Archive for April, 2011

Celebrate Celiac Awareness Month in May

Posted in Atlanta, event, local food on April 28th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

I recently received this press release, which gives restaurants in the Atlanta area that offer gluten-free options, especially during the month of May, in celebration of National Celiac Awareness Month.  Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of all of the Atlanta restaurants that accommodate gluten-free diners, but my mouth is watering just reading about some of the options.  Check out Gluten Freedom’s Restaurants page to read about other options in our area.  Happy Dining!

CELEBRATE NATIONAL CELIAC AWARENESS MONTH AT

ATLANTA RESTAURANTS WHERE GLUTEN-FREE GOODIES ABOUND

Atlanta Chefs Accommodate Special Dietary Needs on a Daily Basis

ATLANTA (April 7, 2011) – May is designated National Celiac Awareness Month, and thanks to select Atlanta-area restaurants, those who have celiac disease (CD) can enjoy a meal out minus the concern over their dietary restrictions.  This is also a great time for diners who are simply considering a gluten-free lifestyle to let someone else do the cooking.

In addition to serving Estrella Damm Daura, recognized as the best gluten-free beer in the world by Beers of the World, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse also offers an entire gluten-free dinner menu. Antipasti like Blue Hill Bay mussels with Dijon cream mustard; tuna tartare with cucumber salad and ponzu sauce; and butternut squash soup with Georgia apples and aged balsamic will start the meal off right, sans gluten.  At Davio’s, guests suffering from CD won’t have to miss out on pasta dishes. The restaurant offers brown rice gluten free penne pasta with a variety of sauces and toppings ranging from braised beef short rib and black truffle jus to shrimp, smoked bacon, asparagus and garlic olive oil.  Several cuts of steak and a broad selection of seafood including red snapper, lemon sole and pan seared sea scallops cover the gluten-free meat and fish options.  For more entrée selections, the restaurant also offers gluten-free vegetable paella; free-range Statler chicken with creamy mashed potatoes and garlic herb sauce; grilled porterhouse veal chop with vintage port; pan roasted Maine lobster with Yukon Gold potatoes and lemon tarragon butter sauce; and seafood cioppino in spicy tomato lobster broth.

Fifth Group Restaurants®, an Atlanta restaurant company with five dining establishments and a catering arm, is now making it easy for guests with special nutritional needs to enjoy eating out.  All Fifth Group restaurants – Ecco, La Tavola Trattoria, The Original El Taco and South City Kitchen® Midtown and Vinings – have created separate gluten-free menus and offer instructions on how to order the dishes that may have potentially harmful components for those who suffer from CD.  This is a company-wide initiative to cater to guests with food allergies. As Fifth Group’s cuisine options range from Italian and Mediterranean to Mexican to contemporary Southern, guests have endless gluten-free options.  Examples of gluten-free dishes currently offered at Ecco include baby octopus with Gaeta olive, chili and mint; crisp duck leg confit with potatoes and prunes; and roasted pork belly, salted cabbage and cranberry bean salad.  Italian is not out of the question for those with celiac disease at La Tavola Trattoria.  The restaurant’s gluten-free options include grilled calamari; zuppa de pesce; crispy flounder with chickpeas, olives, capers and salsa verde; and veal scaloppine with prosciutto.  The Original El Taco offers items such as spicy shrimp ceviche, a variety of tacos with corn tortillas, wood grilled fajitas and even Mexican pizza minus the gluten.  On the South City Kitchen spring menus, gluten-free options can be found among the brunch, lunch and dinner selections.  Dishes like shrimp and grits, Southern-style eggs Benedict, buttermilk braised pork shank and crab hash make going gluten free a delicious experience.  For more information and restaurant locations, call 678-302-3251 or visit www.fifthgroup.com.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar offers a gluten-free menu with ordering instructions and lists out their gluten-free items on the restaurant’s website in the nutritional guide. Guests are encouraged to tell their servers that they are ordering gluten-free.  The gluten-free items range from appetizers such as tenderloin carpaccio and wicked Cajun barbeque shrimp to gluten-free soups (butternut squash, cream of broccoli, cream of asparagus and lobster bisque) to dinner entrees like Australian lobster, tuna mignon and any of the meat selections.  All salads may be ordered without croutons to ensure a gluten-free experience, and gluten-free deserts include crème brûlée, mixed berries with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream with raspberry or fudge sauce.  Fleming’s is located at 4501 Olde Perimeter Way; 770-698-8112.  For more information about Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, please visit www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com.

More Details on Philips Arena Concession Stand…

Posted in Atlanta, event, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on April 27th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

The gluten-free concession stand at Philips Arena is officially up and running, after its debut last Friday at the first NBA playoff game.  The Gluten-Free Kiosk is located at the south end of the main concourse at Portal 11.  It will be available on an event-by-event basis but the goal is to have it open for as many events as possible, maybe even NKOTB.

philips 2

Dining at Westside’s Miller Union

Posted in Atlanta, local food, meals, Restaurants, vegetarian on April 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 5 Comments

mu

David and I met at  Miller Union for dinner on Thursday night to celebrate the end of my successful lacrosse season and the conclusion of David’s most recent work project.  It was a perfect venue for a romantic and delicious date.

I have a confession: David and I went to Miller Union for dinner the month it opened (over a year ago) with our friend, Chris.  The three of us sat at the bar, and were a little disappointed with our dinner.  At the time, there weren’t many items on the menu, the service was mediocre and the food did not meet my expectations based on all of the hype Miller Union had been receiving.  This underwhelming meal made me sad, as I really like Chef Steven Satterfield, a frequent customer of mine at The Local Farmstand, and I love Miller Union’s mantra of minimal, fresh, local food.

Chef Steven Satterfield (photo from Food & Wine)

Chef Steven Satterfield (photo from Food & Wine)

Since that dinner, David and I have returned to Miller Union for drinks (we love the bar), and I’ve enjoyed lunch with friends at Miller Union.  Their seasonal vegetable plate is one of my favorite dishes on the Westside and perfect for a lunch date.  The ambiance at Miller Union is bustling, yet relaxed, with the perfect amount of people watching but not so loud that you can’t talk to the person with you.

But last Thursday was our first time splurging on dinner at Miller Union since our so-so evening nearly 18 months ago.  I’m glad we gave it another try.  Nearly everything on the menu is naturally gluten-free, literally almost everything.  The only red flags were the “farrotto” that accompanied the New York Strip and the cream grits fritters appetizer.  (It turns out that the “grits fritters” are normally gluten-free but that night fried chicken was the special so the fryer was contaminated.)

So I oohed and ahhed over the menu for awhile before discussing my top choices with David.  It turns out we were on the same page and were intrigued by the same two entrees.  Since everything we wanted was gluten free, we decided to split two entrees so we could enjoy both.

David went with the fritters for an appetizer and I ordered the soup of the day: spring pea soup, which came highly recommended by our waiter.  Beautifully green, my soup was light yet very flavorful.  A great way to start the meal.

Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup

The first of our entrees was the grilled pork loin, with cranberry beans and braised greens.  The pork loin had an amazing kick to it, due to the apple cider vinegar they use while grilling the pork.  Juicy, flavorful, and meaty, this pork dish is a meat lover’s dream.  Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with plenty of food on the plate.  You won’t go hungry with this order.  The cranberry beans tasted meaty themselves and I loved combining them and the pork in one bite.  The greens were braised with onions and were delicious by themselves, in the juices of the pork.

MU pork

While David started with the pork, I began to work my way through the sautéed quail with dirty rice and arugula.  I usually stay away from restaurant entrees that involve rice, simply because I just don’t find it all that exciting and I’d rather a vegetable, quinoa or risotto.  Miller Union’s dirty rice, however, is not your ordinary rice.  As much as I love vegetables, everything tastes better with pork and this rice affirms that statement.  The dirty rice is a mix of wild rice with Miller Union’s homemade pork sausage and bacon.  Wow.  I could have eaten just the rice as my entrée.  The quail was also yummy, and simply cooked, with crisp skin and flavorful meat.  I followed the waiter’s suggestion, and ate with my hands.  (If you use your fork and knife, you won’t get very much meat.)  The arugula added a nice bite to the dish and beautiful color on the plate.

MU quail

I would highly recommend Miller Union for a date night.  While it’s a little pricey, the quality of food and ingredients make the price worth it.  Chef Steven Satterfield really uses as many local, seasonal vegetables as he can access, and supports local farmers.  Many chefs say they do this, but don’t always live the principle (to quote my new favorite show, “Big Love”). I’ll definitely be returning to Miller Union for another date night.

I only wish that I could enjoy Miller Union’s daily ice cream sandwich special!  (Not GF.)

A Quiet Easter

Posted in Atlanta, meals on April 21st, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

easter candy

I’m looking forward to a quiet Easter weekend at Casa Metcalf.  Last year we hosted David’s parents in our little apartment.  It was a perfect opportunity to share Atlanta with them and we even took them down to Serenbe.  No relatives are coming to town this year and we’re not even hosting a large Sunday brunch.  I love being the hostess, but I’m going to enjoy a weekend without entertaining.

For Easter 2010, I made two quiches with some of my favorite eggs and fresh spring produce from Love is Love Farm.  While there’s no Easter luncheon, I’m sure David will still try to convince me to make quiche.

easter quiche

Happy Easter!  Are you making anything fun this Easter weekend?

Wall Street Journal Gives Atlanta a Shout Out

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 19th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

atl

Atlanta often gets a bad reputation because of its traffic, mediocre public transportation, and Tom Wolfe’s interpretation in A Man in Full, but I have been completely wooed by this city in the last 18 months.  The Wall Street Journal shares my love for ATL today in the article “The New New South.” From Piedmont Park to Bacchanalia, to Richard Blais, to Sid and Ann Mashburn to Peachtree Farmers’ Market, the article mentions many of our city’s highlights.

While some of my personal favorites didn’t make the list (Floataway Cafe, Iberian Pig, and Taqueria del Sol to name a few) the WSJ did a pretty good job. They neglected to mention Decatur at all, but I guess it’s not technically part of Atlanta.

What are your favorite ATL spots?

Philips Arena Expands Gluten-Free Options

Posted in Atlanta, event, GF product on April 18th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

hawks

I received the following email last week from Marie, of Levy Restaurants, informing me of great additions to the gluten-free options at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.  Just in time for the NBA Playoffs!  Look for the gluten-free cart next time you head to Philips.  This list includes everything from sweet to salty to savory, healthy and not so healthy.  Whether you’re at Philips for the Hawks, Thrashers, Bon Jovi or NKOTB/Backstreet Boys (June 22!), check out their GF choices.

nkotb

Hi ­­­­Betsy-

I work with Levy Restaurants, the official restaurant partner of Philips Arena. Levy has expanded their gluten-free menu offerings at select arenas and ballparks throughout the country this season and I would like to share some of the new items with you.

The gluten-free menu options allow all sports fans to enjoy the traditional game-day experience. Levy Restaurants introduced gluten-free snacks and beer to all sports venues last year and they are stepping up their game this year with the launch of an exclusively gluten-free portable cart. The cart will be debuting at Philips Arena in time for the playoffs. I’ve included details on the new gluten-free versions of fan-favorite concessions, as well as snacks, sweets, and beverages already offered nationwide.

  • Hot Dog – Certified gluten-free hot dog, Kinnikinnick bun, Heinz ketchup and French’s mustard
  • Chili Cheese Dog – Certified gluten-free hot dog, Kinnikinnick bun, Ghel’s chili sauce and cheese
  • Nachos – Mission tortilla chips, Ghel’s cheese, Embasa jalapenos
  • Loaded Nachos – Mission tortilla chips, Ghel’s chili sauce and cheese, LaVictoria Alamo salsa, Embasa jalapenos
  • Beverages – Red Bridge Beer
  • Snacks – Taste Good Tortilla Chips, Classic Snacks Gluten-Free Carmel & Cheddar Popcorn Mix, Eden Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Eden Organic Berry Mix, Larabars
  • Sweets – NuGO Free Dark Chocolate Bar (gluten, soy and dairy free too), Class Snacks Gummy Bears, Skittles

philips

Dogwood Restaurant (Midtown)

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 14th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

One of my new favorite discoveries in Atlanta is Dogwood Restaurant, located in Midtown, on Peachtree Street.  When my parents were in town last weekend, we took them to Dogwood for dinner Friday night.  We had a great dining experience and all of us left satisfied, despite our distinctly different palettes.  (Let’s just say my dad was mostly excited about going to the Varsity on Saturday.)

dogwood Dogwood is great venue for a variety of reasons:

  • Dogwood’s spacious interior allows you to drop in for a last minute dinner on a weekend night and it’s okay not to have reservations.
  • Chef Shane Touhy not only has a menu with many options, but he understands gluten very well.
  • Many menu items are naturally gluten-free so I didn’t have to miss out on sauces and other aspects of the dishes that make them unique.
  • The wait staff is eager to double check with the chef and work with gluten-free customers so we can eat what we want on the menu.  Both times I’ve had a wonderful waiter who doesn’t take any chances, and always defers to the chef.
  • Dogwood’s not too loud.  I know, I know, I feel like an old woman saying this, but I’ve got to admit, I don’t like a really noisy restaurant.  Call me uncool, but it shouldn’t be a challenge to converse with the person across the table from me.  (But don’t worry, Dogwood’s not too quiet!)
  • The food is delicious.  Variety and flavor are prominent on the menu here.  Options range from grits to trout to pork loin to lamb meatballs, each with the chef’s unique spin on the dish.
  • Dogwood is entirely underrated.  Just because the chef wasn’t on Top Chef and doesn’t get featured in Bon Appetit regularly doesn’t mean the restaurant’s not worth visiting.  I actually think the food is better at Dogwood than some of the more hyped restaurants in Atlanta.

Both times I’ve been to Dogwood, I’ve had delicious salads.  Most recently, I ordered the local mixed greens, with red wine-mint vinaigrette, “Split Creek Farm” goats milk feta, and toasted pistachios.  The pistachios were delicious and I ate every last one of them.  You can’t go wrong with any of their salads.

I was disappointed that the short rib was no longer on the menu but Dogwood had plenty of other options for me.  On this visit, I went with the almond crusted scallops, with celery root puree, orange segments, green grapes, and brown butter-red wine vinaigrette.  Fruit, scallops and celery root?  I too, thought it to be an odd combination but it was delicious.  The almond crust gave the scallops a crunchy texture that other restaurants might use flour to create.  In every bite I tried to combine all of the action on the plate as I loved how it all fit together.

Who knew grapes and scallops could be so good?

Who knew grapes and scallops could be so good?

Check Dogwood out for yourself and let me know what you think!  If you’re going to a show at the Fox, enjoy dinner at Dogwood first as the theater is only two blocks away.

Dogwood Restaurant- 565 Peachtree Street – Atlanta, GA 30308- 404.835.1410

What? There’s gluten in college?

Posted in advice, travel on April 12th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

It’s that time of year…college admissions letters are going out, reminding me yet again how thankful that I am not going through the college selection process, which seems to become more and more rigorous each year.

For those high school seniors with gluten intolerances, celiac or a food allergy, this can be a very scary time.  Going away to college means putting your health and well being into the hands of a food service company, not your parents.  Most likely, if you are living in a freshman dorm, you will not have access to your own kitchen for at least a year, if not four.  This restriction is terrifying to people like me who live with a limited diet.

For guidance, thoughts and sympathy, check out the following posts:

This year, I have two former students who both have celiac disease and are first years in college.  (That’s what we call it at UVA…we don’t say freshmen.)  They braved boarding school on this diet but I know, even though they are used to living away from home, it has been tough to get adjusted to the gluten-free life in the college world.  Change is always hard, whether changing school, location or even kitchen.  It’s a learning process.  I know they will love having their own kitchens next year in off grounds apartments.  (And we say ‘grounds,’ not campus.)

Do you know of any college campuses that work especially hard to accommodate dietary restrictions?  Is advocacy work being done on your campus to raise awareness?

Best of luck to all of you making your college decisions.  College is a wonderful time and you should be able to enjoy it just as much as your gluten-eating roommate.

Just remember,  Natty Light is not worth getting sick for, even late night at a fraternity party.  Or should I say especially late night a fraternity party? (Even though Natty Light is watery, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have gluten.)

natty light

It’s (almost) the freakin’ weekend

Posted in Atlanta, event, Restaurants on April 7th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

It’s a beautiful week in Atlanta, which means it’s time for fun, outdoor activities.  It’s Thursday so that means I can start thinking about the weekend.  (You know how much I love Thursdays.)

My parents are coming to town tomorrow to see my lacrosse team play and spend the weekend with David and me.  On Friday night, we’re going to dinner at Dogwood Restaurant, in Midtown.  I recently discovered this yummy restaurant at a work event for David.  Their grits are amazing and the wait staff were very accommodating of my dietary needs.  The grits are incredible.  Of course I ordered the short rib.

Tulips at the Botanical Garden

Tulips at the Botanical Garden

On Saturday morning, Mom and I plan on checking out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see what’s blooming right now.  She and I went last fall but I’m sure the gardens will look completely different.  I’m hoping the tulips are still out!  If we’re really up and at ‘em on Saturday I hope to stop by the Peachtree Farmers’ Market to get veggies for a fresh, Georgia grown dinner on Saturday night.

ptree

It wouldn’t be spring without the kick off of baseball season, so on Sunday afternoon we’re going to the Braves game.  Sure, I’m not the biggest baseball fan but I love the Braves’ gluten-free concession stand AND the Avett Brothers are performing a free concert after the game!

braves I don’t think I could take advantage of my Georgia residence any more this weekend.  Well, there is the Masters.  Sorry, David…maybe next year.

masters

Lovely…dinner at Bacchanalia

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 5th, 2011 by Betsy – 5 Comments

bach This weekend, David and I enjoyed the most amazing meal at Bacchanalia, with two of our friends, who are a big part of the reason we fell in love with Atlanta.  It was a perfect way to celebrate their friendship, and the fact that we are in ATL for good, as well as an excuse to spend an evening together.

I didn’t take any pictures of the meal because well, it just didn’t seem like the right place to be snapping photos, but I really wish I had.  Every dish was so beautiful you don’t want to eat it, yet so delicious that you savor every last bite.

For those of you that don’t know, Bacchanalia is owned by Anne Quatrano, who also owns Floataway Café, Abbattoir, and Star Provisions.  This restaurant is a special occasion splurge, a very special treat.  For $75,  you get a beautiful 4-course dinner, with multiple special treats between courses.  While $75 is a lot of money, for us DC folks, it’s a steal!

Many people have written about Bacchanalia, and we all agree that the food is divine.  I could talk your ear off about my grilled octopus with green curry appetizer or my lamb with spring pesto, followed by a cheese course with plum preserves, or the peanut butter ice cream with caramelized bananas, but I would just make you jealous…really jealous

I will tell you about how Bacchanalia created an especially wonderful for me.  When I made the reservations, they carefully noted that I have celiac and can’t eat gluten.  Normally, even when you tell a restaurant, you still need to remind them when you arrive.  At Bacchanalia, I literally didn’t have to ask a single question the entire meal.  I think every person employed by Bacchanalia knew about my dietary restrictions.  Upon being seated, they removed my bread plate and took care of me every step of the three hour meal.  Since I couldn’t enjoy the cheese biscuits with my dinner companions, the chef gave me a beet salad with micro greens amuse bouche, which was a perfectly refreshing way to start the meal.  (Who needs cheese biscuits anyway?)

One of my favorite treats of the evening was the pre-dessert Panna cotta.  Everyone else’s came with granola on top, but for mine they garnished it with puffed rice.  Pretty awesome.  I had no idea I was a fan of panna cotta but it was delicious, creamy and sweet.

At the end of this amazing meal, even though I’d been eating for the last three hours, I felt completely refreshed, free of bloating, stomach pain or any signs of contamination.  With a 4-course meal and added surprises along the way, there are many variables and chances for a mess up, but not a single mistake was made at Bacchanalia.  I confidently slurped every soup, ate every bite, and devoured each course, without any concern.  (When the server put the peanut butter ice cream and caramelized bananas in front of me, I momentarily panicked at the graham cracker looking, crumbly bits on the plate.  He quickly, and very pleasantly, assured me that it was just crumbled peanuts.)

If you’re looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, Bacchanalia is the place.  Particularly for those of us with special dietary needs, the chefs and servers will make sure that you have just as wonderful of a dining experience as your gluten-eating, dairy-loving, date.  When you make your reservations, let them know your needs, and they will be happy to serve you.

Have you ever dined at Bacchanalia?  What was your favorite part of the meal?  Highlights?