Saturday, November 16, 2019

Fox & Son Review

It's been three years since I last visited Philadelphia, which is honestly three years too long. Living in DC, it's effortlessly easy to visit cities up and down the northeast via Amtrak, and after passing through Philly's 30th Street Station so often on my way en route to New York City, I figured I was long overdue to alight at the city of brotherly love for a long weekend of exploration. 

While I certainly had non-food points of interest on my itinerary, priority number one once I had my train booked was stopping by the dedicated gluten-free Fox & Son and get my hands on their gloriously golden menagerie of fried foods. If you've been missing corn dogs, loaded fries, fried cheese curds, or funnel cake from your free-from-gluten life, Fox & Son has you covered. Located in the vibrant and bustling Reading Terminal Market, this food stand not only has the gluten-free goods, it's nestled among an epicurean wonderland of produce, prepared foods, and kitchen wares.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Modern Bread & Bagel Review

The cruel thing about being gluten-free is not only that forever alters your sense of "normal" for baked goods and other wheat-based products, but it turns every dining experience into a research project, with serious sleuthing skills required before crossing a restaurant or cafe's threshold. Gone are the days where stopping by for a sandwich or sitting down for a dinner can be done on a whim. 

However at one of New York's newest 100% gluten-free eateries, you can find proper baked goods as well as dining options from dawn to dusk and for a brief moment, forget both downsides to being gluten-free. Meet Modern Bread & Bagel and Arba, which should be a priority point of interest for any gluten-free foodie, whether local or from out of town. 

Operating as Modern Bread & Bagel by day and Arba by night, this upper west side eatery already impressed me as I experienced their dinner serve earlier this year (read my review). Now, in this post, I'm turning my sights squarely on their daytime iteration, where I finally got my hands on a half dozen of their signature bagels, which I have been pining for since their opening.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Pablo's Toc O's Food Truck Review

Although I see an abundance of food trucks all over DC, very few are gluten-free friendly. Cooking in such close corners is certainly not conducive to avoiding cross-contact with wheat, barley, and rye, so the only food trucks I trust are ones that are 100% free from gluten. 

While attending the opening festival of the Kennedy Center's new expansion, I was thrilled to discover a new-to-me food truck that fit the bill with a completely gluten-free menu that's also rather vegetarian and vegan-friendly as well. 

Not one to ever pass up a chance to try tacos, I totally threw out my prior plans for dinner in favor of giving that food truck-- Pablo's Toc O's-- a try. After all, the discovery of a dedicated gluten-free food truck is always a "drop everything and try it out" situation! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sweet Crimes Doughnuts Review

One of the greatest things about summer in DC is the abundance of street markets and farmers markets that pop up throughout the city. We're truly spoiled for choice, and every weekend presents a new opportunity to explore each of DC's eight wards.

Although it opened this spring to much fanfare, until now I haven't stopped by one of DC's newest food-centered markets: Smorgasburg. Setting up every Saturday in the Navy Yard's Tingey Plaza, the market promised a true cornucopia of choice, but what lured me to investigate was the promise of gluten-free and vegan doughnuts from the DC-based dedicated gluten-free bakery Sweet Crimes. 

I don't know about you, but the promise of a cone full of hot doughnuts on a cool, fall morning is the perfect motivation to get up and at 'em on a Saturday morning! I didn't need much persuasion to clear my calendar to plan a visit to Smorgasburg, and was looking forward to reuniting with a food that is so rarely both gluten and dairy-free, yet so abundant this time of year. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Prima Review

This summer, most of my blogging bandwidth has been taken up by playing catch up to recap all the wonderful eats I found in London and Paris this summer. With that adventure in the books and September already upon us (already?), I'm looking forward to getting back to my mission to find the best gluten-free eats in and around Washington, DC.

Topping the list of places I wanted to check out was Prima, a Bethesda-based restaurant that builds on the area's strong fast casual bowl game and adds an Italian twist to concept.  What makes Prima stand out from the pack is that their whole menu is entirely gluten-free. Excited to check out Italian fare that was both safe and easy on the wallet, I finally found an opportunity to venture outside DC city limits to check Prima out. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Indigo at One Aldwych Review

In exploring around London, I marvel at the sheer variety and abundance of gluten-free options on offer. I don't think I could ever run out of restaurants and cafes to try, and it's truly the most gluten-free friendly city I've visited in all my travels.

On my last night on holiday, I made reservations at Indigo at One Aldwych, a completely gluten and dairy-free restaurant that serves up fare inspired by the cuisines of the British Isles. As my last night in the city, I decided to dine at Indigo because it meant I wouldn't have to worry about getting on a plane the next day with an upset stomach due to potential cross contact. In reviewing their menu, I was excited to see many classic British dishes, which cemented this as a perfect pick for the last night of my holiday. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Yorica Review

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! 

Especially during a summer heatwave, there's no better way to cool off than with ice cream or a milkshake. Unfortunately, the fact that it is traditionally dairy-based and chock full of other allergens means that too often those of us with dietary restrictions are left out from enjoying this simple treat.

Luckily, there's a little shop in London that is a game changer for anyone looking for free-from frozen treats: Yorica!

Located on a bustling street in Soho, stepping through the front doors of Yorica feel like going through a magic portal where suddenly everything you see is safe to eat. Not only is the shop dedicated gluten-free and vegan, everything they serve is free from the top 14 major allergens and is accredited by Allergy UK (more on that in a moment). 

It's almost a bit disconcerting, but the real challenge in visiting Yorica is narrowing down what to order because the shop has a deliciously tempting menu of frozen treats, waffles, and crepes. With my eyes saucer-wide and my stomach leading my decision making, I almost couldn't contain my excitement even before I ate a single bite.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Honest Burgers Review

If I'm being honest (pun intended), my standards for dining out at a burger restaurant are pretty high. Not only do I look for gluten-free and allergen-awareness, my decision to dine out at such a restaurant is contingent on two important factors: do they have gluten-free buns (as assessed from others' reviews) and do they have a dedicated fryer?

After all, what fun is it to go out and eat burgers when all you can eat is a meat patty and assorted vegetables with no bun or fries (well, chips in this case)? 

Meeting both standards, the London-based chain Honest Burgers definitely made my list of restaurants to visit, and luckily enough, my hotel was a short walk from their location on Tottenham Court Road in Bloomsbury. 

Spurred by the combination of a jam-packed morning and sudden craving for hearty comfort food, I knew it was the perfect time to pay the restaurant a visit and see just how much the experience lived up to the hype. 

Borough 22 Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts Review

As I was researching gluten and dairy-free eats to make a list of not-to-be-missed places in London, the majority of my leads came from Instagram, where over the course of planning two holidays I've followed quite a few London and UK-based bloggers and companies. 

One such small business is Borough 22, whose eye-catching array of gluten-free and vegan doughnuts had me dreaming of them from across the pond. I definitely made sourcing out these all all too rare to find sweets a priority of my visit, and easily sourced them through the massive food hall at the historic Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Not only are Borough 22's doughnuts gluten and dairy-free, but they also cater to those with multiple allergies, as they also omit egg (being vegan), soy, and nuts (though they are made in a shared space). With an exciting selection to choose from and the eager anticipation of having my first doughnut for as long as I can remember, I was glad to have purchased a trio for breakfast in bed in my hotel over my last couple days in the city.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Gluten-Free on Eurostar (2019)

One of the most amazing things about visiting London is that not only is the city jam-packed with extraordinary things to do, see, and eat, but it's a day tripper's dream, with so many cool towns and cities only a few hours away by road or rail. 

Inspired by binge watching the Anglo-French television drama The Tunnel and buoyed by a couple years of high school French (aided by Duolingo), I decided to go on a day trip to Paris for a whirlwind visit to the city of light. I booked my journey on the Eurostar, which delivers you from London's St. Pancras station to Paris' Gare du Nord in a little over two hours, with lovely pastoral scenery in between (as well as the Chunnel). 

As a semi-frequent Amtrak user here in the States, I know to always pack food because the on-board dining options are nonexistent for gluten-free folks. I was pleasantly surprised that in booking my journey, Eurostar not only offered options for those following special diets (in some sections), but those options also included multi-course meals. That's unheard of here, and was curious to see what would be served on board.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Good Life Eatery Review

When I decided to book a second holiday to London this year and locked in my end-of-July timeframe, one of the top points on my itinerary was a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. Only open during the summer and select dates throughout the year, I was excited to get a glimpse behind the elaborate gates to see a palace steeped in history, but is also a modern, working palace. 

With an early entry time, I decided to seek out a good breakfast beforehand to fuel up for a long day of sightseeing. The Good Life Eatery popped up on several "best-of" lists and local blogs as a top gluten-free breakfast spot, and with a location in the nearby Belgravia neighborhood, I didn't need much persuasion to start my day there.

The Good Life Eatery was built on the ethos that leading a healthier life doesn't have to mean settling for flavorless food, and they welcome everyone through their doors, regardless of dietary restriction, or special diet.With an all day menu, they've got plenty of sweet and savory options on hand for to satisfy whatever cravings you have going in.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Gluten-Free Eats at Broadway Market (London)

In planning my second trip to London, I knew I wanted to visit in July because it meant I could experience two things I couldn't when I visited this past February: a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and explore London's bustling street market scene. 

Whenever I plan trips to other cities, I like following gluten-free bloggers who live there to get an insider's look at the best things to do, see, and eat. One blogger who I've followed in planning both holidays this year is Laura from My Gluten Free Guide, whose website and Instagram are chock full of incredible recommendations all across the city. Through following her, I fell in love from afar with Broadway Market, which operates daily in East London with a special street market on Saturdays. 

I made sure to plan my travel dates and itinerary to leave Saturday wide open for exploration, and I couldn't have asked for a better day. With sunny skies and a sense of adventure, I was excited to see what gluten-free eats I would stumble across.

Helmut Newcake Review

It may seem silly, but when I decided to visit Paris as a day trip from London, my immediate thought was that I wanted to find an authentic patisserie that would enable me to enjoy authentic gluten-free baked goods, and quite possibly a gluten-free baguette. As it happens, Paris is home to many gluten-free bakeries, which made narrowing down which one I wanted to patronize during my limited time in the city a real challenge. 

I debated long and hard over which patisserie to stop by, but once I discovered 100% gluten-free Helmut Newcake, I knew this was the perfect spot for me with it's convenient location in the center of the city and promise of a full range of sweet and savory dairy-free options. 

After a long day of sightseeing by the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Eiffel Tower, the small shop was also a perfect place to pick up a late lunch before heading to Gare du Nord, my final destination to board a Eurostar back to London. As I entered I had high hopes that Helmut Newcake would be the French bakery I've been waiting for since I went gluten-free years ago.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Yummy & Guiltfree Review

In planning my holiday to London last month, I knew I wanted to plan a day trip out of the city to get a change of scenery and take advantage of the city's many transport options that can easily connect you to points of interest throughout the UK and Europe. After considering my options, I decided on a day trip to Paris, which would be my first trip to continental Europe and would put my two years of high school French to the test.

Excited about all the sightseeing options in the city of light, I worried initially about food options, as gluten and dairy are predominately featured as a cornerstone of French cuisine. Luckily, in sifting through many gluten-free blogs and websites devoted to dining out sans gluten, my confidence that I could get a good meal or two grew exponentially.

Yummy & Guiltfree was listed on several of the websites I consulted because they not only are gluten-free friendly, but also mark dairy-free items on their menu (sans lactose). With sweet and savory options waffle creations on their menu, I didn't need much persuasion to make this my first stop in Paris for lunch once arriving via Eurostar midmorning.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason Review

As soon as I knew I was making a return trip to London, I was excited for another opportunity to enjoy a gluten-free afternoon tea. On my first visit back in February, I had a swoon-worthy experience at Claridge's in Mayfair (see my review) that introduced me to the treasured tradition of afternoon tea and made for one of my most memorable experiences during the trip. 

After researching several establishments offering gluten-free afternoon tea throughout the city, I decided to make a booking at Fortnum & Mason's Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Not only can they serve an entirely gluten and dairy-free tea fit for royalty, the location itself (not far from Piccadilly Circus) has a royal connection, as Queen Elizabeth II herself opened the space in 2012. Fortnum & Mason's menu has plenty to please diners following a wide range of special diets, as they have full menus for gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free folks. 

Donning a cute frock, catching an iconic red double decker bus to get there, and ready for a luxurious afternoon of tea, sandwiches, and cakes, I was excited to make this the star attraction of my first day in the city.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Carrol's Creek Cafe Review

Only a 45 minute drive from DC, Annapolis may be close in proximity but is a nice getaway from the city. I've only been to Annapolis once before back in 2015, so when my dad came to visit last month, I suggested the short drive over to this bayside city for a Saturday excursion.

Of course anytime I visit another city, whether new-to-me or a familiar locale, a big part of any trip is where and what I am going to eat. In advance of our weekend trip, I knew I wanted to find a seafood restaurant, preferably one with views of the Chesapeake Bay. As if ticking off every box in my restaurant wish list, I decided on Carrol's Creek Cafe, which is located in the Annapolis City Marina. Promising fresh seafood, picturesque views, and food allergy awareness, I was very much looking forward to lunch before exploring around the rest of the city.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Arba Review

As a gluten-free food blogger, this year has proven to be especially fruitful when it comes to extraordinary gluten-free dining experiences. From a week's worth of swoon-worthy eats in the UK, to a DC restaurant debuts that have really impressed me (I'm looking at you Momo Yakitori and Flower Child), I am extraordinary thankful to the chefs and restaurant teams that continue to raise the bar when it comes to gluten-free food.

That's why when I got word of a new dedicated gluten-free restaurant opening in Manhattan, New York City, I was elated, but also a little apprehensive. When the bar so elevated by these other restaurants, could this new one possibly compete? 

Enter Arba, which is a modern Israeli restaurant that believes in melding passion and prime ingredients to serve Mediterranean fare that anybody can enjoy. With an adventurous seven-course tasting menu that's entirely gluten-free, an evening out at Arba is not merely a dinner, it's truly a culinary passport. With the highest of expectations, I made my reservation and eagerly counted down the days until I could see for myself what Arba had to offer.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Nationals Park Gluten-Free Options and Review (2019)

As summer revs up here in DC with heat, humidity, and wicked afternoon storms making their presence known, one of the few saving graces of this time of year is plenty of opportunities to take in a baseball game at Nationals Park, arguably one of the best ballparks to take in America's pastime. 

I'm by no means a sports person, but I do try to make it out to the park several times a year because the atmosphere is fun and family-friendly and the ballpark has nice accommodations for gluten-free folks. With gluten-free concessions on hand as well as an accommodating policy towards outside food and drink, Nats Park proves itself to not only deliver an excellent fan experience, but one that ensures gluten-free folks and others with dietary restrictions can partake in the fun as well. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Posh Pop Bakeshop Review

This year has been a banner one for the gluten-free dining scene in New York City, with many new dedicated gluten-free establishments opening their doors in recent months. On a whim, and inspired by the rave reviews I've heard of late, I decided to plan a last-minute trip to the city over Memorial Day weekend to indulge in my two favorite things: gluten-free food and visiting museums! 

As soon as I had train tickets in hand, I began building my itinerary, and one sure stop was Posh Pop Bakeshop, which recently relocated to Greenwich Village from Haddonfield, New Jersey. 

Stepping foot in their cozy, pretty-in-pink bakery, you are instantly inundated with the sight and smell of a dizzying array of cakes, pastries, and other baked goods. Of course I wanted one of everything in stock, but knowing I was on my way to catching my train back to Washington, I carefully considered their dairy-free offerings to make sure I had a few prime samples for my first review.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Non-Dairy Chobani Review

If you asked me what I miss the most since going dairy-free, without a doubt I would say yogurt. No matter how many brands and new products have made their debut in the refrigerated section, I have yet to find a non-dairy yogurt that has the right consistency and is also not loaded with sugar. 

You see, yogurt was a staple of my pre-dairy-free life, and was a staple of my morning routine, whether eaten on its own or with a sprinkling of granola. Back in those days, Chobani's greek yogurts were the gold standard. Once I discovered my dairy intolerance, their yogurts neared the top of the list of products that have left a yet-to-be filled vacuum in my fridge (and heart).

That all changed when I learned that Chobani has debuted new non-dairy "yogurt" that's coconut-based in a traditional cup and travel-friendly drinkable versions. Ecstatic at the prospect that this company and food group could reenter my life, I eagerly purchased one of each of the offerings my local Giant had in store so as to set up a cautiously optimistic taste test to see if these are the real deal. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Gluten-Free Tesco Sandwich Review

During my holiday abroad to London back in February, I soaked in every sight and sound of the city, as it was my first trip abroad. While the historic buildings, incredible museums, and London's general buzz were memorable, a large part of how I explored and experienced the city was through the variety of foods and dining experiences I had, spanning humble fast-casual fare to a lavish, unforgettable high tea. 

Of all the restaurants and products I tried, I have to admit that one of the MVPs of my week abroad was Tesco, the British grocery chain whose Tesco Express micro stores are ubiquitous in the city. As the penultimate post from that February trip, I wanted to dedicate this review not only to Tesco, but one particular product: their gluten-free sandwiches. If you're wondering why I would dedicate so much real estate on the blog to one product, read on and discover why this humble offering was a reliable and convenient companion for my travels. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Flower Child Review

One thing I love about living in Washington, DC  is that our fast casual dining scene is always expanding. With each new restaurant that comes to the city, the bar is set ever higher for  culinary creativity at an accessible price point. 

I was thrilled when I heard the health-conscious chain Flower Child would open in Foggy Bottom in February, but didn't have a chance to stop by until now, waiting for spring weather to well and truly arrive before making a trek over to the neighborhood. 

This location is part of Flower Child's expansion into the area, and coincides with the arrival of sister locations in Bethesda and Rockville. 

Sporting a menu featuring scratch-made dishes that lend themselves to be gluten, dairy, and sugar-free friendly as well as welcoming to vegetarians, vegans, and paleo foodies alike, I was impressed by their welcoming ethos and fun menu, with quirky and inspired takes on the usual lineup of bowls and salads that are the backbone of any fast casual restaurant. As my first introduction to this chain, I couldn't wait to see how this accommodating approach would translate to the real life experience. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hotel Chocolat Free From Chocolate Review

While on holiday in London back in February, I couldn't help but notice Hotel Chocolat stores almost everywhere I went. This British chocolatier and cocoa grower is the only company in the UK that grows cocoa on its own plantation, and it's stores are filled with a myriad of fun and tempting treats. 

Unfortunately, most of the chocolate creations made by Hotel Chocolat have a warning that they may contain wheat so they are off limit to celiacs and gluten-free foodies. As it happened however, my visit conveniently coincided with the rollout of Hotel Chocolat's new line of free from chocolates, which promise high quality chocolates sans gluten, dairy, and nuts. Naturally, as soon as I heard, I made a point to stop by Hotel Chocolat's Euston Station shop to pick up samples to review.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

ROLLN Review

After all these years of being gluten-free, it still amazes me when I discover new restaurants where I can (safely) experience a cuisine for the first. Such is the case with ROLLN, a New York City sushi restaurant that recently made the bold and brave decision to go completely gluten-free.  

Other than a few one-off occasions of trying sushi (I'm looking at you Wegmans), I have largely avoided seeking sushi out because of lurking gluten in sauces and ingredients such as soy sauce. 

Recognizing that the central components of sushi are naturally gluten-free, ROLLN committed to sourcing higher quality (and therefore gluten-free) ingredients and making everything in-house to set themselves apart as as a sushi restaurant that not only serves safe gluten-free sushi, but serves up a product that's a higher quality because of their attention to real, fresh ingredients. 

Excited to truly try something new and impressed by ROLLN's gluten-free ethos and commitment to our community, I made sure to stop by their shop the first chance I had to visit New York City. During my latest work trip to the city, ROLLN was the first stop I made after arriving to the city, making a beeline straight to their adorable mint green shop in the flatiron district. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Chaia Tacos Review

Now that I've finally caught up with my London reviews (with a few more yet to come), I was excited to turn my sights back stateside and resume exploring gluten-free eats in my own backyard. 

Whenever anyone asks me about where to eat out in Washington DC, Chaia Tacos is more often than not my first recommendation. With an entirely gluten-free menu and innovative take on vegetarian tacos that is downright inspired, they have every box checked when it comes to my idea of a perfect restaurant. 

That being said, my one and only complaint over the years has been that their Georgetown location, albeit cute and homey, is just too far out of the way of my daily life to make visits to Chaia a regular habit. That all changed however when they opened up their second location in the more centrally located Chinatown. Now with Chaia just blocks from my office, I was more than ready to rekindle my love affair with them, and write an updated review, since my last review was written several years ago. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea at Claridge's Review

I'm not entirely sure whether being gluten-free has made me a foodie (by being hyperaware of what I eat), or if I was a foodie who developed a gluten-intolerance. Either way, if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that food is a central part of how I explore and experience the world. 

In fact, when building my London itinerary, I made sure to prioritize not only the sights I wanted to see, but also uniquely British experiences where food plays a central role. Of course the grandest example of this is afternoon tea, the daily ritual that has been a tradition since the 19th century. 

When researching options for afternoon tea, I discovered offerings from various venues ranging from a casual meal to formal multi-course affairs. As this was my first trip abroad and a perfect excuse to dress up for the occasion, I narrowed my options down to London's most revered and famed purveyors of afternoon tea. After much debate, I decided to book my reservation for Claridge's, won over by their tantalizing menu, storied history, and legendary service. Because I so rarely dine out at such a splendid venue, I knew I was in for an unforgettable experience from the moment I walked in. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gluten-Free Options at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

When I knew I was planning my visit to London last month, I tried to tailor my itinerary so I was avoiding many major tourist attractions. Crowds and queueing are just not my thing and I much prefer to experience a destination by getting off the beaten path. However, as I was planning my trip, I knew I would make one big exemption to my rule: visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden for a chance to see the sets and costumes from the Harry Potter films up close and personal. 

Admittedly, I'm a huge Potter fan (see my reviews from the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando), so this was one outing where I didn't mind the tourist-y trappings at all. As a delightfully simple day trip from London, I made sure to have snacks on hand to munch on throughout the day, but was curious to see if there were gluten-free options available in the attraction's Backlot Cafe.

Hemsley + Hemsley Cafe at Selfridges Review

Now I'm not much of a shopper, but when I was planning my trip to London, I knew I wanted to pay a visit to Selfridges, the storied department store that is the second-largest shop in the UK and whose Oxford Street doors have been welcoming customers for over 100 years. 

While part of my visit was motivated by seeing the spectacle of Selfridges, I was also motivated by the lure of Hemsley + Hemsely, a cafe nestled in the third floor that serves food free from grains, refined sugars, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when dining out in the middle of the swimsuit section of an astonishingly expansive department store, but it certainly wasn't the carefully crafted, almost calming experience I had. With a health-conscious menu and calming vibe, this was among one of the most relaxing meals I discovered in London.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Pho Review (UK)

On my final night in London, I knew I wanted to lay low and have a low-key night after nonstop sightseeing for a full week. With an late afternoon flight back home to DC the next day, I wanted to use the evening to pack and get situated to make sure my travel to London Heathrow Airport went as smoothly and stress-free as possible.

In looking for soothing, safe places to eat out for my final dinner, I quickly zeroed in on Pho, a UK chain serving up Vietnamese street food and soups where "practically everything" is gluten-free. With a menu not only filled with options, but also reviewed and certified by Coeliac UK, I was sold that this was the perfect place to get a cozy, comfort food meal before a busy day of travel.

The location nearest to my Holborn hotel was in Clerkenwell, which also happens to be the chain's first location. Arriving for an early dinner, I was excited to settle in and enjoy a big bowl of broth and noodles.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Krumville Bake Shop Review

If there's one thing I know for sure, its that the real MVP of the gluten-free world are gluten-free bakeries. These dedicated bake shops not only serve up sweet and savory baked goods, but provide an all-too-rare experience of normalcy for those who have to live free from the number one ingredient in cakes, breads, and so many other sweets. 

When Antonella from the Brooklyn-based Krumville Bake Shop recently reached out offering a sample of her dairy-free products to review on the blog, I enthusiastically agreed. 

What sets Krumville Bake Shop apart from other gluten-free bakeries is that their artisanal products are made in small batches with carefully selected ingredients, including their own proprietary flour blend. Their ultimate goal is to make products that not only compete with their gluten-free competitors, but can stand up to (and apart from) gluten-containing baked goods. As I reviewed their website in eager anticipation of my order, I got the sense even before my samples arrived that Krumville Bake Shop was going to impress me.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Beyond Bread Review

Wherever my travels take me, I try to seek out and support 100% gluten-free establishments. Few and far between, these dedicated cafes, bakeries, and restaurants are truly an oasis in a gluten-full world and provide the rare experience of dining out without fear. 

That's why as soon as I landed in London, I started my first morning in the city with breakfast at Beyond Bread, a lovely little gluten-free bakery whose stellar reputation put it on my radar long before my plans were set to visit the UK. I've seen countless other gluten-free bloggers and foodies share mouth-watering photos of their gluten-free baked goods and couldn't wait to have my turn to enjoy their delicious offerings.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Oliver's Fish & Chips Review

Of course I couldn't travel thousands of miles to the UK without seeking out one of Britain's most iconic food pairings: fish and chips. 

After crowdsourcing recommendations for the best gluten-free fish and chips eateries via social media, Oliver's Fish & Chips in Belsize Park quickly made my short list of restaurants to visit. Not only do they have an abundance of gluten-free options, but they dedicate each and every Wednesday to going completely gluten-free.

Dedicating an afternoon to the enjoyment of fish and chips and exploring nearby Camden Market area, I eagerly anticipated enjoying one of my favorite pre-gluten-free meals on UK soil. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Leggero Review

For gluten-free diners, dedicated gluten-free Italian restaurants are the closest thing we have to the iconic "candy room" scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You mean everything on the menu is safe? Even the pasta and bread? Absolutely. Therefore, any opportunity to visit such a restaurant makes me want to burst out in spontaneous song. 

In doing my pre-trip homework on eateries I wanted to dine at in London, Leggero topped the list not only because they were a 100% gluten-free establishment, but the pasta, bread, and other dishes on the menu are all crafted with care in-house. Promising attention to detail and an innovative take on Italian cuisine, I made sure to arrive at Leggero with a hearty appetite and culinary curiosity. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Leon Review (UK)

Leon's Oxford location.
For my gluten-free, dairy-free review of Leon in the United States, click here.

I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the United States because I live and work in the only US city (to date) that has Leon. This British fast food chain wowed me last year with their American debut and impressively delivered gluten-free friendly fare that was not only healthy, but absolutely delicious. 

As I was planning my recent UK trip, I knew for certain that stopping by one of Leon's many locations in London was a must, both as a comparison to their stateside shop as well as to try their highly-regarded gluten-free chicken nuggets, a menu item that has not made it across the pond (yet). As it happened, I was able to stop by Leon twice while overseas: I had lunch at their Oxford location and breakfast at Heathrow Airport before jet setting back to the States. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Gluten-Free Options on United Airlines International Flight (2019)

Up until now, my frame of reference with airplane food is the pint-sized and often gluten-laden snacks handed out at cruising altitude. Now that I've been gluten-free for several years, I've learned to approach any air travel like a chipmunk, stashing snacks in my carry-on to ensure I'm never without safe sustenance when traveling. 

However, when booking tickets for my first international flight to London, I was excited to see a gluten-free option listed as the meal selection option. While I would still plan to have plenty of snacks (because I guessed there'd be a high likelihood of dairy showing up in the meal), I was excited to see what would be served, and how edible it was (or looked). 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Jaleo Review (Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week Menu)

Here in DC, Jose Andres is one of the district's most beloved residents. Not only are his restaurants excellent and very allergy-friendly (I've reviewed Oyamel, Jaleo, and China Chilcano), but Andres is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization to empower and strengthen communities around the world with education, training, and social enterprise. 

Of his many restaurants, Jaleo is definitely a crown jewel, and features an exciting menu of Spanish tapas, paella, and sangria in a colorful and energetic space. With a recent visit from my mom coinciding with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's winter restaurant week, I knew we had to make plans for lunch at Jaleo to seize this unmissable opportunity to sample several courses off the menu. Although I have dined a Jaleo once before (several years ago), this visit would be my first time dining at their flagship location in Penn Quarter so I eagerly anticipated this opportunity for the full experience.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Shouk Review

If there's been a theme emerging in my recent blog posts, it's that I've been delightfully surprised by new-to-me fast casual restaurants that have elevated the build-a-bowl model to exciting new levels. As such, I was excited to give DC-based Shouk a try, as their website promised a fresh take on bowls inspired by Israeli cuisine.

What's notable about Shouk is that the restaurant's menu is completely plant-based. They use no animal byproducts, and rely on fresh vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds as the building blocks for bowls. That means everything is dairy-free, and much of the menu is gluten-free friendly too (but be sure to skip the pita). 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Little Sesame Review

If you are a hummus-lover, this review is especially for you, because DC's Little Sesame elevates the middle eastern spread from a grocery-aisle staple to the star of the show. 

Located in the bustling Golden Triangle neighborhood (in the former home of Veloce, may it rest in peace), Little Sesame brings a decidedly different take on the current fast-casual bowl craze. With a fun and inviting space and focus on real, artfully prepared ingredients, the restaurant is a refreshing break from the mold of my usual go-to bowl places around the city.

Enticed by rave reviews and an intriguing menu, I was excited to see how Little Sesame would measure up compared to some particularly impressive experiences I've had lately.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Momo Yakitori Review

After doing quite a bit of travel to New York City recently, I have definitely been looking forward to pay renewed attention to gluten-free eats in my home city of Washington DC this month. 

As it happened, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's (RAMW) winter restaurant week, occurring right in the middle of January, was the perfect excuse to seek out new eats in the new year. The beauty of RAMW restaurant week is that the menus are structured so that you get the rare opportunity to have a multi-course meal for an unbeatable price at some of the region's top restaurants.

RAMW's website makes searching by neighborhood and cuisine a breeze, which is how I discovered Momo Yakitori, a Japanese restaurant in the quiet Brookland neighborhood. Serving up creative takes on the traditional yakitori style of street cuisine, Momo Yakitori's menu also happens to be completely gluten-free, which sold me on dining there in an instant. Excited to discover another dedicated gluten-free restaurant in DC and have a rare opportunity to enjoy Japanese fare, I eagerly anticipated my dinner each day leading up to it.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

La Esquina Taqueria Review

If there's one genre of food that I simply don't get enough of here in DC it's tacos. 

When I lived in Baltimore, I was spoiled by having two 100% gluten-free taquerias in the city to satisfy my cravings. Since leaving Charm City, my taco consumption has dramatically decreased, so when 100% gluten-free La Esquina's midtown taqueria popped up as nearby restaurant when I was looking for a lunch spot close to Studio 54 (where I was catching a show), I didn't need more than a second to to decide that was the perfect pre-show stop.

On the brisk, grey, January day I visited, La Esquina's colorful exterior was a wonderful break from the less-than-magical streets now that the magic and cheer of the holiday season are over. From the moment I walked in, their helpful staff welcomed me, and immediately asked without my prompting if I had dietary restrictions (and also explained that they were completely gluten-free without me having to ask). Already at ease and eager to see how their tacos would measure up against some of the greats I've enjoyed over the years, I ordered a small feast to sample around the menu.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dig Inn Review

Over the past few months, I've been lucky enough to find myself in NYC for both work and for fun. On one such trip, I received a tip from an Instagram follower (thank you @shrinkmuch!) to check out Dig Inn, which serves up seasonally-inspired bowls that are made with farm-fresh ingredients that are naturally gluten-free.

With this description I'm sure Dig Inn sounds like every other fast-casual, healthy fare, build-a-bowl concept that is popping up in these days. I must admit that I too was skeptical initially because this mold of restaurant has reached a saturation point. However, always on the lookout for quick, affordable, and (most importantly) safe food in New York, I decided to check my preconceived notions at the door and see if Dig Inn could break the fast-casual mold or stand apart from the pack.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Mänchi Review

If there's one edge New York City's culinary scene has over Washington DC's, it's the abundance of 100% dedicated gluten-free restaurants. While I greatly appreciate non-dedicated restaurants that go over and above to accommodate gluten-free guests, there's just nothing like the peace of mind that comes from walking into an eatery and being to eat anything on the menu (or almost anything, as I am also dairy-free).

On my latest weekend jaunt up to city, I wanted to make a point to seek out new restaurants, as during my most recent trips I have revisited old favorites I have reviewed before. To aid my planning, I pulled up this list of gluten-free restaurants in New York City from Erin Smith (from the Gluten-Free Globetrotter blog). 

After reviewing her list, the fast casual Indian food eatery Mänchi jumped out to me. Located just steps from my arrival point, New York Penn Station, I knew this would be the perfect first stop in the city after my three hour train journey from Washington DC.