GriffinPub 9-26-2015 5-01-39 PMI am not the kind of person who has a favorite restaurant. Going to the same place over and over has always felt boring to me. Yet somehow I’ve become hooked on the Griffon Gastropub.  We’ve been there three times and have ordered the same thing all three times. I’m completely shocked at myself but it has been exactly the right thing to hit the spot.

I cook dinner 6-7 nights a week and I always cook healthy food – chicken or fish and lots of veggies. Lately when we go out the thing I crave the most is a really good burger and really good fries. And it is actually pretty hard to find. But the nachosGriffin has hit the spot.

We start with the nachos. I never order nachos but they just caught my eye the first time. I love them because they are gluten free (hurray) and have vegetables (tomatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, olives), cheese and a creamy sauce. They aren’t spicy and they are warm and gooey.

Then we share a burger. Although they have gluten-free rolls, we get ours without and without the onion rings (not GF). We order it with smoked Gouda. The burger is thick and has a wonderful depth of flavor and is a little bit crunchy on the outside. It comes with a whole pickle. The burger is served with fries which we order without seasoning (the seasoning is not GF). The fries are thick, super crispy and fluffy inside. They are not cooked in a dedicated fryer, but that works for us since we do not have celiac.

Somehow splitting these two plates is just the perfect weekend fun food for me.

GriffinPub 9-26-2015 5-27-26 PMWe tried the house made lemon water the first time and it is far too sour, so we always get regular water. There is something weird about getting a table. Twice we have arrived around 5 and been told the only seats were those at the tall tables in the front by the bar, even though the entire back room was completely empty. Once we were seated in the back. I don’t know if they are regularly booking large parties in the back but it can be tricky to get a table here. I have now realized I need to specifically tell the server not to bring the burger until we are done with the nachos. Twice they have brought it while we are in the middle of the nachos. And finally on our last visit the burger was not cooked medium as we specified. It was bloody. When we asked the server to take it back, she tried to tell us it was medium. The customer is always right – you should not be arguing with me about whether the food is cooked the way I want it. Then she tried to leave the fries for us to “nibble.” I explained I wanted to eat them together and I wanted them to be hot. I was a bit surprised when the kitchen took the burger we had cut into and cooked it more – further melting off the cheese that was on top. We had a better experience the other two visits, so I hope this was an anomaly.

For about $25 this is a can’t be beat easy dinner out and we will surely return again.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

I have been wanting to eat at A Better Way in Lockport for quite a while and we finally got there on a Friday evening for dinner. They are open until 7 on Fridays, but close at 6 Tuesday through Thursday, which makes it hard to go for dinner (they close at 3 on Saturday). They serve lunch daily though. Here’s the big headline for this place: EVERYTHING they sell is gluten free.

We started with the clam chowder. They make lots of soup here, and they sell it by the quart to take home. Our clam chowder was excellent. It was thick and flavorful with pieces of clam, carrot, and potatoes. It came with a piece of herb bread that was very good. For our entrees we both had to have the battered fish fry (only available on Friday). It has been years and years since I have had a

Perfect fish fry

Perfect fish fry

fish fry in a restaurant, although I do make my own at home successfully. This was exactly like a regular fish fry. A big piece of battered haddock took center stage. Thin and crisp fries came in a nice mound and there was also cole slaw on the plate, in addition to tartar sauce. The dinners both came with a roll, which we took home and ate for dinner the next night (heated up). I was thrilled with everything on my plate. The fish was perfectly done and was crispy and not too greasy. The fries were also crispy. The cole slaw was creamy but not too sweet. The tartar sauce was thick and perfect. When we ate the rolls the next night we were pleased with those as well. I highly recommend this fish fry. If you have sorely missed Friday fish fries, this will feed your craving.

There are lots of sandwiches on the menu, as well as eggs, salad, paninis, pancakes, and French toast. We will definitely be back for another meal – maybe lunch? Maybe breakfast? Maybe both?

ABetterWay 9-11-2015 6-51-17 PMWe also dropped some cash at the baked goods counter.  We bought French bread and multigrain sandwich bread which I have not sampled yet. We bought a lot of cake bites (small round cake balls covered in a frosting). These were good, but they were infinitely better after we refrigerated them. The dough can be a bit dry when warm somehow. Once they were cold they were fudgy and good (we tried chocolate orange, cookies and cream, caramel sea salt, and more). We rapidly ate the peanut blossom cookies which were wonderful, but also better cold. We brought home several kinds of muffins (carrot, pumpkin and apple) and the ones we have eaten were very good – moist and nicely made). We bought one nut bar which was kind of soggy and none too good.

Overall we were very, very impressed with this restaurant and bakery. We will definitely be back and we recommend it highly.

Bill Grays 4-25-2015 5-56-10 PMWe hadn’t been to Bill Gray’s in many years but a recent night called for a burger and fries. They have a gluten-free menu Bill Grays 4-25-2015 5-32-13 PMat the register or online. No gluten-free buns, but the fries (not the curly-ques) are GF. We each got a world’s best cheeseburger with no buns. I have to say these cheeseburgers were pretty good. They are huge. We also got fries, which needed to be cooked just a little longer to be super crisp, but were still good. I was very disappointed to learn all of their chocolate frozen custard has gluten (why? why would you add this?) so we skipped the ice cream since I am not a vanilla girl (all of Perry’s frozen custard is GF so go get that somewhere else if you need ice cream). Overall it was decent if you’re looking for burgers and fries. I like their fries better than Five Guys and it’s a nicer atmosphere than Ted’s.

Brick House 3-28-2015 5-46-25 PM 3-28-2015 5-25-43 PMOn a recent Saturday, we headed out to grab a quick dinner. We planned to go to Red Robin, which is pretty accommodating for gluten-free diners, but there was a 30 minute wait (at 5 pm!). We ended up eating next door at Brick Tavern & Tap, on Maple Road in Amherst.

Gun Show Burger

Gun Show Burger

No wait there. They do have a separate gluten-free menu but there’s not much on it. It’s paltry. They don’t include any of their burgers. I asked why and they clarified it is just because of the buns. The burgers are gluten-free. Their fries are not battered but are cooked in the same fryer as gluten products.

We started with the deviled eggs which are on the GF menu. They were unremarkable mostly but were a bit dry and a bit salty. I wouldn’t order them again. The husband and I each ordered a burger. I got a cheeseburger and he got Gun Show Burger, which has a fried egg on top. It came with a “special mustard sauce” and our server could not be clear as to whether this had gluten, so he skipped that. We both got fries. The burgers were juicy and perfectly cooked. The fries were crisp, but don’t order them if you are worried about cross-contamination.

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Our son who can eat gluten enjoyed the hot pretzels and fish and chips. His food all looked very good.

It was acceptable. Not exciting and not bad. Nobody got sick which is always a bonus. I don’t think I would go back here unless it was a similar situation – hungry family with nowhere to go.

Sun springWe’ve been hearing the buzz about Sun Restaurant for quite a while. However, we weren’t sure that there would be many choices since so many sauces at Asian restaurants contain soy Sun noodlesauce, and thus, gluten. We were encouraged however when we found that their online takeout menu lists gluten free choices. We decided to get take out and take it to our daughter’s apartment, leaving leftovers for her. When we called to order we had a lot of trouble Sun rollcommunicating with the non-native English speaker who took the order. There were definitely things we said that she did not understand and things she said that we could not understand. We tried to make it very clear that we needed gluten-free food, but were unsure how clearly that message was received (we both suspect wesun rice may have had some gluten based on how we felt the next day). I think this would be much easier if you dined in the restaurant and could work with a server in person who understood the concerns.

We ordered (or at least we think we ordered):

sun rice pudMilk tea: this was pleasant but not remarkable we found

Black rice salad: I loved this combo of mango, avocado, red pepper, lettuce, cashew, peanuts and dressing on sticky black rice. Definitely my favorite dish.

spring roll: We asked for chicken and this was done nicely – crunchy and good.

Tiger Sun roll: avocado, cucumber, crab, shrimp made up this sushi roll

Grilled salmon roll: This was also tasty, salmon with avocado, seaweed, and cilantro

Mango roll: this contained sweet potato and avocado

Rice noodles with chicken curry sauce: the curry sauce was mild (we don’t do well with spicy foods) and it was a nice mix of noodle, veggies, and herbs

Burmese fried rice: We asked for chicken and this was a very good fried rice version

Thai basil fried rice: another excellent fried rice bowl with chicken, veggies, and basil

Black rice pudding and Mango sticky rice pudding: Our two desserts were very similar, one with mango and one with sweet potato and coconut milk. Both were good, but by that point we were on rice overload.

I would consider a repeat, but only if we dined in since it was simply too hard to communicate by phone. I definitely want to have the black rice salad again.

 

Potato chips

Potato chips

Oshun provides a beautiful setting and very creative food. We were bowled over by the murals on the wall and the elegant yet comfortable setting. They do not have a separate gluten-free menu

Oysters

Oysters

but our server was well-versed in what was and was not gluten-free. She was also willing to make any inquiries we had of the chef.

We enjoyed the basket of homemade potato chips that began our meal and could have filled up on those dangerously quick (they do not have separate fryers here, so skip anything fried if cross-contamination is an issue for you). There was a large specials menu

Trout

Trout

with ever changing oysters. The husband had an assortment and Oshun salmonpronounced them fresh and wonderful. They come with dipping sauces. I started with the crab Louie salad, which is served rather oddly so that the sauce was all at the bottom of the dish. It required some mixing to achieve a complex bite. Once I managed that, I thought it was fresh and tasty and particularly appreciated the pomegranate gelee.

Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas

For the main course I ordered the rainbow trout which is accompanied by grilled pear and manchego. The husband ordered the salmon kabobs which came with a honey mustard glaze and sauerkraut. I found I could not eat the trout since it had

Broccoli

Broccoli

truffle oil on it (something I just don’t care for – and which was not mentioned on the menu), so we switched. I enjoyed the salmon immensely and the sweetness of the glaze contrasted well with the saurkraut.

We also ordered some sides: black eyed peas (with coconut milk succotash, water chestnuts and apple Brussels sprout slaw) and broccoli (grilled with mushrooms, grits and avocado). Both provided unique and interesting flavors. They are things you might not think to put together, but which we found refreshing.

There were no gluten free desserts worth pondering (as always: someday I will go to a restaurant that understands this and makes the effort).

We would go back here again because the seafood quality was superb and the flavor combinations are so complex that we know we are sure to be surprised.

MrsFieldsCookie1Recently my husband and I were talking a walk through the mall at night for some exercise on a cold day. We were out on errands and went to the Boulevard Mall, where we don’t often shop. On one of our laps we noticed that the Mrs. Fields cookie stand had a sign advertising gluten free cookies. Although it was counter-intuitive to exercise and then buy a cookie, we did just that. We were a little disappointed to find the gluten free cookies were pre-packaged in plastic, but I assume that’s the only way they could prevent cross-contamination. They sell only chocolate chip. We bought one to try for $1.75. It was actually pretty good, but the price seemed a little high. It was a soft cookie, which we agreed can be good or bad depending on your preference. I give it a thumb’s up. It’s nice to know that us GF folks are not left out at the cookie stand at the mall.

Anchor Bar 11-8-2014 5-43-14 PMIf you’re from Buffalo, you know the Anchor Bar is the original chicken wing home. We hadn’t been to the Anchor Bar in many years, until their new location on Transit Road opened. I anchor bar coleslawsnagged a local groupon for it and we had a $20 certificate to spend that only cost me $10. This new location feels a little crowded and small. The anchor bar friesservice was excellent, despite the crowds. Our server told us all the wings are gluten free and French fries can be cooked in a dedicated fryer to be gluten free. Music to my ears. We ordered a bucket of wings for our group (50 in all), made up of mild, medium and garlic Parmesan. We ordered fries and coleslaw as well.

The coleslaw was very heavy on the mayo with little other flavor and not much carrot to brighten it up. The fries were very good – crispy and delicious. We were a bit disappointed by the wings. They came with the paper dishes for the bones covering them, so by the time we got them, they were soggy from the humidity under those paper dishes. They dumped them all on one plate with no delineation for hotness, so it was very difficult to find what you wanted. We were also quite disappointed by the garlic Parmesan wings- they were medium hot wings with some garlic powder and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. The menu did not explain this, and they were too hot for my palate. We were looking forward to some wings that didn’t have hot sauce on them. That was a missed opportunity to introduce new flavors I think. How great would it be to get some crunchy fried wings that don’t have the Buffalo hot sauce on them? The mild wings were often bordering on medium since all the sauce puddled at the bottom of the plate, soakinganchor bar wings everything.

We decided the wings at Duff’s make us happier – served separately and crunchier; we’re definitely on the Duff’s team. Obviously, like most Buffalonians, we’re really picky about our wings, which is coloring our judgment. This is definitely worth a stop for a gluten free local meal.

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.