Restaurant Reviews

The Wagon Wheel

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Out in Gill massachusetts is a cute little place called the Wagon Wheel. I first looked it up with the find me gluten free app. It had a pretty good rating overall. The selections however are very limited. They offer gluten free bread to make grilled cheese but all of the equipment seems to be shared. I was told that the chef cleans the grills before a gluten free order is placed on it. Since I am a very sensitive celiac, I unfortunately did not want to risk it even if they cleaned the grill, where the bread gets grilled. The do offer burgers in lettuce wraps which seemed to be the better option for me. They also have a few tubs of homemade All of their ice cream. Most of them are gluten free with the exception of brownie ice cream and chocolate chip cookie dough.

They offer environmentally friendly paper straws and wooden silverware. There is also a spot outside in the back that has a little play area for the little ones as well as picnic tables in the shade. I found this little place to be quite enjoyable, even with the limited options. The staff was very responsive to my questions about gluten free options, and were quick to find out if they didn’t know.

As for my review, I would give this establishment a 7. The 7 is for the communication, knowledge about their gluten free options and their quick turn around to get answers when needed. The score would have been higher if there were way more options to choose from.

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

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 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

Katz Cupcakes

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Our local Market 32 freezer section had these Katz cupcakes. I was very hesitant at first to purchase the package because I am not a huge Katz brand fan. I found their doughnuts to be too dry for my liking. These cupcakes though! WOW!

First of all if you have ever had a hostess cupcake back in the day prior to celiac disease, then you’ll know that this will taste so close to that! When I took the first bite all those memories came flooding back! No lie! This taste just like a hostess cupcake with the cream filling on the inside.

So let’s get down to it! These cupcakes are not only gluten free, but dairy, soy and nut free! They are certified gluten free as labeled on the box. This package contains 4 individually wrapped, frozen cupcakes. This product does contain eggs and corn. You can either heat the cupcake in the microwave for 10 seconds or let thaw for 2 hours. I prefer the thawing for 2 hours.

Katz products are made in a fully dedicated facility away from gluten containing products. Their facility is also certified nut and dairy free! All their products including this one is kosher as well!

I have to say, I gave these cupcakes to my kids and husband after dinner and they all agreed it did not taste like a gluten free product! We all loved that it didn’t crumble apart as we ate it! It is both adult and more importantly KID APPROVED!

I would give this product a 9/10 and look forward to trying more products by Katz!

gluten free reviews

Dessert Essence

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Let’s talk about some products shall we?

A lot of people don’t realize that if you have celiac disease you should also watch what you put on your skin not just what you ingest. Why is that? Well the gluten that is within products, such as lotions, and sunscreen are being absorbed into your skin. Even though you are not ingesting it, you can still have a reaction on your skin.

Once I realized that I needed to change over my skincare products, I went in search of some new products. One brand that I did fall in love with is Desert Essence. This company offers many gluten free products that are reasonably priced and smell AMAZING! They have a variety of options from apple, to coconut, lavender, grape, red raspberry, lemon and fragrance free options! They offer gluten free products for your hair and skin a well as dental products.

I did reach out to the company so that I could confirm a few things. Here is what i found out:

Even though the company has many gluten free products not all of their line is gluten free. They do label every products clearly to determine if it contains gluten or not. They did let me know that some of the products are manufactured in dedicated facilities, but some others are manufactured on dedicated gluten free lines as well. So far so good. I have had no reactions to these products whatsoever.

These products are also free from:
Parabens
Sulfates – SLS/SLES
Phosphates
Phthalates
Artificial Fragrances or Dyes
Silicones
EDTA
Glycols
PEGS, PPG, MEA, DEA or TEA
Petroleum Compounds: Mineral Oil, Petrolatum or Paraffin
Animal Derived Ingredients
Animal Testing

They are cruelty free as well as vegan and gluten free!

I love the colors and packaging of these products as well and they just started offering a travel size package for $10.99 on their site which will include the shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash all in the coconut fragrance.

Their shipping is fast as well! It usually takes 2 days to arrive! My only complaint has been when my package has arrived. I am not however blaming the company, but good ole UPS. I have had many packages arrived with squished boxes and once I open it up, I’ll find the body wash all over the place. The company has been more than helpful to replace my damaged products.

I give this company a 9 out of 10 review!

Now I’m off to enjoy the weekend and I’ll be back on Monday with a new post!

Until next time….

XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner

gluten free reviews

Made Good Soft baked mini chocolate chip cookies!!!

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Ok let’s take a quick second to go over these! I recently had ventured out to our local Wegmans and came across these soft baked, mini chocolate chip cookies by the company Made Good! I’m going to be honest, I am a bit judgemental when it comes to choosing food I may or may not enjoy! When I first saw this package I saw that it was free from the top 8 allergens! So what the heck was it actually made with? I am used to eating gluten free but was this something that could really be that good? I mean, I haven’t had a good soft baked cookie in I don’t know how long! Alas I picked up the package, and threw it in my cart and on my way home I went!

That night as I was preparing to sit and finish up a few recent stories, I have been working on all I was craving was chocolate! I grabbed the package and opened up a small pouch of these cookies, popped one in my mouth and couldn’t believe the taste!

“SHUT THE FRONT DOOR” , I had exclaimed to my husband (which he clearly knows meant that I was amazed by whatever it was I was doing!)

This tiny little cookie the size of a quarter tasted like a spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough! You know the stuff your not supposed to eat out of the bowl but do anyway because you just can’t resist?! I think my world just flipped upside down. It was then when I decided to actually read the ingredients and full on product information!

First of all like I said this is free from the top 8 allergens! No dairy, nuts, wheat/gluten, tree nuts, sesame seeds, shellfish, soy or egg! It also stated on the package that each one of these pouches is 1 serving of vegetables! They are also free from dyes! This product is also certified gluten free, certified vegan, and certified organic and made in a dedicated facility free from these allergens!

As I read on it just kept getting better! The ingredients listed were extracts from carrots, beets, spinach and other vegetables! This was amazing. Where have they been all of my celiac life!?

So this gave me an idea. Now most of you who do not know my family or I personally wouldn’t know we do have other food allergies, such as one of my boys has a severe allergy to shellfish and red dye (possibly other dyes as well…to be tested coming up Monday) That particular son also has sensory processing disorder. So he is the pickiest child when it comes to food and tasting certain things. I literally have the worst time trying to get him to eat anything good! So this afternoon in between church and lunch, I handed each kid a small bite sized cookie and their minds were blown, especially my picky eater! They kept asking for more! So I can certainly tell you this product is KID APPROVED! I can’t wait to send them to school and know that they are getting a serving of vegetables that taste just like cookie dough!

Side note- I did tell them what was in it only because I wanted them to know there are so many other healthier options out there!

I also love their packaging. Each box comes with five small packages just the right portion size!
I am giving this product a 10/10 !!!!

With that I am off to get the kids ready for bed!

Until Next Time,

XOXO
Alicia
The Celiac Corner