Monthly Archives: January 2011

Syracuse, Gluten-free…kinda

This title is semi sarcastic, because last weekend it was rough going scavenging for gluten-free food in Syracuse, NY.  Since it was freeeeeeezing, there wasn’t a lot of time to walk around and check out spots for gluten-free friendly places, so I tried to do my research ahead of time.  I had Empire Brewing Company on my list – so we headed there our first night out.

They have a gluten free menu, but it honestly wasn’t that impressive.  When you see “mixed green salad” as the first menu item, you kind of know that you’re in trouble.  They did have Redbridge beer, however, so at least I could kick back with a brewski while we waited for our table.  The bartender looked like I was a bit crazy when I ordered it though – so they obviously aren’t a gluten-free “hot spot”, so to speak.

Since the menu was so limited, I really didn’t find anything I really wanted.  So, with the help of the waitress, I made up my own entree – tofu tacos!  They had tomatillo-braised tofu in another dish, so I asked if they could use it in their tacos and substitute in corn tortillas.

Does that look good?  Yeah, I didn’t think so. Sadly, it tasted pretty much like it looked.  I would have loved to have the fish tacos, but they fried the tilapia…sigh.

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty terrible.  Then headed to the Syracuse-Villanova game, which was also pretty terrible.

After the game, we were planning on ordering from Alto Cinco – which has gluten-free burritos.  I’ve been craving a burrito for about….three years or so…and I was so excited to get one!  However, after the game they said they had a TWO HOUR wait!  Blast!  We had to abandon Plan A, and move on to the unknown Plan B.

After a little Googling, we found appeThaizing.  Thai food is always celiac-friendly, but this place actually had a gluten free menu!  (Which was actually just the normal menu that someone had written on with permanent marker, but tomato-tomahto).

By this point I was so hungry I didn’t have time to take a picture.  But, I got tofu red curry, extra broccoli.

The next day I was hungry, tired, and ready to eat an actual meal.  I had brought a bunch of Larabars with me for the weekend, but I had yet to have a real-deal meal.  On the way home we had a few hours to kill before the bus left, so we kicked it high school style and went to the Carousel Center Mall.  Where I picked up some an unneeded beauty product, Moroccan Oil.

Then, like a suburban chain-store beam of light, came a Uno Chicago Grill.  I’ve known that Uno’s has gluten free pizza for awhile, but generally avoid it because there are so many truly awesome gf pizza places in NYC (Risotteria, Pala) that it seems sinful to go to a chain.  But at that moment it was just the right place for me!

I got a Redbridge, in a frosty pint glass! (squeel!) I never get one of those!

Then I ordered a veggie gluten free pizza off of their gf menu.

They also had bananas foster and black bean lentil soup, which sounded good.

The pizza was…..generically delicious.  Kind of like microwave pizza, or pizza hot pockets – good, but also terrible.

After three pieces of pizza and a beer, I was ready for a nice long nap on the bus ride home.

I really don’t think that I could spend any more than a weekend in Syracuse, since it seems like most of the restaurants were bread-heavy chains.  But for a couple of days, I survived.  Thank goodness I went to school in the crunchy city of Ann Arbor :)

Katz Gluten Free Sampler

Look what I got in the mail today!  My sampler pack from Katz Gluten Free!

A friend had told me about this special offer from Katz, and I only paid $7 for this whole boxful of goodies!

Coupons!

It includes one slice each of  Whole Grain Bread, Sliced Challah Bread,  White Bread and Wholesome Bread.  Also included are a Dinner Roll, a sample Cookie and Rugelech, and one Sample Slice of Marble Cake.

I had the chocolate chip cookie after lunch, as I skimmed through The G Free Diet.  I kind of hate Elizabeth Hasselbeck because of every single thing she says on The View, but I can appreciate the work that was put into this book, and it seems to have a lot of practical advice.

The cookie was like one of those mini Famous Amos ones that they have in vending machines?  Kind of crunchy, but with lots of chocolate chips.  Not exactly the ooey-gooey-doughy type of cookie that I prefer, but it did bring me back to my college days.

I’ll give a run down of the other samples, and share anything particularly non-idiotic that Elizabeth says in the coming weeks!

Eataly…gluten free?

You might call me a glutton for gluten punishment, but I love going to Eataly.  It’s right by my office, and it’s such a unique place.  But, the majority of their food is bread-based (pizza, pasta, bread, pastries).  Until this weekend, I hadn’t actually eaten at Eataly, only picked up some of Mario Batali’s pizza sauce and gotten gelato.  This time, I was determined to have something at one of their restaurant stations with the gorgeous marble bars.  I obviously nixed the meat station, and since I was planning on eating later, the Verdure vegetable bar seemed to be the right choice.

On the recommendation of the friendly waiter, we got the acorn squash with black lentils and pearl onions ($12), as well as the salad of the day, which had artichokes, green olives, and roasted red peppers ($18).  The acorn squash was definitely the star of the show, and the black lentils were really well seasoned (?), well I don’t know if it was seasoning but they were really flavorful.  Plus, I love adorable pearl onions and I’m committing myself to putting them in a dish at some point.  While both dishes were totally overpriced, you can’t beat the lively yet homey atmosphere.  Plus, the waiter filled my two glasses of pinot grigio almost to the brim, so I was happy as a clam.

Since I didn’t want to chug my second glass of wine, but wanted to go exploring the marketplace – I took advantage of their open-drinking policy and took my glass of wine with me for the walk.

Along the way I was surprised to see a few labeled gluten free options!  Like this farinata!  Also, what the heck is farintata!?  It looked to me like polenta, with rosemary in it.  You just add water and bake it in a pan.  Mayyybe I’ll try it one day.

Since almost everything in Eataly is pure Italian and not labeled in English, I was surprised to see this giant sign above their chocolate bar.  Which, by the way, features a chocolate fountain!  They either dip biscotti in it, or just put some of it in a little cup and you can drink it (sinful).  I’ve been surprised sometimes that chocolate truffles contain wheat, so it’s great to know that this whole stand is gf.  Pick up a cappucino and you’re all set for dessert.  I didn’t want to spoil my dinner though.

See at the bottom? "All of our products are gluten free." :)

I picked up something for my dad, some spinach for my Mario Batali pizza, and more sauce.  Finished my wine on the way to the checkout, and headed home relaxed and rejuvenated (and slightly tipsy) after a long work week.

Even though Eataly can seem like a big tease with all of it’s authentic gluten-filled wares, it was delicious and fun and surprisingly Celiac friendly.

P.S. – They’re opening a rooftop beer garden this summer.  Woot!

Eataly

200 5th Avenue

N/R to 23rd Street

Take me home – Michigan gluten-free

I don’t usually think that I’m going to be able to find any specialty gluten free items in Michigan that I wouldn’t be able to find in New York.  There were a few highlights this time that were a pleasant surprise over my Christmas break.  Next time I will definitely have to do some more research before heading home so I can try all that the mitten has to offer!

1. Little Tree Sushi in Royal Oak

They had tamari soy sauce!  I had been there before, but figured that they wouldn’t have anything but Kikkoman, so I never asked.  This time I was a bit more bold, and it worked out in my favor.  Quality sushi that I can eat, without toting around a bottle of soy sauce all night = win!

2.  Gluten Free Pizza at Buddy’s and Cottage Inn!

Now, this was something that I discovered after I had returned to NYC, but it totally shocked me!  Buddy’s used to be one of my go-to places for pizza because they have that great Michigan crust like Jet’s pizza, but they have a really great sweet tomato sauce.  And Cottage Inn…I used to be able to eat half of a pizza in the time it took to drive it back to my apartment.  I’m going to have to go to both places when I go home next and share it with my family.

3.  Kroger (!)

I’ve been getting updates throughout the year on the construction of a new Kroger by my house, and I finally got to go and see what all the hubbub was about.  Basically, it’s a normal 21st century grocery store – which is great for me because they had a lot more gluten free options!  They even have a list on their website of the gluten free Kroger-brand products on their website, and labels on the gf products on their shelves.  Plus, they have Redbridge gluten free beer (wayyyy up on the top shelf), so I don’t have to go on a wild goose chase every time I go home (they do have it at Oxford Beverage in Grosse Pointe as well).

I was able to get all of the ingredients to make gluten free Chex mix!  It was a huge hit with my family, and I missed the snack-ability of this yummy treat!

Gluten-free Chex Mix

4.5 cups corn Chex

4.5 cups rice Chex

1 cup gluten free Cheerios

1 cup gluten free pretzel twists (I used Glutino)

1 cup mixed nuts

6 T. butter

2 T. Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is gluten free, so don’t bother buying the specialty stuff)

1 1/2 t. seasoned salt

3/4 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. onion powder

Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Eco-Planet Organics Instant Hot Cereal

I was in a ridiculously long line at Whole Foods, looking for something to amuse me, when I came up to a discarded grocery item that I had to reclaim for myself.  It was eco-planet instant hot cereal!  It has “more protein, fiber, and Omega-3s than any regular oatmeal – with less sugar,” so I figured that it could be a great alternative to my usual oatmeal in the morning.

Orphan cereal

I took this little guy home and whipped him up with some cranberries (left over from stringing them on our Christmas tree), cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup.

Yum!

It’s a great quick and satisfying snack, or a light breakfast.  Plus it’s got to be good for you with all of the super-grains it has in it (amaranth, chicory root, flaxseed, chia flour, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet).

I’m definitely going to bring a few of these individually-wrapped packets with me next time I travel (certainly beats hotel powdered eggs).

Get it here.