Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: June

June has been a quiet, but busy month for me. Immersed in my internship, I'm finding that my work schedule leaves me with little time and energy to cook whole meals when I get home. 

Luckily all four of my favorite finds of June are the perfect solution for dinnertime dilemmas because they're easy to make and taste great without dirtying up the kitchen. 

While great on their own, these products also are versatile enough to hold there own when incorporated into a homemade meal. The possibilities are endless, and the versatility is perfect for picnics, cookouts, or wherever your summer takes you.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vivoli Gelateria Review (Downtown Disney/Disney Springs)

When you think of Italy's finest exports, most of them are not gluten or dairy-free: pasta, artisan cheeses, and other delicacies. Luckily, Orlando's newest import- Vivoli Gerlateria- is different because it is an equal opportunity business, offering plenty of dairy-free and dairy-filled offerings to please one and all.

What's really neat about this gelati emporium is that it's sister store is a beloved time-tested family-run gelato parlour in Florence, Italy. That's right, there's only two places in the world where this gelati can be found: Italy and right here in Orlando at Downtown Disney. 

Arriving early before a morning movie at the AMC theater at Downtown Disney, my mom and I decided to try out the newly opened establishment. Sorbet for breakfast was certainly a delicious prospect to me!

Bongos Cuban Cafe Review (Downtown Disney)

Working two internships this summer, I haven't has a much time as I'd like to explore in and around Orlando. Throw in record-breaking temps, higher than high humidity, and the usual unpredictability of Floridian weather, and it's clear why my adventures have been few and far between.

Waiting for a free weekend to get out and simply enjoy a day on the town, I knew that I wanted to explore Downtown Disney (a.k.a the new Disney Springs). 

Since my last visit in March (Raglan Road and Erin McKenna's Bakery), Downtown Disney has definitely been making some big strides towards becoming Disney Springs. Deciding to catch a movie at the AMC theater there, I decided to try lunch not at a new installation, but at a Downtown Disney staple: Bongos Cuban Cafe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So Delicious Cashew Milk Ice Cream Review

I've spent way too much money on sub par dairy-free ice cream in my years post-dairy. Despite the endless dead ends, I have continued on my quest to find ice cream that is rich, creamy, and perfect. Having tried rice, almond, and coconut based varieties without finding my Goldilocks product, I could not wait to give the new line of cashew milk ice creams from dairy-free dedicated So Delicious Dairy Free a try.

These new flavors are an interesting break from the typical flavors found in conventional ice cream. Moving towards the more gourmet realm, these flavors go above and beyond your average chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry options. The new flavors are: cappuccino, creamy cashew, dark chocolate truffle, salted caramel cluster, and snickerdoodle. Mixing notes of sweet, salty, and nutty, the flavors certainly elevate the simple indulgence of ice cream to a delicious, dreamy affair. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Carrabba's Italian Grill Review

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Carrabba's has been a family favorite for years, serving as our traditional New Year's Eve dinner. Recently, they revamped their gluten-free menu, upgrading it from a blandly uninteresting list of options to a list that included some of Carrabba's most beloved staples including sirloin marsala, chicken Bryan, and the Johnny.

Father's Day proved to be the perfect opportunity for an excursion to our local Carrabba's, and I arrived with high expectations and an eager appetite. It made the holiday extra meaningful to know that my whole family could go out to eat, while at the same time no one had to compromise for my dietary restrictions or their preferences.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bread Review and Giveaway

Canyon Bakehouse is one of those companies that just gets "gluten-free" right and does it in spectacular fashion. 

Dedicated bakehouse? Check. 
Dairy-free products? Double check.
Bread that authentically tastes and feels "real"? Check, check, and check again.

While I've been able to sample the rosemary and thyme focaccia and both varieties of bagels before, I have not explored their back catalog of breads in all shapes and sizes. I jumped at the opportunity to sample their other breads, buns, and muffins. Eager to see if their other breads would hold up to my picky tastes, I could not wait to dig in and dish up my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Glutino Gluten-Free Animal Crackers Review

Although I normally bypass packaged cookies in favor of do-it-yourself mixes and homemade cookies, I could not help but jump for joy when I heard the Glutino's latest gluten-free offering is one of my favorite childhood delicacies: animal crackers.

Once these kid-friendly cookies were announced, I knew the hunt was on to locate them and many weeks of patient searching paid off and I soon came home with a pack each of both animal cracker varieties: graham and original. From the moment I opened the packaging, my inner child was gleeful to find that Glutino would be bringing animal crackers back into my gluten-free world in a big way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop Review

Ever since discovering the magic of falafels while exploring Annapolis this spring, I've been wanting to get another taste of the Middle Eastern delicacy. Luckily, I stumbled across Hubbly Bubbly, a College Park installation while going out for lunch with a friend recently, and the location proved to be the perfect meet-up point.

What's so cool about Hubbly Bubbly, is that this little restaurant serves up seriously good food that is seriously good for you as well. Everything is made fresh on-site, and the staff are well trained to handle gluten-free diners, vegans, and vegetarians alike. 

With the highest of hopes, I could not wait to see if Hubbly Bubbly would prove themselves and earn a place on my go-to list of Orlando foodie establishments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Philly Swirl Italian Ice Review and Giveaway

Summer is undoubtedly here to stay, and it is all I can do to beat the heat. As the Florida summer is gearing up in full force, I was thrilled to be asked to review a product that would be the perfect antidote to the heat: Philly Swirl's new swirled Italian ice products.

When they arrived on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to break in to try the three styles of Italian ice, and with 24 products in total, the shipment was a big hit for my family as well. 

Cool, sweet, and serving up exciting twists on both classic and unconventional flavors, Philly Swirl allowed me to bypass the local Italian ice shop and come home to a sweet treat after a long day at work. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sus Hi Eatstation Review (Sushi Eatstation)

Although I've taste tested my way around many Asian cuisines here on the blog, I have not yet made it to the world of sushi, mostly for my dislike of raw fish and difficulty of finding safe places to give the cuisine a go. 

Luckily, a previous engagement near UCF proved to be the perfect opportunity for me to try out Sus Hi Eatstation, a funky sushi place that serves up food that could please any gluten-free or dairy-free ninja.

Unlike many sushi restaurants, Sus Hi prides itself on being a budget-friendly fast casual restaurant, an industry niche that is perfect for college students like me.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Specialty Pizza Review

There are times when I am game for constructing a pizza masterpiece from scratch, and there are times when I am not. After a long workweek left me exhausted and uninspired, I could think of no better way to spend Tonys Sunday than settling in for the Broadway's best night with a delivery pizza on hand to maximize the fun and minimize the mess.

Living north of Orlando, most of my favorite pizza places in town are at least a twenty minute drive away. Luckily, in my absence, I discovered that a nearby delivery pizza restaurant had introduced a gluten-free menu. Skeptical at first, I was unsure whether I wanted to give them a go, but was convinced by the rave reviews I saw on a local gluten-free Orlando Facebook page and Find Me Gluten Free. This pizza place, Specialty Pizza, was a family favorite of mine in my previous life as a gluten eater, so I was excited to see if they could serve a safe pie right to my doorstep.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gluten-free Friendly Restaurants at Universal Orlando CityWalk

CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort is a hot spot for tourists and locals alike. The restaurants are aplenty and the people watching is hard to beat. My goal this summer is to explore more of them, as I am a Universal Orlando passholder, but in the mean time, I've assembled a guide to gluten-free eats in this entertainment mecca. 

With the exception of a few restaurants that I've actually eaten at (full reviews will be linked to the post), I have not actually visited these restaurants, but am simply providing the information found on the website. Also to note is that the following menu items are marked for gluten, but not dairy. Have an inside tip or have been there yourself? I'd love to know and expand this restaurant round up with crowd sourced information. Your best bet with any of these restaurants is to contact them directly, as they are not owned or run by Universal Orlando.