Gluten Free Pizza

As we all know, there's a growing number of people who are now following gluten free diets by choice. It's a double-edged sword. It has made restauranteurs more interested in offering gluten free options on their menus, but unfortunately, this is often driven by profit motives. Too many times, restaurants aren't properly trained (by organizations such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness or the Gluten Intolerance Group) in safe preparation protocol, and diners who must follow gluten free diets for medical reasons (Celiac or gluten sensitivity) can become ill. Italian restaurants can be among the trickiest types of restaurants to navigate, since there are so many wheat flour-based items on the pizza and pasta. If there is flour flying in the air from the pizza making, that poses another risk. As with dining out in general, everyone needs to personally assess Italian restaurant options and determine their own level of comfort before choosing a specific restaurant. But here are some general questions to ask, preferably before even walking in the door: Visit the restaurant's website. Is there a specific GLUTEN FREE MENU? While this doesn't mean you can let your guard down, it's usually a good sign the... Read more →

Are you familiar with the hot -- literally hot -- new trend in pizza...custom-created, oven-fired pizza that cooks in just minutes? Well now there's a chain that offers this option to its gluten free guests, too. Yep. Pie Five Pizza Co, with locations in 7 states, lets you choose your crust (gluten free), your sauce, your toppings...and have your own mouthwatering pizza! If you don't live in one of the 7 states where Pie Five Pizza is currently located (Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia), you may still be in luck. They have locations in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma "coming soon." Best of all, Pie Five Pizza's gluten free crust is made from ancient grains including teff, amaranth, and sorghum flours so the pizza isn't just gluten's nutritionally superior, with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than most other gluten free pizzas. Almost all their toppings for the pizzas are gluten free, with the exception of meatballs and Alfredo sauce, and salads can be made in to-go bowls, as opposed to their usual bread bowls (all salad makings are gluten free, too, except the Caesar dressing). Although their restaurants are not dediated gluten free... Read more →

You may remember my recent post about Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen in Arizona -- and their menu that's almost entirely gluten free. It's a favorite spot for gluten free locals as well as a fantastic discovery for gluten free travelers "in the know" who are spending time in Arizona. Picazzo's is now offering a $5 discount coupon exclusively through our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, and our DINE GLUTEN FREE app, now through September 1, 2014 (Labor Day). You'll save $5 when you spend $30 or more any day of the week after 4 pm. You can either print out the coupon from the Print Coupon link on Picazzo's page on GlutenFreeTravelSite -- or simply show the coupon to your server on your mobile phone by pulling it up under the Coupons & Offers tab on our DINE GLUTEN FREE mobile app (which is free and available for iOS and Android). If you're viewing this post on your smart phone, you can just show the server the coupon below, too! Offer valid for dine in only at any of Picazzo's five Arizona locations (Flagstaff, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Sedona, and Tempe). One coupon per customer. Coupons may not be combined with any other offer,... Read more →

Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen, a popular chain of five Arizona restaurants, sets the bar high for food with a focus on taste and quality -- and an impressive range of healthy, gluten free offerings. In fact, Picazzo's has what is arguably one of the most extensive menus of gluten free options available at an Italian restaurant. I kid you not when I say it would be worth a trip to Arizona just to dine at a Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen! (Read on to learn how you can win a $25 Gift Card to use at one of their restaurants...). Years ago, Picazzo's switched all their pasta to a gluten free variety, and just recently, they made the switch to RP's Pasta, a fresh (not dried) variety of gluten free pasta that also happens to be free of GMOs (which is becoming more important to many consumers, including myself). In fact, this is one of the reasons the owner of Picazzo's, Rick Freedman, decided to make the switch to RP's Pasta. He liked the texture and taste profile -- as well as the fact that it did not contain GMOs. Picazzo's uses five of their pasta products, including their gluten free... Read more →

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, this is our second of many giveaways. We're having a drawing for a $25 gift card to California Pizza Kitchen, and in the coming weeks, we'll have similar gift card giveaways for more GF-freindly restaurants. Be sure to check back -- or better yet, enter your email in the box on the right to "Subscribe" to our blog feed and get emails when we publish a new post. Now, for the low-down on CPK's gluten free pizzas and details of how you can enter our Giveaway... Back in October, I had the pleasure of visiting California Pizza Kitchen's test kitchen in Redondo Beach, California, just as they were getting ready to roll out their new gluten free pizzas nationwide. The four gluten free pizzas -- Margherita, Pepperoni, The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (CPK was the original creator of this one!), and Mushroom/Pepperoni/Sausage -- were all equally delicious. I'm not even typically a fan of BBQ Chicken Pizza (don't know why...I just prefer BBQ in other forms), but I loved their version of the pizza. Aside from being gluten free, here are some of the ingredients that make their pizzas so special: THE ORIGINAL BBQ... Read more →

Are you fortunate enough to live in or travel to Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, or the Rochester area of New York? If so, you're in for a treat, because Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano has added a handful of new gluten free items to their already extensive Gluten Free Menu. I have to admit that Biaggi's is one of our family's favorite gluten-free friendly chains. But unfortunately, there are none located in the mid-Atlantic area, so we've only had the priviledge of dining at Biaggi's when traveling (once to the Maple Grove location outside Minneapolis, MN and the other time to the former Salt Lake City, UT location, which is now closed). Their range of pasta preparations that are available gluten free -- along with homemade gluten free pizza, a huge range of meat and seafood entrees, and plenty of appetizing starters and salads -- makes gluten free folks feel included in the best their restaurants have to offer. You will NEVER feel like you're missing out or that you're "settling" for a meal that is less than outstanding. Favorites from our visits include the many varieties of GF pizzas, Pasta Di Mare, Grilled Chicken Parmesan, and... Read more →

It seems pizza restaurants all over are hopping on the gluten free bandwagon and offering gluten free pizza...but if you're Celiac or gluten sensitive, it's important to ask the right questions before blindly devouring any "gluten free" pizza. After all, we've all heard the stories about cross contamination rendering supposedly "gluten free" pizzas unsafe for consumption -- except for those folks following a gluten free diet by choice. Pizza Pie Cafe is one place you can feel safe. If you live in Idaho or Utah, you have 11 Pizza Pie Cafe locations to choose from (and they'll be opening another one -- in West Jordan, UT -- in mid-February). Apparently, further expansion is planned as well. They follow safe practices to avoid cross contamination, including keeping the gluten free pizza crust in its own separate pan during preparation and cooking, using separate sauce and a separate ladle, changing gloves, and using a separate pizza cutter. Pizza Pie Cafe offers a gluten free version of its All You Can Eat pizza, pasta, and salad bar. And they will make ANY gluten free pizza (whichever combination of toppings you like), upon request. Even though there's a $2 upcharge for gluten free, it's... Read more →

I'd heard about the wonderful gluten free offerings at Sweet Christine's dedicated gluten free bakery in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania for years. Their reputation for wonderful gluten free baked goods has taken them from a local bakery to one that delivers nationwide and also has a thriving wholesale business. Despite good intentions, I've never had the opportunity to pay them a visit in person. Recently, however, I had some products sent to me by none other than Laura Hahn, Community Manager for Sweet Christine's and former winner of NBC's Next Local TV Chef. I met Laura last summer, while we were both volunteering at Camp Celiac in North Scituate, Rhode Island. I've been a parent counselor there for the past several years since my own Celiac son starting attending the camp. This was Laura's first summer, and she had volunteered her time to prepare the campers' gluten free meals for the week. How fortunate we all were to have Laura's talents in the kitchen! Laura has an interesting story not unlike many other Celiacs' stories of suffering with symptoms and going from doctor to doctor before being correctly diagnosed with Celiac. But her story actually began while she was deployed... Read more →

As many of you may remember, several years ago California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) introduced gluten free pizzas, but they quickly pulled them off the menu due to concerns about cross contamination from the preparation of their regular pizzas in the same area. Fast forward three years, and California Pizza Kitchen is back with gluten free pizzas...this time having invested in thorough training by the Gluten Intolerance Group's Gluten Free Food Service and Management Training Program. Bob Moncrief, VP of Training and Development, explained, "We wanted a third party to verify our procedures so that gluten free diners could be comfortable." So now the systems are in place for CPK to offer a safe product for Celiac and gluten sensitive diners. And it's a good thing...apparently gluten free pizza has been the most requested item in CPK's restaurants nationwide. I was priviledged to speak with Brian Sullivan, the Senior Vice President of Culinary Development for California Pizza Kitchen, and also attend a lunch at CPK's "Innovation" test kitchen in Redondo Beach, California. What I learned about their new training and procedures impressed me, and I can attest to the fact that their pizza is wonderful. (Read on for details about how... Read more →

This is Julie Bourne's final Blog post from ROME, where she has been studying -- and eating gluten free -- for the semester. She shares with us some of her top restaurant picks...places she can rely on for a safe, gluten free meal in Rome. Stay tuned for her January post, when alas, she returns to her "home base" at the University of Denver. The first reaction that I get when I tell people that I am studying abroad in Rome is always the same: “How can you eat anything there? Don’t they only eat pasta and pizza?” The truth about Italy as a whole is that the vast majority of people who work at restaurants here understand the needs of people with allergies or Celiac Disease. Since Celiac Disease is so prominent in Italy (due to more aggressive efforts in diagnosis than in the U.S.), there is a good chance that your waiter has a sister, friend, parent, or cousin-twice-removed who also has Celiac Disease or “Celiaca” (che-li-aka), so they will do what is necessary to provide you with a safe meal. That does not mean, however, that you can go into any restaurant unprepared. A key phrase to... Read more →

We're always excited to hear about pizza chains that are offering gluten free pizza -- and even more excited when they do it right. We all know how Domino's learned the hard way about the importance of avoiding cross contamination when preparing gluten free pizza for their Celiac and gluten free customers. To truly be "gluten free," a gluten free pizza crust must be topped with only gluten free ingredients, and care must be taken to shield the pizza from any contact with regular flour or regular pizza during preparation and cooking. Pizza Pie Cafe, with locations in both Utah and Idaho, does just that. The gluten free pizza crust is kept in its own separate pan during prep and cooking, and separate sauce (and ladle) are used, gloves are changed, and a separate pizza cutter slices the pizza before it's served. You can order a gluten free pizza on its own -- or added for only $2 extra when you purchase any regular-priced adult "All You Can Eat" Gluten Free Pasta & Salad buffet. Now that's a deal! Pizza Pie Cafe's employees take the same precautions with the gluten free pasta that they do with the pizza...they boil it... Read more →