Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Products of 2015

My year-end round up comes down to one last top 10 list: my favorite products of the year. Although it was difficult to narrow down my favorite restaurants of the year, this list definitely ups the ante because I have tried so many fabulous and truly ground-breaking products this year. Some I found through gluten-free expos and trade shows and others by keeping my eyes peeled on every grocery run I take. 

I am really excited to reveal my top ten picks and look forward to a whole year of new products to emerge next year. What will be the next big gluten-free thing? 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 10 Orlando and Central Florida Gluten-Free Restaurants of 2015

Assembling this list of my favorite gluten-free and dairy-free restaurant finds of the year was a far more difficult task that I thought it would be. After all, I have had so many amazing and diverse restaurant experiences over the year. The list as you read it now represents Orlando's complex foodie culture that encompasses theme parks, the farm-to-table movement, food trucks, and excellent ethnic cuisine. While other cities can claim a diverse restaurant scene, few compare to the sheer variety we have in Orlando thanks to the convergence of locals and tourists alike. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Artichoke Red Vegan Market

When it comes to your local gluten-free shopping in Orlando, the stores I mainly rely on are Whole Foods Market, Hoover's Market and local farmers' markets. While other health food stores exist in the area, those three are the vast majority that seem to have the greatest selection to fit my needs.

While grabbing lunch at Hubbly Bubbly (see review here) in the College Park neighborhood, I decided to stop by Artichoke Red Vegan Market after I saw a sign advertising gluten-free items in the window. Located along Edgewater Avenue, Artichoke Red is conveniently located near downtown Orlando and definitely is a neat place to check out for those with dietary restrictions of all types be it allergies, intolerances, or special diets (paleo, vegan, etc.)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tapa Toro Review

When it comes to eating out gluten-free, one of the worst experiences I've ever had occurred last Christmas when a trip to Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant on International Drive in Orlando turned into a total disaster. What promised to be a festive meal with my family soured as I quickly lost faith that I could eat safely there. 

This Christmas, I was determined to find a restaurant that would allow my family to try something new and simply enjoy being together on the holiday. After consideration and extensive research, I suggested Tapa Toro on International Drive for it's extensive menu which featured both gluten-free items and those that would appeal to my gluten-eating family. While we all were excited about the opportunity to check Tapa Toro out, the restaurant proved to be a wonderful Christmas surprise for us all.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Boardwalk Pizza Review

Although Orlando does have its foodie niches (food trucks, pho restaurants, theme park fare) its gluten-free pizza scene is sorely lacking. Having eaten around the region trying gluten-free pizzas of all shapes and sizes, I consider Boardwalk Pizza in Winter Park as my favorite independent pizzeria in the Orlando area because their pizzas are consistently good and the staff are knowledgable. 

Although I've eaten at Boardwalk Pizza countless times over the years, I realized I had never formally written up a review on the blog. After reading my friend Alexis' review over on her blog Gluten Free in Orlando, I definitely made sure to put Boardwalk on my must-do list over winter break because I have not eaten there in over a year. Although I knew my past pizzas were excellent, I wondered how Boardwalk would compare to my new favorite pizza spots in Baltimore.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pepa's Arepas Food Truck Review

One of my favorite features of Orlando's foodie scene is food trucks: mobile gourmet restaurants on wheels that pop up all over the Central Florida region. Found at farmers' markets, local hotels, and special food truck bazaars that collect dozens in one place, food trucks are easily accessible, but often have limited options for gluten-free diners.

Luckily, there are a special few food trucks who work to make sure their offerings are both delicious and gluten-free. Because of them, those with food restrictions can join in on the fun. Although I've found a few trucks in the past (see those here), I was excited to find Pepa's Arepas by way of Sarah from Gluten Free and Dairy Free at Walt Disney World. From afar I couldn't wait to return to Orlando to check out their delicious take on Venezuelan street food.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 5 Chain Restaurants and Top 5 Out-Of-State Restaurants of 2015

Since I am based in Orlando and Baltimore, my reviews disproportionately cover the two metropolitan areas. However, I cannot ignore the excellent restaurants I featured on the blog that don't quite qualify as local to either city. In this restaurant round-up I want to give a shout out to both the big chain restaurants and independent out-of-town restaurants that made the year memorable. 

This best-of list would be a good one to bookmark whenever travel is in your future. It's a reminder that delicious restaurants can be found in almost any city or town, but also that chain restaurants also play a vital role when alternate eats cannot be found. Whenever I travel I like to include a little of both types of restaurants. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Top 10 Baltimore Gluten-Free Restaurants of 2015

It is hard to believe that 2015 is rapidly coming to a close. As I prepare to welcome in 2016, I cannot help but look at what a year it has been on Eating Out Without Gluten and Dairy. This year marks my blog's first full calendar year in operation, and in the past 12 months I have discovered many a great gluten-free restaurant along the way. 

As I did last year, I wanted to reflect on the year at was and round up all of the Baltimore restaurants that I have featured on the blog. It definitely was an arduous task to narrow down the best of the best new Baltimore eats, but I think this top ten list is a pretty good representation of the new-to-me restaurants I discovered this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vivo Italian Kitchen Review (Universal Orlando CityWalk)

It's no secret that my favorite of Orlando's "big three" theme parks is Universal Orlando. As a devoted Harry Potter fan, Universal totally won me over with their truly breathtaking recreations of the Wizarding World. However, another feature I really love about Universal is CityWalk, a collection of shops, eateries, and night life venues that ensure a day at the park truly turns into an experience.

Since I have been away from Orlando for months, I was way overdue for a trip to my favorite park, especially since my annual pass is expiring early next year. Once my plane touched down in Orlando, my dad and I headed of for a night of wandering around the park and grabbing dinner. After seeing some positive reviews of Vivo Italian Kitchen online, we decided to try it out, as I have been on a gluten-free pasta kick lately. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Cheesecake Factory Review

When it comes to restaurants I really enjoyed before gluten and dairy were off limits in my life, the Cheesecake Factory holds a special place for me as it was the go-to place for any special occasion my family would celebrate. 

Until recently, I had no idea if the Cheesecake Factory was gluten-free friendly because their online menu and website does not have a mention of gluten-free items anywhere. However, some holiday shopping at the Towson mall led me to check out the Cheesecake Factory to see if anything on their massive menu would be safe. I was happy to find that they had plenty of delicious options on hand, and decided to give them a try.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gluten-Free Options at the Cheesecake Factory

Before visiting and reviewing the Cheesecake Factory, I had a really difficult time finding out what, if any gluten-free offerings they had. The only information I could find was pretty outdated and the Cheesecake Factory's own website was decidedly unhelpful in my quest. 

Luckily, the in-restaurant menu was a lot more informative with symbols to alert to guests which items are gluten-free adaptable on request. Of course it should go without saying that the Cheesecake Factory is a shared kitchen environment and not 100% gluten-free. Make sure when you order that you specify your specific dietary needs with the staff, and ask questions about shared fryers, clean pasta water, and other little things that make big difference in keeping gluten-free food actually gluten-free.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Our House Baking Mixes Review: Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part review covering Our House baking mixes. To see part 1, click here.

Back in September at the Natural Products Expo East, Our House baking mixes caught my eye because they were gluten-free, top allergen-free, and vegan. The company generously sent me a sampling of mixes to taste and try, and have been hard at work putting each to the test. 

This review covers the chocolate brownie mix, pancake and waffle mix, and all purpose four, the three mixes that are the sweetest of the assortment.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sabor Latin Street Grill Review

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my plans to spend Thanksgiving in Orlando were disrupted, sending me to North Carolina to be with my family there. Relishing the opportunity to cook and bake with my family, I did not get to do much restaurant exploration. Realizing that I'd have an opportunity to explore Charlotte, NC before flying out the next day, I decided to research gluten-free restaurants to check out.

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile might remember that I passed through Charlotte earlier this year for the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event and discovered the gluten-free friendliness of Maggiano's Little Italy and Zoe's Kitchen. Returning to the city, I wanted to find a non-chain restaurant to check out, especially since I visited on Small Business Saturday. Sabor Latin Street Grill caught my eye on Find Me Gluten Free with several positive reviews, so I decided to try them out.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: November 2015

November is a month of indulgence as winter sets in and food takes center stage in the holiday season. 

This month's round up of festive food that caught my eye features a nice trio of products. Party-perfect and sure to please, they may entertaining a breeze with their vibrant flavors and versatility. 

I know I will be enjoying all three as I head into the final stretch of my semester because studying for final exams definitely builds up my appetite.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Roti Mediterranean Grill Review

With my weekend in Washington D.C. ticking down to it's final minutes, I knew I wanted to make the most of a final opportunity to try a new restaurant. 

Arriving at Union Station early to make sure that I did not miss my MARC train back to Baltimore, I took advantage of the extra time on hand to check out Roti Mediterranean Grill, which is a chain I saw in several locations around the city. Roti offers fast casual Mediterranean food in the style of Chipotle, and earns major points for offering gluten-free pita bread, an elusive luxury that is such a treat when you can find it "in the wild." Roti proved to be an excellent stop because it made for the perfect travelling food as I headed out of town.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pleasant Pops Cafe & Market Review

Before heading out of Washington D.C. I had one last stop on my sightseeing list... a matinee performance of Avenue Q by the Constellation Theater Company. After my taco breakfast, I checked out of my hotel and headed northward to where the theater was, leaving enough time to checkout Pleasant Pops Cafe and Market in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Pleasant Pops proved to be a perfect lunchtime spot because it had an array of gluten-free friendly items and totally had a great vibe and impressive focus on supporting local products and producers. Plus, whenever popsicles are on the menu for lunch is a pretty great opportunity!

Friday, November 20, 2015

District Taco Review

After a successful first half of my weekend in Washington D.C., I knew I wanted to kick off my second day and take advantage of the remaining hours I had left in the city before I had to return to Baltimore. 

Setting off early in the morning, I headed over to the National Mall and spent an amazing couple of hours roaming around the monuments from west to east. The definitely highlight was getting to take in the cool, crisp Washington morning from the Lincoln Memorial, which has pretty sweet 360 degree views of the city. 

Having skipped breakfast in my hotel, I definitely worked up an appetite, and was eager for the rare chance to eat breakfast out. Those who have read this blog for awhile might have picked up that I am a huge taco fan, so when I found out that District Taco opens for breakfast, I knew immediately where I would head for the first meal of the day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Legal Sea Foods Review

Legal Seafood is a northeastern chain that I am definitely familiar with from travels throughout the Northeast, but have never eaten at as a gluten-free diner. After a busy afternoon of visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum and wandering about the National Mall, I made my way over to Chinatown for an early dinner at Legal Seafood after several recommendations from readers as well as several great reviews of their allergen-handling protocols.

Although the neighborhood was bustling, the restaurant had a serene atmosphere, which was nice after a long day of sightseeing and facing a cold, blustery day. Eager for the rare opportunity to enjoy the delicacy of seafood, I settled in to enjoy my experience. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oyamel Gluten-Free and Allergen Brunch Menu

To read my full review of brunch at Oyamel, click here to access it. 

Once I picked out a weekend that would be perfect for a Washington DC adventure, I knew I had to do my homework to figure out where I wanted to stop and eat while in the city. 

Oyamel quickly emerged as a great option after doing a few Google searches and checking out Find Me Gluten Free, my go-to source for restaurant intel when I am travelling. As I discovered, Oyamel has a quite extensive gluten-free menu that was conscious of other dietary restrictions.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oyamel Review

With less than 48 hours to explore around Washington D.C., I knew I had to plan efficiently to cover all of the sightseeing and restaurant exploring that I wanted to accomplish over this past weekend. 

After rising before the crack of dawn to catch a train into the city I spent Saturday morning exploring the Capital, Supreme Court and Library of Congress. After a sufficient amount of sightseeing for the morning, I made my way to Oyamel Cocina Mexicana for a quick stop for lunch before more exploring later in the day.

Located a few blocks from the National Mall, Oyamel is a great option for those with various dietary needs, because they not only are gluten-free friendly, but aware of other allergens. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen Review

Between my classes, homework, work, and extracurricular commitments, it would be totally fair to say that my free time has definitely had some cutbacks this semester. While I am definitely not complaining, I am finding that my ability to venture off campus and try new restaurants is limited as a result. 

This past weekend however, I had the opportunity to check out a restaurant that has popped up on my radar due to the allure of gluten-free falafel. Despite the dismal weather, I made the rain-drenched trek to Federal Hill in high hopes of delicious cuisine.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Our House Baking Mixes Review: Part 1

This is part one of a two part review. Find part two at this link.

As a college kid who has severed ties with my university's meal plan, I gave up the convenience of on-campus dining in favor of cooking entirely for myself. While I am quite enjoying getting to experiment in the kitchen, I appreciate now more than ever the convenience of baking mixes.

I first came across Our House Baking Mixes in September at the Natural Products Expo East. While I could not try the samples on the show floor, I was impressed by the company's allergen-free and vegan formulation and eagerly agreed to give the brand a full look. When my special delivery arrived at my dorm last month, I eagerly began the delicious task of putting the six mixes I was sent to the test. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: October 2015

As October gracefully makes its final bow, it's a bittersweet time, because fall is finally giving way to winter. While I absolutely love both seasons, I will miss the golden afternoons and extra hours of daylight that signify autumn in Maryland.

This month, the four products that caught my eye definitely have a lot of variety, coming from brands both familiar and new to me. What all these products have in common, however, is that they not only taste good, but are good for you. Boosting health conscious attributes such as allergen-friendliness, non-GMO status, or a focus on real ingredients, each proves that eating well does not have to be a compromise.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Falafelicious Review

Update 12/28/15: Falafelicious has closed for the winter. Check their Facebook page for updates as to their spring reopening.

I am admittedly a huge fan of ethnic food and have been bummed out by a lack of accessible falafel-serving establishments in the Baltimore area. Since falling head over heels for the middle eastern delicacy earlier this year, falafel has become a staple of my diet in a pretty big way. 

With midterms keeping me on campus for the past few weeks, I have been itching to branch out and explore new restaurants in the Baltimore area. Luckily, a free Thursday afternoon, perfect fall weather, and the discovery of newly-opened Falalfelicious in Canton Crossing coincided to allow me to get off campus for a couple hours and break my restaurant review drought. As you soon will see, it was a perfect opportunity to mix it up and break my routine.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This time of year is my very favorite in terms of seasonal flavors. Pumpkin, apples, spices, and other fall-inspired flavors surround us and make the onset of winter weather a little less intimidating. 

Although I totally do not mind splurging on pumpkin pies from local bakeries, I definitely do not have the budget to buy them at the rate I wish I could.

Realizing that my only alternative was to learn how to make a pie for myself, off I headed to Amazon in search of a pie pan to add to my ever-increasing stock of cooking supplies. When I bake from a recipe, I like to lean towards paleo or grain-free ones, as it allows me to make recipes that have a lower sugar profile and higher protein profile. After some searching, I found a recipe that caught my eye, and decided to put it to the test.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Among Friends Baking Mixes Review and Flash Giveaway

This time of year is my favorite, as it signals the start to the season of festivity that lasts through the new year.

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays coming up, cooler weather and a celebratory air brings a new-found appreciation for the simple pleasure of a fresh from the oven cookies. 

After falling in love with Among Friends' chocolate chip cookie mix at Expo East last month, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to check out some of their other offerings. Luckily, I came home with three mixes to put to the test in my dorm kitchen, and each had it's own unique taste that set it apart from the myriad of mixes I have encountered before.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Daiya Cheezy Mac Review

As a college student who cannot have gluten or dairy, I have had to miss out on one of the greatest indulgences of college life: macaroni and cheese.

While I certainly have found plenty of other delicious foods to fuel late night study sessions and finals week madness, there's truly no equal replacement for mac and cheese that I have found in my many years sans gluten and dairy. 

Luckily, the food wizards over at Daiya set out to prove to the world that a macaroni and cheese without "normal" noodles and "normal" cheese can be everything I have been craving and so much more. 

Without giving too much away, I can say that all three varieties of cheezy mac totally rocked my world and are definitely a must-have pantry item for kids of all ages (adults too)! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kite Hill Yogurt Review

My relationship with non-dairy yogurt has been rocky at best over the past several years. When I first realized that dairy products were problematic for me, yogurt was an essential part of my diet. I transitioned to lactose-free yogurt, which continued to make me sick, and later tried a variety of dairy-free varieties which were- to be perfectly honest- absolutely disgusting. 

Luckily, the geniuses over at Kite Hill have endeavored to change the dairy-free status quo by engineering products that are just as good (if not better) than their dairy-laden counterparts. I've fallen in love with their incredible cream cheeses (see that review here) and was super excited to hear that their latest product is almondmilk yogurt. Thrilled by finally spotting them at the Whole Foods in Columbia, MD a question lingered in my mind: could this really be the perfect non-dairy yogurt I've been waiting for? All I can say is read on dear readers, read on. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Umami Global Bistro Review

Okay, I know my recent review line up has been very product heavy. With my academic workload piling up and the massive (but amazing) ordeal of Expo East over the last few weeks, I haven't had the time to check out the restaurants on my wish list. 

Luckily, my mom came to visit last week, which allowed me to enjoy 72 hours of temporary freedom, as together we crazily ran around the city to help me stock up at Costco, Whole Foods, and Wegmans, three stores that are harder to get to on my own. 

Although the visit was short, I made sure to budget enough time to check out Umami Global Bistro in Catonsville, a restaurant that's been on my radar for awhile now. Drawn in by their many gluten-free and vegan offerings, I admit that I had pretty high expectations, given my previous experience with other excellent ethnic restaurants. Without giving away too many spoilers, I can confirm that Umami totally met and exceeded every one of those expectations.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: September 2015

As I write this, Maryland is getting inundated by a particularly soaking nor'easter. As a seasoned Floridian, I am not afraid of a ton of wet, nasty weather. However, in anticipation of a weekend largely spent indoors, I have to rely on my stash of food stocked up in my dorm, because I do not have the heart to brave the storm to check out a restaurant. Luckily, the four products featured this month definitely help break up the monotony of my dorm diet, and are welcome new additions to my repertoire.

 From an easy-to-make stove top meal to a komboucha that totally turned me on to the fermented beverage, there's a lot to love about each of the featured products.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Expo East 2015: Breads, Cereals, Pizzas, and Pastas

This review is part of my coverage of the Natural Products Expo East 2015. For a overview and to enter my swag bag giveaway, click here.

If sweets are a sure bet at any gluten-free products expo, placing as runner up for the next most-represented category is the carbs: breads, cereals, pastas, and pizza. 

Years ago when I first went gluten-free, the breads, pizzas, and pastas I ate are practically pieces of cardboard compared to the offerings I found on the show floor. While some of these brands may be familiar to you, most were new to me, which is cool because the increasing quality of breads and other products means the gluten-free standard is getting higher and higher which means that being gluten-free no longer means that we have to settle for subpar substitutes of our favorite gluten-filled goods.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Expo East 2015: Meals

This review is part of my coverage of the Natural Products Expo East 2015. For a overview and to enter my swag bag giveaway, click here.

Now that I've covered sweets, snacks, and vegan meats and cheeses, my next to last Expo East recap tackles the meals, and meal components I found along the way. 

From mac and cheese to mess-free gazpacho, this recap certainly holds some of my favorite products I found on the show floor. The four featured products are definitely ones that make my life easier as a college student who must cook for herself for every meal, and certainly prove that gluten-free eating doesn't have to be a compromise. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Expo East 2015: Vegan Meat and Cheeses

This review is part of my coverage of the Natural Products Expo East 2015. For a overview and to enter my swag bag giveaway, click here.

Despite the fact I can eat vegan products, and incorporate many into my life, I have never been a "plant based protein" person, or much of believer in non-dairy cheeses. The high ratio of soy-based items and off tasting substitutes have made me grown weary to venture into the world of meat substitutes and vegan products. 

Luckily, Expo East proved to be a mind-opening experience for me, as I found products that not only made me switch my stance on vegan proteins and cheeses, but products that  are gluten, dairy, and soy free. Even days after Expo East, I have already purchased several of these products and have enjoyed incorporating them into my life.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Expo East 2015: Snacks

This review is part of my coverage of the Natural Products Expo East 2015. For a overview and to enter my swag bag giveaway, click here.

Having already reviewed sweets, I naturally turn to snack foods, which this year brought a lot of exciting finds, most of them from new-to-me companies. 

In this recap, I'm dishing up all about bars, chips, and nut-based snack foods that will certainly be a welcome addition to my collegiate diet, which is often lacking in fun snack foods. Perfect for kids of all ages, the snack selection featured ranges from kid-friendly munchies to more sophisticated offerings, and even includes an Old Bay-infused product that totally rocked my world as a proud semi-Marylander.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Expo East 2015: Sweets

This review is part of my coverage of the Natural Products Expo East 2015. For a overview and to enter my swag bag giveaway, click here.

If there's one sure thing about any gluten-free event or expo, it's that there will definitely be tons of sweets to sample. Expo East this year lived up to this gluten-free fact in grandiose fashion, as I was able to encounter plenty of sweets in all shapes and sizes. 

From chocolates and cookies to sorbet and ice cream, I encountered a plethora of products from companies both familiar and new-to-me. I was impressed by the way each product that makes this round-up was able to stand out it its own way, distancing itself from the pack of gluten-free goodies already flooding the market. Without further ado, let's delve into the deliciously sweet surprises found on the show floor!

Expo East 2015: Overview and Giveaway

What a weekend it was. For me, Christmas comes once a year to Baltimore, and it's not that December holiday you're thinking of. No, it's the Natural Products Expo East, which graces Baltimore every September, bringing three full days of marathon sampling, meeting foodie friends, and searching for the diamonds in the rough among the thousands of natural products vendors assembled. 

Expo East is in a league all its own among gluten-free events, as it is less of a gluten-free community event than an annual gathering for food industry professionals. As such, the vibe is really cool because the vendors I got to know on the show floor were also seen by retail buyers, distributors, and others who make it possible for new products to find their way to store shelves near you and me. 

Although my recap review posts and annual best-of list are still in the works (stay tuned), my excitement for everything I've seen and sampled lead to this post, which will be a good one to bookmark, as I'll link each recap to it, and it'll also be the place where you can enter my giveaway for a swag bag fresh from the show floor!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Go Macro Macrobar Review

Recently, my reviews have been geared more to the product side, as my restaurant visits have been few and far between as school has started up. While I've missed getting out to explore Baltimore neighborhoods, I have found many intriguing products that have brought welcome change to my diet, forcing me to get out of my dietary comfort zone. 

Go Macro's macrobars are one such product that I have discovered in my quest to find on-the-go options that will power me through the day. The thoughtfully curated ingredients used to make the bars are chosen to align with the macrobiotic diet, which in short promotes a balanced, organic, plant-based diet to achieve a balance that emphasizes focus on the food we use to fuel our bodies.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Beetnik Paleo Frozen Entrees Review

I often dabble in the paleo diet, because I like the focus on unrefined ingredients and increasing protein while minimizing sugar. While I am by no means a devoted follower of the diet (I admittedly love carbs too much), I'm always looking for ways to make cooking and baking paleo part of my busy lifestyle. I was excited to find Beetnik Foods' line of frozen entrees while perusing my local Mom's Organic Market last week, which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. These paleo-friendly, microwave-friendly entrees use real, organic ingredients to make gourmet meals easy to make and accessible for both paleo devotees and aspiring foodies.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cafe Spice Indian Entrees Review

Although I'm new to the fan club, my love affair with Indian food has inspired me to start incorporating more of the cuisine's signature spiciness into my diet. On a recent visit to Whole Foods in Mt. Washington, I was ecstatic to find Cafe Spice's prepared entrees in the refrigerated section, and even more excited to see that they all were gluten-free. Although I like cooking, I certainly do not want to have to pull out pots and pans for every meal. Cafe Spice proved that I can achieve restaurant-quality food without the mess or the bill! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Muffin Mix Review

This review is part of my coverage of the launch of Enjoy Life Foods' new line of allergen-free baking mixes. For more information about them, click here.

If you have followed my blog over the last month, you've probably picked up on the fact that I have been trying out Enjoy Life Foods' new gluten-free, vegan, allergen-free baking mixes. Last, but not least of the four baking mixes, is the muffin mix, which arguably is the most versatile of the pre-mixed baking mixes. 

As a busy college student with 8 AM classes, I often have no time to prepare breakfast in the dorm kitchen, as I have to get out the door at least 30 minutes before class begins. Muffins are the perfect way to start the day, giving me healthy carbs, protein, and probiotics, all without requiring utensils or dirtying dishes. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pure Chocolate by Jinji Review

While I have discovered and enjoyed many gluten and dairy-free bakeries, baking mixes, and other sweets in my career as a food intolerant blogger, I have yet enjoy the luxurious experience of going to a gourmet chocolate shop and being able to select custom crafted creations that are safe for me to eat. 

Luckily, this review breaks the gourmet chocolate drought for me, because Pure Chocolate by Jinji is the answer to my gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate loving prayers. Based in Baltimore's Belvedere Square Market and with retail locations around the area, Jinji is a chocolate purveyor like none other. 

Harmony Bakery Review

Gluten-free bakeries are an oasis for us gluten-free folks where we can once again revel in window shopping fresh baked goods that are actually safe to eat. Here in Baltimore, I have been spoiled by several excellent local bakeries, but was really excited to welcome Harmony Bakery as the area's newest bakery. 

While not new to me, as I have been a patron of Harmony Bakery at the Saturday morning Waverly Street Farmers' Market, I was ecstatic to learn of the opening their new Hampden brick and mortar location last spring. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it out there before the semester ended, but definitely placed the bakery high on my must-do list for the current semester. 

A recent visit from my mom proved to be the perfect opportunity to check it out, as she loves exploring around the city's locally owned restaurants as much as I do. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Atwater's Review

Image Source
Atwater's Bakery and Cafe is a Baltimore based farm-to-table restaurant that offers a daily selection of the freshest foods for its patrons to enjoy.  After their made in house gluten-free bread got on my radar thanks to a City Paper article (see that here), I knew I wanted to check out this truly local establishment. 

With locations across the city, I set my sights on the Belvedere Market location, as it's very easy for me to access, and allows me to peruse the other local-focused vendors that call the market home. I planned my visit to coincide with my mom's recent visit, to allow us to share a nice meal and get off campus for awhile. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: August 2015

Tis the season. Although September has not yet arrived, I'm so excited that this month's round-up of products that caught my eye includes one of fall's signature flavors: pumpkin. While I am not one to relegate pumpkin to a one-season indulgence, I am certainly glad to see the winds shifting towards my favorite season of the year.

The theme that ties together this month's four featured products is that they are quick-and-easy eats that are perfect for back to school. As I transitioned back to college life, finding each of these products has made cooking (or avoiding it) an easy and delicious affair. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Brownie Mix Review

This review is part of my coverage of the launch of Enjoy Life Foods' new line of allergen-free baking mixes. For more information about them, click here.

With my first week of classes under my belt, I figured that the perfect way to celebrate a successful transition back to college was a big pan of brownies using Enjoy Life Foods' new gluten-free, vegan brownie mix. 

This new mix, as with the other baking mixes Enjoy Life Foods introduced this summer offers a ton of great features that sets the mix apart from the competition: it requires no additional ingredients besides water and oil, is free from the top eight allergens, and is made with ancient grains and probiotics to create a baked treat that is just as nutritious as it is delicious. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nature's Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars Review and Giveaway

With my fall semester classes gearing up and my free time evaporating, I am quickly turning to grab and go options to help me fuel up for long, busy days, without having to cook or wash dishes afterwards. Luckily, Nature's Bakery has perfect timing introducing their new line of gluten-free fig bars just in time for back-to-school.

As soon as I discovered that these bars were in the works, I reached out immediately to Nature's Bakery, because I was super excited to give these a try. When I could enjoy "regular" food, I was not a big fig bar fan, but in my years without gluten, my heart has grown fond for the fruity snack. 

Nature's Bakery is introducing not just one fig bar, but four delicious fruit-infused flavors of fig bars, including blueberry, pomegranate, raspberry and traditional fig. Without giving too much of my review away, let's just say that they definitely are going to be a morning breakfast staple as I head to early 8 AM classes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Glory Days Grill Review

While moving back up to Maryland a couple weeks ago, my dad wanted to grab lunch with an old friend of his amidst all of the unpacking and supply runs. Wanting to mesh his tastes with my gluten-free needs, I suggested Glory Days Grill, which was a short drive away, which offered an extensive gluten-free menu as well as plenty of sports-related watching and eating to satisfy his friend and him. 

While I am not normally a sports bar person, I certainly recognize that there are definitely restaurants for every interest and taste, so will right off the bat go ahead and say that Glory Days Grill is not a restaurant I would go on my own, which indeed instilled a sense of a lack of enthusiasm going into this review.

As it turned out, Glory Days did impress me with their service and gluten-free know-how, and earned my respect as a chain restaurant in the area that understands how to take care of gluten-free customers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tortilleria Sinaloa Review

For my first foodie excursion back in Baltimore, I had to carefully choose which of the many restaurants on my to-eat list I would indulge in. Winning that honor was Tortilleria Sinaloa, on the premise of fresh-made homemade tortillas and a 100% gluten-free menu.

After a day of unpacking and putting together my dorm room 2.0 configuration (I am in the same dorm and room this year), I knew that a late lunch, early dinner would be the optimal time to swing into the city to check Tortilleria Sinaloa out.

Nestled in the ethnic melting pot that is Fells Point, Tortilleria Sinaloa definitely scratches the taco itch I often get up in here Maryland, where non-Chipotle tacos are rarer than they are back in the sunshine state. After my recent rash of gluten-free taco finds this summer, Tortilleria Sinaloa definitely puts up a fair fight and proved themselves worthy of all the hype.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Pancake and Waffle Mix Review

This review is part of my coverage of the launch of Enjoy Life Foods' new line of allergen-free baking mixes. For more information about them, click here.

One of life's little luxuries is a stack of fresh-made pancakes or a nice, big Belgian waffle to start the day. For those of us avoiding gluten, dairy, or other allergens, these breakfast staples are so often off limits at restaurants. Luckily, allergen-conscious pancake/waffle mixes are pretty user friendly and make recreating these griddle cakes easy and delicious.

Already a fan of some other brands' pancake/waffle mixes, I couldn't wait to see how Enjoy Life Foods' new pancake and waffle mix would compare. Packed with protein, probiotics, and ancient grains, the mix definitely made an impact before I even pulled out my waffle iron.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Justin's Gluten-Free Pretzel and Nut Butter Snack Packs Review

As a college kid ever on the go, I'm all about grab and go snacks. Between classes, an on-campus job, homework, and other activities, I am always looking for delicious, nutritious ways to refuel that last all day and do not need extra attention such as refrigeration.

Luckily, the nut butter experts over at Justin's have innovated a new product that has hit Target shelves nationwide just in time for the back-to-school rush. The pretzel packs come in three delicious flavors: hazelnut butter, classic almond butter, and maple almond butter; all of which are perfectly pack-able, snack-able, and perfect for anyone on the go.