Sunday, November 28, 2010

Harry & David's Gluten Free Section

My friend Henry came down from San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving with my friend Whitney and I.  We decided to get out of L.A. and head to Palm Springs for a night; I've been there once before but Henry had never been and it's close enough to Los Angeles that it is simple to go for one night.  We arrived at our hotel, checked in, and immediately headed out to Pinocchio's.  Our friend Jenn originally found out about this place and it's $3.95 bottomless brunch, served until 2:30pm.  Why I thought such a cheap bottomless brunch was a good idea remains a mystery... needless to say after a few bottles we were feeling just fine.

Anyway, after our adventures through Palm Springs we headed back to L.A. the next day and stopped at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets.  We weren't the only ones who stopped by there on this crazy shopping weekend; Lindsay Lohan made an appearance too.  While at the Outlets we stopped into Harry & David to pick up some Christmas treats for our friends (and samples for ourselves).  When I told the woman serving the samples about my gluten intolerance, she lead us to a dedicated gluten free section that the chain has set up.  While it wasn't enormous, and mostly consisted of Glutino products, I still appreciated the sentiment.  While doing another lap around the store, we stumbled upon Harry & David brand gluten free brownies and cookies!  They were in the freezer section on a separate shelf from the gluten-containing items and were individually wrapped.  I'm not sure why the woman didn't show them to me to begin with, but I'm glad I found them.  I picked up a Chocolate Chunk brownie and a Chocolate Chunk cookie.

Both were excellent!  I would definitely recommend both; I preferred the Brownie even though I'm normally more of a cookie person.  They may offer other individually wrapped flavors but I didn't look too closely.  Next time!

On the company's website there are various gluten free gift baskets available.  Check 'em out here.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Harry and David
Find a Location Near You

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Babycakes Does Disney World

Well I guess this means I have to book a trip to Disney World: Babycakes has just opened a new location in Downtown Disney!

Sadly I won't be making it to Disney World anytime soon... the above picture is from my last trip to Disney World in January 2008.  In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on Babycakes news and will hopefully update this post soon with pictures.  The new shop is open from 8am to 11pm daily.  You can check out what the bakery is serving up today from the location's Twitter account, here.  This new location is also TOTALLY gluten free!

Just found my first picture of Babycakes' Disney World bakery.  Check it out -- credit goes to Leigh Caldwell at themeparkmom.com.



With locations in Los Angeles, New York, and now Disney World, where will Babycakes go next?

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Babycakes
130 E. 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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bisquick Giveaway Winner!

I've been slacking on choosing the winner of the Bisquick Giveaway, I know I know.  Life has gotten busy here in Los Angeles!  I decided to employ my patentend (not really) selection method for choosing a winner.  First, I wrote down every participant's name on a piece of paper.

Then I cut up the names and placed them into a bowl.

The color on this photo looks so strange and only further demonstrates that I need to upgrade my cell phone ASAP.  Verizon, if you can hear me, PLEASE GET THE IPHONE ON YOUR NETWORK ASAP!

Then I chose a winner!  Congratulations LStand -- I chose your name.   I'll be in touch soon about claiming your prize pack.  Whoops, you didn't leave me an e-mail address.  Please get in contact with me by Thursday, November 11th at 5pm.  If not, I'll have to select another winner... and that is not fun.

 LStand's choice for what s/he would make with the Bisquick giveaway: "I would want to try the Garlic Biscuits!  Being from the South I miss a good biscuit with dinner on a chilly Fall night now that I am GFree!  Bet they are delicious :)."

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Bisquick Gluten Free Giveaway

Why Philly's Gone Gaga for Gluten Free

When my brother first sent me this article ("Why Philly's Gone Gaga for Gluten Free") I thought it had something to do with Lady Gaga doing a performance in Philadelphia while also adopting a gluten free diet.  I know, it was a little too much to dream... oh well.

Anyway, the most interesting aspect of this article were the three culprits Anthony DiMarino, director of Jefferson Hospital's new Celiac Center, identified as causes of the burgeoning prevalence of gluten sensitivity: (1) the large amount of gluten in today's diet; (2) a possible change in gluten's chemical makeup, making it harder to digest; and (3) society's germ-free obsession leading to a loss of immunity.

I had never thought about the third "culprit" he identifies as a reason for the rise in gluten sensitivity, but it is an interesting thought.  As people become more aware of sensitivities, particularly in children at younger ages, will we be creating more problems than we are solving by cutting out potentially sensitive food in a child's diet?  What do YOU think?

I know that when I was in Philadelphia I had a great, gluten free time.  I checked out Sweet Freedom Bakery with my brother (amazing!) and had a delicious celebratory dinner at Buddakan.  Both were amazing -- hopefully I'll get back to Philadelphia soon to check out some more of the city's gluten free options.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Why Philly's Gone Gaga for Gluten Free

"A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving" by New York Times

The New York Times has just done a blog post titled "A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving."  Big thanks to my sister Alyssa for sending it my way.  The post includes three vegetarian and gluten-free recipes by Silvana Nardone, whose son was diagnosed with gluten intolerance just weeks before Thanksgiving.



Check out the post here.  You can also read more of Ms. Nardone's posts here; she blogs many gluten-free recipes on that site.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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"A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Domestic Daddy's Flourless Chocolate Cake

My friend Travis is obsessed with the website Domestic Daddy.  I'm not quite there yet, but Travis will often pass me along some great recipes and today he sent along a flourless chocolate cake recipe that looks great and very simple!

Check out the recipe here.  I think I'm going to enlist Travis to help me make it; I particularly like the addition of cayenne pepper to make the cake unique.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Domestic Daddy

"Sweet Efficiency #1: Flourless Chocolate Spice Cake"

FitSugar's "Tips for Going Gluten-Free"

My friend Sarah just sent me a link to a great post on FitSugar about how best to adopt the gluten free lifestyle.  Normally I don't like these posts as they offer poor guidance, but I really liked this one.

I find the advice about creating a "cheat sheet" and visiting your local Whole Foods particularly useful.  I think that "cheat sheet" is a great thing to carry with you as you navigate through the beginning of your gluten free diet.  I remember beginning to read ingredient labels after being diagnosed and feeling overwhelmed by all of the information in this ingredient labels.  After some time on the diet it becomes easier, but at first it feels like you're scaling a mountain.  I also think that visiting your local Whole Foods (or natural foods grocer) is a great tip because they are more likely to have products which are certified gluten free.  Of course, with products like Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Mixes and Bisquick's Gluten Free Mix on the market and in most national supermarkets, the gluten free diet has become considerably easier to navigate.

Check it out here.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Tips for Going Gluten-Free on FitSugar

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Is Gluten-Free Healthy" ABC News Report

My friend ACM just sent along this ABC News Report discussing the prominence of the gluten free diet.  The clip features Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Dr. Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University speaking about the advantages and disadvantages of a gluten free diet.



It's very interesting to hear Dr. Peter Green say there are no proven benefits to the gluten free diet for those who do not have an intolerance, allergy, or sensitivity to gluten.  People always assume that I'm healthier because of the gluten free diet and, while that applies to me because of my Celiac Disease, I was never sure whether it was the case.  We've all seen the celebrities shilling for the diet (Rachel Weisz, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.) some of whom may be Celiac or otherwise sensitive while others are just jumping on the gluten free bandwagon.

All in all, an interesting report which ends with an interview of Erin McKenna, owner of Babycakes, a gluten free bakery with locations in New York and Los Angeles.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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"Is Gluten-Free Healthy"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fruition

To cap off a great weekend of eating in Denver my parents and I visited Fruition.  It was a short drive from our hotel and came highly recommended; the Yelp reviews were outstanding and many people I met while in Denver suggested that we check this place out.

Fruition has a farm in Colorado on which it grows many of the fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant. The farm also raises chickens to produce fresh eggs for use in the restaurant.

The restaurant is small and has a great ambiance.  It is decorated in muted earthy colors and could definitely be a great date place.  Of course, I was with my parents so... yeah.  That's that.

On to the most important part: the food!  I ordered a roasted beet salad to begin which was absolutely divine.  The waiter was super helpful in my gluten free selections and we couldn't have asked for better service.  He was also knowledgeable about wine pairings and chose an excellent wine to go along with my chosen entrée of scallops with mushrooms.  That being said, it doesn't take much to be more knowledgeable than me in wine.  I can differentiate between red wine, white wine, and beer... and that's about it.  And since I can't drink beer... you get the picture.

For my main course I chose the scallops which were served with mushrooms.  Another big, gluten free success.  Unfortunately I'm finishing this post weeks after originally eating at Fruition, so I can't go into great detail about this entree.  I've eaten too much since this dinner! 

Regardless of the time lapsed between enjoying the meal and writing about it, I would definitely go back to Fruition on my next trip to Denver.  The service was great, my waiter was knowledgeable about gluten free options, and I enjoyed the atmosphere. 

This is the last of my Denver posts!  Overall the trip was a great success.  I was able to see friends from my hometown after years of not having seen them, make some new friends, and see a new part of the country.  Denver is a great city for foodies; I appreciated that people were aware of the gluten free diet and that I did not have to jump through hoops to explain it to them.  Additionally, the weather was spectacular and the feeling of space without the endless cycle of traffic was a nice break from Los Angeles.  Hopefully I'll check it out again soon!
Do you love it or do you love it?
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Fruition
1313 E. 6th Avenue
Denver, CO 80218 (Map)

Immaculate Baking Company

Immaculate Baking Company was just what my friend Hilary and I were looking for on a recent jaunt through Whole Foods.  As I've already posted about we selected some EatPastry and, much to our surprise, it wasn't the only gluten free cookie dough available.  As I mentioned in the EatPastry post (here) I had never before experienced store-bought gluten free cookie dough so we were excited to try them.  We picked up a package of Immaculate Baking Company's Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough and headed to the checkout line.

These cookies were AMAZING!  They are gluten, soy, and dairy free.  They came pre-formed in little balls and were really delicious.  Immaculate Baking Company definitely has my vote for gluten free cookie dough.  They cooked well and were delicious.  Sadly my friends and I ate them before I could snap a photo!  I'll be sure to update this post the next time I use this product.  For photos from another blogger, check out this blog post.

The only drawback?  They do use eggs.  Regardless, this product is amazing if you need to bake up some cookies quickly but don't have time to do the mixing.  I will definitely be buying this again.

Sadly, I had a little baking mishap when I was baking these cookies.  I put them in a glass baking pan which I put under cold water immediately after removing the baked cookies... whoops:



There's a reason why my sister does most of the baking at home.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Immaculate Baking Company
Wondering Where to Buy?