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Decatur’s Iberian Pig

Posted in Atlanta

Recently, David and I wanted to enjoy the spring weather so we decided to head to Decatur, wander around, and get a drink.  We had no plans of dining out, thinking that we would just eat a later dinner when we got home.

We stopped at the Iberian Pig, a relatively new restaurant in Decatur, and grabbed a seat at the bar.  This modern, Spanish restaurant offers many options on its menu, including cured meats, cheeses, small plates as well as entrees.  We placed ourselves directly in front of a fancy meat slicer that managed to grab our attention.  The bartenders were very attentive, and the vibe at the bar was professional, yet quirky.  All bartenders wear white button downs, black vests and ties, yet I think it’s a requirement that you must also have multiple tattoos and piercings to work at the bar.  I ordered a glass of Pinot from their relatively large wine selection.  David decided to try an Old Fashioned, in honor of Don Draper from our new favorite show, ‘Mad Men.’  (Well, it’s tied for first with ‘The Wire.’)  After sitting at the bar for a few minutes, we knew we liked the Iberian Pig simply because of the atmosphere and the Old Fashioned made by the bartender.  Who knew an Old Fashioned comes with one huge ice cube?

Of course I took a look at the menu even though food wasn’t part of the plan.  I immediately saw the “BWDs,” bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Manchego cheese and walnuts.  Wow.  Sounded potentially gluten-free, so figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  The bartender said Iberian Pig actually was making a GF menu so he called over the owner, Frederico Castellucci.  He was very eager to serve us and went through some of our options with us while another waitress brought us the gluten-free menu.

Much to my happiness, the BWDs are naturally gluten-free so we placed an order.  These bites of tastiness were a perfect treat.  As you know, I love the dates and cheese combination, and bacon makes everything taste better, right?

BWDs…Amazing

We also ordered the Patatas al Valdeon, crunchy potatoes with an aioli sauce.  They blanch, bake and then fry the potatoes but they use a fryer that doesn’t fry breaded items.  (I would still double check with your waiter when you go because they could change fryers.)  These crunchy morsels of goodness were amazing and for once, I actually felt like I could eat ‘bar food.’  No salads or sauteed vegetables for this girl!  The sauce went perfectly with the potatoes but didn’t sog them up too much.  David generously let me enjoy way more than half my share.

Patatas

While I didn’t end up ordering an entrée because the tapas plates were plenty for me, there were multiple items that caught my eye on the gluten-free menu.  That just means I’ll have to go back.  Here are some of the other things I like about Iberian Pig that have nothing to do with gluten:

  • The menu lists where they get all of their meat from so you know what you’re ordering.
  • It’s busy on a Friday night but you can still hear the person sitting next to you.
  • Good people watching
  • We got great attention for the servers, bartender, and even the owner.
  • The cool meat slicer is fascinating.

It was such a great surprise to stumble upon a restaurant that was eager to accommodate and even had a prepared gluten-free menu.  Celiac makes me have to be such a planner, so it’s always a relief when I can just happen upon a meal, and not have to think about what I’m doing or where I’m going far in advance.  The Iberian Pig is definitely worth the trip to Decatur, even just for cocktails and appetizers.  They have outside seating as well so enjoy a nice spring evening on their patio.  I think I prefer the bar though.

The Iberian Pig – 121 Sycamore St – Decatur, GA 30030 – (404) 371-8800

Name that Beer…

Posted in Atlanta

Last Monday night David and I went to 5 Seasons Brewing Company, Westside location, to sample their new gluten-free beer.  While I generally prefer wine, it’s so great that a restaurant is serving a house-brewed GF beer.  First, I must provide the disclaimer that I don’t know anything about beer tasting, but this particular beer brought back memories of Blue Moon beer for me, as it’s lighter and more of a citrus flavor.  Crawford Moran, the beer guy at 5 Seasons, told me that he made this GF beer from sorghum and roasted buckwheat.  He used gluten-free yeast and Cascade hops (whatever that is).  Crawford described it as a very hoppy gluten-free beer.  While I’m not a beer expert, I do know that to be a gluten-free diner and be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage under $5 is a rarity and a treat for my wallet.  Wine tends to hike up the check when going out to dinner!  I’m already looking forward to watching March Madness at 5 Seasons, while enjoying a cold, g-f beer and a slice of pizza.  Check out  their GF pizza with andouille pork, sausage, asparagus, onions and tomatoes below.  Yum.

As I mentioned last week, all of the specials on Monday nights at 5 Seasons are gluten-free, even their pizza special.  They use a housemade pizza crust and 5 Season’s topping selection is always unique.  This Monday’s special pizza was ‘Roasted duck, eggplant puree, spinach, red onions, cashews and tomato.’  Yum!  I wasn’t in the mood for pizza this week since I’d just made pizza (pear, goat cheese, and sautéed onions…yum!) at my friend, Jen’s, on Friday night.  I ordered the Braised Red Angus Beef ‘Little Plate’ (with carrot salsa and cheddar grits) and a side of brussel sprouts.  Delicious and plenty of food for me.  I just can’t seem to get enough Brussels sprouts this year.  Other items on the ‘specials’ menu that looked yummy were the Duck Tostada and GA Pork Loin with organic greens, caramelized apples and smoked tomatoes.  The daily vegetable plate is always a personal favorite for me.

5 Seasons gluten-free beer is officially on tap, but does not yet have a name.  Can you think of a catchy/thoughtful/clever label for this brand new brew?  Post a comment with your thoughts.

Living Gluten-Free in the College World

Posted in Advice

Guest blogger, Zara Young, used her first hand experience to respond to the points I made in my earlier post, Dorms, Tailgating & Cafeterias: Gluten-Free College Advice. Zara continues to make the most of her college experience, and does not let celiac get in the way of enjoying University of Vermont.  I am amazed by her positive attitude and the proactive way she embraces her gluten-free life.  From leading the UVM celiac group to running marathons, Zara doesn’t let anything stop her.

ZaraBe Prepared: I always keep a simple and easy snack like rice cakes and peanut butter in my room.  They are easy and tasty!  I bring rice cakes with peanut butter to class with me when I do not have time to sit down for lunch on campus.  I also like to mix it up and top this snack with raisins, chocolate chips, banana slices, etc.  Cereal is also a necessity to have on hand in the dorm room.  My favorite cereal combination is Nature’s Path Whole O’s mixed with Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise.  I also enjoy the GF Cinnamon Chex when I have a sweet tooth. I keep milk in my mini-fridge for when I want a full bowl of cereal, but also take dry cereal with me sometimes as a snack.  My roommate and I also have two “food baskets” in our room- one gluten free and one for her gluten-filled snacks.

Late Night Snacks: This is one of the harder parts of being gluten free at college.  Watching friends devour late night snacks like pizza definitely requires self-control!  My all time favorite “late night snack” to have on hand in my dorm room, is the Thai Kitchen instant soup.  It is essentially the gluten free version of Ramen.  There is a microwave in the common room on my hall that I use to make the Thai Kitchen easily in just minutes.  There is also a pizza place in downtown Burlington called Mr. Harley’s that is open late night.  Mr. Harley’s serves all sorts of sports-pub food and appetizers along with their pizza, including the tastiest sweet potato french fries.  I have been there during slower hours to discover that they fry their potatoes and their battered foods in separate oils at a decent distance from each other in order to keep the french fries gluten free!

Make Friends With The People Who Make Your Food: This is one part of having Celiac that I am good at doing!  It may be hard at first, but being confident about what you want to (and, more importantly, what you can) eat is very important.  The good news is most people now know a good bit about Celiac Disease or have at least heard of it.  Whenever I come across someone who doesn’t know too much about it, I take the opportunity to teach him or her about celiac in a way that makes them eager to help me out. I briefly describe gluten intolerances, explain in detail what exactly gluten is, and I add a couple examples of foods that unexpectedly contain gluten, such as soy sauce.  When I was a freshman at boarding school, I even printed out some info about Celiac for the cooks in the dining hall to post.  After establishing a good friendship with the people who cooked my food, they wanted to feed me exactly what I was comfortable eating.

The University of Vermont does an amazing job supporting a gluten-free diet.  Each dining hall has a gluten free section.  There is gluten free cereal, bread, frozen waffles, bagels, and cookies.  There are also separate jelly bins and a separate toaster reserved to be 100% gluten free.  The other dining services at UVM serve special gluten-free foods like falafels, soup, sandwiches, and corn tortilla quesadillas and tacos.  The people in the deli line are required to change their gloves and have a clean surface to prepare the gluten-free meals.  I also made friends with the man who makes sautéed vegetable wraps at one of my favorite places to eat.  He knows me now, and understands the importance of replacing the wrap with rice or quinoa then serve it all piled together on a plate.

If dining services at other colleges or boarding schools do not have these options, I suggest speaking directly to the chefs during slow hours, not at mealtime.  In high school, the chefs let me keep my own gluten-free bread and cereal in the dining hall.  The most important part to me about making friends with the people who cook your food is to get them excited about making gluten-free options available.  After exploring different places to eat on campus, you will find steady gluten-free options that you trust.  You should have the same opportunities to eat on campuses that other students do!

Tailgating:  To be honest, UVM does not have tailgating.  (In fact, it is the only Division I state university without a football team.)  However, I do like tailgating when visiting friends at other schools.  My mom also knows I enjoy events like this.  For example, at the Apple Blossom Festival parades in my hometown of Winchester, VA, all of the parade route yard parties have all sorts of delicious, open container snacks and hors d’oeuvres.  At Apple Blossom in 2004 (just one month after being diagnosed), my mom brought a bag of Lundberg gluten free rice chips with an attractive serving dish to some of the places we were invited.  The bowl of chips was set aside where no one else would contaminate them.  At first I was embarrassed to have a bowl set aside for my “special” snacks.  I quickly got over that, though, and was thankful not to have to carry my own snack or just not eat anything at all.   Keeping snacks off to the side or in my own bag is a discrete way of going about having gluten free treats at an event with lots of grab-and-go foods without having to ask or worry about cross contamination from foods I assumed would be gluten free.

Weekend Activities:  Whenever my friends and I take weekend trips to go skiing, hiking, etc., I always get a little apprehensive about meal times.  It is definitely necessary to bring my own breakfast.  It is easy to pack a box of cereal, and usually fruit and milk during a grocery store trip can be communal and remain uncontaminated during the weekend.  If we will not be cooking or if the group is too big to cook an entirely gluten free meal, I bring my own instant gluten free dinners.  Although they are not the tastiest, frozen Amy’s entrees and instant Thai Kitchen soups do the trick.  Of course for outdoor activities, fruit and nut bars are the perfect travel size snack packed with lots of energy.

I came along another bump in the road regarding easy, gluten free energy bars when I ran my first marathon in October 2009.  I definitely needed a little something to raise my blood sugar level during the race.  I do not prefer the small packs of energy “goo,” and of course could not have someone handing me bite size pieces of a peanut butter sandwich that would not crumble in a quick hand off.  The best option I came up with was having my sister pass me bite-size pieces of the gluten free bar made by Clif Bar called Clif Nectar. (I prefer the Lemon Vanilla Cashew flavor.)  It is much easier to chew (less crunchy) than the normal gluten free fruit and nut bars, but is still packed with lots of nutrients and energy!

Adjusting to the gluten free college life definitely takes time, and doesn’t happen instantly.  Initially, I was very anxious and hesitant about eating food that I did not prepare or that was not clearly labeled “gluten free.”  I started off just eating simple, low ingredient foods like salad until I fell into the groove of my schedule to figure out when and where I needed to eat.  As increasingly more people discover gluten intolerances, more and more gluten free options become available.  Living gluten-free only gets easier each day, even for college students!

Westside’s Ormsby’s: Wine & Good Times

Posted in Atlanta

Ok, so I’m never going to be able to eat at Ormsby’s, but I love the atmosphere of this new Westside tavern.  I literally don’t think there’s anything on the menu I can eat except the peanuts and rosemary popcorn, and perhaps a burger patty, hold the bun.  This tucked away bar in the White Provisions development that opened right before Christmas, is known for its beer, but I must say, that it’s also got a great wine selection.  They do not yet have any gluten-free beers, but Ormsby’s wines by the glass are well priced, with a large selection.  (Sure, it feels a little funny to not be getting a beer at a place intended for beer drinkers, but we celiacs are used to feeling a bit out of place at breweries and taverns.)  My wine preference here is the $8.50 glass of Grayson Cabernet Sauvignon.  The biggest difficulty is finding Ormsby’s as it’s basically in the basement of the building.  If you park in the garage behind West Egg, and walk towards White Provisions, there’s a big wooden door with a small sign saying Ormsby’s.  On a Saturday night, it’s not as difficult to find as this quickly popular spot will have a long line of folks waiting to get through the door.

It isn’t just the booze that makes Ormsby’s a great place to meet up with friends, watch a game or celebrate a birthday.  Downstairs they have a variety of games to entertain, such as bocce ball, shuffleboard and darts.  We went to Ormsby’s one of the first nights it was open and had a great time playing the games.  Now that Ormsby’s has been ‘discovered,’ you should definitely plan on waiting awhile for a game on a Saturday night.  Weekday nights or a weekend afternoon might be your better bet if trying to get in on the game action.

David and I went a few weekends ago to watch the Duke/Georgetown basketball game.  (We don’t have television so during basketball season, we spend more money going out to watch games than an actual cable bill would cost.)  As Duke was getting frustratingly clobbered, David and I noticed Ormsby’s also has board games.  Love it!  We pulled out Scrabble and brought it over to the bar.  I proceeded to crush David at Scrabble, as witnessed by our friend John Jones, making me victorious in at least something that day, since my Dukies couldn’t pull off the ‘W’.

Ormsby’s will continue to be one of our ‘go to’ Westside neighborhood spots due to its  great atmosphere and the entire place is non-smoking.  Ormsby’s has enough TVs so you can watch your favorite game (they’ll even change the channel for you), but the televisions don’t overtake the place like some sports bars.  The wine list is pretty expansive, not limited to ‘house red wine’ like many beer spots.  As I mentioned earlier, gluten dominates the menu, so if you’re looking for a gluten-free dinner, try somewhere else in the neighborhood for dinner, then venture to Ormsby’s for a glass of wine, boiled peanuts and a game of bocce.

Ormsby’s –  1170 Howell Mill Road – Atlanta, GA 30318 – (404) 968-2033

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Posted in Baking

Have I mentioned before that I love peanut butter?  Well, I do.   The other day I was craving the combination of peanut butter and chocolate (again!) so I decided to make peanut butter brownies.  I used a recipe from Epicurious as my guide for this experiment, and I must say this dessert turned out very yummy.  These brownies had the perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate goodness.  The peanut butter was not overpowering.  The brownies sank a little in the middle after I took them out of the oven, but I only used ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum when I made them.  In the recipe below I’ve changed that amount to ½ teaspoon.  This extra xanthan gum should deal with some of the sinking problem.

 

I love using chopped semisweet chocolate in this recipe.  If you don’t have any nice semisweet chocolate, chocolate chips could also work.  These brownies look more like blondies, because of their tan color, and not brownies, but you can definitely taste the chocolate.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Brownies (Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy JIF peanute butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ rice flour white
  • ¼ cup tapioca
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour (I used rice flour) an 8-inch square baking pan.  In a medium bowl, mix flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer until smooth. Add peanut butter to butter; beat until well blended.  Scrape down sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in brown sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each egg is added. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture; beat until blended. Stir in chocolate.

 

 

Transfer batter to pan. Using spatula, smooth top. Bake until toothpick inserted 2 inches from edge of pan comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 33-35 minutes.

 

Transfer pan to rack and cool completely.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.

 

Of course they’re even better with ice cream.  Why is peanut butter so good?

Even Super Bowl Stars Go Gluten-Free

Posted in Advice

With yesterday’s NFL division championship games, I couldn’t resist giving a shout out to New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, a fellow gluten-free eater.  While Brees does not have celiac, he has an allergy to gluten and eats a diet free from wheat and gluten.  (Brees discovered this allergy in 2004 as well as allergies to dairy and nuts.)  Check out this 2007 Sports Illustrated article that discusses Brees’ workout regime as well as a typical day of gluten-free meals for the quarterback.  In a Wall Street Journal interview last fall, Brees claims that he has much more energy due to his new diet and these changes allow him to sleep better and perform better on the athletic field.  Clearly this professional athlete values making his body feel as good as possible because he relies on his energy and health in order to be successful at his job.  (Lots of people rely on Drew Brees feeling good and throwing well!)  While we may not all be NFL stars, each of us needs to feel our best in order to engage in our own daily tasks.  Hopefully Drew Brees will continue to feel energized and healthy as he continues to train for the Super Bowl in two weeks.  Go Saints!

Dorms, Tailgating, & Cafeterias: Gluten-Free College Advice

Posted in Advice

In the last couple of weeks, two of my former students have been diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerances.  As the number of celiac diagnoses continues to increase in the United States, more and more teenagers and adults in their early 20s will be turning to a gluten-free diet.  Going gluten-free creates many challenges for people of all ages, but young adults have their own set of hurdles they must face as they adjust to their new dietary guidelines.

In emailing recently with a student who was just diagnosed with celiac, it reminded me just how difficult it is for teenagers and college-aged people with celiac to cope with their gluten-free diet.  When you’re living on a dorm or in an apartment with others, you have less control over the food that surrounds you and even what goes in your mouth.  You’re more likely to go out or be eating in a cafeteria, which means you’re not the one preparing your food.  I get a little anxious anytime I eat out or even go to a friend’s house for a meal, but for those at boarding school, in college, or even recently out of college, eating outside of your home is a constant reality.

Even though I wasn’t diagnosed with celiac until post-college, I can understand some of the issues young celiacs face in their daily lives, after living at a boarding school for the last three years and still being a “20-something” myself. I’ve provided some tips to help alleviate the stress that can come with celiac and putting your dietary needs in the hands of others.  Even if you’re not a teenager or in your early 20s, you might still find these tips helpful for you.

–       “Be prepared.” Yes, I know this is the Boy Scout’s motto, but it is key to living the gluten-free life.  I never travel anywhere without a small stash of food in my bag.  A Lara Bar, a bag of peanuts, and M&Ms are always on hand for me, no matter where I’m going or how certain I am that I’ll be able to consume a gluten-free meal.  You never want to be caught hungry and empty handed.  Believe me, it’s not a good feeling (and it becomes more tempting to eat gluten when you’re hungry).

–       Create your own late night snacks.  In college, there’s a lot of late night eating, for a variety of reasons.  People are up later studying or hanging out on dorm so there’s a need for more sustenance at unusual hours.  Also, alcohol consumption translates into thinking late night pizza is a good idea.  Well, it’s really not a good idea for you now that you’re gluten-free.  Make sure that you stock up on things that you can eat late night, if you enjoy this aspect of college life.  I met a girl with celiac who loves late-night pasta, so she always makes sure that she has some gluten-free pasta in her apartment to whip up when she feels the need.  Frozen GF pizzas might do the job as well.  I know it’s not the same as greasy, freshly delivered pizza, but we all have to make life adjustments.  (Good news!  5 Guys burgers are GF without the bun and their fries are gluten-free as well so this could be a good late night food stop for you if you’re feeling the post-bars food craving.)

–       Ask Questions.  It can feel awkward and even obnoxious to constantly ask questions about the food you’re eating, but it’s a must.  Especially since you can’t control how things are being prepared and what ingredients are going into them, you must be informed.

–       Make friends with the people who make your food.  If you are on a meal plan at college, introduce yourself to the managerial staff and the people who make and serve your food.  If they know you and understand your needs, they’ll be more able to accommodate your needs.  If you go to a certain restaurant a lot, ask to meet the owner or the manager.  I’ve found that people in the food service industry want to get it right and are well intentioned.  Don’t hesitate to try to connect with those people.  When they can connect a face to the ‘disease’ they’re more likely to want to help you out and go the extra mile.

–       Find gluten-free places you trust: When friends ask where a good place is for you to eat, have answers.  Your whole outlook on your city or college town will change once you’ve been diagnosed with celiac.  It’s worth investigating your options so that you can go to restaurants with friends and feel confident in your meal.  I attended UVA and now when I go back to Charlottesville, my entire trip is different because I’ve discovered places that make great gluten-free accommodations for me.  Charlottesville is a town that’s known for its sandwiches and great bagel places, but I’ve found delicious food for me too.

–       Go with your instinct & just say, “No.”: If it doesn’t feel right, skip it.  This piece of advice comes from someone who has not always gone with her instinct and regretted it later.  I tend to worry about hurting people’s feelings but my health is more important than feelings.  I now ask to look at jars and labels at friends’ houses, even though it can be uncomfortable.  I politely turn things down if I think it’s going to make me sick later.  In restaurants, the same principle applies.

–       Beware Tailgating: Tailgating is a favorite pastime for college students.  I, too, love a good tailgate, but sadly, I have yet to find any gluten-free friendly tailgates.  Issues of contamination are almost unavoidable when people are grabbing sandwiches and chips with one hand while holding their glutenous beer in the other.  While it might feel a bit awkward to have to say “no” to every ham biscuit or piece of Bojangle’s fried chicken that’s offered to you, it’s worth it.  Even if someone has nicely made a gluten-free artichoke dip, make sure that gluten-filled food products have not been dipped into the same dip.  If I’m going to be at a football game, I make sure to have plenty of food with me and eat a big breakfast earlier in the day.

–       Limit the variables: I often describe my body as a science experiment, so it’s only fitting that I discuss ‘controlling variables.’  When I am planning a weekend away, I make sure that at least a few of the meals will be in my control.  I like to bring my own breakfast food and snacks so that at least some meals I won’t have to worry about potential contamination or food issues.  I find that bringing some of my own food cuts down on the variables (potential for getting sick) and makes me feel more comfortable at my other meals.  The nice thing about breakfast is that you can always get coffee with your friends and still feel like you’re sharing in the meal and the social time.  Limiting the variables definitely applies for college students as well because there are so many times that your eating is left in the hands of others.  Give yourself some meals where you create what you ingest.

–       Find activities that are non-food related: It seems that most of the social events we do with others involve food in some way.  There are many fun things to do with friends that don’t revolve around a meal so think about what some of those might be in your town.  For me, I enjoy hiking, running, going to an athletic event and even wine tasting.  (Cheers to wine being gluten-free!)

Staying healthy on a gluten-free diet is about monitoring what goes into your body.  When you don’t create your meals, this becomes more difficult.  Try to stay positive, especially if you’re still adjusting to your new gluten-free life.  I promise, it’s worth it.  There will be ups and downs, but over time it will get easier.

Gluten-Free Pasta at Figo

Posted in Restaurants

Craving pasta?  Great news!  Figo Pasta now offers gluten-free pasta at all of their locations.  Not only do they serve gluten-free pasta, but their new menu indicates everything on the menu that’s gluten-free by putting “GF” next to it.  All of Figo’s 18 pasta sauces are gluten-free so you have lots delicious of choices, ranging from cream based sauces to pesto.

I tried Figo recently and found the gluten-free fusilli pasta to be tasty, with good texture.  It was cooked just right and went well with my pollo sauce, a tomato based sauce with peppers and chicken.  My friend, Colleen, chose the pesto sauce, which was also delicious.  The noodles didn’t turn to mush like some gluten-free pastas.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Figo, it’s a perfect place for a casual and inexpensive dinner.  You order when you walk in and they deliver your food to the table.  It only costs $9.00 for a nice pasta meal.  All of Figo’s wines by the glass are between $4.75 and $7.50.  Figo is definitely a restaurant, not fast food, but with affordable prices.  I went to the Peachtree-Dunwoody location and all of the staff was super friendly and very attentive.

I don’t cook pasta all that much at home so I’ll definitely be going back to Figo when I get a pasta craving.  Maybe eventually they’ll serve gluten-free bread too!  Let me know what sauce you enjoy at Figo.

Welcome, Sally’s Bakery!

Posted in Uncategorized

Imagine walking into a bakery, smelling of fresh baked goodness, and actually being able to eat everything on display behind that glass wall?  For gluten-eaters, this is quite normal, but for those of us that are gluten-free, it’s a rare occurrence.  I’ve gotten used to walking into bakeries and other places with yummy treats, and finding my options limited to a cup of coffee or hot tea.  Good news, gluten-free Atlantans!  A new bakery just opened that provides customers with delicious, gluten-free food.

On Monday I had the opportunity to check out Sally’s Bakery, a brand new, entirely gluten-free bakery that just opened this week.  Located at 5920 Roswell Road, in Sandy Springs, this bakery was well worth battling Lenox Mall Christmas traffic!

Sally’s Bakery is owned and operating by Sally Owings with the help of her brother, Taylor, mother and father.  Sally, Taylor and their mom, Bonnie are all gluten-free.  Sally and her mom have been baking in their kitchen ‘laboratory’ for years and friends finally convinced them that they should open their own bakery.  I’d like to thank those people because I’m thrilled to benefit from Sally’s entrepreneurial endeavors!  I got to meet the whole family when I stopped by Sally’s and they were all enthusiastic about their products and eager to serve Atlanta’s gluten-free community.

 

The first Sally’s item I tried were her chocolate chip cookies.  Now I make my own chocolate chip cookies that I’m very proud of but Sally’s were equally delicious.  David, my resident gluten-eater, loved them too!  He even asked the next night if we could have them again for dessert.

In addition to the chocolate chip cookies, I also bought Sally’s Honey Nutty Bread and Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins.  The English muffins smell so good and taste just as delicious as their scent.  David and I ate them for breakfast and it is without question, the best ‘bread item’ I have eaten since going gluten-free.  I toasted mine and put cream cheese and Linden jam on my muffin.  It was pure gluten-free foodie delight!  Look at all of that cinnamon swirl goodness!

On Tuesday night we ate the Honey Nutty bread toasted with leftover lentil squash stew.  It was a perfect simple, but hearty, supper for yet another rainy Atlanta night.  The bread’s texture was nice and it tasted delicious with honey and butter.  You could also use it for sandwich bread as well.  This bread was also a hit with my glutie, David.  I’ll be slicing up the remainder of the loaf and freezing the slices in zip lock bags for future use.

Sally’s labels clearly list all ingredients on the packaging and she is extremely knowledgeable about her baking.  Many of her products are dairy and egg free, and they are very helpful in guiding you towards the products that will best fit your dietary needs.

I didn’t buy one of Sally’s pizzas but she makes pizzas with a variety of toppings as well as two dairy-free pizzas.  (All of her crusts are gluten, dairy and egg free.)  Sally uses a pine nut pesto instead of cheese for her dairy-free pizza.  A creative idea instead of just covering the pizza with fake, dairy-free cheese.  I might be buying one of their dairy-free pizzas in the future simply because I love pesto!

Sally’s Bakery offers a variety of products, including the following:

  • Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins
  • Hamburger buns
  • Pizzas
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Banana Bread
  • Sandwich bread
  • Cinnamon Raisin and Walnut (C.R.A.W.) bread

I highly recommend checking out Sally’s Bakery.  As of now, their hours are 10-6, Monday through Friday, and 10-2 on Saturdays.  Sally does ask that if you have a particular order in mind, that you call a day in advance so that they can make sure to have what you want.  Even if you forget to call in advance, you should still go to Sally’s because they always have yummy items for sale.

Let me know what you’ve tried from Sally’s and how you’re incorporating it into your gluten-free meals!

Sally’s Bakery– 5920 Roswell Rd. Suite 108A- Sandy Springs, GA 30328- 404.847.0211

Metro Fresh Menu Notes “GF” Items

Posted in Restaurants

Metro Fresh is a local spot that in the past few days, I’ve had multiple Atlantans tell me about.  Metro Fresh, located in Midtown, creates a new menu every day and the menu always lists “GF” next to items that are gluten-free.  What great news!  Some of today’s gluten-free menu items include:

  • Turkey Chili
  • Thai Veggie Soup with Lemon Grass and Tofu
  • Fresh Butter Bean and Corn Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto
  • Chicken salad with basil and honey roasted peanuts, red grapes with dijon balsalmic dressing

Check out Metro Fresh’s menu for yourself!  If you go to their website, you can sign up for their daily menu via email.  I just learned about Metro Fresh so haven’t yet tried it, but I’m salivating over the menu and all of my many options!  Let me know if you’ve tried Metro Fresh’s gluten-free options.