Gluten Free Blog Posts
Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery
In North Conway is a small coffee shop located directly across the street from the old '5 & 10' store is The Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery.
From their website:
The Met Coffee House has been a destination in downtown North Conway, New Hampshire for over fifteen years and is proudly locally owned and operated by Larry and Diane Flaherty.
Stop in for a refreshing hot or cold specialty latte, a quick bite, or a piece of delectable desserts. Whether you're in town or from far away, Meet Me at The Met for Coffee, Comfort, Culture and Community.
Really Good Coffee
We stopped in to get some coffee after a long day at Storyland. The store was pretty quiet as it was very close to closing time. The service was awesome. We didn't feel rushed.
They worked with us to make a very good coffee. We wanted a delicious low-calorie coffee. They knew exactly what would satisfy our taste buds Almond Coffee with sugar-free caramel.
Wow were they right!
Try the SugarFree Caramel Coffee with Almond milk - its way better than what's offered at Starbucks. (Not sure why there's is better. )
Gluten Free Snacks!
In the refrigerator are some gluten-free snacks to enjoy. We saw brownies, cookies, and other treats. Perfect snacks to fill you over until lunch or dinner.
We love Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks but there's something special about trying the local flavor. People that get hired to work at a local shop go out of their way to satisfy their customers.
Next time you're walking around downtown North Conway, stop in for a treat. If you eating Gluten-free, you'll be happy to enjoy a snack as you walk through all the small shops.
Nothing like holding a nice hot cup of coffee while walking around North Conway to explore all the outlets.
We tried going back again on our trip but our schedule didn't make that option available. It's on our list for our next trip.
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub, located in Glen New Hampshire, is a pub style restaurant well known for their grill food and BBQ sauce. It's a favorite for locals and seasonal visitors. There have live entertainment on the weekends.
They are famous for the BBQ ribs. I remember getting some back in the late 1980s. They were really good and I look forward to trying them again.
On this particular trip I skipped the ribs as I didn't want to spend much money - we were on a low budget trip.
Gluten Free Options
They didn't have a Gluten free menu. Our server worked with us to create a dish that my six-year-old daughter could eat. They do have gluten free buns.
The server did tell us that they didn't have a dedicated fryer so we couldn't order french fries.
We ordered a cheeseburger with no bun and a side of string beans - fortunately, my daughter like string beans over french fries.
We went to the salad bar and got from fresh vegetables to start. My daughter was very tired from a fun day at Storyland. She just ate the salad and didn't touch much of her dinner.
The food was delicious and my daughter loved it. I think she was a bit skeptical about her food because they didn't have a Gluten free menu.
Can't really recommend this place because officially they didn't have any gluten-free options. However, if you're looking for good BBQ this is the place to try. The BBQ sauce was delicious and I would go back just to try the ribs again.
Finding the Red Parka
The Red Parka is located in Glenn, New Hampshire. Just down the street from Storyland. It's a great place to stop after a long day at the park. You can enjoy a nice meal and avoid the traffic through North Conway.
You can purchase the Red Parka BBQ sauce, which is gluten free, at the bar or at Zebs General Store in North Conway.
Ashland Ale House
The Ashland Ale House is a local pub in Ashland, Massachusetts. It's far away from all the busy shopping area near Route 9 and the Natick Mall. It is located in the same plaza as Market Basket.
Five Things I learned about the Ashland Ale House
The place is very popular with the locals, so expect a 20-30 minute wait during the typical dinner hour. If you arrive before 5:30 on a Saturday night, you shouldn't have much of a wait.
The booths are made to sit six adults. On our recent visit with a party of six, we opt for a table. While we had to wait 20 minutes for our table, we made the right choice with 2 kids. It just made things a bit more comfortable.
You can play Mass Keno while you're at Ashland Ale. Learn about the game before you go. You place all bets and collect winnings at the bar. Who knows you may win enough to pay for your dining experience.
Most people visit to try the large beer selection. They have over xxx different types of beers mostly from New England. I tried the Apple Cider from Lookout Farms. It was very good. My advice is if you're trying something new, don't order a large - you don't want to be stuck having to finish off a beer you don't like.
Gluten Free Options
Ashland Ale house has a limited Gluten Free menu. They don't have a dedicated fryer for French fries but will bake the fries. Which tastes just as good as the frier and I would recommend getting those instead of the regular french fries.
My daughter got a cheese burger. She liked it a lot, especially when we cut it in quarters. She ate most of it and we didn't take any home with us.
Finding Ashland Ale House
From Downtown Framingham, take Concord Street all the way to about a 1/2 mile from the Ashland town line.
Orange Leaf - Natick, Massachusetts
Do it yourself yogurt places are coming and going. They all have the same business model, let the customer pick their ice cream and topping and then they pay by weight.
The one place that stands out from all the rest is Orange Leaf. They have a flat rate based on the cup size.
Customers pick the size they want. There are no surprises when you get to pay. Which is good to know!
Allergy Friendly Toppings
If you have any food allergies you may shy away from such places. Such places could be a cross contamination nightmare.
However, Orange Peel has a special section behind the counter. They have special sprinkles containers where you can put on allergy free toppings. There's a sign above them that indicate they are for those that have allergies.
As for the soft serve ice cream, they had a large selection with only one of them that wasn't gluten free. (Cookie and Cream)
You can find Orange Leaf in Natick at the Route 27 / 9 plaza.
Dirty Water Dough
If you're looking for great gluten free pizza in the Back Bay, you can't go wrong with Dirty Water Pizza. Locals know this is the place to go to get delicious pizza in the Back Bay.
You can buy just about any pizza by the slice. However, they don't offer Gluten Free pizza by the slice. They told me that the best bet is to order a head of time. They only have a small size gluten free. It's really good, as my company has placed many orders from there and the gluten free pizzas are always a big hit. After a company meeting, typically there's leftover Cheese or Vege pizza but there's never ever any left over gluten free pizza.
California Pizza Kitchen has gluten free pizza, but if you want something different in Boston, try the dirty Water Dough pizza.
Four things I learned about Dirty Water
- They have a small area for in-house dining. With 28 seats inside. There are no outside dining options. There are a couple of tables setup by the window where you can sit and watch people walking down Newbury Street. Great place for People Watching.
- There is a TV where you can watch ESPN TV. If you want to change the channel just ask! On the wall is a picture of Sam Adams with a slice of pizza.
- If you order online via their website, use the "Special Request" to ask for the Gluten Free Dough.
- If your still hungry after eating at Dirty Water, Ben & Jerrys is about a block away.
Finding Dirty Water Dough Company
Dirty Water Dough Company is located at 222 Newbury Street in Boston Back Bay. (Easy address to remember!) Take the Green Line to Copley Square and head North to Newbury Street. (Walk away from the Boston Public Library and Copley Square.)
Take a left on Newbury Street and Dirty Water Dough will be about a block and a half down. (Just after the Exeter Street intersection)
Harley and Jacks Burger Brew
We recently were looking for a dinner spot near Ossipee, NH. We came across Harley and Jacks Burger Brew. We did a quick internet search and found that they had a gluten free menu, so we thought it would be worth going in and having dinner.
It wasn't a pleasant experience, and we won't be going back.
The waitress that we had didn't know what Gluten Free or being a Celiac meant. She thought it had to do with dairy. We had to educate her on avoiding wheat and cross contamination.
The Gluten Free menu is basically a regular menu that has the gluten free items highlighted. It's a bit confusing to read because they have gluten free buns but none of the hamburgers were highlighted.
Order #1 - Chicken Wings
My daughter loves Chicken Wings and was happy to see it on the Gluten Free menu. So we placed that as her order for dinner. We told the waitress that we wanted a kids size gluten free Chicken Wings.
When the order arrived the Wings you could smell how spicy it was. I was asked to take a bit and it was very spicy - even to my taste. I was a bit surprised on how spicy they made it for a child.
When the waitress came back, we asked for something else for my daughter. We took another look at the menu, and order a plain cheese Gluten Free pizza. This would be a modification of something that they had on the menu, but the waitress told us that the kitchen would make it happen.
Order #2 - Pizza
The pizza came out about 15 minutes later, by then most of us had completed our meals. We cut up the pizza into small slices. My daughter said that she really liked it. She didn't eat much of it, even though she kept complaining that she was really hungry.
We felt the service was pretty bad. The food was just 'ok' wasn't something that would make us come back again. I had a burger and thought it was fine.
As for my daughter, we probably should have stuck with the pizza from the start. It was a bit risky to order something like Chicken Wings. Certainly didn't expect to be served spicy wings to a six-year-old.
Lesson learned: When going to a restaurant where you encounter some uncertainty of food, stick with a simple order. She would have been fine with a hamburger with no bun or a pizza.
Harley and Jacks Burger Brew is located on 1020 Route16, Ossipee, NH 03864.
Santa's Village is a theme park located in northern New Hampshire. It has lots of rides and attractions for kids and adults all around the Christmas Theme.
In their advertising, Santa's Village mention that it's one of the USA's Top 25 Amusement Parks - The only New England park on the list! It's worth checking out if it's better than Canobie Lake Park and Six Flags New England.
Someone told me that it's a half day park. That didn't appear to be the case as our recent experience showed that you can spend the entire day at the park and still not get on all the rides.
For kids, it's a long ride from North Conway to Santa's Village. We stocked up on some fruit snacks so no one was hungry on the ride up to the park.
Assorted Notes from the Trip
- Its 145 miles from Boston, about a 3 hour drive.
- Santa's Village doesn’t check for outside food.
- Strollers rentals are Free. They do have a donation box if you want to contribute something to keep it free.
- Strollers are hard plastic ones. There are two different sizes. You may want to bring a small seat pillow for the kids.
- There are designated Smoking area through out the park. Kind of funny that they put one next to Santa's House.
- Santa's Village will hand stamps you if you plan to reenter the park. This is a neat thing for the kids to do as they exit the park.
- There are plenty of fast food establishments in Jefferson, NH. There's even a Dunkin Donuts, which was a good stop after a long day in the park. (It's a long drive back to North Conway!)
Gluten free Options
Based on our past experience at Canobie Lake Park, we decided to play it safe and bring sandwiches and gluten free snacks to the park.
We stopped at Haniford the night before and got some cold cuts and some gluten free bread. We packed everything in a bag cooler with an ice pack.
There are lockers near the entrance. However, they don't charge for strollers. We simply hooked our bags to the stroller so that we could stop and eat whenever. There would be no need to go back to the entrance to get our bags.
Finding Tables at Lunch
We had no problem finding a table to eat at lunch time near Burger Meister Food Court. We did notice that most people did buy food from the concession stands. A few people did have bag coolers.
We did buy drinks and cotton candy, along with plenty of souvenirs. We certainly help contribute to the local economy. We even stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts in town to get a drink for our ride back to our cabin in the woods.
Lots of fun in the Park
There are lots of fun things to do in the park. Lots of exciting rides and adventures for the kids. There are shows happing all the time.
Some memorable rides:
- Reindeer Carousel - Fun Carousel ride
- The Great Humbug Adventure - Arcade style game, similar to the Toy Story experience at Disney Studios.
- Yule Log Flume - Log ride where you will get wet.
- Skyway Sleigh Monorail - Fun way to see the park. Great family picture opportunity for a custom Christmas Tree Ornament.
- Santa's Home - Meet Santa! Don't forget to ask what you want for Christmas. Check out the details in the house while waiting in line.
We found that the Elfabits to be a fun game!
- You visit the Elf University by the entrance to get an Elfabet Game card.
- The kids take the card and start looking for the Elves
- When they find an elf, they put the card in the box and a hole get's punch at that Elfs letter.
- Tip: Near the Elf University, is a hint to where to find all the elves. This is useful when you're looking for that last hole punch.
Water Park Fun
The water area of the park is a lot of fun, and kids can spend a long time enjoying the slides and waterfalls. There are plenty of chairs for parents to sit and watch their kids. There are changing rooms nearby, and if you forgot to bring a towel or bathing suit, there's a store that has all the water park accessories that you need.
We ended the day at the Water Park, so the kids wouldn't be soaked or cold when going on various rides.
Don't forget to pack bathing suits, towels, and pool shoes. Pool shoes are not allowed on the large slides.
Everyone having fun at the HO HO H2O Water Park
My six and a half-year-old daughter had a lot of fun at Santa's Village. She had a fun time looking for the alphabet elves and going on all types of rides.
Of all the things that we did on our two-week vacation, she loved the time spent at Santa's Village.
Mendon Twin Drive-in
This past weekend we saw a double feature at the Mendon Twin Drive-in.
This has become an annual tradition. Every summer we head over to Mendon and have fun at the drive in. It certainly puts a different twist on going to the movies.
Gluten Free Options
Unfortunately the Mendon Drive-in has no Gluten free meal options in the snack bar. They have cheese burgers and fried foods. I didn't bother asking if they had a dedicated fryer for their french fries as I am sure they don't - it appears to be a small kitchen.
The only safe options are Popcorn and ice cream.
We ended up cooking up some frozen Gluten free pizza and bringing some gluten free snacks.
Did you know that you can make Smores at the Mendon Twin Drive In? When you arrive, go over to the Beer Garden to make some smores before the movie starts.
You have to buy a smores kit and it cost $6.42 for the kit. You get two Wooden sticks and Marshmallows, a Hershey Bar and Gram Crackers enough to make 4 Smores sandwiches.
Unfortunately the Marshmallows and gram crackers are in the same bag. This doesn't make it safe for Celiacs.
If you ask for extra Marshmallows, you will get about six more in a separate cup that you can use for toasting.
Perfect! Now everyone can enjoy roasting marshmallows before the movie.
Ya. $6.42 is a bit expensive for roasting marshmallows but it keeps the kids busy and makes it a fun summertime night treat.
Going to the Mendon Twin Drive-in is a fun way to entertain company.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
The last weekend of July is a busy time in Gilroy, California as it's the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. I really looked forward to going when I lived in California.
Here's a classic Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe that I got when I visited in 2000. This is naturally Gluten Free and nice side dish.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 12 russet potatoes
- 1 head garlic
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 stick butter (sweet)
- salt, nutmeg, white pepper to taste
Steam the potatoes with the jackets on, and peel while warm and cut into pieces. At the same time, use a garlic roaster and roast the entire head of garlic, then peel and extract the garlic cloves.
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer, blend together the butter and roasted garlic on low, until they are pureed together and spoon in the potatoes while warm and keep the beater going on medium low, alternating drabs of half and half and adding the other seasonings.
Optionally, you can layer this with sliced crimini mushrooms in a baking dish and then bake with provolone on the top.
If you really like Garlic, put in an extra garlic head!
Gluten Free Meme Response
Someone on my Facebook feed recently posted this MEME:
How after 5000 years of humanity surviving off of bread do we have so many people within the last decade who are entirely allergic to gluten?
My reply comment was simply:
For those of you in Rio Linda...
There are two things that are going on:
1) Did you know that the bread that we eat today isn't the same as the one made years ago.
Today's bread isn't fermented. Not so long ago the bread dough was a living, breathing colony. This caused the bread making process to be slow and an inefficient process. Today, instead of allowing the bacteria in the water to power the wheat and change it - manufacturers have put in "safe" additives - such as yeast.
Because of the new process various natural nutrients aren't in the bread anymore. Manufactures have to add micronutrients in to make the today's bread be nutritious.
2) Celiac is an autoimmune disease and was only officially recognized as a disease not so long ago, but the symptoms have been around for thousands of years.
In the second century, Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a Greek physician, wrote about childhood and adult coeliac disease. He wrote, "If the stomach be irretentive of the food and it passes through undigested and crude, and nothing ascends into the body, we call such persons Coeliacs."
The term 'Celiac Disease' was made by Dr. Samuel Gee in 1888. It wasn't until 1950 that Dr. Wilm Dicke, a Dutch physician, discovered the best cure for Celiac Disease was to have a diet free of Gluten.
It wasn't until the mid-1990's that full acceptance of the 'Celiac Disease' was officially accepted by the general public.
So while the whole Gluten Free seems to be a new thing, it's been around for a while.
Framingham's Deluxe Depot Diner
The Deluxe Depot Diner in Framingham opened up in 2016 and has gotten great reviews from local residences. We have driven by the restaurant several times to see many cars parked in the front.
I recently checked the "Find my Gluten Free" app and was surprised that to find it ranked pretty high, so we decided to check it out.
Gluten Free Options
The menu is a bit confusing as there isn't a whole lot of items that were marked as gluten free. We talked to our server and he told us that he would let use know if a dish could be made gluten free.
For example, the Deluxe Depot Diner has Gluten Free bread for sandwiches and hamburgers but there wasn't any indicator on the specific sandwiches were gluten free.
We settled on the Gluten Free pancakes, as my daughter was excited to try them.
We wanted to order a side of bacon, but the server told us that they weren't gluten free as they were cooked with other foods that contained gluten. While we were a bit disappointed that she couldn't have bacon, we were impressed that someone was aware of cross contamination.
We ended up settling for just chocolate chip pancakes, and if she was still hungry we could order another pancake. We were told that the pancake was pretty big, so we decided to try one.
Gluten Free Pancakes
The pancake was very good. My daughter only ate half of it and wanted to take the rest home. This is typical of how she eats, she never finishes a full meal when we eat out.
When I asked her if she liked it, she gave me a typical 2 thumbs up.
We'll certainly come back again. In fact, we liked the place so much that we visited the place twice within a week time. The restaurant was nice and quiet, and even though it's next to the train tracks, the trains weren't making all that much noise as they went by.
Personally I liked the Classic Reuben Sandwich, which could be made gluten free with the gluten free bread.
Finding the Deluxe Depot Diner
You can find the Deluxe Depot Diner at the corner of Waverly Street and Concord Street in downtown Framingham. There is a small parking lot on either side of the Deluxe Depot Diner, in addition, you can park on Waverly Street.
PieZoni's Gluten Free Pizza
Recently we were in East Providence, Rhode Island at a friend's house. We were attending a graduation party.
We stayed late for dinner, and the host decided to order from PieZoni's. They were going to go with a more local pizza place, but PieZoni was the only one that offered Gluten Free pizza and delivery.
My daughter was very impressed with the Gluten Free pizza she had several slices. She told me that it was just as good as the pizza she gets at Bills Pizzeria in Natick. The pizza looked very good, I had a bit since it looked like it was soggy, but it was nice and crunchy.
We certainly recommend PieZoni to anyone looking for delicious gluten free pizza in Southern New England.
There are many Piezoni locations around Southern New England. In Massachusetts, they are in Attleboro, Easton, Fall River, Franklin, Plainville, Raynham, Stoughton, Taunton, Walpole. In Rhode Island, you can find Piezoni in Barrington, Cranston, E. Greenwich Square, East Providence, Lincoln, Middletown, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, Warren and Warwick.
Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?
Ya, it happens to everyone.
The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.
EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.
I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.
As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.
Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.
Some real world examples
Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:
- Thought of a cool gift idea while browsing Amazon? Take a screen shot and make a note.
- See a cool graphic design on social media that you would like to duplicate? Take a screenshot of it and comment on why you like it.
- Need to bring some supplies to work tomorrow? Take a note.
- Found a bug but don't have time to file a report? Take a screenshot and jot down some notes.
- Wouldn't it be great if.. Take a quick note.
- On a call, need to jot a phone number or address?
- Discovered a cool Alexa saying? Take a note.
At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.
Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.
One last Thought
Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?
My daughter is a huge fan of America Girl and fortunately, we live near the one at the Natick Mall. It's a great place to shop and the cafe is a nice treat.
The American Girl store at the Natick Mall has two stories, the Bistro takes up half of the second floor.
Reservations are highly recommended during peak lunch and dinner times. We know from experience that they do close early on New Year's Eve.
American Girl Bistro is Celiac Friendy
The Boston's Children's Hospital Celiac Support Group has held lunch events here several times in the past. That alone should tell you that this place takes gluten free very seriously.
They have delicious gluten free options.
We have eaten here several times in the past couple of years and have never encountered a problem. In fact, my daughter has requested going here for lunch every year for her birthday.
She likes to bring her American Girl doll. They have special seats for the dolls so they can sit at the table. If you forgot yours, or don't have one, you can borrow one for the duration of your meal. (They even get their own place settings)
We usually do a bit of shopping afterward. So it's a fun experience for her.
This year we might be going to xxx as she likes going there.
Tips on Eating in the Bistro
Don't forget to mention that you need to eat gluten free. The servers have been excellent about catering to the needs of Celiac. They will explain all the items on the menu that can be prepared Gluten Fee.
There's a single price per meal for a starter and a Main Course, currently it cost $16.50 for adults. So all the meals are a single price, which makes it easy to just focus on what you want to eat.
There's not a lot of options for the appetizers. My daughter usually gets the Fancy Fruit Fondue option. I recall that the Mediterranean Hummus and the Warm Artichoke-Spinach Dip are other Starters that can be made Gluten Free.
On our last visit, my daughter had the butterfly pasta with butter and oil. She ate most of it, and we brought some home so that she could enjoy as a small snack.
In the past she would have the Butterfly pasta with Alfredo sauce. It's her version of Mac & Cheese since they don't have any gluten-free mac and cheese. She also tried the Bistro Burger with the gluten free bun.
Gluten-free Birthday Cake
If you're celebrating a birthday, call ahead a few days early and they will have a specially prepared gluten-free birthday cake. The Natick American Girl Bistro don't make the cake they get it from Something Sweet Without Wheat a bakery that specializes in Gluten free cakes.
The cake is actually really good.
What's really nice is that if you have a large party they will serve noncelicas guests a regular cake. That way the birthday girl gets more cake to take home.
Overall it's a fun dining experience. If you should encounter an issue with the server, make sure to let the manager know.
One time when we visited, the server didn't appear to know much about Celiac. We were concerned that things wouldn't go well and did ask for a different server.
That was the only time we ever had an issue. That was several meals ago and we still go back for the delicious food and fun shopping experience.
Jen Review Website
Earlier this year the site featured a comprehensive post about the Celiac Disease. It's a well-written guide for anyone that was just diagnosed with Celiac. Perhaps your entertaining a friend that mentioned that they are eating gluten this guide will point you in the right direction.
There are four delicious recipes to try. (Isn't it fun to try something new?)
- "Best Ever" Gluten Free Bread
- Avacado Tuna Salad
- Garlic Spinach Dip
- Pasta with Beets, Ricotta and Pistachios
If you want a simple to read artcle about eating Gluten Free, I would suggest checking out the Celiac Disease Diet Guide (Plus 4 Delicious Recipes) at jenreviews.com.