Kettle Cuisine Angus Beef Steak Gluten Free Chili with Beans

Kettle Cuisine Angus Beef Steak Gluten Free Chili with Beans

It was on the eve of a blizzard and with an empty stomach that I ventured to the grocery store this week, admittedly a bad combination. I usually steer clear of the organic and gluten-free sections to avoid temptation and unnecessary gluten-free goodies, but on that particular day I was feeling spontaneous, and so I meandered down the aisle to see what I’d find.

It wasn’t until I’d made it to the freezer section that something caught my eye. Gluten-free soup! In cute little boxes were the Kettle Cuisine soups, and they were on sale! I’d tried Kettle Cuisine at a gluten-free tasting last fall and remembered liking it, so I picked up two classic gluten-free Chicken Noodle soups and ventured beyond the basics to try the Beef Steak Chili with Beans. Beef in a frozen dish? I was feeling quite adventurous indeed, since beef in freezer foods normally weirds me out a bit. But it was steak. I had to try it.

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Hugo’s Restaurant

8041 Santa Monica Boulevard | West Hollywood, CA 90069

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

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

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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Stone Hearth Gluten-Free Pizza

1782 Massachusetts Ave. | Cambridge, MA | 617.492.1111

Stone Hearth Pizza Co. Gluten Free Pizza

Mother’s Day lunch was an easy choice this year. My mother is also gluten-free and loves pizza, so a little spot called Stone Hearth Pizza Co. was just perfect. Nestled in a collection of store fronts on Mass Ave in Cambridge, this restaurant is cozy and conscious as well.  Striving to use organic, locally sourced ingredients, they offer a full menu of favorites — salads, soups, pasta and pizza, all of which are offered in gluten-free varieties.

This gluten-free pizza is the real deal. Offered in a “regular” size (six slices), this is a cheesy, delicious gluten-free pizza. The crust is made from rice flour and it is so delicious! It has a bit of a fluffy texture that isn’t too grainy. Its texture doesn’t compete with the sauce and cheese; unlike most gluten-free pizzas, it works with the other ingredients to make a cohesive, delicious meal. We couldn’t help but eat most of the pizza, despite each ordering our own!

Stone Hearth’s Gluten Free Classic Pizza is absolutely among the best gluten-free pizza I’ve tried. Perhaps they wouldn’t consider this a compliment, but it is a high one in my book: it reminds me of Bertucci’s pizza! I’m more a fan of greasier bar-style pizza so BZ’s still takes the cake, however, Stone Hearth’s is a close contender. You can taste the freshness and quality of the ingredients and the crust is phenomenal. Needless to say, my mother enjoyed her Mother’s Day meal!

Annie’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar

Annie's Gluten Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar

I’m not really sure why I bought Annie’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar. When you have an option as delicious and easy to make as Amy’s Rice Mac and Cheese, why would you choose mac and cheese akin to Kraft? I suppose it’s the bang for my buck, two servings in each box, and the fact that I don’t have to microwave it to make it. The memories of delicious late-night Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar my first semester of college, before the allergy set in, might have influenced me, too.

Annie’s pasta is great, though the water always bubbles over when I cook it. The cheese sauce however, is less than stellar. I made it according to the directions but it was really watery. I liked it much better reheated the next day. Annie’s great for next day leftovers. Every once in a while when I’m in the mood for mac and cheese, I pick up a box of Annie’s, and I get a decent, quick meal. It’s nothing too special, but it will satisfy any mac and cheese cravings you may have.

Uno’s Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pizza

Uno's Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pizza

To all (any?) of my readers, I wish you all the best in this new year! For me, 2010 has begun with some exciting changes — I have moved into my first apartment with three friends and now spend two fewer hours a day commuting, more time around people my age, and I’m in closer proximity to the gluten-free gems my city has to offer!

Sometimes, I feel close proximity may be an understatement. My new apartment is practically across the street from Uno’s Chicago Bar and Grill and their thin crust gluten-free pizza.  A national chain with gluten-free pizza? I know, it sounds too good to be true. Across the street?! It’s a dream. The convenience and affordability of Uno’s gluten-free pizzas are luxuries I have missed.

Each time I have Uno’s pizza, I like it more and more. I’m not a huge fan of the sauce they use, but I’ve found I notice the tartness less when I order mine with veggies. Ask them to cook it until it is well-done, it makes a big difference in how the different ingredients marry. They come together much better when they are thoroughly cooked. The crust is on the crunchy side, and its taste is akin to frozen crusts I’ve tried. Leftover Uno’s is even better — microwaving a slice softens the crust a bit and gives it more body. Overall, it is a satisfying pizza. Not the best I’ve had, but it sure is nice to order out pizza.