Mexican Restaurants

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?

“Welcome to Moe’s!”

Posted in Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants on January 28th, 2011 by Betsy – 6 Comments

moeslogo

Moe’s just released a new menu, with clear ingredient and allergen information.  Unfortunately, they don’t offer corn tortillas, but their bowls look yummy.  Corn chips aren’t gf but you could always bring your own.  (Just don’t share your salsa or guac with the rest of the table!)  All of the meats are GF, as well as beans and rice, and lots of toppings.  Click here for more information about their new menu and clarification on gluten-free items.  Always make sure to ask servers to change their gloves when making your dish.

Moe’s is a great place to go for a quick and easy dinner.  Have you tried Moe’s new menu?  What are some of the highlights?  Did employees seem knowledgeable?  Never hesitate to ask to talk to the manager for clarification!  Better safe than sorry.

Phantom of the Opera & Taqueria del Sol

Posted in Atlanta, Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants on July 20th, 2010 by Betsy – 7 Comments

IMG_0020

On Gluten Freedom, I’ve shared with you many things about me.  Many nerdy and quirky things about me.

You know that I love ‘The Bachelorette.’  Did you see last night’s episode??  Frank is pitiful.  I once again vowed that I’m never going to watch another episode of the show.

You know that I love famous chefs and folk music.  Um, Indigo Girls are playing in Atlanta on October 15th.  Mark your calendars!

You know that I dream of someday being a farmer.  Now that I’ve spent some time working at Serenbe Farm this summer, I’m not sure I have the stamina for that career.  (Bugs like me too much…I’m covered in chigger bites as I write.)

One of the other things that I love which I haven’t really shared with you is musicals.  To quote Tobias Funke from ‘Arrested Development,’ (a great show, by the way…much better than ‘Bachelorette’) I love the “theeeater.”  As a child, my favorite family trip was to New York City where we saw three musicals in 48 hours.  This trip would be my husband’s worst nightmare, but he politely puts up with my love of musicals, nonetheless.

tobias_funke

Tobias Funke from 'Arrested Development'

Can I sing?  Nope.  Did I ever act?  Not once.  Do I still love shows?  Heck yes.  Why, I’m not quite sure.  Maybe it’s because that’s what we listened to in the car when I was little.  (I had no idea how racy “Les Mis” is until around age 18.  The song, ‘Lovely Ladies’…Wow.)

So last week, when our friends, Peyten and Stan, asked if we would like to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at the Fox Theater with them, I quickly accepted before asking David what he thought about the idea.  I hadn’t seen ‘Phantom’ in 12 years, and they’re claiming this is the last national tour of the show.  (Probably just a marketing ploy, but I fell for it nonetheless.)

phantom-of-the-opera3

After accepting Peyten’s offer, then came the question of where to go for dinner before the show.  An 8:00 start time limits one’s options, especially for me, who always worries about being on time.  (I don’t want to risk missing the overture.)

IMG_0023 Peyten suggested Taqueria del Sol as it’s apparently a quick stop for a meal, despite the long line that’s always stretching out the door.  I had never been to this beloved Atlanta spot, as I’m weary about places that serve food quickly and en masse.  Thanks to blogger, Celiac Eats, who loves Taqueria del Sol, I was willing to give it a try.  As the time for dinner got closer, I became more anxious about the impending meal.  (I know that’s weird for you non-celiacs, but going out to dinner can be very scary, especially when you’ll be confined to a theater seat for the next three hours.)  I texted my friend, Anne, (also celiac) and asked her opinion.  She was lukewarm on Taqueria so I began to plan on eating dinner prior to the Taqueria stop.

David encouraged me to call ahead, just in case, and I did.  He’s full of great ideas.  The manager, with whom I spoke, has a gluten allergy herself.  She knew everything I could eat and was very specific, which I love.  She even told me that I can have chips if I come for lunch, but not for dinner because at that point the fryer is contaminated.  Such helpful information!

Most of the enchiladas are totally gluten free and the corn tortillas can be substituted for the tacos.  They were some of the best corn tortillas I’ve ever eaten.  For dinner, I ordered one Memphis taco and one Veggie taco, with a side of the Charros beans.  I also got some guacamole because I can never resist guac.  The brisket taco is also gluten-free so I’ll try that one next time.  Both of my tacos were delicious.  The Memphis comes with smoked pork, jalapenos, bbq sauce and cole slaw.  A perfect combination.  Sweet, salty and crunchy.  (I love weird combos and combining textures.)  The veggie taco was delish as well!  I enjoyed my meal while sipping on a tequila and tonic.  Yes, a tequila and tonic.  Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.  I promise, you’ll love it.  Just think margarita, without the too tart, too sweet grime that stays on your teeth.

IMG_0022

As I mentioned, Taqueria has an intimidating line out front, but it’s worth it.  You can walk to the bar and order a drink to enjoy while you wait in line.  The line moves fairly quickly so it looks worse than it is.  I’m so glad to discover another spot in Atlanta where I can grab a quick, and relatively cheap meal, that’s gluten-free friendly.

taqu

And of course, we made it to the Fox in plenty of time and I thoroughly enjoyed the show, trying not to sing along.  Afterwards, I did have trouble explaining to David why I think ‘Phantom of the Opera’ is so good.  It just is.

Delicious Mexican Food in Atlanta & DC

Posted in Atlanta, Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, Washington DC on May 14th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

new_rosa_logo

IMG_0839

I love Mexican food, in fact it’s one of my favorite genres of food.  It can be tricky to find good, Mexican cuisine that is safely gluten-free, as there are often language barriers and risks of contamination.  When we lived near Washington, D.C., I was lucky enough to find two Mexican places I loved: Tortilla Coast and Rosa Mexicano.  Much to my excitement, when we moved to Atlanta, I discovered that there’s a Rosa Mexicano in Atlantic Station, just a few miles from us.  David and I went to the Atlanta Rosa Mexicano last weekend and were just as pleased with our meal here as back in the District.

rosa_mexicano A word of warning: Rosa Mexicano is not your cheap, order by number, Mexican food.  Rosa Mexicano’s food is high-quality, with fresh, natural ingredients.  Not only does Rosa Mexicano serve great food, but they are gluten-free friendly, as they use corn tortillas and they fry their tortilla chips in a fryer that’s free from gluten.  If you check out Rosa Mexicano’s website, they even have a gluten-free menu.  The Atlantic Station restaurant didn’t actually have copies of the GF menu, but having perused the online version earlier, I had an idea of my GF options and what I wanted to order.  When going to Rosa Mexicano, or any restaurant, make sure that you double check with the chef about what’s gluten-free, even if they have a gluten-free menu.  Our waiter was very friendly and willing to run back and forth to the kitchen for us.  He double checked everything for us.

IMG_0841 If you go to Rosa Mexicano, you must get the guacamole that they prepare table side.  It’s so good, I want to lick the bowl.  Every last bit of guac gets scraped out of the dish’s crevices.  Their guacamole’s amazing, fresh, and you know exactly what’s in it because you see them make it.  (A celiac’s dream!)  As I mentioned before, the chips are gluten-free as are the tortillas so I can dip away!  David’s a competitive eater when it comes to guac, so I just have to make sure I eat quickly and/or hoard some of the avocado-goodness on my plate.  Normally I take my time when I eat, but it’s hard to maintain any manners when the guacamole is put on the table.  Every man (and woman) is left to fend for himself (herself).

IMG_0840 For my entrée, I usually go with one of the versions of the Tacos al asador: pork, steak or chicken.  These are actually more like fajitas than what I think of as tacos, and I love ‘building my own’ from the platter of meat, veggies, beans and rice.  On our most recent visit, David and I each got one order of tacos and shared.  I love being able to share at a restaurant!  David ordered the pork and I chose the chicken.  I don’t usually order chicken at restaurants, but Rosa Mexicano’s chicken tacos are delicious and I particularly look forward to the cheese, onions and peppers that are cooked with the chicken.  These dishes come with unlimited corn tortillas, and the black beans are speckled with cheese.  David and I splurged that night by ordering two entrees, but in the past we’ve just ordered the guacamole and one order of tacos, and it was plenty of food for the two of us.

IMG_0843

IMG_0842

If you’re craving Mexican food and want a restaurant safe from gluten, you should definitely check out one of Rosa Mexicano’s locations in Atlanta, DC, Miami, L.A., or New York.  While the food’s a little pricier than most Mexican establishments, it’s worth the splurge.

West Coast Vacation: Enjoying Mexican Food in Coronado Bay

Posted in Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, travel on March 18th, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Ahh, it’s a rough life.  I am one lucky girl.  In the last two weeks I’ve been in Naples, Florida and San Diego, California.  Both places provided a great escape from cold, rainy Atlanta.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Atlanta, but it was time to have a little distance from the Peach State.

Yes, in the same week, I got to see beautiful sunsets in Florida and California.

Yes, in the same week, I got to see beautiful sunsets in Florida and California.

IMG_0269

After five days in Naples, I flew briefly back to Atlanta on Wednesday night.  Enough time to celebrate my birthday (28…AAH!) with David, do laundry and repack.  Bright and early Friday morning, I set out for sunny San Diego to meet up with my high school roommate/best friend/maid of honor/personal fashion consultant, Brittanny.  David and Brittanny planned this girls’ weekend back in the fall and it was a perfect treat for my birthday weekend.

I had never been to San Diego before so I was a little nervous about the food situation, but I figured people on the west coast have a good grasp on healthy eating so I was hopeful that we would find places that understood all things gluten.  During my Naples trip, I had been spoiled because Jen and I had access to a full kitchen so most of our meals were made by us.  In San Diego I would not have that luxury, making my gluten-anxiety levels rise.

If there’s one thing Brittanny and I love to do, it’s lay out.  Yes, I know it’s bad for me, but I love getting tan.  Fortunately we stayed on Coronado Bay at the Loew’s Beach Resort so we had ample sun time in a beautiful setting.  We spent a lot of quality time at the pool, reading and soaking up rays, but we also did some touristy things, including the San Diego Zoo.  Even though the Loews is about 20 minutes from downtown San Diego, I would definitely recommend this hotel if you enjoy relaxing and not being too active on your vacation. If you’re looking for more action, I would recommend staying downtown at the W, where we went for drinks one night at their swanky rooftop ‘beach bar,’ complete with fire pits and heated sand.

IMG_0287

IMG_0257

Brittanny and I arrived in San Diego in the early afternoon on Friday and immediately checked into our room, ordered a tasty adult beverage and went to the pool.  Isn’t vacation wonderful?  After a relaxing afternoon we headed into the town of Coronado Bay for the evening.  We ordered a drink at Tent City, a cute wine bar downtown.  It was so great to be able to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine.  I can definitely see how people who move to the west coast never come back!

After a leisurely drink we went to Miguel’s, a Mexican restaurant in Coronado Bay for dinner.  Brittanny called ahead to inquire about gluten-free food and sure enough, they were willing to accommodate me.  I was a little nervous because the restaurant was super busy on a Friday night and our waiter can most nicely be described as flaky.  He giggled a lot…very weird.  The hostess was confident that I could be helped and once I spoke with the manager, I felt at ease about safely ordering.  The folks at Miguel’s understood contamination and the manager made clear to me that they would cook my meal on a separate and cleaned surface.  Sadly, I could not eat the chips and salsa but they brought me a cheese quesadilla on corn tortillas as an appetizer with my own salsa.

For my entrée I ordered the chicken and steak fajitas, with corn tortillas, that they grilled specially for me.  The manager even brought mine out separately from the rest of our food, taking care to make sure I received the correct dish.  Britt ordered fajitas too and mine definitely looked different from hers.  This visual distinction is always a comfort for me because I know they restaurant has taken care to ensure my safety.  My meal came with black beans instead of refried beans.  (I prefer black beans anyways.)  The Miguel’s folks did not give me rice, and I’m not sure if this omission was because they add flour to their rice or if they thought rice contained gluten.  (Clarification: plain rice does not contain gluten.)  I didn’t think to ask.  The fajitas came with yummy grilled vegetables, including mushrooms, onions and peppers.  My meal was delicious and it sufficiently accommodated my craving for Mexican.

Miguel’s was a great start to our San Diego weekend, filled with delicious food, gorgeous weather and rest.  I did not get contamination the entire weekend, which is such a relief and allowed me to fully enjoy the trip.  Stay tuned for more details about the great places we ate in San Diego.
Miguel's Cocina on Urbanspoon

Another meal at Tortilla Coast

Posted in Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, Washington DC on November 25th, 2008 by Betsy – Be the first to comment


As any celiac knows, it’s great to have a meal at a restaurant and feel healthy the next day, but it’s really great when you eat there twice, and both times emerge healthy and happy! I went to Tortilla Coast last night with some friends and the meal was just as excellent and gluten free as the first time I went.

Also, I called ahead in the morning to tell them that I would be dining there that night and they fried a special batch of chips for me before the oil got contaminated with gluten. When I arrived they served them to me and they were warm, salty, crunchy and delicious! So I got to have chips and salsa just like everyone else. How awesome is that?! It’s so nice to feel normal when dining at a restaurant.

Tortilla Coast

Posted in Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, Washington DC on November 12th, 2008 by Betsy – Be the first to comment


Hooray for Tortilla Coast! My parents have always loved Tortilla Coast which is a Tex-Mex restaurant located on Capital Hill. Since my diagnosis I have assumed that I would not be able to eat there. Last night my Dad and I attended a history lecture at the Freer and he suggested Tortilla Coast after the lecture.

I decided to give Tortilla Coast a call to see if they had ever heard the word gluten. To my surprise, they were very knowledgeable about gluten allergies, so much so that the woman on the phone told me not to eat the chips when I arrived because they are fried in the same oil as foods containing gluten. Already I was thrilled! She told me that all of their staff is taught about food allergies and that I should ask for Brandon, the manager, when I got to the restaurant.

When we arrived, the waitress was so friendly and Brandon made me feel confident that they knew what they were talking about! For example, Brandon knew that I couldn’t have the steak because the marinade contained soy sauce. He also assured me they are very careful about contamination when preparing dishes for those with gluten allergies.

Brandon also walked me through the menu and he was so nice about the fact that I had a ton of questions. I stayed away from the chips, but there were many things on the menu that I could have. The spinach and mushroom enchiladas are fine as is. The quesadilas are fine as long as you use corn tortillas. Brandon cautioned that if I wanted the chicken enchiladas, I should order them with the grilled fajita chicken and not the enchilada chicken because of all of the spices they use…he just said there was more room for error and contamination from earlier preparation. (I’m very sensitive to contamination so it made me happy to hear him say this!)

So what did I order? I got the chicken fajitas with white corn tortillas and let me tell you, they were the best corn tortillas I’ve ever eaten! They were warm, soft and and full of yumminess! The grilled veggies, guac, beans and rice were all fine too.

Needless to say, I give Tortilla Coast 5 gluten free stars! There were many options and the entire staff was knowledgeable, friendly and understanding! Most importantly, I did not get sick! Like I mentioned before, I’m very sensitive to contamination so I get sick pretty easily.
The same people that own Tortilla Coast own Cafe Deluxe (Bethesda, Tysons and DC locations) so I’ll have to check them out too!
Tortilla Coast: 400 First Street SE
Washington, DC
202. 546.6768

Tortilla Coast on Urbanspoon