Posts Tagged gluten free dining

Happy Gluten-Free 2012! Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 44

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

Episode 44 “Happy Gluten-Free 2012!” Features:

  • Happy New Year!  Gluten-free resolutions
  • hold the gluten podcastVanessa’s trip to Breezes Bahamas – gluten free food galore
  • Maureen’s Philly gluten free dining experience
  • You voted!  Winners of the GFreek Awards are announced
  • Maureen’s Beer Battered Onion Ring Recipe
  • Vanessa head to the Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco, CA January 15 – 17th
  • 14 Colleges that Cater to Gluten-Free Students
  • Maureen’s schooling of Vanessa on all things 80’s
  • 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

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Infertility and Undiagnosed Celiac Disease – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 40

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

Episode 40 “Infertility and Undiagnosed Celiac Disease ” Features:

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

Rock on Celiacs!

Click the player below to listen to the show! Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

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Gluten Free Groceries – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 38

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

Episode 38 “Gluten Free Groceries ” Features:

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

Rock on Celiacs!

Click the player below to listen to the show! Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

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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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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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Happy as a Horse’s Hiney!

I realize that as I begin this post, some of you may be scratching your head with puzzlement at the title. Bear with me, I’ll explain…

P.F. Changs is one of my favorite gluten-free dining experiences. For those of you who have visited a P.F. Changs Restaurant, you are familiar with the two large, ornate stone horses outside of every restaurant entrance. However, if you visit the Changs in Atlantic City, New Jersey, you will get to see the horses up close and very personal. Inside the Tropicana Casino resides the Atlantic City P.F. Changs. The place is always packed with quite a diverse crowd, from trendy 20-somethings to the blue haired grannies taking a nickel slots breather. No reservation? You can spend your two hour wait in the small bar and table area until seated. A window was thoughtfully placed on either side of the entrance so you may gaze out at the passerby. The gazing will occur with somewhat of an, ahem, obstructed view. I’m not sure if it was a design snafu or a contractor’s joke, but those two large, ornate stone horses are positioned directly outside each window. As a result, one who chooses to sit in the bar area while waiting for their table will be privy to a wondrous view of a gigantic stone horse’s rear end. Maybe it’s me (I can have an odd sense of humor at times), but this just cracks me up.

But, I digress. This past Sunday, I dined with two of my gluten-eating girlfriends at a P.F. Changs in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. What is so fabulous about this restaurant chain? Across the country, all P.F. Changs staff; from host to server to cook, are educated in food intolerances. Upon entering the restaurant, request a special gluten-free menu. You will receive nary an odd look or verbal inquisition on, “What the heck is gluten?”. Prior to taking your table’s order, your server will ask whether any diners have dietary restrictions. This is where you will speak up and declare your gluten emancipation, start waving your arms (or other extremities) wildly, or, if subtlety is your tactic, slyly point to your gluten free menu. Note – there will be soy sauce available on the table. Do not use It! Be sure to request the gluten-free soy sauce from your server. The gluten-free menu is quite extensive and offers a nice selection. Heed my advice and leave room for The Dome Dessert. Ah, The Dome, a beauteous creation of flourless chocolate decadence. It looks small, but it is mighty. Nestled along The Dome is a combination of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries to help to make this dish somewhat healthy (not really, but we can pretend).

At the end of your delicious meal, crack open your cookie and read your compelling fortune from within, but let someone else eat it (the cookie, that is).

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