Monday, December 21, 2009

Giving Thanks

Recently on the Triumph Dining blog, I listed the Top 10 gluten-free things I'm most thankful for this year. Some things of a more personal nature that I'm extremely grateful for are better suited to a post here.

I'm so very thankful to my readers on the sites I now write for becuase without them, I could not have quit my day job earlier this year. Special thanks go to Ross Cohen of Triumph Dining. Ever since I bought my first Restaurant Guide from his website, I've admired what he and the team at Triumph Dining are trying to do for the gluten-free community. Now to be able to be part of the team is an honor I appreciate so very much!


Additionally, I'm so very thankful for the opportunity to write for Kyle Eslick of www.Celiac-Disease.com. What I particularly respect about Kyle is the fact that he knows how the intracacies of online writing work and therefore he chooses to have people in different areas write for his site. He's not interested in hiring five people from one area to write about the same topic. That's not to say that if I move to Denver (I wish!) he'd give me the boot. If someone moves to Atlanta that is already on his site, for instance, he's not going to get rid of them either. It's just that Kyle is not interested in hiring two people from the same area going into the situation because he knows that is not the best decision for anyone - him or the writers.

This season I'm thankful to have been able help others learn that you can live life deliciously gluten-free and have a ton of fun in the process! Happy Holidays to all my readers and favorite vendors who read my work - see you in 2010!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Follow my online work

Some of my readers have asked why I don't post on this site very much anymore. I assumed that the 'Follow My Work' links on the left side of my blog page - and a post about where I'm writing these days - would help people find me. But this was not the case for several of you. So, please accept my apologies for assuming anything - it's never a good idea no matter what the situation.

Here is where you can find my articles these days -

Celiac-Disease.com
Triumph Dining

To those of you who asked if I'm writing at Examiner.com anymore, the answer is no. My husband gave me a directive to make some money at my hobby of helping the gluten-free set or get a new job. Ever since I started my gluten-free life, I enjoyed helping others learn how to enjoy it as much as I did. Unfortunately, my volunteer work didn't pay any bills. My old career held no interest for me anymore so I finally gave it up to pursue work in the gluten-free community. This requires me piece mealing an income together from various opportunities, but since what I do now does not feel like work in any way, I really can't complain. I'm happy to make the trade offs needed, in order to do something so rewarding. Thanks for being a part of my new journey - without my followers none of this would be possible!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gluten-free Week in Atlanta!

The creator of some pretty good gluten-free baked goods and some incredible gluten-free mixes, Lee Tobin of Whole Foods, is teaching a gluten-free cooking class this Friday in Atlanta. There are still some spots left, so please sign up soon if you're interested in attending.

Here are the details from the website-

October 16th / 6:30 - 8:30pm / Whole Foods Alpharetta / $35

After years of perfecting gluten-free recipes, Lee Tobin developed the idea
for Whole Foods Market Gluten-Free Bake House, producing delicious gluten-free
products including breads, cookies, scones, biscuits, pizza crusts, pies and
brownies. Join Lee for an entertaining and informative look at the gluten-free
diet and learn some delicious recipes to savor at home this holiday
season.

Menu: Turkey Pot Pie; Roasted Squash Stuffed with Quinoa; Mini Yucca
Cakes; Caesar Salad with Croutons; and Sweet Potato Pie

Instructor: Lee Tobin of Whole Foods Market


This class is a pre-paid event. Please sign up here to attend -www.wholefoodsmarket.com/saludalpharetta

Don't forget this Saturday is the gluten-free event of the year in the Southeast. Here are just a few of the great vendors that will be exhibiting at the AMC Gluten-Free Vendor Fair:

Food:
Namaste / Kettle Cuisine / Domata Living Flour / Kitchen Table Bakers / Caesar's Pasta Products / Gluten-Free Naturals / Gluten-Free Bakehouse / The Free Cookie / Sweet Oven and Company / Pamela's Products

Books:

Gluten-Free Passport / Triumph Dining (yours truly at this table)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where am I these days?

Some of you are aware of my work on the website Examiner.com. That site offered me a great platform to enter the world of internet writing. If you pay attention to detail you probably know that I am not a trained writer by any stretch of the imagination.



I started this blog in 2007 when I could not find one that helped people learn how to eat out and travel and live "normal" lives gluten-free style. Today there are a zillion such blogs and I'm thrilled to be a part of the group that knows how to live full and tasty gluten-free lives. I love spreading helpful info news to the masses - or the gluten-free masses anyway...lol!



Because of my readers on Examiner.com, I was able to transform my hobby and love of helping others live delicious gluten-free lives into a new career. So, if you followed me there I owe you a huge THANK YOU!



If you want to follow my work these days you can find my author page on Celiac-Disease.com here. Or you can follow The Essential Gluten-Free Blog on the Triumph Dining website here. You can also subscribe to feeds on the sites listed above. In print you can find me in the current issue of Delight GF magazine.



If you have news you think my readers can use please e-mail me at makemineglutenfree @ yahoo (dot) com. I apologize that I can not reply to every note personally these days but I do read them all.



Thanks for being a part of this interesting gluten-free journey with me. It means more than I can put into words...remember I'm not a writer by trade - just a gluten-free advocate who thinks that together we can really make a difference in this gluten filled world of ours!

Gluten-free Fan Night at Turner Field!



Calling all gluten-free Atlanta Braves fans to come out and support the team and ARAMARK's brand new gluten-free concession stand. This Saturday - October 19th is gluten-free fan night at Turner Field. At least that is what the local gluten-free dinner club has dubbed it. The group members are going out in support of the gluten-free food stand (behind section 106 at Turner Field) this Saturday night!





The goal is that if enough fans show up to thank ARAMARK for this great effort on their part, we will be able to have the new gluten-free food options next year as well. It is wonderful that they have Redbridge gluten-free beer at the park but last week they actually rolled out their new gluten-free concession stand - complete with hotdogs WITH buns!


If you get out to a game before the end of the season, you'll have LOTS of great gluten-free food options for the first time in Atlanta Braves history. Check out the details here!


NOTE: The Atlanta Braves, ARAMARK and Turner Field are not affiliated with the Atlanta Gluten-Free Dinner Club, nor have they endorsed this event in any way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Memory of David Marc Fischer

Last month I posted some terribly sad news about the death of a true advocate in the gluten-free community. David Marc Fischer wrote the blog Gluten-Free NYC and helped countless visitors to the Big Apple enjoy amazing gluten-free adventures there - myself included.


Since that sad day I've wrestled with thoughts about doing something special in memory of David. David and I both had Cafe Press stores which offer gluten-free slogans on merchandise. Because I didn't care if someone bought a shirt from my store or someone else's, I added David's and the Celiac Chicks store links to my Atlanta Examiner.com page when I started it. The point of my store - and most gluten-free products stores there - is to spread awareness. If you are familiar with Cafe Press you know that the company is making most of the money off the sales - not the shop owners.




The New York City Celiac Meetup group is hosting a dinner on Sept. 14th in honor of David. If there was any way possible for me to be there I would be. Erin Smith is the Organizer of the Meetup group up there, and she's planning a very special event for David's gluten-free friends at one of David's favorite restautants - Lilli and Loos.



Recently, I awoke with the idea of how I could honor David. From Sept. 1st to Dec. 31st 2009, all my profits from my Cafe Press store will be donated in David's name to The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. December is my biggest month by far at the shop so that is why I'm going to extend this donation promise through the end of the year.



If you don't like anything in my shop, check out David's shop. David was all about spreading awareness in the world about celiac disease and living gluten-free. The point is to help spread awareness in any small way you can. David was a generous, witty and wonderful person and those who knew him in NYC - or from the online gluten-free community will miss him dearly.


Special thanks to Erin Smith for putting together this special event in honor of David.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Erewhon gluten-free cereal winners!

OK - the winners of the new cereals from Erewhon have been selected! Due to computer issues (thanks AT&T...) these winners will be announced next week on my Examiner.com page, when we have all five addresses needed for the company.


If your comment is listed below, you are a winner and will recieve two boxes of FREE cereal from Erewhon! Please click on my profile on this page, click on e-mail and e-mail me your FULL and complete shipping (or mailing) address. This information is being sent to Erewhon and once they confirm they have it, all addresses will be deleted from my records for good.


Thanks to all who entered the contest! There will be another exciting offer next week so be sure and follow me on Twitter (ATLglutenfree) and read my page on Examiner.com.

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Kim said...
I would love to try these cereals! I have been looking all over & can't find them!


http://samkaine.com/ said...
I've been feeding the regular brown rice version of this a 'finger food' to my baby since we don't know if he inherited my celiac or not. I'm so excited there's a chocolate version. That box will be all mine!


Katie said...
They sound great! I'm fairly new to the gluten-free world, and it's very helpful to read reviews of products before spending lots of money trying new things. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

Jamie P said...
I would love to try them! The Strawberry one reminds of me Special K Strawberry...

dionne said...
I can't find these cereals anywhere, but would love to try them (especially for free!).


Special thanks to Erewhon for helping my readers get to taste these great new cereals for FREE!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Huge loss for our community

Today I received some very sad news via a celiac listserv post. One of the nicest gluten-free bloggers (Gluten-Free NYC: http://glutenfreenyc.blogspot.com/ ) around who helped untold visitors to NYC enjoy their gluten-free visits immensely through his blog posts, passed away from a sudden illness. David Marc Fischer was a joy to know - even if only through the internet. Recently he and I had begun corresponding via e-mail. He had a great sense of humor and a generous spirit and rarely did I not get a laugh out of something he included in his e-mails.

I am deeply saddened by this news and I'm certain that many others who knew David in any way feel like I do. The gluten-free world was better off with him in it. He will be missed greatly. Hopefully we can all take a lesson from David and live our lives to the fullest and not let a dietary restriction get in the way of that goal.

*****************************************************************
From the listserv post : "David will be greatly missed, and remembered for his friendliness, intelligence, and sincere contributions to the celiac community. His family would like people to know that any donations in David's memory can be made to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. This can be done either online or by mail.

Online: https://giving.columbia.edu/giveonline/Use the "Select a School or Division" drop down box, and select Celiac Disease Center. You will be able to specify on the next page that the gift is in memory of David Marc Fischer, and a note will be sent to the family.

By mail: Checks payable to: Trustees of Columbia University. Please note on the memo line that the donation is in memory of David Marc Fischer, and a note will be sent to the family. Mail to: Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Harkness Pavilion, 180 Fort Washington Avenue, Suite 934, New York, NY 10032"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FREE gluten-free cereals from Erewhon!


















Recently I had the chance to try one of the two new cereals from Erewhon - the Strawberry Crisp. I'm not a chocolate cereal fan so I didn't try the Cocoa Crispy cereal but I've heard it was great. I found the Strawberry Crisp to be the best strawberry cereal I've had regardless of ingredients. The gluten eater in the house thought the cereal was excellent as well, which is important since he eats cereal every day and he's very picky about what cereals he eats.


In order for more people to get to try these fabulous new cereals from Erewhon, they are donating 2 boxes (one of each new version) to five of my readers. For your chance to win, please leave a comment below that you want to be entered. It's that simple. The five chosen people will be e-mailed and asked for their shipping or mailing address. Winners will be notified early next week and announced on August 14th on my Examiner.com page.


The cereals will come directly from Erewhon - not me. Special thanks to the team at Erewhon for making such great gluten-free cereals and donating some of it to my readers!

UPDATE: Winners have been chosen and will be posted on this site later today. Once I have every winners address for the company, winners will be posted on my Examiner.com page.

If you missed my reveiw of the cereal you can read it here.





















Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Welcome to the gluten-free world!

No matter why you’re here or how much you already know about the gluten-free lifestyle, my goal is to help you love this way of living as much as I do. When I say I’m glad to be gluten-free, I truly mean it! Sure, it took me a while to get here and I had a lot of trouble with doctors – and ate a lot of bad tasting food in the process. However, today I love my life (and diet) more than ever and I certainly eat better food than I did when I was a glutenoid!

Many people have told me that if I could bottle up my enthusiasm about living gluten-free and sell it, I’d make a fortune. Since I don’t know a way to bottle an attitude, I instead focus on working with others in the gluten-free community to change things in this gluten filled world of ours. Thanks for sharing the crazy gluten-free journey with me. Together we really can make a difference!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Melt in your mouth (gluten free) Cinnamon buns!


When I could eat gluten I didn't eat Cinnamon buns on a regular basis. But when you can't have something, you want it even more than you did when you could have it. So, I set out over three years ago to find a decent gluten free Cinnamon bun. I didn't set a very high standard because in my mind, there was no such thing as a 'Cinnabon' type bun made without gluten.



After many online purchases for different versions of so-so tasting gluten free Cinnamon buns I finally gave up. I was surviving without gluten free Krispy Kremes (doughnuts) so I added Cinnamon buns to the short list of things I could not find a decent - or better yet delicious - gluten free version of.


Luckily my list changed when I read rave reviews (on various blogs) of the Cinnamon Sticky Buns from Everybody Eats in NYC. The price for their product was steep so I thought long and hard before placing an order for them. Since I'd read a rave review on Catherine's blog about their French Baguettes, I ordered those and the Deli Rolls, in addition to the buns.


Upon request, someone from Everybody Eats e-mailed me detailed instructions about how to store, thaw and heat the buns for the best possible taste. As the buns were warming in the oven, the smell wafting through the kitchen reminded me of walking past T.J. Cinnamons in the mall. But smells can be deceiving - especially with gluten free baked goods - so the ultimate test would be the taste test.


Finally after about twenty minutes in the oven, the Cinnamon Sticky Buns were ready. They seemed very dense in the package but after heating they were light and fluffy, yet still substantial feeling. It was strange actually, that such a transformation took place, but gluten free baking is a science that I really don't understand (and probably never will).


I'll doubt I'll ever forget tasting the incredibly decadent, gooey buns for the first
time. It was truly gluten free nirvana. I was just looking for a decent Cinnamon bun made without gluten. It never occurred to me that I'd find the best tasting version I'd ever eaten, including those made with gluten. My husband actually said 'are you sure these are gluten free?' with a very concerned look on his face. I explained that Everybody Eats is a dedicated 100% gluten free bakery and they did not mess up and send us products made with gluten.


It's embarrassing to admit but when people who can't eat gluten first taste something that is at good or (better) than the gluten version of the food they used to enjoy, they generally tear up. I can't explain why this happens. It just happens to women and men alike - and it certainly happened when I first bit into the Cinnamon Sticky Buns from Everybody Eats. It still happens actually, because we rarely have them. Due to the calories, fat content and price, we use them mostly for special occasions. The memory of them alone sustains me until the next time we can think of something to celebrate.


After months of nagging every health food store in town to bring in the Everybody Eats line (so I could avoid paying shipping charges to enjoy them) finally Return to Eden saved the day. They now stock the Everybody Eats French Baguettes, Deli Rolls and my favorite gluten free treat in life - Cinnamon Sticky Buns. The Deli Rolls and Baguette prices were just reduced but even before that happened, we thought the products were worth every penny - and then some.


My husband routinely asks if we can take the Everybody Eats breakfast treat on visits to see his family. He says the buns are good enough to share with the glutenoids we're staying with. I agree but the family can eat $1.99 'pop and bake' gluten buns, which by the way don't hold a candle to the Everybody Eats version. Obviously the answer to my husband is, and will always be, NO!


*To heat 'Cinnamon Sticky Buns', remove plastic bag and wrap the bun tray entirely (top and bottom) tightly in foil. Heat in 400 degree oven, until very hot and soft. These buns are not overly sweet so I make a glaze consisting of milk, powdered sugar and a touch of vanilla to pour over them (after removing them from the oven). Enjoy!




More info: If you live in the NYC area, you can also enjoy handmade gluten free Ravioli from Everybody Eats. It's better than gluten versions we had in Italy. The French Baguettes, Deli Rolls and Egg Challah are exceptional as well. I'm not really a cookie person but the Everybody Eats Chocolate Chip Cookies are my husband's favorite gluten free cookie.

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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wildfire - more than just meat!


When Wildfire opened up in late 2006 in Atlanta near Perimeter mall, it was quite the event for the gluten free set. Not only did they have a gluten free menu - it did not consist solely of meat and potatoes - yippee! Sure, there is a LOT of great meat that is gluten free...steaks, chops, burgers, a gluten free - even a gluten free bun. But in addition to those items, they have a gluten free Au Gratin potato dish that is not to be believed. Thinly sliced potatoes and cream and cheese...it's the BEST dish of it's kind in the ATL - no doubt! Maybe you don't eat meat, like a friend of mine who recently met me at Wildfire for lunch. No problem - for dinner order the cedar plank Salmon and for lunch try the Mediterranean Shrimp. Both are excellent choices to be sure. And for dessert, try the gluten free chocolate cake with ice cream. It is actually like 'real' cake, with molten chocolate sauce in the middle....oh so good that even glutenoids will scarf it down.

It's a real treat to be offered gluten free bread in a restaurant and in fact, there are only four places here that I know of, that do it. Well at Wildfire, they'll serve you gluten free bread and butter. The bread is actually a bun from a well known brand that I don't care for anything from - except their 'Homestyle' waffles. But I have friends that love the bread as long as it's salted, brushed with olive oil and toasted.

As most of you know, if something isn't as good as the gluten filled item it's trying to imitate, I'm not going to eat it. So I just skip the bread at Wildfire and order the burger bun-less. On our recent visit for lunch, my friend thought the butter served with the bread made it much better than just eating the bread plain. I agree that the butter tastes exceptional at Wildfire...but it's not good enough to overtake the taste of the bread for me. Bread is full of carbs I don't need, so it's got to be incredible for me to eat it. I'll save room for the great potato dishes Wildfire offers intead....did I mention their killer mashed potatoes?

If you've ever seen the 'regular' menu at Wildfire, you were probably overwhelmed at your choices. You name it and you can order it at Wildfire - unless you're gluten free, of course. As I review all the many choices on the 'regular' menu, I see so many things that could be made gluten free with slight effort and little or insignificant cost increases. And each of the items I envision as being gluten free there, would be able to be served to glutenoids, who'd never be the wiser. Don't get me wrong - restaurants should not go about telling people they are eating gluten free. That knowledge clouds the mind of any self respecting glutenoid. I'm living proof of that fact. There are a few people in my life that will not try gluten free anything unless they don't know it's gluten free going in.

If Wildfire decides to bring out an updated gluten free menu, I hope they'll consider thinking outside the box this time around. They have the ability to be a major player in the gluten free market in Atlanta - if they choose to be. These days, with the economy being what it is, the gluten free diner is looking to be 'wowed' before letting go of their hard earned cash to dine out. Give Wildfire a try if you haven't already. People from Chicago (where the company is based) are always excited to learn that Wildfire has a location here and Midwesterners know their meat...lol! You can make reservations through Open Table, and note in the comments section, that you need a gluten free menu. Enjoy!



Monday, April 20, 2009

Jamie's GF Kitchen - Gluten Free Gem in Atlanta!

Most of you know that I organize the Atlanta GF Dinner Club, but you might not know that I have two incredible Assistant Organizers that I could not live without! Thank you to both Lori and Jamie for keeping me sane on this gluten free journey we share. I hope one day such a group as ours will not be needed, but right now I love working with these great ladies to expand our gluten free dining out options in the ATL!

Jamie actually started a gluten free food company last year called Jamie's GF Kitchen. She serves up some of the finest (gluten free) comfort food you'll find anywhere - as well as my husband's favorite dessert ever - gluten free cream puffs. Jamie even makes them with semi-sweet chocolate on request as the husband can't do dark or bittersweet chocolate. In fact, Jamie will do anything she can, to accommodate special diet needs. Everything she makes is gluten free but she can do dairy free as well if you ask her to. Please refer to her website for more information on this.




Jamie's portions are large but you can divide portions up to freeze and use as needed. There is a certain joy in knowing you have killer mac-n-cheese in your freezer that just needs to be defrosted and reheated. We had the spicy version (Jamie offers traditional as well) with fried pork chops for Valentine's Day dinner. The husband and I made everything except the mac-n-cheese. The star of the meal was of course - Jamie's mac-n-cheese. And we're both pretty good cooks....we just don't compare to Jamie in that arena.

Below: top to bottom - brownies, cream puffs, cheesecake (with chcolate chip cookie crumb crust!) , stuffed mushrooms.



























Even though I prefer to eat out when I travel, it occurred to me that someone visiting our fair city might want to order from Jamie, so they have safe meals when here. This is assuming they have accommodations that offer guests in room food storage and heating. I think really a small fridge and microwave would be all you need. And if you don't plan to eat in your room, then just order cream puffs so you can experience pure gluten free bliss during your visit. Serve them to glutenoids to share the joy. They are fabulous, period. They might be free of gluten but they are FULL of incredible taste!!! This is true no matter what you order from Jamie's GF Kitchen.

Whether you live here or are just visiting - check out Jamie's GF Kitchen. You will not be disappointed! One day I hope we can enjoy Jamie's fabulous food in a totally gluten free restaurant in Atlanta. My theory is if you create it (incredible gluten free food) they will come!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons....# 2

Some of you might remember that last year, we took the Atlanta Gluten Free Dinner Club to the Four Seasons Hotel to enjoy their Afternoon Tea service, gluten free style. While it was nice to be able to have gluten free scones and bread - the items were from Whole Foods Bakeshop and of course did not compare to the gluten versions served at Park 75. This year we went back and were treated to much better offerings, though they still have a ways to go on the bread....

To start we had homemade gluten free scones with all the trimmings. They were the best scones I've ever had - not the best gluten free scones - but the BEST scones period. Some of my members were worried that we had been given the wrong scones and some commented that they were better than the gluten version served here. In fact our scones were triangular in shape while the gluten scones were round.
Next out came the tea sandwiches...egg salad, cucumber watercress, smoke salmon with caviar and chicken salad. The fillings of each sandwich were amazing. However, some in our group were sure the bread was from Whole Foods. It looked like and tasted a little like the WF bread - but it was made in house. It was better than WF bread actually, but it still tasted gluten free. I am not sure why they don't use a gluten free bread mix so we can have REAL tasting bread but I guess since they are world class Chefs - it would be considered improper and unacceptable to use a mix for anything. But they might consider that if someone is a world class Chef - they are probably not trained in the art of gluten free bread making.....get some Tracy's Treats Outstanding Oat bread mix and call it a day. It's soft, fluffy and tastes like....well, very good bread.

Last but not least we had the dessert plate. It was fine and most members raved about the cheesecake lollipop, blueberry meringue and chocolate pate. But for me, really nothing compared to the scones. I've had scones in some pretty hoity toity places and no gluten scones come close to those we had last month at Park 75. Chef Christopher is the pastry Chef and came up with the recipe for the scones and the bread. Everyone agreed that if he made the scones he could make excellent gluten free bread. But I doubt he has the countless hours it would take him to do so. Unless he's opening a gluten free bakery, there isn't a reason for him to perfect a gluten free bread.

It's worth the drive into town just to have these amazing scones....I brought one home and slowly heated it the next day. It was amazing and not the least bit stale...unusual for day old gluten free goods. Thanks to the staff at Park 75 for hosting another fun event for our dinner club. I'm sure eventually we'll be able to rave about the gluten free bread there too. And remember, I'm always available for test tasting...


*The lone photo above shows the fantastic scones slathered with Devonshire cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd. None of my other photos came out at all, due to the lighting in the space and my overzealous flash.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Gluten Free snack packs!

Happy Spring!

I just found out about this new product line and have not ordered from them yet. This is a greatly needed item for our community - I think kids will really love it! It's great for traveling - especially to places that won't allow open packages of food to be brought in from other countries.




I usually order small sizes of food from www.minimus.biz/ but you have to know what's gluten free before ordering there, as they don't classify anything as gluten free on that site. They have some gluten free meals as well as snacks. Perfect for people who just want to order and go!!!

UPDATE: Use code GLUTENFREE for a 20 % discount for these products. I don't have an expiration date so order soon for the savings.

http://www.gopicnic.com/All-GoPicnic-Products/Gluten-Free-Meals;jsessionid=0a0105531f431d5ecea8f71545fe93c39e7e56f2869c.e3eSc3uRax8Te34Pa38Ta38Oaxj0

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gluten Free Beignets!

Right up front I need to apologize that I can not tell you where I had these TO DIE FOR treats. Sometimes I get little perks for being a leader in the gluten free community in my neck of the woods. And today was one of those times. The husband was confused about why we had to go have a late lunch (or very early dinner) at 2:30 pm. We met gluten free friends and had a fabulous meal together. We had fried everything you can think of....and then we thought we died and went to gluten free Heaven. And in a sense we did.



But I must digress for just a bit. Two years ago when vacationing in New Orleans, I tried to convince the husband to go to the famous Cafe du Monde for a beignet but he wouldn't do it. He knew that I was just being nice but that it would be pretty hard for me to sit and watch him eat a gluteny fried doughy delight drizzled with glaze. I adore his thoughtfulness. No wonder our 20th anniversary is right around the corner. He's a 'keeper' as they say...lol! I remember that day in NoLa, thinking that I'd never have a beignet again - ever. I just could not conceive that someone would one day make gluten free beignets....my mind could not go there.



So today, almost exactly two years later, I had gluten free beignets...some with powdered sugar and some with a glaze that would make a grown gluten free man cry. I had to stop myself from tearing up...it's weird to feel that way over food. For three years I've searched for something...anything that resembled a gluten free Krispy Kreme. Today my search ended. This amazing fried, hot, fluffy, glazed concoction was better than any Krispy Kreme ever dreamed of being.





















It took me three years but I finally want for nothing in terms of fabulous gluten free food. I searched, I tasted, I conquered. Yes, I still order some food online and I hope one day that isn't necessary. We live in the greatest nation on Earth. Surely we can get this gluten free thing down as good as all the other countries that are way ahead of us already.

I'm so glad I didn't move to Europe when the husband offered to transfer there so my gluten free life would be easier to navigate. Instead of running away from a challenge, I became part of the change I wanted to see in the world. I challenge you all to do the same. You won't believe how good it feels to be part of that change and you'll never know how many you'll help that come after you. And to the person who created the first ever gluten free beignets - well, there really aren't words to thank you enough for all you do. And I really do think you should be on the Food Network!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Betty Crocker goes Gluten Free!!!







General Mills owns this company....they also own Pillsbury so maybe pop and bake cinnamon buns are not far behind.....

The official word from the company is that they can't talk about the release date yet...or confirm the existence of the product for that matter....lol! But my trustworthy contacts say it's another June release, just like the new gluten free Chex Cereals. There is a chocolate cake mix, chocolate chip cookie mix and brownie mix...so far.

General Mills - WE LOVE YOU!




http://killthegluten.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Gluten Free Chex!

The news about four new Chex cereals being reformulated to be gluten free is spreading like wildfire from coast to coast, but the actual company customer service reps have only heard about this from consumers calling in to ask about it. I spoke with one such employee today.
It will likely be another month before they will verify the information is true. Since this exact same situation happened with the new gf Rice Chex, it looks like General Mills didn't learn their lesson from that fiasco.

I'm very excited that we (gf consumers) bought enough gf Rice Chex to prove how large our market really is, and that General Mills is rising to the challange of making us more safe cereals. However, why they go to so much trouble to do it and can't bother to inform their own customer service employees about it is beyond me. I think it's pretty simple. Send out a mass e-mail explaining the new products and whatever you want the consumers to know about it. It's ridiculous that a company can not do something that simple.

Still, I'll be looking for the Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex in June. The day I found the Rice Chex in Target (after looking for two months at every store I could think of) I danced in the asile and thought the husband was right behind me. I was singing 'I found gluten free Rice Chex' and really dancing around and then I turned and the husband was around the corner at an end cap. The other shoppers around me scurried away....they were surely scared I was absolutely deranged...lol! I hope I get to look deranged in the grocery aisle again very soon!

http://surefoodsliving.com/2009/03/16/more-chex-cereals-are-now-gluten-free-but-watch-out-for-peanuts/





http://www.glutenfreehomemaker.com/2009/03/gluten-free-chex-cereals-available-june.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More great food at Margarittaville!

In January we attended our annual trade show in Orlando, FL. After the special gluten free meal we had in Panama City Beach in November, I decided to visit the Margaritaville location in Orlando, while at Universal Studios for a trade show party one night. It was a long trek to the restaurant from the part of the park our organization had rented for the function. But since 98% of the food offered at the 'free' party was off limits to me, we really had no choice but to make the (park employee escorted) hike over there, and hope it was worth the effort.

After a walk that felt like we'd left the county, we finally arrived at Margaritaville to find it larger and even more elaborately 'theme decorated' than the one in PCB. The exploding volcano was really entertaining, supposedly erupting with what else - a Margarita. The Chef knew we were coming and we were seated right away even though they were on a waiting list and we were quite early for our reservation. It's always good to have a connection to someone in power in a restaurant, whether you're gluten free or not.



At this location they already have a gluten free menu which includes a gluten free bun, french fries (dedicated fryer) and even a gluten free brownie dessert! But of course I wanted something special and had mentioned to the Corporate Chef in an e-mail that I really missed being able to have seafood or crab bisque when dining out. It's super easy to make gluten free but of course, most places don't bother. When the Chef came out he mentioned they'd made me some special seafood bisque. OK - planning ahead once again pays off big time...and being a blogger doesn't hurt either!









Both the husband and I ordered a bowl - not a cup - of the bisque. Out comes the server with two massive bowls and we realized we had grossly over ordered. The bisque alone was a meal for me and I still had a burger and fries coming.

The taste, texture and smell of this bisque was completely amazing and I don't care what they say about how difficult this dish is to make. They need to put it on the menu and serve to gluten free patrons and glutenoids alike - period. It was chock full of all things seafood and corn and spices and it was simply wonderful! I asked for a container to take some home and had to use a soda cup with plastic lid. I didn't care. I'd have to risk that it would make it to the hotel safely where I had a fridge with freezer.

I honestly can not remember what my husband ordered but it was good and from the gluten free menu. My burger itself was one of the best I've had and though I was thinking I would not like the bun they served, it was actually quite good. I was a little worried I got a gluten bun by mistake, but I noticed the shape is a little odd and knew it was indeed gluten free.








We so enjoyed our visit to Margaritaville and the food was outstanding - chain restaurant or not. The 'balloon' girl that entertained patrons was told to treat us to balloon hats and wondered how we knew the Chef. The husband wanted to wear the (connected) hats throughout the meal, but since he's much taller then me (even when seated) that was not feasible. We wore them for a photo and then took them off. The balloon hat, like the bisque, made it home to Atlanta safely and though the air eventually left the heart shaped hat, the bisque was excellent for lunch the next week!
Thanks to Margaritaville Orlando for going the extra mile to make their customers happy - even those who can't eat gluten. I think since they have a dedicated fryer already, gluten free chicken fingers can't be far behind.... Remember to ask for what you want in life - even if it's just seafood bisque - you never know when you're going to get it just for the asking.
After dinner - and the long trek to our trade show party - we joined in the street dancing with the Simpson characters. It was certainly a sight to see these large yellow creatures bobbing around with everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Gluten Free Pizza in Atlanta!

Z Pizza started serving gluten free pizza in Atlanta in late 2008. I've eaten at all three Metro locations and the gluten free crust they use is pretty good. They had a few tweaks to work out regarding ingredients in their dressings, etc. Finally all dressings are confirmed to be gluten free and the only sauces that contains gluten are the one for the Thai pizza and the BBQ sauce. One of the most unique things about Z Pizza is their unusual pizza offerings. It's such a nice change to find something different AND gluten free without spending a fortune for fine dining. Z's offers the best prices for gluten free pizza in this market...and most others I'm aware of come to think of it. They charge $2 extra for the 10" gluten free crust. Below is the classic pepperoni pizza with an Italian salad....so good!









We recently attended the soft opening party at the Z Pizza in Duluth - located about three miles north of Natural Foods Warehouse. It was the place to be on an otherwise sleepy Sunday evening in the burbs. The place was swarming with people of all ages enjoying delicious salads, pizzas and even apple pie pizza for dessert! Yes, they even make a gluten free version of that for us.

What I find strange about the gluten free community is that the number one thing that people miss once on a gluten free diet is pizza (according to surveys in the US and abroad), yet the hardest thing to get gluten free dining customers to try is gluten free pizza. It's true most places are baking the pizzas in one oven - gluten crusts are next to the gluten free ones. But the crust is wet when it goes in the oven and flour is not flying all around in the actual oven. The places I eat - including the pizza joints I enjoy - have taken steps to keep the gluten free pizzas from being contaminated with gluten. While I have no doubt that someone will eventually open a 100% gluten free restaurant in our area, it's quite doubtful that anyone is going to open a 100% gluten free pizza place here.

Please - if you eat gluten free for any reason and are in the Metro Atlanta area, at least give Z Pizza a try. Locations/phone numbers can be found here. If you don't have a good experience you don't have to go back. But the management there would like to make things right if things go awry I'm sure. My bet is that you'll not only like Z's but you'll become a regular customer because there is just something about having pizza with friends that is good for the soul. When you're there you might ask them to bring in Bard's Tale beer for us....or even Redbridge (worst case).

If you haven't tried Z's yet, here is what you're missing....


TOP: something with peppers and sausage...sorry it was my friends pizza and I forgot the name. MIDDLE: Italian without fresh tomatoes (personal choice)BOTTOM: Apple Pie pizza, it's heavy on the almond flavor with a hint of caramel sauce. Loved it!



















If you have not tried Z's yet, you should make a point to do so. When ordering there, I suggest repeating 'gluten free' several times so the staff enters your order correctly. Many are young kids and they are not required to study Celiac to get a job there. For reference the 'normal' crust is thick and the gluten free crust is very thin. If you are served pizza that isn't thin, please ask for a manager before consuming.

No omelet for brunch...seriously?!

When visiting in-laws recently, we went to brunch in Chattanooga, TN.  Since brunch is typically pretty easy to manage gluten-free (I've...