Gluten Free blog postings

Gluten Free Postings

Earliest: June 2, 2015Latest: March 21, 2017Total: 71

December 13, 2016

Uno's Better Tasting Gluten Free Pizza

We enjoy our traditional Friday pizza. Usually, we eat at home, but every once in a while we'll go out and enjoy a pizza with friends. UNOs is a fun place to meet up with friends. They have a lot of different gluten free options and the food is pretty good.

UNOs has had a gluten free pizza for a long time and it was so-so. It wouldn't be the first place we would go for pizza.

Things has changed as they suddenly got serious with the gluten free crust and the pizza is amazing. It's so good that you forget that it's a gluten-free crust.

This is from UNO's press release from a couple of weeks ago:

Uno Pizzeria & Grill, well regarded for its gluten-free menu options, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Venice Bakery to introduce a gluten-free pizza crust that will have customers wondering if it's the real deal!

"This new gluten-free crust is so good, most people can't tell the difference from our regular crust," says Louie Psallidas, Uno's President, and CEO. "Unlike many gluten-free pizza crusts, it has a raised edge and the bold, flavorful taste that Uno's pizzas are known for."

Los Angeles-based Venice Bakery is one of the largest family-owned, gluten-free pizza crust manufacturers in the United States.

The Framingham UNOs has had the gluten free pizza for a while as we noticed the change in September. Here's a picture of the pizza from our last visit:

Unos Venice Bakery

December 6, 2016

Cheesecake Factory at the Prudential Mall

Cheesecake Factory

This past weekend we had a very interesting experience at the Cheesecake Factory at the Prudential Center Mall in Boston, Massachusetts.

We had a rather large party -13 people. We stopped by for lunch before heading to the Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall. (We made reservations ahead of time and indicated that there were 2 people in the party that had gluten free allergy.)

When we placed our order we told the server, multiple times, that our daughter has celiac and that her food needed to be gluten free. In addition, my wife also placed a gluten free order. My daughter orders a pasta with four cheese.

Meal Arrives

When the meals came to the table, we asked the server if both dishes were gluten free. He indicated that they were.

My daughter lunch looked a little strange as the sauce appeared to be thicker than normal. Typically gluten-free pasta sauce is a bit watery because you can't add flour to thicken it up.

My wife started eating hers for a bit and then noticed that a macaroni was in her dish. We know from experience that the Cheesecake factory only has one style of gluten free pasta. It was at that point we realized that they cooked the pasta in the same water as regular pasta. This would result in serious cross contamination.

Cheese Cakefood
You can see the Macaroni that was mix in with the Rotini. We have learned from past experiences that Rotini is the only gluten free pasta that the Cheesecake factory has. So as soon as we saw the Macaroni we knew something wasn't right.

We immediately asked for the manager.

Manager Assistance

When the manager arrived we informed him of what we found. He was very apologetic. He informed us that there was nothing on the food order that it was an allergy. (Turns out we had a new server, which explained other problems we had with other dishes.) The manager offered to re-cook the pasta and make sure that they used new water. We told him that only our daughter dish needed to be fixed.

About 10 minutes later, the same server came by with a new plate. This was a bit surprising since I would have expected that the floor manager to bring the dish to the table, as a sign of taking ownership and responsibility. The sauce looked a bit watery than before which is what we would expect.

I thought that the pasta was cooked pretty quickly. ( I can't even boil water and cook pasta at home in less than 10 minutes) My daughter said the food tasted good and looked better than before.

The Cheesecake factory did make some adjustments on the bill, we don't know exactly since we didn't pay for the meal.

Aftermath

We sent an email to the Cheesecake Factory corporate offices and a couple of days later we received a call from the Cheesecake Factory. We explained the situation and the concerns. They said that they would look into the issue and would send us a gift card for our troubles.

Not exactly sure that we would go back to the Cheesecake factory.

November 29, 2016

Van’s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Yesterday was National French Toast Day.

If you're eating Gluten free, you do have some options for French Toast:

Van?s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks

Vans French Toast Sticks

My five-year-old daughter really loves Van?s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks. We have a couple of boxes in the freezer in our basement, always making sure that they are always available.

We find that they are better served with a nice dab of Nutella on the side. She actually prefers that way.

We have tried Hershey spreadable chocolate, but they don't taste the same. Hershey Spreadable chocolate is perfect for other things, just doesn't do well with Cinnamon French Toast sticks.

The French toast are perfect for dipping.

You put the pre-slice bread in the toaster for about a minute, and then take them out and separate around the chocolate. I find they taste better when you click the frozen button on the toaster.

If your kindergarten has celiac is looking for a good breakfast treat, stock up on Van?s Foods Cinnamon French Toast Sticks.

The Cinnamon French Toast Sticks are expensive (~$5 for 12 slices) to have every day for breakfast. They are a great treat when you're looking for something different than the usual cold cereal.

They are also nice snack on a really cold day.

November 22, 2016

McCormick Gluten Free Options

Brown Gravy

McCormick is well known for their recipe mixes collection. If your lucky, you may find a store that carries all 25+ different varieties.

Gluten Free Options

McCormick also makes eight different mixes as Gluten Free:

  • Gluten-Free Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Brown Gravy Mix
  • Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Meat Loaf Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Mix
  • Gluten-Free Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix
  • Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy Mix

We have tried many of these in soups and in crock pot recipes. They are all very good, we have had to add a little corn starch to thicken up the gravy in some recipes.

According toe McCormick's website, you can find these in various stores including Target/Walmart and Amazon.com.

Framingham Stop and Shop

The Stop and Shop on Temple Road in Framingham, Massachusetts has discontinued selling McCormick's Brown Gravy Gluten Free recipe mix packets.

I was worried that McCormick has stopped making the gluten free Brown Gravy, but there's nothing on their website or from various gluten-free food blogs.

I am guessing that this particular Stop and Shop is not selling enough of the gravy to justify the premium shelf space. I would highly recommend that they should move it over to the gluten free section.

They did put a strange shelf sign:

McCormick Shelf Tag

Apparently I shouldn't use my Stop and Shop card, otherwise, it wouldn't be discontinued.

November 15, 2016

Food Allergy Awareness Act

restaurant-poster

On January 2009, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed into law the Food Allergy Awareness Act. The Act requires that certain food establishments comply with regulations developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The purpose of the Act was to educate the food service community on some food allergies that consumers may have.

The act went into law on October 1, 2010. All food establishments that cook, prepare, or serve food intended for immediate consumption either on or off the premises must be fully compliant.

Food Allergy Awareness Poster

Every food establishment in Massachusetts is required by law to display a food allergy awareness poster in the staff area. In addition, they are required to include a notice on menus that reads ?Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.? ( Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 6B )

Download the Massachusetts approved Food Allergy Poster (2009)

Video Training for Certification

The law also requires that a person in charge has food allergy training for certified food protection managers. The training is done via video in collaboration with FAAN Ambassador Who Cares Ming Tsai. The four-part video is available on YouTube.

Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants

The law requires that the Massachusetts department of Public Health designated a program for restaurants to be classified as ''Food Allergy Friendly'' and maintain a listing of restaurants receiving that designation on its website. I checked their site and wasn?t able to find any ?Food Allergy Friendly? list.

The law does not require that the food establishment has allergy friendly food, just that they are aware of the issues that people have with food allergies.

Penalty

Failure to have the Food Allergy poster posted, menu notice or proof of training would be a critical health item on the health inspection report requiring corrective action within 10 days.

Consumer Awareness

If you or anyone in your party has any food allergy, it?s a good idea to view the poster and watch the video. This will help you have an understanding of what information is available at the food establishment. (or at least what people should know.)

November 1, 2016

Dulce D Leche

Dulce D Leche Framingham

Recently we went to Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe in support of a fundraiser by the Saint Bridget School. The cafe was giving the school a percentage of sales for those that brought in a promotional brochure.

About Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe

Framingham newest premium cafe is the place to go to get a nice cup of coffee and some delicious gelato ice cream.

Dulce D Leche Gelato Cafe open for business on June 5, 2016 at 5 Edgell Road in Framingham. The location is commonly known as One Framingham Centre.

They are a full-service coffee shop with hot chocolate, pastries, and Argentinian Gelato Italian-style ice cream.

Argentianian Gelato ice cream is a bit different than standard ice cream you get at a roadside farm stand. It's creamier and smooth. If you like soft serve ice cream, you'll enjoy Argentinian Gelato ice cream.

Dulce D Leche has a lot of unique flavors to pick from. If you're unsure of how something would taste, they are happy to give you a small spoon sample.

I liked the Dulce de Leche flavor with chocolate chip. It's a good flavor to start with.

Seating area was quiet and clean. There is free wifi available, for those that want to browse the Internet while enjoying their coffee.

Gluten Free Offering

When we informed the staff of my daughter's need to eat gluten free they were accommodating. The server pointed out each ice cream that did contain gluten. Lucky for us, there were lots of ice cream for my daughter to select from.

She was happy to have the milk chocolate. I think that she wanted to try the brownie chocolate, but she knew that it contained gluten.

I noticed that they had a scoop in each flavor. So there was no chance that flavors could mix up.

Take home or Eat in?

We took a couple of pints home with us. The good thing is that they make the pint for you. These aren't prepacked containers - you can watch them pack it up for you. (They do stuff it all the way to the top!)

The ice cream is better soft than hard. So if you're going to have it in your freezer, keep it out for a bit before scooping so that it can soften.

Worth Going?

Its worth going and treating yourself to an afternoon ice cream treat.

An International House of Pancakes is being built in the parking lot near Dulce D Leche. I would suspect that the Framingham Centre will be a busy place with the addition to the iHop.

October 25, 2016

Halloween Candy

Halloween Candy

Halloween can be tricky time for kids with Celiacs. Thankfully many of the popular candies are Gluten free and Celiac friendly. Here?s the list of the 30 most popular candies in the United States

Pay attention to the candy that are handed out at halloweeen, and ask ask for a different candy if they should get one that is not on the list. Example, keep in mind that M&Ms are gluten free and look for that in the bucket as candy is being distributed.

100 Grand Bar Not Safe
3 Musketeers Safe
AirHeads Safe
Almond Joy Safe
Butterfinger Safe (Only the Bars!)
Candy corn Not 100% Safe (Brach's Candy Corn is processed in a facility that also processes wheat)
Hershey's Kisses Safe (Not the Hugs variety)
Jolly Ranchers Safe
Kit Kat Bar Not Safe
Laffy Taffy Safe
Lifesavers Safe
M&M's Safe (Except for pretzel M&Ms)
Milky Way Safe (Not Orginal)
Nerds Safe
Nestlé Crunch Bar Not Safe
Pixy Stix Safe
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Safe
Reese's Pieces Safe
Skittles Safe
Snickers Safe
Sour Patch Kids Safe
Starburst Safe
Swedish Fish Safe
Sweet Tarts Safe
Toblerone Safe
Tootsie Rolls Safe
Twix Not Safe
Twizzlers Not Safe
Oreos Not Safe
Whoppers Not Safe

LiveStrong has a very good list of all the candy that is Glueten Free.

October 18, 2016

Wahlburgers

Walburger Boston

Last week we were near Fenway Park and decided to checkout Wahlburgers. According to the "Find Me Gluten Free" App, the resturant has a 93% approval rating for being a Celiac friendly. We thought we give it a try.

Wahlburgers is a different type of restaurant, it's basically a step above a Smash Burger. You have the option to order via counter or walk around and eat in. When we ordered our drinks it came in take-out paper cups. My first thought was, "Well that's one way to avoid doing the dishes."

Placing the Order

When the host came over and asked for our order, we let them know that our daughter needed to eat gluten free. He was very knowledgeable on what was available on the menu that was gluten free. We asked if they had gluten free mac & cheese, off hand he didn't know, but he checked with the kitchen and confirmed that they didn't have a gluten free pasta. We decided to order a grill cheese sandwich for my daughter and a couple of burgers: "The Melt" and "The Our Burger." We order one with french fries and the other with Sweet Potato Tots.

We were told that they have a dedicated fryer for french fries and tots, so there were no cross contamination issues.

Really Good Burgers

Grill Cheese Sandwich GF

We didn't have to wait too long for our order to arrive, which was good because we were starving. The burgers looked good, as well as the grilled cheese looked yummy. We tasted our burgers and they were delicious, much better than Smash Burger. They were loaded with flavor.

I didn't care for the french fries too much, I think the shoe string french fries at Smash Burger is better, plus you get a lot more to enjoy. The Sweet Potato Tots were very yummy and didn't last long at our table. Lots of flavors and delicious.

Desert

There was very limited gluten free options for dessert, but the server suggested the "Grilled Banana Fluffanutta" as that could be made gluten free. The desert contains peanut butter, fresh bananas, fluff & Nutella served between grilled bread.

The server completely forgot that we ordered it when he dropped off the check at our table. He apologized and said that he would get it with no charge.

The desert was 'ok' wasn't anything all that special. I was thinking that it would be a cold desert, not a hot one. Probably not something that I would order again.

We'll Be Back

The restaurant noise was a bit loud as the current hits were being played over some of the TV audios. Certainly not the place to go and have a chat.

We enjoyed our meal at Wahlburgers, and we'll certainly be back. The restaurant is far from Framingham and we had to pay $10 to park at the Landmark Center Garage across the street. So we won't be going as often as other restaurants that we go to.

We are glad that we found a new gluten-free place for our daughter.

One more thing

What's the deal with the drink prices? why is a "fountain soda, Coke" cheaper than Gingerale? Both were served in a Wahlburgers take-out cup.

Drink Prices

October 11, 2016

Jennifer Lee's Allergen Free Gourmet Bakery

Are there Gluen Free Options at the Boston Public Market?

Jennifer Lee Bakery

Yes, you can find Gluten Free foods at the Boston Public Market - check out Jennifer Lee's Allergen Free Gourmet Bakery. The bakery sells gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free breads, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and donuts.

From a Press Announcement earlier this year:

Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery produces all of their products in their commercial kitchen in Malden, Massachusetts, and sources ingredients such as jams, maple syrup, apple cider syrup, fruits, vegetables, and alcohol from local farms such as Carr's Ciderhouse in Hadley, Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth (another Boston Public Market vendor), Brooksby Farm in Peabody, and Russell?s Orchards in Ipswich.

Yummy Chocolate Cookie!

On Monday, We stopped at the Bakery after wandering around the Market looking for Gluten Free options. The display case was a bit empty - which might be because we were there early on a Monday morning.

My daughter saw some extra chocolate cookies and she wanted one. We purchased one, and the cashier asked if we needed a bag. I said that we didn't and she handed the cookie to my daughter with a small wax paper.

We sat down on a bench nearby and she enjoyed her Taza hot chocolate with her chocolate cookie as her mid-morning Boston treat. She took her time eat and looking around the market. (Seems like a perfect combination.)

I asked her how the cookie was and she said very yummy. When I inquired if she liked these over the cookies we made at home, this past weekend, she told me she liked the chocolate cookie better.

She wasn't able to finish her cookie, so I went back and asked for a bag and she gave me one. I let them know that my daughter enjoyed the cookie and they were delighted that she liked it.

We'll certainly return back to Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery at the Boston Market. They have a lot of bakery options to choose from. (The cinnamon rolls looked very good!)

The bakery is located on the back side of the Boston Public Market, near the restrooms. There is a tractor nearby where kids can sit and pretend to drive.

Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery does have a website, http://www.jenniferleesgourmetbakery.com, but it appears to be down at the moment. (Hopefully it?s because they are busy cooking more of their delicious foods.

October 4, 2016

Five Napkin Boston

Five Napkin Burger Boston

Five Napkin is located on 105 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA. You can access the restaurant from the Prudential Mall using the entrance next to Barnes and Noble booksellers. They are open everyday from 11:30 am to 11 pm, on weekends they are open a half hour early to serve brunch.

The past couple of years we have been visiting Five Napkin because the food and service are good and they have good options for Gluten Free. They use to have a separate gluten free menu, but like most restaurants, they can let you know if an entree can be made gluten free.

Knowledgeable Staff

When it comes to allergies, we have found their staff to be very knowledgeable about food safety. In fact, at one of our visits we encountered a waiter who had celiac and welcomes us to the restaurant. He told us that the kitchen goes out of their way to make sure that any allergy meal is prepared carefully. They have a dedicated fryer, so regular french fried and sweet potatoes are celiac friendly.

He gave us confident that it was a good restaurant to visit. My daughter was very happy to meet someone that had the same condition as her.

Great Kids Food

Usually my daughter order a cheeseburger on their gluten free bun, they have no problems using the bun on a kid-size burger. This past weekend, my daughter decided to be different and ordered a hot dog, they didn't have a gluten-free hot dog roll, but did offer to put it on a hamburger roll. My daughter was fine to have it bun-free.

The chocolate milk is a bit different than most places because they use dark chocolate. Seems to be a favorite with kids and my daughter drank all of her milk before the meal arrived.

Awesome Food - Less Crowded

The nice thing about 5-Napkin is that it's rarely crowded. So while the nearby Cheese-Cake factory has a 30-minute wait, we can basically walk over to 5-Napkin and get an excellent meal. They have a lot more than Hamburgers and Hot Dogs - they are just some of the popular meals.

They also have a nice selection of gluten free beers on their menu. They put all the drinks in a gluten free category so you know which drinks are safe. It's actually interesting to see the different types of beers that are available. (Thankfully my daughter is too young to drink!)

It's a great place to do a takeout! Which is perfect for when your watching one of the Saturday night summers flicks in the center lawn.