Thai food and cupcakes

We wandered around Portland for a bit today. After hitting Powell’s Books and hanging out there for a good bookstore fix, we went to lunch with some friends.

We enjoyed lunch at Thai Peacock. Great service, friendly staff, and yummy food. I had yellow curry, and it was great on this cold and wintery day. Eli had something that was sweet and sour (and can’t remember the name), and she was pleased with it. One friend enjoyed some spring rolls, and was pleased with the peanut sauce. Our other pal had some salmon that was amazing.

Our friends encouraged us to check out Cupcake Jones after lunch, and said they had gluten free cupcakes. We stopped in and I inquired about any soy ingredients. The staff were helpful and provided all the info I needed to make an informed cupcake choice. I opted for three mini cupcakes, one chocolate, one vanilla, and one red velvet. All were great, but my favorite was the red velvet.

 

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Ground Breaker Gastropub, Portland, OR

I am visiting Portland for a conference, and am very pleased with all the different gluten-free options I’ve encountered at restaurants. Places here have been very accommodating about all of my food issues. Every time I have asked for information about an ingredient in something, my question has been answered. Folks who work in food service should be knowledgeable about the food they are serving, and it’s refreshing to not have all my questions met with a blank look or a “Um, I don’t think so”.

Ground Breaker Gastropub is 100% gluten free–not just the food, but the beer, too. Amazing! Our waitress was helpful and checked with the kitchen about the ingredients of different menu options if she didn’t know the answer to my questions. She also assured me that just about anything could be modified to accommodate my needs. I enjoyed lamb chops with risotto. So yummy. The lamb chops were cooked to perfection and very tasty. I had a taste of the Dark Ale on Nitro and the IPA. Both were really good. The IPA was especially tasty, but I decided to get the Dark Ale on Nitro since I haven’t found any decent gluten-free dark beer since I went gluten-free. It was really yummy and satisfied my hankering for dark beer.

I wish I lived in Portland, or that this place existed in Las Cruces. Great place, great service.

Date night in Cleveland

While in Cleveland visiting family and friends, we set aside a night to go out on a date. There are a lot more restaurant options for me in Cleveland than in Las Cruces, so we were pretty excited. After searching the internet for a bit, I came across some info on the Black Pig and decided that would be a great spot for dinner.

2015-07-10 20.01.52The Black Pig is located in Ohio City, a historic neighborhood on Cleveland’s west side and home to the amazing West Side Market. I moved from Cleveland in 1995 and have visited Ohio City maybe a handful of times, and the last time was at least 5 years ago or more. There are a lot more restaurants than I recall from my last visit.

For dinner, we sat outside, which was lovely since eating outside in the summer is just not possible in the desert. I opted for the roasted half chicken (without ricotta) and Eli had the steak. Both of our dinners were excellent and the service was warm and friendly.2015-07-10 21.32.20

After dinner we decided to walk around the neighborhood a bit, since it was such a lovely evening. It was a Thursday, so there weren’t a lot of people out, but certainly more than you see out most nights where we live! We decided to drop by the Market Avenue Wine Bar for a glass of wine. We loved our wine so much we decided to stay and have more. What a great place! The bartenders were knowledgeable and very friendly. I had the best viognier I’ve ever tasted and swore I made a note in Evernote about it, but can’t find it. Eli enjoyed a moscato. We decided that next time we head to Cleveland, we’ll certainly drop back for a glass of wine (or two).

Adobo Grill-Indianaoplis

Eating out brings a lot of anxiety and uncertainty given my food sensitivities and allergies. I’ve found that some waitstaff are more knowledgable than others. Those who lack knowledge make me nervous. Those who are willing to ask folks in the kitchen more questions always make me feel a bit more relaxed.

We were in Indy visiting family and wanted to a date night out. We searched for different places that had gluten free menu options. After some deliberating, we chose a Mexican place, the Adobo Grill. Perhaps we were missing home after being in the Midwest for nearly two weeks.

2015-07-16 19.26.46When we entered the restaurant we were promptly greeted and I asked about a gluten free menu. Instead of a look of confusions, extended time searching for a menu, the host happily provided us one and seated us. Our waitress arrived at our table soon after. I explained some my food restrictions, and we ordered drinks and some guacamole (mixed table side, so I was able to choose what they put in). When the waitress came back to take our order, she told me she had checked with the the kitchen and identified the times on the menu that I could eat. She also reminded me not to eat any of my partner’s meal as it had ingredients that I could not have. All of this was conveyed with warmth and kindness, making me feel like I wasn’t a nuisance to be dealt with.

2015-07-16 19.27.00I had salmon, and it was really tasty. Eli had enchiladas, which she really enjoyed. The guacamole was really tasty and fresh. Overall, it was a really tasty meal.

The service was the most outstanding aspect of the evening, through. Being treated with such warmth and care went a long way toward me feeling relaxed and enjoying my meal. The folks at this restaurant are nice people who really care about their customers. I will certainly visit them again the next time I am in Indy.

Root Cafe-Lakewood, OH

Whenever I visit Cleveland, I always spend some time with my pal who grew up across the street from me. We’ve been friends since we were 3 and always have a good laugh when we’re together. She lives in Lakewood, so on my way to her house (or when I leave it), I try to stop at the Root Cafe for something yummy to eat and a beverage. In the past this was coffee, but I can’t have that now. When I visited in December, I stopped for some tea and a bought a gluten-free cookie that was super yummy. What I really appreciated was that there was someone who was there who could tell me every single one of the ingredients used in cooking it so I could determine if it was on the safe list for IC. All of the ingredients were on the safe list, with the exception of chocolate, but I didn’t let that stop me (I only had a mild reaction to the chocolate). The cookie was really yummy and I devoured it in no time at all. In fact, I think I bought two, hoping to share one with my friend, but ate it before I got to her place. Yes, I’m horrible, but she’s forgiving. Particularly since I have limited food choices.

The Root Cafe has more than just bakery items on their menu. They have pizza’s, sandwiches, breakfast, and all sorts of other yummies to fill you up. Their menu indicates what items are gluten-free and vegan, and are happy to answer any questions you have about their food. They buy much of their food locally, and also support local artists and musicians by offering spots to exhibit art, or book musicians to play. Check out their website for more info on events and art.

 

Gourmet Girls

I love visiting Tucson, it’s one of my favorite cities. They have lots of good restaurant choices, good music, and beautiful mountains.

One of the best restaurants I’ve visited that caters to folks who follow a gluten-free diet is in Tucson. Gourmet Girls is a cute little bistro and bakery that serves up some super yummy food. I’ve had breakfast and lunch there, and also bought several bakery items. Everything there is good, and I mean everything. Cinnamon rolls, super yummy. Brownies, super yummy. Sandwiches, super yummy. Breakfast, super yummy. Everything I’ve ever had is really good. Not just good for gluten-free kind of good–really, really good.

Prior to being diagnosed with IC, I tried their pulled pork BBQ sandwich, and I highly recommend it if you are someone who can eat BBQ. It’s not super sweet, not super savory, just a perfect balance of both. The focaccia roll was also wonderful as well. The last time I went was post-IC diagnosis, and had waffles for breakfast, and really enjoyed them as well. My favorite bakery item from there are the cinnamon rolls, and I brought some back for a friend who also follows a gluten-free diet, who also enjoyed them.

One more thing I want to mention is that the staff there is always friendly and open to answering any questions about the food. They are always positive and in a great mood, which makes it a great place to visit for a meal.

Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro

My partner, Eli, and I decided we wanted to head out to a nice place for dinner while we were in ABQ. I checked out some web sites and found several places that indicated they were friendly to folks needing gluten-free options, then I went through and looked at menus that had more options that were IC-friendly. Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro was the one we ultimately decided on.

The restaurant is lovely. Very warm and inviting, and the staff were very knowledgeable about gluten-free options. I had some wine that evening and they have a very extensive wine list, which I loved. We shared an appetizer of ahi-tuna, and I just made sure I didn’t have any soy sauce on my portions. It was really delicious. When I reviewed the menu, I picked a few entrees I was interested in, and the waiter advised me on what I could order gluten free. I selected the lamb. When our food arrived, the waiter made a point of telling me not to have any of my partner’s food, since it was “full of gluten”, which I really appreciated. My lamb was really tasty and I was very happy with it. Eli had steak, with buttermilk mashed potatoes and fried onions. She loved it. She also had a mojito that made her very, very happy. The only disappointment was that there was only one gluten free dessert option, which I could not have due to the fruit used.

All in all, it was a great dinner out. Yeah, I would have loved dessert, but I was far happier to have had a waiter who was aware of the menu options that I could and could not have. I’ll definitely be back next time we go to ABQ.