Reviews Written by Gluten-Free_Cat:  



Showing 1 to 13 of 13 reviews
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Pinecrest Inn
249 Cumberland Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
A Gluten-Free Friendly B&B in Asheville, North Carolina

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jul 25, 2012

It's hard to stay at a bed and breakfast when you are gluten intolerant. While you may love the accommodations and quaint rooms, breakfast is usually lacking. Bed and breakfasts are famous for their country breakfasts, most of which are filled with gluten. Thankfully, I found a gluten-free friendly bed and breakfast that I will be returning to frequently. The Pinecrest Inn is a lovely bed and breakfast, and the inn keepers go above and beyond to make sure that being gluten free doesn't take away from your bed and breakfast experience. Every afternoon I was greeted with a gluten-free treat from a local bakery. I enjoyed a brownie, cupcakes, and even a mini-chocolate carrot cake. All delicious, and all unbelievably gluten-free. Pinecrest breakfasts are out of this world. Every morning I knew where my place was at the table, because there was something different on the bread plate. Sometimes it was a gluten-free blueberry muffin. Another time it was a mini sweet bread from Dolci di Maria, a local Asheville gluten-free bakery. On the morning that we had yogurt parfaits, they used Udi’s Gluten-Free Granola for everyone’s parfait, not just mine. They made sure that the frittata was naturally gluten free and that I had Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread to go along with it. On French toast morning, I wondered if I’d be eating eggs with a side of Udi’s toast, but they created gluten-free French toast with Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread just for me, complete with fresh peaches. Pinecrest Inn gets a five palm rating and two paws up from the Gluten-Free Cat on food alone. But the actual accommodations were beautiful and comfortable, giving us the perfect weekend retreat. For pictures and additional information please see my full review at http://www.glutenfreecat.com/2012/07/a-gluten-friendly-bed-and-breakfast-in
-asheville-nc/

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Woodlands
3415 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203


4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Gluten-Free Friendly Indian Vegetarian Cuisine in Nashville, Tennessee

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jul 12, 2012

Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine can be a great place to eat gluten free if you ask for guidance from your server. They do not have a separate gluten-free menu, but it's easy to find gluten-free options as many Indian dishes are naturally gluten free. I highly recommend the potato bonda as an appetizer. They are large balls of mashed potatoes dipped in chic pea flour and deep fried. Delicious! The famous Indian naan, a white wheat bread, is obviously off limits. But there are other gluten-free breaded items to try. The Pappadum is crispy wafer-like flatbread made from lentil or chickpea flour. Dosas are crepes made from rice and lentil flours and stuffed with savory fillings. Iddly is spongy steamed rice and lentil cake. I had to try the crepe-like Dosas served with sambar and coconut chutney. They are huge, not even fitting on a serving platter. I’ve tried the Masala Dosa, filled with potato, onion, and spices. But my favorite is the Beans and Cheese Dosa, featuring black beans, cheese, and spices. The curries are a safe bet for gluten-free diners, and they’re served with white rice and raita (yogurt with vegetables). My favorite is the Dal Tadka, yellow lentils cooked with tomato, onion, and spices. I also love the Dal Makhani made with kidney beans, yellow and black lentils, onion, and tomato. For dessert you must try the Carrot Halwa, which is carrot cooked in coconut milk, cashews, raisins, almonds, and sugar. Simple sweetness. I highly recommend dining at Woodlands. The food is delicious, the waitstaff is attentive, and when asked about gluten and other ingredients, they relay questions to the kitchen and return with clear answers. For photographs please see www.glutenfreecat.com.

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Porta Via Italian Restaurant
3301 Aspen Grove Drive
Franklin, TN 37067


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee: Best Gluten-Free Pizza

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on May 13, 2012

Having guests in town gave us the perfect opportunity to try Porta Via Italian Kitchen and their gluten free pizza that I'd heard amazing things about. I was astounded that they had gluten-free pasta as well. AND the waiter brought gluten-free rolls with olive oil. They were incredible. I dare say they were the best gluten-free rolls that I’ve ever had outside of my kitchen. They were piping hot from the oven, steamy, tender, and perfect. These were not rolls kept in the freezer saved for the occasional gluten-free diner who pops in. These rolls were freshly made. With such attention to the quality of the delicious free bread, I knew that the upcoming meal would have to be amazing. With not just two gluten-free options, but two entire gluten-free categories to choose from, I knew we had to order both pizza and pasta, especially since Porta Via makes their own pizza crust. I haven’t found that outside of NYC. So we ordered the Fettuccine al Pesto, which was delicious. The pasta was tender, yet substantial, not mushy as many gluten-free pastas tend to be. And the pesto sauce brought back memories of last summer’s perfect pesto made from freshly picked basil leaves. We also ordered the Margherita D.O.C. with tomato sauce, fresh mozzerella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, and basil was worth sharing my pasta. PortaVia has been certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) organization, which has specific regulations for how Neapolitan pizza must be made. We went back to PortaVia the next evening after our guests left. That’s how incredible this pizza is. We tried another pasta too: the gluten-free Bucatini al Pomodoro, which had an authentic Italian tomato sauce. We finished off the evening with a generous scoop of gelato. Porta Via has two locations in the Nashville area. I highly recommend that you try one if you’re anywhere close. You won't be disappointed. For meal pictures see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/2012/05/portavia-italian-kitchen-best-gluten-f
ree-pizza/

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Royal Caribbean

,


2.0 Palms
2.0 Palms
Royal Caribbean Cruise Gluten-Free?

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jan 27, 2012

Everyone says that cruising is all about the food. With cruise lines that boast of 24-hour buffets and five-star dining, it’s easy to see why. I had been on cruises before, and gained the predicted 5 pounds in a week that took a month to take off, but that was before going gluten-free. Recently, I took a Thanksgiving cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Sea, and I had high hopes that they would provide delightful dining experiences. After all, gluten-free dining is nothing new. We’ve been at this for a while now. In the dining room, eating gluten-free was fairly easy. Although I had requested gluten-free dining on my cruise registration, there was no indication that the waitstaff or chef had been made aware of my need. In fact, our waiter didn’t seem to know what gluten was and quickly excused himself to find out. Since English was clearly a second language for most of dining room staff, communication about gluten was difficult at first. But after the first night, it got easier. There was usually one appetizer, salad, or soup that was naturally gluten-free to choose from each evening. I think if I could have eaten appetizers and desserts for every meal of the cruise I would have been very happy. The entrees were usually fish or chicken with a side of rice or potato and some vegetables. They were all naturally gluten-free, and very good. I inquired about the vegetarian dishes each night, and all of them contained gluten. I was very concerned about Thanksgiving Dinner. Thanksgiving Dinner is my favorite meal of the entire year. Our waiter brought us the Thanksgiving menu the evening before and asked what we would like. I told him that he would make my Thanksgiving if he could come up with a gluten-free stuffing and a crustless pumpkin pie. He was able to produce a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including gravy, but there was no stuffing or pie. The desserts were incredible. If there wasn’t a naturally gluten-free dessert one evening, like Pavolova or Chocolate Souflee, there was always ice cream. Outside the safely of the dining room, the rest of the ship was a gluteny disaster. The language barrier made it very difficult to communicate with the servers. On day one, we barely made it to the ship before the 4:00 pm departure because of airport delays. We boarded just moments before disembarking and moments before the food lines closed for the mandatory safety presentation. I was famished. I walked up to the pizza counter with hopes that Royal Caribbean had gluten-free pizza. After all, gluten-free is nothing new! When I asked if there was any gluten-free pizza the worker happily said, "Yes!" Thankfully, I figured out pretty quickly that he didn’t know what I was asking. There was no other option other than the cheese or pepperoni slices behind the glass, but he was dead set on telling me that the price of pizza was included in my cruise fare. Even hungrier and more frustrated, I turned to the buffet line. The only thing I could find that was naturally gluten free was white rice and green beans. I was stunned that in this day and age, on a cruise ship, I could only find two items to eat. But I realized that the line was closing because of the safety meeting, and I hoped that things would improve. The buffet line continued to be horrendous throughout the rest of the trip. First of all, it was a mess, and where there’s a mess, there’s the possibility of cross contamination. But then there were signage issues. I was excited to see that there were signs labeling gluten-free items. But these signs could not be relied upon. There were a few gluten-free entree options, but most were meats. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find little more than salad and fruit. unless you want mushrooms and onions. There was very little attention to the gluten-free signs that were placed above gluten-free dishes. When trays of food were replaced from behind the buffet line, it appeared that the gluten-free signs in front were left up, even if the next item was not gluten-free. That is a dangerous situation for any gluten-intolerant diner. Thankfully, I realized quickly that the signs were not to be relied upon. So my daily meals consisted of this: Breakfast – yogurt and fruit Lunch – salad and white rice Snacks – Lara Bars brought from home, fruit, and soft serve ice cream Dinner – a very nice three-course meal in the dining room Royal Caribbean has a long way to go in terms of gluten-free service. Hats off to the chef in the dining room for providing lovely, safe meals complete with desserts. But with the prevalence of quality gluten-free products in restaurants these days, there is no reason why a cruise ship can’t offer something as simple as gluten-free breads, muffins, and snacks. And the buffet needs a serious overhauling with a separate gluten-free line and about ten times more gluten-free options. For pictures of the food please see my blog Gluten-Free Cat: http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=9155

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BrickTop's
1576 West McEwen Drive
Franklin, TN 37067


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
BrickTop's In Franklin, Tennessee: Gluten-Free Done Well

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Oct 23, 2011

It's not a unique phenomenon for a new restaurant to open in the Cool Springs-Franklin area. And now that the McEwen area has started making good on their much-anticipated promises, this is becoming a hot retail, residential, and restaurant location. But I've been watching the progress of this restaurant in particular, because I had a feeling that it would be good for the gluten-free community. (And I couldn't wait to dine on that super cool, outdoor, covered patio!) BrickTop's has locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, St. Louis, Naples, and Nashville on West End. I'd been to the West End location once, years ago, and I was thrilled that the server understood gluten issues. I had just resigned myself to my default order: "I'll just have a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side, and no croutons or bread, because I have a gluten allergy," when the server's eyes lit up and he explained that he, too, couldn't eat gluten. Fifteen minutes later, I had fish tacos on corn tortillas with extra corn tortillas to dip in my guacamole as an appetizer. (He had warned against the tortilla chips as they didn't have a dedicated fryer.) When you are taken care of at a restaurant, the experience is not long forgotten. That one experience gave me hope that the new BrickTop's had potential. I was not disappointed. Last week, we took friends to the new BrickTop's at West McEwen Drive in Cools Springs, and I was pleased to see that they have developed a very extensive gluten-free menu since my Nashville visit. From appetizers, salads, and sides, to steak, chicken, and fish, this menu contains something for every gluten-free diner to enjoy. And every question that I had about specials, sauces, and the vegetable of the day was immediately taken back the chef to check on possible gluten-containing ingredients. And more importantly to the return visitor (which I plan on being), I was not treated as a problem customer. Our server was more than willing to assure me that my experience would be a safe and delightful one. After much deliberation (isn't it wonderful to have options?), I settled on the Atlantic Salmon with a side of Brown Rice and the Fresh Vegetable which was a delicious creamed cauliflower that I must replicate at home soon. Tennessee is landlocked, and I'm a California girl who adores seafood. If we want good seafood, we usually go to Bonefish Grill where the fish is flown in fresh and served with some of my favorite gluten-free sauces. But I am convinced that this piece of salmon from BrickTop's is the best that I've had in Nashville, or on the coast for that matter. It's that good. And we definitely left room for dessert. BrickTop's was a delightful dining experience as a gluten-free diner. (And our gluten-enjoying friends had wonderful meals as well.) I'd highly recommend BrickTop's for your next meal out. For photos see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=8331

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Amerigo
1656 Westgate Circle
Brentwood, TN 37027


3.0 Palms
3.0 Palms
Never Let Your Guard Down: A Gluten Free Dining Experience in Tennessee

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jul 07, 2011

Finding a restaurant with a gluten-free menu can be downright exhilarating. You breathe a sigh of relief that you’ll eat more than lettuce and shredded carrots drizzled with olive oil, you revel in the fact that there is an entire page of options that actually look appetizing, and you relax knowing that those preparing your food understand gluten issues. I finally had a chance to try Amerigo’s gluten-free menu, but I was reminded of a basic gluten-free dining rule: NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN! I was immediately impressed with the many options that were listed on a menu that actually looked like a menu. No flimsy little photocopied paper, a real menu. And the menu items looked amazing. They even had gluten-free pasta! I had to try the pasta. Most people would just settle for knowing that the pasta is gluten-free. But this gluten-free blogging geek had to know what the pasta was made from. I know Maggiano’s uses a delicious corn pasta. I enjoyed rice pasta at an Italian restaurant in Portland before. I’m a huge fan of quinoa, and lately I’ve really been enjoying Bionaturae pasta which combines potato, rice, and soy flour. I really was just curious, so I asked the waitress. Me: What kind of flour is your gluten-free pasta made from? Waitress: Uh, I’m not sure. I think maybe wheat? Me: Oh no, oh no, oh no! That’s impossible. Because WHEAT is NOT gluten-free. ALL wheat has gluten in it! Waitress: Let me go check. I know it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know the ingredients in the gluten-free pasta. But instantly I knew that she had no idea how to serve a gluten-free diner safely. My waitress never did return with an answer to my question. In fact, my waitress didn’t return at all. A new waiter took over who made me feel a lot more comfortable about my impending dining experience. I’m so thankful, because the Spaghetti Pomodoro with Shrimp was incredible! I’ll definitely return to Amerigo for another meal. While I’m very thankful that gluten-free menus now abound, this is a reminder to be careful, ask questions, and never let your guard down. For photos see www.glutenfreecat.com

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Burger Up
2901 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204


4.0 Palms
4.0 Palms
Burger Up and Second Chances: Great Gluten Free Dining in Nashville

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 26, 2011

Do you believe in second chances? I definitely do, and I’m so thankful about that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know what an incredible experience you could have at Burger Up as a gluten- free diner. Burger Up is a hot new burger joint in Nashville on 12th Avenue South that opened in May 2010. Known for their scrumptious upscale burgers, Burger Up provides unique flavors in their meats and toppings to tempt both carnivores and herbivores alike. Would you rather sink your teeth into a bison burger, lamb burger, citrus salmon burger, or would vegetarian options like quinoa and black bean burgers or portobello burgers be more your style? I never would have even attempted to dine at Burger Up had I not heard a delightful rumor. “Burger Up has gluten-free buns.” And these aren’t just any gluten-free buns that are mass- produced halfway across the country, shipped in, and stored in the freezer. These are gluten-free buns provided by one of my fellow Nashville gluten-free bloggers, Katie at GFree Made Easy. These are homemade, gluten-free buns! Guess who had to check out Burger Up that same week! Yes, me. Not only did Burger Up appear to be gluten-friendly, but they also appeared to be animal, community, and environmentally friendly. Sourcing as many products as possible from local farms that treat their animals well, 10 Tennessee farms are represented on their menu including Triple L Ranch and Hatcher Dairy. But I have to say that after all of the hype, my first experience was terrible. It was so awful that I declared that I would never again return. First of all, after ordering we found out that they were out of the wine that the Husband was interested in. That’s not so terrible, but it was the first disappointment of many. Secondly, when we ordered bison burgers with gluten- free buns, the waiter returned to say that they were all out of gluten-free buns. My reaction must have been dramatic. After all, that was the whole reason we decided to try Burger Up in the first place. But the waiter said that he would make sure that we were well taken care of. I’m used to eating burgers without buns. But when the burgers came, they were ugly! If you’re going to serve a naked burger, shouldn’t you make sure that the burger is actually shaped properly? It seriously looked like someone had already taken a bite out of it! The meat was tasty, but I would never go to a restaurant just to have a naked burger. But the fries weren’t just good. They were to die for. The Truffled Fries with honey dijon aioli were the most delicious fries I’ve ever had. And the Sweet Potato Fries (how can you go wrong here) were even more delicious with Jack Daniel’s Maple Ketchup. Wow! As great as these fries were, I don’t think I’d ever go to a restaurant just for fries. Maybe it was my fault for assuming, but when the waiter offered dessert I expected that it would be on the house. After all, he did say that he would take care of us. The gelato and sorbet are the only gluten-free desserts that Burger Up offers. I opted for the gelato, and it was quite delicious. But it was not the peacemaking gesture that I thought it would be. Not only was the dessert listed on our bill, but so was every other item that we ordered. No comps, no discounts. So we paid over $60 before begrudgingly giving a tip for two burgers patties, two orders of fries, a few drinks, and a single dessert that I wouldn’t have accepted had I known that it wouldn’t be free. “I am NEVER coming back here again,” I said even before putting on my coat. With such a bad experience, I am not sure why I ever agreed to go back a few weeks later. Maybe it was because the Husband called ahead and asked them to set aside two gluten-free buns for us. Maybe it was because the fries had wiggled their way into my cravings place. Maybe it’s because everyone deserves a second chance. Those Truffled Fries with honey dijon aioli are magical. (As is their margarita!) Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or not, give Burger Up a chance. Or maybe even a second chance. Their burgers are amazing, and with homemade gluten-free buns, we can all be happy. For photos see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=4379.

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Candle 79
154 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Must Try NYC Vegan Restaurant with Amazing Gluten-Free Menu

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 26, 2011

Candle 79 has long been on my list of New York City restaurants to try because of their extensive gluten-free menu. But when we're in the City we are usually so enamored with the wide availability of incredible gluten-free pizza and pasta dishes that the vegetarian restaurants are pushed to the bottom of the list. But after our incredible experience at Pure Food and Wine, Candle 79 was hoisted to the very top of my must-try list. Plus, I felt so great after eating such clean, raw food that another pizza wasn't even appealing. But was it fair to compare any vegan restaurant to Pure Food and Wine after falling in love with it the day before? Could Candle 79 even come close? We walked the 34 blocks from our hotel to the restaurant, so we were more than ready to find out. They seated us in the upstairs dining room of the quaint restaurant next to windows that lined the wall providing a view of the city below. I was thrilled to receive an entire menu of their gluten-free meals. Not a photocopied menu. Not a menu with gluten-free options designated with a star. A real, substantive menu that looked just like the regular menu. There were so many options that the Husband and I had to compare to see how the two differed. We started with the Guacamole Timbale which was to die for. Served with flax chips, this timbale was made with chipotle black beans, caramelized onions, cucumber tomato salsa, and ranchero sauce. Delicious! A raw entree caught my eye, and while there were so many other tantalizing options, I had to have one more raw meal before heading home. I ordered the Live Zucchini Enchiladas. The enchiladas were buried beneath the most tender spinach and baby romaine greens, more cucumber-tomato salsa, creamy guacamole (again), and toasted pumpkin seeds. When I found the enchiladas I was so excited try them that I forgot to take a picture. Thin slices of zucchini wrapped cashew cheesy goodness, and with the chipotle-tomato sauce, cashew sour cream, and toppings, it was a fiesta to savor. Next time you're in New York City, make a point to try Candle 79. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just plain hungry, you won't be disappointed. For restaurant and food photos see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=6028

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Aunt April's Bakery
1100 Forrest Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Aunt April's Bakery: Gluten-Free Goodies in Nashville!

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 25, 2011

I took my mother to Aunt April's Bakery for lunch this week, and what a treat it was! April has been providing Nashville and Franklin restaurants and markets with her delicious gluten-free breads, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and brownies. While I still find April’s goods all over town, April is now operating out of her new digs at the Green Wagon in East Nashville. Aunt April’s Bakery is open for breakfast on Mondays 7-10 and for both breakfast and lunch on Tuesdays through Saturdays 7- 3. How about a gluten-free panini on her amazing bread? Check out April’s daily sandwich specials. You won’t be disappointed. And of course you’ll need to pick up a cupcake or two for dessert. I highly recommend the chocolate cupcake with coffee icing. Oh my!!! And yesterday, April surprised us with a lemon cupcake with raspberry frosting. It was out of this world! But we also had to take two pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with us for breakfast the next day. Not only will you enjoy delicious gluten-free goods that are made from locally sourced ingredients, but you’ll have a lovely conversation with April herself. Take a trip to the Green Wagon located at 1100 Forrest Avenue in Nashville, and support this great local gluten-free bakery (and your sweet tooth!) For photos, please see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=4758.

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MAFIAoZA'S
2400 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204


2.0 Palms
2.0 Palms
Mafiaoza's Pizzeria - An Offer I Can Refuse

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 26, 2011

I was thrilled when I heard that a local restaurant called Mafiaoza’s Pizzeria now offers a gluten-free pizza crust option. Mafiaoza’s is a great little restaurant that we frequented before learning of my gluten intolerance. I love their mob motif. With pizzas called “Brother Fredo”, “The Fed”, and “Brass Knuckles” combined with the dim lighting, you’re sure to feel like you’re in a scene from The Godfather. Since I’ve learned of my gluten intolerance, I’ve only been to Mafiaoza’s for social reasons, mostly under duress, because all they could offer me was a dry salad. Imagine eating iceburg lettuce while smelling gourmet pizza, bruschetta, scampi cakes, and pastas. That’s just pure mafia torture. Since learning about Mafiaoza’s gluten-free pizza crust, I’ve been there twice. Gluten-free pizza is “an offer I can’t refuse”. But I don’t think I’ll be back again. The fact that being gluten-free has become a fad has made dining out both easier and more dangerous at the same time. It’s easier because there are more options for those who are truly gluten-intolerant or have Celiac disease. But it’s more dangerous because some restaurants don’t understand the severity of the disease or that providing a gluten-free option doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for them to offer one. Providing a gluten-free crust is not the same as offering a “low fat” or “low carb” option. We are not trying to lose weight or jump on the latest celebrity diet. We are trying to stay well. This is a health and safety issue for us. And I don’t think everyone understands that. On our first visit, we ordered two different gluten-free pizzas. We had “The Greek” with plum tomatoes, red onion, black olives, green peppers, feta cheese, and a creamy Greek vinaigrette, and “The Irate Italian” with garlic, pecorino romano cheese, mozzarella, and black olives. Both pizzas were delicious! This was my first experience with French Meadow pizza dough, and it was delicious. What was not excusable was the dangerous manner in which the pizzas were served. “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” We were out to dinner with a family member who is not gluten intolerant. She ordered a pizza on regular wheat dough. When the three pizzas arrived, the server brought them out on a tray. And to my horror, the crust of my gluten-free pizza was resting on the crust of the gluten-filled wheat pizza! I didn’t make a scene. The Husband, who is not gluten- intolerant, ate the contaminated part of the pizza. And I ate the pieces farthest from that side. I did not get sick from gluten that night, but it sure did make me wonder. If that kind of carelessness occurred while serving, what was going on in the kitchen? I did have a chance to talk to the manager, thanked her for offering gluten-free pizza, and suggested that she inform her servers about the dangers of cross-contamination. A few months later, we tried Mafiaoza’s again with a non-gf couple. When I ordered my gluten-free pizza, I asked the waitress what they did in the kitchen to avoid cross- contamination. She answered my question with a question that was very telling of the current climate. (“…it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry.) Waitress: “So, are you really allergic?” Heather: “Yes!” Waitress: “Then they’ll change their gloves and use a different cutting board and utensils.” Would they have used those precautions if I hadn’t asked? We ordered “The Irate Italian” again and “The Last Request” with black olives, pepperoni, salami, Italian sausage, portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, green peppers, red onions, and jalepenos. The name truly fits the pizza. If I had one last request before the mob did me in, this pizza would be my choice. The pizzas were all served separately, so there was no cross- contamination between the kitchen and our table. This pizza was divine. I love hot and spicy food, and this flavorful pizza did not disappoint. But do you have any idea how much this 10-inch pizza cost? They charged us the same price as their 12-inch pizza, which is already a ridiculous $19.00, plus $3.00 extra for the gluten-free crust. A $22.00 10-inch gluten-free pizza in Nashville? If we were in New York City, I might understand, but that’s a bit extreme. “Sorry Johnny…but it’s only business.” So, we won’t be back to Mafiaoza’s. The risks in safety and the economics of it all are just not worth it to me. There are plenty of other restaurants that have earned my trust with their commitment to serving those who are truly gluten intolerant. For pictures of Mafiaoza's delicious-looking but possibly unsafe pizzas, (as well as other random Godfather quotes) see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=1738.

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Pure Food and Wine
54 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Pure Food and Wine: An Oasis of Gluten Free Options in NYC

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 17, 2011

As I was planning our last trip to NYC I knew we had to visit our favorite gluten-free restaurants and bistros. But I also wanted to try some new places. The most incredible food experience of our trip by far was lunch at Pure Food and Wine with its raw vegan menu of artistically created meals made from organic vegetables, fruit, and herbs. Nothing is ever heated above 118 degrees in keeping with raw food standards. And every single item I tasted blew my mind. Plus, the ambiance was heavenly. A little oasis from the craziness of the city streets, Pure Food and Wine provides open air dining on the front porch, indoors, or in the elegant private back garden. I would have been happy to dine in any of their cozy corners, but I was thrilled when they seated us in the back courtyard. Enjoying the summer breezes under the shade of an umbrella, I perused the menu that I had been waiting for so long to hold in my hands. This experience left me with an amazingly healthy feeling, incredible memories, and a longing to return soon. Not everything on their menu is gluten-free. They use nama shoyu in some of their dishes, an unpasteurized soy sauce which contains trace amounts of gluten. But everything that is gluten-free was clearly marked as such, so it was very easy to find something safe and delicious to eat. We leisurely sipped our drinks while planning our order. It was incredibly hard since everything looked so fresh and delicious. One bite of each, please? The Husband enjoyed the sangria. While the mimosa kept me grinning. To start, I had the Mediterranean salad with arugula, kale, kalamata olives, tomatoes, pumpkin seed macadamia parmesan, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. I believe it was the most flavor-packed salad I’ve ever enjoyed. The salad was HUGE, and I believe I ate every last bite. The Husband ordered the Tortilla Wraps with spicy sun-dried tomato filling, corn cilantro guacamole, tomato-lime salsa, and cashew sour cream. These were not gluten-free, but based on the fact that the Husband thoroughly enjoyed his first 100% raw meal, I can assure you it was delicious. I ordered the Zucchini and Tomato Lasagna with sun-dried tomato sauce, pistachio basil pesto, and pumpkin seed macadamia ricotta. It took me so long to take the first bite, and not just because I had to take a zillion pictures first. I didn’t want to destroy the beauty of the presentation. I also didn’t feel any need to dive in. I could take as long as I wanted as there was no fear of my food getting cold. It was a raw lasagna. When I finally began, I ate slowly and mindfully, not wanting this meal to end. With each bite different flavors were more pronounced. For dessert I chose the Tiramisu made with vanilla cream layered with coffee-sake almond cake. I am not usually a tiramisu fan, but when I asked the waitress which dessert was her favorite, she pointed me toward this dessert. I’ve learned to listen to the experts. And I’m so glad that I followed her guidance. It was the best tiramisu I’ve ever had. The Husband ordered a simple Orreo cookie, and I could tell that he was skeptical until it arrived. It was beautiful, and one bite sealed the deal. Lunch at Pure Food and Wine was definitely the highlight of our trip to New York City. If we lived in the City we’d definitely have to work this restaurant into our monthly budget. It’s not cheap, but with the flavors, pure food, and beautiful moments it’s worth every dollar. For meal and restaurant photos by Heather @Gluten-Free Cat see http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=6072

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AMOT Eatery
1100 Fatherland Street
Nashville, TN 37206


5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
AMOT Eatery - Best Gluten Free Sandwich at restaurant in Nashville

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 15, 2011

**Note: AMOT Eatery if formerly known as A Matter of Taste. I’ve been dreaming of having a gluten-free restaurant in Nashville ever since we discovered Posana Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina last summer. Of course, it doesn’t take much to convince me to roadtrip for a great Posana meal or two, but it isn’t exactly convenient. Imagine walking into a restaurant, right here in Nashville, and knowing that everything you ordered would gluten free. You wouldn’t even have to ask. A dream! And now it’s a dream come true! I love this new lunch spot. I enjoyed three tasty lunches, both as takeout and in the restaurant, over my Christmas vacation. A Matter of Taste now provides the lunch crowd with gluten-free sandwiches and so much more. Kellie, the owner, has a gluten allergy herself, so she has made it her goal to provide great tasting, healthy food that’s safe for those requiring a gluten-free diet. A Matter of Taste is a great little place to hang out with a friend or two over lunch or a gluten-free treat. The space is small with only three tables, but the artsy decor has a relaxing feel that makes the little room a cozy reprieve from the busy streets. Need a little lift for your spirit? You’ll find encouraging words wherever you look. From the books on the tables to the words on the walls. But I know what you really want to know. How’s the food? The Husband made it to A Matter of Taste before I did, but he was sweet enough to bring a sandwich home for me. It wasn’t just any sandwich, it was the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had filled with turkey, sliced granny smith apples, melted brie, and honey mustard. And since the Husband ordered it for take out, they wrapped all of the parts separately with specific instructions about how to heat it in the toaster oven. And the gluten-free breads are made right on the premises! (Yes, I said breads, plural. I’ve had their Rosemary with Cracked Pepper and Rosemary Chia Seed breads which are both incredible.) If you happen to be lunching with someone who is afraid of food with a gluten-free label, they need to try these breads. But if they won’t budge, A Matter of Taste does offer glutenous bread for those who aren’t brave enough to try it! But these breads are brought in and not made in the kitchen, alleviating concern about cross-contamination. At first, any gluten-intolerant eater will be blown away by the delicious bread of the sandwich, but once they recover from the shock of eating gourmet, gluten-free bread that holds together, they’ll be struck with the quality of the ingredients inside the sandwich. Their turkey is oh-my-gosh amazing, reminiscent of your annual Thanksgiving midnight snack sandwich. I love that Kellie uses high quality meats and farm-fresh, locally-grown produce. One bite and you’ll taste the quality. And what’s the soup of the day? Kellie is always willing to give you a taste, but I’ve learned not to bother. Every soup I’ve had is truly amazing. I trust her. The Squash Bisque was the best squash soup I’ve ever had. And the Husband brought home the Tomato Bisque…oh my. And as if you could have room for dessert after sandwiches like the Mediterranean Vegetarian with eggplant, roasted red pepper, sun dried tomato, freshly made pesto, and feta cheese… Or a basic turkey and cheese, which is anything but basic… There are all sorts of gluten-free goodies to try. I highly recommend their deliciously refreshing fruit tea made with pineapple juice, tea, orange juice, and agave nectar. A Matter of Taste is located at Franklin Road across from Thoroughbread Motors, and they’re open Monday through Friday from 11-4. You must stop in for a bite. I guarantee it will be your best lunch of the week. Hurray for A Matter of Taste! Hurray for Nashville! For photos go to http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=2597

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Mad Donna's
1313 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206


3.5 Palms
3.5 Palms
Mad Donna's - On the Right Track with gluten-free restaurant dining in Nashville

Reviewer: Gluten-Free_Cat from Nashville, TN
Reviewed on Jun 15, 2011

Mad Donna’s has been on my list of restaurants to try for a while now, and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to head out to East Nashville to give it a try. I’d heard that Mad Donna’s uses gluten-free bread from Aunt April’s Bakery, so I was really excited to check it out. I was glad I tried Mad Donna’s late on a weeknight, because the place wasn’t busy, and I could ask the waiter as many questions as I needed. When I called, I learned that they don’t have a gluten-free menu, but they assured me that they could make almost anything on the regular menu gluten-free. But when we arrived, I found out that my options were far more limited than I was lead to believe. Yes, I was disappointed, but I knew that I’d be satisfied with anything that they could make safely with April’s bread. We ordered the chips and salsa as an appetizer. I was a little apprehensive as the chips are made in-house, and they do not have a dedicated fryer. But apparently, I was living on the edge that night. I tried them and did not get sick. I was impressed with the side salad that I ordered. Most side salads ordered at a bar restaurant consist of limp lettuce and shredded carrots. But this salad actually had vegetables, specifically green peppers and mushrooms, and a wonderful dressing. It’s always a special treat to be able to order a sandwich when you are gluten intolerant. I ordered the Turkey Melt complete with Applewood bacon, artichoke dip, and cheese. Wow! April’s gluten-free bread can stand alone, but the combination of the decadent turkey toppings was so delicious – not so low fat, but delicious nonetheless! The Husband ordered the BAS Burger (bacon, avocado, and Swiss), on gluten-free bread so I could try it. (I love that man.) Can you go wrong with a burger with avocado and cheese? He also got the sweet potato fries, which were as good as they look in the picture. Again, the fries are not made in a dedicated fryer, but I didn’t seem to have any trouble. There are certain restaurants whose extensive gluten-free offerings are worth making the trip for. I’m glad I tried Mad Donna’s, because I did really enjoy my meal, but I’m not sure I’d head to East Nashville just to eat there again. There isn’t enough variety for this gluten-free diner. However, I give them props for having gluten-free bread, and AMAZING homemade gluten-free bread at that. If you find yourself in the area, definitely pop in for a salad or sandwich. But if you're sensitive to gluten in a shared fryer, stay away from the chips and fries. See www.glutenfreecat.com for meal photos

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