Posts Tagged ‘Restaurants’

Two Things I Love…

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

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

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

Some of my favorites on the menu:

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

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

Gluten Freedom’s Top 5 Casual Dining

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants, Uncategorized on September 15th, 2011 by Betsy – 4 Comments

While I’m always up for a fancy dinner, there are times where you want to preserve your wallet and just don’t feel like getting dressed up.  Earlier in the summer, I gave you my Top 5 Atlanta splurge restaurants.  So I thought I’d share with you my favorite casual spots around town.

MetroFresh: A devoted subscriber to their daily menu, I love learning what’s going on in MetroFresh world.  MetroFresh labels all of their dishes that are gluten-free, dairy free, etc. making it easy to navigate and I can know exactly what’s available for me.  MetroFresh now also serves GF muffins each week that are delicious.  Try their new location in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  At this location they don’t list the specific GF items but you can ask someone working there and they will help you out.

A GF muffin at MetroFresh

Soup & squash salad at MetroFresh

Taqueria del Sol: While you want to avoid the chips at Taqueria (as they’re fried in the same fryer with breaded items), there are still many options for you.  In fact, you can even order corn tortillas to dip in guac and salsa so you don’t have to totally miss out.  I love their Memphis taco and their veggie taco (with corn tacos, of course).  Yummy, but just prepare to wait in line for a little while.

Tacos at Taqueria

Yeah Burger: One of my “go to” weeknight dinner places when meeting a friend or having a laid back date night, I’ll go here forever, as long as they have the “gluten-free 50-50.”  (Yes, that’s right: a glorious basket filled half with onion rings and half with French fries.)  Recently, YEAH has changed their GF bun from Pure Knead to Rudi’s.  I’m not thrilled about this switcheroo and might go bunless now but I still consider YEAH a favorite because of the fries and onion rings.  Oh, and the YEAH sauce is a-mazing for dipping.

Fuego Mundo: I don’t get to Fuego as much as I’d like, but I heart their black bean quinoa and plantains.  So yummy.  Basically their entire menu is GF so you don’t have to worry at all about contamination.

Bhojanic: Thanks to Mary Stuart, David and I have finally found an Indian place in Atlanta that we love.  Reasonably priced, these dishes have quite a kick and there are many gluten-free options.  The staff is very knowledgeable about their GF items.

What are your favorite places in ATL for a laid back dinner?

More Nashville Highlights

Posted in dessert, GF product, meals, Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on July 11th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

On our recent trip to Nashville, there were a few other spots that I felt worthy of a mention.  I love Atlanta but I could really see myself living in Nashville.  Great neighborhoods, family, fun coffee shops and ice cream.  What more could a gluten-free girl need?

Bongo Java Coffee: This east Nashville coffee shop is a great spot for a morning get together.  They have large tables with plenty of space to spread out, and park a large stroller!  My iced coffee was one of the best iced coffees I’ve ever had.  Wonderfully smooth and refreshing after a long walk.  They roast beans in the shop so prepare to take the scent of coffee with you when you leave.  It was so good we went again for breakfast on Saturday too…

Fido: Gluten-Free Muffins: Fido, another local spot, makes gluten-free muffins that they also sell at Bongo.  I tried their strawberry banana gluten-free muffin and it was a great alternative to the glutenous bagel “bombs” (which look delicious!) that everyone else enjoyed for breakfast.  They also have a coconut variety of muffin that gets rave reviews.  They only use rice flour (not a flour blend) but it was pretty good, despite being a bit misshapen.  I’m always appreciative when breakfast places have items I can enjoy, not limited to a plate of eggs.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: This delicious ice cream shop in East Nashville is worth the $4 for two half scoops.  Many of their flavors are GF including my personal favorites, salty caramel and pistachio & honey.  Yum!  Their sorbets (such as Riesling poached pear) look refreshing too but it’s hard for me to resist fancy ice cream.

In researching Nashville, it seems that there are a bunch of spots that offer GF options including The Wild Cow, Matteo’s Pizza and others.  I guess I’ll just have to go back!

Bongo Java – 107 S. 11th St., Nashville, TN 37206 – 615.777.EAST

Fido – 1812 21st Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37212 – 615.777.FIDO

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – 1892 Eastland Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206 – 615 262 8611

Our Top 5 Atlanta Restaurants

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on June 27th, 2011 by Betsy – 9 Comments

When David and I go for runs we talk about anything to keep us from thinking about the fact that we’re running. To quote David, “the best part about running is being done.” (Usually I let David talk and I nod my head, conserving as much energy as possible.)

On Sunday morning we went for a run and in the midst of our huffing and puffing, we created our “Top 5” Atlanta restaurant list.  When making the list, we had nice venues in mind.  Think entrees over $20.  Notice that I didn’t call this the Top 5 Gluten-Free Restaurant List…all of these make great gluten-free food because all of their food is lovely, quality and creative.

Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Bacchanalia (Westside): Favorite dishes: anything and everything.
  2. Empire State South (Midtown): We went here for the first time last weekend and loved it!  Our wonderful dining experience prompted our “Top 5 Discussion.”  Will post more details soon.
  3. Iberian Pig (Decatur): Favorite dishes are “BWDs” and lamb ribs
  4. Rosebud (Virginia Highlands): Favorite dish: scallops with pineapple smoked bacon, caroline rice, and sorghum mustard peppercorn honey
  5. Wisteria (Inman Park): Favorite dish: rack of lamb and mashed potatoes

What are some of your ATL favorites?  What do you like to order?  David and I are always looking for new places to try!

Still to come: Top 5 Atlanta casual spots…list to be determined during our next run.

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

Gluten Free in D.C.

Posted in travel, Uncategorized, Virginia, Washington DC on May 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment
Living Without's June/July Issue

Living Without's June/July Issue

As some of you know, I spent a significant part of my life calling the DC area “home.”  When I was diagnosed with celiac, I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, so my gluten-free journey started in our nation’s capital.  I recently had the opportunity to write another article for Living Without Magazine about traveling to Washington, D.C., in honor of the 4th of July.  This article (found in the June/July issue) highlights the festivities unique to our nation’s capital on this patriotic holiday, but is also useful for navigating the city any time of year.

My Article!

My Article!

Check out the restaurants and activities for yourself!  Doesn’t it make you want to take a quick trip to DC?  If you don’t have time to pick up a copy at Whole Foods, you can read “Happy Birthday America: Celebrate the 4th of July in Allergy-Friendly Washington, DC” online by clicking here.

We love DC: David and me at Obama's Inauguration

We love DC: David and me at Obama's Inauguration

Which of these restaurants and sights are favorites of yours?  Anything I left out?

Apples are Gluten-Free: Visiting the Big Apple

Posted in Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on May 18th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Recently, David and I made a trip to New York, and I must admit, I took advantage of every opportunity to enjoy this city that’s a gluten-free diner’s delight.  There were many places I wanted to try and sadly, I wasn’t able to get to all of them. Not for a lack of trying though!  We walked all over the city, exploring neighborhoods, checking out the sites and enjoying some delicious meals.  In fact, we did so much that I’ve got to split this trip into three different posts because I don’t want to overload you with information.  I don’t think I could ever live in NYC, but I plan on visiting more frequently than I have in the past, once every five years!

On Friday afternoon we arrived in NYC, checked into our hotel and immediately set out to explore, before meeting up for drinks at Extra Virgin Restaurant with our friend, CJ.  We wandered around the West Village, looking at shops and enjoying the people watching.  After a great visit with CJ, who mapped out the whole city for us, we set out for our first Big Apple dining experience.  We had reservations at Perilla, owned by Top Chef’s Season 1 winner, Harold Dieterle.  While I didn’t have any Harold sightings, I thoroughly enjoyed his restaurant.  Located in Greenwich Village, Perilla opened in 2007, and describes its cuisine as “Seasonal American.”  There are only eighteen tables in the entire restaurant and ten bar stools so you definitely want to make reservations.


We sat at our cozy table and devoured every bite of our meals. For an appetizer, I ordered the slow poached chicken egg that came on a very springy bamboo rice with arugula.  The bright green of the rice looked beautiful with the fresh yolk on top.  (They served mine without the mustard crumble on top, as it contains gluten.)  For my entrée I chose the lamb chop that normally is served with orzo.  Instead, the chef substituted some of the meatiest, most flavorful mushrooms I’ve ever eaten.  Those veggies could have been a meal in themselves.  The lamb chop was huge, amazing and perfectly tasty.  I definitely “out ordered” David.  Luckily, there was plenty to share.  Even though Perilla’s service was not the best I’ve ever had, we still left Perilla happy that we’d made the selection because of the food and the atmosphere.  (I thought the sub par service might just be an NYC thing, but all of our other dining experiences in NYC were accompanied with great service.)


On Saturday morning, David and I woke up with no plans until dinner that evening.  We decided to follow Elaney’s suggestion and head to Chelsea Market, in the Meatpacking District, which originally housed the National Biscuit Company in the late 19th century. This industrial building now houses many shops, eateries and other cool spots.  Being that “sleeping in” for David and me is 8:00, we were some of the first people on the street that morning.  When we arrived at Chelsea Market, we enjoyed having the place to ourselves, and wandering about, peeking in the windows of the not yet opened stores. We enjoyed some Ninth Street Espresso coffee and the rare opportunity to just be together, with nothing else going on.  (Our lives have been a tad bit busy recently!)

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

We sipped our coffee and waited for Friedman’s Lunch to open at 10:00.  I had spotted this restaurant’s menu online and noticed that they star the items on their menu that can be made gluten free, and according to their menu, almost all items, including pancakes and cheddar waffles (wow!), can be created to accommodate a gluten-free diner.  So I had to check Friedman’s out for myself.  Of course we were some of the first customers in the door at 10:05.  (We’re obviously not trendy New York diners that eat brunch at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I was proud of myself for waiting until ten!)  Our server was very friendly, accommodating and willing to answer all of our questions.  She tries to eat gluten free too, so she had many recommendation and I felt comfortable that I was getting a carefully made gluten-free meal.



I ordered the gluten-free pancakes and David sweetly ordered his pork flautas to be gluten free, so we could share.  We enjoyed more coffee and eagerly waited for our meal.  My pancakes were some of the most delicious pancakes I’ve eaten since going gluten free.  They were perfectly cakey and fluffy and they looked different enough from the gluten pancakes the diner next to me was enjoying, so I didn’t live in fear that I had eaten the wrong ones!  The berries on top were a fun touch that made me feel like I was dining out, and not eating pancakes in my house.


David’s pork flautas, a Mexican dish, that’s basically shredded pork, wrapped in corn tortillas and fried (in a GF fryer, of course), were amazing.  They were accompanied with a beautiful egg on top and what seemed like an entire avocado.  A very hearty brunch dish that was perfectly savory while my pancakes were wonderfully sweet.


Friedman’s is a definite recommendation, whether you’re gluten free or not.  They have gluten-free bread, so all of their sandwiches can be made gluten free.  It was so good, we really thought about going back to Friedman’s on Sunday but decided to try other spots instead.

View from the Highline

View from the Highline

After a truly indulgent brunch, and now completely wired on caffeine, we set out for a walk along the Highline, on Manhattan’s Westside.  Originally designed in the 1930s, to keep freight trains off the streets of New York, it’s now a public park.  This beautiful walk above the city, will ultimately be a mile and a half, upon completion.  The Highline truly is a breath of fresh air in the middle of the city.  I was amazed by the greenery planted between the railroad tracks, the beautiful benches, and that it was open to everyone.  You have to see the photos to understand this unique “park.”  This walk was the perfect way to get a different perspective of the city, and move around after our yummy breakfast.



For the remainder of our Saturday, we walked endless miles around the city, going in and out of shops, checking out the neighborhoods and learning to navigate our way around the city.  We were just biding our time until our next meal…


All Good Things Must Come to an End: Top Chef All-Stars Finale

Posted in Atlanta, TV on March 31st, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

As you know, I love all things culinary and all things reality TV, so Bravo’s Top Chef is the perfect combination for me.  Last night’s finale of Top Chef All-Stars involved a show down between Washington D.C.’s Mike Isabella and Atlanta’s Richard Blais.  My adult life flashed before my eyes as my two cities battled it out!  Who was I rooting for?  Well, Mike Isabella hasn’t done himself any favors in the personality category (even once he and Antonia established their ‘cousin’ bond) and since Richard and I are basically BFF (ok, I’ve met him three times), I had to cheer for the home team.  ATL!

The final Judges' Table: so sad it's coming to an end

The final Judges' Table: so sad it's coming to an end

Both Mike and Richard produced amazing 4-course dinners with the help of their sous-chefs (former All-Star conestants).  I was particularly pleased by the ‘simplicity’ and elegance of this challenge, as I felt that most of this season involved buffet-style/too casual meals, involving crock pots, nachos, and comfort food, so I was happy to see these two really produce their most quality food.

Richard’s mind games almost got the best of him, but he made the right decision to re-work the foie gras ice cream (yuck) for round two of judging. (Thank you, Spike!)  I’m psyched to see how Richard will put his 200 G’s to work, and happy to be in Atlanta so I can experience it for myself.

The entire cast watches as the announcement is made.  Casey, what are you wearing????

The entire cast watches as the announcement is made. Casey, what are you wearing????

If you enjoy Top Chef, and all of its quirkiness, you must check out Jon Watson’s Top Chef Finale Recap.  He puts into words everything you’re thinking while watching the show.  After reading Watson’s recap, I’m just sorry I didn’t watch the after show.  (I’m sure it will be on Bravo ten times this weekend.)

What a week!  Top Chef finale AND the NCAA Final Four.  A-Mazing.


Living Without Magazine Features Atlanta as Travel Destination

Posted in advice, Atlanta, local food, reading, Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on November 15th, 2010 by Betsy – 12 Comments

Guess What?  The most recent issue of Living Without Magazine (Dec/Jan) features Atlanta as its travel destination.  Of course, you and I know how many awesome gluten-free options Atlanta has, but the rest of the country might not realize the plethora of restaurants that go above and beyond to help out those of us with special dietary needs.


You can get a teeny glimpse of the article by clicking here but you have to purchase a copy for yourself in order to read the entire article, and see if there are any spots you’re missing.  You can find Living Without on shelves at Whole Foods and other natural food stores.

Friends and Readers, gluten and non-gluten eaters, who don’t reside in Hotlanta, this should give you even more reason to visit ATL.  If the Real Housewives, the music industry and Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full, weren’t enough to get you down here, all of these yummy food spots, should finally twist your arm.  The only trouble will be to decide where to go once you get here.

Oh, and one more thing…I wrote the article.  Yep, I’m pretty pleased as punch about it.


Yup, that's me, a 'Contributor.'

Two More Gluten-Free Spots in Charlottesville

Posted in Restaurants, travel, Virginia on October 20th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

During my recent visit to Charlottesville, I did not get to check out two eateries that have recently been put on my gluten-free radar.  One of my former students, who’s a first year at UVA (I’m so jealous!), goes to Rise PizzaWorks, a new addition to the Charlottesville restaurant scene, that offers gluten-free pizza crust.  Most of their toppings are GF, as well.


Also, while in town, a friend informed me that there’s a hot dog place on the downtown mall that’s gluten-free friendly.  I haven’t been there yet, but here’s the info:

The Downtown Hot Dog Company – 112 W. Main, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Have any of you tried either of these yet?  What’s the scoop?

Am I missing any other great gluten-free spots in Charlottesville that have gone under my radar?