Monday, September 8, 2014

Chik-Fil-A -- A Gluten Free quick stop meal

The first time I had Chik-Fil-a was back in my pre gluten free days in college. Down at ISU we had them on Campus as one of the places to eat in the dining hall of Waterson. They were one of the more expensive places to use our dining dollars, plus they were not open on Sunday’s so we didn’t eat there a lot, it was really more of a treat to get a chicken sandwich from there.
Fast forward 8 years and chik-fil-a is finally making their move into the Chicago Market. I was ecstatic, only issue… I couldn’t get that amazing chicken sandwich any more. Until I was gluten free I would only order chicken breaded, deep fried was even better then breaded, but I’d never order it grilled. Then they went and put a Chik-fil-a Right by my house, walking distance, it begged going in to check it out. 
Looking for a quick meal that wasn’t Chipotle or Pei Wei,(Which are right across the street) we stopped at Chik-fil-a to get dinner. I went with a salad with grilled chicken. I told the girl taking my order it needed to be gluten free, no croutons or bread, she told me right away there were no croutons or bread to worry about, but she’d make sure everything else was ok on the salad. (how sweet) I had the list of Gluten Free salad dressings pulled up on my phone already, I noticed one thing, they did not have Ranch, Blue Cheese, or Caesar salad dressing, my normal salad dressing staples. I was a bit miffed because I didn’t know what to order!?!!  I got the avocado lime ranch dressing, which turned out ok, I did like it. 
I did some more research, I found out you can ask them to be certain, but they fry their waffle fries in a separate fryer from the breaded items so they are gluten free too!!!!  OMG French Fries!!!! My love!!!


Note - I couldn't pass up ordering a side of fries with my Salad.
The Chik-fil-a sauce is also gluten free, Yum! While we were traveling to Indianapolis for the race we stopped in Merriville to visit the Albanese Candy Factory and decided to grab dinner since we had several options there (Joe’s crab shack, Don Julio’s, Red Robin, Chik-Fil-A) to choose from. We opt’d for a quick meal so we could hit the road quickly after eating so we did Chik-Fil-A. I was so excited when the girl taking our order checked with the kitchen; yup the fries were safe! Large fry for me, and a salad, since I guess fries aren’t enough for dinner. We now have another place to add to the quick eats list when traveling, or grabbing a meal before an event. 
I give them 4 dragonflies, since they have several options for grilled chicken, salads, nuggets, and patties, if you want to do a bun-less burger and waffle fries. They also have several dressings and sauces that are gluten free. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stashu's Deli, Pizza, Meats, Gluten Free?

Recently I found myself visiting my bestie down in Galesburg, IL. Road Trip! The last couple visits we've taken off for Peoria for her to do some real shopping and hit up Old Navy for some clothes and get some good food! This time we decided to see what the Quad Cities could offer. We didn't spend too much time, since things close by 5:00, or everything we wanted to do closed at 5:00.

When we got to Davenport we were pretty hungry, we did only start our day with Kinikinnik Cinnamon sugar donuts. We checked out Find Me Gluten Free and found Stashu's Deli. The menu sounded interesting, pizza's and calzones, sandwiches for the non-gluten free eaters as well. We plugged it into the GPS and went on the journey to find it. Turns out they are in the far corner of a strip mall, set off the road. We actually couldn't find it at first, because there were only a few cars in the lot, so it almost seemed like they weren't open. We decided to go and see if they were open, lucky for us, they were.



We all decided to try out the calzones, though I was the only one who got it gluten free. All calzones come in two sides, small and regular, and range from normal pizza parlor flavors to unique. I went with the Taco Calzone.


They are using a shared space for making and baking calzones, they do state that gluten free items take long to cook, so if possible call ahead. I give them a 4 dragonfly rating for the uniqueness of getting a calzone, in really any flavor you want. They also seemed to understand the need to make sure the gluten free taco was prepped away from other ones we ordered. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Here is another place that you don't have to twist my arm to go for dinner Carrabba's Italian Grill. Technically they have 2 locations in the Chicagoland area.... Just not near me, so we don't get here very often. It was semi close to where I worked at my last job, so we could get there a little more often. Now for an Italian restaurant they do not do gluten free pasta, but that's OK, they have enough delicious items on the menu to make up for it.

My favorite dish is the Chicken Bryan all dishes come with a veggie on the side, in lieu of the pasta. You get a choice of soup or salad as a starter to your meal. The chicken soup is good, and can be served without the pasta. I do normally get the soup, I opted for salad the last time, because I was craving an appetizer with my meal.


I had to get the shrimp scampi, that alone I could give 5 stars to. The difference from the regular portion is it's served without the little garlic toasts. I may bring some Glutino bagel chips the next time and eat that with it, I think it would go very well!


My Favorite dish, Chicken Bryan who can turn down chicken with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes! When I ordered the server make sure to note it on the order that it was gluten free, and when the other server brought out the plate she announced again that it was gluten free before placing it down. That makes me feel extra comfortable that the chef was told and the meal was prepped properly. I was told come early 2015 their grill base will be updated so EVERYONE can get the grill base, that it will be made with Rice Flour instead of regular wheat flour. Little victories for the gluten free peeps!


I give them 4 dragonflies, their menu is very detailed on how to adjust items to make them gluten free, and the servers will re-iterate that information back to you when you place the order. They seem to really take care in the prep and presentation of the food when they bring it out to serve you.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mago's Cantina



A friend recommended checking out Mago’s Cantina one day, because she saw the Gluten Free listings on the menu. She loved the food and told me to give it a try. I kept trying to get around to it, but being all the way out in Bollingbrook, it was a bit far for me to travel, just for dinner, and none of my friends lived over that way anymore. I Overheard there was a great Mexican place in downtown Arlington Heights I should check out. When I pulled up the menu online I saw that it was the same place my friend recommended. So we decided to check it out.
What a cute place! The one in Arlington Heights is attached to the Metropolis performing arts theater, making it a great place for dinner if you are there to see a show. There is free parking right around the corner, and there are a bunch of places to grab a drink or ice cream after dinner. In the winter, North School Park, right across Northwest Highway has some really pretty light sculptures they put up, that are in walking distance to go and enjoy.
I was delighted with the menu selection. The menu lists out what items are naturally gluten free, or can be modified to be gluten free. There were a lot of choices. Right away when you are seated you are given chips and 3 different types of salsa, which they warn you right away one of the salsas does contain peanuts.  They have a guacamole cart they come around and will make it for you right at your table.

Note the Gluten free rice is White, the regular is orange.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to get, so my boyfriend and I opted to split a couple dishes. When I told the waitress my meal needed to be made gluten free, she right away told me they would modify the rice that comes with the beans so that it was safe. I would have never thought the rice at a Mexican restaurant would be an issue!
 

After we ordered a mariachi band started to walk around and play music, it added to the ambiance.
We were so full after eating so much food, but we had to get dessert because they had flan! Honestly I’d never had flan until recently, so I was excited to try theirs. The flavor changes throughout the year, but it is still gluten free. Over all they were a bit pricy, but the ambiance and the food made it totally worth it. Recently they opened another location up in South Barrington; I’ve recommended all my friends who live up there to go try it! It’s worth it.

Flan for dessert
I give them 4 dragonflies. The menu is extensive on what they can offer. If you talk to the wait staff they will definitely take care of you for gluten freeness, and they have dessert options! I love dessert options.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pizzaria Uno

A Chicago Original that is a slice of home for anyone from Chicago - Pizzeria Unos. I've been to the original Uno's in Chicago once in my non gluten free days. I've been to a couple locations for their gluten free options, and discovered they do a good gluten free dish. The first thing I got there for a gluten free meal was their pizza, I mean Pizzeria Uno is known for pizza, I'd hope a gluten free one would live up to the Chicago standards. It's comparable. Now sadly it's no deep dish, but hey thin crust saves room for dessert.  We do laugh when we eat at a Pizzeria Uno's when we are out of town, since well, we can have Chicago Style pizza anytime we want!

This press release from 2009 explains the difference in the gluten free from a regular Uno's pizza, that the French Meadow crust are round and thin crust, not a flat square crust like the regular or deep dish.

They don't have a wide variety of pizza options, but the basics are covered. The nice thing about their menu is there is more than just pizza. So you have options no matter what mood you are in.


Recently while traveling we noticed a Uno's Bar and Grill sign near our hotel. We decided it was a good dinner to order in. I was very impressed that all our food was in one back, and the gluten free pizza was packed all by itself. Yay; They understood!

One of my other favorite dishes there is the Baked Chicken Spinoccoli, how can you go wrong with chicken, two types of cheese, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, garlic... Yum! They have more than just broccoli as a side, so I am willing to stop here for a quick meal since everyone can find something they like.


Like any pizza place there is always open flour in the kitchen that makes things a bit dicey. The food is tasty and when you ask for gluten free the first thing they do is ask if it's an allergy. I feel like they do really understand what they are doing, especially since the menu that have has been in place since before 2009. So it's not just trendy to sever gluten free here. I give them 4 dragonflies, and will be visiting again.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lou Malnanti's Gluten free crust


Growing up in Chicago, you can’t go without having a Lou Malnati’s pizza. Though I will make a huge Chicago sin… I was never a huge Deep Dish Pizza fan…. (Please don’t kill me!)
I was never a fan of so much dough. Maybe it was an early premonition that I was intolerant??? Who knows, but I was also fair weathered on it. But a family tradition was to go to Lou’s during Christmas time because their Schaumburg and Elk Grove locations were decorated real nice, and they would have Christmas Carolers singing. When I was diagnosed, right before the Holiday’s we really had to dive into how to deal with holiday’s before anything else. Our holiday tradition was still a go, because we heard they did a crust-less pizza, for carb and gluten free. I was game, and my dad said he’d go in on it too. 

It was interesting… They use a sausage patty for deep dish pizzas unless you tell them you want sausage crumbles. (Honestly I don’t know anyone who likes the sausage patty on their pizza, but that’s another story.) They used that Sausage patty as the crust for baking the deep dish GF pizza. It was tasty, but it totally gave me indigestion due to how greasy the sausage was.  I did like the lake of dough it was probably a better way for me to enjoy a deep dish pizza, but none the less, it was not ranking on the top of my Must go back and have again meter.  Some time passed, 2 years roughly and my boyfriend told me he’d heard through his gluten free friends that Lou’s was now doing a GF pizza, not just sausage crust gf pizza. I told him when we are near a Lou’s I’ll try it out.

I was dog sitting a couple weeks ago (I’ve been so busy I’ve fallen behind writing right away!) and my friend lives right by the Lou’s in Schaumburg, so we decided to go check it out. Right on the menu it states they have a 9” gluten free crust that is made in a dedicated area, so it’s safe, but could be contaminated because the pizza is prepped in a shared area…. At least they disclosed that information. I informed our server I was gluten intolerant if they could please be as careful as possible, I’d appreciate it. The restaurant can get Super super busy, but we went at 8:00 on a Wednesday night, not busy so that probably helped. We each got one to try. (He’s so sweet trying out gluten free things with me to know what I’m eating, and to give me his opinion on how it tastes.)




We both got Spinach and mushrooms on top, it was super tasty! The crust was a little thicker than I expected, and it was a corn base, it was Really good. It didn’t taste like Cardboard, it wasn’t tough, it was super crispy, I liked it! I could only eat half, so I got the rest to go, and took it for lunch for the next day, it rewarmed well, and was just as good the 2nd time. He devoured his like he hadn’t eaten in days, and kept telling me how good it was. I live near a Lou’s to go location, so our next trial is going to be to see if they do the GF crust there, and if they will take extra caution as well when preparing it. I haven’t gotten that adventurous yet. I give them 3 dragonflies, they have a great pizza, I would like to see a few more options on the menu, and I do wish they had a separate area to prep the pizza’s, or pre-make and freeze them, though that would limit topping options. Maybe they could make the crust, add sauce and freeze. Then they could add the toppings as ordered… Pipe dreaming there. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Yolk Cafe Can Do Gluten Free

Yolk Cafe, I think Yolk might be my favorite place to eat in the city. They have a lot of great options for everyone, and are a BYOB establishment so you can bring your own champagne to do mimosa's if you'd like. They have flavored creamer on the table if you want to do coffee, so on the drink from they're fun. Menu wise they have scramblers, which you can do with egg whites, for no extra charge. You can do skillets, but they don't have any carb options. They don't do any pancakes, waffles, or that type of thing. They do have the option for fruit on the side if you don't want potatoes. If you do want potatoes Make Sure your server knows you need to eat gluten free. The seasoning for the potatoes has a small amount of gluten in it. But they can make you potatoes fresh without any seasoning. 

They are a very popular place to eat, so if you get there in prime breakfast time you will have to wait for a table, so be prepared to wait for a table. It will give you plenty of time to look over the menu. The one in Streeterville is a quick 10 minute walk from Navy Pier, and the one on Michigan is a quick walk over to the Art Institute. If you are planning a day in the city these are a couple of great easy to walk to options. I even found out now there is a location at Ogilivee Transportation center! After talking to that location they said the potatoes don't contain gluten.... A former employee who had Celiac Disease use to eat them all the time, so they knew they were safe....

Personally - I'd just ask to be certain, maybe the other locations use a different seasoning, the staff here told me no, that they were confused. So it goes as a reminder, Always ask before assuming an item will be ok.


I give them 3 dragonflies still because you do have to be careful with the potatoes, which are amazing, and they don't have any safe toast/pancake options.