Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gluten Free in New Orleans

I rang in 2011 in New Orleans and found some pretty amazing gluten-free meals! I stayed in the french quarter, and was worried the selection of food would revolve around gumbo, poboys, and fried foods.  While there were plenty of those, there were also quite a few great gluten-free options.

Our first night's meal was spent at Muriel's. The restaurant is located in a prime french quarter spot and has a very elegant and fun feel to it. They also have a gluten-free menu and great drinks. I had the Spinach Salad: Fresh picked spinach tosses in a warm apple smoked bacon vinaigrette, with spiced pecans, shaved sweet onions, and feta. And the Gulf Shrimp Herbsaint: sautéed Louisiana shrimp served with a fennel herbsaint cream. Both plates were delicious and to top it off, we finished the meal with Muriel's flourless chocolate cake! If you want to eat in the dining room call ahead, reservations are almost always required; however, if you're okay with a more casual setting, their indoor courtyard doesn't require a reservation.

Napoleon House
Napoleon House: The Napoleon House is a tourist location in the middle of the french quarter. Built over 200 years ago and offered to Napoleon during his upcoming American stay (he never made it), you can see why so many people flock to this spot for a meal. The restaurant is incredibly historic and has a great atmosphere. The one downside, because you know there is one, is that they're famous for their poboys. There were a few items on the menu that didn't include bread and I opted for the Shrimp  Remoulade Stuffed Avocado. It unfortunately was very small and would be great as a light snack, but not filling enough for lunch. Also, while I talked to our waiter about my allergy, my avocado was served next to slices of toast-so be cautious when ordering and double check that none of those pesky breadcrumbs are on your plate.

Bloody Mary at Swizzle Stick
Swizzle Stick Bar: This cute bar located in the Loews New Orleans Hotel is a cute place for brunch and a drink. I enjoyed a cute bloody mary and the  new orleans shrimp remoulade-which was more of a salad. 

Luke's Jumbo Louisiana shrime "en cocotte"
Luke: Although they don't have a menu, the staff knew what gluten was and was very friendly in finding me an entree. I settled with the jumbo Louisiana shrimp "en cocotte" and oh my gosh it was amazing! It was pretty much a fancy shrimp and grits with andouille, but wow was it good! Luke also has an oyster bar and offers happy hour specials.  Check out their menu and website for more details, but it's definitely a must try when visiting New Orleans.

I also ate one meal at my hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn. They didn't have a gluten-free menu but the chef came out to talk to me and had a few suggestions. As you can see from this post, a safe gluten-free Nola option is always boiled shrimp and vegetables. 

Here is a list of other restaurants I researched that either have a gluten-free menu or accommodate us:
Bubba Gump's
Coquette Bistro and Wine Bar
Old Coffee Pot Restaurant
Cafe Amelie
Galvez Restaurant
Bootlegger's Bar and Grill
Naked Pizza

Hope this helps if you find yourself in New Orleans looking for a gluten-free meal! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Favorite Gluten Free Pizzas

As an American it's part of our DNA to love pizza, so why should Celiacs miss out? Luckily, more and more pizza places are joining the gluten-free revolution and providing a gluten free option. And why wouldn't they when you can freeze a crust, pop it onto some paper, and cook everything the same way (keeping in mind a few cross contamination rules)? After trying a ton of different gluten free pizzas, here are my top 3 favorites. If you have a chance, I highly suggest trying one! (These are in no particular order, I don't know how I would pick between them!)

Craig O's Pizza:
Craig O's
Locations are only in Austin, San Marcos, and the surrounding areas, but definitely worth the trip! The crust is as close to a deep dish crust I've found. The crust is fluffy in the middle, but crunchy on the outside-perfection! I've driven an hour out of my way to get a craig o's pizza before-they are amazing!  

Pink's Pizza

Pink's Pizza: Locations are all over the Houston area. The crust was thin and crispy. Their speciality pizzas make a huge difference too! I shared my gluten free pizza with a non-gluten free person and she said she'd never be able to tell the difference if she didn't know it was gluten-free. Yumm!

Z Pizza
Z Pizza:  You can find a Z Pizza chain in almost every state. The crust is thin and soft, but absent of any type of gluten-free taste. And just like Pink's, they also offer many variations that are gluten-free. I had the bbq chicken pizza and it was incredible! Definitely worth a try! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best Ever Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread

This is a must try! It's easy and doesn't require a bread machine. Most banana nut bread recipes I've tried usually come out dense and dry, but this one is just the opposite! The bread comes out really moist and surprisingly flaky! 

Recipe adapted from the Traditions, A Taste of the Good Life Cookbook.

1 cup sugar
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and eggs, then add bisquick and pecans. Pour into a greased 9X5 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until done in center. You may need to cover with foil the last 20 minutes to prevent the top from browning too much!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eating Gluten Free in the Airport (ABIA, DFW, MFE)

Last weekend I was traveling from Austin to McAllen for a friend's wedding. As most celiac/gluten sensitive people know, airports aren't the most friendly to gluten-free travelers. I've grown accustomed to living off gluten free cereal bars for hours on end, as do most people in our situation. But I thought I'd share my gluten free finds (or lack thereof) in the 3 airports I visited this past weekend. I hope if you ever find yourself in one of these airports this may be able to help you!

Side note: Just because a chain offers a gluten-free menu doesn't mean that the airport version of the restaurant will. Make sure to check the ingredients and training are the same. I found Maudie's in Austin and Blue Mesa in Dallas both have gluten-free menus in their restaurants, but could not accommodate the allergy at the airport. So beware!

Austin Bergstrom International Airport:
I have to say, I was really disappointed with the gluten free options. I've never paid much attention since I'm usually not in the airport for very long; however, after having a cancelled flight I had plenty of time to walk around and ask a few questions.

Mangia Pizza: look for the prepackaged salads. Make sure to check the dressings and that there are no croutons in the package.
Amy's Ice Cream: I couldn't get an extensive list, but ask and it shouldn't be difficult to find out!
Salt Lick BBQ: I'd stick with the baked potato with cheese and butter to be safe. The Salt Lick has a normal gluten free menu in their restaurant that states all of their meats, dry rubs, sauces, and potato salad are gluten free. But like I said above, make sure to verify that their products are indeed gluten free.

Other than the above choices, you can always find nuts, dried fruit, chips, and candy bars.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Subway: Yes! The 2 locations in the airport serve GLUTEN FREE BREAD! (and brownies too!) The 2 locations are A33 and B13. If you have time, this is a winner!
Cantina Laredo: Although the airport venue did not have a gluten free menu, my waitress knew all about gluten. I ordered the Enchiladas Del Espinaca without the poblano mole sauce. The rice, beans, and queso are gluten free.

Other options worth a try:

U Food Grill
Red Mango Yogurt
Dicky's BBQ
Einstein Bagels (I've heard they are testing a gluten free bagel in a few locations. Although I've never encountered one, it's worth a shot!)
Grove Natural Snacks
Smoothie King

McAllen Miller Airport
As any airport with only 4 gates, I didn't expect much as far as gluten-free fare goes. Although the only food option inside security was Quiznos, I was surprised to find rice chips in 3 varieties! They also had the usual chips, nuts, and candy to choose from as well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Royal Breakfast

I have to admit I became a little obsessed over the royal wedding. But then again, what girl hasn't? In honor of the big day I made a special royal gluten-free breakfast. To accompany the 4am wedding, I made blueberry biscuits, cheddar bacon biscuits, and royal english breakfast tea. I used Gluten-Free Bisquick and loved how they turned out!

Biscuit Batter:
2 cups gluten-free Bisquick
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
3 eggs.

Cut shortening into mix using a fork, until the shortening is about the size of a pea. Stir in remaining ingredients.

I divided the batter into 2 parts to make half blueberry and half cheddar bacon. If you don't divide the batter, double the recipes below!

For Blueberry Biscuits:
1/4 cup Blueberries
1/4 cup sugar

For Cheddar Bacon Biscuits:
3 slices of crispy bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 cup diced onion

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and drop the biscuits by spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes and enjoy! Makes about 12 biscuits.