Saturday, October 30, 2010

Glenny's Cranberry and Almond Bar -- When Should the Energy Kick In?

I'm always hungry. I eed/crave/want snack foods galore. When I found glenny's Cranberry & Almond Fruit & Nut Energy Bar I thought, this could be a great afternoon snack & just the boost of energy I need.

glenny's website has a gluten free section, they are health conscious and promote other GF products as well. For this, they receive a big star in my book. glenny's has a listing of products under the GF section, it includes soy crisps, oatmeal cookies, other bars, etc. Check it out.

As for the bar I tried, it was ok. I love nuts, and love cranberries, so this should have been a where do I order these by the dozen?, but, instead, its Ehhh. My opinion, this is another health conscious type of product and I'm not of the school where now that I have Celiac disease, I'm all of the sudden a health nut, I still want tasty products that were afforded to me during my GF days.

This product... we'll its okay. Run to the store to buy more - no. Amazing - no. Okay when you need a snack desperately, yes. Although the product label states its an Energy bar, I craved something else when I finished the bar, and can't say that I found the energy it promotes. The afternoon was still a sluggish one for me.

My thoughts are still ehhh. This is a thumbs sideways - if I'm in need of a snack and haven't figured out my GF alternatives (or turn into the ultra health conscious person I likely should be), I'll purchase again, otherwise, ehhh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nana's Chocolate Crunch Cookie - A Crumbly Mess...

I was thrilled to see Nana's at Whole Foods, the label clearly states NO Gluten, and it was a chocolate cookie we were talking about... I'm thinking, c'mon this has to be great...

Well... guess again.
I opened the wrapper weeks ago, took one bite, closed it, haven't opened it since. The next time I opened my "snack" drawer and saw it.. I just threw it out.

Why, you ask? It's a crumbly mess. I've had amazing cookies that are GF, dairy free, and egg free, but... these weren't it. They had no taste. I'm a known chocoholic, maybe I prefer sweeter, more decadent chocolate, this didn't do it for me... at all.

Maybe.. for those health nuts out there, that may sacrifice taste for a glitch of chocolate, this product is wonderful. For me, I'm a girl that loves food, and chocolate is my #1... This product lacks flavor, its not chocolaty, it's not sweet, it crumbles on you, there's no crunch (like you'd expect from a crunch bar). It's just not good.
Nana's makes a whole line of other products, but, to be honest, I have no desire to spend my hard earned money on them.
Nana's, I love that you tried, these could be great, please work on them.
For now... Thumbs Down. Someone please tell Nana's to perfect her sweetener and chocolate, when she does, I want to hear about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Michaels Genuine - From a GF Prospective...

I get why a lot of people love Michael's Genuine. I like the decor, I'm all for restaurants in the Design District (and love promoting the 2nd Saturday Art Walk - if you haven't been, it's wonderful, but, I'll take Wynwood over the Design District for Art Walk anytime).

To get back to real point... If your GF and at Michael's Genuine, my opinion, its not the place for you. It's overpriced to begin with, although they tout having the freshest ingredients, which I'm not here to dispute, the selection of items, for those that are GF, is just not there.

See a dinner menu to judge for yourself. I know I'm more difficult than most. I don't eat pork or shellfish, so that limited my search to chicken or cow. Everything I craved on the menu, I couldn't have. The shortrib sounded delicious, but contained breadcrumbs in the sauce, and I was told wasn't worthwhile without the sauce. Under snacks, the thick cut potato chips with pain fried onion dip sounded out of this world - but no, it had gluten. I can go on.. but, it's painful to do so... so I won't. I'll just say, finding a GF item that sounded exciting, on their rather exciting menu, was impossible!

Here's what I had...

I started with the "House Salad" at $11. It comes with "swank farms lettuces, pears, pomegranate, blue cheese, pecans." Yes, I know, no blue cheese for us Celiacs. They were kind enough to take it out for me. I shared the salad, 86 the blue cheese. The description says nothing of the dressing, it was a vinaigrette, but, it was incredibly sour. With pears and pomegranates, I craved a sweet dressing. I really think the blue cheese is what makes this salad come together. It just didn't cut it, it was painfully sour, to the point where I just didn't want to finish it. Also... not sure I could really tell the difference between "swank farms lettuce" and publix lettuce, or any bagged lettuce. Nothing special at all about this salad.

Next, I had the "Pan roasted 1/2 "poulet rouge" chicken" which originally contained roasted garlic mashed potatoes and escarole - for $23. The roasted garlic mashed potatoes contained dairy, which I personally don't eat with meat, so they were nice enough to substitute the mash for "wood roasted potatoes" pictured above.

Let's be honest here, I love chicken, but... is 1/2 chicken ever worth $23?? I can go to Joe's Stone Crab and get DELICIOUS chicken for $5.95 (and the portion of chicken is much more substantial and flavorful at Joe's)! This chicken, although touted as organic, farm raised, exception chicken... was just plain ol' chicken. Nothing special. The potatoes... same. Nothing flavorful, or exciting enough to make me want to go back... Had a hard time finishing my plate, was painful to keep chewing.

My review, thumbs down for us Celiacs, sorry, but, this place just isn't meant for us. Save you're hard earned money.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Books and Books - French Fries Here I Come! WOOHOO!!!


And... I LOVE the Cafe at Books and Books for frying them separately!!!! I'm so emphatic about it, because virtually NO other restaurant does. I go on with cravings for fries, and its rare when a restaurant doesn't put its - breaded this or breaded that - in the same fryer as my delicious fries. Books and Books Cafe is fabulous as they offer LOTS of yummy sides (see the menu of sides I took a shot of below) -- ALL (but the couscous) ARE GF!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!

(If it looks like fries are missing & ketchup's been messed with...
your right... it has... sue me for being hungry!)

I've recently tried the Yucca Fries below, DELISH as well. Very soft and tasty, not the crunchy fried outer layer I'm used to, but soo good nonetheless... Yes, you caught me, it originally comes with 6 pieces... I couldn't help myself...

Next course was my salad... Tried to take a decent pic of the menu so you can see the Goat Cheese salad (the menu hyperlinked is to the Coral Gables location, slow to load, but, similar if not the same as the Lincoln Road location).

YUM -- the goat cheese salad includes pears, walnuts, carrots, topped with chevre served on mixed field greens with guava-citrus dressing! How pretty is this?!

So many options for Celiacs at Books and Books (& servers are educated about allergies)! I love all the sides, the fried boniato plain and simply rocks as well. I think I'm going to have to go back and just have 1 of every side. I love everything fried, the more fattening the better - bring it on! SO nice to have a place I can say I'd like an order of french fries, yucca fries and fried boniato and I don't have to worry about getting sick!


Café at Books & Books on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sawa - Hip, Chic and GF Accomodating!

I had the pleasure of having lunch at Sawa Restaurant and Lounge, on the first floor at the Village of Merrick Park. The food was flavorful, filling (which is so difficult for me, I'm always hungry!), and GF! The decor is upscale and chic; I especially love the art work for sale, displayed on the walls. Restaurants that support local artists get an extra star in my book! And... Restaurants that have a doggy menu get an extra special star, too! Check out Sawa's doggy menu! I'm in love with this place.

All pictures are taken from Sawa's website... I know I need to be better about taking my own... it'll happen one day!

I had the Gibraltar Organic Spinach Salad - $7.75. The salad contained Balsamic Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, Fresh Figs. I am the queen of what I call fruity/nutty salads, I adore them. This salad was right up my alley. The waiter checked on the candied walnuts especially, as I was concerned they might have been made with flour. He confirmed all was well, and remembered my allergy for the remainder of the meal (which is a huge plus!). It's always frustrating to speak of your gluten issue, and then have a server put bread in your face... Maybe its just me, but, I still crave bread, so its just cruel!!

After my salad, I had the dark meat chicken kebab with basil pine nut jasmine rice - $8. It was delicious, and I'm not even a fan of dark meat chicken. The chicken must have been coated in garlic, it wasn't overkill, was just perfect. Enough to flavor and tasty, but, didn't overpower the chicken. The basil pine nuts were a great tough for the jasmine rice, a perfect accompaniment for the kebab.

All in all, a perfect meal!! Thumbs Up!

Sawa Restaurant & Lounge (Village of Merrick Park) on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 18, 2010

CHOCOLATE GELATO (GF, Dairy Free and OMG!!!)

After opening The Gelato Shoppe's Chocolate Noir, I cannot control myself, my full container quickly becomes empty...!!!! (You won't be able to either)... Who are they kidding, best if consumed by April, 2011... I just opened the container last night, I was nice enough to share... The half container left was quickly devoured this morning... my container is now empty. =(
I'm tempted to lick the sides, but, I'll control myself. Bottom line, this product ROCCKKSSS!!!!!!
Here are my happy "BEFORE!" and sad "AFTER... =(" pics... This will be you!

I'm obviously an uncontrollable chocoholic, all who know me can attest to this. I love great chocolate. This chocolate sorbet is just what the doctor ordered! It's GF, dairy free and KOSHER!! WOOHOO!! It's like hitting the lottery, oh... and... drum roll please..... it's OMG delicious and it's not bad for you (see nutrition facts below)!!!!
I'm in love, someone stop me from going back to Epicure to buy another pint! Here comes the catch, its $9 a pint! I know, the price hurts... I'm now trying to order by the dozen from the The Gelato Shoppe! Wish me luck!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cheese and Crackers? Yes, Please!!

The Epicure Market on Miami Beach has been one of my favorite markets since childhood. It's known that they are an expensive market, but, they typically have exceptional fresh products and service. They have an amazing bakery, and prepared foods section. Now, I have to view epicure from a Gluten Free prospective, and find it a lot more difficult to shop -- but, they still have some great options.

As I was shopping for dinner last night, I came across my favorite part, samples!! I tried the "Pantaleo" goat cheese, pictured below, it is DIVINE!!!! It's sharp, but, has such a delicious savory flavor, you just can't stop at one piece. The cheese was pricey, $20.99 a pound, I purchased about a quarter a pound for $5.67 (as you can see below).

I know this cheese would be mine, but... I longed for good crackers -- to me, cheese needs crackers! All of the crackers I previously tried were blah, unforgettable, and definitely not worth purchasing a second time. I asked the wonderful woman providing these delicious samples if she had a gluten free cracker recommendation. Low and behold, she did! We walked over to the cracker section, and I asked if she had tried them, explained how unimpressed I have been with crackers, and she said -- Let's open the box and have you try them! This is why I shop at Epicure, this was SERVICE! So, I tried the "Cracklebred" original crackers (they do have 2 other types I hope to try soon!) pictured below. I was able to pair them with the Panteleo cheese, and it was perfect! I brought the combo back to dinner, and the plate of cheese and crackers was gone instantly! DELICIOUS COMBO!!!

I'll save my Epicure prepared foods story for another blog... For now.. Let's just say the service I received above was NOT the same as I received asking for gluten free prepared foods. I've sent an email to Epicure's headquarters, and I'll fill you in on the response, once received. For now (until I receive the response from Headquarters), Epicure still remains a thumbs up location. We always joke you have to mortgage your home to go in, but, the products remain worthwhile!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Carraba's... Props for the GF Menu... But...

Dinner at Carraba's Italian Grill -- to sum it up, the best part was the ice cream, specifically, the "John Cole."  The description is a "Blue Bell vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and roasted cinnamon rum pecans."  The pecans were scrumptious, I ate all of them.  Best of all, I had this first!  (Little did I realize I would have been happier stopping there).  My typical desert first tradition confuses some, but, this server took an interest and turned it into a discussion piece - this was a nice touch.  Next, I had the ceasar salad, no croutons, and ended with the Filet Fiorentina, USDA Choice center-cut tenderloin. 

Now... I have to say this, I am GREATLY appreciative for Carraba's having a GF menu, and I very well could have ordered poorly, but, I just wasn't impressed.  Where to begin...  Browse the GF Menu -- what's missing?  You guessed it, the prices!!  Well, it's the same in person, and I found that disturbing.  I know I pay more my GF items, but, have the decency to tell me how much! 

The ceasar was ok, average I'd say.  No complaints there.

The garlic mashed potatoes -- all 4 scoops on my plate, left much to be desired.  They were heavy on the garlic, and just not right.  I was checking out images of the plate I ordered online (next time I'll be better about pictures myself)...  and I found this one below.  Unfortunately, I wasn't provided a second side option, I instead had 4 scoops of mashed potatoes - which seemed ridiculous at the time.  Looking at the image below, it makes much more sense to have 2 sides. 

My tenderloin was not the medium I requested, instead it was more medium rare.  The server came over, noticed it himself, and offered to cook it more -- big points for that.  Even when it returned. cooked more medium well, it just didn't taste right either.  It was off, there was no flavor to the meat.  With one bite, I didn't crave another, I just wanted to put my fork down, so I did.

All in all, my company was much better than my meal - thumbs sideways for Carraba's.  I believe the only reason why the New Times included Carraba's in its "Top Five Chain Restaurants With Gluten-Free Menus (Celiacs, Rejoice!)"  is because other chains have not yet stepped up to the challenge.  Service was great, and I truly do appreciate the effort of a GF menu.  Once prices are added, maybe even with some GF pasta items, I'll be happier to try again. 

P.S. - Even though you order off the GF menu, the menu makes it clear that it is your job to specify no croutons in your salad, and there is no special GF grill - which may prove troublesome for Celiacs.

For now... I'd return for the "John Cole," that's about it.

Carrabba's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Katz's Gluten Free plain and simply ROCKS!  I especially love 3 of their products, their sliced challah, and chocolate and cinnamon rugelech.  Only downside is it has to be ordered and shipped (thankfully shipping is reasonably priced). I'd love to see it on store shelves! 

I have tried so many breads, and have always had a deep craving for delicious challah.  I was incredibly excited to see that Katz's made GF challah, but, was of course weary to taste it.  What I love about Katz's is their FREE sample pack!  Yes, you read this correctly, FREE (just pay for shipping).  It's a great way to try the products Katz's has to offer.  I did, and found that the sliced challah was right up my alley.  It will never be the real thing, but, it is the closest I have come to it.  The consistency of the bread, shockingly, tastes like bread as I once knew it.  It's not a crumbly mess and you can even eat it cold (although I prefer heating it up). 

My favorite "Sliced Challah Bread":

I am an absolute chocoholic (and tough chocolate critic) and I LOVE the chocolate rugelech.  The taste is divine; I have been known to eat the whole pack in one sitting.  The cinnamon rugelech is no 2nd place, it's right there at 1st place along side the chocolate, they are both delicious deserts that don't taste like they are GF!!  The don't crumble, don't need to be heated to taste great, and they taste like that I remember rugelech to taste like -- so what more can I ask for??  Thumbs way up for Katz's!

The Chocolate and Cinnamon Rugelach:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Animal Crackers - GF Style!

I was intrigued to see Mi-Del's GF Arrowroot Cookies on the store shelves.  I love animal crackers, and these had the same homey resemblance.  I was thrilled to find the taste to be identical, but, GF!!!!   Great cookies, best of all, no diary either!  They carry 3 other GF cookies (chocolate chip, pecan, and cinnamon) - which I see from their website, I have not tried those yet.  Their slogan is "Your brain will know they’re
Gluten-Free but your mouth won’t." -- It's accurate!!  Try the arrowroot cookie ASAP and tell me I'm right!  Yum... Thumbs Up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

South Florida Gluten-Free Expo - Feb 19, 2011!!!

So excited to try GF products (in 25,000 square feet of space) at the South Florida Gluten-Free Expo!!!  How amazing to be able to eat everything in 25,000 square feet of space!!

I found out about last year's expo, which occurred right before I was diagnosed, so unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to check it out.  That won't happen this year!

Here's the scoop:
  • WHEN - Saturday, February 19, 2011, from 11am-4pm
  • WHERESouth Florida Fairgrounds (Expo East Building)
    9067 Southern Blvd
    West Palm Beach, FL 33421
  • Expecting over 100 booths!
See you there!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Of course, I just started loving pasta before I became diagnosed.  I naively thought pasta was over for me, at least good pasta, until I found Tinkyada rice pasta.  It's delicious (and found easily at supermarkets Publix/Whole Foods close to me)!  In my opinion, it must be undercooked (my first experiment cooking it as normal pasta for 15-20 minutes didn't cut it.  My second attempt, at more like 10-12 minutes was just perfect).  I've tried at least 4 types of pasta from Tinkyada, and have never been disappointed.  They even share some great recipes on their website.  HUGE Thumbs Up!