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 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!

Uncategorized

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to all those veterans who served our country and to those who continue to still serve! Your service is greatly appreciated.

As we are all going out to our Memorial day cookouts, don’t forget to pack that gluten free sunscreen and prep yourself with you gluten free essentials!

Where am I going with this? Well, when you have celiac disease, it’s hard eating out but almost harder when you have to attend family events. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, everyone around me tried so hard to show great support. The biggest concern was that family and friends would not fully understand the disease, and what cross contamination is.

It was hard for me the first few years, when family would cook something that was gluten free and I felt awful if I didn’t try it. It was hard to just say no thank you, I’ll bring my own food. One thing for sure is that years later, i’ve mustered up the courage to just say no thank you as politely as possible. I am the only one who can help my body stay safe from gluten.

If you haven’t heard about Coral with Serving Celiacs, I suggest checking her out. She has these great downloadable resource cards that explain exactly what celiac disease is and cross contamination! I found these super helpful recently, as I have been going out a lot more to family events. Before finding those downloadable cards though, I had to figure out the best way to approach family and friends. When an event or invitation would come up I would just tell them not to stress about finding or making food for myself and to be safe and avoid cross contamination I would love to bring my own meal if possible. Not obviously at major events like weddings, this is not possible. Most people understood and gladly obliged that it was one less thing to worry about. Some people however, insisted they make a gluten free dish. In the past, I would risk eating their meal and feel awful later it. Trust me, it is not worth the effects! I would feel sick and it would last for 24 hours or so. It took a few days to get myself back to normal.

So here are a few tips when heading out to a party or family gathering. (weddings not included) :

If you don’t know the meal that is going to be served ahead of time, bring a gluten free dish or two. This will help to say that you didn’t know what they were having and wanted to bring a side or extra meal. (then you can also stick to eating these foods and staying safe) Be sure however to keep it separate from gluten containing foods.
Don’t expect any host to know 100% what celiac disease is. If you feel comfortable with that person ask them about what food will be offered and ask if it would be ok to bring your own food or eat ahead of time. Just be honest and tell them any chance of cross contamination will have side effects on your body.
For cookouts I would bring your own hot dog or hamburger rolls anyway and just let the host know you are bringing them to keep separate on another plate.
Make sure you check the condiments at parties for hidden sources of gluten.
I will always try to eat something ahead of time, but that’s just what i do to hold me over.
Now I have reached the point that with the people I feel comfortable with, I will tell them not to stress or worry about my food. I will still get some that offer items like gluten free brownies etc, however those people are now so fully aware of how sick I get that i trust that they take those extra precautions.

I know these are just opinion based tips but they were some that really helped me out. It’s hard to just tell people that you can’t risk eating their food, unless you feel 100% comfortable with them.

On that note I am off to the cookouts!

Wishing you all a safe Memorial day!

XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner

Restaurant Reviews

The Wild Willy’s Review

Hey All! So I wanted to hop on here real quick and tell you a little about this place called Wild Willy’s. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, you’ll find a menu that offers almost everything to be made gluten free! Now this restaurant is something else. They have always offered gluten free items, as far as I can remember.

Back when I was first diagnosed, Wild Willy’s was the first place I went to since I heard about their gluten free items. I had many great experiences with them! Back then you could place your order, make them aware of your gluten allergy or celiac disease. They would then give you a card that you would place on the table and then choose your own seat, and wait for your food to be brought out to you! I quite enjoyed the way the atmosphere was.

As for the food, I absolutely loved the gluten free hamburgers as well as the fries and fried fish! They currently offer gluten free sugar cookies as well as pre packaged items from the company, Something Sweet Without Wheat. The staff was very accommodating as well, especially when it came to letting them know I have celiac disease!

SO where am I going with this? I believe that maybe a year or so ago the restaurant was put under new management. There have been mixed reviews by many, many people from friends and family, all the way to random strangers. I have been there a few times this current year. The food has recently been hit or miss. This restaurant has changed a few things. While they have added in more entertainment, comedy and country line dancing, they have changed the seating procedures as well. You will now have a full table service experience. I personally am not a huge fan of the new table service. I liked the picking of our own seat and not having to have a waiter or waitress. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for waiters and waitresses when I dine out, but this place was so relaxed that I just enjoyed having it be pick a seat and hang out with your family.

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Overall I am pretty happy with the restaurant in terms of location, and gluten free food options! Most of the customer service has been great as well. Table service is now slow that it has changed and I almost feel rushed out when we dine in. I do have one thing though that has been on my mind and bothering me quite a bit.

I know this establishment has been open for many years and has been noted to be one of the premier places to eat gluten free. This sounds great and all the while I have eaten there many times and never been sick, I still had questions for the manager or owners. I recently reached out via email with no response in a few days and decided to reach out via facebook with just a few questions!
Mind you, I have been reaching out to many places in Massachusetts to add to my blog for some wonderful gluten free finds. I was shocked to say the least by the response. I am not sure if it was an owner, manager or just another employee, but felt that if an establishment truly cared for those that have a gluten issue or someone like myself with celiac disease then these questions should of been answered.

Some of the basic questions involved asking how they prep their food and if the staff changes their gloves when preparing a gluten free order. I asked if the same pans are used for both gluten free and gluten containing items. I did ask if there was a risk to cross contamination and politely let them know that even if in a shared prep area there could be a chance. In my mind, I felt that these are basic questions that anyone looking to help people like us would 100% be able to answer.

The response?

“We did receive the email. We’ve just been pretty busy lately and haven’t had a chance to reply. However, since we’ve been safely serving the Celiac community for more than a decade, (and some our employees are strict Celiacs), it’s safe to say that we’re well educated on the topic and have a pretty good handle on our processes. Thus, while we’re not opposed to helping out with your blog when we have a bit more time, some of these questions do seem like they’d be more appropriate for a place in its infancy.”

Now this response was not upsetting in the fact they finally responded, and I truly appreciate the fact that they let me know some of their employees are strict celiacs which instills more trust in the establishment. However I was hoping that they could just answer the questions outright so that I may help others that are gluten free and not make my questions seem like they should meant for a newer establishment and not them. My point is here, is that if you have never been to this place and you have questions and have celiac disease, you would want to have clear information and not go in blind. Even this company has been in business for over a decade etc this community can’t risk without knowing answers. Yes ok I will restate I have eaten there without questions and without getting sick so it sort of goes against my points because i did go in there blind, but this is why I am now trying to create a good and safe list!

At that point I simply told them I appreciated their response but that these were standard questions any celiac person would be hard pressed to know the answers to, especially if they have never been. I also explained many people don’t always go by one review. People with allergies or in this case an autoimmune disease like to see the answers in black and white to know when they go they will be safe. And then I just thanked them for their time.

So here is the full scoop, Yes their food is safe as far as I know and only by my opinion and experience of not becoming ill and I will eat there again…ok I will take out and not dine in, but not often as its further from my area of town.

*Please note I am not trying to dumb down or write a negative review for Wild Willy’s. Every review listed will be based solely off my own opinions and experience as well as questions that have been asked to the different establishments if they were able to answer!*

Below is one of my favorite dishes and great one to get especially during Lent if you can’t have meat on Fridays!

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gluten free recipes

Gluten free french toast!

Canyon Bakehouse country white bread
Paprika, Nutmeg, Cinnamon
2 eggs

I love using the canyon bakehouse brand! This bread taste just like the bread I used to have prior to having celiac.

Mix the two eggs together then add about a tablespoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle in a bit of paprika, as well as a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

Soak the pieces of bread in the mixture and cook each side about 1-2 minutes.

I know this is a very basic and simple recipe but one of my absolute favorites!

Some of the toppings that i love to use are maple syrup, blackberry jam or powdered sugar.

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!