Isabelle’s CurlyCakes Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcake

81 Charles Street | Boston, MA 02114
http://www.izzyscurlycakes.com

It’s been a pretty crazy week at work. Good and productive, but definitely a bit on the crazy side. Coming into the office today, I was bracing myself and readying myself for the day ahead (being over-dramatic, per usual). However, when I got to my desk my thoughts were interrupted by this adorable box:

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My new coworker had gone on a vegan cupcake mission the night before, and happened upon some gluten-free goodies at CurlyCakes and brought them in for me! Yum!

I enjoyed a gluten-free red velvet cupcake after lunch with some tea this afternoon. Oh. My. Gosh. Talk about decadence. This cupcake was super rich and super delicious. The cupcake was super moist and yummy, and held together well. The frosting was good, I enjoyed it much more paired with the cake, and did take a little off since I’m not huge on frosting and it was just so, so rich. It was adorned with white chocolate shavings, so cute! Continue reading

The Counter Gluten-Free Burger

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The Counter
Various Locations
http://www.thecounterburger.com

Hello from LA! It’s good to be back here! I’ve got several wonderful people to visit here, so I’ve been a time or four in the past couple years. I like to joke that LA is my second home. I got in from Boston at 9:30pm LA time and hadn’t eaten much and was feeling out of it and gross. I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat anything but a friend was at a The Counter so we went to meet her.

I’m so glad we did! It had a great laid back vibe, perfect for the weary but cheery traveler. It felt LA to me without being too much. Our server was awesome – attentive, adorable but not overbearing in the least. He kept my soda water full, which was needed after a 6 hour flight of dehydration.

We got to order on these cool little sheets that allowed us to build our own burger. They had some great stuff to choose from, and a lot of veggies which I appreciated. They had a slew of cool sauces and yummy sides, and the choice of a gluten free bun for just $1 more. Continue reading

Hugo’s Restaurant

8041 Santa Monica Boulevard | West Hollywood, CA 90069
http://www.hugosrestaurant.com/

Hugo's LA Gluten-Free Sandwich

As my dear friend K makes her way back across the country on a plane to her new home of Los Angeles right now, I will finally post my review of a delicious meal we shared when I went to visit her back in June. I apologize for the delay and am so thankful that Hugo’s was so awesome as to promptly send me their June specials list. I can now accurately relay their yummy ingredients!

I was not expecting to like LA when I arrived. The last time I’d been there, at the tender age of 18, I didn’t like it at all. Now, at 23, it was vibrant, fun and exciting and very wonderful to see my best friend in her new home. One afternoon during my stay, she took me to brunch at Hugo’s for some gluten-free brunch.

I’m not a huge breakfast person. At all, really. I’d eat dinners for every meal if it were socially acceptable. So despite there being rather enticing Fresh Peach and Cherry Gluten-Free Pancakes listed on the menu, I was searching for something more savory.

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Bertucci’s Gluten-Free Menu

http://www.bertuccis.com

I remember going to a Bertucci’s shortly after my diagnosis a few years ago. In addition to feeling tortured by the smell and memories of their delicious rolls and pizzas, I couldn’t find anything gluten-free that I liked to eat on their menu! Since then, I had been sure to avoid eating there, until I started working in an industrial park where the closest restaurant is, of course, Bertucci’s.

I felt pretty doomed when my co-workers wanted to go for a birthday lunch, until one of them mentionedshe believed they had a gluten-free menu. I did some research and found that they do in fact cater to the needs of the gluten-free now! Though they can’t take away the incredible smell of their glutenus foods, they’ve made strides to make eating there easier for people like me.

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Zing! Pizza Gluten-Free Pizza

UPDATE: Zing! has closed. The cafe is still open in Porter Square Books as far as I know, but they do not offer gluten-free pizza.

1932 Massachusetts Avenue | Cambridge, MA
617.497.4300
http://www.zingpizza.com

Zing! Pizza Gluten-Free Pizza

Oh, my goodness. Have I ever discovered a gem.

The Labor Day weekend has been absolutely beautiful here in New England, and yesterday was no exception. My roommate and were just leaving to go kayaking on the Charles (awesome) when my parents called to say they were biking through the area and asked, “What was the name of that other gluten-free pizza place in Porter Square?” I had bought a Groupon to Zing! back in January, but hadn’t been there yet. I told them to try Zing! Pizza and let me know how they liked it. My parents stopped for a gluten-free lunch, and my roommate and I took off on a kayaking adventure that involved high-speed winds and therefore an excellent workout.

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Gluten-Free in the North End: Nebo

90 North Washington Street | Boston, MA 02114
617.723.6326
http://www.neborestaurant.com

Before this weekend, the only time I’ve ever had gluten-free pasta in a restaurant was in Italy, of all places. In the rolling hills of Tuscany, the little restaurant my wine tour stopped at for lunch served gluten-free bread and pasta. It was wonderful. Since I sadly had to come home, I have rarely had the opportunity to order pasta in restaurants. This past weekend was St. Anthony’s Feast in the North End of Boston, so a few friends and I headed to Boston’s Italian neighborhood for some food, friends and fun.

Per usual, and especially in the case of Italian food, I had to be a little high-maintenance about the evening. Not just any Italian restaurant was going to do for this Guru. A quick Google search for gluten-free restaurants in the North End referenced Nebo many times. I had heard a lot about it so I was excited to check it out. Upon arriving, we realized it was right across from the feast, which was just perfect.

I think it’s pretty clear from this blog that I consider my specialty gluten-free pizza. But as we sat down in the corner booth right by the door at Nebo, the ambiance started getting me in the mood for some pasta. I opened my menu and realized right away that I had forgotten to ask for a gluten-free menu. I didn’t see anything about gluten-free food and momentarily got nervous we’d come to the wrong spot. I went to ask and my fears were allayed — I was promptly handed a gluten-free menu with Nebo chicly written on the side. Now I was really confused… This couldn’t be the gluten-free menu! It was just as full as the regular menu. A side by side comparison with my friend revealed that, yes, in fact, this was the gluten-free menu and yes, there were many options!

Ordering was a lengthy process. First we had some questions, which our waiter obliged, though not without calling my roommate “little one” (uhhh…). Then there was the great task of choosing what to get. With so many different pizza, pasta and drink options, I was quite overwhelmed. I ruled out gluten-free pizza relatively quickly — it was a hot night and I didn’t want to have greasy pizza sitting in my stomach (unnncomfortable) and there was the option of having someone serve me gluten-free pasta! When in Rome, they do say.

Then there was the task of deciding between pasta dishes. The Amatriciana dish combined protein, veggies, spiciness and red sauce, so in the end it won out. My roommate had a similarly difficult time choosing what to get from the slightly larger regular menu, and settled on the Ricotta Gnocchi. Two glasses of the Turlo for the two of us and our orders were set. My friend opted for a salad and a mango Cosmopolitan (yum!).

Our order was timely. The first thing I noticed about my gluten-free pasta was that it was that it was rotini-style. Oh man, way to make me look like I belong at the kids’ table! I was hoping for a sophisticated pasta dish, perhaps linguini or even some shells, but no, my plate was filled with little curly-q’s. Fine. I took my first bite, feeling perhaps a bit juvenile, but nonetheless, hopeful. I first noticed how hot it was and set it back down to cool. Then I began my meal. The sauce was good, though not very spicy, as were the bits of pancetta (which is a kind of Italian bacon, but lean) and the pasta was stiff, in the chewy way that undercooked gluten-free pastas can be. Bummer.

Determined to give my dish a fair shot, I continued to eat and, what do you know, it was so hot that it cooked itself more and after a few bites it became a wonderful texture, especially for gluten-free pasta. It wasn’t mushy at all, and held together very well. Despite its goofy looks and stiffness at first, it was quite good. Should I have gone with the gluten-free pizza? Most definitely. The gluten-free pasta was good, but it wasn’t great, and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t make easily (and for much less!) at home.

My friend enjoyed her salad, but my roommate was unenthused with her gnocchi. She said it was very plain and didn’t come close to finishing it. She too wished she had ordered pizza.

Nebo was a bust and overpriced for the lackluster meals we received, but it was a lovely dinner out that turned into a lovely night spent in the packed streets of the North End enjoying St. Anthony’s Feast. I suppose I should have stuck to my usual and gotten the gluten-free pizza, and perhaps the experience would have been better.

Update: BZ’s Pizza and Mexican Gluten-Free Pizza

This weekend brought me back to Cape Cod for an exciting and lovely singing reunion. As is tradition with my family for every good Cape trip, we stopped by BZ’s Pizza and Mexican in Dennisport for our favorite gluten-free pizza. The place was packed!

Sadly, the pizza was not as good as it has been in the past. I reviewed their pizza last summer here, but since then their old gluten-free crust supplier has gone out of business. The new pizzas could only be ordered in a personal size and sadly, were just not up to snuff. Previously my favorite gluten-free pizza, BZ’s have fallen in the ranks.

The new pizza has a more obvious frozen pizza taste and the texture is grainer than their previous crust. A crispier taste I suppose. It is definitely still good, but not like it used to be. We’ll probably continue our tradition, but it won’t be with the glee that we used to.