Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gluten Free Stop in Madison

To be honest, this was two stops, but you could do it in one if you're spending the day in Madison. We drove thru Madison heading to La Crosse, and opted to stop and eat in Madison cause of a tip we got on a "must try" place. 

My goal on our way to La Crosse was to hit up Alt Brewery, a completely gluten free brewery. While visiting Burning Brother's Brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota earlier this year, I learned about Alt Brewery. So I added them to my gluten free bucket list. So heading up to this end of Wisconsin this was a must. 

It's a cute place with arcade games and a decent amount of seating. When we got there it was a bit dead, though it was Sunday and the Green Bay Packers were on TV. We decided to do a beer flight and try all 6 beers on tap, heck when in Rome, (or in Madison). We also got food. They have a simple food menu, but pizza with beer sounded great. Best part, the bartender pulled out the ingredients to make the pizza, Udi's Crusts and real "grocery" ingredients. It was a darn tasty pizza. 

The beers on tap were pretty tasty. Their Pumpkin Pail was my favorite followed by the Kickback and Copperhead.  It felt so normal to try beer and have some food at the bar. It was a lot of fun.
They have merchandise for purchase, hats, shirts, hoodies and such, as well as their beer. You can also purchase their beer in some local places including a few dining establishments. The bartender said to check their website for places that carry their product. He did mention Jac's Dining and Taphouse in Madison, always has options, plus they do gluten free options. So on our way back, to Chicago from La Crosse, that's where we stopped for dinner.

That was the best dinner stop idea yet! For whatever reason, when I was looking up Gluten Free in Madison, on I wasn't seeing this place in the results. Not sure why not, so I'm glad the bartender mentioned it. They have a dedicated gluten free fryer. That's right a dedicated fryer!!!

YES These are Gluten Free Cheese Curds!

Normally I'd ask my fiance, what appetizer he wants to have, but I saw deep fried cheese curds, there was no question, that's what I was ordering. OMG It was like heaven on a plate. I honestly could have ordered 2 orders and been happy. They have Alt Breweries beer on tap, and Green's Beers in bottles. I don't feel comfortable drinking any beer on tap at an establishment unless they are dedicated GF, so I went with the Greens Tripel Ale, one of my favorites. I also got their prosciutto chicken. Which was tasty, but prosciutto is salty so this came out salty. They have gluten free bread, and pizza crusts, and on Wednesdays there is no up charge for gluten free items.

Both of these places get a 5 dragonfly rating from me. The fact that Alt had food, although the easiest meals ever, was super tasty and added to the experience. Jac's was the icing on the cake for an awesome meal. The server was super friendly and they have a dedicated fryer - which they make cheese curds in! :) 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stonewood Ale House - Good, Bad and Corrected

We recently did dinner with a couple people at Stonewood Ale House in Schaumburg. Stonewood is one of the restaurants in the 'Ace Place' portfolio. I've eaten here in the past a couple years back, so I was up for checking it out again. The menu has gotten a bit bigger, the one perk that really stood out to me is a dedicated gluten free fryer! That was huge to me, cause I knew that meant french fries!!

They had two appetizers, one of them being potato skins, which made me super excited. The entrees were a bit restricted but there was a variety from steak, to chicken and even pork. Plus you could get French fries! Now the part that gets difficult here. I ordered the steak to the specs on the gluten free menu. I noted more than once it was gluten free, and reconfirmed the gluten free fryer for the French fries. When my food arrived my nice gluten free steak had 2 perfectly round onion rings on top....When I questioned the server he told me they were perfectly safe and fried in their own fryer... Then he quickly whisked the plate back to the kitchen. After he came out a couple times to say they were working on my meal, the manager came out to tell us he was sorry and that a new steak and fixings would be out shortly. 

I was appreciative they took the time to fix the issue and talk to us about it. The second time my plate came out it was correct and no issues. Though I had requested my steak to be medium well, it came out rather rare, more red than done. I opted to not send it back cause our party was half way done with the meals already. I ended up taking most of the steak home and reheating it later, to cook it a bit more. When it came for dessert, the options listed were not gluten free friendly. Though for the birthday girl in our party they brought out ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Wish that was on the regular menu, but I did snag some of her dessert to meet my sweet tooth. 

Over all I'm giving them 3 dragonflies, I'd give them more, but the mess up on my meal, and needing to tell the waiter why it was an issue ranked them lower. Though they were nice an apologetic about the situation, but it could have been avoided, since it was specified gluten free an ordered per the menu, it shouldn't have happened. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bareburger, Trendy and Gluten Free

Bareburger is a tasty organic and natural burger place, that's very trendy and fun. We stopped and ate at their Hoboken, NJ location while in the area. There were several interesting places to try this one peaked our curiosity. They have lots too choose from including fries in a dedicated fryer, including sweet potato fries!

Their menu had lots of unique eats including bison and lamb as well as beef and chicken. They have a dedicated fryer so french fries and sweet potato fries were available, as well as Sriracha Brussels Sprouts. If we had more time I would have loved to try their Brussels Sprouts, but a time crunch made that not an option. 

They're cute decor of silverware for their light covers made us giggle and added to the charm. It's not a place to take a huge party, but for a nice intimate lunch with a couple friends it's great.

The staff was well versed in allergies and helpful with ordering. I was a bit overwhelmed with options and stuck with a regular cheese burger (Sans onion and mustard, two condiments I just don't like!), and got sweet potato fries and a shake. It was delicious. I would totally go back again next time we're near a location! They get 5 dragonflies for unique food options and great service. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beef - Cheese & Potato Casserole

I was in the mood for something different the other day.. wasn't sure what exactly but I wanted comfort food. this reminded me of a knock off Hamburger Helper dish that my mom would make regularly back in my Not Gluten Free Days. It was pretty easy, the time consuming part was slicing the potatoes, cause I don't have a mandolin. But I do have one on my wedding registry now! 

1.5 lbs Lean Ground Beef
6-8 Slices of Bacon
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1 tsp Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
4 Large Baking Potatoes Sliced Very Thin
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I used Progresso)
1/2 Cup Beef stock
2 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese


Set the oven to 350 degrees and grease your 13x13 baking dish.
Brown the ground beef and cook with the onions, garlic and pepper.
Mix in the 1/2 cup of beef stock and set the mixture aside.
You can use the same pan from the beef to fry up the bacon until crispy. 
Once fried, crumble the bacon in to small pieces and set aside. 
Slice the potatoes super thin. (If you have a mandolin that will be the best option, if not slice thin and watch your fingers!!).
Layer half the potatoes at the bottom of the dish covering the entire bottom. 
Pour half the soup (not cooked) over the top of the potatoes.
Next layer half the beef mixture over the potatoes, and top with 3/4ths cup of cheese.
Repeat this process with another layer of potatoes, soup, beef this time include the crumbled bacon and 1 cup of cheese.

Cover the top of your baking dish with tin foil and place in the oven for 80 minutes.  
After the 80 minutes pull the dish out of the oven and sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese. 

I sliced and served similar to lasagna and served with a side of veggies.
This was a good dish for 2 meals for us, and one I'll do again for a nice different comfort food meal!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Moretti's Gluten Free If You Must

I've been a long time fan of Moretti's. We've frequented the location in Edison Park, many time. I love their outside patio, it's a nice place to have a drink and hang out on a nice evening. I was excited when a location moved into the old Famous Freddy's location in Mount Prospect. Over all they have a small but decent menu for gluten free options. They are certified by an local doctor to be safe, but with the usual warning that it's made in a shared kitchen. 

I have to say it must be the location, service and food were both majorly lacking. We arrived at 6:00 on a Friday looking for a table for 5. You'd have thought we asked for a table of 10. They kept debating how to find a spot for us and put us in a corner in the back of the restaurant. Walking past an almost empty dinning room! We let that go, the others at our table placed an order for appetizers and our food. Appetizers came, and about 15 minutes later the waitress asked if we were ready to order.... Yup we did, 15 minutes ago. So we kept waiting and waiting. Our food came out you could tell it had been sitting under the warmer cause it was dry and burnt. It was rather underwhelming overall. The smaller menu combined with the poor service it brought the night down. Luckily we were dinning with amazing friends so the whole night wasn't a bust. But I'd go to another location, and not this one! I've had the pizza at the Mount Prospect location and the pasta at Edison Park and they were good. My Shrimp Pasta here, was very underwhelming.

There is a great place down the road, Village Vintner, again small menu but great tasting food, and they make their own wine! I'd rather go there next time! 

I give them 3 dragonflies, poor service, limited menu and not great food, plus the gluten free portion was not that large to compared to the regular options. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Burning Brothers

Burning Brothers Brewery is a gluten free craft brew lover paradise! This was the first stop we made in Minnesota. I was hoping our trip would time out correctly that we'd make it here the first night. That first night of our trip was also my mom's 75th birthday, so treating her to a few brews on her birthday I knew she'd be happy.Their beer had some hints of gluten free notes to them. Sorghum for me has a very distinguishable taste, but it's one I'm getting use to. I could not believe how many beers there were to choose from!

 The menu of what beers were available that night. 

St. Paul Heaven for sure. So we got a couple paddles of beer to try and got some popcorn out of the popcorn machine. We were a little overwhelmed with the options, and how many people where there! We had to sit in the overflow room cause the main taproom was filled. When we got there it was later an the food truck was leaving, so I recommend getting there earlier and you can have a brew with your food! We got a couple growlers of the ones we liked best. The Fused and the Raspberry. We were able to find the Pyro at a local liquor/wine store by the hotel we were staying at. I'm hoping soon, they're going to find their way to Illinois for distribution cause I'll be here ready and waiting! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sprecher Restaurant Gluten Free Wisconsin

Sprecher's Restaurant and Pub Wisconsin Dells. I've seen their location in Milwaukee every time we drive that way, but we've never stopped, but a local gluten free friend said this was a place we had to try. So we did. We liked it so much we stopped here twice while traveling to and from Minnesota. You'll notice one thing in common with both meals. I had to have the Hash browns! 

I've had their root beer, and was hoping they'd have their gluten free beers available here, they did not, but that was fine, I took over driving the rest of the way shortly after stopping here. Since it was the off season when we stopped here it was dead. That was awesome cause the waiter was able to give us his full attention. I'm sure during peak season this place is packed! Off season it was also one of the few places even open! 

You'll notice one thing in common with both meals. I had to have the Hash browns! There were a decent amount of options to choose from, some came with alterations from the original menu so it was important to pay attention to those too. Each time the staff was friendly and helpful. Food over all was good, and my non-GF family members highly recommend going and checking it out, even if you can have gluten.

We debated our options coming back and figured this was a safe bet, since we liked the food and service was good we went back. Their bottled pops come in a variety of fun flavors and were all gluten free also. The menu points out the risks very easily and the options are plentiful, so they get 5 Dragonflies in my book! I would try another location of theirs when up in Wisconsin.