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.

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.

The Lake Effect Diner has often been a fallback place for dinner for us. Everyone in the family can find something they want on the menu and like a true diner, you can get breakfast round the clock. Recently we had our first dinner there since going gluten-free.

The Lake Effect uses local, hormone-free beef, eggs, and chicken and its owner, Tucker Carlson, is tuned into the local food movement. This is a forward-thinking place. The fried chicken on the menu is listed as being gluten-free, so we thought there would be understanding about GF dining.  I imagine Carlson completely understands gluten-free dining, but the staff certainly doesn’t. We asked if they had a gluten-free menu. No, they don’t, but the waitress could ask in the kitchen about what on the menu was gluten-free. She came back to tell us they don’t have a gluten-free menu or make anything gluten-free (what about that chicken?) and “so like, you could order anything that doesn’t have gluten.” It was probably the most unhelpful response we’ve had yet when dining out.  There are things on the menu that are likely safe (eggs, salads, veggies) but the staff’s inability to have any kind of conversation about gluten ingredients made me very leery. Bottom line: At this point, I would say this is a place to avoid.

What did I eat? I had a cheeseburger with no bun, cole slaw, and fries. They make onion rings here, so I know the frying oil was contaminated (which does not bother me, so I was ok). It’s a pretty safe bet that the burger was grilled on the same griddle as gluten-containing items. I didn’t even bother with photos. I’m really disappointed in the response here.

Chinese_GlutenFreeGluten-free Chinese food is hard to come by since traditional soy sauce has gluten. P.F Chang’s has a gluten-free menu (we will be reviewing it soon), but recently we decided to try something that wasn’t a chain. Wok and Roll on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville has a separate gluten-free menu. There were cheers of joy at our house when it was discovered. We called to order takeout. We had some trouble communicating with the woman on the phone, who did try very hard to get our order right. Soon after we ordered though, the restaurant called to say that was the “new girl” and they wanted to confirm some things about the order. I really appreciated that – I hate getting a bag of takeout home and realizing it’s not what I ordered!

The gluten-free items were hand-marked “GF” on the lids, which was an important touch I thought.

We ordered vegetable fried rice, which was confirmed as “no meat.” This was just ok. It didn’t have a lot of veggies in it, but there was nothing bad about it. The ginger chicken and broccoli was just chicken and broccoli – not a trace of ginger detectable to my palate, which left it blander than I had hoped. This came with plain white rice to serve over. Then there was the vegetable lo mein. The GF menu clearly lists lo mein as an option. When the restaurant called back to confirm though, I was told lo mein cannot be gluten-free. I asked why it was on the menu and was told I can have the lo mein sauce, but they will use chow mein fun noodles since those are gluten free. I didn’t have a problem with this, but just wish the menu could be clearer so you could know what your choices are. This dish was mostly rice noodles with a very scant amount of vegetables. It was disappointing.

The gluten eaters at our table had mixed reviews on their food – one proclaimed the spring rolls and sesame chicken very good, while the other gave it a total thumbs down.

I also suspect there was a lot of MSG in this food. I got a classic Chinese restaurant headache from it (hits within 1 hour of eating) which happens very rarely to me.

Overall I would say this didn’t satisfy our yearning for GF Chinese food as much as it could. Everything was bland with very few ingredients. If someone could offer me a GF eggroll, wonton, and fortune cookie, I would be a happy camper, but alas, that’s not available yet.

 

Here’s a recent piece about gluten-free dining in Toronto, if you’re headed north.

Pizza

Pizza

In my quest for a good GF pizza, I realized that Pizza Plant offers a gluten free menu on Wednesdays at its Transit Road location and Saturdays at its Main Street (Walker Center) location.  The menu is not huge, but it has key items to help the GF feel not so deprived.

We ordered the GF pizza which comes only in medium, but this crust is definitely made in-house and is not the prefab crust on an aluminum tray you get elsewhere. I had high hopes. The pizza was cold when we got it home and the cardinal rule of GF breads is to always eat them hot, so we heated it up. It was still not anything I want to eat. The crust had a big of that soggy, crumbly texture. The pizza itself could have used a lot more sauce. We had mushrooms and spinach

Lasagna

Lasagna

as toppings.

We also tried their GF chicken fingers which we give high marks. You can order them at any hotness level you like, but we got plain. They were crunchy and satisfying.

We tried the GF Jimbrone Lasagna. It is made with penne however and has hamburger and sausage. This wasn’t lasagna – it was baked penne. But it was good. The noodles tasted like regular pasta. the sauce was flavorful and there was lots of meat. It had a crunchy browned cheese topping. The portion size was huge – it would easily feed four. We have to quibble with the accompaniments though. I had a long conversation with my order taker about the salad that was supposed to come with it and he indicated which dressings were GF (I chose the house creamy garlic). When we unpacked our order, we had no salad, but instead there was a small container of broccoli. There was also a mysterious roll. We weren’t told that bread came with our GF items and

Chicken fingers

Chicken fingers

since we ordered gluten items for the kids, there was no way to be sure what it was. Into the trash it went.

We used to love Pizza Plant for their pizza pods. In fact, I don’t think I ever ordered anything else there in the many years we went. If they can make a GF pizza crust, why can’t they use it to make their signature pod? If they added GF pods the menu, we would be back in a heart beat.

 

hoisinOne of my signature special occasion dishes is Peking Chicken, a version of Peking Duck. I’ve been making it for years and it is a family favorite. A whole chicken is roasted at high heat and glazed with a wonderful sauce. I make thin scallion pancakes and create a sauce from the pan drippings. It’s rich and delicious. When I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I thought I would never eat it again (I think I had an entire week of mourning over all the things I thought I would never eat again), since the sauce is made with soy sauce and hoisin. Gluten-free soy sauce is a pretty common find these days, but I had no hope for the hoisin.

On a whim, I looked to see what substitutes I could find and I stumbled on Joyce Chen’s Gluten-Freepeking chicken Hoisin at the grocery store. I bought 4 bottles of it because I was so excited! I made my Peking Chicken recipe for my husband’s birthday dinner. I didn’t even think to taste the sauce and stupidly assumed it would taste like my regular hoisin. Unfortunately, it didn’t and the lovely sauce that makes this dish so divine tasted like vinegar because of it. I hurriedly doctored my sauce by adding more honey, soy sauce and cornstarch and got it to the point where it was ok, but it was not the same. I then tasted the hoisin straight from the jar and realized it is incredibly sour and vinegar-y. I’m disappointed in this brand and will be looking for another option for future dishes. It’s usable, but needs a lot of sweetener to counterbalance it.

You can find my Peking Chicken recipe here. Substitute GF soy sauce and GF hoisin (hopefully you can find another brand!).  For the pancakes, Cup4Cup flour worked well, but needed just a bit more liquid to loosen the batter up.