Monday, December 15, 2014

Sweet Note Bakery Review: Seasonal Bagels

Though various posts on this blog, I have well established my love for Sweet Note Bakery's authentic NYC-style bagels. Hailing from Pennsylvania, I found them first at the Schmear It food truck while exploring Philly this spring and hunted them out again here in Maryland at Towson Hot Bagels and On the Hill Cafe. Though I am a fan of their plain and everything varieties, I knew I'd have to break down and order a box of their seasonal flavors directly to my dorm as the winter weather and elevated course load limited my ability to get off campus. 

Once the magical box of bagels arrived, I immediately opened it, only to be confused by an ingredients list that failed to list pumpkin. As it turned out, my pumpkin spice bagels were switched with their new winter seasonal flavor: snickerdoodle. While I was bummed to wait a little while more to finally sample the ever elusive pumpkin spice bagel, my disappointment turned to excitement knowing that I'd be one of the first people to sample Sweet Note's newest arrival!

Two Boots Baltimore Review

If you look closely- you'll see snow flurries!
As it it is my final week in Baltimore for this semester, I've been brushing up on my course material for final exams and sneaking off campus to take the opportunity to visit restaurants that have been on my to-do list. 

Two Boots Pizza, located in Midtown Belvedere and nestled between the University of Baltimore and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), caught my eye after discovering that they happen to be very gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan friendly.

Founded in 1987 in New York City, Two Boots' celebrates the unique cultural and culinary intersection of Louisiana and Italy (the two "boots") while featuring funky decor and a commitment to local communities. After my pizza disappointment earlier this week at Seasons, I went to Two Boots with the highest of hopes. As I soon found out, Two Boots knocked my boots off with their level of allergen awareness!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seasons Pizza Review

With multiple locations in and around the Baltimore area, Seasons Pizza is a regional chain that has made an effort to welcome gluten-free customers back to the table to enjoy pizza once again.

Wanting to make the most of my final week in Maryland, I decided to trek over to Seasons Pizza in Towson to check it out before heading home. While normally I would have stayed in my dorm and taken advantage of their delivery service, I wanted to do an in-person visit to take advantage of the non-rainy day and ask questions about what preparation protocols they have in place.

Pho Dat Thanh Review

Whether its the cold weather, holiday spirit, or single digit day countdown to winter break, it's getting downright difficult to face the monotony of the dining hall. Don't get me wrong- my college has been pretty accommodating, but after my Thanksgiving break allowed me to rediscover the deliciousness of home cooking, it's hard to face the less-than-homemade quality of buffet lines.

Taking advantage of a lighter day due to a cancelled class, I ventured into downtown Towson with my sight set on Pho Dat Thanh. Although Orlando has a renowned little Vietnam district, I must admit that in my nine years of residency there that I never got a taste of the authentic Vietnamese cuisine served up by mom and pop shops. Hundreds of miles away from home, my visit to Pho Dat Thanh would serve as my formal introduction to the cuisine and magic of big bowl of pho.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mariposa Bakery Review

In my final two weeks of classes and finals, I didn't really have the time or heart to make a grocery store run. After all, I'll have to clear out my refrigerator and freezer before I go. Not one to go without a supply of bread however, I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present and order from a gluten-free bakery I've had my eyes on for awhile. 

Mariposa Bakery is a California-based, dedicated gluten-free bakery that serves up artisan-crafted baked goods. Offering products not usually found with the gluten-free label such as croissants, focaccia, tea cookies, and more, it's downright dangerous to browse through their assortment of mail delivery products as I found myself wanting one of everything. Realizing that my wallet and limited time frame restricted me from ordering one of everything, I decided to pick and choose three items I most wanted to try: iced gingerbread men, rosemary rolls, and challah. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

November Mentionables

My Thanksgiving Feast
While the weather outside may not be that frightful, it certainly proving to be a big change for this born and bred Floridian. Surprisingly, I'm finding that I quite enjoy the colder temperatures because they really add an intangible element to the holiday season that makes it all the more magical. Locke too is enjoying himself and we are both looking forward to our first snow-on-the-ground snowfall. 

November made for a delicious month for me as the Thanksgiving holiday brought me temporarily back to the sunshine state for a delicious Thanksgiving feast and chance to get out and explore some new restaurants and bakeries in Orlando and Jacksonville. This post is a round-up of my November mentionables, as part of a series I started last month, and showcases some gluten and dairy free products that caught my eye but did not make it into a full post.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sweet Theory Baking Company

Whenever I travel anywhere, I always look out for dedicated gluten-free restaurants, cafes, and/or bakeries to check out. My recent trip through Jacksonville was no exception and my research quickly put me on the trail of Sweet Theory Baking Co. in the hipster-friendly 5 points district north of town which is home to theaters, shops, and eateries (including Orlando's own Hawkers!). Eager to check out the bakery, a traffic delay threatened my holiday mood, but upon arriving, Sweet Theory quickly brought the cheer back as they offered a dizzying array of sweet treats.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tommy's Brick Oven Pizza Review

In my nine short months as a gluten/dairy free blogger, I have enjoyed the adventure of showcasing my favorite restaurants and discovering new ones in my own backyard in both Maryland and Florida. 

Tommy's Brick Oven Pizza in Jacksonville is one such restaurant I have been wanting to showcase for awhile now. I came across this unsuspecting gem of a restaurant while in the Jacksonville area for medical treatment this past January. Before checking in as an inpatient to a local hospital, I wanted one last taste of non-institutionalized food and quickly sought out a pizza place to try. I knew I had found a good place to try in Tommy's when I discovered that they have a dairy-less pizza on their regular pizza! 

I was sold after my first bite and have been wanting to go back ever since. Upon discovering that most of the flights back to Maryland from Orlando's airport were either priced at a premium or sold out altogether, I hatched a plan to fly back from Jacksonville's airport- naturally providing an opportunity to pay Tommy's a second visit.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sea Thai Restaurant Review

After three months away from the sunshine state, I have long awaited my Thanksgiving return for a chance to enjoy home cooked meals and taste a new restaurant or two. It's amazing how refreshing a break from dining hall fare can be for this foodie freshman. 

Although I've been able to sneak of campus here and there, a recent string of papers, essays, and exams- in addition to cold weather- have limited my ability to get out and find gluten-free friendly restaurants in Baltimore. Taking advantage of a cross town trip to visit friends and run some errands with my mom while back in Orlando, I requested a stop at Sea Thai Restaurant, which has been on my "to-do" list for a while. 

Sea Thai annually earns top marks from area newspapers and magazines as one of the city's top Thai restaurants. I could not wait to see if their fare held up to the hype.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

MyBread Review

Although I am gluten-free and cannot eat the majority of breads out there, people would be shocked to see that bread remains a staple of my diet. Ever on the search for breads beyond the simple sandwich variety seen so often on store shelves, I couldn't wait to try MyBread, a gluten-free flatbread pita, when I spotted it on a recent Whole Foods run.

Made by a 100% dedicated gluten-free bakery in Chicago, IL, I had the highest of hopes that the pita would be able to fill a much needed vacancy in my gluten-free repertoire. After all, gluten-free and pita rarely appear on the same package. 

From the moment I spotted MyBread, my mind raced with all the possibilities of this simple bread. As a pocket-less pita, it could easily become a pizza crust, gyro wrap, hummus holder, or sandwich flat. Since one pack of pita contains six flatbreads, I couldn't wait to let my culinary imagination run wild.