Windsor Park 1We were skeptical about Windsor Park since the menu is heavy with gluten. There’s almost nothing on it that isn’t a gluten festival. But they did say they have GF rolls, so we gave it a try. We visited the Transit Road Williamsville location on a Friday night. The interior is dark and pubby but the booths were comfortable and quiet. The server looked at us like we were a bit crazy to be eating there when we asked about gluten free options. There is no separate menu and all she could offer was that they sometimes have GF chicken fingers (but not that night) and they have GF rolls. When I asked about the salad dressings, she was vague but knew the Italian and raspberry were GF.

Our server brought us a basket of popcorn and large waters so we were off to a good start. Our food took quite a while to arrive. I got the Cobb salad with the raspberry dressing. It was a nice salad with hardboiled egg, chicken, bleu cheese, pinkish tomato, avocado, and bacon (I asked to have the onion omitted). The only downside (and a big one) was that my salad had been place in a HOT bowl. Hot lettuce is not a good thing. I asked for a bowl of ice to sit it in and soon it became chilled again, but this was a glaring oversight.Windsor Park 2

The husband ordered beef on weck on a GF roll with the chips (steak fries). We were very surprised when it arrived crusted with salt and caraway seeds. We questioned our server to make sure it was indeed a gluten free roll and she confirmed it was and that the chef had dipped the top to recreate weck. This was an amazing, thoughtful touch. Unfortunately the beef was gristly. The chips were excellent though – crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and steaming hot.

We probably would not return since the options are limited (and the Bavarian pretzels on the menu made me have severe unrelenting gluten envy), but for a salad and sandwich it worked out ok.

Cheeseburger in lettuce

Cheeseburger in lettuce

We were pleasantly surprised by how gluten-free friendly Five Guys (8248 Transit Rd, Amherst) is.  The place is a favorite with our teenage son, so we’ve been a few times. If you or anyone in your family has a peanut allergy, steer clear. There are big boxes of peanuts where people scoop their own. You shell them at your table while waiting for your food and there are shells and peanut dust everywhere.

You can order your burger or dog without a bun and they keep it separate from any gluten items. You can get your item in a metal bowl or in a lettuce wrap. I like to get the lettuce wrap, but then eat it with a knife and fork. Five Guys has great toppings: mushrooms, onions, steak sauce, jalapeno, BBQ sauce, tomato, pickles and more.  The burgers are huge and very juicy. A “regular” burger is two patties. A “little” burger is one. One is

Fries

Fries

more than enough for me! The toppings (all GF) make the burgers fantastic and there is no charge for them, so load ’em up.

Their fries are fried in peanut oil and are GF. Nothing else is fried in the oil so there is no cross-contamination. The fries are thick and hand cut. I would like them to be crunchier, but they’re still good.

My teen son loves the beverage choices here – soda with all sorts of add-in flavors, so you can get Coke with orange or vanilla flavor added to it, for example.

And if you can’t face the thought of a burger and fries without a milkshake, the Transit Road location has a Red Mango next door where you can order a smoothie.

An added bonus – you can place your order online and just pick it up and take it home (this is convenient when you have a starving teen at home).

 

Ember_Pizza2South of Rochester, NY, just east of Conesus Lake (and west of Canandaigua) lies the tiny village of Livonia. There’s not much happening in Livonia, other than 2 restaurants, an ice cream shop and a small grocery store. Most of the clientele are locals, but in the summer the area burgeons as people flock to their cottages on Conesus Lake. There’s not a lot of dining choices in this neck of the woods, but Embers has made a big name for itself in the year or so it has been open.

Fries

Fries

The biggest caveat about Embers is that they do not bring your food together. They bring whatever is ready first. So one person could get an entree and eat halfway through it before the other person’s entree might arrive. They are adamant that they do this so that food is served hot and fresh and they won’t do it any other way.

We were pleased to discover they have a gluten-free options (marked by a “G” after the item on the menu) and even more excited to find out they have gluten-free pizza.

The gluten-free items at our table were: French fries, Pizza Margherita, Asian Sesame Beef, and

Chicken kabob

Chicken kabob

Free Range Chicken Kabobs.

Let’s get to the knife in my heart first. The pizza crust is not made on site, so guess what? It’s the same piece of round cardboard you get everywhere else. The pizza had a few glops of tomato, a few pieces of basil and a couple puddles of mozzarella. It was nothing worth eating, unfortunately. (And I recently made a GOOD GF pizza at home myself so I KNOW it is possible).

The fries were not great – kind of dry and hard. Note that the fries are designated GF on the menu, but the restaurant does fry other items in oil. I did not ask if they use separate oil for the fries since this is not an issue for me. If you go, ask to be sure.

The Asian Sesame Beef could have been good but was a big bland. It needed more rice and it would have been nice to have more than a tiny few bites of rapini – it needed more vegetables. Overall though, it was good. The chicken kabobs were the hands down winner. We loved that there peaches and nectarines on the skewers with the chicken and onion. The quinoa underneath it was moist and flavorful, with nice veggie mixed in, as well as some honeyed cashews, but note it is a cold salad.  Despite this weird juxtaposition,

Sesame beef

Sesame beef

I loved this and it was the winner.

We didn’t have dessert – creme brulee was the only contender possible. Instead we walked around the corner and had ice cream. You’ll want to do the same!