Saturday, March 19, 2016

Happy Elephant Thai

A few months back we received a flyer at our house for a Thai restaurant in the area, Happy Elephant Thai. At the bottom of the menu it stated "Ask about our gluten free options". We thought about it, but as my norm, I was skeptical. I'm always worried about places that tend to use soy sauce, and if they realize that is a source of gluten. Plus I worry if there is a language barrier in any way.

We were looking at our options for dinner and decided let's try it. Worse case if it didn't feel safe Marino's is next door and we've eaten at the other location tons of times. With our back up plan in place we wandered out. The place is cute, only a handful of seats, and a cute little kitchen. The person seating everyone spoke good English so we decided to ask the Gluten Free questions. 

He explained that there were no appetizers, except lettuce wraps with some variation to the sauce. All the curry dishes were safe, and that the dishes in the center of the menu could be modified to be gluten free. They would remove the soy sauce they use, and substitute it with a vinegar, sugar mixture to make the sauce. I was a bit worried how that would taste. My boyfriend asked how I felt, if I was OK with eating there, or if I wanted to go. I told him I'd try it. I'm not a bit fan of curry, it was never in my diet growing up, so I ventured towards the Pad Thai, a standby favorite of mine. He went with a curry dish, as he loves curry. 

Pad Thai with Shrimp

Curry Dish with Pineapple Chicken and Potatoes
I tried some of his dish, which was rather satisfying and pretty tasty. It wasn't a traditional curry, it did have some coconut milk in it, and was easy on the taste buds. My pad Thai was wonderful. Knowing that they don't do gluten free soy sauce, I know to bring my togo packets of San J Tamari with me, but honestly I couldn't have been happier with my dinner.  

While sitting there the delivery driver came back for his next run, we asked how far they deliver they said 5 miles. Even more exciting we can get them to deliver!! I give them 4 dragonflies. They have a decent selection and can work with you to make gluten free options. They understand gluten free, and the food is tasty. You don't notice you're "missing" anything what-so ever for gluten.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tap House Grill - Plainfield

Tap house has multiple locations around the Chicago suburbs which are all franchised. We were down by Joliet so we tried the Plainfield location. They were packed around 9:30 on a Saturday night. I was shocked how busy they were. They had a few gluten free call outs on the menu, including a gluten free burger bun. 

They have several locations, and with each each location also comes a different menu and different gluten free options. Their selection was different than the selection at Des Plaines, where I'd eaten before. The one thing in common, the gluten free side, was a salad. They did offer Two Brothers Prairie Path which is a gluten removed beer, brewed locally which is very good.

When we went I was not feeling good. A combination of a LONG day out and a cold were making me more than miserable, and very hungry. I spoke to the waitress about gluten free, I wish she'd stop standing across the table for 6 which we were seated at because I couldn't shout over all the music, so she had to keep asking "What? Can you repeat that...." I was worried when my meal showed up because the bun was so "normal" tasting I though they brought out the wrong bun. The manager was able to confirm that I had the gluten free bun. The food was fabulous! I had a chicken salad sandwich, which had a little gluten free marker next to it. 
I give them 3 dragonflies. Mostly for a selection of appetizers and sides. I would have gone with a small appetizer for my meal because I wasn't hungry and was more tired and sick. But no such luck. Also more than a salad would be awesome. But they did have Gluten Free Beer options so that helped me feel better.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Potato Cheese Soup

Here is a "Souper" easy Crockpot Soup for a cold day. I love potato cheese soup, I could eat it every day and be happy. I found this recipe and modified it to my liking. 

  • 1 bag of Ore-Ida Diced hash browns
  • 4 cups of chicken Broth
  • 1 box/can of Condensed Cream of Chicken soup (I used Pacific Brand)
  • 1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 container of cream cheese
  • 1tsp of McCormick's Bacon Chive seasoning
  • 2 tsps of corn starch (Optional)

  1. Pop the bag of diced hash browns in the crockpot.
  2. Add the chicken broth and condense chicken soup to the pot and turn on High.
  3. Add in the McComick's Bacon Chive seasoning.
  4. Cook in the crockpot on High for 3 hours.
  5. At 3 hours add slices of the cream cheese and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture and mix well.
    1. Set timer for 1 hour and stir every 20 minutes
  6. If after 1 more hour the soup is not to the desired thickness, add in 2 tsps of corn starch and let it cook for 20 more minutes. 
  7. Once to the desired thickness you can serve. It's up to you if you want to garnish with any chives, or extra cheese. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Punch Bowl Social Schaumburg Gluten Free Menu

Punch Bowl Social is a franchise restaurant that recently opened in Schaumburg, IL. The downside is they've moved into a jinxed location that has already seen John Barley Corn and Old Crow come and go. But they have been successful in other locales. The owners daughter has Celiac Disease so they have a very understanding and interesting list of options for gluten free Dinning.

I feel the need to break this out step by step, as I left with very mixed feelings on the location as a whole. 

1st - Their decor is retro, and chic. This place has been totally remodeled since it was Barley corn. The drink menu continues with the retro theme, with soda floats and shakes. The menu is more nuevo. More organic and natural options for unique flavors. Gluten free options are marked right on the menu. I asked our server, he was not knowledgeable on the gluten free information, but did go to get me the information. Which made the meal more comfortable. My Gluten Free Grilled cheese came out on a plate, where my boyfriends burger came out in a funny little skillet. 

2nd - Natural sodas! Boylan's soda is what they use for their "floats" and they give you the balance of the bottle to finish with your float. The only turn off is the ice cream in the float tasted a lot like soft serve yogurt, so it had a bit of an odd taste. They didn't give me a spoon or a straw to drink my float. 

3rd - They have a retro fridge which is full of bottles of luke warm water that they bring out to fill your mason jar as a water glass. I'm not a fan of luke warm water that has been sitting uncovered in a fridge for an undisclosed amount of time.....

4th - Games! They have board games, bowling, pin ball machines, live entertainment and karaoke. So it's a great place to try out with friends for a night out, and you can choose from appetizers, entrees and dessert~ 

The staff was very over the top making sure we were doing ok. A little too much that each bite we had to tell someone we were fine, and didn't need anything. Otherwise the food was good. I'd go back with friends if we needed a new or different place to go, but I'm in no hurry to go back.

They also do brunch and smoothies from the juicer. We may go to check out brunch because some of the options were interesting looking.

I give them 3 dragonflies they have great, different options. Their food was Really Tasty. I'd have felt better if the server knew more, and wasn't there to just keep asking me if I had everything I needed. It's a good place to go for a party with a group of friends. I'd go back, but no hurry to visit. I hope they last longer than the previous restaurant.