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

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...