Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria’

“Bee-utiful” GF Cupcake at Buzz Bakery

Posted in bakery, travel on March 26th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

This weekend I’m heading back to Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Maryland for my friend, Becky’s, bachelorette party and wedding shower.   The final trip in a month full of busy travel.  Yes, I was just up in the Northern Virginia area a month ago saying goodbye to my brother, Rob, and his family before they moved to Japan.  While I was in NOVA in late February, not only did I get to hang out with my adorable nephew, but I went to one of my favorite bakeries, Buzz Bakery and enjoyed an amazing gluten-free cupcake.


Doesn’t it look delicious?  Not only is Buzz’s icing plentiful and oh, so buttery and creamy, but the cake part of the GF cupcake actually tastes like cake.  Of course I love the bee on top, as a reminder that spring might get here some day. (Note: bee is not edible.)  And if this yummy goodness that you see in the photo isn’t enough, when I dove into the cupcake with my fork (yes, I eat my cupcakes with a fork because I want to savor every bite), I found chocolate filling in the middle.  Basically an added bonus of icing.  Amazing.


I’m so glad I showed up at Buzz when I did because I got the sole, remaining GF cupcake for that Saturday.  (My apologies to folks who came after me looking for the same gluten-free treat.)  Buzz makes gluten-free brownies too, but while still yummy, the brownie’s just not the same as getting a cupcake.  The gluten-free gods looked out for me that day.  If there were no gluten-free cupcakes awaiting me in the glass case at Buzz, I would have felt a little bit like Clark Griswold in National Lampoons Vacation, driving across the country to Wally World, only to find Wally World closed.


Farm Table Celebration at Evening Star

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2nd, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

When David graduated from law school this spring, we wanted to find a place to celebrate with our families and share a delicious meal together. The owners of Evening Star in Del Ray (one of our favorite restaurants) also own a wine shop next door, called Planet Wine. This shop is beautiful, with dark wood shelves and wines displayed throughout and covering the walls. The owners have put a huge table in Planet Wine, naming it Farm Table. You can reserve the Farm Table for a night and get a special meal created by Evening Star chef, Will Artley, composed of seasonally fresh and local food.

David and I decided to see if we could get a gluten free Farm Table meal for our family during his graduation weekend. I contacted Clare Parker, who organizes reservations for Farm Table and she assured us that Will would be happy to create a gluten free meal for our law school celebration. Clare was super friendly and helpful throughout the reservation and menu planning process.

On Saturday, May 16th we arrived at Planet Wine with parents, brothers, sisters and spouses, and shared an absolutely delicious meal. Even though the meal was over a month ago, I remember it so well. The flavors came together perfectly and we had a great evening of food and togetherness. I have to tell you about the food itself, but just writing about it, will not sufficiently explain just how good it was.

We started with champagne and a canapé of Virginia Oysters on the half shell and beef tartare with spicy jicama and crispy yucca. I must admit that I was a little nervous about beef tartare but it was delicious and the different flavors and textures were perfect. The jicama and yucca acted like a crisp cracker that held the beef tartare.

After the canapé, we sat down and Chef Will Artley came out to chat with us and introduce the meal to us. The first course was a bibb salad with grilled asparagus, caramelized shallots and pancetta deviled egg. Wow! The deviled egg flavor was strong but went perfectly when combined with the asparagus.

For the main course, diners had the two options: grilled sea scallops with spring succotash and carrot emulsion or forever braised lamb shanks with fava bean ristotto. mushrooms and green peppercorn sauce. I went with the lamb shanks and it was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Will did a nice job of providing two very different options, so that everyone could find something they would enjoy.

The best part of the meal was dessert, which was of course gluten free! The baker at Buzz made strawberry rhubarb shortcake with vanilla ice cream. What a great finish to the meal!

So now that David’s buried in his study for the Bar Exam, I can’t help but think back to what a fun night we had at Farm Table. A meal made of fresh, delicious, gluten free food and our families together in one place. I love how food brings people together and Farm Table provided the perfect back drop for an evening of celebration.

Z Pizza in Alexandria Goes Gluten Free

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24th, 2009 by Betsy – 5 Comments

Great news! Z Pizza now has a gluten free pie crust. The crust is light and delicious. While I love the Rustico crust as well, Z Pizza’s seems to be more of a rice flour as opposed to the chickpea flour crust at Rustico. The Z Pizza crust is thinner and lighter in texture.

Z Pizza is not serving gluten free crusts at all of their locations yet, but their Alexandria franchise on Duke Street now has it. David and I were particularly excited about this new food option because Z Pizza offers takeout and my family loves Z Pizza. When people invite us over for dinner, I often feel like I don’t have good options to tell them of things they can feed me, so Z Pizza is a perfect option, particularly for friends who don’t cook much.

We ordered Z Pizza last week and asked all of the usual ‘gluten free questions’ of the manager. They make and bake their gluten free crusts in a separate part of the store AND they use separate toppings to put on the pizzas. I didn’t inquire as to whether all of the topping options are gluten free, so I kept it simple and ordered a pizza with veggies (the California pizza). Z Pizza uses fresh ingredients, many of which are organic. The pizza was flavorful, delicious and I didn’t get sick! The pizza also reheated well the next day so I enjoyed it for lunch too.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try any of the other toppings offered at Z Pizza.

Z Pizza
3217 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Two More Delicious Meals at Evening Star!

Posted in Alexandria virginia, Del Ray, Restaurants on December 22nd, 2008 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

On Friday night, David and I were looking for a quiet date night and of course we ended up at one of our favorite spots: Evening Star in Del Ray. As I’ve mentioned before, the food at Evening Star is always flavorful and the wines are well priced and they have a large selection of wines by the glass. David and I had not been to Evening Star in awhile so it was nice to be back.

We were thrilled to see Dennis, our favorite waiter, and he informed us that the chef now tries to make every dish on the menu as celiac friendly as possible. Great news! We ate the Mixed Grill as an appetizer which includes a grilled scallop and bacon with corn and an avocado puree. Wow! Sadly, I had never actually eaten a scallop before and it was so good! For dinner I chose the ‘Forever Braised Short Ribs’ with butternut squash risotto. Delicious! The meat was so tender and a perfect combination with the jus, risotto and meat. Also, for a celiac to simply be able to order an actual entrée off of the menu and not have to get it altered at all is so unusual and a welcome change.

I enjoyed my meal so much that I decided to bring my sister-in-law, Blair, to Evening Star on Sunday night while our husbands attended the Redskins game. Blair ordered the highly recommended short ribs and even though I wanted the short ribs again I decided to branch out and try something new. It was between the salmon and the duck for me, but I went with the pan roasted duck breast and I’m glad I did. It was cooked perfectly and full of flavor. The only modification I had to make to the entrée was to substitute the squash risotto for the barley risotto that comes with the duck. Of course I didn’t mind this modification at all because squash risotto is one of my favorite dishes.

Many thanks to Evening Star for considering all of the celiacs out there when planning menus! It is so nice to look at the menu and know there are multiple options for me and that the chef and waiters understand my needs. David and I look forward to many more date nights and evenings with friends at Evening Star. (Non-celiacs love Evening Star too!)

Evening Star Cafe
2000 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA

Evening Star Cafe on Urbanspoon

What’s for dessert? Buzz Bakery

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21st, 2008 by Betsy – 1 Comment

After a meal at Rustico, David and I often walk across the street to Buzz Bakery. Buzz is always ‘buzzing’ with people and they have a huge array of cakes, cookies and pastries. The best part is they have yummy gluten free treats! On the menu, Buzz has two types of gluten free brownies and cupcakes. I recommend the chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing. Before experiencing Buzz, I was never a huge fan of chocolate cake, but their chocolate cupcake is very flavorful and actually tastes like real cake. (It doesn’t leave a funny aftertaste like some gluten free sweets.) If you get a cupcake to take home for later, I recommend sticking it in the fridge and then zapping it in the microwave for about five seconds when you’re ready to eat. The brownies also freeze well. These treats are a bit pricy, but the chocolate cupcake is definitely worth the $3!

buzz solo 2

Not only does Buzz serve coffee drinks at Buzz, but they also sell wine by the glass and even champagne! Buzz stays open until midnight every night so you can always go for an after dinner dessert and coffee/champagne. Enjoy!

901 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314
Buzz Bakery, Coffee, and Dessert Lounge on Urbanspoon

Rustico’s Chick Pea Crust Pizza

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20th, 2008 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Last night the husband and I went to Rustico in Alexandria for dinner. We love their pizzas and they make a chick pea flour crust pizza that is by far the best gluten free pizza that I’ve eaten. The chick pea makes the crust much heartier and flavorful than the rice flower crusts I’ve tasted before. A word of warning: The people at Rustico make regular flour pizza as well so they don’t guarantee a gluten free kitchen. I appreciate that they understand this concept! That being said, they do cook the chick pea crusts in a different oven from the gluten pizzas AND they make the dough in a separate area of the kitchen.

The atmosphere at Rustico is very warm and welcoming. The husband and I enjoy eating at both the bar and in the restaurant. They offer the full menu in the bar and there are many booths as well. There are TVs to watch athletics and while it’s busy, it’s not so loud that you can’t hear the people that are in your group.

Last night I ordered the sausage pizza which is by far my favorite. The sausage is homemade and gluten free! One of my other favorites is the roasted mushroom with goat cheese. You can also create your own pizza too. In the past I’ve ordered grilled chicken and pesto. Yummy! One of the best parts is that I always have leftovers! Rustico also has a huge selection of beers, including about six gluten free beers. Pizza and beer, what more could a celiac want?!

The manager at Rustico is very friendly and nice. He always stops by our table to talk to us and see how we’re doing. You can also order pizzas for take out as well, which is a fun idea for a Sunday afternoon of football.

So while there is a risk of contamination at Rustico, the fact that the staff understands that there is a risk and that they try to minimize the risk. As you know, any time we celiacs go out to dinner, we’re taking a chance. That being said, the pizza is delicious and the staff wants to be accommodating. Even though I’ve had contamination in the past at Rustico (I’m extremely sensitive to gluten contamination), none of my other celiac friends have gotten sick.

Overall, Rustico is a fun place to go where celiacs can get food that is rarely available to us. This is a regular spot for us! It’s a great place to take non-celiac friends. Some people even prefer the chick pea crust to the regular crust!

827 Slaters Lane Alexandria, VA 22314 703.224.5051
Rustico on Urbanspoon

Evening Star

Posted in Alexandria virginia, Restaurants, Washington DC on November 12th, 2008 by Betsy – 2 Comments

The husband and I love going to Del Ray, a cute ‘up and coming’ neighborhood in Alexandria. One of our favorite restaurants is Evening Star Cafe. They have a quaint dining area and two bars. The downstairs bar can get a bit smoky, but we just discovered the upstairs bar, which is non-smoking and has TVs for watching sports. Besides the food, I also love Evening Star’s lengthy AND reasonably priced wine list. The owners also own Planet Wine, a wine store next door to Evening Store that also has a wonderful selection of wines and they are very knowledgeable and friendly. Sometimes they even sell gluten free brownies from Buzz bakery.

Now to the best part…the food! Every time I have gone to Evening Star, the wait staff has been more than willing to accommodate me. Their menu changes seasonally, but usually a large part of the menu can be modified to fit my gluten free needs. I’m a big fan of the salmon and their sides are delicious. Just make sure that the waiter clearly understands about the potential for contamination as well. It’s a small kitchen so it’s always good to give a friendly reminder.
For lunch I enjoy one of their salads with grilled chicken and one of their vinaigrettes. I have not been to Evening Star for brunch since I’ve been diagnosed, but from my ‘pre-celiac days,’ I can tell you, the brunch is awesome! I’m not sure, however, what their GF options are for brunch.

The staff at Evening Star is very friendly and the chef has even come out to talk to me before to make sure that I feel comfortable. Evening Star doesn’t take reservations so plan on having a drink at the bar if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s worth the wait!

Note: The owners of Evening Star also own Rustico, Tallulah, and Buzz Bakery…I’ll be blogging about them soon!

Evening Star Cafe: 2000 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
Telephone (703) 549-5051