Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Places to Eat? - Crave Bakery

Crave Bakery: the new Henry's Market in Woodland Hills sells their products. Check their website for their numerous locations.
They describe themselves as follows
Crave Bakery has created a full line of gluten-free, casein-free desserts. Whether you’re on the GFCF diet because you have food allergies, celiac disease, an autistic child or just appreciate alternative and organic ingredients; we have something to satisfy your cravings. Enjoy the handmade flavor of products made with quality dark chocolate, free-range eggs, fresh ground flax seeds and organic brown rice flour.
I'm planning to try out some products and let you know.

GF section at Henry's Farmer's Market? Woodland Hills location

Henry's Farmer's Market - got a hot tip that they have a gluten free section here (much like whole foods south pasadena). I'm planning to check it out soon. There is one in Burbank, and one in Woodland Hills.

Woodland Hills Address and Phone:
21821 Ventura Boulevard. Woodland Hills, CA 91364-1838.
(818) 887-6473

Breakfast Item Review - Ian's Wafflewiches

Ian's Wafflewiches - 2 in a box.
Been craving that processed food flavor? Ian's wheat free/gluten free breakfast sandwiches (with gf waffles as bread...waffle + sandwich = wafflewich...duh.) are here to help!

Sausage and Egg Wafflewich - Tastes like something from a fast food restaurant. Rich flavor, made me quesy, didn't need to eat again for hours...just like the real thing. I didn't really like the sausage, and it could have done with some cheese..wich (pun intended) leads us to the other version.

Egg and Maple Cheddar Wafflewich - the cheddar is an upgrade over sausage, and maple syrup is good with just about anything. I felt like something was missing however, and I added my own strips of GF bacon to the second egg and maple cheddar wafflewich...results...rich, filling, less quesy factor. Great with coffee.

Canadian Bacon, Egg, and Maple Cheddar Wafflewich - doesn't exist, but should. I would pay a little more for this. Ian, if you're listening...er...reading, get it done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

GF Travel - New York, NY

I'm heading to New York in the near future, so this post is all about GF places that I am planning to
b)eat at
d)be jealous of
e)all of the above

The post will be edited sporadically until I leave...so that I can use it to find places when I am there. After I return, I'll update the blog to influence my future trips (and maybe yours..)

Nussbaum & Wu -- sign outside says they have GF options; located on Broadway at 113th.

Community Food & Juice - Has GF Beer on the menu, but I am not sure about food choices and it seems a bit pricey - even for NY. I'll investigate.
2893 Broadway
New York, NY 10025
(Between 112TH & 113TH Streets)

Babycakes - I'm looking forward to trying the banana chocolate chip loaf. Soon to add a place in LA.
248 Broome Street (Btwn Orchard & Ludlow)
New York City, NY 10002
(on the lower east side)
The owner wrote a cookbook...read the recipes carefully to stay GF.

Heathers BarSays they offer GF beer and cider with GF dedicated glasses. In the east village, but I have no idea about the ambiance or clientele (anyone care to witness a potential awkward moment?).
Opens at 4pm Thurs-Saturday, 6pm Sun-Wednesday.

Lula's Sweet Apothecary - some GF ice-creams.

Blue Smoke - BBQ place near Madison Square Park. Gluten free menu available online (PDF).

Haakon's Hall - Claims on the website that the Chef has experience with gf food and celiac disease. GF pasta, pizza, beer. Worth a shot...
1187 Amsterdam Avenue New York City, NY 10027 - Phone: 1.212.300.4166

Chipotle - see my earlier post under places I eat. Nice Plan B or Plan C. More pricey in Manhattan than SoCal. There is one at Broadway and 110th, if you don't want to look it up on the Chipotle site.

Positive GF snack review - TJs honey plantain strips

The first of many positive food reviews (I hope). Just picked up some Honey Plantain Strips from Trader Joe's. Only chose them because they were GF, relatively cheap, and sounded interesting. I devoured the entire bag...Nice flavor, could let them marinate in my mouth and gradually dissolve, or could chew on them. I'd recommend the marination, as it will make the bag last longer (Is marination even a word?). The whole bag chipped in (pun intended) at less than 400 calories, not bad for so much Honey. My one gripe about the product is that plantains tended to clump together - like boys at a junior high dance. I had to crack apart quite a few plantains in order to avoid putting a whole chunk of honey plantain in my cheek to dissolve over time. Would get them again in future, but not all the time...nice change of pace in the snack world.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Advocacy Email - Chipotle

So, I went on the Chipotle website and was proactive about my problems with their cross contamination. You are able to comment and send them emails. Here is what I wrote...sent at 11:15 am on November 11th, 2009.
I have celiac disease, and am allergic to gluten. I enjoy your barbacoa fajita bowl. Sadly, all the Chipotles that I have visited have the same problem - cross contamination of the cheese and lettuce (very bad for me). If you watch, employees roll burritos with the same gloves with which they grab the cheese and lettuce. Occasionally, workers also touch the tongs to the burritos when they serve the meat or other items. As I am allergic to flour, I would very much appreciate it if your assembly line began using tongs for the cheese and lettuce. It would also be great if you emphasized the need to avoid cross contamination of serving instruments. You do a great job of providing gluten free products, but need to be more cognizant dangers of cross contamination. I will post your response on my website. www.celiacsunited.com

If you'd like to chime in and tell Chipotle how you feel, do so here.

GF Recipe of the Week - sweet and sour pulled chicken

This is a nice, easy recipe.
Good for parties as you can do all the prep in advance.
Beware, it will be sweet. You may want to skip the brown sugar.

It is easiest to make in a crock pot, but you can use a large pot instead and hover over it all day...not my first choice. You can substitute boneless pork chops for the chicken if you are a traditionalist.

You need... Crock Pot, Olive Oil, Chicken Breasts, Bell Peppers, Canned Pineapple, Canned Corn, GF Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Garlic?, Corn Starch, Rice.


1. Using a crock pot, combine the following ingredients.
smidgen of olive oil (to cover the base of the crock pot first)

chicken breasts - whole (trimmed of fat)

bell peppers - cubed or cut lengthwise. take out the seeds of course. any color will work.

canned pineapple in fruit juice (enough to cover the meat/veg). I tend to use cubed pineapple.

gluten free soy sauce - 3 dashes (you can buy the GF soy sauce at whole foods or vons)

can of corn

sprinkle of brown sugar (unless you want to be healthy)

little bit of ground garlic (totally optional - avoid if it is date night)

2. Mix everything around, making sure to cover the meat/veg. If necessary, add a bit of water.
3. Turn on the crock pot and add the lid. (I hope you remembered this step on your own)
4. Cook it for at least 5 hours on high. Stir the crock pot if you get the urge, but you don't actually need to.
5. Remove the chicken breasts and shred them using a couple of forks.
6. Add a little corn starch (couple of tablespoons) to the crock pot
(it is less likely to clump if you mix it with some of the liquid from the crock pot in a separate container before adding it). This will make the liquid thicken a bit.
7. Wait 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Put the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and cook for another 30 minutes. This would be a good time to start cooking the rice.
9. Turn the crock pot to warm.
10. Serve the meal and enjoy.
11. Turn off the crock pot.
12. Try to have someone else clean up as you did all the cooking. :-)

Website Review - National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

There are quite a few GF websites out there. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has a well-designed, colorful web presence.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was formed as a national 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to raise awareness of celiac disease among the general public and the healthcare community, and to facilitate research to better understand the causes, mechanisms, and treatment of celiac disease.
They also have links to other GF blogs, that offer different slices of GF life. My posts are going to have a bit of a West Coast leaning to them (along with a healthy dose of sarcasm, humor, and the occasional rant - though I think you may have figured that out already).

I share their goal of raising the awareness of celiac disease...but I cannot be as earnest as they are all the time (though I am glad they are)...celiac disease is a major pain to deal with, and I find that humor and sarcasm help keep me going.

As for the rest of my review of their site...
The layout and colors are nice. Buttons neatly arranged in a soothing green.
Resources section is pretty nice. I think the Blog links are well designed and informative. I was disappointed that most of their activity seems to be centered in the Philadelphia area..but I guess you need to start somewhere. I like the symptoms checklist (like a celiac webmd)...I also think the personal stories section is a good idea.

What do you think of the celiac central site? Any other sites you'd like me to review?

Event to Calendar - May 15, 2010

The Celiac Disease Foundation's 20th Anniversary Annual Education Conference and Food Faire (try saying that 10 times fast) is scheduled for May 15th, 2010. If memory serves me correctly, that is a Saturday.

Location: Los Angeles Marriott Downtown
Details available at: Celiac Disease Foundation

I am more interested in the Food Faire than the Conference...even though I don't tend to gravitate to events or stores with supernumerary letters (like Ye Olde Goodee Shoppe).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alcohol and Co.

(awesome name for a nightclub/bar)

As a general rule, a celiac can imbibe anything that has been distilled.

It is also usually better to go with a high end premium spirit (less likely to have strange additives or caramel coloring of the non-USA variety). This gives you a great reason to acquire discriminating taste-buds. Sadly, premium alcohol costs more, much like premium gasoline. Contrary to popular opinion, ordering pricey premium spirits does NOT make your pinkie finger extend while you drink your alcohol.

I wrote about GF beers in a previous post.
BEWARE of mixers - that's a post for the future.

The following spirits should all be OK. They are listed randomly, with alphabetical subcategories...

Myer's Dark
Bacardi Superior and flavors
Bacardi Select
Bacardi 8
Captain Morgan
Gosling's Black Seal
Mount Gay

1800 Reposado
Cazadores Blanco
Jose Cuervo Gold
Patron Silver

Absolut and flavors
Finlandia Mango
Ketel One
Stolichnaya and flavors
Van Gogh flavors

Canadian Club and Canadian Club Classic
Crown Royal
Jack Daniel's
Jameson Irish
Seagram's V.O.
Wild Turkey 101

Bombay Sapphire

Courvoisier V.S.

LIQUEURS (tend to have a lot of gluten and junk...the following are OK)
Cointreau (for a better margarita than triple-sec provides)
Grand Marnier

SCOTCH (stick to the semi-good and good stuff)
Some people think that scotch is a no-go, but I have not read anything definitive either way. I think you are OK with the ones I list here.
Chivas Regal
Cutty Sark
Dewar's 12
Dewar's White Label
J&B Rare

PORT? (need to investigate)

F is for Fuhgeddaboutit (things that contain gluten)

Though most of my posts will strive to have a positive trend to them (as my first follower requested), I also need to be able to check things to be sure that they are OK. Hence, things to not eat...if you have celiac disease.

This is not the definitive list, as there may be things I am not aware of...

artificial flavor, avena, barley, beer (except the kinds listed in my GF beer post), blue cheese (most OK, not all), bouillon, bran, brewers yeast, broth (some), brown rice syrup (some), bulgur, caramel color (depends - usually OK in the USA but not elsewhere), communion wafers (if you are going to mass), couscous, cracker meal, croutons, dextrin (some), dextrimaltose, durum, edible starch, einkorn, emmer, envelope glue, farina, farro, filler, flavoring, flour (duh), food starch (some), fu (dried wheat gluten), germ, glucose syrup (some), gravy cubes, groats, ground spices (some), ham (check for wheat in coating), kamut, malt (and anything with the word malt...like malted milk, malt vinegar, etc), maltodextrin (some - usually from corn) , mir, miso, MSG (monosodium glutemate), mustard powder (some), natural flavoring, oats (due to excessive chance of crosscontamination), pasta, rice malt (don't let the word rice fool you), rye, scotch (alcohol), seitan (another word for wheat), semolina, soy sauce (there is 1 gluten free version), spelt, smoke flavoring, soba noodles, stamp glue, starch (some), stock cubes, suet, tabbouleh, teriyaki sauce, textured vegetable protein, triticale, triticum (found in some energy bars), udon, vegetable starch, vinegar (can be sketchy...OK if from an apple source), vitamins (some), whole-meal flour, anything with the word WHEAT in it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Places I like to snack (part 1)

Jamba Juice - fills in the cracks in my stomach after an unsatisfying meal, or allows me to soldier on until I make it home to cook. Started in San Luis Obispo as something like "Juice Club" which sounds like a retirement home for old steroid users. Kudos on the name change. Click here for their allergen list. Last time I checked, you must AVOID the Pomegranate Heart Happy Smooth as it will make your Intestine Unhappy Smoothy (lame, I know)...there are also some Boosts and Super-Boosts to avoid...not to sure about where they draw the line between Boosts and Super-Boosts...what if you only need an Adequate-Boost or an Above-Average Boost? I also don't know why the boosts are capitalized.

Trader Joe's - There is always something to try. They have the lovely new label (seen here) which denotes No Gluten Ingredients, which makes life much easier. It will be easier still when all the packaging has been updated to reflect this. There is a long list of Gluten Free items available online by clicking here, or you can ask them to print you one out in the store. The customer service people are always friendly, if sometimes clueless. Also, why does it seem like 5 tattoos is a prerequisite for employment at TJs? I've got no problem with tattoos, but it seems like tattoos tend to congregate on the arms of TJ employees.
Overheard...one tattoo talking to another... (I am not sure where I was going with this joke, so to save your sense of humor, I gave up. Maybe an update later?)

Whole Food's Market - probably the most expensive meat department I have ever seen (short of a bar on the Sunset Strip...) but I don't snack on raw meat, so I'll save that for another time. Pretty easy to navigate through the gluten free aisles - the South Pasadena WF is particularly good with a GF corner upstairs. They also have a GF flyer (ask at customer service) to help you shop, but it is very private label centric. They have a section of their website dedicated to GF shopping (click here) which is more than I can say for some other markets. To get back on track...I go here for the wide variety of cookies/almond crackers/and other total junk food.

I need to do a post on "good snacks" and another for "bad snacks" so that I don't keep throwing money away on GF prospects that aren't getting it done.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Places I choose to eat.

Hugo's Restaurant - expansive GF menu (and not that expensive). specials change weekly. I've only eaten at the Studio City location. Always pretty full, mixed crowd. Click here for the gluten free menu. And click here for the specials.

Chipotle - Wish I had bought stock in them 3 years ago. Get a burrito bowl and go to town. I go for the barbacoa fajita bowl.
Sadly, they have problems with cross contamination on the cheese and lettuce (avoid). If you watch, they roll burritos with the same gloves with which they grab the cheese and lettuce. Click here for allergen info.

In-n-out Burger - The key is Protein Style. Get a cheeseburger, hamburger, or double double. Protein style has lettuce instead of a bun. Avoid the sauce due to cross contamination. Fries are allowable as they have a dedicated fryer (another secret for you newbies to look for). My typical order is something like this
I'll take two double doubles, protein style, no sauce with tomato and cheese only and a side of fries. You got that that was protein style no sauce right?
If you are eating with a non-celiac friend, it is best to order separately as it is a hassle to try to explain why your protein style burger cannot share a bag with a gluten dripping, bread encrusted, cheeseburger.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
- great gluten free menu with wide variety. Sometimes you need to ask for the gluten free menu, but lately it has been part of the normal menu on a special page. Has even got gluten free soy sauce (usually wheat based, but not if you order it GF here). Only problem is the dishes are rather strongly flavored - ie. Lemon Chicken. Also, there are no beef dishes available..."C'mon now, why no Mongolian Beef, Chang?" The flourless chocolate cake will put you in an eyes rolled back sugar food coma. Click here for the gluten free menu.

Fresh GF Pizza for your GF Beer...

I just posted some GF beers. So, I need to plug a GF pizza place. That's right. Most pizza dough is not safe. Even the rice crust at my local Whole Foods suffers from major cross contamination (I'd never eat it). I ate at a place called Pizza Fusion in San Luis Obispo over the summer. The pizza was great, and they had GF beer to boot. They had proper procedures to prevent cross contamination, understood my dietary needs, and the pizza was awesome. The price was more than a Pizza Hut, but not unreasonable. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and lactose free options.

NOTE: Pizza Fusion's San Luis Obispo Location is now closed - not sure when it happened 7/15/10.
They recently opened a place in Santa Monica that I have been meaning to get to.
Pizza Fusion
Santa Monica, CA
2901 Ocean Park Blvd. Ste 123
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: 310-581-2901
Fax: 310-581-2902

Let me know if you try it.

Mmmm....Gluten Free Beers

Here are some gluten free beers. Note that they are never cheap. Get used to paying more for your alcohol. On a positive note, after a few years without beer, it'll all taste relatively decent.

I'll cover gluten free ciders some other time (yes, some ciders do have gluten - such as Hornsby's Hard Cider which you should avoid)

Redbridge Beer - The daily drinker. I get mine at Bevmo or Whole Foods. If you buy it by the case at Whole Foods, you get an additional 10% off. Good value for money. It is like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry of Gluten Free Beers. If they had any lame pub signs or anything, I would put them up in my garage.

Bard's Tale Golden Dragon Lager. Nice change of pace. Bottle design will inspire conversation with LARPers (Live Action Role Players - if that is your type...people that think about how life would be like with Dragons)...

New Grist Beer - Also relatively affordable. From Milwaukee, home of the Brewers...so it has got to be decent. Also, there is a smiley face on the bottle.

Green's - Variety of gluten free beers, but they are pretty effing expensive. I don't know that my wallet can afford my tastebuds should I try them (I have not). If you have money to burn, some of them are sold at Bevmo for about $6 a bottle.

Ramapo Valley Honey Beer is gluten free and Kosher...for you Kosher Celiacs. That said, they have been having a tough time expanding their brewery operations.

Hambleton Ales has both a GF ale and a GF lager, neither of which I have ever seen. Much like Bigfoot, I have heard rumors, seen blurry photos, and read about them in the Weekly World News. I have never seen them in person.

I realize there are a few I am missing, feel free to add them in comments. I'd also like to create some sort of ratings system. I'll look into that later.