gluten free reviews, Restaurant Reviews, Traveling Gluten Free

Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers

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Over the summer, my family and I ventured to North conway for a mini vacation. I had been looking forward to visiting the Santa’s village, and checking out local places to eat. As per usual our plans, never go according to plan. On the last day of our vacation, before heading home though, I found a place that seemed to have really great reviews. In fact it had a 98% rating for celiac safety. This place is called Wicked Fresh Craft Burgers, just located next door to the Settlers Green outlets and the North Conway Grand hotel!

Let me tell you! I wish this place wasn’t three hours from my house, because it truly was the best burger and roll I have ever had in my years since being diagnosed gluten free! The roll didn’t fall apart and was that greasy/buttery grilled kind! They cooked it unfortunately on the same grill as everything else but they assured me they clean it as well as they possibly can, plus they try to cook it on a separate section of the grill that isn’t used by other things containing gluten/wheat. They have so many varieties of burgers to choose from. The fries were also cooked in a dedicated fryolator as well. I did test it both the bun and burger and fries with my Nima Sensor. It came back with a smiley face for all three!

The establishment has outdoor seating but is rather small on the inside. I would say it has about 12 small tables that seat 2 people each, which for us we ended up putting together since we had 10 of us that took up almost the entire room. As for the pricing it cost us about $52 for the 5 of us, just my family which included one meal being gluten free.

I highly recommend stopping by this place if you’re ever in the area. I give it a 9/10. I wish there were more seating as many people came and left because there wasn’t enough room inside.

gluten free reviews, Restaurant Reviews, Traveling Gluten Free

Scoop Deck

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If you are ever on vacation up in Wells, Maine, I suggest stopping by this little ice cream place called Scoop Deck. They have so many different varieties and flavors. They can check on their allergen list and tell you what might contain gluten. This establishment is cash only, so make sure you have some on hand. The staff was very knowledgeable when it came to my order. They are all trained really well. They were able to wash and get a new scoop, and changed their gloves, however they were not allowed to open to a new tub of ice cream. Instead they made sure to scoop from an untouched side. They also offer gluten free ice cream cones. They have such a cute back area for the little kids to enjoy as well as picnic tables both in the shade and sun. I think this a great little gem to stop at!

gluten free reviews, Restaurant Reviews

Gerados Bakery

Gerados Bakery in West Boylston, MA

So I had written a few instagram posts about gluten free baked goods at Gerados in West Boylston, MA. I have done the Nima test on them which all came back with a big smile! They have been offering gluten free items for some time now, however I did have some questions to see if they were deemed safe for those with celiac disease. I reached out to the bakery via email, but hadn’t received a response in a few weeks. I then tried to reach them via facebook and said that I was trying to compile a list of places that people with celiac disease could visit. It took about another 3 days before getting a response asking what those questions were.

Here is a list of the questions that I have been sending not only to this bakery but other establishments in the area. Their answers are below the question:

1.How long has your establishment offered gluten free food?
About 5 Years

2. What was your backstory for deciding to offer gluten free items?
There were a lot of requests.

3..Would you consider this facility safe for those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease?
All of our customers who ask for gluten free are told the items are gluten free but not made in a gluten free environment, so they can decide. (From personal experience, everytime I have ever asked for gluten free items, nothing was told to me that the items are not made in separate area or anything. The establishment has never made it outright known)

4.Have any of your staff completed any gluten-free training programs?
Yes, the owner has (so for me this is just the owner, but I feel like the rest of the staff should be trained in that area as well. Personal opinion only)

5. Does your staff change their gloves without being asked when a gluten free order comes in?
Yes (Again everytime we have ordered gluten free I have never seen gloves changed, and I have to actually request that it be put in a separate box.)

6. Do you have a separate preparation area for the food that people ask to be gluten free?
No (obviously for people with celiac, this is a huge problem)

8. If not, Is there a risk for flour to be cross contaminated with food that is being made gluten free? Aka even if regular wheat flour is being used it gets in the air. Any particles made in the same area as an order with gluten can get on a person’s gluten free food can make that person become ill.
Yes there is always a risk. Every customer with any allergy is warned whether tree nut or gluten that is could of been in contact with other items in our facility. (Again, from personal experience only, I have never been warned or told, granted this could common sense but for those wanting to dig deeper to see how things are made you would ask)

9. Do you share bowls and baking pans for both gluten free items and non gluten free?
No

10. Why are the gluten free products not in a separate case as they used to be?
As we started making more gluten free products, we could fit them all in one spot.
(Again, personal opinion only… this establishment has always had a large case with two shelves of gluten free items. Then one day, the entire case was gone and combined with that of gluten containing items which does not make it safe for people with celiac disease.)

SO here is my issue, as much as I LOVE this bakery and their gluten free items, which have always tested negative for gluten in their gluten free products, and the fact that I have never gotten sick from their products, the answers to these questions make me very nervous. Like I said above, everytime I have ever asked for gluten free items, they never say anything about how it’s made, or the result of possible cross contamination. I do not want by any means to bash this company or give a negative review but being a person with celiac disease the risk is huge, and I feel as though even those people who eat gluten free because of gluten sensitivity are still at risk. It almost makes me think this would only be good enough for those who are still on the “gluten free fad” or just trying to eat gluten free for no medical reasons. I will reiterate that I have never gotten sick from their gluten free items, but now that I know the high chances of cross contamination, it does make me a little weary.

I hope this interview with the establishment helps those with celiac disease. I also hope that if anyone from an establishment reads something like this realizes how sensitive something like this is to people with celiac. I wish more places would jump on board with how things are made and unfortnatley I understand it is hard to kep up with that with most places.

So the question is will I keep going there knowing such a high risk of cross contamination?? To be honest, I probably will refrain from now on unless someone brings me something from their on occasional visits and then I will use my Nima sensor. I just feel though having celiac disease, we have tob e well aware of what is going into our body and how it will affect our intestinal track even with the smallest amount of gluten!

gluten free reviews

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tates Gluten free cookies… That perfect cookie

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While on vacation up in Maine, a family member surprised me with Tate’s, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies she found at a local T.J. Max.! Over the past 8 years or so, I have tried numerous cookie options, from homemade to bakeries, and store bought.

I’m going to rate these cookies a 9/10. I always get nervous to take a bite of a cookie. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous. I’ll be honest, im not great at keeping my reactions hidden if something i taste, doesn’t quite taste the best. It’s always worse when a family makes something, or you spend $6.95 on a large, gluten free cookies and it ends up tasting horrific.

Tate’s gluten free cookies bring back the memory of the homemade, crunchy cookies my Grandpa used to make. These cookies have a wonderful buttery taste that adds to its crunch too! The chocolate chips taste so sweet on the inside and pairs well with its crunch! Each bag contains, 14 cookies in each bag! I know the amount seems small in comparison to the gluten filled oreos my children eat, but as it is a gluten free product, this brand offers far more to savor than other gluten free brands!

The gluten free cookie options are manufactured in a dedicated facility free from wheat and gluten which is AMAZING! It does however get processed in a facility that does contain milk, soy, eggs and tree nuts!

Where can you buy these tasty cookies?!?! Well, the ones I first tried, were found at T.J. Max, but I have also recently found them at my local target. Prices vary greatly! The ones at T.J. Max were about $2 cheaper than Target. Target had a larger variety though. You may also purchase a variety of their cookies from their website! Tatsesbakeshop.com
Some of the varieties offered are, chocolate chip, double chocolate, coconut, ginger zinger, and oatmeal cookies! The cookies on the website however must be ordered in bulk. I highly recommend this brand of cookies! So why the 9 out of 10! Well I much prefer a crunchy cookie over a soft baked one, however on hot days try to store these cookies in a cool area. It seems as though with a heat wave they tend to fall apart before you take a bite! Other than that, this cookie is almost perfect!

Until Next Time
XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner

gluten free reviews, Restaurant Reviews

Cones on the Common~

What’s better than having ice cream for dinner!? Absolutely nothing, ok maybe a few things, but from a child’s point of view…ice cream for dinner is a win, especially on a hot summer day!

I am always super picky about ice cream places and trying to find a place that will accommodate those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Most places don’t offer gluten free ice cream options, and if they do there is a huge chance and little precaution taken to ensure no cross contamination.

So let’s skip again to a nice, hot summer day and this Mama doesn’t feel like cooking one bit! My husband looked up online a few places in the area, because we also didn’t want to drive too far for ice cream after a long day in the pool. The first few places said that they offer gluten free items, however everything they use is shared equipment and they can’t really declare it as gluten free.

My husband saw this place online a town over from us called Cones on the Common in Grafton, MA. He called and they said they offered many gluten free flavors and could accommodate those with celiac! So off we went!

Let me tell you, I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and always one town away from Grafton and I could not believe I have never heard or seen this quaint little place! When we pulled up it was literally right on the common and had a cute little shop attached to it! If you have ever been to Cape Cod and have gone to those cute, little ice cream places …this is exactly what it looked like! I loved the nostalgia. It made me feel as though we just zipped to a quick getaway for the afternoon. The employee said that during the summer, most of the time you will find musicians playing on the common, so many people come grab and ice cream and relax the rest of the night!

When you walk into the ice cream shop, they have a stand that shows all the gluten free flavors and the best part is they even have two different kinds of gluten free cones! The girl was so nice and showed me everything that was offered. All the ice cream there is homemade from Maine and sent there. I told her about my celiac disease and that I needed gluten free. She made sure to change her gloves and get a different scoop in case it had touched my kid’s cones.
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The ice cream tasted AMAZING!!! Word of advice though this shop is CASH ONLY! I am glad we called first though before stopping in, because like most people nowadays we rarely ever carry cash on us.Having to pay cash only, however does bring back some memories of old times! The portion size even for a child’s ice cream was also amazing! For about 4 big ice creams, and gluten free ice cream it came to about $18 total. I think it’s a pretty fair price! Overall I would rate this place a 10/10

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gluten free reviews, Traveling Gluten Free

Great Wolf Lodge, New England

My husband and I recently surprised our kids with an end of school trip to Great Wolf Lodge. I brought along my Nima Sensor to test the foods at each meal/snack. Before our trip I did call the hotel as well as email the food and beverage person to discuss our food allergies, and my celiac disease. We were going there with a child who has a red-dye allergy, a husband with a shellfish allergy, and then myself with Celiac disease.

I have to admit, I was not too impressed with the hotel as far as getting back in touch with me to address our food allergies and celiac. I ended up calling a second time, and they transferred me over to the food and beverage department, to which I was told to leave a voicemail and they would call back. They never called back but finally emailed back two days prior to our trip.

Here was the response that was emailed back to me in regards to my celiac disease:

We have plenty of options for your GF/celiac disease, We have all gluten free fryers on the Al Cart line, in our main dining room we have a wide variety of GF items on our menu, we have gluten free pizza up at our outlet restaurant.

When you come to dine with us let your server know about your allergy, and we will have a chef come out and talk with you, and walk you through all your options.

We look forward to seeing you and your family.

So upon our arrival, I decided to check out every place in the hotel that offered food to see how their gluten free items were prepared or even if they were offered. First of all, I didn’t bother with the Dunkin Donuts in there because well that is already a no go. I did bring plenty of my own snacks though just to be on the safe side.

So the restaurant does have their own gluten free fryers as the email said, but I honestly didn’t want to eat there because the kids didn’t care for a sit down meal. It was very hectic and the prices were rather high. They do confirm that a chef would come out to the table to speak about the allergies or celiac and do change their gloves while preparing a meal. Since I did not eat there, I can’t review any of the items.

The ice cream shop could not confirm if their ice cream was gluten free and they did not offer any gluten free cones.

The pizza restaurant out in the arcade does offer a gluten free pizza as a personal size. They assured me that it was made in a separate prep area and separate oven. I did test the pizza with Nima and it came back a happy face. I however did not like the taste of it. The pizza was very thin and mushy.

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I ordered a salad and baked potato from the lodge restaurant and that I also tested with the Nima sensor. It came back with a big smiley face. They assured me that they prep things separately.

In one of the waterpark sections, there is a small food kitchen, that makes burgers, hot dogs, fries and chicken tenders. I asked the person the first day, and he told me that they do not have dedicated fryers, everything in the waterpark area is not celiac safe. The second day there was a new person and I of course wanted to double check the fryers and that person told me that the fries are celiac safe. I tested the fries, and it was confirmed by Nima that the fries contain gluten!

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All in all, it was a successful trip with the family, but I spent most of when it came to meal time, eating my own food that I brought from home. Even though I had the Nima which was an amazing addition to have, and asked questions all around, I was still very paranoid about accidental cross contamination. I didn’t want to chance being glutened and preferred to eat food from home.

My advice when traveling, is to do the research ahead of time. Make sure to call your hotel and restaurants that are around the area and ask questions until you feel comfortable. As a backup, I would definitely bring extra food for yourself especially if your hotel room comes with a fridge. Also, if your anything like me and like to not base everything off of word of mouth, I would totally invest in the Nima Sensor. It gives that extra peace of mind!

Until Next Time
XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner

gluten free reviews

Outshine!!!

I recently came upon the brand outshine and have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this product! I took a leap and purchase the fruit bars and popsicles at my local Market 32. There is so much to love about this brand.

I have been looking for alternatives as summer quickly approaches. I admit that I am a huge ice cream fan. I pretty much spent last summer indulging in so many gluten free ice cream cones and creamy, chocolate ice cream! I needed however this year to find a healthier alternative, that is also dye free for my son!

Outshine offers frozen fruit bars, popsicles, yogurt bars, cream bars, half dipped bars, and kids fruit and veggie bars! I have only tried the frozen fruit bars and popsicles. Their products are made with real fruit and or real fruit juice. It lists that there are no GMO ingredients, a wonderful source of vitamin c and no high fructose corn syrup. All the colors are added from natural sources and its also gluten free! Their brand denotes that this goes for all of their products except for the coconut bars, I believe.

My kids absolutely fell in love with this brand. It hit the spot on a hot day we just had. I loved the taste of the fruit juice, as did my children. In some of the fruit bars, you will find pieces of fruit which we also loved. I enjoyed the different varieties that came in each package. My favorites were the strawberry and grape. I would give the fruit bars, and posicles a 10/10 for flavor, ingredients, and packaging. I would highly recommend trying this brand out!

gluten free reviews

Gluten free chicken nuggets!

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Let’s be honest here, shall we? I don’t know about any of you out there but I am so tired of food shopping all over the place just to find and buy different gluten free items. I however decided to try a local Market Basket this pay day to do my 2 week food shopping extravaganza!

I’m not going to lie the Winnie the pooh nuggets caught my eye first! They were in a separate freezer section with the all natural, certified gluten free chicken nuggets! I was skeptical at first and decided to get the winnie the pooh as well as the regular golden platter “adult version” I only paid about $5.99 per package. I love that they are all natural and no hormones or preservatives added in.

I would advise maybe cooking it a minute shorter than the directions say! They came out so crispy and it was most certainly kid and adult approved! I love this product and cannot wait to try more!

gluten free reviews

Morelli Gluten Free Pasta

Let me just tell you straight up! This gluten free pasta is the best pasta I have ever tasted since being diagnosed with celiac! My father recently went on trip to Italy and Greece, and to my surprise he found a package of gluten free pasta in a little shop. Unfortunately most of our processed foods even those labeled gluten free are not the best options for us. I have had my fair share of pasta and even though I am a huge fan currently of the gluten free Barilla brand, I often feel heavy after eating it. Now I’m not talking about feeling heavy in terms of weight, it’s just the feeling you get when something is sitting in your stomach. The food just feels heavy.

This pasta by Morelli, was made only with two ingredients: corn flour and water! I didn’t feel tired, after eating it either. There was no heaviness to it and it was very fulfilling even with one small serving. The texture was amazing as well! I only had to cook it in boiling water for less than 9 minutes. It did not fall apart, or taste slimy like some of the pasta made from rice taste like.

I found out that you could purchase this brand on Amazon. There are some on amazon that show really high prices, but there are others that you can purchase two packages for about $23. As of right now, the linguine and panccheri pasta are the only gluten free pastas available on amazon. I know these seem pricey, but i feel that it is well worth it to try this brand out!

gluten free reviews

Caulipower Pizza

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Last night for dinner I took a different approach. I am so very tired of always trying to accommodate everyone in the house especially when I am the only one who is eating gluten free. My kids love pizza but one picky eater does not like veggies! I sprung for the Caulipower Margherita pizza!

This product is certified gluten free. I loved the entire pizza as did my husband and two of my children. The picky eater well lets just say he wasn’t a fan of tomato bits and spinach that he found on the slices. I loved the flavor of the pizza and found out it comes in 5 other varieties. This was also a thin crust pizza, but what I loved most of all was that the crust didn’t just crumble and fall apart! The instructions said to cook the pizza between 13 and 15 minutes. I would suggest not cooking it over 12 minutes!

Cons: This isn’t too much of a con but the pizza was quite small for a family of 5. I should of cooked two of them. I would love to see a bigger size pizza.

All in all I give this product a 9/10