local food

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?

Figo Pasta Introduces Gluten-Free Meatball

Posted in Atlanta, GF product, local food, Restaurants, Uncategorized on November 9th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Figo is one of my favorite casual Atlanta spots and I think they have one of the best GF pastas around!  Their gluten-free fusili pasta can be mixed with any of their sauces for a delicious gluten-free meal.

Last week, Figo added a new item to their gluten-free menu: the gluten-free meatball!  Made with rice flour and rice, instead of bread, Figo’s Gluten-Free Maria Meatball also includes a yummy mix of ground beef sirloin, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, parmesan cheese and an herb & spice blend.

If you don’t feel like pasta, think about trying one or two of their meatballs with a salad to add protein to your meal.

The new GF Maria meatball will be offered at all seven of Figo’s locations so check their website for the restaurant closest to you.  You might have already gotten a sneak peak of the meatball at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Vendor Fair a few weeks back.

 

Atlanta’s Honeysuckle Gelato

Posted in Atlanta, dessert, favorite things, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on November 3rd, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Have you noticed that food trucks are all the rage in ATL?  Well, they are!  Sadly, many of the food trucks serve greasy sandwich type meals that don’t meet the needs of gluten-free diners.  BUT, I’ve discovered a food truck with plenty of GF options!  One of my new favorite things that’s uniquely local to Atlanta is Honeysuckle Gelato.  Native Atlantan, Wes Jones, decided to drop his regular job and start Honeysuckle Gelato with two of his buddies.  I, for one, am very thankful for his decision!  You can find his delicious gelato by following his stylish teal food truck.

Many of Honeysuckle’s flavors are naturally gluten free and so delicious.  Creamy, yummy and overflowing with natural ingredients, not a bunch of chemicals and artificial flavorings.  You might have seen Wes and Honeysuckle at the most recent gluten-free vendor fair.  If you were lucky enough, you tried his ridiculously amazing Salted Caramel flavor.  It is truly divine.  The salty-sweet flavors blend perfectly together and it’s the ideal evening treat!  If salted caramel doesn’t sound delicious to you, what about peanut butter honey or ginger molasses?  Go to their website to see more of Honeysuckle’s signature flavors.

Honeysuckle Gelato at the GF Vendor Fair

Honeysuckle also offers sorbets which are naturally gluten free and dairy free so there’s something for everyone!  Many of their flavors are naturally GF.  Mmm, chocolate mint or watermelon sorbet, anyone? Check out this southern inspired gelato for yourself!

Don't miss the Honeysuckle food truck!

Recently I asked Wes a few questions about himself and his new business.  Here’s what he had to say:

Gluten Freedom: Are you a native Atlantan?

Wes: Yes, I am.

Gluten Freedom: What do you love about Atlanta?

Wes: My wonderful friends and family and the amazing food! What are your favorite eats in Atlanta? That’s a tough one because there are so many great choices. Hal’s is usually up there and Fox Brothers has been a frequented place recently.  Other than that, anywhere in Decatur.

Gluten Freedom: How did you get interested in gelato?

Wes: My business partner, Jackson Smith, was making gelato in NYC at Il Laboratorio del Gelato and we first kicked the idea around of starting a gelato place here in Atlanta as a joke and before long we had talked ourselves into actually doing it.

Gluten Freedom: Where does one purchase a food truck?

Wes: The same place you purchase everything else…the internet.  We actually found our truck on eBay.  It was a New Orleans Shaved Ice Truck in a small town in Alabama.  We thought it looked cool so we convinced the people to take it off eBay for a couple days so we could come look at it.

Gluten Freedom: Where does the name Honeysuckle come from?

Wes: We we’re having a hard time coming up with something we liked that was catchy, southern and sweet all in one until Jackson had an epiphany. He called me up and said “I got it!! Honeysuckle!”  Before I had time to argue he hung up the phone.  Lucky for me, I loved it and it stuck.

Gluten Freedom: What’s your favorite GF flavor?

Wes: It changes weekly as we make awesome new flavors, but “Dock of the Bay”, our Sea-Salted Caramel, was my first love and I always feel guilty when I name a flavor other that.

Gluten Freedom: Where can we find Honeysuckle?

Wes: That’s the beauty of having a food truck – you can find us all over town! We post our schedule here - http://www.honeysucklegelato.com/contact-us/ – and we also tweet our daily menu and locations at @honeysuckleatl.  Our goal is to be in some specialty stores and select grocery stores in the area next spring so keep an eye out for us!

 

Thanks, Wes, for taking the time to answer my questions!  I hope everyone will check Honeysuckle’s website to find a location nearest you!  This is not just another ice cream place, I promise.

Two Things I Love…

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on November 1st, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment



Urban Pl8 & ScoutmobClick here to get your Scoutmob for Urban Pl8.  This is one of my favorite spots on the Westside and their menu is almost entirely gluten free.  Make sure to tell your server that you’re gluten free so they know to make you the GF version of the dish.

Most recently, I went for brunch and got an amazing egg scramble, with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and GF toast!  Awesome.  Please support this local business that works hard to make delicious gluten-free food.  And paleo friendly too!

Some of my favorites on the menu:

  • Kale chips (don’t knock ‘em ‘til you try them!)
  • Grilled harissa chicken tangine (ask them for some toasted GF bread to dip in the amazing sauce!)
  • Paleo coconut shrimp

Yum!  I also love their mixed green salad with chicken and a side of sweet potatoes.  Sounds simple but they make it so good.

Gluten-Free Vendor Fair Tomorrow!

Posted in Atlanta, event, GF product, local food on October 21st, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be at the Hilton Hotel in Norcross at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Expo tomorrow.  Price of admission is only $10, which is a total steal considering you get to fill up on unlimited sweet and savory GF food!  Check out the full list of vendors here.

Some of the vendors I’m most excited about seeing are:

I’m sure I’ll discover new brands I love too!  What are you excited about sampling?

Family Fun in ATL & Leon’s Full Service

Posted in Atlanta, local food, meals, Restaurants, Uncategorized on October 10th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Last week, my brother and his family came to ATL for a visit.  We had the best time showing off our city to Rob, Alden, and my two nephews, Pete and Chip.  Of course we shared many of our favorite restaurants with them too!

Time in the backyard with Rob, Pete and Chip

Some of the highlights of the weekend included, homemade pancakes, Taqueria del Sol, Mellow Mushroom, Star Provisions, YEAH Burger, the Georgia Aquarium, and lots of playing outside.

Chip waiting for lunch at Taqueria

Chip with his new football

 

Sweet Pete!

On Saturday night, my sweet friend, Michelle, offered to baby sit for Pete and Chip so we adults decided to have a night on the town.  We took Rob and Alden to Decatur to see a different part of the Atlanta area.  After a drink at Iberian Pig, we headed over to one of our new favorite restaurants, Leon’s Full Service.

Night out in Decatur

In the last couple of months, David and I’ve been looking for any excuse to go to Leon’s.  We absolutely love their French Fries and dipping sauces that accompany them.  Fortunately you can order multiple sauces because David and I can’t agree on which one we like the best.  (I’m a sucker for the curry and David loves the smoked tomato mayo.)  Leon’s uses a dedicated fryer for their fries so you don’t have to worry about contamination.  Since we’ve discovered Leon’s, we’ve always gotten great service and delicious food.  Don’t be discouraged by the bustle and busy-ness of the restaurant when you walk in: you will be well taken care of from the moment you put your name on the wait list. (PS: Leon’s doesn’t take reservations.)

Best fries in ATL

...And the dipping sauces (yes, we ordered 6!)

Our waiters have always been well aware of the gluten-free options on the menu and I always feel like I have lots of choices.  Even though the restaurant is always full of people, I get great attention from servers and I don’t feel rushed to make my decision. On our most recent visit, however, we learned that the folks at Leon’s have now made a gluten-free menu for their customers.  Now I have even more reason to go to Leon’s!  It’s a good thing we don’t live closer to Leon’s because I would eat there all time!

Leon's GF Menu!

If you haven’t been yet, you must go to Leon’s.  The menu has both casual/light fare as well as fancier entrees.  And they highlight seasonal, fresh ingredients from local farms.  Gotta love that!

Gluten-Free Highlights on Leon’s Menu*:

  • French fries with masaman curry & smoked tomato mayo
  • Grilled pork chop, field peas & greens, carolina gold bbq, red cabbage chow chow
  • Pan roasted domestic snapper baby bok choi, masaman curry butternut squash, lime-mint butter, toasted cashew

Always so sad when the fries are gone

Oh, and make sure to hang out at the bar before you get seated.  The mixologists at the bar are fabulous and they create all kinds of seasonal beverages.

*The menu changes seasonally so expect to find new items when you go (except, of course, the fries).

Leon’s Full Service – 131 E Ponce de Leon Ave – Decatur, Georgia – 404.687.0500

 

Save the Date: October 22nd!

Posted in Atlanta, event, favorite things, local food on October 6th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

It’s almost that time…the Atlanta Gluten-Free Expo, one of my favorite events in our area, is happening on Saturday, October 22nd.

This will be my third trip to the expo and I can’t wait for a morning of indulgent eating, with no worries about contamination.  It’s the one time of the year that I can literally eat everything in the room.  Nothing’s off limits!  Check out what I had to say about the 2009 and 2010 GF Expos by clicking here and here.

A shot from last year's Gluten-Free Expo

So here are the deets: From 9:00 to 2:00 on Saturday, October 22nd, come to the Hilton Hotel in Norcross, GA, to indulge in many glute-free items.  Cost of admission is $10 and children under 12 are free.  This great event is hosted by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and organized by gluten-free expert extraordinaire, Jennifer Harris.  For more information on the day’s speakers and events, click here.

Hope to see my fellow Atlantans on the 22nd!  What are some of your favorites from last year?

 

 

American Gra-Frutti: Product Review

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on September 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

You may have seen American Gra-Frutti at your Atlanta Whole Foods or perhaps at a Braves game, in the gluten-free concession stand.

Did you know they’re a local, Atlanta company?

Did you know they are a 100% gluten-free bakery?

Did you know they make a variety of vegan treats?

Well, now you know!  You should check American Gra-Frutti’s website out and learn more.  Recently, they sent me a bunch of treats that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying.  And the ones I can’t yet get to, like a loaf of bread, I just stuck in the freezer for a later date.

This isn’t your typical bakery folks…sure, they have cupcakes, breads, and muffins but just wait, there’s more.  American Gra-Frutti makes two of my favorite items that I have not had since I was diagnosed with celiac FOUR years ago!

#1: Cheese straws: If you grew up in Virginia, like me, or anywhere in the south, you probably share my love for cheese straws.  I freakin’ love cheese straws.  They remind me of the holidays, of the gift baskets my parents always received from their students, and of course, they remind me of cocktail time.  American Gra’Frutti’s cheese straw crackers are so good, I had to keep a close watch on them because David wanted to devour every single one of them from the moment the package was opened.  They’re that good.  Perfectly cheesy, crispy and with a spicy kick.  Just the way I remember them.  And reasonably priced!

#2: Graham crackers: These crispy, sweet treats can be enjoyed a variety of ways (peanut butter and nutella?) but they are best when used for the sandwich of a s’more.  Since we got our package of graham crackers, David and I have started making s’mores all the time.  They’re the perfect dessert, especially now that we’re heading into the cool weather months.  We’ve been cheating a little and just heating up our marshmallows over the grill.  Still delicious!  American Gra-Frutti’s graham crackers hold together perfectly with s’mores, and yes, you can fit two jumbo marshmallows between two of them.

You can order American Gra-Frutti through their website or at the Buckhead Whole Foods.  Where else have you found these treats?

Next time I’ve got my eyes on the carrot cake!  Thank you, American Gra-Frutti for safely making delicious gluten-free food.

PS: Their flat bread with hummus is currently my favorite afternoon snack…

Gigi’s Cupcakes: Norcross, GA

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on September 8th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Recently I had the opportunity, through the Atlanta Gluten-Free Dinner Club, to sample some of Gigi’s Cupcakes’ gluten-free treats.  The Gigi’s at the Forum, in Norcross, makes gluten-free cupcakes every Tuesday and Thursday.  On those days they always have chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and spice with cream cheese frosting.  Delicious!

 

Yours truly in front of Gigi's

While Gigi’s is not a dedicated gluten-free bakery, they use precaution to avoid contamination.  In fact, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they start baking early so to prepare the GF cupcakes before they make their glutenous cupcakes.

A few Tuesdays ago, Jen (a fellow gluten-freer) and I hopped in the car and made the trek to Norcross.  This was my first ever visit to Norcross (besides my lacrosse team playing Wesleyan) but it was worth the venture OTP.  (Since it is a bit of a trek for those of us that live closer to downtown, I would call ahead, just to make sure they have GF cupcakes on that day.)

These cupcakes were absolutely delicious and the crew at Gigi’s made a bunch of different varieties, beyond just the typical vanilla and chocolate.  Jen and I savored every bite of out THREE cupcakes…

 

Salted Caramel


Peanut Butter Cup

Birthday Cake

And I got two for the road, chocolate and vanilla…

Gigi’s cupcakes are a sweet tooth’s dream!  Amazing icing and delicious cake.  I know that cupcakes are trendy right now but I do think they’re so much more fun than cake.  For indecisive people like me, you can try multiple varieties!

PS: When we got married 7 years ago (!!!!!!!) we had cupcakes, instead of wedding cake.  I guess we were way ahead of the trend!  So cupcakes always have a special place in my heart.

Not every Gigi’s makes gluten-free cupcakes but if there’s one in your area, I suggest calling and seeing if they do.  If they don’t, you should highly suggest it.  Of course they will need to take precaution when  making them in order to avoid contamination.

There’s always room for dessert!

Gigi’s Cupcakes – 4880 Peachtree Corners Circle Ste 1130, Norcross, GA