GF offerings at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square

July 16, 2009 by

I went to Crema Cafe on Tuesday and was surprised to see that two of their pastries were labeled (labeled!) as gluten free.  They had a coconut macaroon, and some nebulous bar type thing that was labeled as a “cranberry pistachio” bar. It looked like it was made with oats, but it was very difficult to tell.

And what follows is a lesson to cafe workers on how NOT to treat someone with a gluten intolerance:

“That cranberry pistachio bar, is that made with GF oats?”

“Let me check. (to other cashier) Is that made with GF oats?”

“No, I think it’s made with Rice Krispies”

Me: “I’m sorry, so it’s made with Rice Krispies?”

Cashier 1: “Here let me ask the person who buys them. (to manager looking person) Are these bars gluten free?”

Manager: “Yes.”

Cashier to me: “They are not made with oats. They are completely gluten free.”

Me: “…but if they’re made with Rice Krispies, they are not gluten free.”

Cashier, in an extremely snippy tone with I’m-smiling-but-I’m-really-annoyed-with-you smile: “I just asked, and I can assure you they are completely gluten free.”

Hmm, they told me the same thing at Kickass Cupcakes not too long ago.  I ordered a macaroon instead.

Bottom line, people:  if someone asks you about the GF status of a product, unless you have a certificate in gluten free food preparation, give them ingredients.  Or list them somewhere in case people ask.

Go Cubs!

June 22, 2009 by

My cousin sent me this link, saying that I had no longer had an excuse to not visit him in Chicago:

Gluten-free baseball fans can now have a beer at Wrigley Field

Boston: Participate in GF Website Research

June 15, 2009 by

A friend found the following on a LiveJournal site.  If you live in a respectable distance to Kendall Square and want to participate in some gluten free research, send these people an email:

Hello!
I’m looking for individuals in the Boston area with Celiac Disease who are able to come in for an hour to my company’s offices in Kendall Square (right by the T) and test a new Gluten Free service we are releasing very soon.
To participate, you must be able to come into our offices in Kendall Square. In exchange for your time, some compensation will be offered. :D
If you’re interested in testing our service, please reply to shannon@zeer.com with the following information.
Your Name:
When You Started Living Gluten Free:
Your Occupation:
Your Age:
Your City & State:
What Time of Day Works Best?
Thank you! We’re eager to get fresh eyes and opinions. Looking forward to hearing from you :D

I’m going in sometime this week.  Compensation is a $25 Amazon gift card.  This company, Zeer, I think is fairly new; I saw them hiring on Craigslist not too long ago when I was newly diagnosed, unemployed and trawling websites for jobs.  I almost applied, but then I got my permanent gig, which I am glad to have.

NYC was great, and I got to try a lot of fun GF food.  In other news, the husband and I are attending a Celiac round table discussion at Beth Israel tonight with renowned celiac dietitian Melinda Dennis and others.  This is the first official thing I’m going to as a celiac since being diagnosed in April, since I couldn’t get an appointment with Melinda until late July!  I’ll post a debriefing after the meeting.

A Detour to the Big Apple

June 12, 2009 by

The husband and I are heading down to New York City for the weekend to visit some friends.  I’m excited one, because I’m hoping to get out of the crappy crappy cold rain for a couple of days (it is almost summer, right?).  Secondly, and more importantly for this blog’s purposes, I’m excited to try all the NYC gluten free offerings I’ve been reading about.  The friends we’re staying with live in the Village not far from La Risotteria, and we might hit them up for dinner tonight. We’re going here for dinner on Saturday.  The offerings look mostly gluten free, so I should be good.

We were also told of the Big Apple BBQ that’s happening on Saturday and really want to go.  Possibly not gluten free-ndly, but we do love some barbeque, and it’s hard to find good BBQ in the north.  I will pack some barbeque sauce just to be safe.  Any other condiments I should pack?  Any must-eat places I should absolutely not miss?

Gluten Free Atlanta: A preview

June 10, 2009 by

We all know that Outback Steakhouse is pretty friendly to the GF community.  But have you heard legend of the soon-to-be-famous-if-not-already Outback Steakhouse in Roswell, GA?

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That’s a gluten free Bloomin’ Onion, people.  And you better believe I ate it.

Update 6/18/08:  This week marks the one year anniversary of the GF Bloomin’ Onion, according to Ginger.

Gluten Free Boston: Kickass Cupcakes

June 7, 2009 by

So when I first started this post probably about a month ago, I was all ready to sing the praises of Kickass Cupcakes in Davis Square.  They carry gluten free cupcakes that, at the time, I thought kicked ass.

Not so much anymore.

Let’s start with the positives first.  From the times I’ve been there, they usually carry a GF vanilla cupcake and sometimes a chocolate.  The cake itself is spongy, moist, slightly eggy.  Their chocolate frosting is outstanding.  And I am not a person who typically likes chocolate frosting.  And on the CC tip, the first time I went in there, I was offered a separate box for my GF cupcakes so they wouldn’t be contaminated by the husband’s gluteny cupcake choices.

On the flipside, their vanilla frosting is gross.  It’s a buttercream, with emphasis on the butter.  You sometimes feel like you’re biting into a stick of Land O’ Lakes rather than into a sugary treat.  More sugar, less butter, people.  We aren’t trying to impress Paula Deen.

But, if you’ll forgive the pun, here’s the kicker:  Last time I went in, They had some special GF cupcakes for sale.  Some vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting, and garnished with a Paul Newman wheat-free fake oreo Newman-O.  I was confused because I thought they had mingled some regular cupcakes with my GF ones.  But I asked, and the person working the counter said, oh no, these were gluten free cupcakes with a gluten free “No-reo” on top.  I was excited firstly because I didn’t know such a product existed.  I was excited secondly because I thought I was getting a super fancy treat.  I scarfed down that cupcake and relished the delicious cookie on top.

So I was at the store yesterday, and what do I see on the shelf but a bag of Newman-Os.  And written on the package, clear as day is the following:

NOT a gluten free product.

I look at the back of the package and what is the first ingredient?  Barley flour.  So Newman-O’s are wheat free, but they are not gluten free.  Oh Kickass Cupcakes, why must I have to give you the wheat free vs. gluten free lecture?  I thought you had it together and we were getting along so well. And oh, Paul Newman (RIP), why couldn’t you have used rice flour?

So I will have to venture forth in my search for GF baked goods.  I still might get cupcakes from Kickass Cupcakes from time to time, but no bells and whistles.  Other places on my list to try are Bella Moto in Arlington, Celia Cakes in Arlington, and Strawberry Moon in Stoneham.

Gluten Free Atlanta

May 26, 2009 by

Tomorrow I’m heading to Atlanta, home of my adolesence and early adulthood.  My cousin’s getting married, finishing off Wedding Month 2009.  Given that this is the third wedding in just about as many weeks, you better believe I have my gluten free hangover food ready to go.

I’ll be slumming it at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta all weekend.  I’ve already talked with the catering manager there, and my GF wedding dinner is set.  Chocolate mousse for dessert.  Don’t player hate, player appreciate.

This is my first trip home to the ATL as a celiac.  I have to give a shout out to my mom for finding  a very thorough list of gluten free Atlanta restaurants via the Way of the Celiac Traveler blog.  Good job, mom.  Way to use the internets!  Thanks for supporting me.  As we are learning, advanced food planning is the key.

It is perhaps not too much of a surprise that this list is so long, because let’s be honest.  Atlanta is the Mecca of chain restaurants.  There’s bound to be a few that carry a nationwide gluten free menu.  Oh and hey, they all happen to be in a one mile radius of my mom’s house!  I bet my mom’s most excited to take me to Cheeseburger in Paradise (she loves Jimmy Buffett).  Though if that’s too busy, there’s a Carrabba’s right next door, with a P.F. Chang’s in spitting distance.  And a Maggiano’s at the mall across the street.  I’m sure there will also be more than one trip to Starbucks for coffee and gluten free orange cake.

Hey gluten free Atlanta!  Any other recommendations out there?  What do you know about the Original El Taco in the Highlands?  Are they celiac friendly?

Know Thine Enemy

May 24, 2009 by

I found this in a friend’s pantry yesterday:

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So good they sell it in jars.  Or is it?

IMG_0068

Hmm.  Not so much.  Actually, that’s kind of gross.  Next time I’m craving a baguette, I think I’ll pull out this picture to remind me that I really don’t want this in my intestines.

Baking Challenge #1: Saltines

May 23, 2009 by

CIMG5830

So one thing I’m learning from this venture is that if you’re going to be a good food blogger, you have to have mad food photography skillz.  I don’t know so much that I have them.  But this is my first attempt with a camera that is on the verge of falling apart.  And it wasn’t even in food mode.

I decided that my first gluten free baking challenge would be to make crackers.  Why?  Because I do a lot of carb snacking. I love appetizers.  Store bought gluten free crackers are expensive, and I’m still hitting full on sticker shock over how much money eating gluten free costs.  I used the saltine cracker recipe from my first GF cookbook purchase, Elizabeth Barbone’s new book Easy Gluten Free Baking.  Her saltine recipe comes from the “Tastes Like” chapter (which also includes recipes for GF Girl Scout cookies!), and is slightly less complicated and has less ingredients than the Saltine Cracker Recipe from Learning How To Cook…Gluten Free!

I also reasoned that a GF cracker recipe should not be so hard, since most GF bread products get or are inherently crumbly. The instructions are pretty easy:  mix flour blend and butter together, roll it out, prick with a fork, cut and bake.  Much like instructions for a pie crust.

Do they taste like saltines?  If you close your eyes and concentrate on the butter flavor, yes.  Otherwise, they taste like a good sugarless shortbread or tart crust.  They stood up to a spreading of thick heavy cheese spread without breaking.  I think next time that instead of just cutting into squares, I might try using cookie cutters to make them look like a canapé type cracker.  Just to be fancy.  I’m also excited to try the cheese cracker recipe from this book.  I have a feeling that if the texture of the cheese cracker recipe is similar to the saltine recipe, it will lend itself well to a cheese cracker.

Any other favorite cracker recipes out there?

Gluten Free Hangover Food

May 20, 2009 by

First of all, I am not an alcoholic.

But let’s just say that since being diagnosed celiac–three weeks ago, ahem–I’ve had a lot of occasions to overindulge.  This will happen when you are attending 3 weddings in one month (and two of them are with your Irish Catholic family).  Let’s not forget that bachelorette parties, seeing old friends, rehearsal dinners and hotel room parties often come along with this territory.

So some of my first GF finds have had to be replacements for the usual hangover food.  You know, takeout pizza.  Wendy’s.  Chicken fingers. McDonald’s french fries.  I can no longer have them and for the foods I can have, they take too long and too much coordination to make from scratch.

So so far, here is a list of gluten free things that I have found to be acceptable hangover food:

  • Cheetos
  • Fritos
  • Cool Ranch Doritos (apparently the Nacho Cheese are not GF–Thanks, Allison!)
  • Cheese grits (the husband makes some good ones)
  • French fries (from a place such as four burgers or five guys)
  • Waffle house (when in the south.  eggs, bacon, hashbrowns.  probably contaminated, but so comforting.)

Anybody else have suggestions?


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