Gluten Free Blog Posts
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.
Erickson’s Ice Cream
For over 80 years Erickson’s Ice Cream stand has been serving excellent ice cream from its location in Stow, Massachusetts. They have a lot of flavors - some regular some seasonal.
Gluten Free Cones
Erickson’s ice cream now has gluten-free cones! Celiac kids can now enjoy their favorite ice cream in a cone just like other kids!
Four things We Learned
- They have sugar cones and regular cones.
- Make sure to tell the person at the window that it’s an allergy and they will make sure to get a clean scoop.
- In 2019, a child cone is $4.25, Regular is $5.25 and a Large is $6.
- The Kids size is pretty big. You may want to get a dish just in case they are not able to finish it before it melts all over them.
- Erickson’s ice cream closes for the season in October. lIn 2018, they closed on September 14th to update the kitchen.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe
Very few places in Metro-west have breakfast offerings for Gluten Free. We have found that most places have scrambled eggs and fruit as the gluten-free option. Usually, homefries are not safe since they are not cooked in a dedicated fryer.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe in Wayland is certainly an exception to the rule. They have a great Gluten Free menu with lots of good options.
Four Things We Learned Eating at Mels Commonwealth Cafe
- While they have Gluten Free options, they do have an important disclaimer on their menu. (See Below)
- Knowledge staff. One of the waiters we had had a daughter that has to eat gluten-free - she was very aware of what side options were safe to select from.
- Lots of good choices on the menu: French Toast, English Muffins, Potato Pancakes, Toast and Breakfast Sandwiches.
- Food was served with the regular meals but the server did mention it was the gluten-free meal.
GLUTEN FREE DISCLAIMER
Our gluten-free foods are prepared in a kitchen where foods containing wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts, and seed, etc are also prepared. Mel's is sensitive to the dietary needs and concerns of our customers and we provide gluten-free foods in response to customer request, but we cannot ensure that cross-contamination of ingredients does not occur in our kitchen. Please be aware that during kitchen operations, glutinous items are prepared during the day, although during our gluten-free preparation process we only use gluten-free items. Please be aware that there is a possibility that food items will come into contact with wheat and/or gluten. Accordingly, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND consumption of our gluten-free foods by those with celiac disease.
Safe to Eat
We didn't have any side effects from eating at Mel's Commonwealth Cafe. Usually, when my daughter gets gluten she gets into a mood - but that didn't happen in either of our visits to the diner. We'll certainly go back because of the options and the yummy food.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe is located on Route 30 in Wayland. It's located in a small shopping center near the Bright Horizons in Wayland. There's plenty of parking in the back.
We suggest arriving early since the place does get busy during normal breakfast and lunch times.
The Friendly Toast
The Friendly Toast is a local popular eating establishment. They have restaurants in Portsmouth, NH, Back Bay, Boston, Cambridge, MA, Burlington, MA, Burlington, VT, and Bedford, NH.
I have heard they have a good Gluten Free options, so a couple of months ago, I took my daughter to the Back Bay location for dinner.
Eight Things We Learned
- The place is very busy for breakfast and lunch. Many times when I walked by the restaurant I saw long lines of people waiting to be seated.
- When we went at 4 pm on a Friday, it was very quiet. It was a good time to go.
- The restaurant is decorated with a lot of retro images. Great place for kids to look around at all the different memorabilia.
- They didn't a have a dedicated Gluten-Free menu. The menu has a "Gluten-Friendly" label on items that can be made Gluten Free.
- Lots of good choices for my daughter to pick from - she "settled" for a hamburger with a side of bacon. I think she wanted the bacon because I told her it was a popular breakfast place - similar to J&M Diner in Framingham.
- The waiter was educated about Gluten-Friendly options and worked with us on side options that she could have. While the regular burger isn't listed as Gluten Free, she could have a grilled gluten-free toast as a bun.
- The order came out quick, and my daughter loved it. She especially loved being able to use
- We'll certainly go back. I think my daughter is excited to the Gluten-Free pancakes - but didn't want to have it for dinner after a long day in Boston.
Gluten Free Plain Burger
Juliana enjoying the "plain burger" at Friendly Toast. The burger was anything but plain. She really enjoyed it!
Finding the Friendly Toast
The Friendly Toast in Boston is located at 35 Stanhope Street in Boston Ma - near the Clarendon Street Garage. You can get here by public transportation - the Back Bay Station is less than a block away - near the Clarendon Street entrance.
Gluten Free at Lifetime Athletics
LifeTime Fitness has a Cafe, called LifeCafe, that offers members lots of healthy choices. In that selection are some Gluten-Free options that my eight-year-old daughter loves. We are members of the Lifetime Athletics in Framingham, Massachusetts
Not listed on the "official menu" but you can get a gluten-free grill cheese with a side snack. My daughter loves this sandwich. It's so good that she takes her time eating it.
You can find the grilled cheese listed in the Life Cafe store menu, it's not available as on option online or in the LifeTime App.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Pizza can be healthy if it's made with the right crust, and Cauliflower Crust pizza is all the rage right now. The Caulipower Pizza at LifeCafe is made without flour and is certified gluten-free.
The pizza is excellent - a great treat for a workout or, in my daughter's case, a few hours at the Kids Academy. She loves it! It's nice because you don't have to say "Gluten-Free" as Caulipower pizza is all they have - so everyone get's Gluten-Free Pizza.
We usually just order plane cheese. It always comes well cooked, much better than the Caulifower that we get at California Pizza kitchen.