Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Larkspur

It has been about three years since I was last in Colorado but I never forget about the amazing gluten free eating I did there.  With terrific places like Larkburger, Snooze, and Fruition, I have fond memories of my adventures in CO.  I recently went back to Colorado for a week of skiing in Beaver Creek and Vail with my family and checked out a few new spots while there.

The first restaurant I visited was Larkspur.  Back in 2009 I went to the restaurant's affiliated burger restaurant, Larkburger, and absolutely loved it.  I made my way over to Vail from Beaver Creek and was pleasantly surprised to be able to sneak in without a reservation.  Making me even happier was seeing that the restaurant marked all of its gluten free options as such thus making my choices much easier.  I opted for the Chilean Salmon with quinoa risotto, fennel confit, and red pepper vinaigrette.  It was paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon which, while unlikely, was delicious.  The entire meal was terrific, with attentive service and helpful staff.

The only odd thing about Larkspur was the entrance to the restaurant.  It's nestled within a larger building but it wasn't clear what the building houses during the day.  To enter the restaurant one walks up a flight of stairs then enters the building and walks through a dark lobby to arrive at Larkspur.  Perhaps during the day it is buzzing with activity but at 730pm on a Friday evening it was positively dead.  Just a note for those who are seeking the restaurant out not to be turned away by the somewhat odd entrance.

Anyway, I would definitely head back to Larkspur during my next visit to the Vail valley (hopefully soon!).

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Larkspur Restaurant
458 Vail Valley Drive
Vail, CO 81657 (Map)
Tel: 970-754-8050

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Girl Scouts Test a Gluten Free Cookie

My friend Tina sent me an article the other day about the Girl Scouts testing out a new gluten free cookie.  The cookie will only be available in select markets and is described as a "chocolate chip shortbread cookie" and is made of rice and tapioca flours.  The cookies contain "no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no high fructose corn syrup, no palm oil, and no hydrogenated oils" according to the Girl Scouts' website.



Want to see if you live in a test market?  Click here to check out the list of testing places.  Sadly neither San Diego or Los Angeles is included in the list but Orange County is... so perhaps a road trip is in order?

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Girl Scouts Gluten Free

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Il Fornaio

Last night I dined at Il Fornaio in Del Mar with some family friends.  I'm not often up that way but was excited when I checked out the restaurant's website and saw an entire gluten free menu.



It isn't often that I go out to Italian food but I was definitely in the mood for it after a tough few days of work outs.  The restaurant is large and was a great option to be able to catch up with friends and not battle a loud atmosphere.  The gluten free menu was impressively large and not limiting by any means.  I ultimately chose the Caprese salad to begin and the Bolognese for my entrée.  Our waiter warned us that the restaurant now serves its Caprese up warm but we instead opted for the traditional cold salad.  When it was brought over to us the waiter lightly sprinkled on some balsamic vinegar to give the dish some added flavor, even though I'm not sure if it was needed.  The Caprese was excellent and served with large, fresh tomatoes.  The Bolognese was likewise excellent and served with gluten free fusili pasta.  I ended the meal with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.  Yes, I know I cheated from my clean eating diet, but you have to live every now and again, right?

I would definitely visit Il Fornaio again.  Between the inviting atmosphere and the enormous gluten free menu, this is a great find for gluten free eaters in San Diego.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Il Fornaio
1555 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014 (Map)
858-755-8876

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Anthem Cider

Last night my friends Jessie, Stephen, Unwana and Nick invited me out to Stone Brewing World Bistro's awesome location at San Diego's Liberty Station.  I absolutely love the space; it's enormous, has plenty of room for everybody, serves up some Bocce ball courts, and great outdoor fire pits.

When we arrived I sidled up to the bar and asked about the place's ciders.  Despite the fact that I haven't been drinking recently I decided to reward myself for a hard-fought set of sprints earlier in the day.  The bartender pointed me in the direction of Anthem, saying that it was the only one they served up.  I took it, figuring since there was no other option I might as well give it a go.  He brought me out a huge bottle, definitely at least two drinks worth, and I sipped it gingerly after seeing the bottled was marked "Gluten Free."

The cider was great.  I've become a huge fan of ciders, especially now that we are deep into autumn.  Ciders remind me of apple picking, fall foliage, and the great fall scents that come with autumn in the northeast.



When I arrived home I looked into Anthem brands and, in a spot of great news, all Anthem Ciders are gluten free!  I didn't check out the nutritional information (read: the calories) but I would definitely give the other flavors a try.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Anthem



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fig Tree Cafe

It has been way too long since I blogged and for that I apologize - life has been busy!  I'll try and get back to a regular pace and with some upcoming trips planned it shouldn't be a problem.

Last weekend I spent a great Sunday with my friends Kalie and Kasey at San Diego's Liberty Station. It's an old Naval Training Center that is now a mixed-use property with lots of great restaurants like Tender Greens, Luna Grill, and this blog's featured restaurant, Fig Tree Café.



I have been to Fig Tree Café's location in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood but never to the Liberty Station location.  It's nestled in Liberty Station off of the street so the patio is a great option.  My biggest complaint about San Diego (and southern California in general) is that there aren't enough nice patios!  New Yorkers know how to appreciate the warm weather with rooftops, patios, sidewalk cafés but that same vibe doesn't exist here in SoCal and it's a shame given our awesome weather.  Regardless of the lack of people watching at Fig Tree the patio was still excellent.

More importantly than the patio, of course, is the food.  Fig Tree helpfully marks all of its food items "GF" if they can be made as such.  It's a super helpful guide and the restaurant offers a lot of gluten free options including french toast!  You can check out the Liberty Station location's menu here.  I stuck with my tried-and-true order of Huevos Rancheros because I didn't want to risk ordering something I didn't like.  I somewhat regretted my decision when I saw Kasey's (non-gluten free) french toast brought out because it looked awesome but I wasn't complaining about my Huevos Rancheros as they were delicious.  The portions were enormous and definitely enough to fill me up for the rest of the day.

Fig Tree Eatery is a great San Diego staple with a huge menu and lots of great gluten free options.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Fig Tree Café
2400 Historic Decatur Road
Suite 103
San Diego, CA 92106 (Map)
619-821-2044

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vanilla Chex

General Mills recently sent me some samples of Vanilla Chex to try out... and if you know me, you know I'm not one to say no to a giveaway.  When I received the two boxes of Vanilla Chex I decided to make one of the included recipes for a party I was going to that weekend.  I'm very glad I did that, as the Vanilla Chex muddy buddies were an enormous hit!



Before I get to the recipe, did you know that Chex offers tons of gluten free options?  There are now gluten free Rice Chex, Vanilla Chex, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Corn Chex, Apple Cinnamon Chex and Honey Nut Chex.  Pretty great, right?  I haven't had the opportunity to try the Apple Cinnamon flavor out yet, but I can confidently say that the other flavors are delightful.  I'm not generally a huge cereal person but when I do pick some up I'll include a box of Corn Chex in my selection.

Anyway, I used the recipe General Mills provided me to make some muddy buddies for the party.
Here's the recipe:
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Chex® Vanilla Muddy Buddies® 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes 
Start to Finish: 15 Minutes 

9 cups Vanilla Chex® cereal 
1 cup white chocolate chips 
1/4 cup butter or margarine 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla 
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 

  
1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. 
2. In 1-quart microwaveable bowl, microwave chips and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir and microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar; seal bag.  Shake until well-coated.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 

18 servings  
  
1/2 cup: Calories 150 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 4.5g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 170mg; Potassium 0mg; Total Carbohydrate 18g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 1g 
% Daily Value: Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 6%; Iron 35% 
Exchanges: 1/2 Starch, 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1 1/2 Fat 

Carbohydrate Choices:
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They are super easy to make and were a HUGE hit - I can't tell you the number of people who asked me for the recipe!  Chex also provide me with the below photo and I wish I had been thoughtful enough to prepare them like they are in the below photo.  Instead I just threw the muddy buddies in a big bowl and let people take as many as they want.  Oh well - there is always next time (and there will definitely be a next time!)


Fortunately I had enough left over to treat myself to a bowl of Vanilla Chex after and was so happy I had enough - I love this cereal!  The flavor is great and has a scant 8 grams of sugar - relatively low when you consider that flavored greek yogurt can back up to 24 grams of sugar in one serving!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Vanilla Chex
Product Locator 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

San Diego Gluten Free Oktöberfest

My friends Kimberly and Annie are hosting a great gluten free event at the San Diego Womans Club right hin my neck of the woods in San Diego.  I'm super sad that I won't be able to attend but recommend any Celiac or casual gluten free eater go!

The event will be on Saturday, October 19th, from 5:30-9:30pm, as the flyer below indicates.  Check out the flyer for all of the information.



This will be an awesome event... Again, I'm super sad I can't make it!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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San Diego Womans Club
2557 3rd Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103 (Map)