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)

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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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Snap Kitchen Review (Part 1)

As a busier than ever college student tackling classwork, internship, and working this summer, my free time has been dramatically reduced, leaving little time to eat out or cook from scratch. Most days, I rely on microwave-friendly fare, which rightly has not earned a reputation for health or taste value. 

However, while in Philadelphia, I stumbled across Snap Kitchen, an Austin, TX export that recently set up their first East Coast locale in Philly. Snap Kitchen is an innovative shop that perfectly captures the fun of gourmet cooking without the mess of... well, actual cooking. The location I visited was in the historic part of Philly, located just a few blocks from Independence Hall, the Constitution Center, and other landmarks from this history-rich city. 

What is so revolutionary about Snap Kitchen is that they stock pre-made breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that are primed for grab-n-go convince but made from real ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Everything is individually portioned, and labeled to accommodate various allergens and special diets (vegan, paleo, etc.), and user-friendly, requiring only a reheating in the oven or microwave to bring the food to life. 

I sought out Snap Kitchen namely for breakfast (as the hotel I was staying at had few- if any- safe options), however, once realizing what a treasure trove it is, I stocked my family's travel cooler with lunch and dinner selections, which I will focus on in an upcoming post. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Alexander's Tavern Review

Alexander's Tavern in Baltimore's Fell's Point neighborhood is a restaurant that has been on my radar for awhile for their quite extensive gluten-free menu. After returning from Philadelphia, I suggested the Tavern as an ideal place to grab dinner to enjoy the historic setting and wonderfully pleasant Baltimore summer weather.

Fell's Point is a historic waterfront neighborhood just east of upscale and tourist-ridden Harbor East. It has historic nautical roots and has been a lively Baltimore neighborhood since the 18th century. 

Alexander's Tavern is tucked along the many boutiques, bars, and cafes along the brick and cobblestone streets and offers an extensive menu of all American tavern fare with a focus on the flavors of the Chesapeake region. From seafood to burgers and tacos to tater tots, the menu not only is varied, but a gluten-free gold mine too! As I found out, Alexander's Tavern is definitely a Baltimore institution to note for both locals and tourists alike.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Alexander's Tavern Gluten-Free Menu

Alexander's Tavern in Baltimore's historic Fell's Point neighborhood is the rare restaurant whose gluten-free menu is as impressive as the non-gluten one. Spanning two pages, and packed with options, it's easy to find something the whole family will love to eat at  this all-American restaurant. 

My full review of Alexander's Tavern is coming soon (link will be added here when published) but I could not wait to share the amazing menu the restaurant offers. The offerings do change seasonally, so note that the items featured may not be available in the future, and that daily specials are marked gluten-free if they are or can be modified to be safe. 

I definitely will be making a return visit to Alexander's Tavern and will update this post with more current menus when available. 

Farmer's Keep Review

When I knew I'd be Philadelphia bound this summer, I knew I wanted to make the most of the short time that I would be in the city. For help navigating where I wanted to eat, I turned to my trusty travel companion, Find Me Gluten-Free. From all the options the site had, I narrowed my focus to dedicated gluten-free businesses because there is no beating the peace of mind of dining without fear of cross contamination.

Based on reviews, I decided upon Farmer's Keep, a farm-to-table restaurant as my dinner destination after driving up from Baltimore that afternoon. Not only is this eatery free from gluten, but free from five major allergens, which totally overachieving in a spectacular way (more on that later). In the middle of the concrete jungle that is a major city, it is refreshing to find an eatery that strives to bring local, fresh fare to the people, and pairs their food with a focus on living well and sustainable urban initiatives.