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Brixx Wood Fired Pizza: Gluten-Free Pizza Review

GF Friendly Restaurants

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza: Gluten-Free Pizza Review

9 Comments 10 November 2011

I’m a pretty picky pizza aficionado.  Attending college west of Chicago made me a huge devotee of all pizzas deep and dishy.  While there isn’t a pizza south of Lake Michigan that even comes close to the thick Chicago deep dish pizzas with double crusts laden with tomato-chunked sauce, I’ve since learned to enjoy crusts of all thicknesses and textures. Gluten-free pizza isn’t always done well, but I must say they’ve come a long way in the last eight years. When first diagnosed, most gluten-free diners are thrilled at the thought of eating pizza again, so they overlook the gluten-free crust that either falls apart or tastes like cardboard rice.

In the Nashville area, we have three pizza places that do gluten-free crusts well.  In order of preference:

1.  Matteo’s – Hands down, best gluten-free crust made in-house.  Gluten-eaters have been fooled many a time in our home.  (Their website is currently down, but you can contact them in Franklin at 615-661-5811.)

2.  Mellow Mushroom – A chain restaurant that just recently developed a gluten-free menu, crust, and gluten-free regulations for employees.  I feel very comfortable eating there, and the pizzas are tasty. (Locations in Franklin and Nashville)

3.  Mafiaoza’s Pizzaria – They use French Meadow Bakery gf crust.  Tasty?  Yes, but expensive and a cross-contamination nightmare.  See my review and inquire to see if they’ve learned more about cross-contamination before you try their pizzas.

Well, I have good news.  Brixx is a new restaurant in Cool Springs area (Franklin, TN) that offers gluten-free pizza and is quickly climbing to the top of the above list.  Before you out-of-towners check out, Brixx has locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  See Brixx’s site for a location near you.

Brixx just opened in Cool Springs on August 31, 2011.  I had heard a rumor that they offered a gluten-free pizza, but it took me a few weeks to take the opportunity to try some.  When the husband showed up with this take-out bag from a pizzeria right around the corner from our home, I felt…well…normal.

The bag, the pizza boxes, the smell as I pried them open, were almost a throwback to the college days.  And I was impressed that the pizzas were boxed up in the very aluminum containers in which the pizzas had been cooked.  The gluten-free pizzas aren’t created in a gluten-free restaurant, but Brixx understands cross-contamination issues involved in safely serving their gluten-free guests.

The pizzas are assembled off the line in the walk-in cooler so that they have not been exposed to the gluten environment.  The kitchen staff is very aware of keeping these items separate and making gluten-free meals separately.

Brixx’s incredible pizza selection blew my mind.  All vegetable toppings are gluten-free, and many of the their meats and cheeses are as well.  Here’s a list of their classic pizzas that you can know are safe without having to ask:

  • Americo
  • Hawaiian
  • Spicy Shrimp
  • Barbecue Chicken
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Greek
  • Margherita
  • Tomato and Basil Pesto

Just order them on a gluten-free crust for an extra $2.  Make sure to inquire about all other toppings.  (Vegan cheese is also available at no extra charge.)  You can also build your own pizza and salads with any of their gluten-free ingredients which are listed below.

We ordered the Mexican which had a black-bean spread slathered with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and scattered with wood-roasted chicken, roma tomatoes, and sliced fresh jalapenos.  And with all of that cheese, why not add a little extra dairy by topping it with sour cream?

This pizza was out of this world delicious!

But I think my favorite was the Greek Pizza.  Roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions, and feta cheese topped with fresh basil and a balsamic glaze drizzle sent me into pizza reverie.

But wait!  What about the crust?  I was so taken in by the mouthwatering combination of pizza toppings that I didn’t even think about the crust until well into my second slice.  Now, that’s a good crust.  A crust shouldn’t distract from the pizza, nor should it be the star of the show.  It should let the pizza toppings shine (unless you’re in Chicago).

Brixx uses Rich’s Gluten-Free Par-baked Pizza Crust.  It’s a thinner crust, allowing Brixx’s incredible gourmet toppings to take center stage.  Nutritional information on Rich’s gluten-free crust can be found here.

Brixx’s Gluten-Free Ingredients:

Cheeses - Vegan Cheese, Fresh House Made Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Crumbled Feta, Cheddar, Shredded Parmesan, Gouda, Four-Cheese Mix

Proteins – Roasted Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Chilled Pesto Chicken Salad, Sauteed Shrimp, Oven-Baked Herbed Salmon, Pepperoni, Shaved Turkey Breast, Shaved Proscuitto, Anchovy Filets

Dressings – Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette, Honey Herb Vinaigrette, Caesar, Whole Grain Honey Mustard

Nuts – Pistachios, Caramelized Walnuts, Raw Walnuts

Brixx definitely gets two paws up from this Gluten-Free Cat!

Brixx’s: Wood Fired Pizza

1550 W. McEwen Drive Suite 10

615.771.7797

Open Mon.-Sat. 11am – 1am and Sun. 11am – 11pm

  • Have you tried Brixx yet?
  • What is your favorite gluten-free pizza from a restaurant?
O’Charley’s Gluten-Free?

GF Friendly Restaurants

O’Charley’s Gluten-Free?

16 Comments 27 October 2011

As a gluten-free diner, I always plan ahead when going out for dinner. I choose a restaurant that I know will offer several gluten-free options, or I call the restaurant in advance to make sure they are cognizant about gluten issues.  It is becoming more and more likely that a restaurant will actually have a gluten-free menu, which means more choices and less stress about eating out.

I normally wouldn’t choose to eat at O’Charley’s, but sometimes you don’t really have a choice.  It’s a Southern restaurant chain offering American food, and when you dine with a group, it’s good to chose a place that offers variety.  I hadn’t been to O’Charley’s since my diagnosis, and I wondered how growing gluten awareness had impacted this mid-level restaurant chain.

It really hasn’t.

O’Charley’s does have an Allergen Information binder that the server will bring out if you ask for it, but everything must be cross-referenced.  The diner needs to find something on the menu that looks promising, and then look in the binder to see if anything in that menu option contains gluten.

Each page of the binder lists food items in alphabetical order and common allergens marked with an X on an allergen grid.

User friendly?  Not at all, but the information is there.  I’d recommend finding this document online and doing your cross-referencing with the online menu at home.  Know what you are going to order before arriving at the restaurant so that you can spend your time enjoying conversation with friends instead of taking 20 minutes to research.

I was hoping that O’Charley’s had become a little more progressive than this.

How hard would it be for O’Charley’s to create a gluten-free menu?

Not hard at all.  I made my own in 10 minutes.  Here’s Gluten-Free Cat’s Unofficial O’Charley’s Gluten-Free Menu created by cutting and pasting from O’Charley’s Allergen Information Document.

 

Gluten-Free Cat’s Unofficial O’Charley’s Gluten-Free Menu

Vegetables:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Onions, Sauteed
  • Smashed Potatoes, A La Carte

Salads:

  • California Chicken Salad w/o Dressing
  • Calypso Spinach Salad w/Dressing
  • 9 types of dressings:  Balsamic Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese, Caesar, Honey Mustard, Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Light Ranch, Oil & Vinegar, Ranch, Thousand Island (***SEE COMMENT SECTION BELOW ABOUT DRESSINGS!)

Pork:

  • Baby Back BBQ Ribs
  • Sausage Pattie

Beef:

  • Filet Mignon
  • Jr. Grilled Steak
  • Louisiana Sirloin
  • Mushroom & Bleu Cheese Sirloin (I’d be hesitant to order anything with bleu cheese)
  • Ribeye
  • Steak & Half-Rack Baby Back Ribs
  • Top Sirloin, Grilled
  • Steak & Grilled Atlantic Salmon

Chicken:

  • Jr. Grilled Chicken

Fish:

  • Cedar Planked Salmon
  • Cedar Planked Tilapia
  • Grilled Atlantic Salmon
  • Steak & Grilled Atlantic Salmon

Sides:

  • Baked Potato (loaded), A La Carte
  • Baked Potato, Plain
  • Bleu Cheese Steak Topping (I’d be hesitant to order anything with bleu cheese)
  • Soup, Overloaded Potato
  • Sour Cream for Baked Potato
  • Margarine for Baked Potato

Breakfast:

  • Eggs

 

***Remember that restaurants change their ingredients, so always ask to make sure this information is up-to-date.

I was able to find a meal to eat safely.  The California Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette was good.  But the whole dining experience could have been much easier with a gluten-free menu.

Bottom line?  Celiacs can eat at O’Charley’s, but O’Charley’s needs to step up and create a gluten-free menu.

BrickTop’s:  Gluten-Free Done Well

GF Friendly Restaurants

BrickTop’s: Gluten-Free Done Well

6 Comments 20 October 2011

I watched this new building go up in my neighborhood.

I watched them hang this sign, and I couldn’t wait for them to open.

I saw the “Now Hiring” advertisement curbside and watched with giddiness as the staff came in for training.

(No, I’m not a restaurant stalker, this new restaurant just happens to be located right next to my local Whole Foods.  And I’m there a lot.)

(A lot.)

It’s not a unique phenomenon for a new restaurant to open in the Cool Springs-Franklin area.  And now that the McEwen area has started making good on their much-anticipated promises, this is becoming a hot retail, residential, and restaurant location.

But I’ve been watching the progress of this restaurant in particular, because I had a feeling that it would be good for the gluten-free community.

(And I couldn’t wait to dine on that super cool, outdoor, covered patio!)

BrickTop’s has locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, St. Louis, Naples, and Nashville on West End. I’d been to the West End location once, years ago, and I was thrilled that the server understood gluten issues.  I had just resigned myself to my default order…”I’ll just have a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side, and no croutons or bread, because I have a gluten allergy,” when the server’s eyes lit up and he explained that he too couldn’t eat gluten.

Fifteen minutes later, I had fish tacos on corn tortillas with extra corn tortillas to dip in my guacamole as an appetizer. (He had warned against the tortilla chips as they didn’t have a dedicated fryer.)

When you are taken care of at a restaurant, the experience is not long forgotten.  That one experience gave me hope that the new BrickTop’s had potential.

I was not disappointed.

Last week, we took friends to the new BrickTop’s at West McEwen Drive in Cools Springs, and I was pleased to see that they have developed a very extensive gluten-free menu since my Nashville visit.  From appetizers, salads, and sides, to steak, chicken, and fish, this menu contains something for every gluten-free diner to enjoy.

And every question that I had about specials, sauces, and the vegetable of the day was immediately taken back the chef to check on possible gluten-containing ingredients.  And more importantly to the return visitor (which I plan on being), I was not treated as a problem customer.  Our server was more than willing to assure me that my experience would be a safe and delightful one.

After much deliberation (isn’t it wonderful to have options?) I settled on the Atlantic Salmon with a side of Brown Rice and the Fresh Vegetable which was a delicious creamed cauliflower that I must replicate at home soon.

Tennessee is landlocked, and I’m a California girl who adores seafood.  If we want good seafood, we usually go to Bonefish Grill where the fish is flown in fresh and served with some of my favorite gluten-free sauces.

But I am convinced that this piece of salmon from BrickTop’s is the best that I’ve had in Nashville, or on the coast for that matter.

It’s that good.

And we definitely left room for dessert.

No, BrickTop’s doesn’t have a gluten-free dessert diet train wreck like Outback’s Chocolate Thunder from Down Under or Bonefish’s Macadamia Nut Brownie.  But this sundae shared with the Husband ended a delicious meal in style.

BrickTop’s was a delightful dining experience as a gluten-free diner.  (And our gluten-enjoying friends had wonderful meals as well.)

I’d highly recommend BrickTop’s for your next meal out.  They’re located at 1576 W McEwen Drive and serve customers Sunday through Thursday from 11am – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm.

Cool Springs 615-771-8760

Nashville 615-298-1000

  • How does a restaurant earn your loyalty?
  • Where was your last successful gluten-free dining experience?
  • Do you give restaurants second chances?
Still Number One: Riffs Truck

GF Friendly Restaurants

Still Number One: Riffs Truck

2 Comments 09 October 2011

Eating from a food truck can be a scary experience for a celiac.  Thankfully, more and more food trucks are becoming aware of the unique needs of gluten-free diners, and more options are becoming available.  Until yesterday, I only felt comfortable eating food from Riffs Truck.  I’ve had many incredible Caribbean-inspired meals by BJ and Carlos, and I know that I can trust them to take extra precautions to avoid cross contamination.

Check out my post on My Introduction to Riffs or Riffs Grand Opening for more details about their street fare.

Yesterday, I had the unique opportunity to sample foods from three different food trucks during Food Blog Forum Nashville.  I was thankful that three Nashville food trucks came to provide lunch for 100 hungry bloggers, but which trucks would be able to provide gluten-free food?

I knew I could count on Riff’s to feed me well, but I headed to one of the other trucks first to find out if anyone could come close to their standard.

Yayo’s O.M.G.! (Yayo’s Original Mexican Gourmet) gave a great effort.  Mexican food is usually fairly easy to do gluten-free if the chips and tortillas are made from corn.  The seasoning are the tricky part.  Thankfully, Yayo understood that.

They didn’t turn me away empty handed.  They offered a delicious corn tostada with rice, sour cream, and cheese.

Yayo’s O.M.G. was tasty, but it set me up with high expectations for Happy Eating, a Japanese food truck parked close by.

I was really hoping for the lemon grass rice bowl or the mongolian beef tacos.  But when I was offered the gyoza as a gluten-free option I became more than a  little nervous.  What were the chances that dumplings were truly gluten-free?  Then I was offered the beef tacos, and just to be on the safe side I asked about the seasonings.  Soy sauce.  Ugh.  We determined that the only safe option for me was the Edamame.

Time for Riffs.  I was a little worried, because our lunch hour was just about over.  After feeding 100 bloggers it was possible that Riffs was out of their specialties by now.

But when I showed up and requested a gluten-free meal, there was no hemming and hawing. They knew exactly what to serve me.  I didn’t order off the menu, and I didn’t care.  I knew that whatever Carlos came up with would be amazing.

The flavors were exactly what I would expect from Riffs, bold, sweet, and spicy.

Crispy, locally grown veggies zinging with Carlos’ seasonings were topped with fish so tender that it fell apart in submission as the fork made its approach.

There’s no question in my mind.  Riffs Truck is the most delicious, gluten-friendly Food Truck in Nashville.  Regardless of your dietary restrictions, you can be sure that BJ and Carlos will always take good care of you.  You can even catch them on Twitter  ahead of time to let them know that you’re coming.  Tell them of your restrictions so they can prepare a great meal for you.

Follow these trucks on Twitter to see where they’ll be next!

@yayosomg

@riffstruck

@happy_eating

Thanks for still being my number one, Riffs!

A Taste of Tennessee

GF Friendly Restaurants, GF Resources

A Taste of Tennessee

2 Comments 08 October 2011

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend Food Blog Forum Nashville this weekend, and what an incredible event it was.  Not only did I have a great time talking with other bloggers and learning from the pros, I was surprised by some great gluten-free finds.

Normally, at an event like this, I watch everyone enjoy the delicacies, and I stand by and watch, pretending that it doesn’t bother me that I can’t eat a thing.  But last night at the Blogger Party held at the Nashville Farmer’s Market, I found several local products that I was able to thoroughly enjoy.

Who wouldn’t enjoy a succulent piece of chocolate by Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Company? I’ve seen these Southern Artisan Chocolate Bars in Whole Foods, but I’d never taken the opportunity to try one until last night.  The Smoked Nib Brittle was amazing.

But the Buttermilk White Chocolate claimed my attention with it’s chocolatey, tangy sweetness.  I may have had a few more than my fair share of squares.

Another local gluten-free treat was Mista Dale’s Mustard Slaw.  I actually turned down a sample, because the mustard relish was featured on a hotdog with a gluteny bun.  But when I politely declined, Mrs. Dale showed me that their label was clearly marked “gluten-free”.

I didn’t intend to sample, but when the Husband was wowed by the Jalapeno Mustard Slaw, I couldn’t turn it down.  And I’m glad the the Husband insisted, because this slaw is fantastic.

And it’s made by the sweetest people, Mr. and Mrs. Dale.

Another local treat was samples from Corsair Artisan Distillery.

I am not a hard liquor girl.  Give me a red wine and I’m happy.  But I fell in love with Corsair’s Vanilla Bean Vodka.

Especially mixed with blood orange juice.

And what could be better with chocolate and drinks than cheese from our local Bloomy Rind?

But the highlight was truly the cooking demonstration by Arnold Myint, Nashville’s own Top Chef Season 7 contestant and executive chef and owner of four Nashville restaurants, AM@FMCha ChahPM Sushi Bistro & Bar, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum.

I watched every whole food ingredient and spice that went into his creations, and I know that they were gluten free.

And anyone who makes a soup in a Vitamix gets instant credibility in my world.

What food blogger doesn’t bring a pen to a cooking demonstration?

That would be me.

So I can’t give you the recipe of this incredible pumpkin apple bisque.

Not that I could have written down the exact recipe anyway when Arnold tossed in a pinch of this…

and a handful of that all throughout his demonstration.

But there’s a reason this guy has four restaurants in Nashville.

I’d give this man a restaurant if he made these lentil tacos for me every night.

(And it’s recommended that you sit in the front row of any cooking demonstation.  That’s where the platters of samples are delivered.  Yes!)

I’d like to thank the Nashville Food Bloggers, and more specifically the following bloggers, for organizing such a wonderful Food Blog Forum event:

Lindsay Landis of Love & Olive Oil

Beth Sachan of Eat.Drink.Smile.

Leah Short of So How’s it Taste

Nashville, I’m so proud of you.

Gluten free, delicious, and just so classy.

And that was just the first night.

Raw Foods Potluck (and a call for raw recipes)

GF Recipes

Raw Foods Potluck (and a call for raw recipes)

15 Comments 22 June 2011

In most of my social circles, I’m seen as the crazy healthy foodie.  It cracks me up, because if not for my gluten intolerance I probably wouldn’t have that label, but I’ve embraced it and know that my life is richer as a result.

Lately I’ve fallen in with a crowd that makes me feel like a health food newbie.  A friend invited me to a raw foods potluck back in the spring.  It was such a great time that we’ve decided to have the potluck monthly.  I’m being introduced to delicious raw recipes, I’m learning just how versatile raw foods are, and I’m getting to know some really cool people.

Raw foodies are fascinating.  Who else would spend an hour over a meal talking about pesticides, cleanses, organic standards, alternative health professionals, and dehydrators?  Where else would discussing intestinal issues over a meal be considered part of polite conversation?

My food world is expanding.

Did you know that you can make raw pizza with a raw crust and nut cheese?  Whoever first came up with this idea was brilliant!  Once I get a dehydrator, this is the first meal I’m making.

Or maybe I’ll make raw bread for veggie sandwiches.   I love that raw bread is naturally gluten-free.

Here are some of my favorite raw dishes with links to the recipes.

Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

Raw Curried Cashew Chard Wraps

Avocado Spinach Soup

And I love this Kale, Tomato, and Avocado Salad.

Potlucks are a great place to bring your experiments.  Sometimes the experiments go well, and sometimes they flop, but we make the most of it!  These were supposed to be burgers, but they didn’t dehydrate long enough.  So they became a delicious gooey filling for lettuce wraps!

Here’s another great experiment.

Coconut Carrot Soup

With a spread like this, everyone walks away happy, satisfied, and with that “oh so clean” feeling.

I’m so excited that our next Raw Food Potluck is just around the corner.  If you’re in the Nashville area and would like to come and bring a dish, let me know.  We’d love to have you join in our foodie fun!

And if you have a favorite raw food recipe, please link up here.  I’d love to bring your favorite to our next potluck!

Dumplin’s GF Menu in Downtown Franklin

GF Friendly Restaurants

Dumplin’s GF Menu in Downtown Franklin

9 Comments 20 June 2011

Dumplin’s is a lunch hotspot in downtown Franklin on Main Street.  Known for their delicious lunch plates and salads, this little restaurant is the perfect place to meet a friend or grab takeout on your lunch break.

I stopped going to Dumplin’s about five years ago.  After I learned of my gluten intolerance I joined friends at Dumplin’s a time or two, but I just couldn’t do it any longer.  It was too hard for me to eat there because of these.

Dumplin’s is famous for the incredible basket of homemade rolls that welcomes each table of customers (and of course for their Chicken and Dumplins).  These soft, fluffy rolls tasted like the bread I used to bake with my grandmother, and watching my gluten-enjoying friends eat them after my diagnosis was pure torture.  So I haven’t wanted to go back.

Just recently I heard that Dumplin’s now has a gluten-free menu, so I had to try it out.  I was secretly hoping that they’d have a gluten-free version of those scrumptious rolls, but not yet.

I was very impressed with the menu.

Gluten-free diners have the option of six different salads, and all of their salad dressings are gluten-free.

I chose the Briar Club Salad, because I remember loving this salad back in the day.  This mixed greens salad with chicken, madarin oranges, raisins, and cashews with orange yogurt dressing is delicious!

I spoke with the manager at length about their gluten-free menu.  She was diagnosed as a Celiac five years ago, so she has worked hard to make sure that Celiacs can eat safely at Dumplin’s.  They have a separate area in their kitchen where the gluten-free orders are prepared.  She even assured me that the cashews in my salad were not manufactured in a plant that also produces wheat products.  They have done their research.

Dumplin’s salads are great, but lest you think that there isn’t anything “special” for the gluten-free customers, they do have a wonderful dessert!

The Ooey Gooey Cheese Cake is worth the trip to Dumplin’s on its own!  Now, this isn’t a cheesecake.  It’s a cheese cake, a white cake made with cream cheese.

And I just so happened to luck out and come on a day when Dumplin’s had gluten-free cupcakes left over from an event.  Lucky me!

I highly recommend Dumplin’s for a healthy lunch, and maybe even an ooey, gooey treat that everyone can enjoy.  Have you tried Dumplin’s gluten-free menu yet?

Dumplin’s
428 Main St, Franklin, TN 37064-2782
(615) 791-4651

Gluten-Free Bread at Mad Donna’s

GF Friendly Restaurants

Gluten-Free Bread at Mad Donna’s

8 Comments 18 June 2011

Mad Donna’s has been on my list of restaurants to try for a while now, and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to head out to East Nashville to give it a try.  I’d heard that Mad Donna’s used gluten-free bread from Aunt April’s Bakery, so I was really excited to check it out.

I was glad we tried Mad Donna’s late on a weeknight, because the place wasn’t busy, and I could ask the waiter as many questions as I needed.  When I called, I learned that they don’t have a gluten-free menu, but they assured me that they could make almost anything on the regular menu gluten-free.  But when we arrived, I found out that my options were far more limited than I was lead to believe.  Yes, I was disappointed, but I knew that I’d be satisfied with anything that they could make safely with April’s bread.

We ordered the chips and salsa as an appetizer.  I was a little apprehensive as the chips are made in-house, and they do not have a dedicated fryer.  Apparently, I was living on the edge that night.  I did try them, but I did not get sick.

I was impressed with the garden salad that I ordered.  Most side salads on a bar restaurant menu consist of limp lettuce and shredded carrots.  But this salad actually had vegetables, specifically green peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and drizzled with their cilantro-lime vinaigrette it was incredible.

It’s always a special treat to be able to order a sandwich when you are gluten intolerant, and I was not going to pass up a chance to enjoy April’s bread.  So I ordered the Turkey Melt complete with applewood bacon, artichoke dip, and swiss cheese.

Wow!  April’s gluten-free bread can stand alone, but the combination of the decadent sandwich fillings was so delicious – not so low in fat, but delicious nonetheless!

The Husband ordered the B.A.S. Burger (bacon, avocado, and swiss) on gluten-free bread so I could try it.  Even though he’s not gluten intolerant, he loves April’s bread.  (And I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a burger topped with avocado and cheese).  He also got the sweet potato fries, which were just as good as they look in the picture below.  Again, the fries are not made in a dedicated fryer, but I didn’t seem to have any trouble.

There are certain restaurants like Wild Cow, FiddleCakes, and A Matter of Taste whose extensive gluten-free offerings are worth making the trip for.  I’m glad I tried Mad Donna’s, because I really did enjoy my meal, but I’m not sure I will head to East Nashville just to eat there again.  There isn’t enough variety for this gluten-free diner.  However, I give them props for having gluten-free bread, and AMAZING homemade gluten-free bread at that, and really good food.  If you find yourself in the area, pop in for a burger or sandwich and let me know what you think.

Question:  Are you able to eat fries or chips that aren’t cooked in a dedicated gluten-free fryer?

Gluten-Free Menus?  Watch out!

GF Friendly Restaurants

Gluten-Free Menus? Watch out!

20 Comments 08 June 2011

I can remember a time when P.F. Chang’s was the only restaurant I knew of that had a gluten-free menu.  That made it our go-to restaurant. In my 8 years of eating gluten-free I’ve only been glutened once at a Chang’s (and I’ve probably eaten there 50 times), but I think my glutening had more to do with a language barrier than cross-contamination.

Here are just a few of the restaurant chains that now have gluten-free menus:

Finding a restaurant with a gluten-free menu can be downright exhilarating.  You breathe a sigh of relief that you’ll eat more than lettuce and shredded carrots drizzled with olive oil, you revel in the fact that there is an entire page of options that actually look appetizing, and you relax knowing that those preparing your food understand gluten issues.

I finally had a chance to try Amerigo’s gluten-free menu, but I was reminded of a basic gluten-free dining rule:

Never let your guard down!

I was immediately impressed with the many options that were listed on a menu that actually looked like a menu.  No flimsy little photocopied paper, a real menu.  And the menu items looked amazing.  They even had gluten-free pasta!

I had to try the pasta.

Most people would just settle for knowing that the pasta is gluten-free.  But this gluten-free blogging geek had to know what the pasta was made from.  I know Maggiano’s uses a delicious corn pasta.  I enjoyed rice pasta at an Italian restaurant in Portland before.  I’m a huge fan of quinoa, and lately I’ve really been enjoying Bionaturae pasta which combines potato, rice, and soy flour.

I really was just curious, so I asked the waitress.

Me:  What kind of flour is your gluten-free pasta made from?
Waitress:  Uh, I’m not sure.  I think maybe wheat?

Me:  Oh no, oh no, oh no!  That’s impossible.  Because WHEAT is NOT gluten-free.  ALL wheat has gluten in it!
Waitress:  Let me go check.

I know it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know the ingredients in the gluten-free pasta.  But instantly I knew that she had no idea how to serve a gluten-free diner safely.

My waitress never did return with an answer to my question.  In fact, my waitress didn’t return at all.  A new waiter took over who made me feel a lot more comfortable about my impending dining experience.  I’m so thankful, because the Spaghetti Pomodoro with Shrimp was incredible!

I’ll definitely return to Amerigo for another meal.  While I’m very thankful that gluten-free menus now abound, this is a reminder to be careful, ask questions, and never let your guard down.

A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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