Cafe at Pharr

Posted in Atlanta, Uncategorized on February 8th, 2013 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Hello, Friends.  I am so long overdue on a post; I don’t even know where to begin.  I’ve dined at new restaurants, read new books, traveled to some cool places and even cooked some a few new dishes.  Most importantly, our sweet Laney is 7 months old!  She is a reminder to me of how long it’s been since I’ve given this blog any TLC.

A couple of recent photos of Miss Laney

 

My inspiration for getting back on the blog is Café at Pharr…

Today I ate lunch at Café at Pharr and enjoyed delicious chicken salad that rivals Zoe’s.  Yours truly loves a good chicken salad!  I went to the Westside Location (on Chattahoochee) but they have multiple locations.  I enjoyed the curry chicken salad served on a bed of greens with a yummy sesame dressing that’s also gluten free.  All of the Café Pharr’s chicken salads are gluten free.  I will definitely be going back again soon, as it’s very kid friendly and not crowded.  Great service and our server knew what I was talking about the moment I mentioned celiac.  Check them out at their Westside, Buckhead, Brookhaven, Vinings or Miami Circle locations.

Keeping us Fed

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10th, 2012 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Hi Readers!  I can’t believe that months have gone by since I last wrote.  There have been a lot of changes in our life and it’s been wonderful.  It’s definitely hard to find a moment to nap, let alone write!  Most importantly, our daughter, Elaine “Laney” Andrews Metcalf arrived at 11:25 am on Monday, July 9th.  Laney turned two months old yesterday and she’s a delight!  We’re completely smitten with her.

Our Family

Sweet Laney at 2 months!

 

As I’m way more consumed now with Laney’s meals and not my own, I haven’t done much cooking, but neighbors and friends have been showering us with meals.  I thought I would never be able to be the recipient of meals when we had a baby because of my dietary restrictions but people have been so great about wanting to accommodate me.  There’s only been one mishap but fortunately, we caught it early…darn soy sauce in marinades!  If people offer to make you meals, or even when you’re going to dinner at someone’s house, make sure that you are clear about your needs.  People want to help you and serve you so let them!  It is scary, I know, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed barely making a meal in the last two months.

Some meal highlights include:

-       Zoe’s Kitchen kabobs: Zoe’s got me through pregnancy and deserves its own separate post.  They have a gluten-free menu. (Just make sure you specify GF when you order).  I love their kabobs and braised white beans, as well as their chicken salad with cole slaw.  On their website they list all allergen information.

-       Curry chicken salad and gazpacho

-       Chicken and wild rice casserole

-       Baked salmon, tomatoes and mozzarella, and arugula salad

-       Grilled chicken caprese with roasted potatoes

-       Pork tenderloin with roasted carrots and salad

-       Quinoa with tomatoes, feta and corn

-       Almond butter chocolate chip cookies (with GF oats)

-       Pesto chicken with GF pasta

There are so many possibilities to prepare for someone who is gluten free and I am truly thankful to all of the people who took the time to carefully prepare these meals for me.  David, Laney and I are very appreciative!  The last two months were much smoother because of these meals.

More Summer Reading

Posted in reading on June 22nd, 2012 by Betsy – 7 Comments

I always fought the Kindle.  I love books.  I love the feel of them in my hands and the smell of the pages, especially old books.  I enjoy the conversations started when strangers ask you about the book you’re reading because they’ve seen the cover.  With a Kindle or Nook, you just look like you’re reading a screen and plugged into yet another technological device.

BUT, I have to admit, I’ve been converted.  David bought me a Kindle recently and I’ve officially fallen for it.  I am tearing through books on this thing.  Now I probably won’t read a lot of non-fiction, history texts on the Kindle, because I like to flip back and forth between the index, the photos and the text, but the Kindle is great for summer reads.  It’s just so darn easy to hold too.  I never thought I would fall in love with the Kindle, but I have.

So here are my first three reads on the Kindle:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer: This work of fiction that was made into a movie last year with Sandra Bullock.  While a major part of this book is about NYC and September 11th, it’s more about the odyssey of a boy looking to learn more about his deceased father’s past.  I enjoyed this voice of this book, through the eyes of the boy, Oskar, and his grandfather, and you feel like you’re a part of each story.  We can all relate to Oskar as he deals with grief, the past and an unwillingness to let go of his father.

The American Heiress,  Daisy Goodwin: If you enjoyed the drama, romance, and sometimes cheesiness of Downton Abbey, this is the book for your summer reading list.  While the story starts in Newport, Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century, Cora Cash (the American Heiress and main character) spends most of the story among the wealthy in England.  A bit of a fish out of water in England, Cora (and her maid, Bertha) experience their own coming of age stories, full of love, heart ache and suspense.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen: My mom sent me this memoir, written by Pullitzer Prize winner and New York Times writer, Anna Quindlen.  In this book, she addresses the topics of aging, motherhood, generational differences, career, friendship, and faith.  As I’m about to enter a new stage in life, I really enjoyed reading Quindlen’s insights and reflections on her own life.  Even though she is twice my age, I still felt like I could relate to Quindlen’s stories, struggles and triumphs.  Lots of Candles… is a quick read that will provide you with an abundance of food for though.

Do you have any Kindle reading recommendations?

Culinary Inspiration

Posted in baking, cooking, meals, recipe on June 18th, 2012 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Sometimes I need a little creative inspiration so I turn to other blogs for ideas.  I thought you might enjoy some recipes I’ve found recently that are/look yummy and of course can be made gluten free.

Pulled Chicken Barbecue (Eat, Live, Run)

Summer Corn Salad (101 Cookbooks)

Feta Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper Dip (6 in the Morningside)

BLT Corn Salad Wraps (Joy the Baker)

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas (Gluten Free Goddess)

Spiced Tomato Gratin (101 Cookbooks) *I think I would add fresh parmesan to this one

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (Smitten Kitchen) *Just make sure you use certified gluten-free oats.

Almond Butter Cookies with Chocolate (Gluten Free Girl)

What are you excited about cooking this summer?  What are some of your favorite “go-to” blogs for recipe ideas?

Start of Summer Reading List

Posted in favorite things, reading on June 8th, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

While we are so excited about the arrival of Baby Girl Metcalf, I must admit that I’m enjoying my final days of peace and quiet, sitting on our front porch and reading a good book.  With this upcoming major life change, I am full of emotions: eagerness to have her here so I can start getting to know her, fear that our life is about to completely change, and of course the joy that our family is going to grow.

Soon there will be a little girl making her presence known in our world but for now, it’s just me and a book, and quiet.

So here’s what I’ve been reading…

Those Guys Have all the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales: While I still haven’t been able to get through the 800 pages of Anna Karenina, I feel quite accomplished that I read all 800 pages of ESPN. If you are a lover of sports and ESPN, then this is the book for you.  This book is composed almost entirely of interviews from people who work at ESPN and athletes that have overlapped with the network and they don’t appear to sugarcoat anything.  Not only is this book about sports, however, it also addresses the changes and developments in the media over the last 30 years.  Cable television, internet, creating multiple channels, magazines, documentaries, live television: ESPN has done all of these things.  From a business perspective, this book is fascinating.  I enjoyed learning about the different individuals who have run ESPN, how they’ve chosen to interact with the NFL, NCAA, NHL, etc. as well as their interactions with other networks, especially Ted Turner’s empire.  If you know who the hosts of PTI are, the real name of “Stat Boy,” and that Rush Limbaugh was briefly a host of the NFL Countdown team, then ESPN is the book for you.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candace Millard: After reading The President and the Assassin, I was interested in learning more about presidents and their assassins.  So I picked up Destiny of the Republic, which follows President Garfield and the man who ended his life, Charles Guiteau.  Yet again, I was amazed by the contrast of the two men featured in this story and how intensely Guiteau focused on ending Garfield’s life.  The book also discusses the drama following the shooting because ultimately Garfield died because of poor and mishandled medical treatment rather than the bullet.  Destiny of the Republic gives a unique glimpse of a piece of U.S. History that is often barely mentioned or thought of.

Garlic & Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl: Well, I’ve been on a bit of a nonfiction kick with this series of books.  My most recent read is written by former New York Times food critic, Ruth Reichl.  Previously, I’ve read her book, Comfort me with Apples, about her time starting out as a food critic in California.  Garlic & Sapphires takes the reader to New York, where Reichl is forced to wear disguises when visiting restaurants so the staff and management don’t know who she is.  She visits these high profile restaurants both as herself and then as her new identity and in her review, compares the two experiences.  Reichl’s disguises change with each restaurant and she shares with her reader, not only how her looks transform but also her personality.  Through her memoir books, we learn about Reichl’s life, her family, as well as her professional work.  This is a light, summer read that will make your stomach growl.

In case there’s a little too much nerdy non-fiction in this post, here are some of my older lists, in case you’re looking for other summer reads.

Happy Reading!  Cheers to summer!

The “New” Watershed Restaurant

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on June 6th, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last weekend, David and I went on a date night to the new Watershed Restaurant.  For those of you that don’t know about the first Watershed, this Atlanta favorite was located in Decatur and owned by Indigo Girls’, Emily Saliers.  The restaurant was well known for its fancy southern fare and famous chef, Scott Peacock.  Sadly, last year Watershed in Decatur closed, but there were promises that it would reopen in the future at a new location.

A couple of weeks ago, this promise became a reality and the new Watershed (still owned by Saliers) opened on Peachtree Road, between Uncle Julio’s and Mellow Mushroom.  While both the décor and the clientele offer a different ambiance (think Buckhead prepster verses Decatur hipster), the restaurant still makes delicious food and celebrates southern cuisine.

I get a little nervous about going to a “southern” restaurant due to my fear that everything will be battered and deep fried.  Last week their menu still wasn’t up online (now you can find it on their website), so I called and they assured me that I would be able to find gluten-free options at the new Watershed.  We decided to give the revamped Watershed a try and we were not disappointed.

Once we arrived and valet parked (of course it’s valet, we’re in Atlanta), we were immediately seated.  The bar was bumping with a well dressed stereotypical Buckhead crowd and the room with the bar was extremely loud.  There are three rooms at Watershed and I would suggest asking to be in the room farthest from the bar if you want to converse with your date.  Fortunately, we were put in the far room and while there was still good people watching, I wasn’t completely distracted by everyone else’s conversation.

Yummy, pimento cheese cornbread

The menu immediately looked intriguing and I felt reassured about my options the minute that I saw a gluten-free beer on the drinks list.  I spoke with our server and he went through some of my options with me.  I was particularly impressed when he told me that the pimento cheese cornbread, which comes with the veggie plate, is gluten-free.  I had him double check with the chef multiple times since usually cornbread is not GF at restaurants.  He assured me that it was in fact GF after talking to the chef.  Even though I didn’t order the veggie plate, they let me enjoy the cornbread as a side.  David and I shared this snack and it was one of the best items I’ve ever had at a restaurant, being that it combined two of my favorite things: cornbread and pimento cheese.  The texture was perfect and the flavor combination was so yummy.  The cornbread was not dry at all and the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Beautifully cooked salmon

I decided to go a little healthier for my entrée, selecting the salmon a la plancha with zucchini ribbons.  As I look at the menu online today, however, it says this dish comes with faro.  It did not include faro on the menu last week so I’m guessing their menu changes.  Always make sure to double check with your server or the manager.  I’m sure they would be willing to take out the faro…they were extremely accommodating to me.  My salmon was perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside.  There were no batters or fancy sauces and the cold zucchini ribbons offered the perfect texture and flavor compliments.  David enjoyed the deconstructed jambalaya for his entree, which was not gluten free, but he loved it and would recommend it to any gluten eaters.

Overall, we had a great experience at the new Watershed.  The ambiance is quite different than the original in Decatur now that it’s located in an apartment building in the middle of Peachtree Road, but the quality of food will not disappoint.  We had great service and I felt that my food needs were well accommodated.

Have any of you tried the new Watershed?  What are your initial thoughts?  Any other new restaurants in town worth checking out?

Watershed Restaurant – 1820 Peachtree Road NW – Atlanta, GA – 30309 – 404.809.3561 (Reservations Recommended)

Where Have I Been? (And Recent Favorites)

Posted in favorite things, GF product, local food, meals, Mexican Restaurants, product, vegetarian on May 31st, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Well, it’s been awhile.  I apologize for my absence, and I wish I could say that I’ll be back at my frequent posts, but I’m not sure that is the case.  The school year finished up at its normal, crazy pace, allowing little to no time for blog posts.  My creative juices also haven’t been flowing as much as I’d like because at the end of the day, I’m wiped, and would rather watch an episode of “Ellen” or “Around the World in 80 Plates” than write.

A photo of the baby bump from a sweet baby shower hosted by friends a month ago

I’m 35 weeks pregnant so we’re in the final stretch.  Baby Girl Metcalf is healthily growing and I’d like her to keep baking for at least a few more weeks.  It’s a relief to get to this point though because if she made her debut today, she would be just fine.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite things in the last couple of months.  I’ll give you more in the next few weeks but here is just a “taste”…

Talenti Gelato: This gelato has been my go-to weeknight dessert.  They clearly label which of their gelatos are gluten free.  It is creamy, delicious and a fun splurge.  My personal favorites are the chocolate peanut butter cup and sea salt caramel.  Check out all of their flavors here.

Verde Taqueria: Verde has existed in the Atlanta area for awhile but in the last year they’ve opened one close to us.  Verde notes all of the items on their menu that can be made gluten free.  My favorites include the Verde Salad with grilled chicken and the veggie taco.  Just make sure you clearly explain your dietary needs.  If you’re in the mood for chips and guac (which are delicious), just check with your server to see when they were prepared that day.  Usually they fry them first thing in the morning before the fryer gets contaminated.  While I love Taqueria del Sol, Verde has a bit bigger menu (i.e. the salad option) and you don’t have to wait in line.

Burge Organic Farm CSA: I participated in this CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) in the fall and renewed for the spring and summer.  Getting these weekly veggies has revived my cooking and creativity, making me experiment with produce that I wouldn’t necessarily pick out at the store.  I enjoy swiss chard once I make it, but it’s not at the top of my culinary list.  If you’re feeling like you’re in a cooking rut, you should definitely think about joining a CSA.  What better way to welcome summer, than cooking with the veggies that are the freshest?

Palmetto Pimento Cheese: This amazing pimento cheese has become a staple in the Metcalf household.  We discovered it via our friends, Peyten and Stan, and were thrilled to find it in our local Publix.  I’ve always liked pimento cheese but this brand stands above the rest.  They were recently out of Palmetto at Publix so we went with a different brand and there was no comparison.  We didn’t even finish the container.  And, all three of their varieties (orginal, jalapeño and  bacon) are gluten free.  They use Hellman’s mayo, which is gluten free.

 

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Miley’s Gluten Free “Party in the USA”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11th, 2012 by Betsy – 1 Comment

So Miley is blaming her weight loss on going gluten free??  Clearly she’s not eating the Udi’s bagels and Mellow Mushroom GF pizza that I’ve been chowing down on over the last few months.

Check out this article (sent to me by reader Lucy) about Miley’s gluten-free diet.  Not so sure that it’s going GF that’s making her so thin.  I’m glad US Weekly actually has some educated things to say about going gluten free.  “Miley Cyrus Slammed for Going Gluten-Free”

Lululemon is coming to the Westside

Posted in Atlanta, favorite things, GF product, Uncategorized on March 22nd, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

This is dangerous.  A new Lululemon store is opening on Howell Mill Road, in the Westside Provisions District.  I just saw the sign this weekend and I immediately snapped a photo to send to David.  He already knew of this news but he (smartly) had elected not to share it with me.  The store is scheduled to open this summer and I’ll need to avoid making eye contact with the store during my (probably frequent) trips to Yeah Burger, as I survive my final month of pregnancy.

If you aren’t familiar with the brand, Lululemon, you should check them out.  I wish that I had invested in them.  I’m not someone who’s into name brands, expensive clothing, but Lululemon’s workout pants are worth every penny.  These yogaesque pants are flattering on anyone’s butt and thighs…even a pregnant woman.  (They don’t make maternity clothes but I bought a size up for the coaching season.  Again, totally worth it.)

Miami Spring Break 2K12 & Ola Restaurant

Posted in favorite things, meals, Restaurants, travel on March 20th, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Bienvenido a Miami: The view from our hotel room

David and I spent a restful five days in Miami during early March. We stayed at the brand new St. Regis hotel in Bal Harbor, enjoying his accumulation of hotel points in the past year.  We had the best time, relaxing, reading, and eating.  Always my perfect trip.  The folks at the St. Regis of course accommodated my GF diet and even had GF bread in one of their restaurants that they toasted for me for breakfast.  (Unfortunately I didn’t learn about this until the last day.)  One of my favorite meals was the quinoa salad at the pool restaurant.  I ordered it with chicken in order to get some extra protein.

One night, David and I went to a Miami Heat game to see LeBron and Dwayne Wade in action.  And of course, Duke alum, Shane Battier.  We wanted to explore dining options closer to the arena so the concierge recommended Ola Restaurant.  We called ahead to make reservations and they said that they could accommodate a gluten-free diner.  Well, let me just say that this was an understatement.  Ola had many delicious options for me and I didn’t feel restricted at all.

This Latin American cuisine restaurant, located in the Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach, is run by the internationally acclaimed Latin chef, Douglas Rodriguez.  The restaurant is cozy and we received amazing service.  Our waiter knew immediately what gluten was and he was well informed about what items on the menu are gluten free.  Regardless of what you order, you should inquire about whether any items in the dish are fried because they do only use one fryer for both gluten and gluten-free items.

Pan de bono=delicious

The meal started off with some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten.  It is called pan de bono and it is made with tapioca flour, sugar, eggs, and cheese.  There might be some other ingredients but no gluten, at least not at Ola.  It was incredible!  The texture and the flavor were like nothing I’ve ever eaten before.  I couldn’t stop at just one piece.

My salmon entree

For my main course, I ordered the popular Panella Salmon, which is cured and seared, and is served with creamy quinoa, broken black olive vinaigrette, and jicama salad.  The salmon has a nice sweetness to it that goes surprisingly well with the quinoa and black olives.  The flavor combination was pretty amazing.  I also couldn’t resist a side of the mashed plantains with bits of bacon.  So good!  David’s dish, Puerca Asado (braised pork), was also gluten free as long as you ask them to not serve it with the piece of fried pork.  This slow cooked pork, served with steam yucca, was also packed with flavor, and tasted so different from my order.  (David’s beer braised short rib empanadas, sadly, were not GF.)

Overall, we had a great gluten-free experience at Ola and had some of the best service I’ve ever received at a restaurant.  I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to splurge on a Latin-inspired dinner while vacationing in Miami.  It is truly worth the price.  Enjoy!

And of course, the Heat game was great too..they wooped Chris Humphries and the NJ Nets.