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.