Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

Perfect Sunday: Pizza & Football at Mellow Mushroom

Posted in Atlanta, favorite things, GF product, Uncategorized on October 13th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

How did I not (re)discover Mellow Mushroom pizza earlier???  Of course I remember Mellow Mushroom from my college days in Charlottesville, sitting outside, after a long day of tailgating.  Nothing went better with a pitcher of beer than a Mellow Mushroom pizza and pretzels.  Mmm, just thinking about that crust and those late afternoons makes me miss college and my gluten-eating days.

While I had read that Mellow Mushroom has a gluten-free pizza, I just hadn’t made it over there yet.  What was I thinking?  One Sunday afternoon, David and I decided to head over to the Mellow Mushroom on Peachtree Road and try out the GF pizza.  Not only was the craving for pizza pulling us toward Peachtree’s Mellow Mushroom, but their flat screen TVs and the NFL Sunday Ticket.

We’ve discovered our perfect spot for watching the Redskins when they’re not on the Atlanta networks.  Mellow Mushroom was just the right place for an early Sunday dinner with four football games happening around us.

Kosmic Karma with sausage: so many toppings. I love it!

I was very pleased by the GF pizza at Mellow Mushroom.  Of course it’s not the same as the pizza I remember from my C’ville days, but it’s pretty darn good.  And, they don’t skimp on the toppings so it’s not overly bready.  I went with the Kosmic Karma pizza with sausage and it was amazing.  I can’t resist anything with pesto!  The sundried tomatoes, feta, and spinach are an awesome combination.  Since my first visit, I’ve ordered the Kosmic Karma with chicken, another good protein addition.  (Going with just the veggies is plenty of food and flavor, so don’t feel like you have to order a protein topping.)

Almost all of Mellow Mushroom’s toppings are gluten free, and our server was very knowledgeable as to which ones contained gluten.

Unfortunately, Mellow Mushroom does not currently offer gluten-free beer on their menu but hopefully if more people request GF beer, they’ll add it to their beverage list.


Will I be going back to Mellow Mushroom? Um, already have.  Thanks, Mellow Mushroom, for making a delicious GF pizza that satisfies my carb and greasy food cravings!  I’ll look forward to more Sunday afternoons with you.  You can also call ahead and order takeout too.  Another great option for an easy Sunday dinner! The Vinings location also sells gluten-free pizzas, if that’s closer to your neck of the woods.

Note: I found that reheating the GF pizza worked best in the oven, not in the microwave.  The pizza returns to its normal state in the oven, but is not so good in the microwave.

Mellow Mushroom – 1770 Peachtree Street NW – Atlanta, GA, 30309 – 404.687.4766

Dining Highlights in Laguna Beach

Posted in Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on August 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

We wined and dined on vacation and I’ve got to admit, I loved taking advantage of the opportunity to splurge. Our trip to Laguna was such a fun celebration of our marriage (we had our 7th wedding anniversary this summer!!!!), and a rare opportunity to spend time together, free from work, computers, house projects, and distractions.  Aah…so nice.

As I mentioned earlier, we hopped in a cab to Laguna Beach to access a few more dining options with a lower price…

Nirvana Grille: Located in downtown Laguna, Nirvana has both indoor and upstairs patio seating.  David and I both loved our meals here and more importantly, they have a very clearly marked gluten-free menu, which states what gluten-free diners can enjoy, and specifically lists what modifications need to be made.

David and I shared the artichoke, spinach and parmesan stuffed poblano (with bread on the side, for David).  It was so delicious we devoured it before I could even think to take a photo.  I’ve given you the pitiful remnants below.

The remnants of our stuffed pepper

For my entrée, I chose the Coconut Curry Tofu and loved it.  After a lot of heavy eating, the curry tofu was a different and lighter option and yummy!  Nirvana also has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well and the entire menu has lots of variety so all diners have plenty of choice.  Also, a great wine selection!  Definitely a must visit if you’re in Laguna.

Nirvana Grille's Tofu Curry


Another dinner spot that we checked out was Coyote Grill, located between the St. Regis and downtown Laguna (only about a $10 cab ride from the hotel).  There’s nothing fancy about Coyote but it’s ocean front location is not to be missed.  While they don’t have a gluten-free menu, I had read online before our trip that Coyote had lots of GF options and is familiar with the gluten-free diet.  I ordered the chicken fajitas with corn tortillas which came with tons of veggies, black beans, guac, and all of the delicious additions I love.  The meal was huge and David and I definitely could have split it, but he went with the ribs at the suggestion of the waiter.  Coyote is also known for their brunch but we didn’t make it back to check it out for ourselves.

BJ’s Restaurant: This casual, family-friendly restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway in downtown Laguna, makes gluten-free pizzas!  I’m always eager to sample a new variety of GF pizza and there’s was delicious.  Their thin crust pizza has a hint of sweetness to it, with rosemary baked into the crust.  All of their toppings, except their meatballs are GF.  I ordered a pizza with sausage and artichokes and loved it.  Half was plenty for me so I took the leftovers back to the hotel for lunch the next day.

BJ’s also has a gluten-free/allergen menu so all dietary needs can be taken into consideration when dining here.  If you’re not in the mood for pizza, try one of their salads or giant stuffed potatoes.  BJ’s also sells GF ciders and Redbridge beer, a perfect addition to a pizza dinner!

BJ’s doesn’t take reservations so be prepared to wait a little while for a table as it has a pretty small dining area.  You can call 30 minutes ahead, to get your name on the list.  BJ’s is a great choice if you’re looking for a more casual, laid back dinner in Laguna.  While I was sad not to be able to enjoy the glutenous deep dish pizza, my GF pizza was pretty darn good.

Ok, I’m finally done boring you with the details of our California trip.  Maybe I’ve inspired you to take a trip vacation of your own.

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Our Last Day in NYC

Posted in bakery, dessert, GF product, meals, Restaurants, travel, vegetarian on June 1st, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment


On our last day in New York, David and I yet again, woke up before the rest of the city, and headed out for a bit of culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (We’re both former history teachers so we had to get a little history squeezed into this trip.)  I have to eat within about 30 minutes of waking up so we stopped at Dean & Deluca for some much needed coffee and breakfast.  Being the planner that I am, I had purchased a mini-coffee cake at Tu-Lu’s Bakery the previous day.  I have no shame so I broke out my coffee cake at Dean & Deluca and it was oh so wonderfully perfect with my cup of coffee.

GF Coffee Cake + D & D Coffee = Perfect

GF Coffee Cake + D & D Coffee = Perfect

I also bought a fancy yogurt to give me a little more nutrients and protein to get me ready for a day full of walking. I had never tried Siggi’s yogurt before but it said “Certified Gluten Free” on the container so I felt very safe.  (I love it when companies get their products tested and labeled.  Little things like that make travel so much easier.)

Siggi's Yogurt: Certified GF

Siggi's Yogurt: Certified GF

After our morning meal, we started walking toward Central Park to enjoy another day of nearly perfect weather in NYC.  We strolled through the park, watching more ambitious people running and biking.  (There was a big race raising money for Japan so it was fun to watch everyone in action.)  We meandered through the park, and ended our walk at the Met.


We had purchased tickets ahead of time so didn’t have to wait in any lines.  We unintentionally ended up at the Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty” first, which proved to be a smart decision since it was already pretty crowded and the museum had only been open for about twenty minutes.  This temporary exhibit (it ends July 31st) walks its audience through the short career of McQueen, who died last year.  Even if you’re not a fashionista (I’m definitely not, nor is David), you should still check out this exhibit.  It’s intense, provocative, and very educational.  The unique and inventive displays give you a whole new perspective on fashion and a designer’s vision.  It made me a believer that fashion is art.  (Who knew a group of dresses with “rape” in the title could be a reflection of the history of England and Scotland’s relationship?)


We continued through the Met, checking out the Impressionists, photography, armor and other exhibits, ending our tour with a cold drink in the American Wing Café, which is bright with natural light and a perfect place to rest your feet after a toursity morning.


Following our trek to Central Park and the Met, we splurged on a cab back to the hotel, took quick naps, and headed to the Lower East Side, for a late lunch at Pala Pizza.  I had heard rave reviews about Pala from the gluten-free community and it exceeded my expectations.  All of their pizzas can be made gluten free and they are very careful about cross contamination.  We had trouble deciding what we wanted to order but ultimately went with the fried calamari as a starter.  Pala uses separate gluten-free fryers and corn meal for the breading of the calamari.  It was delicious and so fun to get an item that I can rarely enjoy and would never make for myself at home.  (We all need a little something fried every now and then.)


David and I shared the lamb sausage pizza with pesto for our lunch.  Every bite of this pizza was delicious.  The light,crispy crust, the pesto and the lamb went perfectly together.  (Maybe I think that because lamb and pesto are two of my favorite foods!)  I dominated that pizza.  For the first time in our marriage, I ate more than David.  He offered me the last two pieces and I didn’t even hesitate.  Delicious!



After our meal, we walked across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn, in our Sunday best because we were going to a late afternoon wedding on a Brooklyn pier.  Walking across the bridge was a very cool way to get to Brooklyn, but I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit.  There are bike and walking paths, so the bridge is completely safe, but trip across felt much longer on foot than I thought it was going to be.  The Brooklyn wedding was beautiful, unique and a fun way to celebrate a couple.  We felt honored to be included in the festivities.

View of the Williamsburg Bridge

View of the Williamsburg Bridge

As I can’t normally enjoy wedding reception cuisine (except for the wine), we ended up at Caracas Arepa Bar for a late night dinner.  This Venezuelan restaurant makes arepas from scratch daily.

Wondering what an arepa is?  Well, it’s described on their website as, “”dense yet spongy corn-flour rounds, pitalike pockets, corn muffins, cake-swaddled mélange, white corn cakes, Latin sloppy Joe, sandwiches of a flat cornmeal patty, soft and smooth within, golden crispiness, tasty treats, burrito-killer, panini-killer, wheat-free, gluten-free crisp on the outside, steamy-soft in the middle…”  Sounds pretty good to me, right?


We ordered four arepas to go, including grilled chicken with caramelized onions and cheese, roasted pork shoulder with spicy mango sauce, and shredded beef, with black beans, plantains and cheese.  It was a lot of flavor combinations but I enjoyed sampling the different varieties.  My favorite was the grilled chicken arepa.


While we waited for our to-go order, I decided I wanted to go back to Tu-Lu’s Bakery one more time.  (And of course, David nicely complied.)  I partly wanted to return to the bakery so I could see for myself that Tu-Lu’s really stays open as late as it says it does (9:00 p.m. on Sunday nights and 10:30 on Friday and Saturday!).  I bought another cupcake (chocolate this time) and a cookie to take back to Georgia with me.

David and I finished up our amazing New York weekend eating arepas and cupcakes in our hotel room, watching the NBA playoffs…perfect.


Pala Pizza – 198 Allen Street – NY, NY 10012

Caracas Arepa Bar – 93 ½ East 7th Street – NY, NY 10009

Ode to My Food Processor

Posted in cooking, local food, product, recipe on July 30th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

food processor 2

Dear Mini-Food Processor,

You have been a wonderful kitchen gadget for our family.  Making hummus with you has been a favorite Sunday activity.  Your salad dressings are delicious and you always know just the right amount to make.  The perfect size for a batch of pesto, you’ve been a great friend in our tiny apartment.  Even though we keep you on the top shelf, almost weekly I stand on my tip toes, grab you, and put you to work.

You’ve been working overtime recently, as we’ve had an endless supply of basil.  Thank you for your hard work.  You never disappoint.  Even when I fine a large chunk of garlic in my hummus that you forgot to chop up, I don’t mind because I know that I ask a lot of you.


I have a confession to make, Mini Food Processor.  You’re going to have a new home.  It’s not that we don’t love you, but it’s time for us to buy a bigger food processor.  You will always be our first and I  have many fond memories of our time together.  Now that we’re moving into a home with a more spacious kitchen, it only seems right to buy a larger model.  I’m looking forward to working with our new food processor, chopping onions and other veggies, but just know that you will never be forgotten.

Your new home with the Williams will be much more spacious than the living conditions you’ve had for the past year.  Meredith will take good care of you, I promise, and make many yummy foods with you.  Keep chopping away.



food processor

Basil Dressing (in the Mini Food Processor)

This is a great dressing for salad and delicious to add to other summer dishes. Lighter than pesto, so it absorbs better into whatever you’re making.  Also, let’s be honest: Sometimes I’m a little cheap to make pesto.  Pine nuts are pricey so this is a solid alternative to pesto and not as rich.

Great to use with:

  • Roasted potatoes
  • Pork chops
  • Grilled bone-in chicken breasts
  • Tossed in a cold quinoa salad
  • Salad dressing


  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
  • juice from ½ a lemon (add more if you want it to be more tart)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • s&p

Put all of the ingredients, except olive oil, into food processor and mix.  Once blended, add olive oil.  If you want it to be more liquid thank thick (less like pesto and more like salad dressing), add more olive oil and white wine vinegar and less cheese.

Other Great Uses for the Mini Food Processor:



Pesto for pasta or pizza

pesto pizza

Spring Break 2K10 Continues

Posted in advice, cooking, travel on March 9th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments


Sun, books, writing, cooking, and rest. Glorious vacation. After a few days in Naples, Florida with Jen I’m feeling totally relaxed and in the groove of vacation. We wake up with no alarm, eat breakfast with a beautiful view of the water, gather our things and head out for a few hours of writing. Yes, it’s a total nerd fest. We spend most of the morning writing and drinking coffee. Around noon we head home for lunch, and then an afternoon of sun and books. The big decisions of the day include, pool or beach and which book to read? Lots of great conversation during and in between all of these. A late afternoon “wog” (walk/jog) followed by cocktails, appetizers and delicious gluten-free dinner. Perfect day.


Our gluten-free menu this week:
“Smorgasbord” of appetizers including hummus, Farmstand carrots, dates & parmesan, chips & salsa


Gluten-free pizza (Bob’s Red Mill) with pears, goat cheese, rosemary and caramelized onions





Farmstand salad mix with watermelon radishes, pears, red onions, & dried cranberries


Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Chicken with onions, rutabegas & sweet potatoes

GF Fusili pasta with tomato sauce, garlic, ground turkey, onions and oregano

Betty Crocker Gluten-free Brownies

Tonight’s my last night in Naples. So sad. For the final night, we’re going out on the town for dinner in Old Naples at Café Lurcat. So we’re not being totally anti-social this vacation. We even went to hear live music at the beach club the other night. We didn’t dance, but we enjoyed watching the odd (and most likely drugged) man dance. (See photo below.)


Each gluten-free vacation gets easier and easier for me. I continue to learn more about traveling gluten-free and how to stay healthy away from home. Of course it helps to have a gluten-free travel buddy who likes to cook just as much as I do.



Pizza Fusion: Gluten-Free Pizza & More

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants, Uncategorized, vegetarian on January 8th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments


Last Sunday I had dinner at Atlanta’s Pizza Fusion and realized that I had not yet written about this fabulous spot.  This environmentally conscious pizza place, located on Peachtree Road, has some of the best gluten-free pizza crust I’ve ever tasted.  (Most of their other locations have GF pizza too.)  David, my favorite gluten-eater, is even willing to order the gluten-free pizza at Pizza Fusion.  I like their crust because it is a light, crispy crust made with rice, tapioca and bean flour which is a nice combination.  The Pizza Fusion folks understand that you can’t use just one flour; it’s better to mix in order to get optimal tasting results.  The crust has the consistency of ‘real’ pizza crust and does not leave a bad after taste in your mouth.  Pizza Fusion also prepares their gluten-free pizzas in a different area of the kitchen, as well as bake them separately in order to avoid contamination so when Pizza Fusion says they have gluten-free pizza, they’re true to their word.

You do pay a little bit extra for the gluten-free crust, but I’m alright with that.  Their gluten-free crust comes in both the personal size and the large so you can share or have one of your own.  I went to Pizza Fusion with gluten-eating friends on Sunday night and the crust is so good that I wasn’t embarrassed to have other people share with me.  (We ordered a large GF barbecue chicken pizza.)  Peter said he couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free, and I think he was being honest!  My friend, Mary Stuart, enjoyed some of the leftovers later in the week and she loved it too.

PizzaFusion2 b

There are many things I love about Pizza Fusion besides just the gluten-free crust.   They have creative pizza toppings, not just your typical cheese and pepperoni.  I particularly love the barbecue chicken pizza, but I think next time I go, I’m going to try the Farmer’s Market or the Spinach and Artichoke pizzas.  So many to choose from!  The only pizza topping that gluten-free diners must avoid is the sausage.  The Pizza Fusion wait staff is very knowledgeable about gluten and every time I’ve been to Pizza Fusion, they’ve told me right away what I can and can’t eat.  I love knowing my options.  I also enjoy their Fusion Salad (skip the crostini).  The half-size is definitely big enough for two.

Not only does Pizza Fusion have GF pizza, but they also have gluten-free beers and a gluten-free brownie dessert.  I haven’t tried the brownie yet because I never save room, but I promise, next time I’ll try it and report back!  While I’m not a huge beer fan in general, it’s so nice to have the option of the ‘pizza & beer’ combo.  If you’re not in the mood for beer, Pizza Fusion also has a great selection of wines by the glass at reasonable prices.  I tend to prefer red wine with my pizza.

pizza fusion 1

Whether you eat gluten or not, you should definitely check out Pizza Fusion.  With a friendly wait staff, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, the folks at Pizza Fusion want to accommodate all kinds of dietary needs.  Let me know what kind of pizza you prefer.  Thank you, Pizza Fusion, for bringing more gluten-free options to Atlanta!

Pizza Fusion: 2233 Peachtree Rd. Suite M, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-351-9334
Pizza Fusion on Urbanspoon

Pete’s APizza in DC Offers GF crust

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5th, 2009 by Betsy – 2 Comments

On Sunday night, David and I had dinner with our friends, Chris and Molly at their DC home. Molly and Chris are always eager to try new gluten free options and they had discovered that Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (located near the Columbia Heights metro) offers a gluten free crust.

When we called to ask about the preparation of the crust and pizza, they were very knowledgeable about contamination, telling us that the pizza crust is cooked halfway in a separate oven and then when a GF crust is ordered, they put it in the oven with the other pizzas, but on a special baking stone for just GF orders. (It always makes me feel better and more confident in the food when the manager clearly understands the need to be cautious in preparing the food, not just the ingredients.)

The pizza was delivered to Molly and Chris’ house and we thoroughly enjoyed the crispy crust. Pete’s gluten free crust is a thinner, crispier crust with a great crunch. The only problem is there are so many topping options to choose. The only toppings that contain gluten are the fried eggplant and meatballs, but the rest are gluten free friendly. David and I shared the Nighthawk pizza which is topped with basil pesto, grilled chicken, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and mozzarella. Delicious! I look forward to trying the New Haven Green (artichoke hearts, oven dried tomatoes, sauteed spinach and olives) next time!

Pete’s New Haven APizza

1400 Irving Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-332-PETE (7383)

Pete's New Haven Style Apizza on Urbanspoon

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

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