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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Weddings and a Celiac

Having celiac disease is hard enough let alone when you get that beautiful wedding invitation in the mail and your first thought is “ How will I be able to navigate this?”

I know it is incredibly hard at social events, parties, vacations, weddings etc. Trust me, been there, done that! What you need to know is yes it can be hard, but yes you can work around it.

I have never wanted to be the person that is seen as the issue all because of having celiac. Between this past weekend, and this coming November, my husband and I have been invited to 6 weddings and to tell the truth, I am having a bit of anxiety over it. So what do i do? What should you do?

The first thing that I suggest, is once you receive that invitation, check over the meal options provided on the card. Our first invitation, I actually felt close enough to the bride to bring up my celiac disease. I reached out apologizing in advance that I was a bother, but wanted to ask her permission if I could personally contact the venue to go over my dietary issue. I told her how excited I was to attend the wedding, but wanted to double check to make sure nothing gets cross contaminated. I know everyone is different on how they would approach such a thing, but it does depend on how close you are to the couple.

Luckily for me, the bride was very receptive. She said she would reach out to the venue and talk about my options. As the wedding approached, I found out that it was going to be stations in different corners of the room. The bride assured me that someone would come to my table that night, and go over my options. Once the wedding arrived, I obviously was unable to eat any hor d’oeuvres. As we sat down a lady came and told me what I could and could not have at the stations. Well the salad station I could have the salad, but the dressing was not gluten free! Who really wants to eat a plate of dry lettuce. (Lesson learned…. Pack a tiny travel cup of your own dressing for things like this!)

I had to steer clear of the pasta station and boy did it smell amazing! I was able to have the roasted veggies with the meat at the carving station. I brought along my Nima sensor, that I purchased solely for travel and occasions like this. I am happy to report that Nima came back happy for the meat and veggies! I loved the added reassurance just for that reason!

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For the weddings that are coming up, I did reach out to some of those couples as well. I let them know about my husband’s shellfish allergy, but also my celiac as well. I said there are many things that I can indeed eat, the issue is everything for myself has to be made in a separate prep area to avoid cross contamination. I am still waiting to hear back from a few, but most of the couples are happy that I reached out, because let’s face it…no one wants anyone getting sick at their wedding!

So here is my little tidbit of advice: If your very close with the couple or one of them I say be honest and reach out. Let them know that you are excited to attend but nervous about the food. I wouldn’t get into a full speech about celiac, but just explain a lot of items contain gluten and wheat like dressings or sauces or gravies. Ask if there is anyway your food could be made in a separate area and not the same pans to avoid cross contamination. If for any reason they can not accommodate or guarantee a gluten free celiac safe meal, I do suggest eating before hand.

Until Next Time
XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner

gluten free recipes

Blackberry Smoothie

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I really wanted to try an alternative to my normal strawberry and blueberry smoothies. I have not been feeling my best and have to watch a lot closer what I eat! I decided to try a blackberry smoothie and just started throwing things in! I LOVE it! One of the best smoothies I have ever had! I loved using the blackberries because of the antioxidants, and the fiber! It has many health benefits!

1 cup of organic blackberries
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Teaspoon of organic chia seeds
1 Tablespoon low fat plain greek yogurt
Handful of spinach
Couple cubes of ice
Protein powder of your choice if you desire ( I use skinny fit-miss gluten free protein powder every once in a while)

Just mix it all in the blender and your ready to go!