Thursday, July 31, 2014

Side Trip: Anyetsang's Little Tibet Review and Anatolia Review (Bloomington, IN)

I firmly believe that colleges and good restaurants are like lightning and thunder; where one goes, the other is sure to follow. That is definitely true of Bloomington, IN, home of Indiana University and a plethora of restaurants and cafes serving up quality fare for hungry college students and locals alike. While the town is populated with restaurants of all stripes- family run establishments to national chains- I knew I wanted to eat locally-owned restaurants during my short time here. After doing some preliminary research, I decided to check out 4th Street which was a short walk from the hotel. This street is home to many authentic multicultural food offerings. Each cute house on the street was home to a different cuisine and each was more enticing than the next. I wish I had a full month to explore each individual house on the street, because Bloomington packs a lot of gluten-free goodness into such a small town. After careful consideration, I selected two restaurants on the street to try on this visit: Anyetsang's Little Tibet and Anatolia.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Side Trip: LaRosa's Pizza Review and The Green Papaya Review (Cincinnati, OH)

The People of Cincinnati are proud of their distinct culinary mainstays that have become world-renowned. Skyline's chili, Graeter's ice cream, Montomery Inn's ribs and LaRosa's pizza are just a handful of the tried and true companies that are pinnacles of the city's taste. Having tried all of the above restaurants growing up in Ohio, I can testify to their greatness, but upon going gluten free almost three years ago, I quickly realized that I could no longer enjoy my old favorites which were gluten and dairy laden. Planning to visit family in Cincy on the way to a conference in Indiana this summer, I decided to look into my culinary options to see if they had become a little more gluten friendly since my last visit. After scouring the internet for gluten free options in the city, I pinpointed two restaurants nearby that would be convenient and safe to eat out with family: LaRosa's Pizza and The Green Papaya. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Papa Joe's Pizza Review

The more I eat and explore around Orlando, the more I realize just how much I've been missing out on Orlando's rich variety of culinary offerings and that I've been missing out on gluten free offerings in my own backyard. Such as the case with Papa Joe's Pizza which has flown beneath my gluten-free radar for years now. Though I enjoyed their pizza from my gluten/dairy eating days, I figured they were on the blacklist of unsafe restaurants. Thanks to my favorite gluten-free restaurant database- Find Me Gluten Free- I was excited to find that they are now serving up gluten free pizza and pasta. Eager to see if their pizza is a good as I remember it, I found an opportunity to pick up a pizza to go after a long day of volunteering left me hungry, but too tired to cook.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory

After an incredible dining experience at Boatwright's Dining Hall at Disney's Port Orleans Resort, it was only fitting that we finish our evening with New Orleans' favorite treat- beignets. Those familiar with these deep-friend dough pockets know that they are unlike anything else on Earth and are rarely gluten-free friendly. Once again, the magic of Disney is at play at Port Orleans because they have made these sweet treats safe for those with food allergies to enjoy once again. Having never tried a beignet before or after going gluten free, I couldn't wait to get my first taste of a dessert I've seen my friends and family happily devour. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Boatwright's Dining Hall Review

Looking to make the most of my limited time left in Central Florida (one month and counting!) I was really looking forward to visiting Boatwright's Dining Hall located in Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort because it meant meeting up with two friends and fellow bloggers- Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando and Sarah from Gluten Free and Dairy Free at Walt Disney World. While we seemingly cross paths all the time covering gluten free food at Disney and Central Florida, it's hard to coordinate a time to sit down and catch up in person. When deciding on where to visit, Boatwright's immediately came up as a must-do restaurant and I happily agreed having never been there before and excited by the prospect of discovering one of their favorite restaurants!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Celebrating Awareness at Walt Disney World!

Though it is months away, I've got a big red circle drawn on my calendar over November 22nd. Why? The Food Allergy and Celiac Convention at Walt Disney World comes to town that day. As a member of their official Blogger Street Team, I'm so excited to be a part of this amazing event which will feature many different opportunities to connect and collaborate with Disney, vendors, and fellow gluten-free diners to bring awareness to our shared diet and share the magic of being able to enjoy great gluten-free food. As the day draws closer, I'll be sharing more info on this convention and covering the event to the fullest. In the spirit of getting the word out about this upcoming event, I've compiled a list of my top 8 reasons why you should check it out!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Orlando Gluten-free Food Truck Adventures (Featuring Wako Taco and Sweet City Gelato)

After having so much fun at my first Food Truck Bazaar in Sanford last month, I knew I couldn't stay away from these travelling culinary events for long. After all, being around so many different types of trucks and people made for a fun outing. Wanting to discover more gluten and dairy friendly food trucks, I did some more digging around and question asking to determine what my next food truck tasting would be. After picking out some possibilities, I checked local Food Truck events to see when would be a good opportunity to try them out. Thanks to Florida's reliable, but plan-ruining afternoon thunderstorms, my plans got scratched out several times before I finally caught an afternoon primed for Bazaar-going. This time, I caught the event at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando which hosted and impressive 25 food trucks. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saffron Road Lemongrass Basil Chicken Review

Though I'm making the most of my time left here in Central Florida, I'm all too aware that pretty soon I'll be in a new locale with new food options and limited opportunities to eat out. I've already been working with dining services at my new school regarding my dietary needs, but know that sometimes a trip to the dining hall will not be in the cards. This summer, I've been trying out some frozen entrees which will become dorm staples that will help me make it through the semester happily and healthily. My latest find that makes the "dean's list" of my go-to foods, is Saffron Road's Lemongrass Basil Chicken which brings together the authentic Thai flavors of lemongrass, basil, curry, and fragrant basmati rice

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sanaa Review

What's so great and frustrating about food blogging is that the more I venture out and try new restaurants and cuisine styles, the more restaurants I put on my "to-do list" to review. As they stack up, it's hard to sort out which ones to go to first and which ones to put on the waiting list. After all, I am on a budget and can't eat out each and every meal. Sanaa is one such restaurant that's been patiently waiting on my list for a while now. Earning rave reviews from fellow gluten free bloggers and foodies alike, my expectations grew as time went by and when I finally found a window of opportunity to eat there (my aunt coming to visit), I jumped at the chance to try it out. Just a fair warning going into it: this post is photo heavy because I got carried away by the beautiful (and delicious) culinary creations served up!

Sanaa Gluten-free and Dairy-free Menus

Note: Since my last visit to Sanaa, new top eight allergen free menus have been released at Sanaa, and these menus have replaced the menus shown here. Please consult those for the most up-to-date allergen information.

This post is dedicated to my pictures of Sanaa's dedicated gluten and dairy free menus. While I wanted to include them with my full review in the spirit of sharing information, I didn't want to make the review unbearably lengthy and information-laden. As always, these menus are current as of July 2014 and are subject to ingredient availability and seasonal changes. For more information on Sanaa's full menu, click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Namaste Gluten Free Pizza Crust Review

When it comes to pizza, I'm pretty picky. While it would take a lot for me to ever turn down a gluten-free pizza (except cross-contamination), I've had more than one disappointing subpar pie during my tenure as a gluten free diner. Though I would love to be able to go to my favorite pizza chains whenever I'm craving this all-American fare, the inconvenient truth about gluten-free pizza is that it's pretty expensive. Spending upwards of $15-20 for one single-serve pizza is hard to stomach no matter how much I enjoy the pizza. Though I bite the bullet once in a while, I've made it my mission this summer to find a good gluten-free pizza crust mix in the event my school's cafeteria pizzas don't make the grade. Usually, I turn to Udi's frozen crusts when I make homemade pizza, but I wanted to mix it up a bit- literally and figuratively.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Tap Room at Dubsdread Review

When it comes to restaurants that have stood the test of time and are perennial local favorites, The Tap Room at Dubsdread in the Orlando's College Park area comes to mind as it is routinely awarded honors for its cuisine and hospitality. Having never visited before, I was excited to finally have an opportunity to have a lunch on the restaurant's patio area. Overlooking the golf course's first tee, the view is scenic, yet sheltered from the heat of the day thanks to air conditioners and fans placed strategically. Locke, in his puppy days, was a frequent visitor to the Tap Room and I really loved the idea of seeing his old "stomping ground" while meeting his puppy raiser (the woman who raised him for nine months as a puppy) and her mother.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Toasted Restaurant Review and Gluten-free Meetup Recap

Toasted, as its name might suggest, specializes in grilled cheese and burgers prepared perfectly and are easily adapted to accommodate special diets. While their duel menu categories are deceptively simple, their offerings are far from the traditional grilled cheese or hamburger you're used to or have grown up with.

Though Toasted has been on my "to-do" list for a while now, I finally had the opportunity to check them out thanks to the careful coordination of a Central Florida gluten-free meetup hosted by Jennifer from Celiac in Orlando. Hopefully the first of many future gluten-free meetups in the future, I was blown away by the lengths the owners of Toasted go to keep their gluten-free options safe truly gluten-free.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Magnolia Square Market Review

While in town for lunch at Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe, Jennifer and I knew we had to stop by their sister shop Hollerbach's Magnolia Square Market when our waitress mentioned their supply of gluten-free goods. Located literally right around the corner, Magnolia Square Market stocks imported German products, specialty items, deli specialties and a range of freshly baked goods. Upon first entering, the small market can be hard to navigate thanks to the densely packed shelves and labels in foreign languages. However, one you know where to look and what to avoid, the shopping gets easier. For those wanting to recreate the dishes made next door or wanting to source authentic German products, it's clear why the Market attracts visitors from near and far.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe Review

German food is a culinary landscape I must admit that I know little about. While other ethnic foods and I have become acquainted over the years, Germany's hearty cuisine has remained somewhat of a mystery to me. My only frame of reference on the culture and cuisine comes from my family's annual attendance of Cincinnati's Oktoberfest, one of the biggest celebrations in the country which I fondly remember for huge soft pretzels, chicken dancing, and seeing the massive beer garden. Nowadays, the thought of heavy noodles, sausages, pretzels and beer is enough to make me queasy so it's kind of ironic that I found my way to Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe in Sanford recently for decidedly German-themed lunch. The occasion? Meeting Jennifer from Celiac in Orlando. Discovering that we both had the Willow Tree on our "to-do" lists for local restaurants, we mutually agreed to give the place a try.