Independent Restaurants

Photo courtesy of Pelican Hill Our family recently visited Southern California to visit my father for Father’s Day. When planning which “gluten free friendly” restaurants to dine at, we wanted to visit some “old favorites” as well try some new restaurants that had come highly recommended. One of those was the Pelican Grill at the incomparable Pelican Hill Resort, which was rated by Conde Naste Traveler as the World's Top-Rated Golf Resort in 2012. And it's no surprise...The Resort at Pelican Hill is hard to beat when it comes to beauty. In fact, when living in San Francisco years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. If given the choice of where to play, I’d choose Pelican Hill. It’s that spectacular (although perhaps some avid golfers may have their own preferences!). Since we were dining with a group including children as well as adults, we opted for the Pelican Grill, as opposed to Andrea, the resort’s more formal signature restaurant, which offers a seasonal selection of hand-made, gluten-free pastas. Don’t get me wrong…Pelican Grill is still quite formal (for California, that is – there’s no jacket required) and the surroundings and... Read more →

Our family had the good fortune to travel to Whistler, British Columbia last month for our kids' Spring Break. It had been four years since Easter had fallen early enough to make a ski trip possible. Since their vacation was the last week in March this year, we knew that skiing out West -- especially as far north as British Columbia -- would be reliable. What a surprise it was to encounter temperatures in the 50's most of the week -- and in the 60's the last couple days! "No worries," as the many Aussies and Kiwis that work in and travel to Whistler would say...the skiing was still great. At least on the top two-thirds of the mountain (admittedly, the snow got a bit slushy at the base by the time the afternoon rolled around). Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, adjacent to each other and surrounding the quaint, European style Whistler Village, provide the largest amount of skiable terrain in North America. Several friends had recommended we try it out, and we were glad we did. We're big fans of Park City/Deer Valley, but it was nice to try skiing "north of the border" in Canada. The locals, seasonal workers,... Read more →

Our Celiac college blogger Julie Bourne, a student at University of Denver, goes "on the road" this month and shares her experience dining gluten free in Dallas, Texas, where she was pleasantly surprised by the range of gluten free dining options. I grew up visiting my extended family in Kentucky where my memories are flooded with biscuits fresh out of the oven, warm pies offered at every home, and the best fried chicken you could imagine. I haven’t been over to visit since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2010, but these memories surrounding nothing but glutenous foods of the United States' southern region would make any Celiac weary. While I cannot speak on behalf of Kentucky, I have been visiting my sister in Dallas, Texas for the last week or so and I have found this southern state to be significantly more gluten free friendly than I would have expected. As with any experience, dining out for two to three meals a day, there were some meals that were better than others (and some that sat with me better than others) but overall, I was very pleased to see such great variety of gluten free diners. It is... Read more →

Julie Bourne, our Gluten Free College Blogger, has returned from her semester studying in Rome and is now back at University of Denver. She shares with us her favorite spots for quick and inexpensive gluten free eats at restaurants and coffee shops around the University. She's reviewed all the places mentioned below in depth on GlutenFreeTravelSite. Simply click on the links below to be taken to her reviews. As my Rome experience has come to its inevitable close, I find myself back in Denver for my return to speaking in English and clocking in some time in class! While it’s been hard for me to get back into the swing of things after such a fantastic time abroad, I’m happier than I can say to be back to my familiar territory. As a busy student, I spend a lot of time studying in coffee shops, grabbing meals to eat on the go, and going out for inexpensive lunches with friends. In the past couple of weeks back in town, I’ve compiled a few new places that I can recommend to my fellow Denver gluten-free diners. As mentioned above, I spend almost an obscene amount of time huddled in cozy coffee... Read more →

I first met Maureen Burke several years ago at a Washington DC Metro Celiacs meeting. She had brought samples of her company's delicious gluten free and allergen free sweet and savory creations for all of us members to sample. Her company is called One Dish Cuisine, and the idea is to offer gluten free and allergen free meals that are bought, stored, baked, and served in ONE dish...reducing any chance of cross contamination in preparation. Her meals are offered at several restaurants, markets, bakeries, assisted living facilities, and hospitals in Baltimore and Washington areas. I've had the pleasure to sample her food at many events and expos since, and I particularly enjoyed her crabcakes and pizza. Fast forward to present day, and Maureen has opened her own restaurant, also called One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli, and Bakery. Maureen's motivations to serve the Celiac, gluten free, and allergen free communities run deep. She was diagnosed with Celiac herself in the late 80's -- WAY before the term "gluten free" was a household term. She's also casein intolerant. Coincidentally, she also has a nephew who has special dietary needs -- due to Autism, PDD NOS. Her efforts to create delicious and nutritious... Read more →

If your summer travels will take you to Denver -- or if you happen to live there -- you'll definitely want to check out Panzano restaurant in the Hotel Monaco. We chose a review of this restaurant -- submitted by renowned cookbook author and blogger Carol Fenster -- to showcase as GlutenFreeTravelSite's Featured Review for June. As you'll read, Panzano offers Gluten Free Menus for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! This has been Carol's go-to restaurant both for special personal occasions -- and as a place to take out-of-town guests. She knows anything she orders from chef Elise Wiggins will be supurb -- and perfectly safe to eat. If you have Celiac Disease or are gluten free, Panzano certainly sounds like the perfect place to dine -- and it makes the Hotel Monaco an attractive place to STAY when in Denver! Read Carol's review... Read more →

BLOG HOP, DAY 7: Much has already been written on the subjects of gluten free dining and "gluten free friendly" restaurants by those of us who provide gluten free dining resources on the web. However, many gluten free dining tips bear repeating, especially since all of us can be lulled into a false sense of complacency when dining out. Now that gluten free awareness has advanced beyond the point where people look at you like you have three heads when you bring up the words "Celiac Disease" or "gluten free," it is getting easier to find restaurants that understand our dietary requirements. However, there is a wide range of knowledge among restaurants...those that are simply trying to capitalize on the "gluten free trend" to those that know the important intracacies (like avoiding all the potential risks of cross contamination) and train their FULL staff (both front and back of house). And just because a restaurant offers a formal "Gluten Free Menu" doesn't mean the people in contact with your food are properly trained. The GF community learned that first-hand with the boggled introduction of a GF Menu at California Pizza Kitchen last year. So...even if you're a seasoned veteran of... Read more →

Are you familiar with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness's GREAT Kitchens Program? This is a 5-year-old program in which NFCA rigorously trains both chain restaurants as well as independent restaurants in the intricacies of providing gluten free meals. Their "Train the Trainer" course for chefs and food service managers provides the knowledge and tools to educate their entire kitchen staff on safe GF food handling and preparation. At GlutenFreeTravelSite, we've recently worked with NFCA to further get the word out about these GREAT-trained restaurants by adding them to our site. As you know, typically a restaurant or other business must be reviewed by someone in the GF community in order to appear on our site. However, with NFCA's GREAT Kitchens-trained restaurants, we've made an exception. We are confident in NFCA's strict protocols for training and vetting restaurants and want visitors to our site to learn about these designated restaurants. We can look forward to more safe choices in gluten free dining, since today NFCA announced the expansion of their GREAT Kitchens gluten free credentialing program. Af few of us had the opportunity to speak with NFCA Founder Alice Bast and her team this morning, and they are very committed... Read more →

Don't miss our Featured Review for February that was just posted on GlutenFreeTravelSite. This month, we chose to showcase a particularly enthusiastic review from a Celiac diner who frequents Lazlo's Brewery and Grill in Omaha, Nebraska once per month. She raved about the many delicious choices on their 2-page Gluten-Free Menu (unfortunately not posted on their website, but available upon request at the restaurant). In her words, she said, "It is obvious eating there that their staff has had significant training about Celiac and gluten issues. Every time our waiter or waitress brings our order to us they always make sure to mention it has been prepared gluten free and they ask me to look at the dish before they leave and make sure it appears as I expected." So if you live in Omaha or find yourself there visiting family, friends, or on a business trip, be sure to check out Lazlo's. Hey...isn't there something important going on in Omaha on May 5, 2012? Oh's the annual shareholder's meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. Tens of thousands of people flock to Omaha each year for this "Woodstock for Capitalists" event and the chance to hear Warren Buffett speak. And some... Read more →

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 →

Gluten Free Restaurants: Fantastic gluten-free menu at Bruschetta restaurant in Surrey, England

Our Featured Review on GlutenFreeTravelSite this month takes us to England, where our winning reviewer was truly "wowed" by the treat that awaited her at a local restaurant. Expecting to have the usual choices of grilled meat or fish as she often does when dining out, she "had one of the best surprises of her life" at Bruschetta restaurant in Surrey, England. Choices on their extensive gluten-free menu include homemade gluten-free pizzas, pasta, risotto, antipasti, and delectable desserts. Having grown up with an Italian mother who prided herself in creating traditional Italian dishes, our reviewer had had a hard time with her Celiac diagnosis years ago. This was the first time she was able to truly enjoy gluten-free pasta and other Italian favorites like her mom used to make. In addition to the incredible food, our winning reviewer raved about Julia, the owner, and her commitment to avoiding cross-contamination in preparing gluten-free meals. (She herself is gluten-intolerant.) Julia shows a real personal devotion to the gluten-free community, which, coupled with her amazing food and reasonable prices, attracts gluten-free diners from all over England. Read more details about Bruschetta and the recommended menu choices in our Featured Review. Don't forget to... Read more →

Gluten Free Restaurant near Bethany Beach, Delaware: The Cafe on 26

Our family vacationed in Ocean City, Maryland last week and had the opportunity to try a relatively new restaurant (open just 3 months) called The Cafe on 26 in Ocean View, Delaware, just west of Bethany Beach. It's co-owned by chef Cathy Berzins who has Celiac Disease, and most everything they serve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is gluten-free. I posted a review of our breakfast experience at The Cafe on 26 on our sister site for gluten-free restaurant reviews: GlutenFreeTravelSite. Well, needless to say, we liked The Cafe on 26 so much we went back a few days later, this time for dinner... Be sure to go early enough if you choose to dine there for dinner. There's some question as to what time the kitchen "closes" (I saw both 7 and 8 pm to be sure). And it probably doesn't hurt to make a reservation, since the restaurant is rather small (in the main floor of an old but beautifully restored and maintained beach cottage). There already seems to be quite a loyal gluten-free clientele as well, since word travels fast in our community...there was a customer who came in while we were dining and bought the... Read more →