For a Brit, visiting our 'cousins across the pond' would on the face of it seem one of the easier trips to make if looking for gluten free food. However, in a strange place it is often hard to find somewhere but rest assured, someone will have been there before.
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Los Angeles, California (CA) View On Map
The Water Grill, as you may have guessed from its name, specialises in fresh fish dishes. However, it also does a selection of meat dishes. The menu is not specifically designed for coeliacs, however the staff are all very knowledgeable and were able to tell me whether various dishes contained gluten and also what they were cooked in. I ordered oysters for my starter and the waitress was able to recommend the best kind (as I had never tried them before). I had the Alaskan halibut for my main, which was cooked to perfection. The only reservation I would have about this restaurant is that it can be a bit pricey, but the food and service is flawless.
Recommended By: @SineadFoy / portaltothepages.wordpress.com On: 2012-08-28
Rock City Grill
It had been a while since I'd been to Rock City, but on a recent visit for lunch I started reminiscing about the Thai pasta I'd had the last time. The warm Italian-style rice noodles were served with a tasty peanut sauce that hit the right mix of sweet, salt, and spice. Perfectly steamed veggies topped off the pasta, with a curlicue of green onion. I couldn't bring myself to try anything new, but ended up wishing I would have.
I'll be back again soon to give Rock City, and maybe even the Thai pasta, another try. I'd also love to see Rock City add a couple more appetizers and salads to their gluten free menu (right now all they have is chicken satay and a Thai chicken salad). With such a vast gluten-free menu, you'll probably need an appy to tide you over while you read through it and try to make up your mind.
Marco is upstairs from another restaurant, so it was rather hot in their smallish dining room, but we were seated by an open window that let in a very slight breeze. Our waiter came over and he knew that I was gluten free based on the reservation we made through Open Table. We discussed the pasta, which is not made in the restaurant. I thought I had previously read somewhere that they served Glutino pasta. As it turns out, all of their pasta is from a box except for the pasta they make for their Bolognese. Because we had made our reservation early enough, they brought over some gluten free bread. They also brought over some separate extra virgin olive oil for me to dip the bread in and some honey. I ordered - what would have been cavetelli but was gluten free bow ties - with little neck clams, sausage, spinach and tomato. The clams were slightly overcooked, but the sausage had good flavor. There must have been some red pepper flake in there somewhere, as there was some heat. But the star of the show was my second half order, the Bolognese. Everybody's Bolognese is a little different. My personal favorite recipe is from Anne Burrell, and you can find it here. This was different, made with some cream, but still hearty, filling and delicious. The gluten free pasta they used was slightly thicker than the tagliatelle they normally use, but it was still cooked perfectly. We were full, but our waiter talked us into a slice of their flourless chocolate tort. It was dense and full of chocolate flavor.
The Capital Grille
Going outside his comfort zone, our younger son enjoyed the seared citrus-glazed salmon, while the lemony breast of chicken confit I had was moist and flavorful. Our older son - ever the adventurer - carved up the medium-well bone-in Kona coffee-crusted dry aged sirloin sans shallot butter; my wife added the Kona rub to her filet mignon. The steaks were perfectly done, and the addition of the coffee flavor to the preparation made them even more piquant. Many of the sides are gluten free, and we shared the creamy Red Bliss mashed potatoes and the Parmesan-and-truffle oil fries.
There was little room left for dessert, but we felt obligated to end the celebratory dinner on a sweet note. My wife and younger son shared scoops of the mango and pineapple sorbets. Our older one and I were more indulgent, cleaning off the plate that once had a dense flourless chocolate espresso cake on it.
The stand is a bit out of the way - I believe it was behind section 126 but don't take my word for it; instead, make sure you ask an employee. It is by The Marketplace, so you can also ask employees where that is if you need help searching this out.
Anyway, we went for the gluten free burgers with cheese and we were both very satisfied with our purchase. The stand also sells Kozy Shack pudding, Redbridge beer, brownies, sausages, and hot dogs. The burger cost somewhere around $7.50 which, in my opinion, isn't that bad for a gluten free burger at a ball park. At events like this I'm used to overpriced food and, coming from Manhattan, $7.50 for a burger is a steal.
Even better, however, is that the burger was good! The bun didn't fall apart and crumble as so many gluten free buns are prone to doing; instead it remained composed as we devoured our dinners. The game was really fun despite the Mets losing to the Cincinnati Reds. Who doesn't love a baseball game on a beautiful summer night, right?
Spring Natural Kitchen
Ninety Nine Restaurants
When I was looking through Ninety Nine's gluten free menu I was initially torn: do I get something that is often gluten free like Salmon or do I go for something that is more unique, like a burger with the restaurant's gluten free bun? I opted for the latter and was not disappointed. My waitress was talking about the restaurant's gluten free bun as if it were a godsend so I knew I had to try it out. It was great and didn't crumble at first touch.
Now the Rodizio Grill was appealing because I am a huge fan of Rodizio-style dining where it is basically a bacchanal of assorted meats that just keep coming and are carved table-side for guests to enjoy. Rodizio dining also means a lavish salad bar with are range of hot and cold selections that could be a meal all on its own. But perhaps my favorite part of Brazilian dining is quite possibly the smallest, the Pão de Queijo. These are absolutely decadent little cheese rolls that are served warm and they are gluten-free by design as they use tapioca flour as their base.
We arrived at the restaurant, which was already buzzing with guests, and were warmly greeted and shown to our table. Perhaps the most astonishing thing was that I was immediately presented with a printed out multi-page version of all of the menu items that were arranged on an allergy-matrix so I could easily scan for items that would not be suitable. Quite frankly, there was only a few items that were off limits. I knew exactly what I needed to avoid at the salad bar, which meats had sauces that contained gluten, and what desserts would be viable options for me. This was quite possible the best allergy guide that I have ever seen and addressed a range of ingredients that could cause problems for diners.
If you are in the Stamford area (it's just a quick hop from NYC or Westchester) I would definitely recommend giving this Rodizio Grill a try. Their attention to food allergic diners does not waiver and the service was really top-notch.
The Shore Club
As our server greeted us, I informed her of our diet restrictions, and she knew exactly what gluten free included. She then fetched the menu with all the gluten free dishes listed on it. Being that it is a smaller-scale operation, the menu for the restaurant is somewhat small. A good thing to note is that this did not hinder the gluten free options available whatsoever! The gluten free menu includes items from each section of the menu: appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and even the pizza section! Entrees available for the gluten free crowd includes filet mignon and a grilled hawaiian chicken. I did eat the grilled Hawaiian chicken for dinner and man oh man was it tasty! I practically licked my plate clean. The chicken had pineapple chunks on top, along with a layer of provolone cheese. The portions are also pretty hearty. My mom and I ordered a pepperoni and sausage pizza one afternoon for lunch and it was super tasty! The sausage was fantastic, and it had the perfect cheese-sauce-topping ratio. Another great thing about this is that the pizza is only $12! I think we can all agree that's a pretty darn good price for a gluten free pizza seeing that the crusts available at Whole Foods, and other health food stores can be pretty pricey on their own!
I can't seem to find a menu online, but I remember that we both ordered the enchiladas. My enchiladas, however, would be prepared differently because they are normally lightly fried before being served. The chef assured me that they would be just as delicious without the last minute fryer action but would have a different taste. When we received our dishes, I asked Traivor to do a taste test comparison. After trying his dish and my dish (the same except for the fryer), he decided that he liked my dish more! I was happy to show him that gluten free food doesn't have to taste different and can in fact be better. He had his first taste of this at Nizza where he fell in love with the restaurant's gluten free bread, but it's always good to reinforce the idea.
I sat down with my treats at the small bar/counter that is opposite the cashier and dug right in. My first stop was the chocolate chip cookie. I normally wouldn't order a chocolate chip cookie as I think it is a bit boring, but I decided to go for it to have a wide sampling of Pip's baking. The chocolate chip cookie was soft and tasted as if it had just come out of the oven. It was definitely better than a lot of other gluten free chocolate cookies I have had which are often too crunchy and end up tasting stale. My next treat was the "Heath bar," a layered bar with mashed up Heath bar on top. This was amazingly delicious; as a huge fan of Heath Bar candy I loved how Pip's replicated the flavor of the Heath Bar while amping it up with a creamy chocolate underneath the crunchy top.
When I arrived home I tore into the fudgey brownie alongside a glass of Trader Joe's almond milk. The brownie was delicious, filled with great flavor and it was perfectly chewy. Just as importantly, it didn't crumble upon first bite as so many gluten free baked goods do. I loved all of the treats I picked up from Pip's and will definitely be visting again to try out some new snacks. The location is small but offers an open kitchen so you can see exactly what is being baked. I have my eyes on the Chocolate Cake for my next visit..
Francisca's Fine Mexican Food
Of course, there are many, many, gluten-filled delights at Short Cake, as well as the scrumptious (for gluten-eaters) homemade hamburger buns at Short Order so Hourie and I discussed cross-contamination, and also, ummm, isn't she sick all the damn time? It's true that Hourie suffers - so we don't have to - and has given in a bit to her chosen profession, which I find fascinating as I don't think I've ever been so committed to something in my life. Except maybe cheese. Before you belly up to the coffee bar, Hourie wants to be clear that the bakery is in an open-air venue so flour will fly. While she personally does sanitize her gluten-free cook's tools and area, there's no controlling what's going on in the air. I ate every dang one of those gluten-free goodies and other than that sugar coma, I'm no worse for wear. But if you are especially sensitive, this may not be the best choice for your gluten-free brownie. Otherwise, get thee to the Short Cake.
Sammy's Woodfired Pizza
While the pizza is certainly a super delicious treat (we had the BBQ chicken pizza, because why not?), there are a variety of items on the Sammy's menu that are gluten-free. And all kinds of cues on the menu about how to order up some gluten-free grub.
Which probably explains why I found myself surrounded by Celiacs as there was a fundraiser for the CDF going on whilst I was enjoying my gf beer and pasta bolognese. That's right, I ordered gluten-free pasta in a restaurant. Woot! Also, can I just say how weird it was to constantly hear snatches of conversation from a table other than my own that included the words, "gluten-free", "rice flour", and "are you sure"? FUN.
So if you're in my neighborhood, or other places because Sammy's doesn't only hang out by me, enjoy some gluten-free pizza, pasta, and apps with your gluten-free beer. Crazy, right?
Thrive is not only a Seattle gluten free restaurant, they are also dairy free, vegan, organic, low sugar, and try to buy local produce. I've recently started going to Thrive when I don't have time to make vegetable juice, a feat they perfect, served up in a completely compostable plastic cup with straw. They have inspired me to cut out dairy for the most part and also cater to diabetics or sugar intolerant folks like me who can't eat very much sugar at all. Thrive uses Agave nectar and other alternative sweeteners that are low on the glycemic index.
If you are looking for a healthy meal and education, Thrive is Seattle gluten free central station. I haven't seen any use of soy either, which is a nice change for a vegan restaurant.
One of the co-owners of Taste is gluten free, so the items marked on the menu have been crafted to be free of any gluten ingredients and are prepared carefully to avoid cross contamination. Employees have also been well trained in gluten awareness. Knowing that you are safe at a place like Taste allows you to relax and enjoy your food even more. Like many restaurants that serve both traditional and gf items, be sure you tell them you are gluten free, or they might put a delicious, but full-of-wheat, roll on your plate.
My favorite Taste temptation is the Curried chicken salad. Big chunks of chicken breast are paired with apples, peas and other veggies and are tossed with a creamy dressing that is delicate enough to allow you to really taste all the ingredients. Another good salad is the lentil salad filled with basil, feta, tomatoes cucumber and green onions. This vegetarian dish is filling enough for a meal. If you are looking for something warm, try the Moussaka, a flavorful Mediterranean dish served hot, bubbly, and delicious.
There are a few other important things to note about Taste besides their incredible gluten-free baked goods, salads, and other lunch selections. The owners are among the most dedicated I have ever seen to local ingredients and supporting local family farms. They also deliver and cater.
But here's the thing, with all their gluten free options, I had a hard time deciding. The gluten free menu was huge and covered everything from appetizers and salads, to pizza and pasta, to meat and fish, to dessert. They use Schar for their pasta, and I'm pretty sure their bread as well. The gluten free substitutes were pretty good, but next time I would be interested in trying one of their naturally gluten free dishes such as their grilled rack of grass fed Austrailian lamb with caramelized cipollini onions, and creamy parmesan polenta, or the grilled NY strip steak served with a port wine reduction and garlic mashed potatoes. And after that I'd like to try their pizza.