Thursday, September 30, 2010


Yes, that is correct, I am writing about an Italian Cafe.  I know I avoid anything Italian with a 10 foot pole because there are very few items that are gluten free.  However I was wanting a really hearty salad and passed DePalma's on Timothy Road and decided to try.  It wasn't hard finding the salads on the menu and I ordered the chopped italian salad without salami.  The salad was AMAZING!  I think there was more turkey on it then lettuce and it was so flavorful!  I got it to go so I asked the bartender what dressing she liked.  She said she mixes the gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette and I would only be charged for one dressing.  I decided to go for it and it was delicious!  I know sometimes people worry about gorgonzola but since they make everything from scratch I didn't worry too much.  Definitely a very dense salad but it was so good I ate the entire thing!  The italian chopped salad is $9.00 but it has so much in it, it is well worth the $9!!!
The lovely box- the best part- it's not styrofoam!  It's some kind of paper product.

YUM!  The amazing salad- even stayed nice on the drive!  LARGE helpings of dressing too!

As I was waiting on the bar I questioned the bartender about gluten free.  She flagged over the manager who was more knowledgeable than the layperson on gluten free.  He told me all the items he could make gluten free and I was very surprised.  After talking some more he grabbed my take out menu and offered to circle all the items that were or could be made gluten free.  I let him and I am happy to say many items are circled.  I will offer the disclaimer he did- not all three DePalma's have the same menu, so I will have to ask at each location.  However, at the Timothy Road location all the salads are or can be made GF.  The chicken scaloppini can be made GF if you ask, grilled pork dish is GF, grilled steak is GF, and chili glazed salmon.  He said the stuffed mushrooms are gluten free, but I would double-check if ordering since there are meatballs in it.  The Mozzarella and Pomodori salad is also GF.  No it's not a lot, but it is more than you can have at most italian restaurants.  The manager also offered to try to alter anything on the menu if I knew what needed to be changed and if it was possible.  I am grateful for those restaurants that are open to those of us with dietary restrictions and who are willing to meet us half way!

I will definitely be returning and I encourage everyone to go there.  Support those businesses that support our dietary needs!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweet Pepper Deli Letdown

Sweet Pepper Deli just opened off Broad St in Athens.  This is their 19th store so I was super excited about eating there with some friends today.  I got there a bit early to find out about dietary items and that is when I was hit with sadness.  I asked the lady at the register if she knew if anything was gluten free.  She asked me to repeat my question 3 times and then asked if I was diabetic.  Hilarious!  She finally pulled over a manager who brought out the head manager.  He informed me that they don't have any nutritional facts or ingredient lists for ANY of their products and the only thing he knew that is gluten free is their chili and baked lays.  I've become accustomed to people being unaware of the gluten free diet here in Athens so I had a few follow up questions.  First, did he have any of the ingredient lists for salad dressing?  Nope.  Are there any dressings he knew were GF?  Nope, probably the balsamic vinaigrette.  After he walked away I stood looking at the menu trying to decide if I could alter ANYTHING so I could enjoy food.  I found the chicken ceasar salad and figured I could just get it with oil vinaigrette.

The manager came back over and asked if I had found anything.  I told him I was thinking of altering the chicken ceasar salad.  He mentioned to remind them not to put croutons on it (really?  you know croutons have gluten in them?)  Then he said he was unsure if the sundried tomatoes had any gluten in preservatives in them.  Sounds like my lunch is going to be yummy :-/

So basically I got lettuce with "grilled" chicken that was definitely previously frozen with pieces of fat still on it and oil and vinegar for $7.  The best part?   Packets of crackers were on the plate!

Both managers at Sweet Peppers told me a "nutritionist is working on" nutrition facts.  I thought it was illegal not to have ingredient lists available but I later find out it's state by state.  All my friends enjoyed their meals but mine was definitely a BUST!  I will be avoiding Sweet Peppers until their website reflects GF options.  With all the food allergies in the world and opening their 19th franchise, they are WAY behind on the times.

Sad day for food.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Big City Bread

Big City Bread is a great place to go and eat or study.  They have a huge cement patio that is amazing and covered by large trees.  They have wonderful tea and coffee as well.  However, they are not gluten friendly.  All they carry that is gluten free (other than salads) is a chocolate truffle star or truffle cake.  When I asked the salesperson if they thought BCB would carry gluten free bread they told me they doubted it as it's not in "high demand."  I told them I lived in Nashville and loved all the gluten free options.  Their reply was "Nashville has a population of how many million and Athens as a small population of what?  We can't be like Nashville."  To say I wasn't pleased was an understatement.

However, I got the chocolate star truffle ($2.65) and a sweet tea.  The tea was great, and the star tasted good but it was very rich.  It was also TINY.  The size of a small cookie maybe.  It was so rich I ended up leaving with a headache.  With that said, although I'm not a fan of their offerings and their inability to provide for those with food allergies, it is a nice place to study outside as the picture below shows.
Outside patio at Big City Bread

Your Pie, Athens, GA

A bit blurry but you can still see the yummyness!

When I mention being gluten free most people ask me if I've tried Your Pie.  I have been twice and I am very grateful for them!  The concept is simple- you pick everything for "your pie."  They have a gluten free crust option for $1 more which means it is $7 for a pizza.  First you pick your sauce- there are a few different tomato ones, olive oil, pesto, etc.  Then you pick your cheese- FRESH mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, ricotta, and many others.  There is then a selection of free toppings which includes most veggies and herbs.  You can also add premium toppings like meats, artichokes, and other odds and ends for an extra $1 each.  I LOVE it!

Today I got a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, green peppers, tomatoes and olives.  YUM!  The crust is a bit dry but very good for gluten free!  I end up thirsty after eating it, but that happened when I used to eat regular pizza so I can't complain.  Just have lots of water handy!  

The location in downtown Athens actually has a separate area to make pizzas for those with a severe gluten allergy.  They have all the toppings back there which is great for those with Celiac.

I'm just grateful I can have pizza.  The whole premise is great and I will definitely enjoy this many times while I live here!
The pizza box which also has the logo and website for your convenience!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Root Beer Float Popsicles

I love making my own popsicles.  I also love that little bit of icy goodness that forms around the icecream when you make a root beer float.  After a bit of research and experimenting I made an AMAZING root beer float popsicle!

I found these molds on Amazon and I LOVE them.  They are Tovolo 80-4579 Green Groovy Ice Pop Molds and I love that each mold is individual and not all connected.  To make the pops I placed vanilla icecream in 1/4-1/3 of the mold first.  Next I poured in A&W root beer.  Quick tip: Make the root beer FLAT before pouring.  I didn't do this and had to deal with the bubbles and air.  I was able to get rid of some of the bubbles by lightly hitting the molds on the table, but as you can see at the bottom of the popsicle I did miss some.  Next time I will use flat soda.  

Result: WOW!  They are the consistency of that icy part when you make a root beer float and the taste is fairly similar throughout.  I actually prefer these over an actual root beer float now!  You must let these freeze overnight for the best consistency and so they do not pull away from the stick.  Even if they do you can still enjoy them!  Can't wait to try these molds with other concoctions! 

Earthfare Freebies and Picadillo

I LOVE Earthfare.  It helps that there is one within 2 miles of my house.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you can many "freebie" coupons.  Last week I received a coupon for 1 free pound of ground chuck with any $5 purchase.  Free meat is amazing!  Not to mention I did their lunchbox project and had another coupon for a 3 lb bag of honeycrisp apples free.

You will soon learn I'm not a fan of cooking meat.  However I had a free pounds of ground beef so I needed to cook it.  I googled and found a recipe on food network for Picadillo.  I had never had Picadillo but it sounded good so I made it.  The recipe says to serve it with rice or tortillas, but a friend and I decided nachos would be better.  The only alteration I made to the recipe was I added a can of petite diced tomatoes.  We both thought it was weird that it called for green olives, but it added an amazing flavor to the dish!  Anyways, we dished out the picadillo over a bed of tortilla chips and cheese.  We also topped it with a bit of sour cream.  YUM!  I forgot to take pictures of the nachos because we devoured them right away!

You can find the recipe here

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Agua Linda

Okay I am getting really bad about taking pictures.  I promise the next post will have pictures!

I went to Agua Linda off Timothy Rd in Athens last night with some friends.  Their menu was not online, which always makes me very unprepared when I walk in.  Agua Linda is a sit down Mexican restaurant and I definitely enjoyed it!  I did struggle because the waiter didn't know what I meant when I said gluten so I asked about "flour."  The good thing is they do have corn tortillas and their enchiladas are made with corn tortillas.

My friend decided on their enchilada and taco while I got the tostado with chicken.  Tostados are a great choice for those of us on the GF diet as it lets you see everything you are eating.  For those not familiar with tostados, they are a hard corn tortilla with refried beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and anything else stacked on top of the flat tortilla. Agua Linda's sour cream is amazing!  I don't know what they do differently but it is yummy!  The cook told me they put nothing on their meat, and after looking at it I believe they may just add a little oil and salt/pepper.  We also got the cheese dip and salsa for our table.  The chips seem to be fried in house, so if you have Celiac you may want to pass on the chips, but those that can eat items from a common fryer are probably in the clear.  I am just a happy camper when I can eat an amazing meal and not get sick!

I would not label Agua Linda is "gluten friendly" but if you are knowledgeable as to what you want you can make it work.  Flavors are amazing and definitely different from your ordinary "Mexican" restaurant.   Great prices and great food!  They also have nightly drink specials which is always nice!  Enjoy!