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February 2011

Fortunately for people with Celiac Disease -- and others following gluten-free diets -- restaurants offering gluten-free menus keep growing in number. But there's a difference between a restaurant offering "stripped down," bland versions of their regular offerings (often resulting in nothing more than a grilled chicken breast, baked potato and steamed veggies) and restaurants that really invest the time in creating amazing offerings especially for their gluten-free guests. Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen is an example of the later. With locations throughout Arizona, Picazzo's sets the standard for gluten free dining with their extensive gluten-free menu that includes house-made gluten-free pizza. I had the opportunity to speak with Rick Freedman, the founder, owner, and Executive Chef of Picazzo's, earlier this week. His philosophy centers around offering his guests with the healthiest food possible. The result has been a new menu unveiled in the past year that incorporates more organic, local, and gluten free ingredients. Rick explained, "I'm all about eating healthy. And I want to be able to put bona fide healthy products out to our customers." Currently, 85% of Picazzo's menu is gluten-free. In fact, if you view their menu on their website, you'll notice they don't have a separate... Read more →

The products I've tried from Glutenus Minimus gluten-free bakery in Belmont, Massachusetts are fantastic -- whether you buy them pre-made, or buy one of their many pre-packaged mixes to make yourself. Their extensive line of products include cookies and squares, muffins, cupcakes/cakes, coffee cakes, loaves, and breads. They sell their baked goods and their mixes at their bakery in Belmont, and they also have their products available at area restaurants, bakeries, and markets. You can also order their mixes on their website. Special occasion cakes and cupcakes are available via special order, too. We have tried their blueberry muffins, which were fantastic...very moist and tasted like "the real thing." The mini vanilla pound cake we purchased was also very flavorful with a good pound-cake texture. These products were indistinguishable from gluten-containing baked goods. We purchased three gluten-free mixes to make at home: the Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake Mix (a top seller), the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, and the Vanilla Cake Mix. The coffee cake was outstanding. I'd never made a gluten-free coffee cake before, and most of the pre-made ones we'd tasted weren't all that special. I definitely know why this is one of their best sellers. And it was... Read more →

Our sister website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, just announced the addition of a feature on its site that enables gluten-free college students to review colleges and universities for their degree of "gluten-free friendliness." Reviewers simply follow the steps for Submitting a Review as they would for a restaurant, store, hotel, or resort, but they choose "college" when prompted for the type of establishment they're reviewing. By adding colleges as a choice of venues to be reviewed, GlutenFreeTravelsite gives college students a way to share their feedback -- both positive and negative -- with current and prospective students who follow gluten-free diets. If you'd like to stay in the loop about new gluten-free college reviews as we receive them, please "Like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or sign up for our free monthly e-letter (or do all three!). We plan on sharing news of new reviews though those channels. Of course, you can always Search Reviews of colleges by going to our Search/Mapping page and entering the town or zip code of the college in the search box. If that college has been reviewed, it will come up in the search results. But please be patient...since we just launched this feature of... Read more →

If you live in or will be traveling to the Seattle area, you may want to add Cafe Piccolo to your gluten-free "must try" list. Our winning reviewer this month happened to stumble on it by mistake recently, and was she glad she did! The wonderful aroma of this Maple Leaf neighborhood restaurant captured her from the moment she walked in, and the food surpassed her greatest expectations. Describing it as a "gastronomical gluten-free gem," she details their long list of gluten-free options, including homemade gluten-free fettucine (with any sauce), gluten-free meatballs (hard to find!), and any chicken dish on the menu. You may want to plan your visit for one of their half priced wine-by-the-glass nights, too! Read more about Cafe Piccolo on our Featured Review page ( ). Read more →