Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tijuana Flats Gluten-Free Options

Photo source
When it comes to the Orlando dining scene, it's hard to ignore the proliferation of Tijuana Flats locations and the loyalty of their local fans. The restaurants serve up good food at good prices in an atmosphere that's colorful, funky, and all-around celebratory of weirdness. 

The chain's first location was in Winter Park, and ever since then, they've enjoyed widespread success and have been able to sustain their commitment to fresh fare.

Curious about Tijuana Flat's gluten-free options, I inquired via email about what would be safe with their corporate offices. I've had their burrito bowl-like entree (the norrito bowl) a while ago, and was curious if there's anything else I could enjoy. Besides the gluten-free cautions, and green lighted items, I discovered that their food manifesto is worth noting as well.

Wako Taco Review

This review covers Wako Taco the restaurant, not the food truck. For more information on the food truck click here.

As Orlando's foodie scene has grown, one of the most fun additions has been the explosion in the food truck population. In my limited exploration into gluten-free options in and around town, Wako Taco's rolling taco operation impressed me with their delicious fare, friendly staff, and gluten-free awareness and accommodation. 

In my time away from Central Florida this past year, Wako Taco has actually grown up and into a permanent location near Longwood's historic district north of town. Excited at the prospect to get enjoy their tacos whenever I'm craving them (and in air-conditioning too), my mom, sister and I decided to stop by for lunch to celebrate the end of the school year.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Pop Parlour Review

If there's anything I've learned as a Maryland resident, it's that nothing compares to the sheer oppressiveness of the Florida heat. Coming back home for the summer, I'm slowly having to ease myself into the inferno-like heat of the day.

Luckily, a good friend of mine suggested a reunion outing to a place where popsicles take center stage: The Pop Parlour. 

Located in the heart of Downtown Orlando, the Pop Parlour is literally one of the coolest places in town and serves up heat beating treats in an array of tantalizing flavors. As we got out of the car at Lake Eola, the humid, hot day was practically perfect for a serious popsicle taste test.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Plain Bagels and Everything Bagels Review

Despite the abundance of gluten-free breads out there lining grocery store freezers, most are barely palatable imitations of the breads we all knew and loved before gluten decided to break up with our bodies. Some are holey, some are tiny, and some are just too darn expensive to try.

I'm thankful I've found several brands I can get behind both for their amazing products and their guiding philosophies. Canyon Bakehouse is one such brand that makes the grade for their uncompromisingly delicious breads, wide availability on store shelves, and reasonable price. 

Those who read this blog or follow me know that I have a serious soft spot for bagels, but a lengthy checklist of ideal attributes I look for. When I received the glorious news that Canyon Bakehouse was going to going to expand their product line to include three new products- I jumped for joy, then eagerly awaited my first encounter.

Monday, May 18, 2015

College Confidential: Gluten-Free in College Dos and Don'ts

The view from my university's dining hall
College Confidential is my month-long look at college life with dietary restrictions. From dorm cooking to navigating the dining hall, this all access pass will give tips, tricks, and other tactics for handling a gluten and dairy-free diet in college.

Being gluten-free in college is no easy feat. After all, one's college years are "supposed" to be full of glutenous encounters with cheap Chinese food, late-night delivery pizza, and all-you-can eat indulgence at the dining halls. With the limitations of being gluten-free (or having any dietary restriction), it's inevitable that maintaining a strict observance of one's diet is isolating and often an inconvenient endeavor. 

Following in the footsteps of my latest post covering the first steps for establishing a gluten-free friendly foundation with your college and their dining services, this post is a quick primer with do's and don'ts that I've learned that will help you navigate the college scene easier.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Review (Gluten/Dairy Free)

When it comes to chain restaurants, the big fast food joints are completely inaccessible for people with food allergies or celiac. However, an exception to this rule can be made for Chipotle Mexican Grill, who deftly proved that grab-n-go fare can and should be held to a higher standard. 

Revolutionizing the concept of fast-food, Chipotle has enjoyed unprecedented growth and has managed to uphold their commitment to quality, fresh food at a reasonable price. Ditching GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones in favor of locally-sourced, sustainable fare, the food is as good for the environment as it is good for you. 

Although many already know Chipotle's rep for delicious, allergen-friendly fare, I figured that I was long overdue to devote a blog post to them just to set the record straight to clarify what they offer for gluten and dairy-free folks. After all, with over a thousand locations across the country, the chain is a good go-to for gluten-free travelling as they are widely available and easily accessible. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tio Pablo Taqueria Review (Richmond, VA)

Expecting a fifteen hour road trip door-to-door from Maryland to Florida to head home for the summer, my dad and I set off not planning to make many stops. After all, there's not an abundance of gluten-free friendly options along I-95. 

After starting out strong, I requested a stop in Richmond, VA after several hours of traffic coming out of Washington, D.C. put us back, forcing us to skip lunch altogether. Arriving in time for dinner, I knew I wanted to give Tio Pablo a try after I found them on the Find Me Gluten Free app and saw that they are a dedicated gluten-free facility. 

Located right of I-95, Tio Pablo is a perfect stop for weary travelers with a positive vibe and delicious fare to keep you going strong on the road.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

PF Chang's Review

PF Chang's is one of the few major chain restaurants with a great gluten-free reputation that I have not been to. With no time like the present, I maximized my next to last day in Maryland until next August by paying my local PF Chang's a visit for lunch with mom to break up a long, hard day of sorting, packing, and final exams. 

Described as a "China bistro," the restaurant certainly has several Chinese offerings, but also features pan-Asian fare that allows a culture clash of sorts that's downright delicious. This particular location is a cornerstone of the uber-busy Towson Towne Center Mall, a hive of shopping, dining, and entertainment that's always buzzing with activity.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

College Confidential: Gluten-Free in College First Steps

College Confidential is my month-long look at college life with dietary restrictions. From dorm cooking to navigating the dining hall, this all access pass will give tips, tricks, and other tactics for handling a gluten and dairy-free diet in college.

With the final days of my first year in college winding down, I'm finally getting around to putting pen to paper to give some insight into my experience dealing with dietary restrictions in a collegiate setting. Right off the bat, I will put it out there that my experience is not the norm, nor should it be, as everyone has different comfort levels with dining, and each college, provides a different experience through their dining outlets, food sourcing, and staff. 

In writing my experiences, I hope to give some tips and tricks that make the transition smoother and provide a perspective I wish I had as a reference going into the adventure. Starting from scratch, I'll wade in to my tell-all tales of navigating college life with the initial steps I took to touch base with my university and lay the groundwork for a successful start.

Baltimore 32nd St. Farmers Market Gluten-Free Finds

The wonderful thing about emerging from a difficult winter is that spring brings stunning renewal of nature, wonderful weather, and farmers' markets. In search of a fun outing during my last weekend on campus, I decided to venture to the 32nd St. Farmer's Market, which is near Baltimore's Charles Village. Arriving shortly after the market opened for the day, I found the self-contained parking lot laden with vendors of all varieties and several patrons out and about, braving the misty day for local produce and products.