Archive for category Let’s Eat Out

Gluten-Free Globetrotting – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 51

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 51 “Gluten-Free Globetrotting ” Features:hold the gluten podcast

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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And here is the direct download

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My-Oh-My Cherry Pie (Cheesecake)!

April is one of my favorite months of the year. The sun seems to shine a bit brighter.  Yards and gardens are waking up from their long winter naps.  Families excitedly emerge to work and play outdoors.  All is new again.  Hello Spring, welcome back!  Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s chilly prediction, the warm weather has shown up a month early.  March has definitely been more of a lamb than a lion!  In your face groundhog!

celiac coeliac cherry pie

Every year, my family travels to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. The annual celebration honors the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan.  This year, the world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees.

Viewing the cherry blossoms is absolutely breathtaking.  Light breezes blow through the tree branches and create a shower of delicate pink and white petals while our national monuments serve as a stunning backdrop.  An added bonus for visitors is that Washington, DC is a fabulously gluten-free city!  Dining options abound, from casual to elegant. Be sure to save room for a gluten-free dessert (or two!). For more information on gluten-free travel, visit Delight Gluten-Free Magazine’s interactive map of Washington, DC.

In honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ve created this delectable cherry-themed dessert. Happy spring!

Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Cherry Topping
Who needs a graham cracker crust?  Whip up a delicious Chex Cereal crust for this cherry cheesecake!

Chex Cereal Crust

2 cups of crushed Rice Chex cereal
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a food processor add all crust ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Press crumbs against the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.


3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese , room temperature
1 ¼ cup white sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Bisquick
1 can (21-ounces) cherry pie filling

While crust is baking, blend cream cheese until fluffy with a mixer. Slowly incorporate sugar until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and Gluten-Free Bisquick.  Using a spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to ensure the batter is thoroughly combined.   Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Place a baking sheet filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness.  After 60 minutes, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, refrigerate cheesecake to chill. Add cherry pie topping and serve.

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Gluten-Free Road Trip – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 48

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 48 “Gluten-Free Road Trip” Features:hold the gluten podcast

  • Making Tracks for Celiacs 5k run, 1 mile walk & vendor fair
  • Maureen’s wine allergy panic and allergy testing
  • Listener question from Sally on celiac disease vs gluten intolerance
  • Delight Gluten-Free Magazine & Gluten Freely Recipe Contest for Pastariso Mac & Cheese Contest
  • Sneak Peek of our gluten-free road trip – Sherry Lynn’s and The Italian Chef
  • Vanessa makes the donuts!
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this podcast!

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza and More!

For six long years, I’ve been on a quest to find a mouthwateringly delicious gluten free pizza.  Back in my gluten eating days, we’d enjoy a Trenton Tomato Pie — the kind you fold in half before eating (if you’re from Jersey, you know what I’m talking about).  After going gluten free, I tirelessly sampled countless pies looking for that illusive holy grail.  I came very close today at California Pizza Kitchen!  I feasted on the Gluten Free Wild Mushroom Pizza and it was pure fabulousness.  The cheese was uber-cheesy, the toppings were generous, and the fact that I could eat something other than a (yawn) house salad was priceless.  The only minor glitch in the meal was that the gluten free crust was a bit undercooked.  However, that didn’t stand in the way of me scarfing down the entire pizza.  There are 27 (holy crap!) gluten free pizza options. Note that two pizza options are NOT available gluten-free.  They are the Thai Chicken and the Roasted Artichoke & Spinach.  CPK’s gluten free menu is impressive and I’m thrilled that they are aware of their gluten free customers’ needs.  California Pizza Kitchen has locations throughout the US.

Prior to our visit, I did contact California Pizza Kitchen via e-mail and here is their response.  FYI, this response is from Barbara Cason, Guest Relations on May 12, 2011.  As of June 29, 2011, CPK now offers the gluten-free pizza crust option at all locations.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in California Pizza Kitchen. The following items from CPK are acceptable for a Gluten Free Diet: Small Cravings Asparagus & Arugula Salad White Corn Guacamole & Chips The Wedge Salad Soups Tuscan White Bean Minestrone **Order Without Croutons Sedona Tortilla Soup Salads Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad Roasted Vegetable Salad Original Chopped CPK Cobb Salad Moroccan Chicken Salad Waldorf Chicken Salad Field Greens Specialties Wild Caught Mahi Mahi Served with wok-stirred mixed vegetables. Served blackened upon request. Pan Sauteed Salmon Served with wok-stirred mixed vegetables. Served blackened upon request. Desserts Hot Fudge or Caramel Sundae CPKids Grilled Chicken Breast Served with baby broccoli. Fresh Fruit Available with the purchase of a CPKids Meal. As CPK does offer many items that do contain some form of gluten, we also recommend mentioning your dietary restrictions to your server or a manager on duty to ensure proper precautions are taken to prevent cross-contamination.”

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Gluten Free in Ocean City New Jersey


Pizza.  Fried Oreos.  Funnel Cake.  Fried Shrimp.  More Pizza.  More Fried Stuff.

I used to love eating my way down the boardwalk at the shore!  The (gluten filled) possibilities were endless!  Since going gluten free, I had a much harder time finding safe and gluten free foods on the boardwalk.  I would frustratedly munch on nuts or a protein bar (yippee) while my hubby and kids ate all things off limits.  Hmpf.

Not anymore!  Last Summer, Pure Tacos opened on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ.  Located between 11th and 12th street on the boardwalk, Pure Tacos is 100% Gluten Free!  Yes, you read that correctly — each and every menu item is safe for us to eat!  The first time I visited Pure Tacos, I wanted to hug the cashier and ask them to Thanksgiving Dinner.  Pure Tacos offers several variations of tacos, nachos and fresh salads.

My family visited OCNJ last weekend for Mother’s Day and I was thrilled to see Pure Tacos open.  If you are down the Jersey Shore and are looking for quality gluten free food, stop by Pure Tacos.



Disclaimer:  Fist pumps are strongly discouraged.

pure tacos gluten free hold the gluten

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Behind the Scenes at General Mills

gluten free general mills

I recently had the holy crap are you for real?! exciting opportunity to visit the General Mills facility in Minneapolis.  Along with eleven other passionate gluten free bloggers, I participated in a General Mills Gluten Free Summit.  Also in attendance was the dynamic Danna Korn, author of six gluten free books and founder of GlutenFreedom and Carol McCarthy Shilson, Executive Director of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.  This was an amazing opportunity to let our voices be heard!  I arrived in Minneapolis ready to shout my gluten free opinions from the top of the Pillsbury Dough Boy (yes, there actually is a statue of that rotund youngster inside General Mills).  Here is what I took away from this monumental gathering:

General Mills genuinely wants to listen to the gluten free community and is eager to learn more.  Major win for us!  I felt very empowered to have my voice be heard at the Gluten Free Summit.  Feedback (good and bad) was highly encouraged.   Put eleven opinionated bloggers in a conference room and we certainly delivered.   Take a moment and think back to when you were first diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, there was so much to learn.  General Mills is taking on the very same task and moving forward in learning all there is to know about life gluten free.  What’s even more impressive is they are looking to the gluten free community to help teach them.  As one of the first major corporations to step up to the plate in the gluten free realm, I give them huge kudos.  What really struck me is that the CEO of General Mills has a gluten free family member.  This is huge.  It hit home for me because I felt as though the CEO could actually understand, sympathize, and identify with our gluten free lifestyle.  So what’s the big news, you ask?  General Mills is definitely listening to us and there will be more amazing things to come.  Stay tuned in the coming months as I will have more information to share and will keep you posted on the strides General Mills is making in our gluten free community.

Now on to the food!  Normally I am in hyper stress mode about where to eat when traveling.  Can you even imagine if members of the Gluten Free Summit were glutened on their trip?  It’s sort of amusing to think about.  Okay, maybe notsomuch.  However, much to my relief, we ate like gluten free kings and queens!    From the mouthwatering dinner at Biaggi’s that included gluten free bread, pizza, pasta and (to die for) flourless chocolate cake to the wonderful breakfast baked goods from French Meadow Bakery, my belly was full of fabulous (and safe) gluten free foods.  One food glitch did happen in the Betty Crocker Test Kitchen.  The eleven gluten free bloggers had a friendly “bake off” in the General Mills Test Kitchen.  I’ve never seen so many ovens in my life!  Unfortunately, we could not eat any of our gluten free creations due to the fact that the Test Kitchen uses wooden spatulas and rolling pins.  As you know, wood absorbs the evil gluten and no matter how much you wash it, the particles remain.  So we decided to forgo the baked goods in fear of being glutened.  That was a big bummer as I’m all about the baked goods, but the thought of being sick while on a two hour flight kept me away from the Snickerdoodles.  On a positive note, this was one of the many important lessons learned by General Mills while we were at their facility.

I’d like to give a shout out to my fellow Gluten Free Summit attendees’ sites.  Stop by for more fabulous information on everything gluten free:  A Few Shortcuts, Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, Hey That Tastes Good, Gluten Free Easily, Gluten Free Homemaker, The Savvy Celiac, Wheat Free Meat Free, Gluten Free Taste of Home, and Celiac Princess.

In case you were wondering, I sadly did not get to visit the Mall of America or the infamous Spam Museum, but I hope to return to Minneapolis again someday and check out these noteworthy sites!

Group photo courtesy of Jill Elise of Hey That Tastes Good.

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Our Gluten Free Nation’s Capital!

We recently took an overnight family trip to Washington DC.  Between planning tours and sightseeing excursions that would entertain my five and eight year old (and successfully hold my very short nonexistent attention span), I realized I HAD to do some research on where to safely dine gluten free while in DC.  To hit that need home even further, I accidentally glutened myself two days before we left for our trip.  Grrrreat (insert sarcasm here).  I was terrified that I would re-gluten myself and end up puking or pooping my guts out on the 500th floor of the Washington Monument.  I’m happy to report that I successfully maneuvered through Washington DC sans gluten and wanted to share my insider tips with you.  I even noshed on (gluten free) Astronaut Ice Cream at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum!  While in Washington, we dined at Bertucci’s and Jaleo — both restaurants provided me with a large gluten free menu.  Be sure to have a map of the city (or use your iPhone) so you can plan out where the restaurants/bakeries are located.  You can totally thank me by sending a Black Velvet GF Cupcake from Red Velvet (just a humble suggestion!).

Restaurants in Washington DC that offer a gluten free menu or accommodate gluten free dining:

Be sure to save room for a decadent gluten free dessert:

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Gluten Free (and Worry Free!) Travel

I used to be a spur of the moment kind of girl. Weekends on a whim; day trips decided by the flip of a coin (or a suspenseful game of eeny meeny miny moe). Then in 2005, my free spirit promptly crashed and burned. Insert resounding KABLAM here. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and suddenly had to plan even the smallest of details. After spending hours in the grocery store reading ingredient labels, I couldn’t even fathom an impromptu jaunt into this gluten filled world. Dining out in my hometown and eating a Cheese Salad (yes, this is an actual menu item) was daring enough for me. Gluten-free travel? Thanks, but no thanks. “Homebody” sounded just fine and a heck of a lot safer on my healing gut.

My husband Chuck and I recently found out that we will be traveling to Orlando, Florida this summer. Typically Orlando is a “no brainer” as we vacation in Walt Disney World. In my humble opinion, Disney is the most forward-thinking vacation destination in the US for people with special dietary needs. I could recite in my sleep where we safely dine while in Disney. However, this time we will be traveling (gasp) sans children and have decided (in part due to an immense amount of guilt); we cannot set foot within the Magic Kingdom without our kids in tow. So we are branching out and exploring what else the Sunshine State has to offer.

Immediately after booking our trip, my food anxiety began to set in. Where would I eat? What would I eat? What if there was nowhere to (safely) eat? What if I had to eat cardboard-flavored food all week? After soothing myself with some chocolate and bad reality TV, I decided to take action. I logged onto my trusty computer and sent my S.O.S. out to the masses, “social media style”. What is social media, you ask? Social media is a trendy new past-time and all the kids are doing it. Got an Internet connection? You’re in with social media (now wasn’t that easy?!). At first, I was a bit hesitant to jump into this online experience. Truth be told, I need cliff notes to use my remote control and tend to get into arguments with my GPS system. Technical savviness isn’t one of my strong points. However, I tested the waters and found that I could navigate just fine in this virtual gluten-free world, and I came away with a ton of first-hand information on my travel destination. Intrigued? Check out these resources:

Twitter: Where else can you find up to the minute gluten-free information, tips, and news in 140 characters or less? Do a keyword search for “gluten free” or “gfree” on Twitter and you’ll find a bevy of gluten-free people sharing information.

Facebook: Have you become a friend of Hold The Gluten? Search for gluten-free fan pages and groups and jump right into the communities.

Gluten-free Blogs: Gluten-free blogs offer an awesome first person perspective that allows you to glimpse a gluten free day in the life. Google “gluten free blogs” to check out the diverse group of bloggers that include teenagers, foodies, eco-friendly, and athletes.

iPhone Applications: I must admit, I still think lovingly about my red Nokia cell phone from 1992. I have not crossed over into the iPhone realm, but luckily my techie husband possesses one. For those with iPhones, there are several gluten-free applications available.

Now that you’ve amassed some gluten-free travel tips from the above resources, I highly suggest creating a vacation cheat sheet. Pack one printout in your luggage and another in your carry-on. This way when you’re famished and desperately looking for a restaurant to accommodate your gluten-free needs, you can quickly reference your notes. Be sure to detail the restaurant names, addresses, phone numbers and chef/manager information.

Last but not least, share your findings! Did you come across a restaurant in Poughkeepsie dishing up drool-worthy flourless gluten-free cake? Or maybe you uncovered a diner in Fayetteville serving a killer grilled cheese on gluten-free toast (with a side of expertise in cross contamination)? For the good of gluten intolerant people everywhere, shout your experiences from the rooftop! Word of mouth is huge within our gluten-free community. Sharing is caring people!

I am counting the days until my plane touches down in sunny Florida. With confidence, I will feast gluten freely and I will not let my food intolerance rule my days. Yes, a little pre-trip planning was necessary, but thanks in part to our amazing gluten-free community, I have overcome my fear of traveling outside a ten-mile radius from my home. And I pinky swear to share the location if I find my holy grail, aka a gluten-free pizza that doesn’t taste gluten-free.

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Sweet Freedom: Philadelphia’s Gluten Free & Vegan Bakery Review

At the 2009 NFCA Appetite for Awareness event, I had the pleasure of meeting Allison Lubert & Heather Esposito also known as the dynamos behind Sweet Freedom Bakery.  After a wondrous sample of their gluten free cupcakes, I anxiously counted the days till their mid-January 2010 opening in Philadelphia, PA.  Sweet Freedom’s baked goods are not only gluten-free (score!), but vegan (dairy-free, casein-free, egg-free) and without corn, peanuts, and soy.  It was overwhelmingly amazing to walk into a bakery and be able to eat every single item on the menu!  Note to self: restraint is key when visiting Sweet Freedom.

Our venture into Philly started off as any typical day in early 2010…with snow.   Undaunted by the forecast of (sigh, yet another) two feet, we loaded Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the car and headed towards the City of  Brotherly Love.  Once on South Street, we easily found metered parking right in front of the bakery (probably due to the impending blizzard barreling our way).  Having obsessively studied the bakery menu, I was prepared to order.  That was until I stood witness to the rows of muffins, cupcakes, and cobblers calling my name.  Our first selection was a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich.  I’m not sure what excited the children more, the fact that they were eating a “sandwich” that was actually a cookie or the fact that their Mommy Dearest was (willingly) sharing her gluten free goodies with them.  Yes, I admit, I have a tad bit of difficulty sharing.  Keep in mind that my hubby and kiddos can eat gluten, so I feel totally justified in threatening to administer a karate chop if they venture near my gluten free stash.  But I digress…The Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) was utterly fabulous!    

We then moved on to the Magic Bars ($2.75 single/$30.75 dozen).  Oooh, these were good. We barely left room for one chocolate and one vanilla cupcake ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) iced to perfection.  Unfortunately, Thing 1 and Thing 2 gobbled the cupcakes up in record time, so the photo opportunity was missed.


  • Delectable vegan baked goods free from gluten, corn, peanuts, and soy.
  • Dedicated gluten-free facility.
  • Fresh baked daily.


  • Pricing.  While I completely understand that the price point for gluten free baking is higher, I felt that $38.50 for a dozen cupcakes seemed excessive.
  • Unless you are lucky enough to find a metered spot, parking in the adjacent lot was pricey ($10.00).

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Uno Chicago Grill Offers Gluten Free Veggie Pizza!

For Immediate Release:

Extends Popular Line of Pizzas in Time for Celiac Awareness Month!

Boston, MA, May 11, 2009 – Following up on the success of its gluten-free cheese and pepperoni pizzas, launched in January, Uno Chicago Grill® is announcing the launch of its first gluten-free veggie pizza in time for Allergy and Celiac Disease Awareness Months (May).

Featuring peppers, onions and mushrooms as toppings, the new gluten-free veggie pizza will give those suffering from celiac disease or wheat intolerance or allergy yet another option to enjoy pizza at Uno®.  Frank W. Guidara, CEO of Uno Chicago Grill, said the company was encouraged to proceed with the launch after the gluten-free community responded so passionately to Uno’s introduction of its cheese and pepperoni gluten-free pizzas earlier this year.

“The best thing about the launch of our gluten-free pizzas was that the celiac community responded so positively and helped spread the word,” Guidara said.  “Local support groups, online communities and individuals were excited about this product and embraced it far beyond our most optimistic hopes. In truth, we’ve been overwhelmed by the reception, so we are delighted to offer yet another option to this under-served audience.”

Uno’s gluten-free pizza crust is prepared in a dedicated gluten-free facility, whose products are certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (, and is delivered to restaurants frozen in a sealed case, for immediate placement into freezers.  Uno’s gluten-free pizzas are thin crust and round, making the difference in shape from their oval flatbreads and deep-dish pizzas striking and unique to the eye.

Uno has offered an extensive gluten-free menu since 2006, with over 20 items ranging from appetizers to entrees, to desserts and beverages.  Menu choices include grilled chicken with mango salsa, lemon basil salmon and Certified Angus Beef® steaks, but the development of gluten-free pizzas took over a year and a half before the company felt it had the right product.

“Food allergies are a very serious, sometimes life-threatening issue for many Americans,” said Guidara. “Pizza is our signature product, and we wanted to offer a gluten-free pizza so all of our guests could enjoy pizza when dining at Uno.  With that in mind, we spent over a year developing a crust that lived up to the Uno name.”

With 12 million Americans suffering from food allergies, including 2.5 million school-age children , Uno considers it good business and good corporate citizenship to offer an ever-expanding gluten-free menu. This commitment is made all the more compelling by the fact that an estimated 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease.  While awareness of celiac disease is rising, more than 95 percent of people with the disease remain undiagnosed.  Among people who have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.

In addition to its gluten-free menu offerings, Uno boasts a number of healthy firsts including being the first national restaurant chain to eliminate artificial trans-fats and to increase menu and nutritional transparency via nutrition information centers located in their restaurants.  For guest convenience and safety, Uno clearly labels menu items with ingredients that are linked to the most common food allergies, such as fish/shellfish, soy, tree nuts/peanuts, egg, milk and wheat/gluten.  Diners can also preview the menu and nutritional information online via the company’s website at

The company has invested more than $2 million in nutritional advancements since 2005 and, according to Guidara, will continue its commitment to providing delicious, fresh and healthful menu options for its guests.

About Uno Restaurants:
Based in Boston, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation includes more than 200 company-owned and franchised full-service Uno Chicago Grill units located in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The company also operates a fast casual concept called Uno Dué Go®, a quick serve concept called Uno Express®, and a consumer foods division which supplies airlines, movie theaters, hotels, airports, travel plazas, schools and supermarkets with both frozen and refrigerated private-label foods and branded Uno products.  For more information, visit

Contact: Elliott Subervi, (732) 542-9100 x.111

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