Green Sky’s Gluten Free Top Ten for 2013
We travel a little bit here and there. Okay, we travel A LOT. This means that not only do wee go to some really cool and interesting places, but also get the pleasure of dining at some of the best eateries in the country. Dining out after a long day’s shoot is always a much anticipated reward wherever we go, but after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in early 2012, our options of places to eat was immediately cut down to only a handful of places who were capable, educated and careful enough to cater to the gluten-free lifestyle. I’ve dragged my crew to a wide variety of gluten free places over the past two years so I thought I would finally take a few minutes to compile my “Top Ten” list of favorite gluten free places to eat around the country as a thank you to the “interweb” for offering the names and locations of these places as I often find myself searching for these destinations while en route to each destination. I wish I had photos from each experience to include, but I was just so damn hungry for something gluten free and good that I always forgot I guess! So, here goes…
10. BJ’s Brewhouse – Multiple U.S. Locations
BJ’s is the only chain restaurant to make my list thus far, which is due to one magical word… “Pizookie.” What is a Pizookie you ask? It’s only the single most delicious treat a gluten free or non gluten free person could ask for! It’s a hot out of the oven, rich and delicious, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in its own deep dish. By the way, they also have gf beer, one of the better gf pizzas and a nice balsamic glaze chicken with mashed potatoes option as well. I hope to see them extend into the Midwest soon.
9. Anita’s Kitchen – Ferndale (Detroit), MI – The BEST Lebanese food around. Just a mile north of Detroit, Anita’s is a cool place where you can get a warm shish tawook (chicken kabob) with fattoush (minus the pita chips, of course) rice, hummus and black bean soup and you’ve got yourself some gluten free goodness from the Middle East! Gluten free beer and deserts available in addition to wine to drink. Good portion sizes, too.
8. Ozona Pizza – Palm Harbor, FL – A small little place just off the shores in the Tampa area that you might drive by if you’re not looking for it…especially if it’s dark outside! If you do luck out and get there, you’ll likely be greeted by the owners who will come out and sit with you and joke with you as well. Excellent gluten free pizza and garlic knots that are very addictive. Owner’s mother has celiac so they take the preparation seriously and know their stuff. Only seats 10-15 people maybe so get there early.
7. Puesto – La Jolla (San Diego), CA – If you’re in La Jolla, then you’re already doing good as it’s one of the most beautiful places in North America. Puesto is a gluten free friendly mexican joint with great options for your favorite mexican dishes while enjoying great music and sights of the La Jolla downtown and sea views.
6. The Department – Joliet, IL – Casual fine dining at it’s best, this place was an unexpected find in a place like Joliet in my opinion, but was so good that I went there both nights I was in Joliet. Owner came out to me and we talked GF and then he offered me his recommendations off of his delicious GF menu, which include everything from burgers with GF buns to steaks and pork chops with mashed potatoes.
5. The Kesington Cornerstone – Toronto, Canada – With an entirely gluten free kitchen, you’re able to eat in complete confidence that your meal (prepared from scratch I might add) will be safe and free from cross contamination. I enjoyed the Chicken Fingers that were battered in coconut milk and cornmeal, served with BBQ sauce and fries as well as the roasted chicken breast, stuffed with lamb Merguez sausage and apple, smothered and Roquefort gravy, served with garlic buttered new potatoes, carrots and green beans (I tend to go nuts and order double entrees and desserts when eating at a place like this). To top off the food, the experience was capped off by it’s location, which is nestled on the edge of Chinatown and a cool, artist, edgy neighborhood on Toronto’s south side. A must for any celiacs in Toronto area.
4. Company Cafe – Dallas, TX – Lot’s of natural, fresh fare is this place’s claim to fame Dallas. Tucked away in a corner, industrial block, this hip eatery has lots of gluten free options to overwhelm a first-timer like myself. I settled on a grass-fed burger with a very soft and delicious gluten free bun and natural house cut fries that were delicious on the side. A hamburger with an actual bun and fries on the side is something we celiacs don’t get very often so I took advantage. Other great sounding options included a chicken-fried steak and variety of desserts. I took a giant chocolate chip cookie for the road.
3. Yardbird – South Beach Miami – FL – You might not always think of fried chicken and mashed sweet potatoes when you’re hanging out in Miami Beach, but one stop at Yardbird and you’ll be drawn to a menu item that celiacs rarely get to indulge in – fried chicken!! It was amazing as were the sweet potato fries along with a gluten free beer. Sometimes, you just don’t care about calories or any repercussions of a meal like this when you don’t get the opportunity to have them very often.
2. The Salt Lick – Driftwood (Austin), TX – If I could pick up my family and career on a minute’s notice, I would probably set up homestead on the grounds of the Salt Lick just outside of Austin. A tent and a worn out path to the outside picnic area is all I would need as long as I had access to all the glorious naturally-gluten free BBQ meats and side available, including ribs, pulled pork, sausage and brisket! You can order meat by the pounds delivered to your table and it’s BYOB and they provide the ice and coolers even so, ya know, that’s awesome.
1. Risotteria – NYC, NY – This was an easy one for me. Even with all the great places listed above. This place is a celiac’s dream for many reasons. First, it’s location. It’s in West Village on the edge of Soho so it’s a very hip and vibrant location to walk through and wait (because you’re going to wait no matter what night you go because it’s that’s good…and small!). Second, everything is gluten free when you walk through the door so no worries about cross contamination or uneducated staff. Lastly, the menu. This includes a variety of risotto combinations, appetizers, pastas, beverages and, of course, the famous bread sticks delivered to your table upon arrival. To top it off, they have amazing desserts. The last time I was there I ordered two red velvet cupcakes and one to go. You can also purchase items to go as well as baking mixes, etc. so you can enjoy at home. If I ever open up a gluten free restaurant in Detroit, it will be modeled after this joint.
Well, there it is. Obviously, check out the websites if you’re ever in any of these areas and please send me any of your favorite GF eateries around the world so I can put away in my roladex for future travels.