Gluten Free Blog Posts
Best Gluten Free Posts
Today my daughter turns nine years old. She enjoys the challenges of finding good restaurants to visit.
This year we found some great new restaurants and new breakfast foods. It was fun coming up with topics and content every week.
Top 9 Blog Posts
- Urban Air Adventure Park - Urban Air Adventure Park has gluten-free pizza and chicken nuggets
- The Friendly Toast - Great place to enjoy a meal in the Back Bay
- Mels Commonwealth Cafe - Good Gluten Free breakfast options
- Nexvax2 now in Stage 2 Trials - Nexvax2 has been fast track to help people with Gluten Free
- American Girl Birthday Party - American Girl is an option for a gluten free birthday party.
- Mexicali Grill - Always remind your host about eating gluten free.
- SmashBurger Quality - Has SmashBurger bitten the shark?
- Modern Pastry - Modern Pastry is the place to go for Gluten Free
- Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham - Great Place to enjoy lots of Gluten Free foods
Goals for 2020
In 2020 we'll be going around the City of Boston looking for great gluten-free foods. We'll try to find the best hamburger and pizza place in metro-Boston.
Erica's Ristorante in Ashland, Massachusetts is a small Italian restaurant that has lots of great choices. The dining room was nice and quiet and we didn't have any problems getting a table at 7 pm on a Monday night before Christmas.
Five Things We Learned
Earlier this week we met up with friends and decided to try out the restaurant since we heard that they have gluten-free options.
We asked for a Gluten-Free menu on check-in, the host at the door said that just about anything on the menu can be made gluten-free. The waiter will give us the options. That didn't happen, the waiter only told us what wasn't available not what was available.
The do not have gluten-free pizza crust.
They do not have any gluten-free rolls. Which I felt bad that everyone at the table was munching on bread except for my daughter.
They have gluten-free pasta, so my daughter had the pasta and red sauce.
The pasta was delicious - as she ate the whole thing. Usually, she wants to bring some home, but tonight she wanted to enjoy the pasta.
Finding Erica's Ristorante
Erica's Ristorante is located on 78 Front Street in Ashland, Massachusetts. It's located next to the Ashland Public Library.
We had a good experience and certainly put it on our list to return to this establishment.
This weekend we went to Margaritas in Northborough, it was our first visit to this location. We were happy to go here and then head over to Wegmans to do some grocery shopping.
We love going to Margaritas, they have great gluten-free options. My daughter loves the Make Your Own Fajitas with corn wraps.
When we sat down we told our server that we needed gluten-free chips. She told us that it would take a couple of minutes and they would get us a basket of gluten-free chips that would be baked. She did leave a basket of regular chips.
A few minutes later someone came by with the gluten-free chips and put it on our table. This is what our table looked like:
What was strange to us is that the chips looked different. We have eaten at Margarita's plenty of times, but this is the first time that we noticed a significant change between the chips.
I don't know if Margaritas is using a different supplier for the gluten-free chips. It just seemed weird to see the two baskets side by side. (I never took pictures before because it wasn't a noticeable difference.)
Both chips were equally good. (The Gluten-free ones were nicer because they were warmer.)
Let me know what you think. Did Margaritas make some change or is this something unique to the Northborough location.
Gluten Free Shelf Label
Supermarkets have been great putting gluten-free merchandise next to each other. They usually put a large sign so people know where to find Gluten-Free items.
Some stores even highlight Gluten-free products when they are placed with other products.
However, Market Basket might have gone slightly overboard with this placement:
Do you really need to highlight Gluten Free treats?
It seems that putting a "Gluten-Free" on the UPC shelf label for cat food is a bit too much. When I first saw it in the store, my first thought was - "You have to be kidding me."
I get it that some cats/dogs need to eat gluten-free but do they merit a "gluten-free" label?
What do you think?
Put your thoughts in the comments below. Is Market Basket justified to putting a "Gluten-Free" label on the shelf label?
Shake Shack is a popular National burger chain. It's much smaller than the "Big 3" burger companies - as they were born from a small kiosk to become a national success story.
There are seven places in Massachusetts - with most of the locations around Boston and Cambridge.
Recently we stopped at the Boston Seaport location - located across the street from the District Hall.
Burger and French Fries
Earlier this month we stopped at the Seaport location for a late lunch. It was a very busy Saturday afternoon and a lot of restaurants were very busy.
We were very lucky to get a table after placing our order. The Seaport dining room is small - I suspect that most people use the take out during busy lunch hour.
They did have a Gluten-Free bun on the menu - so that made us happy. When we placed our order at the counter, we told the cashier that my daughter has Celiac. We wanted to know what the side options were. Were the French Fries cooked in a dedicated fryer?
He told us that it wasn't BUT he also told us that he was also a Celiac and said that the french fries were safe. He said that he has eaten it plenty of times and never encountered any issues.
So we took his word and order some french fried for my daughter. She seemed fine with the decision.
When we got our order she tried some of the fries and didn't like them. (I think she probably had second thoughts about it.)
We didn't encounter any issues with cross-contamination. Usually, when she gets some gluten she can be angry and in a mood. That didn't happen. She was a bit tired but most likely that was from all the fun playing around in the Seaport.
We'll go back to the Shake Shack again. It's a bit disappointing that they don't have much side options for gluten-free eaters.
Stew Leonard's is a small grocery store that claims to be the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores" and the "World's Largest Dairy Store." It's a fun place to shop and find all sorts of unique products.
The closest store to the Boston area is in Newington, CT - about an hour and 45 mins from Boston.
We visited the store back in April and was surprised to see "Gluten-Free" items promoted throughout the store.
card-title">Three Things We Learned
It's a fun store for kids. There are lots of distractions - it's certainly not a typical Stop and Shop grocery experience.
The Chewy Chocolate Pecan Cookies were so good! People may get turned off because it's "Gluten-Free." However, if you never tried a gluten-free product before - you should try this. Yes you would never believe that it's Gluten-Free.
We didn't try the pizza, but it's nice to know that they have a gluten-free "store brand type." The price is nice too! Next time we are visiting people, we'll have to stop in and pick up one to try.
Make Your Own Gluten Free Pizza
We are a big fan of the Gluten-Free pizza at UNOs. It’s really good and it’s a fun place to be
Catch the previous UNOs blog postings:
There's one cool thing that you can only get at Unos:
Make Your Gluten Free Pizza!
Did you know that kids can make their own Gluten Free pizza at Uno's? Yup, it’s true. Celiac kids are not left out of making their own Gluten-Free Pizza.
When ordering the kids “Make Your Own Pizza,” make sure to ask for the gluten-free crust.
When we ordered ours at the Unos in Westborough, Massachusetts, the waitress was very good at makings sure to clean her hands and prevent any cross-contamination. Anytime that we asked for something with the pizza, such as more cheese she would excuse herself to wash her hands before taking any actions.
The pizza came out great and my daughter was delighted with the whole experience. She loved the pizza and more excited to come back.
I think her only "wish" was for more topping choices - tomatoes and olives are some of her favorites.
Georgina's Italian restaurant
Last month we attended a function at Georgina's Italian restaurant in Berlin, Connecticut. This is the first time that we visited this restaurant, we were a bit nervous about their Gluten-Free options.
Three Things We Learned
The people hosting the party at Georgina let the catering team know ahead of time of the allergy. They said that they would provide a separate gluten-free penne for my daughter.
On the day of the event, they were very accommodating as to the gluten-free options. They explained to us which buffet items she could have. However, before the meal was served, there was a Vege and Cheese tray with crackers - lots of potential of cross-contamination.
My daughter loved the Panne and ate the whole thing. She did have some of the vegetables that was available in the buffet. She didn't feel left out of all the fun because she was eating a different meal. (I think she was very happy to have the penne dish.)
We would recommend going here. They were very accommodating and their gluten-free pasta was very good.
In the general dining room, You can substitute gluten-free Penne for an extra $4.
Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham
We have been going to Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham since it opened back in March. It's a great restaurant that has a lot of great foods on the menu.
Burton's Grill & Bar in Framingham
Burton's has a scratch kitchen - which means that they can change up any order to meet your needs.
Burton's has a very large Gluten-free menu that has a lot of options for every taste. Check out the menu online!
My daughter loves to get a cheeseburger and french fries - it's "not as good" as Smash Burger but she still loves it.
The General Tso's Fried Cauliflower is amazing and it's Gluten-Free! It's the go-to thing that we order every-time we come here. Sometimes we make it as part of our meal. (Ya, It's that good!)
General Tso's Fried Cauliflower and the Cheese Burger
If your going to Burtons on a Friday or Saturday night - it's highly recommended to make reservations. They reserve a large number of tables for reservations. So if you walk-in you may see a lot of empty tables and expect a short wait - that won't be the case.
Early this summer the restaurant didn't get much traffic. However, the word is out and it's a very popular place now!
Reservation Number: (774) 540-6005
Burton's Grill & Bar is located opposite Shoppers World - next to Legal Seafood. The address is 30 Worcester Rd, Natick, MA 01760.
2019 Halloween Candy
As Halloween is just around the corner, I asked my daughter what her favorite candy is. This is a unique list as only gluten-free candy can appear on here:
Top Seven Gluten-Free Candy of 2019
Here's the printed list of the most popular candy for an eight-year-old with celiac:
- Three Musketeers Bar
- M&Ms Peanuts
- M&Ms plain
- Reese Peanut butter cups
- Hershey Bar
- Jelly Belly Beans
- Snickers Bar
The only candy that she really wants to get is the Three Musketeer bar.
Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park in Bellingham, Massachusetts is a fun place for the family to spend some time playing together. There’s all sorts of fun trampolines, rock wall climbing, Sky Rider Coaster and so much more.
Gluten Free goodies
Urban Air Adventure has Gluten-Free Pizza and Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets on the menu. You can order them at the Cafe or as part of a meal for a birthday party.
One thing I noticed at the birthday party is that they covered the Gluten-Free pizza to prevent and cross-contamination. This is the first place where I have seen a venue go out of the way to protect the pizza after cooking it.
Regular Cheese Pizza cost $15, whereas the Gluten-Free one is $10 (It is a bit smaller than a typical pizza.) The Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets cost $6.75.
There menu doesn’t mention if the french fries are Gluten Free, but when I ordered them I noticed that they were oven-baked and not fried in oil - which leads me to believe they are Gluten Free.
If your having a Birthday party, you will be allowed to bring outside food - just they know so the Party host is aware of the situation.
Fun place to spend a day
My daughter had a lot of fun playing around with all the activities, she didn't want to spend much time eating.
We ended up spending about 5 hours on our first visit. She loved doing the Sky Rider Coaster. Check out the YouTube video of all the exciting things at the Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park Location
Urban Air Adventure Park is located at 189 Mechanic St, Bellingham, MA 02019. It's about a 30-minute drive from Framingham.
There's a rapidrefill gas station nearby where you can fuel up the car and get some snacks and drinks for the ride home.
What About SkyZone?
I asked my daughter if she had a choice would she go to SkyZone or Urban Air Adventure Park. She was mixed about which is better. She liked SkyZone because it was closer, but Urban Air Adventure Park had a lot more interactive attractions.
I have a feeling we'll be going back here soon. At least we can spend a few hours and get some lunch without leaving the facility.
We love Smashburger, as my daughter says so often - they have the best Gluten Free cheese burger.
However has Smash Burger jumped the Shark?
Check out these photos from 2017 and 2019 from Smashburger in Natick, Massachusetts. These are the same order: A Gluten-Free hamburger with a side of fries.
September 15, 2017
September 26, 2019.
I know it's been 2-years between the two photos, but I would expect to see a better option two years later. (Whatever happened to the side pickles?)
My daughter still loves going to Smash Burger, but I think she has noticed that she isn't getting the same burger. Hopefully
New SmashBurger in Massachusetts?
There are rumors that there's a new Smash Burger opening up someplace near Boston. In Massachusetts, there are locations in Medford, Natick, and Westwood.
What Do You Think?
Have you seen a quality decline at Smash Burger?
Boston’s North End is well known for fine Italian food. On any given night, you’ll find people line up by restaurants on Hanover Street.
The best way to finish off the night is an Italian dessert treat. Lucky for you there are a lot of choices.
Some great places to try are:
What About Gluten-Free Options?
Last month we were looking for a place that offered Gluten Free dessert for my daughter. We went to all the above places and only found one place that offered anything that was gluten-free.
The only places that we're able to help us on a busy Saturday night were Modern Pastry.
Bova Our first stop was Bova’s. We had visited before and thought they said they had Gluten-Free treats. But when we inquired about options we were told that they didn’t have many options.
Mike’s Pastry Our next stop took us to Mike’s Pastry. It was a busy night, the line wasn't out the door, but it was crazy inside. The only thing that’s Gluten-Free at Mike’s is the Italian ice cream. We wanted something more.Modern Pastry
This was the only place that let us know that they had Gluten-Free options. Even on a busy Saturday night, they took the time to let us know what they had available. We selected the Whoopie Pie.
Modern Pastry Menu
The official Gluten-Free menu at Modern Pastry - it's on the bottom on the near the back wall.
Dave and Busters
Dave and Busters opened up a new location at the Natick Mall. We have been their plenty of times but rarely went for a meal. Usually, its to play games with friends. Recently we decided to catch up with friends and enjoy a dinner.
After arriving we thought, "Was Dave and Busters safe for Celiacs?"
Gluten Free at Dave and Busters
Six Things We Learned at Dave and Busters
There's no Gluten Free menu. The server said that we needed to talk to the manager to place any allergy item.
When we told the manager that our 8-year old has to eat gluten-free. He said that there were some options.
There's Tomato Feta Soup, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Grilled Salmon, Shrimp Skewers, Cabo Chichen, Lawnmower Salad and similar items. (Not very kid-friendly)
For kids they only have Grilled Chicken.
We decided to improvise and ordered a Cheeseburger without a bun and a side of white rice - as they don't have a dedicated fryer.
She enjoyed her meal, adding Ketchup to the rice. She was busy playing games but did manage by to finish up her food.
I don't think it was the best burger she had, but it's hard to beat the food/entertainment. She was fine after we left and didn't experience any issues after eating gluten.
You can find additional information about gluten free options on the Dave and Buster's Gluten-Free Menu 2019 on the No Gluten page.
Dave and Busters is located on the second floor of the Natick Mall, near the food court.
The Mexicali Grill in Natick is a branch of a regional Mexican restaurant. They offer casual dinning with Mexican fare and margaritas in a very colorful family setting.
Last week we visit the Natick restaurant to meet up with some friends. We heard that they have Gluten Free options, so we thought it would be worth the try.
Five Things We Learned About The Mexicali Grill
- They do have gluten free chips. You need to ask for that. We actually had to ask two different servers because the first one said that they didn't have it - where as the second one said it wouldn't be a problem.
- No Gluten Free menu - We told our server that my eight-year old daughter has celiac and needed to eat Gluten free. My daughter ordered a Fajita with corn tortillas.
- When the order was brought out they indicated that it was the gluten free meal. My daughter didn't eat much of her dinner - perhaps that was because she ate a lot of the chips.
- For desert we ordered vanilla ice cream with a side of chocolate. When the ice cream arrived, it was on a taco shell - clearly no looking gluten free. We informed the server, and they apologized and said they would take care of it. They took the plate and brought it back to the kitchen. We were a bit concern that they would simply take the ice cream off and put it on a new plate. I think my daughter was a concern too and didn't eat much of the ice cream.
- Perhaps one reason for the confusion is that our table was severed by different hosts. The person that took our original order wasn't the one who took our desert order. (But they should have known that there was an allergy at the table.)
The ice cream plate at the Mexicali Grill
We did have a good time at the Mexicali Grill, the mess up with the ice cream didn't ruin our evening. We will be going back - probably go someplace else for desert afterwards.
Finding the Mexicali Grill
The Mexicali Grill is located at 148 E Central St in Natick, Massachusetts.