Monday, January 26, 2015

Flour & Spice Boutique Review

After finding and falling in love with a 100% dedicated gluten-free restaurant and bakery in the Melbourne (The Bald Strawberry), my dedicated gluten-free adventure was far from over when I realized that the bakery portion of the experience was a two-for-one deal.

Sharing the same retail space as the Bald Strawberry's Bakery, Flour and Spice Boutique is another dedicated gluten-free business that serves up plenty of sweets to satisfy any sweet tooth. 

The woman behind this culinary boutique is dedicated to creating truly exquisite baked goods from organic, quality ingredients. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Bald Strawberry Bakery Review

After polishing off one incredible waffle pizza at The Bald Strawberry Cafe in Melbourne, I was pointed a few paces down the strip mall where the cafe was located to their bakery. 

That's right: not only is the Bald Strawberry a 100% dedicated gluten-free cafe, they also have an adjacent bakery to satisfy all of your sweet tooth's wildest dreams. 

Once my initial amazement and delight washed over me, I set in to see what gluten and dairy free treats I could sample and try. I knew it would take some serious self-restraint to leave there without a car full of goodies given that I could only buy as much as would last me the day or two as I didn't want to risk destroying the baked items in transit to Maryland.

The Bald Strawberry Cafe Review

When it comes to "eating out without" gluten and dairy, I've sampled restaurants that run the gamut from 100% gluten-free to gluten-filled establishments that serve gluten-free fare on the side. Given the choice, I'd choose a dedicated gluten-free establishment any day!

With only 48 hours left in my winter break, I wanted to make the most of my time left, and decided to venture beyond my Central Florida comfort zone to Melbourne to check out The Bald Strawberry, a dedicated gluten-free cafe recommended highly by several members of the private Gluten Free in Orlando Facebook group where I have picked up some valuable tips on where to grab gluten-free fare around the city. Lured by the promise of gluten-free waffles and pizza, two of my favorite foods, my mom and I decided to make that our last "girl's lunch out" before officially leaving town.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant Review (Brunch)

I am now counting down the days until I make my return to the great state of Maryland and my second home town of Baltimore. With less than a week to go until I trade in the pristine perfectness of Florida winter for the harsh reality of the colder climate up north, I wanted to make the most of my final week and jumped at the chance to meet up with friends and fellow bloggers Alexis (from Gluten Free in Orlando) and Sarah (from Gluten Free and Dairy Free at Walt Disney World). 

After deliberating what meal to have (breakfast? lunch? brunch? dinner?), and where to go (with Disney's multiple possibilities), we decided on Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in Downtown Disney- make that Disney Springs- for brunch. 

Having loved this restaurant as a kid as it was one of my family's favorite places to take out-of-town guests, I had pretty high expectations and couldn't wait to come back and rediscover them all over again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Leaky Cauldron Review (Breakfast)

After my initial visit to Diagon Alley and success with finding gluten-free and dairy-free options at the Leaky Cauldron for lunch, I knew I had to go back once I discovered that the signature restaurant serves up breakfast- including gluten-free pancakes.

As it happens, gluten-free pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods. However, I didn't get my hopes up right away as I knew that dairy could easily spoil the possibility of these pancakes for me. However, Chef Bob in the special diets department, green lighted the breakfast specialty via email as he confirmed that they do not, in fact, have dairy or gluten.

The Leaky Cauldron only serves breakfast until 10:30 am so those wanting a magical start to the morning should plan to be there first thing. Taking advantage of the MLK holiday weekend, I arrived at the park thirty minutes before it's "official" opening time (9:00 am) to be sure that I didn't miss out on the breakfast menu, and made a beeline to Diagon Alley.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bumblebee Man's Tacos Review and Allergen Menu (Universal Studios: Springfield, USA)

Figuring that I've done pretty comprehensive coverage of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, I decided to venture elsewhere in the park for lunch on my third visit.

Passing several times through the Simpsons-themed land when going to and from Diagon Alley, a bright black-and-yellow food truck caught my eye and sparked my curiosity. After all, it's hard not to miss the larger than life bumblebee head sitting atop the quick service stand. This bee, well, Bumblebee Man as he is known, is a recurring character in the long-running show. 

Although I am not a big fan of the Simpsons, I do enjoy the biting and cheeky humor that is lavishly woven into this section of the park.  From "Lard Lad" doughnuts to the "Twirl 'n' Hurl" kid's ride, the laugh-out-loud details are a delight for adults, yet subtle enough to pass over kids' heads.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Bite Bakery Cookies Review

When it comes to Farmers' Markets, Central Florida certainly has an abundance of options when it comes to these showcases of local produce and other products.

In my previous Farmers' Markets adventures, I have found gluten and dairy free options at both the Maitland Farmers' Market and Lake Eola Farmers' Market (see restaurant directory above). I knew immediately that I had to head north of town upon discovering The Bite Bakery, an up-and-coming cookie company that features allergen-friendly, vegan cookies "with a conscience" at the Sanford Farmers' Market. Needless to say, I was sold on their premise and mission, and am eager to check out and submit myself for a taste test or two. 

The "bite" of Bite Bakery comes from a fateful spider bite that forever changed founder Natasha's life. That one encounter triggered an immune response that resulted in several suddenly acquired food allergies. Missing her favorite treat- a cookie- she channeled her baking expertise into producing allergen friendly cookies anyone and everyone could enjoy.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bikes Beans and Bordeaux Cafe Review (B3 Cafe)

After a busy weekend theme park-ing with my dad and immersing myself in all things the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I was looking forward to a change of pace with my aunt coming down. 

Both tired after a busy weekend and feeling uninspired by our barren fridge, I decided to propose lunch at a cafe near downtown Orlando that I've been wanting to do for a while: Bikes Beans and Bordeaux. This neighborhood cafe does indeed feature bikes (the pedal-pushing kind), beans (of coffee variety), and bordeaux (no explanation required) as well as a wonderfully lengthy and diverse menu spanning breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Hopping Pot Review and Allergen Information

Part of the whole fun of Diagon alley is that the open marketplace is prime for people watching. Witches and wizards of all ages cast spells with their interactive wands and impressive costuming efforts blur the line between employees, wizards, and muggles in disguise. 

After a busy morning of shopping, I wanted to take a quick rest stop at the Hopping Pot, an outdoor bar that features an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews guaranteed to please every palate.

Allergen Information for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley's Specialty Beverages

Universal Orlando, in developing the richly layered and immersive Wizarding World of Harry Potter, won worldwide fame as they became the one and only destination (in the muggle world) where anyone and everyone can get butterbeer: the non-alcoholic butterscotch beverage made famous by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter book series. 

As fans flock to the park in search of this magical drink, they often overlook other offerings found exclusively at Diagon Alley that are equally as mystical and delicious. Especially for those with celiac disease, food allergies, and intolerances, whose limited diets, these alternative drinks provide opportunities to get in on the fun without having to risk getting sick for a simple taste or watch from afar as others consume the drinks without worry.

This list is not completely comprehensive but covers the main drinks served in this section of the park.