Monday, November 23, 2015

Seven Sisters Scones - a hit in Johns Creek!

Ever since Seven Sisters Scones opened a couple of months ago, it's just gotten better and better!  It's exciting enough to be able to pop in and grab a gluten-free scone (most of the time there is both a savory and sweet option) six days a week.  Now that they have lunch service, it's becoming my new fave place for quick take-out.  I served the killer chicken tortilla soup to glutenoid in-laws....yes - this is great food for everyone!

It's so nice to have gluten-free soup options (not that common in Johns Creek/Alpharetta), but I'm getting addicted to the new sconewiches (sandwiches made with savory scones).  Give me a bacon, cheddar & chive with turkey, cheese and red pepper aioli sconewich any day and I'm a happy luncher!

The staff at Seven Sisters Scones are friendly and go out of their way to provide exceptional service to their customers.  The bakery/cafe is offering specialty items for Thanksgiving this week (through Wed.) and many items are gluten-free.  Visit the bakery's website (or better yet the bakery itself!) for more details.  The pumpkin maple scones are simply amazing....and are the perfect fall indulgence!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


*Please note this is not a dedicated gluten-free bakery.   



   

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bloomfield Farms expands distribution!

Several years ago, someone told me about a great gluten-free cornbread mix they picked up in Kentucky.  It was the Bloomfield Farms mix which I hadn't seen in Atlanta at the time - and I still haven't found it here.  The good news is that the brand is rolling out to Kroger stores which means we should find it locally soon!

In the meantime, the company was nice enough to send me a few things to try.  I recently made some golden brown pancakes for a lovely weekend breakfast.  The mix was super easy to use and what was really exciting is that you don't have to use a whole box to make pancakes!  Many gluten-free pancake mixes only give you instructions to use the whole package and in our case, that leaves us with way too many pancakes for a meal for two.

I'm really picky about pancakes and literally could not eat some offered at a local restaurant because they came out 'light beige' and not 'golden brown' like pancakes most certainly should be.  The Bloomfield Farms pancakes are the perfect color and texture and just taste like regular pancakes!  While I kept it basic with no add-ins, the batter should lend it self to blueberries or chocolate chips - whatever your favorite type is.  Enjoy!






Monday, October 5, 2015

Seven Sisters Scones opens in Johns Creek!

Many months ago, we came upon a scone booth at a local farmers market.  There was a sign out front that listed two gluten-free flavors of scones.  Knowing that a friend (with celiac) had tried these scones and had no issues, I decided to taste, and then buy, a white chocolate raspberry scone.  I must say that it was one of the best scones (of any kind) I've ever had!    

Seven Sisters Scones sells product at many Atlanta are farmers markets on Saturdays, as well as one in Chattanooga, TN.  They usually have a couple of gluten-free options to choose from.

My favorite items are the above mentioned (sweet) flavor and the savory cheddar, bacon and chive.  The latter is like a really upgraded version of the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster.  Simply put, they are AMAZING!  I've served the "sconies" (mini scones available for pre-ordering) to glutenoids many times and they always rave about them as much as gluten-free guests do. These scones freeze exceptionally well and have no flavor or texture change upon defrosting.      
It is with great excitement that I can finally announce that Seven Sisters Scones has opened a store front bakery in Johns Creek!  Details are on the company's website.    


*Please note this bakery is not a gluten-free facility.  As always, do what works for you personally, regarding gluten-free foods.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Filled cupcakes at Smallcakes - delish!

OK - anyone who frequents the Gigi's in Norcross, which offers many gluten-free flavors (cupcake and frostings) six days a week, might have a hard time getting excited about gluten-free options at Smallcakes in Alpharetta.  They offer gf vanilla one week and gf chocolate the next - only on Tuesdays.  But, recently this location changed the way they offer gluten-free cupcakes.  They now don't frost the cupcakes in advance.  You get to choose your frosting which opens up many exciting flavor options!

For weeks, the frostings of the day (for gf cupcakes) were two that I can't tolerate as they are WAY too sweet.  Then, last week I called and found out about the new frosting free cupcakes that patrons get to choose the frostings for.  I left knowing I could order key lime pie frosting, but got there to find I could also order lemon drop frosting which blew my mind....lemon and coconut cupcakes are my favorites and apparently not many people like them since Gigi's Norcross rarely makes then due to their unpopularity...  But back to Smallcakes!  Needless to say I walk out with two gorgeous cupcakes with a big smile on my face.  However, when I get home to cut each of them in half (yes, I share), they are filled with something....and I'm pretty sure the cake part must not be gluten-free.  In a panic I call the store and the nice woman who made the cupcakes explained the fillings were just put in for me and they are both gluten-free.  And I must say, it's been a very long time since I've had cupcakes are fantastic as these!!!!

The cake part is flavorful and moist and the frosting isn't 2/3 of the product.  My husband enjoyed his two cupcake halves that night and said they were simply amazing.  Since he gets regular baked treats fairly often at work now, his gluten and gluten-free taste comparisons are pretty accurate.

Just like any normal restaurant, this bakery can't guarantee their gluten-free options are perfectly gluten-free, but they do take precautions considering they're in a gluten-filled facility.  I'm not sure why they don't have more gluten-free customers (Gigi's is overrun with them!), but if you're in the area and comfortable buying from regular bakeries, this place is definitely worth checking out!

      



Friday, July 3, 2015

Refreshing summer cocktails

One of the most common summer "adult" beverages is the white wine spritzer, but there are other summery drinks that are just as light and refreshing.  Two of my favorites are the Gin Margarita (thank you Ted's Montana Grill) and Kombucha Sunrise.

For the first drink, just substitute gin for the tequila in your favorite margarita recipe. Garnish with fresh lime in salt rimmed glass and enjoy.

For the Kombucha Sunrise, mix two parts Gingerade Kombucha with one part vodka of your choice (distilled alcohol is gluten-free, but check status of all flavored liquors) and garnish with fresh lime.

Remember that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated in extreme heat.  As always, please drink responsibly.

STAY COOL and 

HAPPY JULY 4TH!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fresh gluten-free treats at Walmart!

OK - I'm not much of a WM shopper so when a close gluten-free friend of mine told me I HAD to try the delicious gluten-free cookies and muffins she found at the WM over in Cobb county, I said yeah yeah...and promptly forgot about it.  First of all, these days I have to choose my carbs very carefully.  If something isn't amazing, I stop eating it after the first bite.  Secondly, as mentioned above, I rarely go to WM.

Several weeks pass and I'm offered a chance to taste the WM goodies.  Clearly, based on my very picky (like me) friend's comments about this product line, I had to take advantage of this great opportunity!  Not only was my friend dead on in her review of the FRESH treats sold in the regular WM bakery, everything was better than I could have imagined! Oh, and everything is VERY affordable to boot ;)



Starting with the cookies, they are VERY large and VERY soft!  Aside from cookies made in a gluten-free (walk-in) bakery or ones I've baked myself, I've never had  delicious, soft and chewy gluten-free cookies like these.  They taste like homemade cookies...seriously!  If you heat them up for a few seconds, I'm sure they'll taste like they just came out of the oven.  Now, for the sad party of this story, the cookie monster in our house (who can eat any cookie on earth!) ate every cookie in two packages in less than two days!  I wanted to make an ice cream sandwich with them, but that will have to wait.




On to the brownies.  I'm not sure why, but I've always been a huge fan of brownie bites - very small mini-muffin sized brownies.  The WM Bakery gluten-free brownies are the perfect size!  They're also just chocolaty and sweet enough without being too much of either.  I ate one of them at room temperature (remember, they're in the bakery at WM - not in the freezer!) and it was really scrumptious!  Then after giving ONE brownie to the husband, I froze the rest to insure they would still be there the next day.

Eventually, I thawed out several brownies and made ice cream sundaes with them.  Making that treat called for slightly heating the brownies in the microwave (one for me and three for the husband!) and topping with vanilla ice cream and Trader Joe's Midnight Moo (the only chocolate sauce we'll eat now).  OK - we topped the sundaes off with a touch of canned whipped cream...lol!  The only thing missing was a cherry on top - but we didn't miss the gluten one bit!




Lastly, we have the blueberry gluten-free muffins.  These amazing soft and moist treats are my new go-to ready-made blueberry muffins!  They come in a 2-pack which is perfect for us!  One thing I could not figure out was how the blueberries tasted like someone had picked them that day and made a batch of muffins with them... Seriously - the best blueberries I've had in any muffin ever!  We didn't get a chance to freeze these, but based on the ingredients, they'll likely freeze well.  Aside from enjoying at home, they're a nice item to keep stocked for trips to the in-laws' (or friends') house where you need to take your own b'fast breads.

Here is a little more info on this great new option for FRESH gluten-free baked goods - sold only at Walmart under the brand 'The Bakery, gluten-free'.

  • Certified gluten-free
  • Certified Kosher
  • Contains soy, dairy and egg
  • Made in nut-free facility
  • NO artificial flavors or colors
  • NO trans fats
  • NO hydrogenated oils
  • Naturally flavored

Now I know most of us have trained ourselves to avoid the bakery at any store like the plague.  Why torture ourselves looking longingly at all the fresh, gluten-filled goodness?  But it's time to reprogram our brains to enjoy going to the FRESH bakery section again - at least at Walmart!  ALL U.S. locations should have these wonderful products by now, but if you can't find them, be sure and ask the bakery manager at your store to get them in STAT!

To keep up with all the news from this exciting line, be sure to follow the WMBakeryGlutenFree Twitter page!            

Monday, June 29, 2015

Recipe: Simple Papaya Salsa

With the overwhelming heat the ATL has experienced lately, I'm on a mission to cook as little as possible.  Thankfully, my husband is a wonderful "grill master" and doesn't mind the heat associated with grilling in the early evening sun.

One of the easiest things to make without cooking is homemade salsa.  You can make it any way you like with whatever ingredients you have on hand - it's a win-win situation! When looking for a papaya salsa recipe the other day, I realized I didn't have all the ingredients to make any of them exactly as written.  Therefore, I mixed it up and came up with my own recipe.

Papaya Salsa

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 ripe papaya - diced
  • 1/2 cup jicama - peeled and diced**
  • 1/4 cup roasted (or fresh) red bell peppers 
  • 1/2 bunch green onions
  • 2 t. dried cilantro (fresh is better - use 1/4 cup)
  • 2 t. fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

**Jicama peel is not edible

INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Put diced papaya and jicama in mixing bowl and toss with lime juice (this prevents jicama from browning).
  • Put red peppers and green onion into small food processor - pulse to mince.
  • Add minced veggies and cilantro to papaya mixture and mix well.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.  
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes so all the flavors meld well.      


We used this fabulous, summery salsa to top grilled Mahi-Mahi, but it also works well with grilled chicken.

Left over recipe ideas: add fresh (or canned) pineapple and some ginger to salsa.  Puree to make fruity gazpacho.  This twist on an old favorite is amazingly refreshing!

Fruit salsa also makes an excellent taco topping in the warmer months! 

 

       

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Chicken Salad Chick

From doing some research - both online and at the restaurant prior to eating there - I knew that all the chicken salad offered at this new eatery was gluten-free.  However, I was not aware of other gluten-free options like soup or sides.  Below is a script of what happened when I tried to order safely at this place.  While I didn't record the conversation, this is a very close representation of what was said by the counter girl (CG) at CSC and me.

Me: Are any of your soups or sides gluten-free? (I could tell by the look on the girl's face the question threw her so I suggested she ask someone in the kitchen).

CG: (After asking the kitchen) Yes - everything is gluten-free (huge smile on her face).

Me: Well, you don't have gluten-free bread or crackers so that's not actually correct...

CG: Oh, well, I mean everything else (still huge smile on her face)...

Me: (this time, I get to do the eye rolling...lol!) I'll take the Fancy something chicken salad with a side of fruit.  I'm allergic to gluten so I can't have bread or crackers or anything like that touch my plate.  Please make sure you either put that on my order in writing or tell a manager in person so that my meal is made correctly.

I pay, take my table tent (so food runner can find me) and go sit with the rest of my party.  My food comes out and there is a cookie - a gluten-filled cookie - on the plate.  I nicely explained my meal had to be remade (I didn't keep the plate, though I usually would) since I have a gluten allergy and told the order taker to make sure they knew that in the kitchen.  The food runner actually said "I know your ticket says gluten-free so I don't know why there is a cookie on the plate".  Duh...neither do I.
The plate was remade (at least it took forever to come back out) and I was fine. However, two doors down at Tom + Chee they really know what they're doing (or they have so far) when it comes to gluten-free meals.  And they have gluten-free bread to boot!

It's disappointing that the location of CSC near us has not trained all "front of the house" staff in terms of gluten-free menu items.  If someone who wasn't thinking things through could certainly order a sandwich with regular bread and a cookie and think it was all gluten-free.  As always, buyer beware - especially when it comes to all these so-called gluten-free menus popping up every other day!  As far as I'm concerned, if someone at a restaurant doesn't know that a customer who can't have gluten can't have a regular (gluten) cookie, I am simply not comfortable eating there.  

I'm addicted to the chicken salad at Zoe's Kitchen so I'm glad to have that safe option around the corner.  The portions are huge there which is another added bonus!
   
 

           

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Smallcakes - my new favorite cupcake in the ATL!

I've been meaning to post about this place for over a month now...finally, I'm getting around to it!  Knowing that a good friend of mine, who lives in Cobb county, declared the gluten-free cupcakes at Smallcakes the best around - I knew I had to check them out.  However, the location she frequented closed before I could get there.

Fast forward to March 2015 when a location of Smallcakes opened up dangerously close to us.  I assumed, incorrectly, that they made gluten-free cupcakes daily as the location near my friend did.  Thankfully, I called ahead to confirm availability of their gluten-free goods before heading over.  They only offer gluten-free on Tuesday (ironically the day I take Zumba toning) and they only have one flavor per week.  They also only have two flavors of gluten-free - chocolate and vanilla.  This was very disappointing to hear since my friend raved about flavors like red velvet, key lime pie and other exciting sounding flavors.  But I want a cupcake I don't have to buy four of (and that were not previously frozen) and I don't want to drive to Norcross to get it.

After tasting the chocolate cupcake at Smallcakes, all I could say is "I can't believe it's gluten-free!!!!"  It would be another month (yesterday) before I finally got back on a gluten-free 'vanilla' Tuesday.  Again, the cupcake was beyond amazing!  While I don't think people that are severely affected by cross contamination would eat cupcakes made in a bakery that uses wheat, for those of us that aren't overly sensitive, this is an amazing option!

If you're able to eat cupcakes from a non-dedicated gluten-free bakery, the offerings at Smallcakes are worth checking out.  Who knows?  Maybe we can eventually try other flavors beyond the standard chocolate and vanilla.  I don't care much for the fudge frosting or the caramel frosting at this place, but the buttercream frosting is simply divine!    

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tin Roof Kitchen closes for good

Those of you that love the food at Tin Roof Kitchen have probably been waiting impatiently for the restaurant to reopen after their "non-working hood incident".  Sadly, they are not ever opening back up.  After a friend asked if they'd reopened yet, I went on the TRK website and then linked to their FB page.  Below is the last note posted by the owner, Robyn.

---
I know you all have been anxiously awaiting our re-opening date, however, at this point I have decided to close Tin Roof and offer it's assets for sale. This decision comes from my desire to spend more time with my family and to pursue other business opportunities. Thank you for a wonderful run and all of your support! If you are interested in purchasing the restaurant and obtaining the lease on the building, please send a message through the page here on FB. Thanks again!!!
---

Unfortunately, TRK never quite got their act together on the service side.  But this is an issue at many places in Alpharetta where the kids usually don't need (or choose) to work.  Anyway, I'm sad to see it go.  And I'm really glad my favorite pancakes are those found at Another Broken Egg Cafe which is not only open in Johns Creek, it's insanely busy and the service is fast and friendly ;)

Happy weekend to all!  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Some gluten-free menus miss the mark

Anyone who has ever worked in food service - particularly in the "front of the house" in a restaurant knows you're to push appetizers and desserts to every customer. Selections in those two categories of the menu tend to  offer the highest margins.  So selling apps and desserts increases the tips for servers and the restaurant increases their take for the shift as well.

Have you ever looked - really looked carefully - at a gluten-free menu?  If the answer is yes, then you know the two menu categories that either have little or no gluten-free options are the appetizers and the desserts.  This completely baffles me.  If places don't want to offer a gluten-free menu to people who are trendy - or to those that have medical conditions that require a gluten-free diet - fine.  But why go to the trouble of figuring out gluten-free options for salads and main courses while skipping the two most profitable categories on the menu?  It makes absolutely no sense!

When I find an interesting appetizer on a menu that I can order, it's very hard to pass up the chance to try it.  Even if I'm not in the mood for an app and an entree, I'll likely order both and take most of my main meal home.  I want to let restaurants know that I very much appreciate being able to order an appetizer so they'll keep offering those items!

Nothing drives me up the wall when dining out more than not being offered dessert. Even if they only have ice cream which I've never ordered when dining out and probably never will - I would like to know if I can have a sweet treat to complete my meal or not.  We were recently at a pizza place that has a ricotta cheesecake for dessert. It's always been gluten-free since it's crustless and I insisted we order it just because I could have it.  It arrived and I took maybe two bites and let my husband have the rest. I don't like any cheesecake except the Godiva option at Cheesecake Factory, but I could not pass up dessert when our server was so excited to let me know I could have it.

Every restaurant is not going to offer gluten-free pizza, bread, pasta or pancakes.  And some places that offer those things now won't when patron requests for them decrease. But for the places that do offer gluten-free menus, you have to wonder why so many of them haven't figured out they can make much more money on us if they figured out an app that everyone loved that happens to be gluten-free.  And how about putting some key lime pie filling in a ramekin (it's common to have leftover filling in non-chain places) and see if your gluten-free guests want to buy it.  I can tell you right now, I'd be the first to do so and if it's any good, I'd take another to-go!

And don't even get me started on gluten-free menus that list just the names of dishes - no description - no price - no nothing....it's ridonculous!     

Monday, May 18, 2015

Don Antonio bites the dust in the ATL

Just over a year after the Atlanta location of Don Antonio opened, it closed.  While this is really sad news for those of us that enjoyed the amazing food there, it's not even slightly surprising to hear of its closing.

For our first visit there, the owner and manager rolled out the red carpet so needless to say, the service was exceptional.  During every other visit there, the service was friendly enough, but it was always slow.  Slow service when a place is slammed is understandable, but when there are four to six tables in the place total, it's really not understandable at all.  Buckhead is not Italy and people that dine out in that area are not going to return to places that have the type of service that is common in Italy - outside of Italy.  Often called "relaxed service" over there, for the most part, we call it slow and unacceptable over here.

On top of the slow service, it seemed that asking for extra cheese on your pizza (gluten-free or not)  was deeply offensive and while we always got extra cheese after asking, it was never an easy get and it was never done with a smile from the servers.  So, many people never went back whether they can eat gluten or not.  It was very out of the way for us to get to often, but I would put up with the service due to the incredible FRESH pizza crust (made with Italian soy flour) they made in house.  I was probably in a small group of diners that would suffer sub par service in exchange for fabulous pizza.              
We are trying a new place (for us - not new to the ATL) later this week.  It's another Neapolitan pizza place that also makes gluten-free crust in house.  Hopefully it won't be an issue to get extra cheese if we want it ;)   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gluten-free muffins to the rescue!

A traditional brunch menu is typically heavy on gluten-filled options and when you're visiting in-laws for Easter, you can easily end up having to make do while hoping for the best. Meaning, hoping you don't get sick due to uninformed or misinformed staff members.

While I was fortunate and was able to find plenty of safe food to eat at Easter brunch this year, what really made me feel like it was brunch was my gluten-free muffin.  That would be the Pillsbury chocolate chip muffin I took to brunch in my purse.  Due to where I was, I could not trust the staff to take the muffin into the kitchen to heat up for me, but it didn't matter.  The muffins are delicious any way you can get them - hot with butter or plain at room temperature!

Presently, this is the only nationally distributed gluten-free muffin that offers individual wrappers for each unit.  Just grab one out of the freezer, throw in your purse (or workout bag or lunch bag) and you're good to go!

This is the perfect travel snack, though I haven't yet taken an international trip with them.  They'd be perfect to give you a boost during a long flight, but I haven't investigated how long the muffins stay fresh once they're defrosted.

I'm partial to chocolate chip muffins, but there is a blueberry muffin in this line if you prefer a more traditional breakfast option.  They are hitting Ingles stores in the ATL and are en route to Kroger stores this summer.  Hopefully, Publix won't be far behind ;)

Like most gluten-free muffins, the Pillsbury brand is stocked in your grocer's freezer.  ENJOY!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

True Food at Lenox Square

Recently, an old friend asked if I could meet for lunch near or at Lenox Square in Buckhead.  I told her to pick a place and I'd check on the gluten-free options.  She already had a place in mind - True Food - and she also knew there was gluten-free selection noted on the menu.

I checked out the menu online and decided it looked good enough to check out.  Mall dining is not my favorite thing to do, but True Food is on the corner of the mall with a street entrance.  You can easily forget your at the mall with the high ceilings and bustling ambiance.  There are gluten-free specialty items (like bread for sandwiches) available, but I opted for two half salads (may not be listed on the menu) and they were both delicious!

The turkey lasagna looks interesting - they use spinach instead of pasta sheets.  I think the pizza crust is from Venice bakery.  You can check out the restaurant's website and menu here.

If you have room for dessert, check out the macaron cart in front of Sephora on the main level of the mall.  They are not the best I've had, but they are decent enough if you're not a macaron snob like we are.  Another dessert option is the gluten-free cupcake at Sprinkles which is also on the front of the mall just down from True Food.  I only tried the gluten-free option once, and that was one time too many.  Hopefully, they are doing better for gluten-free folks by now ;)

  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sprouts flourless chocolate cake review

Many specialty grocery stores (in our area) have individually sized gluten-free desserts in the bakery case.  When looking for such a treat at our Sprouts Market, I found a flourless chocolate cake with a Sprouts label.  It was very small and $2.99, but that is actually pretty reasonable for gluten-free treats.

Since the cake was cold, I let it sit on the counter for a while before trying it for dessert.  One bite was all I needed to decide it wasn't great and my husband wasn't overly impressed with it either.  We put the rest of the cake in the fridge and decided to taste it again later.

The second taste test involved heating the cake slowing in the microwave which greatly improved the taste and texture.  However, it's a much better value to buy the larger Trader Joe's flourless chocolate cake, cut it in small slices to freeze and pull out as needed.  And the TJ's cake is extremely delicious cold, warm or at room temperature to boot!  It even beat out the killer Godiva cheesecake (my personal fave!) at our holiday partly last December for number of pieces scarfed down ;)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spice Market Kitchen - gluten-free review

For over a year I've been planning to check out Spice Brick Oven Kitchen and recently I finally made it there.  It was one the way home so we pulled in to check on gluten-free options.  The dinner crowd had not arrived yet so there were only a few tables in the place and they had a printed gluten-free menu at the hostess desk.  We decided to give it a try since they weren't busy and we were very hungry.

In studying the limited gluten-free menu, I was little taken aback.  This restaurant is a tapas place (of sorts) and I've always found more options at tapas places than I could possibly order during one meal.  That was not the case at Spice Brick Oven Kitchen...in fact, we would have left and gone elsewhere had we not been SO hungry.

To start, we shared the hummus served with veggies (as the gluten-free option) and I ordered grilled scallops assuming that dish, listed for $11.50, would be plenty of food for my meal.  It wasn't.  The scallops were delicious and perfectly prepared.  They were fairly small and the amount of food on the plate was small - even for a tapas place.

My husband enjoyed his shockingly large individual gluten pizza and even took some of it home!  When the bill arrived, we found out it was 1/2 price pizza night so the pizza was only $7!  If you can eat regular pizza, it's definitely worth checking out.  If you can't, you might want to consider going elsewhere for diner.
      

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tom + Chee = gluten-free happiness!

When I saw the Tom + Chee guys on Shark Tank many months ago, I thought to myself that I should find out if they offer gluten-free sandwiches and if so, if they had a location here in the ATL.  Then I basically forgot about it until my friend, Dionne, told me there was a Tom + Chee location near me and they had gluten-free bread.  As someone who grew up eating grilled sandwiches weekly (even ordering them when dining out as a picky-eater child!) I was uber excited to check out the options at Tom + Chee!

Since so many places offer gluten-free bread these days without bothering to train their staff on proper gluten-free food prep, I called Tom + Chee to get the low down on their gluten-free service.  They had all the right answers so we headed there for lunch on a rainy Friday.  The place was packed out at 12:15 and we stood in line for about 20 minutes to order at the front counter.  We had plenty of time to check out the menu during that time, at least.  We each got a grilled cheese sandwich - mine on gluten-free bread - and we shared a small salad.  We didn't try the soup, but plan to on another visit.

The verdict?  The sandwich was delicious and the salad was fresh!  You get two different cheeses of your choice and I added bacon as well.  The menu online states that some cheeses are not gluten-free and I've not called the company to ask why those cheeses are not considered gluten-free.  In any case, the cheeses I had (cheddar and mozzarella) and the bacon were very good quality.  The bread was fine, if a little dry, but I find that at many places that offer gluten-free breads or buns these days.



You can read more about the Tom + Chee explosion here, but here is an excerpt from an interesting the article about the quick-growing chain:

Gluten-free sandwiches are prepared using a separate grill, knife and gluten-free bread. Children's meals ($3.95) come with grilled cheese, soup and drink, but soup may be swapped for fruit or chips.

There are currently two locations (one in Alpharetta and one in Kennesaw) open in the north Metro area and one more (in Buford) is coming soon.  If you enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches - please Enjoy!  



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Earthfare - gluten-free shopping review





The first sign I saw about an  Earthfare location opening up was in Forsythe county and that store is not only not open - it's not currently listed as "coming soon" on the company's website.  However, the good news is that the Peachtree Corners location in Norcross is open and it is absolutely fabulous!

While I wasn't overly impressed with the prices or selection of the produce in the store, the meat and seafood was pretty reasonable - grand opening specials not withstanding.  And the packaged items labeled gluten-free were everywhere we looked.  It was actually overwhelming to see product after product that I've not seen anywhere else in the ATL or in some cases, never even heard of!

Over the last couple of years, I've discovered that I need to choose my carbs carefully which means I don't indulge much in the tasty gluten-free bagels, waffles or buns on the market today.  I have a few boxes of the killer Pillsbury gluten-free muffins in the freezer right now and I've only enjoyed one muffin.  If I could stand the carb overload, I could eat two of those treats a day - at least!  Those should be available at some Ingle's stores now and are coming soon to local Kroger stores - very exciting!  These light, fluffy muffins are great to pack in school lunches, enjoy as afternoon snacks or travel with.  The individual wrapping keeps the muffins fresh until you're ready to enjoy them.

OK - back to Earthfare.  For the shopper looking for the latest and greatest gluten-free products available in the Atlanta area, Earthfare is the place to check out.  Other locations are on tap to open later this year (one on Cheshire Bridge Road maybe one near the Collection at Forsythe as well as other locals the company has signed leases for).

The absolute best part about the Earthfare stores is that they are not too big for their britches like some other stores in the area are.  If you place a request for an item made by a company the store already brings something in from, it's likely you'll see it on the shelf (or in the freezer) during your next shopping trip.  Yes - they make things happen quickly and Earthfare.  No worrying about requesting gluten-free ice cream cones this summer only to wait to see them in the store next summer.  That is not the Earthfare way - they are serious about getting things done and done right!
  
  

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