Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 5 Gluten-Free Chain Restaurants of 2016

The final of my year-end round-up posts covered the cream of the crop of chain restaurants I visited this year. 

Unlike my top picks from Baltimore (click here) and Washington D.C. (click here) this year, the good thing about the following chain restaurants is that there's a good chance there's a location near you.

As an added bonus, chain restaurants are nice because they are located across state borders, which ensures a little piece of mind when traveling. 

What's really cool about the five restaurants that are my top picks of the year is that they are all both amazingly good, and amazingly good for you. From pizza to stir fry, salads to dessert, each restaurant offers fresh flavors and predominantly plant-based eats that impressed me. Another bonus of all these restaurants? Their gluten-free offerings are numerous, which means that can be relied on for a good meal despite multiple visits.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top 5 Gluten-Free Baltimore Restaurants of 2016

To see my 2015 Best Gluten-Free in Baltimore list, click here. To see the 2014 list, click here.

As 2016 is quickly coming to a close, I have to do the difficult task of determining the highlights of my favorite gluten-free eats I've had this year. This year I'm spotlighting my top favorite foodie finds of 2016 in both Baltimore and D.C., the locales I've covered most this year. 

Because I want to focus on the best of the best from the blog, I have narrowed this best-of list of Baltimore to five restaurants. Criteria for making this list is that the review include that the review needed to be newly posted this year, the restaurants were in the Baltimore metro area and that the restaurants are not chains. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top 10 Washington D.C. Gluten-Free Restaurants of 2016

Although Baltimore is technically my home, I've spent far more time in Washington D.C. this year exploring the foodie scene. From food trucks to sit down restaurants, I've visited restaurants that have run the gamut in cuisine. 

Narrowing down my top ten favorite restaurants of 2016 was quite the challenge, so I want to clarify the criteria used for the ten that have earned a spot on my annual round-up of best restaurants. 

The following restaurants were newly reviewed in this calendar year, and are not national chains (some are regional chains with a few locations- coming soon is my chain restaurant best-of list). Because the District is quite small, geographically speaking, I have included my finds from bordering areas in Maryland and Virginia. That being said, all of the featured restaurants can be accessed quite easily via public transit or a quick drive. With those stipulations set, I'm proud to promote my top 10 gluten-free finds in Washington D.C. for this year.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Tasty Trend Review

Back in Orlando for only a few weeks, I came home with a lengthy list of places I wanted to check out for gluten-free eats. After enjoying lunch at Disney Springs, I suggested a stop at The Tasty Trend Bakery for dessert, a gluten-free bakery in Winter Garden that has allergen-friendly options on hand.

In a town overrun by chain bakeries where gluten-free is often an afterthought, The Tasty Trend focuses on those of us with dietary restrictions, as they are completely gluten, peanut, and tree nut free facility. It's a real treat to be able to partake in the experience of going to a bakery without fear, and I like to make a point of applauding and supporting local small businesses that work hard every day to serve the community. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Frontera Cocina Review (Disney Springs)

It's been quite a while since my last visit to Orlando, but in my absence I couldn't help but notice a buzz building around the transformation of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs. 

With a new layout, new shops, and new dining options, I knew I wanted to check out the complex soon after arriving home for the holidays. After going to a movie at the AMC located on property, my mom and I decided to grab lunch at Frontera Cocina, a place I've head good things about on Gluten-Free Dairy-Free at WDW and Alexis' Gluten Free Adventures.

Frontera Cocina comes from the culinary imagination of chef Rick Bayless, who has made his name cooking up Mexican dishes with modern flair. I'm a fan of Frontera's grocery products (chili starter, tortilla chips, simmer sauces), so I was excited to see how the restaurant would compare. On a busy day just before Christmas Day, I was able to walk right in to the restaurant without a reservation.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

No Whey Foods: Christmas Candy Review

Image Source
Before giving up gluten and dairy, the holiday season for me was filled with sweets ranging from candy canes to chocolate truffles, that helped to make the season merry and bright. Now with dietary restrictions, most of these delightful sweets are off limits, as gluten and dairy tend to spoil the fun.

This year, I was determined to find allergen-friendly peppermint bark, my favorite winter treat. After several faulty attempts, I came across No Whey Foods, an online allergen-free chocolatier that takes classic candy recipes and removes allergens to ensure everyone can enjoy a sweet treat. I decided to treat myself to a sampling of their Christmas offerings, and eagerly anticipating putting them to the test.

Birroteca Review

Taking the honor of the last restaurant I will review in Baltimore this year is Birroteca, a modern Italian restaurant with rustic sensibilities. Birroteca has two locations in the central Maryland region, one in Baltimore, and one in Bel Air. Owned by the same owners of Encantada (my review here), I couldn't wait to see how Birroteca would compare. 

My standards for gluten-free pizza have been elevated to almost unreal level, which has made me cautious to try new pizza places. I no longer am okay with a thin, brittle crust topped with minimal toppings, so I entered the experience halfway expecting to be disappointed. Without spoiling the review too much, I definitely had a tasty culinary adventure at Birroteca that left me wanting more.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Lilit Cafe Review

On my last D.C. trip of 2016, I had less than 24 hours to check out new restaurants or visit old favorites. I decided to use the time to trek up to Bethesda (via the red line Metro) to finally pay a visit to a gluten-free friendly restaurant that I have only heard good things about for years.

A little off the beaten path (especially on foot), Lilit Cafe proved to not only be worth the journey, but a place I regretted not coming to sooner. With oodles of gluten-free options and a staff that went above and beyond when it came to friendliness and allergy knowledge, this is definitely a must-visit for those visiting or living in the area. Eating out should be as effortless as Lilit Cafe makes it, and it goes above and beyond to be both a restaurant and convenience store for gluten-free eats.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Pure Raw Juice Review

Although this is not the case everywhere, December is certainly not prime smoothie-drinking weather here in Maryland. This time of year we tend to go for hot drinks and foods over frozen concoctions. 

However, upon hearing that Towson's latest gluten-free friendly restaurant was Pure Raw Juice, a 100% organic and raw juice and smoothie bar, I did not let the season- nor freezing temperatures- deter me from checking out the newcomer to the neighborhood.

Pure Raw Juice is an export of the Federal Hill neighborhood in Baltimore. Their expansion to Towson brings another welcome option for juices, smoothies, and other health-conscious fare to the area. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thai Landing Review

For someone who lives and works in Baltimore, a disproportionate amount of my recent reviews have covered Washington DC in lieu of my hometown. It's been a while since I did some culinary sleuthing in Charm City, but was craving Thai food, which called for a new expedition to find a gluten-free restaurant in my home city.

After scouring Google, I came across Thai Landing, a restaurant in the Mount Vernon neighborhood- just a few blocks from Penn Station. With marked menus to indicate gluten-free offerings, I decided to give them a try. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Corn Factory Review

Living in Orlando spoiled me a bit because their food truck scene has become a staple of the city's cuisine. In Washington D.C, the scene is a less organized, but there are tons of trucks that call the city home.

I have followed The Corn Factory for awhile, and have eagerly awaited checking out their menu of arepas, tacos, and tamales (my favorite foods in the world). Because they jump around the city and only work on weekdays, it was tough to align schedules, but I finally was able to check them out on a recent visit. 

The Corn Factory is the first dedicated gluten-free food truck I have found in the district, and I couldn't wait to check them out. On a blustery, chilly day, I was able to catch them at the State Department, their usual Friday hangout.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Burrito Brothers Review

After a disastrous turn of events that would have stranded me at the Atlanta airport for hours on end, I decided to jump in the car and drive back to Orlando with my mom and fly out of MCO the next morning. 

During our six hour drive, we made plans to stop in Gainesville, which is a town I have not checked out yet as a blogger. 

As I searched for a gluten-free friendly place to check out in the college town, I selected Burrito Brothers, which is a Gainesville institution  Specializing in Americanized Mexican food, it would be my first opportunity to check out a genre of Mexican food that's normally off limits to gluten-free folks.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

L'Thai Organic Cuisine Review

It's been a really, really long time since I last sought out Thai Food. Maybe it's because there are no good options in my neighborhood in Baltimore, maybe it's because I've been sidetracked exploring other food genres. 

Either way, my visit to L'Thai Organic Cuisine just outside of Atlanta proved to be the perfect opportunity to reunite with one of my favorite comfort food dishes- green curry. Long overdue for a taste of Thai cooking, a chilly night sparked my craving for the rich, hearty flavors of Thai food.

What's notable about L'Thai is that it's Georgia's first organic Thai restaurant. 85%-90% of the ingredients on the menu are organic, and gone are hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and MSG.

Not only does L'Thai carefully source their menu, they encourage diners to approach their meal with similar intentionality to savor the fullness of the experience- which can easily get lost in this hustle bustle world. Settling in for a dinner with high expectations, I couldn't wait to check out all of L'Thai's health-conscious offerings.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

True Food Kitchen Review

Click here to read my updated review of True Food Kitchen's Chevy Chase, MD location from January 2020. 

After spending some time in North Carolina over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I found myself in Atlanta a day before flying back home. With a little time to explore, I decided to check out True Food Kitchen at the Lennox Mall. The restaurant is a chain that promotes real, good food as a way to feel good holistically. 

After a week of feasting on fare that might not have been the most health-promoting, this seemed like just the place to get back on track food-wise. True Food Kitchen sources their menu to reflect seasonal flavors and local availability. They are friendly to gluten-free diners, vegans, and others with special diets alike, making this a place where piece of mind starts from the start.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Heritage Bakery & Cafe Review

At the eleventh hour, my Thanksgiving travel plans changed because I felt like I was beginning to succumb to oncoming sickness. Instead of flying to North Carolina for the holiday, my mom and I jumped in the car and drove from Baltimore down to avoid the hassle of fighting the stress of flying. 

We stayed overnight in Virginia, and when looking for breakfast the next day, I zeroed in on Heritage Bakery and Cafe in Harrisonburg, as a place where prior patrons had found gluten-free success. 

Located in the picturesque main street of Harrisonburg's downtown, Heritage Bakery and Cafe is in a cozy building that is also home to the town's visitor center. With large windows overlooking a courtyard and an old fashioned (in the best way) feel, I instantly fell in love with Heritage Bakery and Cafe from the moment I saw it. The only outstanding question- how gluten-free friendly would they be?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Modern Market Review (Giveaway)

While passing through Washington DC last weekend, I decided to take the red line Metro up to Bethesda to check out a restaurant that had piqued my interest: Modern Market. Located in the Bethesda Row shopping center, I was lured in with the promise of menu that had 

Modern Market is the rare hybrid of a lot of hot restaurant trends popping up these days that actually works. Their food is homemade from scratch and presented beautifully, and all items are farm-sourced to make good, clean, food. These days it's easy to find cafe-style and farm-to-table restaurants, but it's difficult to find establishments that can do both, and are also unpretentious and affordable.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Protein Bar Review

I've been to Washington D.C. enough times now that I now have to debate whether to visit beloved restaurants I have already been to or check out new ones. On my latest excursion, I decided to do the latter and check out as many new places as I could in my short time in the city.

Making the list for places I wanted to check out was The Protein Bar, which offers an fare for any time of day- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I decided to stop by for a late lunch, and was lured in by a menu marked with various dietary considerations.

The Protein Bar stands among the many new (and not-so-new) fast casual eateries in the city that offers fresh fare that's both quick to order and made with health-conscious restaurants. While the Protein Bar is not dedicated gluten-free or plant-based as others I have visited are, they are conscious of gluten-free and vegan eaters.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fruitive Review (Smoothie/Acai Bowl)

November is a little bit past prime smoothie season here in the Mid Atlantic, but I wasn't about to let chilly temperatures stop me from checking out a 100% organic plant-based cafe in Washington D.C. that puts juices, smoothies, and blended bowls front and center on their menu. Being 100% plant-based means that there are not animal products used (meat, eggs, milk, etc.) and that everything is vegan. 

Fruitive is not just a cafe selling healthy fare, they are committed to health as the foundation of their business, paying special focus to physical and environmental health. They don't cut corners, and they are authentic in everything they do.

What I like about Fruitive is that they are welcoming to customers on all sides of the health-food spectrum. As someone who is not a "hard core" juicing person, I sometime am intimidated by these uber healthy havens. Luckily, I found Fruitive to be a welcoming place where I could get good, healthy gluten and dairy-free food on the go.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tucson Tamale Company Review

Tamales hold a special place in my foodie heart because they are naturally gluten-free and are endlessly versatile in regards to toppings. 

Last month at the Natural Products Expo East, I discovered the Tucson Tamale company, whose diverse line of tamales are all gluten-free. Unfortunately, only one tamale they were sampling was both gluten and dairy-free (the blue corn and veggie) at the show.

When Tucson Tamale Company reached out offering to send me a wider range of gluten and dairy-free tamales to try, I did not hesitate and eagerly agreed for the chance to check out their other tamale offerings. The assortment they sent me really showcased the versatility of tamales ranging from traditional to more exotic flavor combos such as curry and pumpkin.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goodman Gluten Free Review

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to avoid longingly looking through the bakery section of grocery stores mourning the loss of being able to eat the breads and sweets that are laden with gluten and dairy. Although I try not to do it too often, a recent trip to the store made this tempting habit really pay off.

While at my local Fresh Market, I was cutting through the bakery section and stopped in my tracks when I spotted "normal" looking baked goods that were gluten, dairy, and nut-free. In a world where most gluten-free treats are in the freezer or packaged snacks aisle, Goodman's cookies and bread were a refreshing change of pace, and enabled me to regain the joy of being able to select fresh-baked goods. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Yeah! Burger Review

I'm not typically a "burgers and fries" kind of girl, but when Yeah! Burger kept popping up in my research for gluten-free places to dine in Atlanta, I was convinced to give the place a try after seeing lots of gluten-free options, including dedicated fryers and a DIY approach to building a custom burger. Plus, whenever you can get fresh sweet potato fries, you don't miss that opportunity.

Yeah! Burger has a couple locations in Atlanta, and I visited the Virginia-Highland location located in a really cool neighborhood outside of the bustle of downtown. 

Because of the rarity of my burger consumption, I was eager to see just how good Yeah! Burger could be after some pretty high standards set by other's reviews.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bartaco Review

Living in Baltimore, I get to jump over to Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia pretty regularly. However, I recently had the opportunity to travel south to Atlanta, which meant a return to a city I visited two years ago.

Because of the change in scenery, I definitely did not want to eat at familiar chains I've seen in Baltimore. To find restaurants to try, I try to stick to cuisines that are gluten-free friendly. 

Bartaco caught my attention because tacos definitely qualify as typically safe gluten-free territory. The options are plentiful and you really cannot go wrong with them.

Rasoi Indian Kitchen Review

On my most recent Washington D.C. trip, the final foodie destination on my itinerary was Rasoi Indian Kitchen, a restaurant where gluten-free options are plentiful and there's plenty for vegans to like as well.

I discovered Rasoi through Find Me Gluten-Free and was sold on the site by the complementary reviews from past diners. After checking out Rasoi's menu, I was impressed that the menu actually denotes gluten-containing dishes, not the gluten-free ones, a rarity with restaurant menus.

After a morning of sight-seeing, I stopped by Rasoi for takeout before heading over to Ford's Theatre for a Sunday matinee. Located just a few blocks from the White House, a prime location in the heart of D.C.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Relay Foods Review (Discount Code)

As much as I love turning grocery runs into scavenger hunts, I deeply dislike that I there's no store where I can get everything I need all in one place. Multiple grocery runs a week is super time consuming, so I decided to give Relay Foods a try. 

Relay Foods is a regional online grocer that enables customers to virtually shop for food then have it delivered to their doorstep or to a local pick up spot. Relay currently serves DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina with more markets added every day.

Food options on the site are plentiful, from fresh produce and meat to your favorite packaged snacks. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and other special diets are accommodated, and there's a nice mix of local and national brands to choose from.

Streamlining the grocery experience so that I could get a little more free time in the week? I was intrigued and finally decided to try it out.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Zorba's Cafe Review

After a day of Washington D.C. sightseeing while battling chilly, rainy weather, I was not too keen to trek across town for dinner after settling in to my hotel near Dupont Circle.

After doing some quick research, I decided to check out Zorba's Cafe, a neighborhood establishment that I have walked by many times before when visiting D.C. Greek food is comfort food for me, and the close proximity to my hotel meant that I could get take out to enjoy in the comforts of my room.

With a menu that is labeled to guide gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, I knew that it would not be a struggle to explain the nuances of restricted dining here. With plenty of options and good reviews from Find Me Gluten-Free, Zorba's Cafe was the perfect place for a low-key end to a busy day.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Honeygrow Review

Honeygrow is a Philadelphia-grown restaurant that quite recently is positioning themselves to expand into and all over DC and Baltimore (most locations are yet to be open as of the publication of this post). 

Honeygrow's menu consists of stir-fries, salads, and honeybars (think fruit-honey dream parfaits). With locally sourced ingredients and a focus on consciously curating the menu, Honeygrow is among the growing number of fast casual chains that care about making food both good to eat and good for you.

Stir fry alone is a rarity for gluten-free diners

After checking out Honeygrow's pending locations in Chinatown in DC and Charles Village in Baltimore (both late into 2016), my excitement for the restaurant built up so much  that I headed to their already-open location in Arlington, Virginia's Pentagon City shopping center to check out their gluten and dairy-free options.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 Expo East: Snacks, Bread & Baking

To read my Expo East overview and enter to win a swag bag fresh from the show floor, click here.

This is the last in the trio of Expo East lists of my favorite products by category. From a show filled with hundreds to thousands of brands, it wasn't easy to narrow down my favorites. 

This list covers the snacks, breads, and baking products that caught my eye. This category might have been the most difficult to narrow down because I already have such high standards and brand loyalty to companies I use on a regular basis. 

However, on the show floor I discovered new companies as well as new products from some of my favorite companies that definitely warrant attention because they are pushing gluten-free snacks, breads, and baking to the next level.

Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 Expo East: Meals & Beverages

To read my Expo East overview and enter to win a swag bag fresh from the show floor, click here.

After recapping the sweets that topped the charts for me, let's switch gears a bit and focus on more savory, sustaining options. 

This review focuses on the meals (or substantial meal components) and beverages that stood out from the pack. As someone who is always on the go, I really appreciate how these products have a convenience factor that is perfect for incorporating into busy lifestyles. 

While the sweets and treats are fun to eat, I see myself definitely investing in these products more often as I need substantial sustenance between work, school, and play. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 Expo East: Sweets Recap

To read my Expo East overview and enter to win a swag bag fresh from the show floor, click here.

Invariably the largest category of foods I tasted at Expo East is sweets, which means tons of sampling of chocolate bars, ice creams, cookies, and other sugary items (not that I minded of course). 

This first post from the 2016 Expo East features the frozen treats, cookies, and other desserts I found on the show floor. From new products from familiar brands to new-to-me discoveries, I will totally be seeking out these at local stores and inc.

Are you craving chocolate bars or wonder what "dessert hummus" could possibly be? Read on but beware that viewing might set off your sweet tooth! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

2016 Natural Products Expo East Overview & Giveaway

Every year the Natural Products Expo East comes to Baltimore and for three straight days I partake in a treasure hunt for the best gluten and dairy-free products of the show. 

From the numerous samples of sweets, snacks, meals, and drinks I tried over the course of my Expo-ing, it was fun to be surprised by brands who were new-to-me or new products from some of my favorite brands. 

This post serves as your guide to my Expo East reviews, as I tend to break them up into subcategories culminating in my top five products from the show. Bookmark this page to have easy access to my reviews as they are published. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Brown Rice Korean Grill Review

I am relatively new to Korean food, but after my first taste a couple weeks ago in D.C., I couldn't wait to find a place local to me in Baltimore that would be safe for me to eat at. 

After a tip from a friend that Brown Rice Korean Grill had gluten-free options, I eagerly planned a trip down Baltimore's historic Charles Street to check out the restaurant for myself.

Brown Rice offers Korean food in a DIY fashion where diners design a custom bowl from a variety of bases, meats, toppings, and dressings. As a newbie to Korean food, this really made the food totally approachable.

Like many Asian cuisines, Korean food is definitely dairy-free friendly, as milk, yogurt, or cheese are largely absent from the menu. Gluten is a little trickier, but Brown Rice has gluten-free options marked that make navigating the menu easier with the help of staff members as well.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hex Ferments Kombucha Review

Although I am relatively new to the kombucha trend, I have fallen head over heels pretty fast for the fermented tea beverage. 

Although I have tried many store-bought varieties, a recent stop through Belvedere Square Market was cause for me to acquaint myself with Hex Ferments, a Baltimore-based local company turning out small batch fermented products. Though their main brewery is in Belvedere Square Market, Hex Ferments can also be found at local farmers markets in the region, including my favorite: the Waverly/32nd Street Farmers Market.

Hex Ferments sources from local and organic farmers, ensuring their products start from top quality ingredients. Unlike some store bought products, Hex Ferments uses old world processes- without heat or vinegar- to preserve the healthy benefits of fermented foods chock full of healthy probiotics.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

La Scala Review

Few people associate Baltimore with Italian food, after all, our city is synonymous with Old Bay seasoning and crabs. However, Baltimore has a small, yet historic Little Italy neighborhood just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor that is home to many authentic Italian restaurants that strive to recreate Old World flavors for modern audiences

Italian food (well, the American-ized form) is typically not gluten and dairy-free friendly. However, when prepared using fresh ingredients in more traditional recipes, much of the abundant gluten and dairy disappears from the menu. 

La Scala, one of Baltimore's Little Italy restaurants caught my eye for their gluten-free pasta offerings and willingness to accommodate dietary restrictions. Eager to see if La Scala was the real deal, I made sure to put it on my itinerary during a short visit from my mom.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

O Earth Creamery and Bakehouse

As both a Farmer's Market and gluten-free baked goods enthusiast, I was floored when I stumbled into the DuPont Circle Farmers' Market in D.C.- and right into O Earth Creamery and Bakehouse's (OECB) booth. Used to gluten-full bakeries offering the occasional gluten-free treat, I was amazed when I found out that OECB is a 100% gluten-free bakery. 

Despite proliferation of attention-drawing cupcake factories in the District, there is certainly a lack of GF establishments, so I was pretty excited to find this bakery, which was totally unexpected, but such a sweet surprise.

Monday, September 5, 2016

HipCityVeg Review

HipCityVeg is a relatively new arrival on the Washington D.C. restaurant scene, and is notable for its 100% vegan and plant-based menu. Located in the bustling Chinatown neighborhood, HipCityVeg has plenty to offer for gluten-free diners as well as meat-free ones, so don't let the abundance of tofu scare you away from this health-conscious eatery.

Started in Philadelphia, this location is HipCityVeg's first outside of the Keystone State. It would be easy to toss the restaurant aside, presuming that it offers unappetizing, taste-free food that's more of a punishment than a pleasure. However, I am happy to report that HipCityVeg is anything but this dreary stereotype of vegan eateries. 

Open since June of this year, it's clear that HipCityVeg is quite the destination for health-focused foodies, as there was never a point during my visit when there wasn't a line of customers stretched across the store. With quite the hype built up, I couldn't wait to check out HipCityVeg for myself.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Seoul Spice Review

When I discovered that a new dedicated gluten-free restaurant popped up in the Washington D.C. restaurant scene, it was enough for me to make last minute Labor Day weekend plans to check out the latest addition to the growing number of totally gluten-free foodie destinations in the Nation's Capitol. 

Seoul Spice, located mere steps from the NOMA/Gallaudet stop on the Metro red line is the restaurant in question, and goes beyond a gluten-free menu to offering completely dairy-free options as well. 

I have to admit that despite my frequent forays to Asian restaurants, I have never tried a dedicated Korean restaurant in all my gluten-free travels. I had no idea what to expect, but definitely felt more comfortable approaching the unfamiliar cuisine knowing that I could safely try anything on the menu.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blaze Pizza Review

It's been a while since I have had a serious pizza craving, but now that I'm back on campus and gearing up for yet another semester, the abundance of pizza around totally had me longing for a slice (or the whole pie!). 

After a rave review of Blaze Pizza's Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) location from Sarah at Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free at Walt Disney World, I set off for Baltimore's Inner Harbor to check out my local Blaze Pizza. Located steps from Baltimore's bustling harbor area filled with historic ships, amazing views of the Chesapeake, and attractions (Nat'l Aquarium), the location is prime and easy to access.

Blaze Pizza offers custom designed pizza creations, flame seared, to deliver a high end pizza experience in mere minutes and at a totally reasonable cost. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Happy Tart Review

As much as I eat out, dedicated gluten-free bakeries are relatively rare discoveries, as there are not an abundance in the Baltimore-D.C. area. While staying in Tysons Corner, VA for my recent D.C. trip, I was excited to see that I was in close proximity to Falls Church location of The Happy Tart, a dedicated gluten-free patisserie that I first found out about through a rave review from Alexis at Alexis' Gluten-Free Adventures.

While most gluten-free bakeries stock cupcakes and cookies, The Happy Tart's goal is to not only have a plethora of gluten-free baked goods, but to produce top-quality pastries that will make you forget that gluten is missing at all.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rosa Mexicano Review

For anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time, it's clear that I totally have a soft spot for tacos, and Mexican cuisine in general. While in D.C. before heading back to school in Baltimore, I pinpointed Rosa Mexicano on my must-see list, right up there with the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Air and Space Annex (both must see destinations in the city).

Rosa Mexicano is an upscale eatery that strives to showcase the regional flavors of Mexico with flair and finesse. Applauded for serving "elevated Mexican cuisine," Rosa Mexicano combines great food with an intriguing interior for a memorable dining experience. 

With gluten-free know how and plenty of options on hand, Rosa Mexicano is a restaurant I had high expectations of from the start. With such a high bar set, I hoped that the restaurant would be every bit as good as I had heard. 

Hummus House Review

When it comes to fast casual dining, I am all about design-your-own bowl concepts (such as Sweetgreen or ShopHouse), which enable me to pick and choose a custom meal that makes getting all my veggies both easy and delicious.

For my final meal eating out in Orlando, I decided to check out Hummus House, a local chain with locations near UCF and Winter Park. Here, hummus clearly takes center stage, in customized salads, pita sandwiches, or rice bowls. 

Although I'm not the biggest of hummus fans, my curiosity was peaked so I managed to squeeze it into my packed itinerary during my short visit to Orlando. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mamak Asian Street Food Review

By far my favorite area of Orlando is the Mills 50 neighborhood, where the restaurants are abundant and tourists are rarely found. The area is a gold mine for top quality (and affordable) eats, and has a wonderful concentration of Asian restaurants representing the diversity of Asian countries. 

Ironically, Asian food is really hit or miss for gluten-free eaters. Soy sauce, breadings, and noodles must be navigated around, but as far as cuisines go, Asian food is pretty safe on the whole once you go beyond Americanized Chinese Food (which is not even authentic anyway).

Mamak Asian Street Food caught my eye on Find Me Gluten-Free and lured me in in with the promise of tasty street food, a genre of Asian fare we certainly lack in Baltimore. The menu boasts a nice variety of tapas, soups, and entrees, and if the concept sounds familiar to local Orlando readers, Mamak certainly invites comparisons to Hawkers Street Fare (which is owned by family members of Mamak's owners but the two restaurants are independent). Since it has been quite a while since I have been to the other restaurant, I was more than happy to let my Mamak experience stand on its own. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Black Rooster Taqueria Review

With a little over a week and a half to spend in Orlando, I had the horrible dilemma of choosing between returning to my favorite restaurants in the city or scoping out new eats, which made each meal I ate out higher stakes than usual. 

Topping the restaurants on my to-try list was Black Rooster Taqueria, a newcomer to the Mills district that promises contemporary tacos and an easy-to-navigate menu for gluten-free eaters. 

Although I have discovered many amazing gluten-free taco joints in my time as a blogger, Orlando is quite lacking in the quality taco joint department, and I had high hopes that Black Rooster Taqueria would fit the bill accordingly. 

Like the best taco places I have discovered, Black Rooster was founded with farm-to-taco conscientiousness and a commitment to serving authentic, real Mexican food. The restaurant's vibe is one that encourages the appreciation and enjoyment of food, art, and conversation. Black Rooster artfully merges the quick pace of fast casual joints with the quality that encourages one to stop and savor meals. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Amazon Dash & Enjoy Life Foods Review

One of the largest gluten-free friendly retailers out there is Amazon, where one can find gluten-free fare, kitchen utensils, and cookbooks all in one place. However, they took their online bazaar to a whole new level with the introduction of Amazon Dash, a one-button system that allows Amazon Prime consumers to order their favorite brand's products whenever the thought strikes. 

While most of the buttons correlate to cleaning products and non-gluten-free fare, the launch of Enjoy Life Foods button definitely is noteworthy for foodies of all dietary restrictions because now the company's top eight allergen free food is available at your fingertips. Perfect for college students, busy families, and anyone who wants to shorten their shopping list, I couldn't wait to give the button a try as an official Enjoy Life Foods blogger.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rise Bakery Review

I'll start right off the bat and say this review is almost two years overdue. How could I not have visited Washington D.C.'s only dedicated gluten-free bakery before now? Quite honestly I'm still asking myself this question.

Rise Bakery opened in November 2014 and has quickly made their name as the go-to gluten-free bakery in the region. While 100% free from gluten, this bakery stocks the delicacies not often seen even in gluten-free establishments: croissants (sorry, not dairy-free), eclairs, pies, and so many more gourmet delicacies. This is not just a cupcake-laden bakery, but has equal opportunity sweet and savory options. 

Located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood north of the tourist-heavy parts of the District, Rise Bakery is nestled among a row of restaurants and cafes in a truly elegant, neighborhood. It may be a bit off the beaten track, but definitely worth the excursion for the pursuit of gluten-free baked goodness. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Encantada Review (American Visionary Art Museum)

Image Source
One of Baltimore's quirkiest destinations is the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) located in the Federal Hill neighborhood south of the Inner Harbor. AVAM is home to art made by self-taught artists, which means that the museum celebrates the inherent creativity and artistic ability that is found in all of us. 

While the museum holds an incredible and inspiring collection of art in many different mediums, AVAM creates art of its own through Encantada, the in-house restaurant that serves up beautiful and consciously sourced fare that reflects the best of local Mid-Atlantic cuisine. 

Just over a year old, Encantada has always held a place on my Baltimore restaurant wish list, but the opportunity never presented itself until I saw that they would be participating in Baltimore Restaurant Week (BRW), in which tons of restaurants in town offer a prix fixe menu for one flat price. To celebrate finishing  my summer semester classes, I decided to treat myself to a night out on the town.

Busboys and Poets Review

As a gluten-free blogger, I am always seeking delicious fare that's safe, which has brought me from time to time to some pretty funkiest food joints that are as much about good food as they are about establishing a unique vibe and character. Of all the restaurants with character I've eaten at, most pale in comparison to Washington D.C.'s Busboys and Poets, an innovative, vibrant multi-location combination bookstore and restaurant that is as self-assured as it innovative. 

What's cool about Busboys and Poets is that they pride themselves on being a neighborhood-centric space where consciousness can be uplifted, and intersecting conversations can change and empower the world. This mission is radical in that there are so few places founded with this clear intent and purpose, and I immediately felt this energy from the moment I walked in.

The location I visited was nestled in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood and is very much a local hangout, not a touristy destination. The location is perfect- close enough to Union Station and central D.C., but far enough that tension of center city is lessened a bit. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Plan B Burger Bar Review

Since I live only an hour's train ride away from Washington D.C., I have made it a goal to increase my trips to the District. There's so much to explore in this quirky city, and the density of gluten-free friendly eateries is fairly unmatched to any other city I have been to (except for maybe New York City).

On my latest visit, I stopped for lunch at the Plan B Burger Bar (PBBB), a bit of an unusual choice for me, as I rarely (if ever) order burgers, and am not a huge fan of all-American cuisine. What lured me to PBBB was a bunch of rave reviews from fellow gluten-free travelers on Find Me Gluten-Free and an easily accessible location in Penn Quarter- nestled in the center of town mere blocks from the Smithsonians and National Mall. 

PBBB is based on three "b"s: burgers, beer, and bourbon. The founders wanted to create a restaurant where people could gather over good, locally sourced food, which definitely sets them apart from other gourmet burger joints. With plenty of tantalizing gluten-free options, I definitely had high expectations going into my lunch. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Soup's On Baltimore Review

When it comes to summertime cuisine, soup definitely does not come to mind as seasonally appropriate fare. However, when I realized I forgot to pack lunch after heading to work in downtown Baltimore, I turned to Find Me Gluten-Free to source out nearby options to grab a safe gluten-free meal during my lunch break. 

Topping the list both in both proximity and ratings was Soup's On, a small dedicated cafe in midtown that has a daily rotating menu of soups- clearly labeled as vegan and gluten-free when applicable. Although their summertime hours are limited, I was able to swing by and pick up a safe meal, and a new favorite go-to lunch spot along the way. 

Thanks to a commitment to making soup that showcases the season's freshest flavor, Soup's On not only has gluten-free and vegan options, but uses real, fresh ingredients to make soups from scratch each and every day. They do not use canned ingredients, nor do they allow artificial additives or preservatives into their homemade recipes. Soups are designed as low sodium, and are seasoned using fresh spices. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Surf Sweets Review

My sweet tooth is more reserved lately, but when given the chance to check out the full line of Surf Sweet's allergen-friendly candies, I could not pass up the opportunity. This innovative company takes your favorite candy shop sweets and de-allergenizes them, making them safe for those on restrictive diets. 

Their full line of jelly beans and gummies is free from the top 10 allergens (and made in a dedicated facility too) as well as corn syrup, artificial colors, and flavors. Many of their offerings are vegan, and the candies are sweetened with organic fruit juices. Oh, and most importantly, I can vouch that they all taste great! Read on to learn all about this innovative company. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Snap Kitchen Review (Part 2)

Discovering Snap Kitchen in Philadelphia was definitely the highlight of my trip to the historic city. Snap Kitchen is an Austin, TX export whose first foray into the east cost is Philly, with (hopefully) more locations coming soon to the mid-Atlantic (namely D.C. and/or Baltimore).

The concept is simple and truly genius, because Snap Kitchen is a perfect merging of a supermarket and and a restaurant, promising top quality fare that is healthy, affordable, and convenient. Each store is stocked with single portioned, premade meals coving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Diners can choose to enjoy the fare there, using the store's microwave, or take it to any destination for a grab-n-go meal. 

Most of the dishes are gluten-free, with many labeled as paleo, dairy-free, or vegan, to help people find fare perfect from them. From meat eaters to plants-only foodies, there's something for everyone at Snap Kitchen, and this review delves into the lunch and dinner entrees I tried. For my breakfast review, click here.