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Gluten-Free Discoveries!

A teen and her family's experiences living gluten-free.

Updated: 2017-09-23T12:00:06.200-05:00


Paris gluten free - patisserie edition


I confess that for some time, I had been reluctant to plan a trip to Paris (or France) because of concerns that it would be too difficult to eat gluten free fulfillingly there.  Unlike some other destinations, where meals aren't the main attraction, dining had always seemed to be a key element of a French vacation experience, and when Emily was diagnosed  7 years ago, reports from gluten free travelers were not that positive.  However, over the past few years, I started reading reports that things were changing for the better, so when we had the opportunity to attend a family wedding in Strasbourg this summer, we added on a week in Paris.  And, I'm so glad we did, we had a wonderful time in all respects.I'm breaking this report into several posts, as there are a lot of great places to recommend.  This one focuses on more informal places and patisseriePreparationAs with previous trips, I did a lot of research in advance, scouring blogs, websites, and Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews for places that could accommodate gluten free.  However, unlike Italy, London or many cities in the United States, I soon learned that there were very few places with official gluten free menus. Instead, we needed to figure out which restaurants had "naturally" gluten free options -- and were aware of cross contamination.  We did find some suggestions of these types of restaurants from my research, but one of our favorite places turned out to be a local brasserie.  So, I'd suggest having a basic list in advance, but also being open to stopping in at places that look interesting, and seeing if they can accommodate.We also confronted an additional wrinkle -- we were planning to be in Paris in August, and many places do close for vacation for at least a few weeks during that time.  I emailed/ face book messaged places I was particularly interested in in advance (using Google Translate) to find out whether they would be open during the time of our visit, so we didn't make expeditions to locations only to be disappointed by a "closed for vacation" sign.Gluten free cafes -- and patisserieI know of two places (Helmut Newcake and BioSphere Cafe) that serve classic gluten free patisserie (eclairs, cream puffs, tortes, etc.) in Paris -- and luckily for us, both were open! Both also are good places for lunch or a cafe break, or spots to pick up treats for another day.Helmut Newcake is a charming small gluten free cafe near the trendy Canal St. Martin in the 10th.  We actually stayed at an apartment in this area, so went there twice, once  in the late afternoon to pick up patisserie, and once for lunch (and dessert of course).  To be honest, it is a little out of the way if you aren't staying in the area, although I would definitely recommend the neighborhood as a fun place for a meal or a stroll by the canal, it is a very lively area, particularly at night.  Lunch options were limited  but tasty-- the day we were there there was a choice of two pizzas and one cooked meal (a fish dish).  The select of patisserie differed on both occasions, and I think there is a little bit of luck involved as to what you will find at the time of day you arrive -- but on both visits, we were able to purchase some delicious French gluten free pastries.    I can also assure you that even those who do not need to eat gluten free will enjoy the pastries -- I know that I did. (The photo is of a caramel/ salted butter cream filled delicacy, yum.)They also have a well regarded brunch on the weekends. As with all restaurants in Paris, make sure to check the hours/ days before you go, they were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays when we were there.Biosphere Cafe is a little bit larger, and has a more extensive menu, including pizza, sandwiches, quiches, buckwheat crepes, and a few daily specials. They started as a cafe that also served lunch, but now I see that they are open Friday and Saturday nights as well.  There meals are primarily gluten free (or maybe exclusively at this point, their web site [...]

Italy (Part 2)


My first blog post on our trip to Italy covered general tips, as well as some suggestions of great places to try in Rome. Sorrento Our next stop was Sorrento.  We ate at two places there, which were somewhat similar and both directly on the main square:  Bar Syrenuse and Fauno Bar.  The location of both places was idea for summer dining -- right on the Piazza Tasso with nice outdoor seating.  I personally didn't find the food to be quite as good as the restaurants in Rome, although it was certainly fine and they both had extensive gluten free menus.  They also had huge portions -- around this time, we realized that we weren't required to order multiple courses for each of us, and that sharing appetizers was probably a wiser choice. Of the two, we preferred Bar Syrenuse and ate there twice  I had come across the following possibilities as well during our preparation:  Da Gignio, Villa Rubinaci, Osteria La Stalla, Ristorante Pizzeria La Fenice and Miccio Tratoria Pizzeria:.  If it wasn't the summer, and if the outdoor seating on the square wasn't so pleasant, and if the square wasn't one block from our hotel we might have investigated further, but  . .Also, we only ate dinners out in Sorrento.  For breakfast and lunch, we got provisions at the local grocery store and Famacia -- the one near the main square had a lot of gluten free food to choose from.  Tuscanny After Sorrento, we spent a few nights at an Agriturisimo (Agriturisimo Nobile) in a vineyard right outside the hill town of Montepuliciano.  We rented a small apartment with a kitchen, although we didn't actually cook anything!  However, we eat simple breakfasts and lunches there, relying on food from the markets, the grocery store and the Farmacia.  We found some great places for dinner.  The first night, we had a four course, home cooked meal -- just for us -- prepared by the owners of our Agriturisimo, with Tuscan specialties (and lots of wine).  They bought gluten free pasta for us, and prepared it separately from the regular pasta.  We had alerted the Agriturisimo in advance of our dietary restriction and when we got there made sure that she read the Italian restaurant card o double check that the ingredients were indeed gluten free.  By the way, on the drive to Tuscanny, we stopped at the standard highway eatery, which was astonishing for us, as Americans used to the typical fast food joints you get on our highways.  The Italian rest stops had 2 course meals, fresh mozzarella cheese and even wine.  We had brought our own food, but I don't think it would have been hard to find something tasty and gluten free.Another night in Tuscanny we ate at La Locanda de Vino Nobile.  This restaurant was in S.Albino di Montepulciano, the town next to the old town of Montepulciano, but quite close to where we were staying.  Their gluten free menu included home made gluten free pici, a special pasta from that area of Tuscanny, and it was very good.Our best find in Tuscanny  turned out to be one we hadn't researched in advance -- we found it by using the restaurant listing search on the Italian celiac webiste. ) Ristorante La Taverna Del Barbarossa, is in the town of San Quirico d'orica .  It had an extensive menu, including gluten free pici and lots of other pastas,  and beautiful outside seating overlooking fantastic views.  We liked it so much the first night, we went back again.FlorenceWe ended our trip with a few nights in Florence.  Unfortunately, our first meal there was the one real culinary disappointment of the trip.  Le Botteghe di Donatello has a gluten free menu and a great location with outdoor seating right next to the Duomo.  However, I thought the food was so-so and the service very indifferent -- quite a contrast from what we had experienced almost every where else. Luckily, things improved after the first night.  Our favorite place in Florence was Coquinarious, a small [...]



This is a long delayed post -- we spent about two weeks in Italy this past summer and had a great trip.   GeneralI found it helpful to identify a few options in whatever neighborhood we were going to be touring in around the various meal times.  Although it is probably possible to get a plain salad or plain meat in many places if stuck, there are so many restaurants with extensive gluten free options that it seems a shame to waste a meal time opportunity!  Many restaurants are not open 7 days a week, and will often close between lunch and dinner, so check times and days in advance.  If a restaurant has an email address, I sometimes found it easier to make the reservation by email rather than phone.  This way, I could use Google translate to compose the message (and use it to interpret the response as well!)  Also, download some Italian language restaurant cards. Some supermarkets had some gluten free foods, but most gluten free provisions are found in the Farmacies.  Every Farmacie had a slightly different supply, but most had crackers, cookies, breads, pastas, and even muffins.  I think we stopped into almost every Farmacie we passed, just to see what was available. Finally, make sure to check out the Italian Celiac Society website,  There are sections which list (among other types of places) restaurants, pizzarias, hotels, and bars which have approved gluten free menus.  The site is in Italian, but you can use google translate to read it.  The listings are organized by province, and are particularly helpful if you are going to be in an area that doesn't get a lot of tourist traffic.  When I found likely places, I tried to look them up in Trip Advisor or other web searches, to get general reviews -- after all, we didn't only want places with good gluten free menus, we wanted places with excellent food, for both gluten free and non gluten free diners alike.RomeWe rented an apartment near the Pantheon, which was an ideal location for us.  We walked almost everywhere, and it was a charming, lively area.  Every morning, there was a fruit market in the Piazze delle Coppelle right in front of our apartment, where we could stock up on fruit.  There was also a supermarket a couple of blocks away, where we purchased drinks and snacks, but we didn't really use the kitchen for much else! Where we ate (favorites are starred):* Caffe Universalle, -- between the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon -- the most elegant restaurant we went to, with fabulous, personalized service!  Great value if you get one of the 30 or 35 euro prix fixe menus -- four courses, all of which can be adapted to be gluten free.  Gluten free pasta and pastries also available.  No outside seating.  This was a definite highlight for us.* La Soffitta Renovatio,  -- not too far from the Vatican/ St. Peters.  Another highlight.  Full gluten free menu, with excellent pizza, lots of pasta choices, and gluten free desserts.  A traditional atmosphere, but no outdoor seating. * Ristorante Il Tulipano, -- in Trastevere.  Another great experience.  An extensive gluten free menu, with many options.* Voglia di Pizza, -- between the Jewish quarter and the Campo di Fiori (the website is of a bed and breakfast that I think runs the pizzaria  Excellent gluten free pizza, also has other gluten free pasta and meal options.  More of a lunch place.  Has a few outside tables and some inside seating.La Scaletta, -- near the Pantheon.  Gluten free pasta available.  The food here was good, but not outstanding.  However, the location is excellent, with very nice outdoor seating. Fa Bio, no website -- near the Vatican.  Not a typic[...]

Grand Palladium in Mexico -- an all inclusive that does gluten free well


For the past few years, we had avoided all inclusives, choosing instead to rent condos where we could have more control over our meals.  However, we had heard good things about the gluten free provisions at the Grand Palladium (between Akumal and Playa del Carmen in the Riviera May, Mexico) and, I am glad to report, overall we had a very good experience.The Grand Palladium is a very large property that includes 5 different areas.  We stayed at the Riviera, but since you can eat at any of the restaurants (about 8) , bars or buffets in the property, the particular area that you stay in doesn't much matter.   We were there during February school break, but even so, it didn't feel too crowded to us.  I thought that the beach area and the pools were really lovely.At the time that we visited (February 2012), the hotel had a system in place to assist guests with food allergies and celiac.  Once we checked in, we met with one of the higher level managers in charge of dining services. He gave us a special color coded restaurant card (in English and Spanish) setting forth the gluten free requirements. (There are other cards for other food allergies.)  The text of this card was quite similar to other restaurant cards -- however, the magic of the card is that everyone in the property's restaurants and buffets has been trained to follow certain procedures once a guest shows them this particular card.  In the buffet, they made sure that we were brought to a table with a fresh tablecloth, and a manger came over to take my daughter's order. In the beach bar, they offered to make up fresh batches of french fries and tortilla chips, that had been fried in clean, fresh oil.  There is also a basic gluten free menu at each of the restaurants offering items such as grilled chicken, grilled fresh, etc. -- however, at La Adelita (Mexican restaurant), Porta Emilia (fish restaurant by the beach) and Portofino (Italian), they were able to adopt menu items from the regular menu to make them gluten free.  (The hotel does have gluten free pasta and pizza listed on the gluten free menu as well; however, it is best to let the restaurant know in advance that you want to order one of those items, so they have it in stock.  My daughter was able to enjoy a very nice gluten free pasta dish at the Italian restaurant.)In general, one cannot make reservations in advance at the restaurants.  However, because we had a gluten free person in our group, we were allowed to make reservations, and this was also very helpful in ensuring that things went smoothly.  Our gluten free needs were noted on the reservation, so the restaurant knew to expect someone with celiac and could arrange to have some gf breads and other products on hand.The only night things didn't go so smoothly was the very first night.  This was because we hadn't received the magic card yet as the manager we needed to speak with had the day off on the day of our arrival.  As a result, we couldn't make an advance reservation, and there was some confusion about what kind of gluten free food was available at the restaurant (the steak house.).  So, if you do arrive on a day that the manager can't meet with you, I'd encourage you to insist that you nonetheless be allowed to make a dinner reservation in advance anyway, with a notation about needing to eat gluten free.The hotel also stocks some gluten free specialty products, including breads, muffins, pancake mix, brownies and some other desserts.  I give full credit to the hotel for ordering these products -- however, some were clearly better than others!  Luckily, the brownies and pasta were both quite tasty.  There were also plenty of naturally gluten free foods available.  Also, when it comes to "processed" foods, the hotel is quite conservative in what they consider to be gluten free, and I think only considers such a food to be gluten free if it is labeled so by the manufa[...]

Gluten free matzah now available in my local supermarket


For the past few years, I have been baking matzah for our seders, using an almond meal based recipe. The matzah tasted delicious, but couldn't really be used as an ingredient for matzah based recipes, such as matzah brei, matzah stuffing, matzah caramel. Today, my mother discovered that our local supermarket in the Greater Boston area is carrying Yehuda brand "matzah crackers." These look just like regular matzah. We're stocking up!

The Friendly Toast in Cambridge is Friendly Indeed


We were at The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square (Cambridge) last night and were really happy to see that they offer gluten free pancakes -- all kinds of decadent, gluten free pancakes, including chocolate chips, M and Ms (and blueberry too). You can get breakfast all day here too (including eggs). There are salads on the menu too, and apparently they have corn tortillas, so it is possible to get some sandwich fixings on a tortilla. The ambiance is a lot of fun -- take a look at the menu on their website for a preview.

GF Dougnuts -- October Daring Bakers Challenge


(image) The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I've rejoined Daring Bakers, and this month's challenge, hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up, was called Lets Go Nuts for Doughnuts. I'd been tempted by a mini doughnut pan a week before, so this was a perfect opportunity to indulge! A number of recipes were suggested, but I ended up a basic cake doughnut recipe from the Wilton Mini Doughnut pan (the recipe was very similar to the Buttermilk Cake Doughnut recipe provided.) I used Better Batter gluten free flour mix instead of the cake flour called for in the recipe, and they turned out great. I kept it simple -- glazed them with chocolate and sprinkled them with colorful sprinkles. Many doughnuts were consumed that night, but I froze the rest -- they defrost easily, but I confess I later discovered that they are quite tasty frozen as well!

Thanks for a fun challenge!

Gluten free on Cape Cod


We spent a week on the Cape this past summer where there seem to be quite a few gluten free options. Our favorite was the Box Office Cafe in Chatham -- we went there three times! The Box Office Cafe is a very informal cafe and dvd store -- they do have seating, but it is informal. They have a great selection of gluten free pizzas, salads and sandwiches. The sandwiches are made on a panini style bread which is prepared for each order, so it takes about 15 minutes for a sandwich -- still, it is well worth it. They also have a limited late night menu (after 9) which doesn't have the gluten free pizzas or sandwiches. However, the night that we arrived at 9:15, not realizing about the limited late night menu, the staff kindly made us a gluten free Casesar salad and a gluten free mozzarella tomato salad, even though they were not on the official late night menu.

Another great choice in Chatham, particularly if if you want fried food -- clams, fish, french fries, onion rings, etc. -- is Chatham Fish and Lobster -- all of their batter is gluten free. Call for hours, when we were there they weren't open for dinner.

We also tried BZ's Mexican Pizzaria in Dennis -- although we ended up ordering the one gluten free Mexican item, the cheese enchallada, rather than the pizza it is known for.

If you are planning a trip to Cape Cod, make sure you check out the Underground Cape Cod blog, Sue maintains a Gluten Free on the Cape list of restaurants and stores, which she will e-mail to you.

Gluten Free in Israel


Emily is going on a five week trip to Israel this summer, so we're gathering information on eating gluten free in Israel. Israel seems to have very good labeling laws and alerts consumers to the presence of all gluten -- not just wheat -- on the ingredient label. Still, it isn't always easy to read a label, especially if Hebrew is not your native language, so we're trying to gather information about specific products that are gluten free -- AND easily available. So far, thanks to some very helpful friends of friends in Israel, we have created the following list (published at this URL -- So, if anyone has additional suggestions, please add them to the comments!

Gluten Free Wine Tasting Dinner at Burton's Grill


I just found out that Burton's Grill in North Andover is hosting a gluten free wine dinner on Monday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m., in conjunction with the celiac support group Healthy Villi. The announcement and menu can be found on the Burton's Grill web site. The meal is a four course dinner -- price, including wine, tax and gratuity is $59.95 (or $39.95 without wine) which seems like an excellent value. We haven't been to the North Andover location, but the Burton's in Fenway (Boston) is one of our favorites for gluten free meals.

Cozumel, Mexico (gluten free)


We spent five wonderful nights in Cozumel, Mexico this past April. Mexico really does seem to be a fairly easy place to travel gluten free. Once again, we rented a condo with a kitchen, but this time we only ate one dinner at the condo -- the rest of the time we ate out. (We did use our condo blender a lot, however, for whipping up smoothies!)The restaurants we tried were: Rockin Java (two times), Rolandi, and Especias. (We wanted to go to Casa Mission too, but just never made it). At Especias and Rolandi, my daughter had grilled fish. At Rockin Java, she had "stuffed spuds" one night, and fish tacos (on corn tortillas) another night. We also ate at the Palancar beach club one lunch, and had delicious grilled chicken kabobs and fresh fruit. We went for a day trip on the Tucon (as sailboat), and the crew prepared grilled chicken for her, and brought corn tortillas specially.The biggest difficulty was finding tortilla chips at restaurants -- at all of the aforementioned restaurants, the chips were fried in the same oil as items containing gluten, so they were off limits. We did have drinks one afternoon at the No Name bar -- it turns out that the bartender at the associated cigar bar has celiac (and speaks perfect English); he told us that the chips at this bar were indeed fried in separate oil, and he eats them (although, in retrospect, I wonder about this and you might want to do some additional probing before ordering chips.) It was no problem, however, finding bagged corn chips in the stores. I also think that the restaurants and bars really would not mind if someone brought their own chips to have with guacamole, salsa, etc. I was very impressed by how accommodating everyone was. We had a Spanish language restaurant card, and the waitstaff/ managers was generally very knowledgeable about ingredients and were happy to modify meals if needed. You do need to be particularly careful about tortillas, since many dishes are served with wheat tortillas, rather than corn tortillas; however, restaurants were very happy to make the substitution. Also, as in the US, fried items are usually off limits, because of the cross contamination, and a lot of the "bar food" is fried. There are two enormous grocery stores in Cozumel (both across the street from El Cantil, our condo). These stores don't have gluten free specialty sections the way you might find in the states or England, although I noticed at the Cheudri that they were carrying rice crackers in the international section that were labeled gluten free (they are an Asian cracker). However, we stocked up on food for breakfast and lunch such as eggs, dairy, peanut butter, fruits, ice cream and snacks such as chips. You can also purchase freshly made corn tortillas (in huge stacks). We had brought some items from home -- a bag of tinkyada pasta, which we did in fact have for dinner one night when we couldn't be bothered to go out, a loaf of Udis bread (which held up remarkably well, considering we froze it before traveling, it thawed, we then froze it at the condo, brought most of it home, and then we refroze it at home), some Justin peanut butter pouches to have on hand on airplane travel days, a box of Nut Thins, a brownie mix (which we didn't end up making) and some gluten free protein bars. Basically, it is very hard to find gluten free baked goods (except corn tortillas) but other than that almost everything else can be found in the local shops. I do always feel a bit anxious going through customs with the food, which you do have to declare. However, since everything we brought was packaged -- and is legal to bring into Mexico -- we were waved through without a problem. (You can't bring in fresh food such as fruit, vegetables or meat.)We did have a pleasant surprise on the plane trip to[...]

Rialto (Cambridge, MA)


Last night, my father in law treated us to a very lovely dinner at Rialto, a restaurant in Cambridge Massachusetts. It is located in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, but it is by no means a "hotel" restaurant. It is a very upscale restaurant, run by chef Jody Adams. It is an Italian restaurant, but as far away from a red sauce joint as you can get. Indeed, there was only one pasta dish -- a ravioli -- on the menu at all. They have an extensive gluten free menu (which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be online). However, many of their regular menu items are naturally gluten free, and they can modify a number of the other items to be gluten free. The restaurant does offer a prix fixe menu as well (3 courses for $40) and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that there were gluten free options for each course. My daughter (and several others at the table) ordered the Lettuces as a first course, Seared Char with mint and peas for the main course, and Hazelnut Meringue with lemon cream for dessert. Another gluten free entree that was enjoyed by others at the table (although not on the prix free menu) was Wolfe's sirloin steak with Portabello mushrooms, arugula, parmigiano and truffle oil. As befitting an upscale restaurant, the service was very gracious and they were able to accommodate our dietary needs smoothly. Oh -- and the food was delicious as well! It is definitely a place to keep in mind for a special celebration.

Fabulous Gluten Free French Bread


This recipe for gluten free french bread is on the Gluten Free Homemaker's blog. It is an adaptation of Carol Fenster's recip -- in particular, it uses Fenster's baking directions, which call for putting the dough directly into an oven, then turning it on -- no rising and no preheating. As a result, the bread can be prepared really quickly -- once you mix up the dough, it bakes for only about 35 minutes, with no additional rising time required.

I've been baking the gf french bread following the recipe on GFH's blog -- one slight change. Instead of using fresh egg whites, I use Just Whites (dried egg white powder) by Deb El -- this way, I don't have to feel guilty for not using up the yolks. I add the powdered eggs with the dry ingredients, then add the additional water with the other liquid ingredients.

The recipe makes two loaves -- we usually have one fresh, then freeze the other, sometimes preslicing into small slices, or larger sections for sandwiches.

Needham, Massachusetts -- a gluten free restaurant hotspot!


Needham, Massachusetts (a suburb fairly close to Boston) seems to have a surprising number of gluten free restaurant options for a town of its size. Options include:

Not Your Average Joes -- salad, chicken, fish
Rice Barn -- Thai restaurant with an extensive gluten free menu (although the menu isn't currently online)
Bertucci's -- part of a chain featuring Italian food -- no gf pizza or pasta, but a variety of other entrees and salads
Stone Hearth Pizza -- gf pizzas, pasta, salad and dessert
Wild Willy's Burgers -- burgers and grilled chicken on gf buns, ice cream and shakes, gf fries, Redbridge beer (gf menu not posted)

There is also the wonderful store A New Leaf in the heart of Needham Center, which has an enormous selection of gluten free food, including a lot of frozen items such as Udi's bread and Joan's Great Bakes bagels. The manager is extremely helpful, and if you are looking for a product that is not in stock, he will often be able to order it for you. Note that A New Leaf has three locations -- I don't know if the other two stores have as extensive a selection of gluten free options as the Needham store.

B. Good has gluten free buns!


We gave been going to B. Good for some time now -- they are a "healthy" burger restaurant. Although they don't have a specific gluten free menu, they have an allergen book with information about allergens, including gluten, and their burgers and fries do not contain gluten. Now, they are apparently stocking gluten free buns, so you can get a burger on a bun (instead of a lettuce wrap). They definitely have the buns at Legacy Place in Dedham, and in Coolidge Corner in Brookline. I asked the server in Brookline whether this was chain wide -- he thought it was, but you might want to call first if the bun is key! ) (Other locations include Harvard Square in Cambridge, Back Bay Newbury Street). Per the server, the bun is from Gillians bakery.

Editors note: The location in Brookline has closed. :(



Updated 3/2013The following are some restaurants in the Greater Boston area that either have gluten free menus, or where we have had luck ordering gluten free.Burtons Grill (GF menu) --Burlington, Hingham, North Andover, other locations.  Great gluten free menuWalnut Street Grille (GF choices listed on menu) -- vegetarian restaurant with lots of gluten free options.  Lunch, dinner and brunch.  Newton Highlands Not Your Average Joes (GF menu) -- Watertown, Needham, other locations tooLegal Seafoods (GF menu) -- numerous locationsPF Changs (GF menu) -- downtown Boston, Natick, other locationsThe British Beer Company (GF menu) -- Framingham, other locationsWild Willy's Burgers -- Needham location has a gluten free menu, including burgers, chicken, gf buns, fries and Redbridge beer; Worcester location might also have a gf menuWoodmans of Essex (Seafood, Clambake) Clam Shack -- Essex (no specific gluten free menu, but per their website their menu items are gluten free except for sandwiches, clamcakes and onion rings)UBurger -- Kenmore Square (no gf menu, but per the manager, the fries and burger itself are do not contain gluten and the fries are fried separately from onion rings); other Boston locations now open, I haven't checked with them as yetB. Good -- Harvard Square, Dedham, Newbury Street, several other downtown/ Back Bay locations, Hingham (there is a book which lists allergens; per this book, burger and fries do not contain gluten) (now offering gluten free buns -- this is confirmed at the Dedham and Brookline locations -- call to confirm at the other locations too)Stone Hearth Pizza (GF menu) -- Needham, Porter Square Cambridge, BelmontZaftigs Delicatessen -- Coolidge Corner Brookline (no gf menu, but are willing to accommodate gluten free; apparently now have gluten free bagels)Fire and Ice -- Harvard Square, Newbury Street (no gf menu, but can have items prepared separately, with gf sauce)Rice Barn (Thai) (GF menu) -- NeedhamThe Elephant Walk (Cambodian, French) (GF menu) -- Boston/Brookline, Watertown, Cambridge  Extensive gluten free menuFresh City (GF menu) -- Newton, Kenmore, other locationsFive Guys Burgers and Fries -- Dedham, other locations (no gf menu, but per company, the fries and burgers themselves do not contain gluten)Nebo (GF menu) -- North End BostonRed Lentil Vegetarian Restaraunt (GF items indicated on menu) -- WatertownMyers+Chang (GF menu) -- South End BostonBertucci's (GF menu) -- Newton, other locationsRialto (GF menu) -- Cambridge (upscale, many dishes are gluten free, kitchen is willing to modify others)Peace o' Pie -- Allston -- gluten free pizza on ThursdaysAbby Park -- Milton -- modern American, gluten free menu (upscale)Om Restaurant -- Cambridge -- trendy Asian fusion, gluten free menuThe Friendly Toast -- Cambridge (Kendall Square) -- gluten free pancakes (also eggs, salads)The Fireplace -- Brookline, upscale, gluten free menu (see positive reader comment, below)Al Dente  -- North End Boston, aparently has a gluten free menuBeneventos -- North End Boston, apparently has gluten free pizza and pastaFour Burgers -- Cambridge, theatre district Boston, locally sourced burgers, veggie and fish options, fries, gluten free buns[...]



We've now had a primarily gluten free household for 3 years and have definitely developed some preferences. The following are suggestions about some of our (totally subjective) recommendations for gluten free specialty items (some of which buy in bulk form Amazon, as noted):

Places to buy GF food
  • A New Leaf -- Needham -- this health food store has a fantastic selection of gluten free food, and the owner is very accommodating and willing to special order items
  • Whole Foods
  • Trader Joes
  • Stop and Shop -- Newton, Watertown -- Stop and Shop seems to have some of the best prices around for the gluten free items that they stock
  • Amazon -- many gluten free items are available via Amazon, although usually you must order 6 or so packages, so you should make sure you like it first. If you use the Subscribe and Save option, there is an additional discount and the shipping is free
  • Shaws -- although Shaws does seem to have higher prices on gluten free foods than Stop and Shop and Whole Foods, sometimes they sell items that aren't available in other mainstream supermarkets. For example, the Auburndale Shaws sells Conte brand stuffed gluten free ravioli (frozen)

  • Vans frozen waffles
  • Pamela's Baking Mix (for pancakes) (Amazon)
  • Trader Joes Gluten Free Granola (also, Bakery on Main)
  • Homemade muffins (we use Better Batter flour, which subs for regular wheat flour in recipes; we've also had success with Gluten Free Pantry (or Whole Foods brand) muffin mix, or Namaste mix if you are avoiding other allergens too)
  • Chex cereal

  • Tinkyada Pasta
  • Thai Kitchen rice pastas
  • Contes gluten free ravioli
  • Bell and Evans gluten free frozen chicken products (tenders, nuggets, patties)
  • Against the Grain pizza crust
  • Amys gf mac and cheese (frozen)
  • Glutinos gf mac and cheese (frozen)
  • Annies gf mac and cheese (box) (Amazon)
  • Lundenberg rissotto mix
  • Qinoa (instead of couscous)
  • Kettle Cuisine frozen soups and chiles
  • Udi's pizza crusts

Breads/ crackers
  • Pamela amazing wheat free bread mix (Amazon)
  • Bread mixes by Anna
  • Udi's sandwich bread
  • Udi's bagels
  • Rudi's sandwich bread
  • Against the Grain frozen rolls and baguettes
  • Joans Great Bakes Bagels, English Muffins and Italian Bread
  • French Meadow tortillas
  • Nut Thins (especially plain almond)
  • Marys Gone Crackers
  • Corn Thins
  • Chebe brand frozen breadsticks, mini rolls and pizza crusts

Baked goods and snacks
  • Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crusts
  • French Meadow prepackaged brownies
  • Homemade cookies and cakes (using Better Batter flour)
  • Trader Joes brown rice marshmallow treats
  • Trader Joes (or Namastes) gf brownie Mix
  • Gluten Free Pantry or Pamela's brownie mix
  • Betty Crocker Brownie mix (Amazon)
  • Hains brand mini cheddar rice cakes
  • Glutino pretzels
  • Green Mountain tortilla strips

British Beer Company (Boston area)


We had dinner tonight at the British Beer Company, a small chain of restaurants with locations in Massachusetts, including Framingham (the location we visited). It is a casual, reasonably priced restaurant, with a British "pub"style ambiance; the menu includes American and British favorites, such as burgers, salads, pizzas, fish and chips, bangers and mash, pasties, steaks, fish, etc. Their gluten free menu is quite extensive, and includes pizza (with toppings!), ribs, a number of salads, burgers (no buns, alas), fish, steak and -- most unusually -- gluten free wrap sandwiches. The manager brought out the gluten free dish we had ordered herself, and without prompting offered an explanation of the extra care that they take with the gluten free orders, starting from the time that someone requests the gluten free menu. It made for a very relaxed restaurant experience (and the food was good too!)

New York City Gluten Free


We just got back from a 5 day stay in New York City -- it truly is a great place to travel if you are eating gluten free. In fact, our "restaruants to visit" list was longer than the number of meals on our trip. (Oh well, I guess we have to go back.) Some of the highlights were as follows:Friedman's Lunch -- In the Chelsea Market. Their gluten free menu includes sandwiches on gluten free bread, bagels and pancakes on Sundays, hamburgers on gluten free buns, fresh french fries and homemade potato chips (they have a separate fryer for the gluten free food). Risotteria -- we shared an order of risotto and a gluten free pizza. We ordered a pizza with olive tapenade instead of tomato sauce, topped with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. Delish. Every meal is prefaced by gluten free breadsticks, the nice soft kind. They also sell wrapped gluten free baked goods to take home, include black and white cookies.Just Salad -- a salad chain, we went to the one at 30 Rock (Rockefeller Center). The gf salad dressings are clearly labeled. According to the owner, the grilled chicken is gluten free, as are many of the toppings (other than the obvious ones, such as croutons). Ask to have your salad mixed and chopped in a clean bowl on a clean board; the staff were happy to accomodate.S'mac -- a small restaurant in the East Village, specializing in macaroni and cheese. They have gluten free pasta available, and all the breadcrumbs that are used to top the mac and cheeses are gluten free. You can have traditional American style mac and cheese, or go for a more exotic version, with different kinds of cheeses and mix ins.Petit Cafe -- this cozy cafe in the West Village was a real find. The owner's mother has celiac, and he has been increasing his gluten free offereings over the past couple of years. Options now include gluten free french toast (served all day), grilled paninis and other sandwiches on gluten free bread, gluten free brownie and gluten free soups. The cafe is small and friendly -- the owner seemed to know many of the customers, and even went to his car in a rainstorm to loan one of his customers his umbrella!Tuttoriso -- a homey cafe on Staten Island, right next to the ferry stop. This makes a great stopover if you are planning to take the Staten Island ferry (recommended for a great view of the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline, and it's free!) Tuttoiso has a full range of gluten free pastas, sandwiches, soups and baked goods.Cafe 82 -- a typical NYC diner on the upper west side of Manhattan (82d St. and Broadway). They have a gluten free menu, including gf toast for the traditional eggs and hash browns, as well as other diner foods. Very reasonably priced. (no web site)Whole Foods -- there is now an enormous Whole Foods on East Houston Street. Not surprisingly, this being New York, they have a huge prepared foods section. One night, we didn't feel like eating out, so we picked up take out sushi as well as fresh french fries from the Pommes Frites station within Whole Foods. Pommes Frites is a french frie restaurant in the East Village -- they have an ecclectic selection of sauces (we didn't investigate, just stuck with the ketchup.) This Whole Foods also sells gelato from local gelato makers Il Laboratorio del Gelato, in the Lower East Side.Another treat was home made buttercrunch chocolate candy from Roni-Sue's Chocolates in the Essex Market (Lower East Side).What was particularly nice about traveling in New York, is that there were gluten free options in every part of town. The only place that was a bit challenging [...]

More gluten free pizza in the Boston area!


Stone Hearth Pizza has now started serving gluten free pizza and pasta at its three Boston area locations (Needham, Belmont, Somerville/Cambridge). The gluten free items are indicated right on the main menu itself. The pizza is thin crust -- they call it Neapolitan style. In addition to pizza and pasta dishes, they have some nice salads, a few appetizers and gluten free desserts on the menu. We tried the gluten free pizza with fresh mozarella the other week, and really enjoyed it.

Daring Bakers January Challenge -- Tuiles


This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

This months challenge asked us to bake Tuiles. I had never really seen these before. They are cookies that are shaped or rolled. In addition, we were to pair the cookies with a mousse or pudding, or something similar.

I used the basic Tuiles recipe presented, which was
taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck. (The recipe actually makes a butter cookie, not a chocolate cookie.) It was easy to convert to gluten free -- I just used Better Batter flour instead of the all purpose flour. I shaped the cookies into little cups, but pressing the warm cookies inside of a muffin tin when they came out of the oven.

For filling, I made a simple white chocolate mousse, using a recipe posted a the Cooking by the Seat of my Pants blog. I substituted a bit of vanilla for the liquer called for by the recipe. It was super simple, and really good. I then filled the cups with the mousse.

Would I make it again? Maybe. Shaping the tuiles was a little too finicky for me. However, the combination of the crispy cookie and the creamy mousse was quite delicious.

Being thankful for family who "get it"


Our extended families have been incredibly supportive of our gluten free needs. They are happy to go to restaurants with gluten free menus when we go out -- and they have been more than willing to prepare safe, gluten free feasts for family gatherings.

Take this Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband hosted and coordinated, cooked and cleaned, and -- except for one premade pumpkin pie that they bought at a fundraiser -- the meal (for 15 of us) was entirely gluten free. And quite delicious, I might add. We started with olives, humus, cheese and Mary's Gone Crackers. The turkey, of course, was the centerpiece. Roasted vegetables (including baby brussel sprouts, new for me but actually really sweet), squash (made by my mom), a wild and brown rice "dressing", green salad with a nice vinaigrette (provided by my in-laws), mashed potatoes and gluten free cornbread (provided by us). I baked some gluten free Heath Bar brownies and a gluten free apple pie, using an Annalise Roberts recipe and a Whole Foods gluten free pantry pie crust, and we had ice cream as well. Although none of the foods being prepared for the meal contained gluten, it is always more challenging to cook gluten free in a "gluten" kitchen, and I appreaciate the extra efforts my sister and her husband made to keep preparations safe, such as using new cutting boards.

I don't think that anyone came away from the meal saying "that was a great gluten free meal" -- I think they came away saying "that was a great meal". Because it was. Not only did the food itself taste great -- but because it is simply nicer and warmer when everyone at the table can fully partake of a meal , and not worry about whether something is safe to eat.

So, thanks!



Bakers Challenge for November -- Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

- Name of the Cookbook - Shuna Fish Lyndon's recipe - ( … he-recipe/)
- Name of the Author - Shuna Fish Lyndon
- Hosts for the month - Dolores the host ( with Co-hosts Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food ( Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( assisted with the gluten free info.

This was my second attempt at a Daring Bakers Challenge. I see from the other Daring Bakers posts that some folks are really creative -- at this point, I'm just trying to get the basic recipe made! I used Better Batter flour for the gluten free flour, and upped the baking powder to 1 teaspoon. I used a 9 inch springform for the baking pan. The cake didn't rise very much (either that, or it rose than sank) so it was a fairly "short' cake -- more like a torte. However, it was really moist and quite tasty. Definitely on the sweet side, but not too sweet for my taste.

I had read reports that the frosting was WAY sweet, especially in conjunction with a sweet cake, so I halved the recipe, and reduced the sugar even further. In the end, I used about 6 tbls. butter, 1 an 3/4 cups confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 3 tbls. heavy cream and 3 tbls. caramel syrup. I also added a little sea salt. The frosting was nice and light and fluffy; I didn't think it was too sweet. The half recipe did cover the top and sides of my not very high cake.

If I was making the recipe again, I'd make sure to halve the caramel syrup -- it made far more than was needed, even if you were making a full batch of frosting. Now I need to figure out what to do with the leftover syprup -- maybe combine with heavy cream to make caramel for ice cream?

The assembled cake (frosting and cake) was delicious. I drizzled some of the caramel syrup on top for decoration. I would definitely make it again.

Thin, pliable, gluten free wrap bread


There has been a lot of interest in the gluten free blogging and message board community in developing gluten free wrap recipes. Gluten Free Gobsmacked has a whole series of useful posts with a number of variations, including some that were based on a thread originally posted on the Delphi Forum. I was particularly intrigued by her latest post in the series, for Mock Lavash, which called for a combination of whole grain gluten free flours and buttermilk powder. It occurred to me that Pamela's Baking mix already included a combination of whole grain type flours as well as buttermilk, so I decided to try making the recipe using Pamela's mix as the base. I also added Expandex (modified tapioca powder) which results in a very pliable mix. I also eliminated the yeast, since I didn't want the bread to rise. So, here is my latest variation (with thanks to Kate and all the others who have been working on refining this recipe!):

1 cup Pamela's Gluten Free Baking mix
2 tablespoons Expandex
3/4 cup warm water (note, probably doesn't need to be warm anymore since no yeast is used, but I haven't tried it without warming it yet)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to the ingredients, mix on slow to combine ingredients, then mix on high for about 2 minutes.
5. While dough is mixing, line a jelly roll sized pan with parchment paper. Don't skip the parchment paper -- the dough is very wet and sticky.
6. Pour the dough onto the parchment paper lined pan. Use a wet spatuala to smooth it out. The dough is very thin and wet and should spread fairly easily.
7. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes until edges are brown (if you have a hot oven, start checking earlier).
8. After the pan has cooled, peel the parchment paper off of the wrap bread. I usually got it in thirds. You can store it in an airtight ziplock for a day or so.

A good and easy dinner


Last night we had a fast and easy, but still mighty tasty, gluten free dinner, courtesy of Receipezaar. Baked tilapia with tomatoes and olives, baked swiss chard with olive oil and parmesan, and quinoa (toasted, then cooked like rice). The meal preparation only took about 30 minutes total.

Also, for those of you in the Greater Boston area, check out Sorry I Can't Eat That's posting about A New Leaf, a terrific health food store in Needham Massachusetts with a huge selection of gluten free food.