Gluten Free Dining

This is a long overdue post to rave about one of the best gluten free dining experiences we've had in a long time. I know...none of us did much in the way of dining out for way too long during the height of the pandemic. But still, I'd put Nebo Cucina & Enoteca up against any gluten free dining experience in any big city. It was that memorable. Another reason it was memorable was because it was not just a meal, but rather a party to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th Birthday. She didn't want to be involved in the planning, per se, preferring things to be a surprise, but she did request it be held in Boston, which is where she grew up. And, of course, we wanted to find a venue that was very "gluten free friendly," if not completely gluten free, as my mother-in-law (and my son and my sister-in-law) are all Celiac. We wanted my mother-in-law and the other GF folks to be able to eat everything we ordered, without having to "miss out" on anything served. Ideally, we had hoped to avoid chain restaurants and to find a great Italian restaurant, because who doesn't love an... Read more →


Hello again after a long hiatus from posting. Now that our world has "opened up" to dining out again after the worst of the pandemic, I hope to regale you with more dining and travel profiles. This summer, our family didn't do any big trips. However, our younger son (who was diagnosed with Celiac over 17 years ago before he was even two years old and is the inspiration behind my Blog) made many trips down to Harrisonburg, Virginia from our home in northern Virginia. His girlfriend lives down there, and she and her family were always so gracious about finding spots where Ryan could safely eat. So here is the post I begged him to write, complete with all his recommendations. And please, if you know of any gluten free folks in Harrisonburg -- especially students at James Madison University -- send them a link to this post! Now I'll turn you over to Ryan... This summer I spent a good amount of time down in Harrisonburg, Virginia visiting my girlfriend. While there, she and I found a surprisingly large selection of gluten free friendly restaurants. While Harrisonburg is a small city, they offer all of the major chains... Read more →


I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't published a post for a while. Like many of you, when it comes to "dining out," we've been somewhat hunkered down and generally relying on takeout food when we need a break from cooking. We were able to venture out a bit to restaurants we trusted -- and that had gluten free offerings -- back in the summer and early Fall. I knew it would be tough after the Holidays...with cold weather setting in and outdoor dining more challenging. But, being hell-bent on supporting our favorite restaurants despite the cold, I took the lead from some others in my neighborhood and am starting to organize deliveries from restaurants to a central location within our neighborhood. People place their orders ahead of time for a specific date that I schedule with the restaurant, and the restaurant sends a truck (or even just a delivery driver in a regular car) with all the orders. It's a win-win, since I reach out to restaurants that are a bit further beyond the radius where our neighbors would typically drive to pick up takeout. So we all get convenient delivery of something special, while the restaurants pick up... Read more →


Like many of you, our family has been trying to support both independent local restaurants -- as well as our favorite restaurant chains -- during the pandemic. Obviously, as in most areas of the country, we don't have the option of dining out restaurants right now. But after a couple weeks of exclusively cooking at home, we longed for some of our favorite restaurant dishes and felt the risk of virus "contamination" from takeout food was low, based on the reports we were hearing. While we are still preparing most of our dinners ourselves, as we've always done, we try to get takeout 1-2 times per week in order to give business to all the places we know and love -- and who have served our gluten free community so well over the years. We want to do what we can to help them stay in business during these challenging times. Restaurant ownership is a tough business, even without a pandemic to navigate around! Perhaps some of you have been shying away from takeout if you deem it too risky. That's certainly an individual decision, and I encourage you to stick to what's within your comfort zone. Perhaps another way... Read more →


Our family is lucky to have some good options in the Washington, DC metro area when it comes to gluten free dining. Whether we're venturing into DC for a show, game, or a day at museums -- or staying closer to home out in the Virginia suburbs -- there are a good number restaurant chains, as well as many independent restaurants, that "get it" when it comes to preparing delicious and safe gluten free meals. Not Your Average Joe's is one such restaurant chain (with locations in 8 states) that we've relied on over the years. We hadn't been there for a while, so we chose it for my mom's birthday celebration last weekend. The challenge is always finding someplace that pleases adults and teenagers...and where our son can have some interesting choices from a well-thought-out gluten free menu. Not Your Average Joe's, as the name would suggest, meets those criteria. Nothing is average or bland here. Their menu is huge, and you'll find there are tons of gluten free options, listed under their "Fit-For-You" part of the menu, which denotes gluten free, vegetarian, kept, paleo, vegan, and "Signature Joe" items. (When you click on their Menu page, you first... Read more →


It has been quite a ride over the past 12 years serving the gluten free community. When I first launched GlutenFreeTravelSite back in April 2008, "Celiac" and "gluten free" weren't yet household terms. Many people weren't even aware of what they meant...not to mention how someone avoiding gluten would be able to dine out, travel, and attend social events involving food. That's why I launched the website, just a few short years after our own son was diagnosed with Celiac at age two. I felt the need to educate those recently diagnosed and to provide hope that, yes, there were indeed places we could all go and get a safe and delicious meal. It just took a bit of effort to find them.... So that's what GlutenFreeTravelSite -- and later our Dine Gluten Free mobile app -- set out to do. We gave the gluten free community a way to share their experiences dining out and traveling with others who needed to be sure they wouldn't get sick when venturing out. We made it easy to find and read peer reviews of places in the U.S. and all over the world that took gluten free dining seriously. We were the... Read more →


For the first time in years, our family visited The Melting Pot to celebrate my Birthday a couple weeks ago. It was my choice as a venue...I wanted to go someplace festive -- and that we hadn't been for some time. I'm a big fondue fan, and the place has somewhat of a relaxed and celebratory feel to it. We knew they offered plenty of gluten free choices, but we brought our own gluten free bread for our Celiac son to dip in the cheese fondue appetizer -- and a gluten free brownie for dipping in the chocolate dessert fondue. We had remembered that when we had been there years ago, they only had veggies and apples for gluten free folks to dip in the cheese fondue...and fruit and marshmallows for the chocolate fondue. Well, we were pleasantly surprised to find out when we arrived that our "supplemental" food we had brought wasn't even needed. At some point since our last visit many years ago, they added gluten free bread for their GF patrons to dip into the cheese fondue -- as well as gluten free chocolate brownies and pound cake for the dessert fondue. The Melting Pot locations are... Read more →


We are now well over a decade into the gluten free awakening in our country. By "awakening" I mean when "gluten free" became part of our lexicon, and more people became aware of gluten's affects on individuals with Celiac and gluten sensitivity. Whether you were one of those getting a diagnosis -- or if it was a family member or friend -- "gluten free" was something that was now on your radar. And of course, there have also been plenty of people who have chosen to adopt a gluten free diet, for various other reasons. The point is, the demand for gluten free meals has really taken off over the past decade, and many restaurants have worked hard to help those with Celiac and gluten sensitivity enjoy a safe and thoughtfully prepared meal. Of course, we all know that other restaurants have simply "hopped on the bandwagon" for business reasons, slapping "GF" notations on menu items without much regard for the proper training of "front of house" staff (servers, managers) and "back of house" staff (kitchen). That is a continual challenge for those of us dining out. The more research you can do about a restaurant before setting foot in... Read more →


Pie Five Pizza has been on a tear...opening new locations at a fast clip all over the country. In fact, this "fast casual" concept now has about 300 locations across 20 states...and is expanding into at least 4 other states. This is a big deal because now they have not one, but two, choices for gluten free pizza crust! So perhaps you'll want to see if there's a location near where you live...or where you might be traveling. Their "original" gluten free crust, launched years ago, is particularly unique. First, it's homemade, which you don't find at many places. Secondly, it's made from ancient grains, so it has a nutritionally superior profile versus most gluten free pizza crusts. Pie Five combines teff, amaranth, and sorghum flours which deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber, and great taste! And finally, Pie Five's pizzas are ready in just five minutes (thus the name "Pie Five"...). Quality has always been a huge focus with Pie Five. They use homemade, all natural, preservative-free tomato sauce, sausage without antibiotics or hormones, and other high-quality toppings, almost all of which are gluten free. Back in April, after introducing a "limited time" pizza crust made from a blend of cauliflower... Read more →


Have you heard of GliadinX? I can’t remember where and when I’d first heard about it, but the developer of this unique enzyme formulation contacted me recently, and I was intrigued to learn more. Like with many products and services, necessity was the mother of invention with GliadinX. Founder Dr. Albert Zickmann has two children diagnosed with celiac disease, and he was concerned about cross contamination and accidental gluten exposure when dining out, traveling, and sending his kids to birthday parties and camps. Having a medical background himself, he began researching studies on enzymes that digest gliadin (the damaging component of gluten) in the stomach. Dr. Zickmann took an extensively researched enzyme proven to break down gluten in clinical and laboratory studies and combined it with a food grade acid to further increase the efficacy of the enzyme. Essentially, this combination breaks down the gliadin molecule, cutting it into harmless fragments before the gluten can cause an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine. Let me stress that this is not a product that is intended to replace a strict gluten free diet, as it states explicitly on the bottle. It is for times when you suspect cross contamination may be... Read more →


Responding to the trend to incorporate cauliflower into more menu items, including pizza crusts, California Pizza Kitchen announced their full line of cauliflower crust pizzas on Tuesday. CPK has always been an innovator, especially when it comes to pizza. Some of you may remember they introduced the first BBQ Chicken Pizza back in 1985. (Now you’ll find it on pizza menus virtually everywhere!) Made from a blend of cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, rice flour, herbs, and spices, the cauliflower crusts were developed by CPK’s Culinary Innovations Team to meet a demand for lower carb, higher fiber, and nutritionally-dense pizza crusts. While California Pizza Kitchen already has a line of certified gluten free pizza crusts, these cauliflower crust pizzas give diners another gluten free alternative, depending on their taste preferences. Like their existing line of gluten free pizzas, there will be four varieties of the cauliflower crust pizza that are certified gluten free. California Pizza Kitchen employs protocol developed in conjunction with the Gluten Intolerance Group to keep gluten free diners safe. The Margherita (shown below), Pepperoni, Mushroom/Pepperoni/Sausage, and Original BBQ Chicken varieties of pizza – whether ordered on their traditional gluten free crust or the new cauliflower crust – are prepared... Read more →


Our son has been gluten free for over 12 years now, after a diagnosis with Celiac Disease in April 2005. We have dined out considerably since then...and traveled extensively in the U.S. and to many major European cities. There have been ups and downs along the way -- both pleasant surprises and occasional disappointments. I've written in the past about the Top 10 Mistakes Restaurants Make When Trying to Provide Gluten Free Meals. Don't get me wrong...even as the founder of GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app -- along with this Blog -- I'm actually not particularly hard on restaurants that at least make an effort to serve our gluten free community. And frankly, our 14-year-old son is pretty easy to please as well. As long as there are a few options on a menu -- and they are prepared safely and with optimal taste in mind -- we are happy. At this age, he is content with a juicy steak, a burger on a decent gluten free bun, simply prepared gluten free pasta, most gluten free pizzas, and any chocolate dessert that can claim it's gluten free! My Top 10 listing from months ago hits on how... Read more →