Posts filed under ‘eat out gf’
Remember waffle weekends, when, as kids, our moms would pull out that monster of a kitchen appliance, the waffle iron, whip up some batter, and then we’d all wait with bated breath as the waffle iron worked its magic? Once on our plate, we’d fill each sunken square with a balanced ratio of butter, syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, fruit (or all of the above), thus making a grid of perfect bites. So satisfying.
It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to really indulge in waffle weekends, so when we were recently informed by a reader that Howard Station Café in Occidental, Calif. now has gluten-free waffles on their menu there was a bit of a waffle dance party here at The Lab. Our first order of business: call and make sure it’s really true (it is.). Second: to confirm that a separate waffle iron is used to make the gluten-free waffles (there is.). Third: to get an ingredients list, which consists mainly of rice flour and potato flour (no corn!).
With our orders of business out of the way, and our gluten-conscious minds put at ease, we joined the ranks Saturday morning and waited for a table to open up. Meanwhile, we conducted a careful menu scan. Here’s the deal: Howard’s has about 6 topping options for the waffles, and all of them are available in a gluten-free option. The Double Decker was super tempting — two waffles with peanut butter and banana sandwiched between them — but we opted to keep it simple and went for the standard blueberries and whipped cream combo so we could really judge the waffle’s authenticity. This is important research we’re conducting after all.
The waffle did NOT disappoint in looks or in taste. Upon delivery to the table we commenced the requisite staring and poking, and, in all honesty, they looked a little too good to be true: They weren’t half the size of a normal waffle! They were just as fluffy as the regular wheat waffles other diners were eating! And after asking the waitress just one last time “are these really gluten-free?” we dug in. After doctoring them with syrup and butter and other preferred accoutrement, we were delighted to find the waffles were absolutely heavenly. Not too dry. Not too hearty. Crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. We noticed a tad more chew than a regular wheat-based waffle, but that’s to be expected considering the properties of GF flours. Overall, these waffles knocked our striped socks off. Our non-gf partner-in-crime dining companion also deemed them delicious, even going so far as to say that he would not have know they were GF if we had not mentioned it. A non-GFer stamp of approval is pretty legit folks. These waffles are for reals!
Nice work Howard Station, keep that waffle iron fired up because we’ll be back soon.
Howard Station Café
3811 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
707 874 2838
And stay tuned for The Lab’s next field trip! We’re heading out, armed with notebooks & cameras & appetites to check out the gluten-free naan at Sizzling Tandor and the gluten-free fried chicken at Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar.
hot diggity dog illustration by notion:creative
Baseball is America’s favorite pastime. So as the baseball season is ramping up, we find it our civic duty to inform our readership of the ballparks that offer gluten-free food options. Gluten-free hot dogs and hamburgers and fries and beer, oh my!
Aramark heads up most parks’ food concessions, and it’s hard not to give them props for debuting what was believed to be baseball’s first gluten-free concession stand at Coors Field in Denver, Colo. (GO TEAM CELIAC!) That was back in 2009, and we’re now starting to see the ripple effect of that single gluten-free concession stand as other ball parks begin including GF options that include hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, fries & chips, cookies & brownies, and, arguably most important of all, gluten-free beer.
The Gluten Free Lab’s home team is the band of misfits, the San Francisco Giants, who we have supported since even before they won the world series in 2010. But going to a game just got more appealing since there are now gluten-free hot dogs available at AT&T Park! A quarter-pound GF hot dog (Saag’s) can be purchased for $7.75 from the Budwiser Brew Pub in Promenade Section 112. GF kettle snacks and GF Redbridge Beer are also available. And let’s not forget about the second annual Celiac Disease Awareness Night, which is scheduled for Monday, June 6, 2011 at 7:15pm (more deets here). Last year ticket-holders were presented with a gluten-free sandwich and samples from gluten-free vendors like Miglet’s Cupcake Shop and Mariposa Baking Co. Pica Pica Maize Kitchen was also there, serving up samples of mini arepas. There was gluten-free beer from Redbridge and a raffle.
If you’re not in the San Francisco Bay Area and are curious about ballparks in your neighborhood that are serving up some gluten-free fare, The Savvy Celiac has put together a great list with links to each concession stand’s offerings, which you can view here.
Batter up! Let’s join the rest of America and watch some ball!
Photo by Karen Friis
Last year the San Francisco Giants made baseball history by winning the world series for the first time since their move from New York to San Francisco in 1957. They were the underdogs; the surprise winners; the group of misfits who pulled together and made. it. happen. Kinda fitting that AT&T Park — the Giants’ home stadium — is hosting the second annual Celiac Disease Awareness Night on Monday, June 6, 2011, because even though it’s become worlds easier to be a Celiac, we’re still the underdogs of society trying to find our own path to health while maintaining our regular interactions with society.
So come celebrate the underdog! Enjoy watching the SF Giants play the Washington Nationals, drink Redbridge beer, snack on Mariposa Bakery goodies, attend a special pre-game party with other Celiacs. It’ll be a darn good time.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
7 o’clock p.m.
AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif.
contact Karen Friis: kdfriis (at) aol (dot) com
Wild Goat Bistro is cute. As in cuh-UUTE like a European bistro, all warm & glowing inside at nighttime, fellow diners not far (but just far enough), a friendly and just-attentive-enough waitstaff, an exciting menu to ogle (and it really IS ogle-worthy: many options are gluten-free!), yummy specials and a select list of $19 bottles of wine. Our meal went something like this:
TO START: Slow Pork
braised pork shank, simmered garbanzo beans, Spanish chorizo, Mediterranean spices. AMAZING. And available in a full-size dinner portion, too!
TO DRINK: The Goatfather
one of the handful of $19 bottles of wine available. A totally drinkable wine, perfect for pairing with this bistro-style meal.
GREENERY: Farmer’s Market Salad
shredded beets, carrot & broccoli strips, goat cheese, black raspberry herb dressing. A basic salad made nice with the bits of freshly shredded veg.
PIZZA: Fog Lifter
tomato sauce, spicy fennel sausage, Applewood smoked bacon, Pepperoni, Mozzarella. A smallish pizza for the price ($13.25 plus a $2 up-charge for the gluten-free dough), but excellent topping-to-crust ratio. Crispy around the edges, bready and airy toward the middle. This pizza would please both schools of pizza aficionados with its nod toward the crackery-crust and the doughy-crust.
FEEDING THE SWEET TOOTH: Fig Ginger Cake
a tall slice of deliciousness with a flavor akin to spice cake singing with the sweetness of figs, balanced with the subtle presence of ginger, and iced with just the right amount of frosting. This cake did not seem gluten free. And that’s a good thing.
. . .
If you go, be sure to take charge of your own experience. Even though we know that some of the gluten-free sweets and breads are prepared by Bliss Bakery and Mama Baretta (both of whom take great care to ensure a safe gluten-free experience), ALWAYS ask how your gluten-free items are prepared and tailor your ordering to your own level of comfort and tolerance.
. . .
Open for lunch daily 11:45 – 3, and dinner Sunday – Tuesday 5 – 8, Wednesday & Thursday 5 – 8:30, Friday & Saturday 5 – 9:30. 6 Petaluma Boulevard North A5 (in The Great Petaluma Mill), Petaluma CA 94952, 707 658 1156
The Lab just stopped in at Bliss Bakery in Santa Rosa. YUM! Go there now for:
Savory Mediterranean bread pudding
Sweet potato curry soup
Apple pear cinnamon bars
Chocolate bread pudding
Chocolate chip cookies
Toffee cupcakes with frosting hearts on top
Or go there Saturday or Monday for special Valentine’s treats!
463 Sebastopol Avenue, Santa Rosa
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10-4
Photo by Kevin Hewitt
One of our good internet pals is Gluten-Free Mike. He has a great perspective on dining out gluten-free, and he’s in the public eye more than ever as the necessity for the gluten-free diet grows. Take, for instance, this article from MSNBC published this week announcing that Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels and Resorts are now offering “a new series of menus with different dishes specifically created for guests not only with celiac disease but also diabetes and heart disease, as well as for guests on macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.”
Mike is quoted throughout the article, and he’s careful to stress the importance of having a dialogue with the chef or the server in the restaurant to ensure all of the ingredients are, in fact, gluten-free: “Identifying appropriate dishes ‘is just about asking the right questions and making the right choices,’ he explained.”
Locally, look for gluten-free baked tofu with bean noodles at Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in Sonoma, Calif. But if you’re a frequent traveler, we hope you’ll report back on your experiences at Fairmonts around the world!
Well here’s some potentially good news for GFers across the nation: Subway is testing out a couple of gluten-free items to potentially add to their menu. Woo! In addition to the possibility of including a sandwich roll and a brownie to their gluten-free repertoire, Subway would also be training their sandwich-making artists on the art of keeping foods and utensils separate, so, for instance, the knife used to cut a gluten-free sandwich would be pre-wrapped and designed for single-use only. We don’t like the impact this has on waste generation (more trash, really?) but we do like that there’s a visual cue for someone ordering a GF sandwich (wrapped knife = gluten-free knife).
The Subway restaurant chain is currently testing two gluten-free menu items in the Dallas and Tyler, Texas markets. The trial options roll out Jan. 10.
According to celiac.com, the gluten-free rolls and brownies will come prepackaged and individually wrapped. Sandwich Artists in those two markets will be trained on how to cut the roll with a pre-wrapped knife for one use only.
Also, to further avoid cross-contamination, that same Sandwich Artist will prepare the order from beginning to end, ensuring a 100-percent gluten-free meal.
Subway has long offered items and information for allergen-sensitive customers, and includes a comprehensive chart on its website outlining ideal options for those who stick to a celiac diet…
…Many quick-service chains are embracing gluten-free menu options in light of a growing awareness of this disease. In early 2010, for example, Burger King Corp. released a “Gluten-Sensitive List” which features food on the chain’s menu that doesn’t contain wheat, barley, oats or rye.
The increased rollout of gluten-free items not only appeals to a broader consumer base, it may also be a necessity, as lawsuits have been filed against chains for not disclosing gluten’s presence in products.
Ultimately, having a gluten-free component decreases the risk of making some customers sick, which is why it continues to be listed as a restaurant trend to watch for in 2011, according to Technomic research.
. . .
Here’s to some lunch-breakin’, road trippin’ sandwiches in the near future!
You’re in good company here. We get you. We get how hard it is to leave your very own familiar kitchen – your mixing bowls, your pantry of gluten-free flours, your favorite recipe books & sunny countertops — and put your health and the whole experience of food in somebody else’s hands.
Going to visit family over the holidays can be stressful, especially if they don’t understand why you’re on a “low carb diet” (because dear Aunt Betty just can’t seem to wrap her brain around why you don’t enjoy a big, fat slice of french bread with your turkey, no gravy).
Here’s the good news: Triumph Dining’s The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. Buy it. Dog-ear the pages of unfamiliar cities you’ll be cruising through over the holiday season, and for good measure, mark the pages of cities you want to visit next year. The book features over 6,500 restaurants nation-wide; 100 gluten-free lists from chains like P.F. Chang’s, Panera, and Subway; and a full print or online restaurant database that is verified & updated every year.
Already, the GFL headquarters (located in Healdsburg, California) are impressed with the thorough restaurant listing and the sample menus from chains, which allow you to, in effect, try before you buy.
The Missing Menu is an up-and-coming resource to help people with food allergies – not just gluten-free folks – dine out safely. Simply plug in your coordinates and enjoy the fruits of The Missing Menu’s labors. This resource is still in its infancy, and only two regions are really fleshed out, so if you’re lucky enough to live in Denver, Colo. or the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll get to reap the benefits. But not to worry! Regions that will be featured in the near future include Atlanta, Chicago, L.A., Northern Colorado and Philadelphia.
If you have a devoted interest in helping the allergy-friendly restaurants in your area become known destinations for other diners, you’re welcome to suggest restaurants to be included in The Missing Menu’s lists. Just use the submission form to share the details you know and The Missing Menu will be sure to track down the details.
So why do they do this? True story:
“Recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy and a passionate foodie, I was frustrated… Even beyond frustrated. All at once, I was hit with (and those of you with food allergies know what I’m talking about) the lack of dining options, the new intimidation of dining out, and embarrassment at social and business meals. I began to distrust restaurants and the “true” ingredients in my food. Just a few weeks in and I was already tired of searching endless blogs, forums, and websites for allergy information. Perhaps most of all, I dreaded being that high maintenance diner; the one who needs to ask a thousand questions about a restaurant before committing to a simple dinner out, or a million questions about the menu items before I can order. The result? TheMissingMenu.com.”
This is a resource that could really catch on…do we see an app in the near future?
You’ve been craving fondue, right? Now that the weather in California has turned brisk and decidedly fall-like, you’re looking for a way to get your comfort food on, maybe with your loved one(s) in tow. A reader (who also happens to be the founder at Camp Celiac and the mother of the baker behind Miglet’s Gluten Free Bakery…but no big whoop) recently turned our attention to Simply Fondue in Livermore, Calif. We haven’t ventured down there yet, but the reports we’ve heard are enough to make us eke out the time in our busy schedules for a fondue fieldtrip.
Imagine a leisurely dining experience that involves a well-crafted martini from the extensive martini menu; a simple gorgonzola and field greens salad; and then a steaming pot of oozey melted cheese or warmed infused oils served with various dip-ables, ranging from hunks of bread (for our non-GF plus-ones) to lobster tails. To finish it all off, silky melted chocolate in the form of Everything But the Kitchen Sink (white, milk and dark chocolate swirled with marshmallow cream, caramel, peanut butter, pecans, and topped with whipped cream) or Kahlúa Heath Krunch (creamy milk chocolate swirled together with Kahlúa liqueur and topped off with Heath Bar toffee bits).
Could we have a Lab fan comment back on this place? Pretty please?
2300 First Street
Historic Downtown Livermore