what for me is a unicorn: a gluten and dairy-free ice cream shop. Always up for a short detour in the name of safe ice cream, we set our course for Frederick's North Market Pop Shop as the perfect stop for an afternoon pick-me-up in route back to Washington.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Sweet Crimes Popup at Ice Cream Jubilee

While I wait in eager anticipation for Sweet Crimes' 100% gluten-free bakery to open in the Capitol Hill neighborhood this year, the next best thing is their ongoing popup at Ice Cream Jubilee's storefront on bustling 14th Street in Washington, DC. 

I fell in love with their irresistible, fresh-fried donut holes at the Navy Yard foodie-emporium Smorgasburg last year (read my review). In this popup iteration, they've expanded the amount of items on offer to include a wider array of donuts, sweet treats, and savory sandwiches. 

What I love about Sweet Crimes is that they are committed to making gluten-free baked goods that aren't just "good for gluten-free" they actually hold their own and would pass any taste test, GF or not. 

The master baker behind the company, CK, is passionate about her baked goods, and that passion is born from a shared experience with many of her customers. After learning of her gluten intolerance, she founded Sweet Crimes in 2016, and has been perfecting her recipes at DC's own Mess Hall food incubator ever since. 

This popup at Ice Cream Jubilee is open daily from 8am-2pm and serves as a full service bakery during these hours and a pick-up distribution spot during off times.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Stone's Throw Hash Review

My absolute favorite place to eat in Baltimore is R House, the Remington food hall that has loads of gluten-free options and is a short walk away from my favorite museum in the city: the Baltimore Museum of Art.

While R House is home to several stands that have been there for years, what's cool is that every time you visit odds are there's something new to try at the dedicated pop up stand, which features homegrown fare from small businesses in the area. 

At reported by Andrea at the excellent Baltimore Gluten-Free blog, the most recent popup to take up residence at R House was Stone's Throw Hash, a dedicated gluten-free brunch lover's dream, as they menu consists of various iterations of organic and locally-sourced hashes. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Karma Modern Indian Review

Cementing January as a food-lover's wonderland in this area, Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week was conveniently timed right on the heels of the Bethesda's iteration. With so many great restaurants and tempting menus to choose from, I look forward to a perfect excuse to try restaurants that have been on my radar awhile but I just haven't stopped by yet.

Karma Modern Indian certainly falls into this category. Located in the Chinatown area downtown, conveniently located near Gallery Place, Karma caught my eye for their creative takes on Indian cuisine. As a huge fan of Indian fare, the prospect of a three course restaurant week feast cemented Karma as my choice for this year's winter Restaurant Week choice. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Little Beet Table Review

At last year's Washington DC Gluten-Free Expo, the most exciting piece of news to emerge from the event was that the DC area was getting its first dedicated gluten-free full service restaurant: Little Beet Table. 

A New York City export, Little Beet Table serves up seasonally inspired fare in the rare restaurant environment that is completely free from gluten. Not only can they cater to celiacs and other gluten-intolerant diners, they have plenty of dairy-free options too. 

Although they opened last November, I've been meaning to take the Metro red line journey to the restaurant's Friendship Heights location for some time. With Bethesda Magazine's annual winter Restaurant Week in full swing (January 10-19), I finally firmed up my plans, enticed by the promise of a prix fixe adventure through their menu offerings.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

True Food Kitchen Review

One of the best times of the year for DC-area foodies are local restaurant weeks, where DMV eateries roll out the red carpet and offer prix fixe menus that showcase seasonal flavors for a special price. I always keep a close eye to what's on offer for restaurant weeks in Bethesda and DC, and when I spotted True Food Kitchen's menus, I immediately made reservations. 

I've encountered True Food Kitchen once before, a few years ago in Atlanta and was impressed by the health-conscious and special diet-friendly menu. With this location so close to DC, I'm long overdue for paying it a visit and Bethesda Magazine Restaurant Week was the perfect excuse to finally stop by.