Friday, January 29, 2010

Cafe Flourish New Dessert

My friend Lauren invited me to dinner at Cafe Flourish; it's closer to her apartment and her friend Lauren (yes, "the Laurens") was in town and looking for great vegan eats.  While my normal vegan go-to is Real Food Daily, I decided to stop in and visit with them and check out Cafe Flourish again.  You can check out my first post about Flourish here.

In that first post, I wrote that I was unhappy with the dessert I bought.  I remember wanting to like it but not enjoying it.  With Babycakes now serving up life-changing cookiewiches here in Los Angeles I don't know if I'll ever venture anywhere else for cookiewich, or anything similar.

However, Cafe Flourish has a new gluten free dessert -- a brownie.  The icing looked awesome so I ordered one up for the girls and I to split.

We were all very surprised by how much we enjoyed it, particularly because I was unhappy with the whoopie pie from Flourish.  The brownie was moist and chewy and the icing was spectacular, especially for being vegan and gluten free.  I'll definitely check out Flourish again for their great, gluten free mac and cheese and these delicious brownies.  The restaurant's prices are also more reasonable than Real Food Daily's.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Cafe Flourish
5406 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Map)
323.939.3932

Denny's Offers Free Grand Slam Breakfast

Denny's is repeating an offer it made last year to its customers -- a free Grand Slam breakfast from 6am to 2pm on February 9th!  Call your nearest location in advance to confirm it is participating.  Check out the official press release here.



Denny's also has a list of the allergens on its menu available on its website here.  Unfortunately gluten is not listed; however, wheat can act as a general signpost.  Ask your server before ordering anything off the menu, of course, but the Grand Slam breakfast seems to be easily made gluten free: eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns!

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Denny's
Find a Location Near You (Top Right of Page)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stephen's Taste Test: Nebo

After reading Alison's review of Nebo, I knew I had to check it out.  Gluten free food in the North End? Yes please.  I had been forced to visit Mike's Pastry one too many times in college with gluten eating friends.  While I was left despondent waiting outside of Mike's my friends were inside gorging themselves on the famous cannolis.

My friends and I set our sights on Nebo and made it there just in time to make our reservation.  Once we arrived, we realized there was no need to worry about losing our spot -- the restaurant was nowhere near capacity.  In fact, we were some of the only diners in the restaurant.  While this normally makes me a bit nervous, the location was a bit off the beaten path (read: not on or directly off of Hanover Street) so we figured it would be fine.  And, of course, Alison had already tested the water for us.

We quickly ordered a bottle of wine and set our sights on the menu.  A member of our party, Andrea, was a bit late because she was coming from work so we had plenty of time to look over the menu.  When Andrea did arrive she came with a true Bostonian in tow -- I guess he helped her find the restaurant.  Random.

Back to the food.  I was a bit discouraged to see the surchage placed on gluten free pizza.  While I suppose that's a way of life for us gluten free folk, a $4 surcharge is pretty high, particularly if you are at a table that is entirely gluten free.  You can check out the gluten free menu here.

I finally decided on the scampi pizza gluten free while my friends opted for gluten filled pizzas.  We ordered a bottle of wine, had a few drinks and caught up while waiting for our pizzas.

The pizzas were served up warm and were delicious!  I apologize for the below photo -- I definitely need to get in the habit of bringing my camera along with me and not relying on my cell phone's inadequate camera.  I really enjoyed the pizza at Nebo and think Alison described it perfectly -- there was a sweetness to it that was unexpected.  Nebo definitely serves up one of the better gluten free crusts around.  In fact, I preferred Nebo's crust to Stone Hearth's because it is fuller and more closely approximates the pizza crust I remember from my gluten eating days.



So all in all, the pizza at Nebo gets a huge thumbs up.  However that same thumb is enormously down for Nebo's service.  In two words: excruciatingly awful.  Truly horrendous.  Unbelievably bad.  OK, that was three sentences, but each consisted of two words so it's fine, right?  As I said earlier there were about 10 people (total) in the restaurant the night we went -- and that 10 includes my party of 4!  Nebo is a large restaurant and looked like it could handle a lot more customers, but the night we visited it could barely handle those 10 customers.  Note that those 10 customers weren't even all at once; we were there from 8pm until 10:30pm and there were only two other tables with customers in the time we were there.  Our waiter was inattentive for most of the meal, pushy when he was attending to us, and altogether frustrating.  He continuously made recommendations without having been solicited for them in a way that interrupted the table's conversation.  More importantly, however, is that he consistently recommended the more expensive option in every recommendation he made.  It seemed like he was trying to pump up his earnings because of the lack of customers -- and we had already ordered drinks, wine, and dinner!

That's not the only reason we believed he was trying to pump up his tips.  When we gave him the bill to split, he split the bill and had already included a large tip for himself.  I understand the policy of adding gratuity to parties of 6 or more, but we were a party of 4!  When we explained the bill situation to him he seemed to immediately recognize the mistake that he had made -- perhaps too immediately, as my friend Caro thought.  While I wasn't as suspicious as she was, I was certainly frustrated by the end of my Nebo dining experience.

Overall, I'm not sure I would go back to Nebo.  I truly enjoyed the pizza, but with the gluten free surcharge and the horrendous service we received, I'm not sure it would be a must visit for me.  If I find myself in Boston's North End seeking gluten free food, I would be happy to come back to Nebo... but I won't be searching it out the next time I'm in Boston.  Alison concurred in part, advising people to be clear about eating gluten free; she feared that the waiter might not remember if she hadn't reminded him!

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Nebo Restaurant
90 N. Washington Street
Boston, MA 02114 (Map)
617.723.6326

Gluten is a "Buzzword" on Today Show

Here is Joy Bauer on "The Today Show" discussing Celiac Disease and Lactose Intolerance with Ann Curry.




I appreciate that they recommend to go see a doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms rather than suggesting self-diagnosis.

Do you love it or do you love it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles must have heard the news that it is Gluten Freeways' first birthday (or anniversary?) because the cupcake chain chose today to debut their new gluten free line!  In the past Sprinkles has offered a gluten free cupcake during Passover without knowing it; indeed, the flourless chocolate cupcake the shop offered needed to be ordered without frosting and without the quintessential "dot," both of which contained gluten.   For those reasons it was not advertised as gluten free.

Luckily Sprinkles now stocks a full-fledged gluten free red velvet cupcake!  What a way to celebrate the site's first birthday, right?  I was very dubious when I first heard about the shop offering a gluten free cupcake.  My doubts were put to rest by QuarryGirl and VeggyWood, two vegan bloggers in L.A.  We tweeted back and forth and they filled me in that Sprinkles has both a gluten free and a vegan cupcake available!

Hilary, my cupcake connoisseur friend, joined me as we went on an expedition to try these cupcakes.  She also joined me on my first visit to Babycakes' Los Angeles outpost, so I knew she had it in her to enjoy the gluten free cupcakes just as much as I did.  Of course, at Sprinkles, she wasn't limited to eating gluten free.  The sign in the picture to the left reads: "gluten free red velvet."  I've been waiting for those four words since I moved to Los Angeles back in August '08 and first learned about Sprinkles.  New York has Magnolia, which I'd been dragged to visit with my gluten eating friends many times, and I soon learned that L.A. has Sprinkles.  Clearly in this competition L.A. wins, as Magnolia has yet to create a gluten free cupcake.

Of course it's simple to provide a gluten free option, or at least simpler than making it delicious.  The true test came upon my first bite into the cupcake.


Wow.  This cupcake did not disappoint.  Babycakes, you now have major competition.  I wasn't pleased about eating it with that wooden fork you see in the above photo -- I think next time I'll take it home and eat it with a real fork.  The wood was a terrible taste!  But I digress; back to the cupcake.  It was absolutely awe-inspiring.  I can honestly say this is one of the top 3 gluten free cupcakes I have ever had, if not the best.  The cake didn't crumble as many gluten free ones do, it was as moist as I remember regular cupcakes being, and the frosting... wow.  That's really all I can say.  The frosting really put it over the top.  It was smooth, delicious, and truly amazing.  I'm sorry that I can't provide a more articulate description of this cupcake, but I practically scarfed it down after that first bite.  I will certainly be frequenting Sprinkles, particularly because they are so close to where I live!

The cupcake also wasn't outrageously expensive; it was priced the same as Sprinkles' regular cupcakes!  I'm used to paying a steep surcharge to eat a gluten free treat.  It was a great surprise to learn that Sprinkles wouldn't be charging more.  Of course some readers may gripe about the already over-inflated prices -- I believe my cupcake was $3.50.  Not too bad for a fresh, gluten free cupcake.  Obviously I'd prefer it to be cheaper... but what can ya do?

Having never had a Sprinkles cupcake, I can't compare it to what a gluten filled one tastes like; however my friend Hilary, a regular gluten monster, said that she could barely tell the difference between my cupcake and hers.  That's a high recommendation, particularly coming from her -- she's tasted plenty of gluten free treats with me.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Sprinkles
9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Map)
With Other Locations in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Newport Beach, Phoenix-Scottsdale, and Palo Alto.

One Year Later

Well this is it -- Gluten Freeways' First Birthday!  Can you believe it's been a year since I started the site?  I can't.  The year seems to have flown by since the first entry in which I announced the blog; the second entry was the first in which I discussed food.

Wow!  How far the blog has come in a year.  It's traveled with me from my home base in Los Angeles to New York, Boston, and Colorado.  It's also been all over the sprawling city/county of Los Angeles, from Pasadena to Culver City to Redondo Beach and everywhere in between, not to mention a few side trips in Newport Beach and greater Orange County.


Having moved to Los Angeles from the east coast, this blog has been a great way for me to learn the city.  Some of my favorite posts come from traveling within Los Angeles and being exposed to new areas.  My visit to GF Meals introduced me to "the Valley," Fresh Brothers gives me a reason to visit the South Bay (other than the beaches, of course) and now with Babycakes in Downtown I have a reason to visit my old neigborhood.  Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Hugo's, where I went for dinner when I was first considering moving to Los Angeles back in April '08.  Since that first visit, Hugo's has changed its menu to mark gluten free options and is now one of my favorite brunch places; it serves up amazing gluten free pancakes.

Of course more than the literal distance is the distance it's come in readership.  I'm thankful for every tweet, blog comment, facebook comment, and e-mail that I receive from you, my faithful readers.  If nobody were reading this then it wouldn't be worth it.  I hope that the site has been able to help you readers who are Angelenos, wish you were Angelenos, or are just passing through L.A. and need some help choosing gluten free food.

Thanks for all of your support!

Do you love it or do you love it?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stephen's Taste Test: Stone Hearth Pizza Co.

When I recently visited Boston I had very little on my schedule.  Coming from New York City, Boston was a nice change of pace and I felt relaxed the minute I got off the bus at South Station.  At first I stayed in Allston, a neighborhood I know pretty well after having lived near there for two summers.  Since I had nothing to do, I found myself aimlessly wandering up and down Newbury Street, Commonwealth Ave., and Mass. Ave. pretty frequently while all my friends were at work.

After a few nights in Allston with Caro (read about our cooking adventures here), I went to stay with my friends Lyz and Chloe near the new(ish) Liberty Hotel.  I suppose it's not that new anymore... but it still feels new to me.  I hadn't been back to boston since graduating in May 2008, and it was wonderful to go back.  Fortunately, Lyz and Chloe live right down the Red Line from my alma mater so I made the obligatory stop at Tufts to check out what had changed.  It's strange that so little has changed -- it seems like everything would change in the two years since I had last seen the campus.

More importantly for you readers, I did a ton of gluten free eating while I was in Boston.  After leaving Tufts' hillside campus, I walked over to Kickass Cupcakes in nearby Davis Square.  I picked up a few cupcakes for my gracious hosts (and of course a gluten free one for myself!) and decided to slowly meander over Massachusetts Avenue towards Harvard Square.   Somehow I adjusted very quickly to the low temperatures of the northeast -- by the end of it I had myself believing that 35 and sunny was "warm"!

Regardless, I remember that Stone Hearth Pizza Co. had a location on Mass. Ave. that I was going to pass right by.  Although my partner in gluten free crime and fellow Jumbo, Alison, already wrote about Stone Hearth Pizza Co. (here), I decided to check it out for myself.

I was warmly greeted when I entered the small restaurant.  I asked about the gluten free options available and was told that, in a recent change, every pizza can now be made gluten free.  Even better, my waitress offered to let me try two different flavors on one crust!  I was sadly alone since my friends are all gainfully employed (my loss) but the waitress did me a big favor by offering me that option.


When the pizza was served shortly thereafter, I was pleasantly surprised by its size.  It was the perfect size for one person and I was able to walk out of the restaurant with leftovers.  Half of my pizza was "The Bean" flavor (garlic oil, white bean spread, fresh mozzarella, topped with a spinach/pesto salad -- I ordered it without onions) and the other half was "Chicken Pesto" (sauce, cheese, Bell & Evans oven roasted chicken, goat cheese and dollops of house-made pesto).

 The flavors were wonderful!  The crust was very crunchy but there was definitely a hint of sweetness.  Overall, Stone Hearth's crust was one of my favorites, even though I normally don't think thin crusts like this one.  The crust really complemented the flavors on top of the crust which themselves were terrific.  The two flavors I chose really popped off the crust.  Overall, the pizza was amazing and I was certainly sad to have to leave the restaurant.

Of course, I didn't leave the restaurant until I sampled their gluten free dessert!  Luckily I saved a few slices for dinner so I was more than ready to try one of Stone Hearth's gluten free peanut butter cookies.


I was definitely not disappointed.  The peanut butter cookie came warmed up and practically melted in my mouth.  One of the best parts of this particular dessert was the price -- $1.25!  Can you believe it?  I was shocked when I saw that on the bill.  Only $1.25 for a delicious gluten free cookie?  Amazing!

All in all, Stone Hearth definitely earned a place on my Boston gluten free to do for the next time I visit.  The pizza was wonderful, the dessert was great, and the service was excellent.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -

1782 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140 (Map)
617.492.1111
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57 Leonard Street
Belmont, MA 02478 (Map)
617.484.1700
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974 Great Plain Ave.
Needham, MA 02492 (Map)
781.433.0600

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Starbucks Tries to Atone

In what I can only imagine is Starbucks' attempt to make up for its sudden discontinuation of its Gluten Free Orange Valencia Cake, the chain will offer customers the opportunity to try KIND bars for free in every Starbucks nationwide on February 5th.




Locations will be carrying Fruit & Nut Delight (seen in the above photo) and Cranberry Almond+Antoxidants.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Starbucks
Find a Location Near You

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bon Appetit Gluten Free Pasta Article

Looking for some great gluten free pasta ideas?  Bon Appétit recently did a feature on the magazine's 3 favorite pastas.


While "nothing beats semolina pasta" according to the article, Nina Elder still managed to choose three gluten free pastas readily available on the marketplace for those who keep a gluten free diet.

Check out the full article here.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Bon Appétit

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Taste Test: Wagamama

Wagamama used to be on my favorite places when I lived in Boston.  During my senior year I took a semester off to work at the Kennedy School of Government; lucky for me Wagamama had a location less than two blocks away!

When I was visiting Boston a few weeks ago, my old roommate Jocelyn and I met up for lunch at Wagamama's location in the Prudential Center.  Wagamama has a ton of gluten free options on its extensive menu.  Certain dishes must be altered in order to be gluten free while other dishes are naturally gluten free.  I usually get the yasai itame; it's a great vegetable noodle soup with rice noodles.  We also started with an order of edamame.  The restaurant has gluten free soy sauce on hand too!




If you live in Boston and are gluten free you should definitely check out Wagamama.  They also have locations internationally and are opening up a D.C. location in September 2010.  To find locations, click here.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Wagamama
57 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 (Map)
617.499.0930
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800 Boylston Street
Store 117
Boston, MA 02199 (Map)
617.778.2344
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Quincy Market Building
Boston, MA 02109 (Map)
617.742.9242

Rice to Riches

My sister and I made it a point to stop in at one of her favorite places for treats in New York -- Rice to Riches.

Rice to Riches is a rice pudding emporium located in New York's SoHo neighborhood.  Walking into the shop is like walking into another world -- you are immediately assaulted with funny signs that encourage you to forget about the (assumedly) high caloric counts of the desserts and to instead let yourself indulge in a rice pudding bowl.  Even though it would take a considerable amount of time to read all of the signs in the store,

It's definitely best to visit Rice to Riches with a friend so you can share.  My sister and I split a bowl, half pumpkin spice and half rocky road.  It was, in a word, heaven.  Even if you aren't necessarily a fan of rice pudding, you should definitely check out this place's treats -- they are truly one of a kind.



Better still is that the staff is knowledgeable about which rice puddings do and do not contain gluten.  I was told to stay away from the cookie dough flavor when I visited; the flavors are constantly changing so they do not have a list of which flavors are gluten free.

They also ship nationwide!  I've never had their rice pudding outside of the New York store, so I can't vouch to the quality of shipped goods.
- - -
Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012 (Map)
212.274.0008

Heinz Publishes Gluten Free Listing

Heinz recently released a list of its gluten free products.  Next to each product is information concerning which country the product is available in.  Very convenient, particularly for gluten free people traveling/living abroad.




Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Heinz
Check out the list here

Friday, January 15, 2010

Taste Test: Kickass Cupcakes


I normally don't start off my posts with pictures... but, if you are a gluten free reader, how can you do anything but marvel at the beauty of the above photo?

I've written about Kickass Cupcakes before (here);  I wrote that post with fond memories of the shop.  On my recent travels through the northeast those fond memories were rekindled upon setting foot in the shop.  Little has changed since I last left -- it's a tiny treat just outside of Davis Square, very close to my alma mater Tufts.

I was surprised, however, by the gluten free mojitos' availability.  I had never seen those offered gluten free and was really excited to try one.  The wait was worth it -- the cupcake was splendid and burst with rum flavor.  I'm a rum drinker so this cupcake was right up my alley.

My old roommates always knew an apology from me was in store when I showed up with a box of Kickass Cupcakes in hand.  Whether it was for having an errant houseguest or people over too late, Kickass Cupcakes was always my go-to to quell an unrest in my apartment.  When I was crashing with other friends in Boston I brought home a box of Kickass Cupcakes -- although they were already amazing hosts while I was there, my friends really brought it to another level when they saw the box of cupcakes I brought home.

All in all, Kickass Cupcakes is a great treat for you gluten free Bostonians.  Call ahead to check on the day's flavors; every time I have been in the store they have gluten free cupcakes readily available!

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Kickass Cupcakes
378 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144 (Map)
617.628.2877

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lula's Sweet Apothecary

I don't recall how I found out about Lula's Sweet Apothecary, but I am definitely glad I did.  A self-described "Formulator & Dispenser of Frozen Confections," Lula's is neatly tucked into a small space in New York's East Village.  Despite its size it overflows with character (and gluten free treats!).

The shop primarily serves up vegan ice cream.  Normally such ice cream is overflowing with soy, but not in Lula's Sweet Apothecary.  Instead of soy, the shop uses cashew and coconut bases to create delicious ice cream.  Biting into the mint chocolate chip, I could barely believe that the ice cream was dairy and gluten free.


Perhaps the best part of Lula's for us gluten free folk is that they mark the ever-changing flavors with easy-to-read "gluten free" asterisks.  While the shop's online menu doesn't list online flavors, the person working at Lula's when I visited assured me that they always have gluten free flavors available.  On the day I visited there was only one flavor that wasn't gluten free.  They also have gluten free cones available!  I can't remember the last time I went to an ice cream shop and was able to order a cone -- it was a magnificent feeling.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderfully attentive service I received.  The person working Lula's when I visited was extremely helpful and offered me endless samples as I made the difficult decision of which flavor to ultimately eat.  He was also helpful in explaining the process by which they make the ice cream and guiding me through the gluten free options available.

I braved the freezing cold temperatures outside to enjoy a cone in the dead of New York's winter.  Despite the horrendously low temps, Lula's was still a great experience;  I can imagine that it is even better on a hot summer day in the city.  Lula's has definitely made it onto my list of New York musts.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Lula's Sweet Apothecary
516 East 6th Street
New York, NY 10009 (Map)
646.912.4549

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bar Breton

My sister and I made the very smart decision to stop in at Bar Breton while we were both in New York City over the holidays.  We were mulling over a few different options, including my favorite Risotteria, but decided to go out on a limb and try Bar Breton's gluten free menu out.  After all, we are so infrequently in New York that it makes sense to try as many places as possible... and I had already been to Risotteria for lunch after a failed attempt to eat at Puff & Pao, which seems to have closed.

First off, the restaurant is very inviting.  Immediately when you walk in there is a long bar to your left; opposite that is a wall with built-in booths, each with adequate seating for two people.  This place screams (gluten free) date night.

The night only improved from there with impeccable service and wonderful eats.  The menu is marked with a simple (GF) for dishes which are, or can be prepared, gluten free.  On some items, such as the French Green Beans & Phyllo Crusted Shrimp salad, directions are given to make the item gluten free.

My sister and I both went for the Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato savory galette.  A little boring, I know, that we both ordered the same dish, but it sounded so good we had trouble choosing something else.  When the dishes came out we were both surprised by the large portions.  The crepes themselves were flavorful but didn't overpower the flavor of the goat cheese and sundried tomatoes.  The dish was wonderful -- the galette was light and very similar to the crepes that I remember from my pre-gluten free days in Paris.

To top it off, they make a gluten free galette for dessert that reminded me of those Parisian crepes -- it came filled with nutella!  Moments after it was set down on our table, my sister and I promptly devoured it.




I know that New York is a little far to fly in order to try out these delicious dishes; luckily the Chef at Bar Breton has been in touch and sent me his recipe for the galettes!  Check it out here.

Overall, my experience was highly positive at Bar Breton and I can't wait to go back and try some of their other delicious gluten free creations.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Bar Breton
254 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10001 (Map)
212.213.4999
Follow Bar Breton's chef on Twitter here
Follow Gluten Freeways on Twitter here

Sunday, January 10, 2010

M Café de Chaya

My friend Hilary and I recently checked out M Cafe de Chaya's Melrose location.  I've been to the restaurant's Culver City location many times, but since we live closer to the Melrose location we thought we would try it out.   M Café serves up delights including salads, sushi, and rice bowls without the use of refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry.

The Melrose location is much smaller than the one in Culver City but serves up the same awesome food as the Culver City location.  Better yet, the staff is knowledgeable about gluten and was extremely helpful when I was choosing what to order.  They suggested the sushi as a safe option, and I was sold: each piece was enormous and four pieces was more than enough to fill me up.

M Café de Chaya also had gluten free cookies available for sale at the register!  I've never seen these before at the Culver City location.  I asked a staffperson whether they were commonly made, and he said that they had been there in the past and were semi-common.


 They may not always be available, so be warned in advance.  However, there are enough other great, safe gluten free options available at M Café de Chaya that it's definitely worth checking out.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
M Cafe de Chaya
7119 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046 (Map)
323.525.0588
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9343 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232 (Map)
310.838.4310
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9433 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Map)
310.858.8459

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Babycakes Has Arrived in Los Angeles

Well it's finally here:  Babycakes has opened in Los Angeles!  After more than a year in development and a location change, the bakery has opened at 130 East 6th Street in downtown.


You regular readers may know that I'm practically a one-man marching band for Babycakes.  I'm obsessed with their treats.  I was recently in New York over New Year's and made sure to stop in at Babycakes' New York location at least three times... there may have been more visits, but I'm embarrassed to admit to them.

Babycakes makes an amazing array of cupcakes, breads, donuts (yes, gluten free donuts!) and more.  The shop's cupcakes were recently named one of the best in the U.S.A.  Everything in the shop is also vegan.  Be warned:  there are some items that contain spelt.  Every day the shop updates its in-store glass displays to match the baked goods behind the glass -- anything written in red contains spelt, an ancestor of wheat.  Anything written in white is gluten free.  Always be sure to ask whether the product you have ordered is gluten free to be safe!

The treats themselves are, of course, wonderful.  But better yet, the place has personality.  Owner Erin McKenna has created hilarious dance videos (check out my personal favorite here) to hype up the shop.  The vibe created in that dance video is carried into the design of the L.A. shop.  With three tables inside and a table outside, the Los Angeles location is substantially larger than the New York location.  The large, inviting windows are wonderful to soak up some of the L.A. sun while enjoying my personal favorite, the cookiewich.

While at the shop today I spoke with the delightful owner, Erin McKenna.  She told me that they are still in the process of introducing products often seen in the New York location to the Los Angeles location.  Having been open for less than a week, Babycakes has a lot of time to continue proving itself to Los Angeles area celiacs and vegans.  That being said, I've been taken with Babycakes since the first time I set foot in the Lower East Side location and am so happy I can finally continue my love affair with the bakery here in Los Angeles.

The best part about the bakery's new Los Angeles location is that the quality of the New York location has translated seamlessly over to the west coast.  Babycakes is definitely going to be my go to for any baked goods I need here in Los Angeles; the quality, freshness, and personality is unrivaled.  And really, where else can you find awesome, freshly baked gluten free donuts here in Los Angeles?

I've kept this relatively short because I've blogged about Babycakes so many millions of times before.  In summary, if you haven't been here and live in the L.A. metro area, you should drive, not walk or run (we do live in L.A. after all) to this shop immediately... as long as you aren't reading this when the shop is closed for the night.

The photos are compliments of The Kitchy Kitchen.

Do you love it or do you love it?
- - -
Babycakes
130 East 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Map)
213.623.5555
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248 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002 (Map)
212.677.5047

Cooking Night with Caro

Phew!  I just got back from a whirlwind trip through the Northeast.  I started in upstate New York with my family for the Christmas holiday, then headed down to New York City.  From New York I traveled north to Boston to reunite with some of my college friends.  Look for more posts on tons of great, gluten free eats in all three places soon.

But first I'd like to begin my winter break catch up with one of my favorite nights from my travels.  My friend Carolyn and I decided to cook dinner for our friends in Boston; her sister Sonia recommended a recipe that we thought was relatively simple.  The recipe was for a coconut lemongrass broth with salmon.

Here are the ingredients.  See the bottom of this post for the ingredients along with the full recipe.

Coconut milk lemongrass broth with salmon

1 fillet salmon, about 5 oz
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
½ cup sliced carrot
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, mined
2 lemongrass stalks
2-3 inches galangal, peeled
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup coconut milk
2½ cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon oil




We assembled all of the necessary ingredients save for the galangal.  Nowhere in Boston could we find galangal.  We decided to forge ahead without it while crossing our fingers that our guests wouldn't notice the difference.  For the coconut milk, we used A Taste of Thai's lite coconut milk because it was marked gluten free.  I've written about how happy I've been with A Taste of Thai's other gluten free products, so we decided it would be a good idea to use the company's products again in concocting our soup.


Our first attempt at making the recipe didn't go so well... and by that I mean it was an utter disaster.  Neither of us were prepared for the fast pace of cooking that the recipe required.  Luckily, Jenny showed up and insisted that we open some wine to calm our nerves.  Wine went a long way towards making this recipe a success.


Overall, the recipe was very simple to make with a little preparation.  Before beginning to cook for the second time, we prepared all of the ingredients.  While you might be saying "Duh," Caro and I are not quite Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse.  Far from it.  Have you heard of the show "Worst Cooks in America"?  Well I won't speak for Caro, but I most certainly deserve a spot on that show.

Here is the full recipe:
1) Heat the oil in a saucepan at medium heat.  Saute the minced shallots until caramelized and then add garlic and ginger.  Stir for about 1 minute.  Take the bottom part of the lemongrass and bruise it - I use a pestle.  If the galangal is larger, cut it into 2.  Put in the lemongrass, the galangal and fish sauce.  Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Put in the vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and then let it simmer at a lower heat for about 20 minutes.

2) Pour in the coconut milk and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Cut the salmon fillet into 1-inch cubes.  Put the aslmon cubes in the broth to let it poach.  When the salmon becomes opaque, throw in the spinach.  Stir gently and switch off the heat.  Serve immediately.
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Overall, the soup was a big success.


Jenny and Ted told us that they loved the soup.  Of course they could have been saying that just so as not to hurt my feelings, along with Caro's, but Caro and I both genuinely enjoyed this simple, easy to make soup.


Jenny also brought over a great, gluten free salad for us to enjoy.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Coconut milk lemongrass broth with salmon

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Burger King Caters to Gluten Free Eaters

Burger King has just released a list of its products that do not contain wheat, oats, barley, or rye.  You can check out the official list here, which includes some of their patties, sauces, sides, and condiments.




Do you love it or do you love it?
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Burger King
Looking for a BK?  Restaurant Locator

Monday, January 4, 2010

Taste Test: Uno's Gluten Free Pizza

After blogging about Uno Chicago Grill beginning to offer gluten free pizza way back in January, I finally checked it out today!

The pizza was very well sized, with six slices.  Uno Chicago Grill is known for its deep dish pizza, but the gluten free pizza is a thin crust.  A very thin crust.  It's unfortunate that so many gluten free pizzas fall prey to the trap of creating extremely thin crusts; Mozzarelli's comes to mind as one gluten free pizza restaurant that escaped the too-common trap.  

While I didn't particularly mind the thin crust, the flavors at Uno's weren't particularly compelling.  I ordered the cheese & tomato and was underwhelmed.  My friends Arpan and Anjali and I agreed that there was not enough sauce on the pizza and that overall, the pizza was pretty bland.  While it was nice to have an option while my friends ate gluten free pizza, I certainly would not seek out Uno's gluten free options when there are so many better options in the L.A. area.  Again, while it's nice to have the option in a nationwide restaurant, it is not a place that I would regularly eat gluten free pizza.

Uno's also offers an entire gluten free menu that includes appetizers, desserts, burgers, and other entrées. The primary menu clearly notes that gluten free eaters should ask for their special gluten free menu; it's always great to see nationwide restaurants catering to the Celiac and gluten free crowds.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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7007 Friars Road, Suite 356
Fashion Valley
San Diego, CA 92108 (Map)
Note: This is currently the only Southern California location.  For other locations, click here.