Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gluten Free Expo in Chicago Part One

This past weekend was the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo for Chicagoland. I have to start off by saying, I'm going to have to break these posts into multiple entries, because there was so much to see and do, I can't get it all in tonight.

1st off, Dr. Schars was hosting a party Friday night to introduce their new restaurant training program they have launched in Chicagoland. It was a great party, with lots of amazing food. Dr.Schars is spending 20 hours training interested restaurants how to safely make gluten free food in their existing kitchen space, even items that would have been fried in a deep fryer, they are training how to pan fry, in a dedicated pan, so items like chicken tenders are now back on the GF menu!! How exciting is that?

The team was so excited to have a dedicated gluten free audience to share their news and promote all their tasty new products. On my first try of Dr. Schars products 2 years ago, I will admit, I wasn't impressed with the taste and consistency. I was pleasantly surprised to see how things had changed.

The party was hosted at D'Agostino's in Park Ridge. The restaurant is family owned and as of right now, only 3 of their locations offer the gluten free menu options. The 3 locations are Park Ridge, River West, and Wrigleyville. (http://www.dagsdelivers.com)

The pizza was a bit soggy, they explained the way it cooks, it comes out with a crispy crust. We didn't have that crispy feeling they explained, but they said with the safe cooking process they have thought back in the kitchen, that all pizza ingredients were available for topping, that got my mind racing for pizza combinations! Overall the taste was good, I enjoyed the flavor and consistency of the crust.

They even served Chicken Parmesan! I will be getting this on my next visit! Luckily my family already has a love affair with D'Agostino's so the fact that I can go with for dinner, I'm foreseeing many trips there, so this is perfect. I LOVE chicken parm. This the bread crumbs were light, they weren't caked on, and the chicken very flavorful. The pasta was Schars Rotini pasta, it complimented the chicken well. They had also served the chicken tenders with ranch and blue cheese dipping sauce.

We got to try some lemon wafer cookies, hazelnut cookie bars (which reminded me of Kit Kat bars, but larger, and yummier than I remembered) and chocolate chip cookies. The host for the night gave out some boxes of their new graham crackers, YES graham crackers and challenged several bloggers to make a cheese cake with them, and report back... Later this week I will post a cheese cake, and my review of the crackers!!

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