Author Archives: Brette

Simply Sweet Bakery 11-1-2014 1-53-09 PMI’ve been hearing about the gluten-free  Simply Sweet Bakery on Main Street in Williamsville for a while and we finally made it there. It’s absolutely stunning inside, with a very high-end

Muffin and apple bar

Muffin and apple bar

boutique bakery feel. We stopped on a Saturday afternoon. There were glass jars of huge cookies. Cupcakes, cut out cookies, quick breads, muffins, bar cookies, mini-pies and much more filled the cases and shelves. They also have shelves with gluten-free pasta in some interesting shapes (brought in from Colorado), gluten-free granola and some frozen sandwich and dinner rolls from a local baker. It was exciting to have lots of choices and we brought some things home to taste.

simply sweet cookie

Chocolate almond cookie and pumpkin mini-pie

The cookies are excellent, however, I got an almond chocolate chip cookie and was crushed to find out it had almond extract in it in addition to the nuts. I absolutely hate the taste of almond extract and would never have even thought to ask if it was in it. The regular chocolate chip cookie was excellent – big with just the right combo of crispy and chewy and lots of chips. We got some mini pumpkin pies and those were fantastic.

The breakfast foods disappointed us. We tried the crumb muffins and an apple cream cheese bar. I didn’t care for the bar at all. It was too sweet and too gooey and wet and didn’t have enough apple flavor. The muffins (which we warmed before eating) were ok, but there was that horrible almond extract in the frosting which ruined it. Once I picked that off, there wasn’t a lot of crumb to make it worth eating. The interior of the muffin was very plain. I think if she had some fruit muffins they would be good, but this was blah.

I would definitely go back another time to try some other offerings. I thought her cookies were better than Vin Chet’s and certainly better than anything boxed at the grocery store.

breads

breads

I grew up going to the Asa Ransom House in Clarence for special occasions, back when it was closed on Saturdays (the owners were 7th Day Adventists). We’ve been back twice since

applewood bacon salad

applewood bacon salad

going gluten-free, once as part of a large family dinner and once with a friend. Both times we were extremely pleased with the

Caesar salad

Caesar salad

options. There’s nothing adventurous here, but if you want nicely done, traditional food, you can get a very pleasing meal here. The interior is just as quaint and cozy as it’s always been, and while the servers wear

salmon

salmon

the traditional aprons, they’ve lost the little elastic bonnets I remember them having years ago. When we dined with our family, we were in the private back room,

Filet

Filet

which had one long table. It was a little cramped, but it was private. When we came recently with our guest, we sat in the front dining room. Be sure to poke your nose in the gift shop and check out the comfy living room which always has a jigsaw puzzle in progress. There are B&B room available upstairs if you can’t bear to leave.

They have a pretty big gluten-free menu to choose from.  The best part is that you are given two gluten-free breads to begin with. On our most recent visit, we received a cherry scone and an oatmeal bread item. Both were great, particularly when paired with the flavored butters that come with them. It’s nice to go someplace and have bread at the beginning of the meal.

There are several appetizer and salad options available. We had the applewood smoked bacon salad and the Caesar (the husband was thrilled with the anchovies on top). Both were wonderfully done, with fresh, ripe vegetables and nice dressing. For entrees, we had the filet and the salmon. Both were lovely, although the filet would have been better with some type of sauce. The fish had a honey pecan glaze. Both came with potato (white or sweet mashed) and vegetables. It was nothing that stretched the limits of culinary inventiveness, but it was all good food, cooked well, with good flavors. The food here is reliable and there’s something to be said for that when you are searching for reasonable gluten-free options.

Unfortunately, as often happens, they fell down on dessert. The only options were the dreaded creme brulee or ice cream. If they can make wonderful bread options for starters WHY can’t they offer something for dessert? I’ll never understand. That being said, I can see us coming here again and again if we need a comforting meal we can trust.

pancake house2pancake house 1Apparently I was the last person to know the Original Pancake House has a gluten-free menu. The OPH is a national chain and it’s known throughout the GF community for being one of the only places you can get a GF breakfast that is more than just eggs. We went on a late Saturday morning to the Williamsville location. It was crowded as always and we waited about 10 minutes for a table in the dreaded back room. We were given a card with the gluten free choices, which are only pancakes, pancakes or more pancakes. You can only get the dollar size, but you can choose from a variety of flavors and number of pancakes. I got plain. The husband got chocolate chip and pecan. We also had bacon and hot chocolate. The children had regular menu items. The service was slow, hectic, and forgetful. It was almost impossible to get all of our food and it took several reminders about missing items. Despite the craziness, the food was good. It was nice to go somewhere and have a real breakfast I didn’t make myself. We would be happier if they had real maple syrup (I am tempted to smuggle a jar in myself inside my purse next time). The pancakes were excellent and the flavored ones the husband ordered had the nuts and chocolate chips inside the pancakes as well as on top. They definitely know how to make pancakes here. The bacon is thick. The hot chocolate is rich. We brought tons of leftovers home (although we had to go to the serving stand and take some containers ourselves since there was no chance we could get our server to do it). It’s definitely a better experience if you don’t go on a weekend morning, but honestly, when else are you going to order pancakes? Once a year, it’s worth doing.

Dog e Style

Posted by Brette in GF Restaurants | GF WNY Dining

Dog e Style 10-25-2014 4-58-48 PMThe newest hot dog joint in Buffalo, Dog e Style, was surprisingly completely empty on Saturday night when we arrived. We were excited by the promise of a variety of different dogs and

Greek dog

Greek dog

preparation. They don’t have a web site, so I can’t give you a link, but you can see the menu on Buffalo Eats. When you walk in, it’s through the bar. There is a weird narrow room with counter seating then you get to the menu and the ordering station which is right by the grill. The big printed menu is on the wall, but then there is a big decorated chalkboard above the grill that seems to be the same thing, but you can’t really see it, so it’s hard to know. We were very, very disappointed that the seafood dog was not available. It was the only thing I wanted to try.  The menu is short, but perhaps a bit too short. They don’t list the condiments you can choose from so we had to ask. The menu says there is a daily special but there wasn’t one the day we were there.

Fries

Fries

The husband got the Greek dog, which is made of lamb and comes with a mix of feta, olive, tomato and pepperoncini as a topping. This was all mixed together, so if you don’t like the hot pepper (we don’t), you’re out of luck. I ordered the cheeseburger (I know! But I was grieving the seafood dog and just couldn’t face the other options). We also got some fries which are billed as twice fried. Our son got a regular dog (they serve Wardynski’s here). We ordered ours without buns since there they don’t have gluten free buns. The lamb dog was interesting, but not something I would want again. If I want those flavors, I think I would just go to a Greek joint. My cheeseburger was thick and juicy. The chef forgot the cheese so we had to send it back for that (considering we were the ONLY customers it shouldn’t have been that

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

hard, also they only have a cheeseburger on the menu, not a hamburger). Their relish is called neon relish and it truly is neon. I don’t want to know what they added to make it that color, but I definitely don’t want to put something that color in my stomach again. The fries were a complete bust. Total disappointment. If you’re billing them as twice fried, they better be crispy. These were limp and not crunchy at all. They don’t deep fry anything else here, so there’s no gluten in the fryer.

Dog e Style 10-25-2014 5-05-18 PMThere is a large upstairs dining room which I think must get very loud, since the walls are made of corrugated metal. They didn’t have any silverware out upstairs, so we brought it up from downstairs. It’s flimsy plastic.

My prediction: this place isn’t going to make it when you can go to Ted’s or Louie’s.

Noon Mark breakfast food

Noon Mark breakfast food

When we planned a weekend getaway to the Adirondacks, I was hoping to find a handful of places that had gluten-free menus or at least acknowledged they understood GF food. I did a Adirondacks 10-5-2014 2-17-41 PMlot of research before we left and came up with almost nothing. There is a little organic market in Lake Placid, called Green Goddess, that makes GF sandwiches. I couldn’t find anything that had GF food within the park online.

Noon Mark Diner

Noon Mark soup

Noon Mark soup

Simply by luck we stumbled onto the Noon Mark Diner in tiny Keene Valley, which is on the way from Lake George to Lake Placid. We found this place only because we stopped in a shop next door and asked about restrooms. They sent us to the diner where we were confronted with a huge sign about

their gluten-free options. Not only do they have amazing options like GF lasagna, French toast, sandwiches, and pancakes, but you can buy or mail order a lot of things too (pies,

coffee cakes and lasagna). We started with a bowl of cream of spinach and artichoke soup. It was broken and was clearly from the bottom of the pot since

the sign had changed to list another soup by the time we left. It tasted ok even if the cream soup had broken. Even so, this

should never have been served and neither the cook nor the waitress intervened to stop it

from going out. We tried pancakes, French toast and lasagna. These were ok. It wasn’t fantastic and the service was not great, but it was such a treat to go somewhere and have so many options. The French toast could have soaked longer. The

Noon Mark Lasagna

Noon Mark Lasagna

pancakes could have been cooked a bit longer. We had no complaints about the lasagna though. This is a shocking little oasis of gluten-free joy in the midst of the beautiful state park. There’s lots of cute little shops in Keene and Keene Valley, so it’s definitely worth a stop.

I was surprised that there were really no other gluten options to be found in Lake George (a very busy area) or areas north of there. A little more digging helped me discover there are LOTS of great gluten-free choices about half an hour south of Lake George in the Saratoga Springs area. We were staying in Lake George, so this was accessible for us. If we had stayed farther north in the park, we

would not have been so willing to drive down there each night to eat!

Adirondacks 10-4-2014 8-44-04 PMFifty South

Fifty South is a little past Saratoga Springs in Ballston Spa (maybe 10 min away). This was the best place we dined. The outside of

Fifty South Soup

Fifty South Soup

the restaurant looked a little weird to us. It felt really old and not updated. We thought how can this place have a menu that is almost entirely GF? It looked a little old-fashioned when we walked in until our eyes adjusted. The

Fifty South decor

Fifty South decor

decor was awesome – birch branches on the walls and ceiling. Kitchen towels for napkins. A piano player. Our waiter was friendly and helpful, if a little awkward. I did a little happy dance that we could order almost anything on the menu. The specials menu was also completely GF! We were truly stunned.

Fifty South Scallops

Fifty South Scallops

Instead of bread, we were brought a plate of homemade potato chips with tapenade. They would have been amazing if they were warm.

Potato Chips

Potato Chips

I started with the broccoli, cauliflower, cheddar and leek soup which was fantastic. It was warm, creamy, and did not have any overpowering taste of the vegetables as some of these soups do (especially when they are overcooked). The

husband had the poached pear salad, which had goat cheese, cranberries and candied pecans. It was a lovely little salad and the maple vinaigrette was perfect. We were off to an amazing start.

The entrees didn’t quite live up to our great beginnings though. I had the scallops with lemon caper sauce and mashed potatoes. The

Linguiini with clam sauce

Linguiini with clam sauce

scallops were perfectly cooked, but they were placed on top of the potatoes and the sauce was lost into the potatoes. The dish was also not warm. The husband had linguini and clam sauce, one of his most missed dishes from his days as a

Brownie sundae

Brownie sundae

gluten eater. This dish was also cold and there was no broth at all in the bowl. It came with a piece of gluten free toast, meant for mopping up the sauce, but there was just no sauce. Disappointing. Both dishes were prepared well otherwise and had good flavors, but fell down on the execution.

We had to have dessert since they actually had something other than ice cream and creme brulee (my biggest pet peeve as a GF diner is the failure to remember dessert!) I had a brownie sundae and the husband had apple crisp. We enjoyed both immensely.

Apple crisp

Apple crisp

We will definitely go back to this restaurant when in the area and highly recommend it for a quality GF dining experience.

Adirondacks 10-5-2014 8-24-02 PMWheatfield’s

Situated in the heart of Saratoga Springs, Wheatfield’s is an attractive little downtown place (they also have a location in Clifton Park). We chuckled at the fact that a place with a large GF

Crab mac and cheese

Crab mac and cheese

menu was called Wheatfield’s. We made a reservation and when we arrived we were asked if we wanted a table or to sit at the bar. ?????? Why would I make a reservation if I was

Real bread at Wheatfield's

Real bread at Wheatfield’s

going to come and sit at the bar? Our table was a tiny table against the banquette and we were smushed between a couple on their first date and an awkward parents meeting the girlfriend dinner on the other side.

Things started off well when our server brought us gluten-free bread. This was a lovely little warm baguette, not the usual pre-made sliced bread that is toasted. I give them high marks for this. I started with the spinach and kale salad with cranberries and goat cheese from the specials menu. It was nicely made. The husband had the Caesar salad, which had no anchovies in the dressing at all and had clearly been made with mayonnaise. This one got very low marks. For my entree, I ordered the crab mac and cheese special. It was nice with a creamy sauce and some chunks of real crab. The husband ordered a pizza with sausage and mushrooms – excited to order a GF pizza with the crust made in-house. This would have been good, but it was served cold, but on a very warm plate. Perhaps they thought they could serve us a pizza made earlier in the day by putting it

Fried chicken at Hattie's

Fried chicken at Hattie’s

on a hot plate? There were no dessert choices other than the usual, so we passed.

My advice is skip this and head to Fifty South.

Adirondacks 10-4-2014 2-47-35 PMHattie’s Chicken Shack

A restaurant that makes homemade gluten-free fried chicken? Get the smelling salts, I might faint! Hattie’s Chicken Shack does indeed

Cucumber salad at Hattie's

Cucumber salad at Hattie’s

serve GF fried chicken. Don’t make the same mistake we made though! There is a Hattie’s in downtown Saratoga Springs. This is the original Hattie’s and they do NOT have GF chicken on their menu. You have to go to the location near the Wilton Mall for the GF menu. Once we found this little storefront in a strip mall, we were happy we’d made the effort. We both ordered the GF fried half chicken. It takes an additional 20 minutes (even though the menu says 15) and it costs $6 more than the regular version. It was worth it though We also tried fries, sweet potato fries and cucumber salad. The chicken was crispy, very hot and superb, except for one breast which was tough and I suspect was old or perhaps fried twice. All the other pieces were wonderful – juicy and moist. The fries were good and I LOVED the cucumber salad. It was a wonderful side dish and something you don’t see every day. We ate way too much, but couldn’t help it since it is so unusual to find GF

Hattie's

Hattie’s

fried chicken! We highly recommend Hattie’s if you are in the area. It could be addictive.

Overall, we fared much better than expected on this trip and believe we’ve found some gems to return to in the future.

BBQ beef

BBQ beef

If you’re from Buffalo, you know Anderson’s is a hometown favorite. Beef on weck is the item of choice here. But if you’re gluten-free or celiac you might feel deprived. Now you can have your roast beef! No kimmelwecks here, but Anderson’s now has gluten-free rolls and on a recent visit we weren’t disappointed. The rolls were of good quality and the sandwiches served hot with plenty of beef. The husband had bar-b-que beef which he liked. We also had curly-q fries (they have onion rings here so there is likely cross-contamination- ask if

Roast beef with cheese

Roast beef with cheese

it is a concern for you!). I would not recommend the sweet potato fries since they have a batter on them. Not a gourmet meal, but definitely a long-missed favorite. And while you’re there, you’ve got to get some ice cream!

GF ebookTraveling when you are gluten-free can be challenging. Figuring where to eat, what you can eat (if you’re in another country), and how to find food on the go is tough. I’ve been traveling gluten free in the US and abroad for several years and I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and put it together in a great new ebook called The Gluten Free Guide to Travel. In it I cover:

  • How to find hotels that are gluten free friendly
  • Airline food
  • Communicating in another country
  • Researching restaurants
  • Finding gluten free local specialties
  • Gluten free tours and cruises
  • What food to pack
  • Where to buy GF food while on the go
  • How to get help finding places you can eat

This nicely priced ebook is being offered at an introductory price, so don’t miss out!

Texas de Brazil 9-6-2014 7-51-26 PMThis is a national chain and we actually visited a location in Miami several years ago, before we were gluten-free. We’ve also been to many other Brazilian barbecues across the world because they are

Buffet

Buffet

a place where our kids were always happy. Now that we’re gluten-free, this style of restaurant suits us perfectly because of the many options and the fact that all of the meats are prepared without gluten. If you’ve never been to a churrascaria, there are three components. First there is a huge salad bar that includes hot and cold dishes – it is more of a buffet than a salad bar. Next, gauchos come around carrying hot meat on skewers and they slice pieces off for you at your table. They have several cuts of pork, lamb, beef, chicken and usually sausage. Many also have roasted pineapple they slice for you as well, but this location did not. Thirdly, the server brings Brazilian cheese puffs, potatoes, and plantain to the table to share. Some restaurants also offer special sauces for the meats on the table but this one did not.

We asked our server what items at the buffet were safe for us and she had the chef meet us there. He walked us through and pointed out every item to avoid, and we truly appreciated this personalized service. We could eat almost everything and heaped our plates with salad, green bean salad, cheeses, hot salmon, hot potatoes, cold potato salad, pineapple carpaccio, asparagus, pickles, and much more. It was a good-sized buffet with numerous options, although the other restaurants we have visited have often had a bigger selection. Everything on the buffet was excellent so we were quite pleased with it. Our son gobbled up items we could not eat, such as lobster bisque, lots of bread, and some couscous. The cheese puffs that came to the table are gluten-free (and this has been true in every churrascaria we have visited) and they are amazing. Once we made a dent in our salads, we flipped the little

Some of the meats we enjoyed

Some of the meats we enjoyed

coasters next to us over. One side is red and one is green. When it is flipped to green the gauchos begin to come with the meat (and if you want a break or are just done, flip it back to red and they stop). The meat is on big skewers and the gauchos carry knives. They slice the meat directly onto your plate. There was quite a wonderful assortment: filet, filet wrapped in bacon, Parmesan crusted pork, bacon wrapped chicken, Parmesan crusted chicken, lamb chops, leg of lamb, flank steak, sirloin, sausage and more.  My modus operandi is to take one piece of everything and if I don’t care for it, push it to the side. My favorite was the filet, but other items were good as well. The mashed potatoes and plantains (cooked in cinnamon)

One of our plates from the buffet

One of our plates from the buffet

that came to the table were wonderful and also gluten-free.

We sampled a papaya cream for dessert which was a light very whipped milkshake. I felt it didn’t have much flavor so I wasn’t a fan.

Sides

Sides

Cheese puffs

Cheese puffs

Be forewarned that this is not a cheap meal. It cost us $200 for three people, but if you have a meat lover in your family, you will get your money’s worth. Kids think it is incredible. It’s a fun and different kind of outing and in addition to the food being good, one of the benefits is that meat is HOT and freshly carved when it hits your plate and this makes it taste so much better. If you have vegetarians in your group, you can buy just the buffet portion of the meal for them.

Papaya cream

Papaya cream

This location is a bit small and the tables are close together. It’s also quite loud, but we had an enjoyable evening and left very well-fed! It’s not often you can go to a restaurant and eat almost everything they have.

Chicken souvlaki

Chicken souvlaki

Although Milos has been in Williamsville for a couple of years, we just got around to trying it. We were hopeful that it would be an easy GF experience, since the menu sported gluten free pasta. We thought maybe would be able to eat something other than souvlaki and salad. The husband ordered the gluten free pasta with Greek sausage (loukaniko) and red sauce. This was a nice dish, and the server verified the sausage was GF. The sauce was on the sweet side (which we like) and the sausage had lots of

Pasta with sausage

Pasta with sausage

flavor. This was a definite thumbs up.

I did not make out quite so well. First I asked about the Greek stuffed chicken breast, which is stuffed with rice, feta, spinach tomato and other GF ingredients. The server said it was GF, so I ordered that with a side of fries and the house salad. The server soon returned to say the sauce on the chicken was not GF. It seems maybe the chicken was already made and kept in the sauce since it was not available GF. So I went with chicken souvlaki with no pita (which is what I ALWAYS get at Greek restaurants, so definitely not exciting). There was a lot of confusion with the server over which one I wanted – the open face or the entree. I wanted the entree but then she went on about the size of the salad being small on that (she was confused). Finally we straightened it out and she put in an order for the entree. The souvlaki came and it really was a beautiful plate. The salad was fresh and colorful – no white lettuce or unripe tomatoes. The chicken was cooked nicely. However the side of fries arrived and they were battered. I don’t know how the waitress and the kitchen overlooked this. She assured me she had written gluten free on our order. While I can eat fries cooked in the same oil as other items, battered fries are loaded with gluten. I sent them back and ended up with a baked potato which was not what I wanted.

On the way our, the hostess asked how our meal was and my husband explained about the French fry mix up. She asked if the sweet potato fries were also battered. We had to tell her we had no idea, because they weren’t even mentioned as an alternative when we sent the battered fries back.

We enjoyed our food, but probably won’t be quick to go back after the confusion.

SeaBarWe ended up at Seabar on a Friday night without reservations and snagged a table. They do not have a separate GF menu, but our server was very knowledgeable about what gluten-

Scallops

Scallops

free options we could have. The good news is all the sushi is or can be made GF.  Our server brought us the curried popcorn, but we had to ask for it (normally it is just brought to the table). We enjoyed a crab and mango roll. They have GF soy sauce, but you have to ask for it.  We also had edamame as a starter. For our entrees, I had the scallops with risotto. The dish is supposed to come with chorizo but since they don’t make it themselves, they remove it for GF diners since they are unsure (which I really appreciated). My scallops were huge and the risotto was creamy and flavorful with sweet peppers and a corn puree. It was rich

Short ribs

Short ribs

and comforting. The husband ordered the short ribs, with onions, potatoes and gremolata, which I found a little chewy but he enjoyed. These are not your traditional falling off the bone short ribs. The meat is presented without bone and is sliced like steak and served medium rare. The gluten eaters at our table enjoyed an udon noodle bowl and chirashi-zushi. The only gluten-free dessert is a granita, so we passed. It’s nice to eat someplace where the highlight of the menu (sushi) is safe. We will definitely be back.