Schar Ciabatta Parbaked Gluten-Free Rolls

Schar Ciabatta Parbaked Gluten-Free Rolls

Sadly, on my last trip to Cape Cod, my camera had an unfortunate run-in with the ocean. My wonderful pale pink Canon Powershot could not be saved, so the camera shop gave me a new camera (sadly, not a Canon) that has a food setting. So cool! Thankfully, I got the camera just in time to photograph a new brand of gluten-free rolls my mother discovered, Schar Ciabatta Parbaked Rolls, which look incredible. She had invited my sister and I home for a dinner of gluten-free meatballs and spaghetti and the gluten-free rolls were an added treat.

Although my mother’s gluten-free meatballs are truly delicious, I was focused on trying these delicious looking rolls. They looked like real bread, with all the fluffy nooks and crannies of a regular roll inside, surrounded by a deliciously crunchy outside! But as they say, looks can be deceiving. These rolls were not the incredible, delectable rolls they appeared to be. Instead, they were really quite bland. They crunched fine, but the taste was boring and dry. My mother and I were both disappointed. We shared a nice family Sunday dinner, but next we’ll pass on the Schar Ciabatta Parbaked Gluten-Free Rolls.


Gluten-Free Glutino Fiber Bread

Gluten-Free Premium Bread

You know those commercials about the fiber bars where the people just can’t believe they’re full of fiber because they don’t taste like cardboard?  And they keep coming back for more because they love them so much? Not the case for my sandwich today. Unfortunately for Glutino, their Fiber Bread is a bit reminiscent of cardboard.

This bread comes frozen, so I popped two slices in the toaster before assembling my sandwich, as I usually do.  The package encouraged me to do this, claiming that it “Tastes best when toasted!” I would hate to discover what this bread would taste like otherwise, seeing as it did not toast well. The top of the pieces browned much quicker than the rest and were difficult and unpleasant to eat. The warmed part was not much better. I could then taste the bread, which was akin to a strong cardboard. Inside of adding to or tying together my sandwich, the taste of the bread overpowered the innards with a taste that made it clear I was eating a gluten substitute.

I have found it more difficult to get enough fiber since going gluten-free, and many fiber-geared products contain gluten. Compared to WholeFoods Sandwich Bread, two slices of this bread contains 16% of your daily fiber, instead of none from the WF’s bread (this is about as much fiber as two pieces of regular, commercially-prepared whole-wheat bread). WholeFoods’ gluten-free bread contains 60 more calories and 2.5 more grams of fat per slice, as well as a whole lot more flavor (guess you gotta take the good with the bad). Nutritionally, the Fiber Bread is much more like regular bread, still, regular whole-wheat bread is better for you. I now understand why they make gluten-free bread so small…

Although, I would not recommend it as a delicious product — it quite simply is not — I will occasionally continue to eat this bread to ensure that I’m getting what I need and as a healthier alternative to other gf breads. I usually find Glutino to be a hit or miss, unfortunately this one’s a miss.

City Feed and Supply Gluten-Free Sandwich

672 Centre St. | 66A Boylston St.
Jamaica Plain, MA
617.524.1700 |  617.524.1657

City Feed and Supply

Sometimes I think I know everything about being gluten-free. I am, afterall, the guru! However, while I am well-versed in many things free from gluten, the variety of options available to me and others continues to surprise me.  Gluten-free doesn’t always have to be hard. Recently, it became clear to me that I certainly don’t know it all — sometimes, I don’t even know when to ask!

This past weekend I stayed with a friend in the city. She wanted to take me somewhere special for lunch, somewhere she knew I’d like. “Let’s go to City Feed,” she said, “I think they have gluten-free stuff there, it has tons of organic stuff.” I pointed out that organic does not mean gluten-free, though awareness of the allergy is generally better. She, however, was insistent about the connection. They must have gluten-free bread.

I decided to go along with it. When City Feed and Supply came into view, I saw that at the very least I could enjoy a nice salad in a super cute locale. Inside had a very “updated general store” type feel to it, fresh and funky. Had I happened upon this spot by myself, I wouldn’t have thought to ask about gluten-free sandwich options. I would have looked for signs (there aren’t any), eventually found the gluten-free muffins (I’ll post about those next), and then have been perfectly content to sit down with a salad. Still, she was so sure that I had to ask.

Ask and you shall receive, they say.  Well, I cashed in big time at City Feed. Not only did they have gluten-free bread, but they also knew to ask how sensitive to it I am! My allergy, luckily, is not very severe, so the girl knew she could make my sandwich on the counter and toast it on the press. On top of all this, the people at City Feed were conscious of how tiny pieces of gluten-free bread are and gave me two sandwiches! Just when I thought my lunch adventure could not get any better, they charged me as much as they would for a regular sandwich, no extra. I have no clue if this was an error, but it was certainly a nice surprise. My dollars have never stretched so far for gluten-free food before!

City Feed, you had me at “or can I put it on the press?” and actually eating the sandwich only added to my love. I got the turkey and brie, and it was quite delicious. I’d never had the particular type of gluten-free bread they used and it was quite good, I’d rate it a step up from WholeFoods sandwich bread.

My friend was absolutely right. And from now on, I know to always ask about the options available to me. I would certainly go back to City Feed — the service and the food was great. It is so nice to eat out and feel as though the people preparing and serving your food understand where you are coming from when you lift your fork, and the people at City Feed knew just what to do for me. If you are looking for a cute place to enjoy a gluten-free sandwich (or two!) City Feed is the place to go.

Ian’s French Bread Pizza

Wheat Free/Gluten Free Recipe

Ian's French Bread Pizza

The box of Ian’s French Bread Pizza had been sitting in my mom’s fridge for almost a month before I decided to try it. I had tried Ian’s Chicken Nuggets a few years ago and really disliked them. Seriously, how can you mess up chicken nuggets? This is America! I was very doubtful as to whether this French Bread Pizza could be any good, since it seemed far more complicated.

Had they just been pizzas, another month probably would have passed before I tried them. But they were french bread.  I used to love baguettes and I haven’t been able to find any gluten-free ones in the States. So, I asked my mom what she thought of the pizzas. She encouraged me to try them and stated that it was her second time buying them. Finally, I caved.

Ian’s, you have redeemed yourself. Despite taking longer than the package stated to cook (I chose to use the recommended conventional oven versus a microwave), it was delicious! The sauce was a bit strong and the soy cheez was a bit mild, but the french bread was excellent. I would chance to say that someone who did not keep a gf diet wouldn’t think twice about whether this were really bread when eating it. The bread was crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the texture and taste did not betray the usual hints of gluten substitutes. I’m not really into soy, and I love regular cheese, but aside from the fact that the soy cheez didn’t melt like regular cheese and threw me off a bit while cooking, it did not taste overly artificial to me like Amy’s Single Serve Non-Dairy Rice Crust Cheeze Pizza sometimes does.

If you are looking for a quick, easy-to-make gluten free pizza, Ian’s French Bread Pizza is a great choice.  This is definitely among the best frozen gluten free pizzas I have tried and it earns five stars. Hmm, the back of the box recommends Gluten Free French Toast Sticks… now that my faith has been restored in Ian’s, I may have to try those…

Friedman’s Lunch

Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011

It is often said that New York City has something for everyone. Despite this fact, I have never really liked New York all that much. When I recently went to visit one of my best friends from high school, an impeccable hostess, she was determined to show me once and for all that New York had something even for me. With Google as her guide, K searched for somewhere to take me that was gluten-free friendly as well as up to her standards of refined taste, and excitedly informed me of her plans when I arrived. So, on my second day in the city, we set off on the subway to Chelsea. What she had found was a charming little place located in Chelsea Market, Friedman’s Lunch, and as the name suggests, it was a perfect place for the midday meal.

According to the Friedman’s website, the restaurant caters to the gf lifestyle because one of the owners, Vanessa Phillips, was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue while still a teenager and follows a gluten-free diet. Many of the items on the menu can be prepared gluten-free, including the egg dishes, salads, most plates and most sandwiches. The latter had me really excited. Eating a sandwich in public! Like a normal person! It was such a treat, especially against the beautiful backdrop of Friedman’s modern/rustic style and clean look  with quick service and great company!

I ordered the Roasted Turkey & Melted Brie sandwich, with sliced green apple and honey mustard. The menu said “on a baguette” which had my hopes raised high (I’d had gf baguettes while studying abroad in England, fancy that!), however, Friedman’s gf sandwiches were served on gf sandwich bread, much like the kind you can pick up at Wholefoods. The bread was slightly disappointing, but I was eating it in a restaurant (!), and the sandwich was delicious. The pricing was not outrageous for New York, though the gf bread cost an additional $2.00 (ah, the price we must pay for normalcy!).
The idea of eating a sandwich that had not been made by me or someone related to me in my kitchen was more thrilling than I would have thought. I was a bit let down by the rather typical bread, but the ambiance, tasty innards and good service give Friedman’s four stars.