Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Need a gluten free wedding cake in Atlanta? No problem!

Over the last few years, we've had some ups and downs in our options for gluten free cakes in this area. Actually, for a while we had no options locally. For a short while, one bakery here made several flavors of gluten free cakes and then the head baker left. She apparently took her amazing recipes with her, since they started offering only vanilla and chocolate cakes and neither was anything to get excited about. It shocked me that so many brides were ordering their wedding cakes from this place - even though the cakes are not very good. I set out to find something better for not only Brides (and Grooms), but for anyone needing a gluten free birthday cake.......or any other special occasion cake for that matter.

Finally, after much searching and investigating, I found THE place to go for 'out of this world' gorgeous AND wonderful tasting gluten free cakes in Atlanta! Mark Fitchpatrick Designs offers both cakes and floral services for weddings and special occasions in the Metro Atlanta area. Though this shop is not a dedicated gluten free space, they understand cross contamination and do everything possible to keep your gluten free cake truly gluten free. And your choices don't include boring vanilla and chocolate only. You'll be blown away with your options...maybe the Italian Creme Cake is the way to go....or Carrot....or Coconut. Want a cake with a filling inside? There are several of those to choose from as well. There are too many great flavors and options for me to name here - just contact Mark and he'll help you figure it out!















Whether you prefer a traditional look, or something more contemporary and cutting edge, Mark can create a masterpiece for you. And the best part is that anyone who likes great cake can enjoy it - gluten free guests and glutenoids alike!
For two decades, Mark Fitchpatrick has been creating beautiful cakes and memories in Atlanta. Why settle for less when you can have the best? Order your next gluten free (wedding, grooms, birthday or special occassion) cake from Mark Fitchpatrick Designs.
404-634-9678
Here are a few comments made by some of Mark's happy clients:

"I was amazed how yummy the gluten free groom's cake was and it was decorated so beautifully, too".
"I did not know that gluten free cake could be so good. I have been searching all over town and had decided there was no such thing as good gluten free cake until I tasted yours".
Mark says that he has found that ANY cake can be made gluten free. He did a Red Velvet cake for a baby shower recently and received rave reviews. The expectant Mom was so excited to have found Mark, since Red Velvet is her life time favorite. She'd resigned herself to the fact that she'd never be able to enjoy it again. Thanks to Mark Fitchpatrick Designs she won't have to do without her favorite cake again!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wisteria - a gluten free gem in Atlanta!

During a recent GF Dinner Club outing at Wisteria in Atlanta, we dined on some pretty incredible food and most amazingly, most of it was on the 'regular' menu. I had the Crab Bisque with a goat cheese and calvados creme fraiche to start and others enjoyed the scallops and gourmet salads. As most of you know, it's almost impossible to find a gluten free version of any kind of bisque in a restaurant. And Wisteria's version is probably the best in town, even compared to gluten versions I ate in the past.
Entree choices included :
Molasses-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin over sweet potato soufflé topped with a Vidalia onion, apple and walnut relish - Jumbo Shrimp and Grits with sauteed peppers and onions in a spicy shrimp broth - North Atlantic Skate Wing seared with lemon brown butter and served over stone-ground corn grits and roasted asparagus spears - Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb served over whipped potatoes with roasted asparagus, wild mushrooms and red wine jus - Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with summer citrus and arugula salad with apples, walnuts, and fennel and a Chardonnay beurre blanc.

I ordered the Pecan crusted Salmon but in fact, the coating contained gluten so I really just got salmon. But I wanted it for the coating....so easy to do gluten free but I wasn't paying attention to the menu which clearly noted that the salmon would need modification to be made gluten free. I'll pay better attention next time around.

As the gluten free dessert choices there are limited, they were kind enough to bring in a gluten free chocolate ganache torte just for our event. It came from Southern Sweets in Decatur. I passed on it but everyone raved about it so much that I'll likely order it from the bakery for a special occasion when I don't feel like making dessert myself. Southern Sweets has two different chocolate desserts they make without gluten, though this is not indicated anywhere on their website.

Chef/Owner Jason Hill's talent shines through both the food and service at Wisteria - both are fabulous and I recommend a visit regardless if you're gluten free or not. Thanks to my Organizer Lori, who planned this amazing event, and to the staff at Wisteria for truly making us all feel very welcomed!

Wisteria / 404-525-3663

471 North Highland Avenue

Atlanta, GA 30307

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pizza Fusion hits Atlanta!

Below is a restaurant review, written by my first guest blogger - Joy Johnston. Joy has worked as a professional dining critic in Atlanta, so you may recognize the name if you're a local. She is a true writer, which is something I've never claimed to be. You can follow Joy here on twitter. Thanks Joy, for taking time to post your comments about Pizza Fusion - it's truly appreciated!

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Pizza Fusion is a growing national chain that is dedicated to being earth-friendly. The first restaurant opened in 2006 in Florida with the idea that they could fill the void of dining out organically. Hence, all Pizza Fusion restaurants are dedicated to using organic ingredients and use hybrid vehicles for delivery.

Most importantly to those with Celiac Disease, Pizza Fusion offers a gluten-free pizza crust. In metro Atlanta, our choices for gluten-free pizza can be counted on one hand, so Pizza Fusion was awaited eagerly by the Celiac community. Did it live up to the hype?

Pizza Fusion is located in bustling Buckhead (2233 Peachtree Rd. Suite M, Atlanta, GA 30309, Phone: 404-351-9334), and they also have a limited delivery area. The restaurant is located on the ground level of the Astoria at the Aramore, and the restaurant itself still carries that new shine. There’s a decent-sized dining room area and a bar area with tables as well. Patrons tend to be a good mix of neighborhood locals with plenty of families, along with those that are looking for the gluten-free pizza experience.

I’ve found service to be stellar upon every visit. They offered me another variety of gluten-free beer they had just added that wasn’t on the menu yet, and they were careful with the handling of my gluten-free order. I also feel like the staff has been properly trained about serving those with gluten intolerance. I’ve dined there several times and never had a reaction, despite the fact that they also serve wheat-based crust pizzas. From what I understand, the kitchen staff has been taught to avoid cross-contamination issues. I feel confident dining here and would not hesitate to recommend to others, based upon their awareness of the gluten-free diet.

So how is the gluten-free pizza? Well, we all know pizza is a very subjective topic. Some like thin, crispy crusts, others like the thick, chewy crusts. Well, Pizza Fusion, in my experiences, lies somewhere in the middle. It’s thick enough not to be crispy, but doesn’t quite have that chewiness that one often finds with gluten-containing pizza crusts. Since I’m flexible when it comes to crust styles, Pizza Fusion’s variety suits me just fine. I also think it heats up better the next day than the thinner crusts, which are easier to burn upon reheating. (And you will probably have leftovers, as the gluten-free crust only comes in the large size.)

What’s most important to me is quality of the ingredients, and that’s where I feel Pizza Fusion shines over competitors. The quality of cheeses and vegetables is outstanding. The organic mozzarella really does make a difference, and the freshness of the basil and other toppings adds to the enjoyment.

As I mentioned earlier, Pizza Fusion offers the Green’s line of gluten-free beers from Belgium. Most people consider these the best of the bunch when it comes to gluten-free beers. You can also get Boylan’s sodas, but don’t ask for a Coke, because they don’t offer the commercial brands.

If somehow you still have room for dessert, Pizza Fusion even offers a gluten-free brownie. It’s actually quite tasty, dusted with powdered sugar and adorned with berries. Again, this is a nice touch, since it’s very hard for us Celiacs to find something for dessert when we dine out other than sorbet!

I enjoy dining at Pizza Fusion and am happy they now have a presence in Atlanta. While I do eat gluten-free pizza from other establishments in town and am fond of them as well, I prefer the dining experience at Pizza Fusion over the competitors.

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Update: Pizza Fusion now offers a personal size gluten free pizza for lunch.

CPK's gluten-free pizza - third time's a charm!

Once upon a time, California Pizza Kitchen (aka CPK) introduced a gluten-free crust.  And, it was the worst I've ever had in a restaura...