I love a great meal. Before being diagnosed with celiac, our primary form of entertainment was trying a different restaurant every weekend. Gluten free was something that most restaurants never heard of. Actually, until I needed to know, it was something I had never heard of either. Learning that gluten was in so many things like chicken broth, soy sauce, blue cheese, not to mention the obvious like flour, bread crumbs, and pasta and so much more, really put a damper on our dining out. When I thought of all the things that I could not eat and then about the potential for cross contamination, I felt like my restaurant hopping days were gone.
Over the past year, I've been finding that many restaurants, and grocery stores for that matter, are becoming more aware of gluten sensitivity. It may have something to do with the fact that more people are being diagnosed with some form of gluten intolerance or perhaps part of the latest fad diet. Whatever the reason, all of us living with celiac disease are happy to see there are now more gluten free choices available. The next few blogs will be focused on my review of gluten free dining in some local establishments. Please add your own comments to share.
Today's review: Joe's American Bar & Grill
A few weeks ago, I had lunch in Fairfield at Joe's American Bar & Grill, my neice had done a little investigating and found they had a gluten free menu, so that made it a perfect choice. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I had a burger on a gluten free roll and it was served with fries. Although they do not have a gluten free fryolator, they said would cook the fries in a pan, so they were not contaminated by the other breaded items. The burger was great, nice treat to have it on a roll as I usually have it served on a piece of lettuce and sometimes just on a plate solo. The fries were ok, but not close to the real deal. The best part was feeling comfortable that the staff knew what the issues were and being able to have something other than a salad.
This weekend Dave and I were in Boston visiting our daughters. Because it was close to where we were staying and we knew they offered a gluten free menu, Friday evening we went to Joe's American Bar & Grill on Newbury Street for dinner. The gluten free dinner menu was comprised of simply making adjustments on their regular menu. Basically, nearly everything on their regular menu could be made gluten free. (This is very exciting as usually any gluten free options available could be written on an index card.) After much pondering on the many choices, I ordered the Blackened Chicken Pasta. It was a gluten free pasta with escarole, peppers, and blackened chicken in a zesty parmesan sauce. OMG, it was delicious, full of the many robust flavors. The blackened chicken added just enough zip without being too overpowering. I would highly recommend it. My daughter had the same dish in the full gluten version and sampled mine as well, agreeing that it tasted "regular". Once again, it was comforting to know that the wait staff and chefs were familiar with the food limitations as well as cross contamination. Joe's American Bar & Grill gets two thumbs up from me. I only wish there were more Connecticut locations. Here is a link to their website.