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.

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.

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.

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.

Lobster poutine

Lobster poutine

Hertel Avenue is where it’s at in Buffalo these days and on a recent Saturday we decided to head to the neighborhood and have dinner at Craving. We called for a reservation and they were pretty booked, so I recommend calling ahead.

Our waitress was a wonderful woman named Hilary who is herself gluten-free. She took the menu (which is inside a plastic covering in the menu holders) and using a  wipe off marker, crossed off what we couldn’t eat and marked things that were not GF but which could be modified. I wanted to kiss her. Why can’t other restaurants do this? It is MUCH easier than having someone point at things  – I can never remember everything they pointed at or what

Oysters

Oysters

they said. She also went through the specials menu with us. Her help was invaluable and she was very relaxed and friendly about the whole thing. What a lovely experience.

For starters, I had the lobster poutine. Oh yes. French fries with lobster, cheese and hollandaise. It was a HUGE bowlful and really could have been a complete meal. And it was incredible. This is not something I ever would have thought I would want, but it was fabulous.  The fries were homemade and had a deep flavor. The cheese was gooey. The lobster was not overcooked. The hollandaise was bright and sunny. An unbelievable plate. The husband got the oysters on the half shell which were fresh and wonderful.

For the main course I ordered one of the specials. It was prosciutto-

Marlin

Marlin

wrapped marlin, on a corn tortilla, with corn risotto. It had an avocado sauce on top and a super spicy tomato sauce on the plate (too spicy for me – I scraped that to the side). The marlin was a little dry, but the rest of the dish was good. I could have eaten a whole bowl of that risotto with the lovely nuggets of corn in it. And I’ll eat anything with avocado.

The husband ordered a small plate of the root

Short rib

Short rib

beer braised short ribs that come with a panzanella salad. Our wonderful waitress said she would just tell the chef to leave out the bread in the salad, so it was a watermelon, feta, and tomato salad. I love watermelon and feta together. The short rib was deeply caramelized and very moist and flaky.  I thought it was amazing, but it needed some potato or something on the plate. I was longing for a starch and gravy with it.

The dessert choices were limited (4 items, only one of which was GF – the ever-present creme brulee) so we passed.

Our kids were along : both had the lobster poutine and then my son had a pizza and my daughter had gnocchi. Everyone in the family was satisfied here and we were so grateful to be treated kindly and thoughtfully that we we definitely be returning here in the future!

Pizza and wings

Pizza and wings

I’ve finally found it! A really, really good take out gluten-free pizza! The bad news? If you live in Buffalo, it’s not a short drive. The Livingston Pizza Company is located in Avon, NY, home to the famous corn festival. We spend a lot of time at Conesus Lake which is how we happened upon this gem. It’s hidden down a side street in Avon and we only know about it because we saw an ad in the local Pennysaver. If you’re heading out to the Finger Lakes, definitely take a detour through Avon.

This is a pizzeria and bakery. The pizza was as good as what I’ve made at home. At last, a take out GF

Brownies

Brownies

pizza that tastes like real pizza! We got ours with spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli. They have a full extensive menu of GF pizza choices to choose from. The pizza had none of that gumminess or cardboard texture you get at most places. The deal was sealed when we saw it was hand shaped – no prefab dough on an aluminum sheet here. Their sauce was tasty – not too sweet, not too tangy. Everything about this pizza was spot-on.

The menu also has GF pasta dishes, sandwiches, paninis, wings, and salads. The wings we had were

Chocolate pie

Chocolate pie

excellent.

We bought a chocolate cream pie which was to die for. Thick, rich, not cloyingly sweet – it was heaven. The crust was thin and flaky. Nothing gummy about this.

We sampled a variety of cookies, which are not cheap at $10 for half a dozen, but there were many choices: chocolate chip, M&M, peanut butter, molasses, butter crunch, kitchen sink, and ranger cookies. The cookies were  soft  with a tendency to fall apart, but the flavor was good. The peanut butter and M&M were our faves.

Their brownies are very light. I like my brownies thick and dense. These were airy and more like

Cookies

Cookies

cake, but they were good.

We bought a raspberry coffee cake for breakfast. This was excellent. The cake was moist and dense and did not taste like it was GF in any way. It had a raspberry crumb topping that gave it just enough sweetness and a little bit of zing. I’m going to have to stock up on these coffee cakes.

They have a lot of other baked goods you can order in advance. I’m going to order cinnamon rolls for sure!

Coffee cake

Coffee cake