Nizza, New York City

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Nizza is an Italian restaurant in New York City, which has been offering gluten-free dishes to customers since they opened in 2007. They are located on 630 9th Avenue, in a busy area of the city, very close to Times Square. Last week when I was in the city they were kind enough to let me sample some of their gluten-free items and I was very impressed!

Whilst not a completely gluten-free restaurant, Nizza offers a separate gluten free menu with lots of delicious dishes to choose from. Their chef and staff members are very well trained on gluten-free dining. They understand the serious threat of cross contamination and do everything they can to prevent it. They prepare gluten free items in a separate area and with separate utensils. As they are a small restaurant, cross contamination is, of course, always a possibility, but this is always the case unless a restaurant is 100% gluten-free. I am a very cautious and sensitive celiac, but I felt safe and comfortable eating here knowing that staff were doing everything they could to keep me safe.

Their gluten-free bread is made from a mixture of different flours and it’s really tasty. It’s the kind of bread that makes you want to double check that it’s safe for you to eat (and of course it is!) as it really doesn’t taste gluten-free at all. I couldn’t get enough of their gluten-free bruschetta topped with pesto and tomatoes. It was delicious.

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Triumph Dining Tries Asian Box’s Tasty Gluten-Free Fare

By our newest blogger Laura (http://glutenfreetraveller.com/)

Last week some of the Triumph Dining crew headed out for lunch. As I’m Celiac and even the tinniest amount of gluten could make me horribly sick for days, the hunt was on for somewhere that not only does gluten-free options but where cross contamination wouldn’t be a risk. Some restaurants with shared kitchens do a much better job than others of working to keep Celiacs safe, but you can’t beat a 100% gluten-free facility!

After some research we decided on Asian Box, a relaxed restaurant whose mission is to make delicious food which stays true to the ingredients and style of authentic Asian street food. As an avid gluten-free traveller my favorite way to soak in the culture of a new place is to sample the street food so I was very excited to try this place!

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Varying Shades of Gluten-Free in 4 Major Restaurants

By Zach

Gluten-free eaters come in all shapes, sizes and carrying themselves with their own behaviors, which is an umbrella statement that can also be applied to stores and restaurants that service gluten-free foods. Here’s why: it’s hard to deny and not notice the emergence of new gluten-free options popping up each day, whether it’s in big grocery stores, small fast food joints or dine-in restaurants, but not all servicers of gluten-free menu options abide by the same protocol.

Some reports estimate that the gluten-free industry is worth $6.3 billion per year and is continuing on an upswing. This demand was propelled by gluten-free enthusiasts toward large businesses like Dominos and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro to small business like Fresh Brothers in an effort to join progressive forces throughout the gluten-free industry.

Though as some of you might know, Dominos and other newcomers that offer gluten-free alternatives conduct their gluten-free processes in a liberal manner that is not safe for people with Celiac disease due to high chances of cross-contamination. But there are places that are doing it in a more kosher manner.

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Chevys Fresh Mex Introduces Gluten-Free Menu

You may have thought all the Celiac Awareness Month fun was over, well have we got news for you. And, if you live near one of the 42 Chevys Fresh Mex restaurants dotted around the US, then today’s announcement might be particularly exciting: Chevys has joined the growing list of restaurants with a gluten-free menu.

Now, let’s get right to it and manage expectations: the menu comes with a disclaimer, and according to the press release

Preparation facilities vary by location and all guests with gluten-related disorders should inform their server beforehand to ensure that preparation and ingredients align with dietary requirements.

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NFCA Suspends Amber Designation for Gluten-Free Menus

If you’ve been following the news regarding Domino’s foray into gluten-free and the NFCA’s Amber Designation for their pizzas — and judging by the comments and shares on our post about it, many of you have — then it will come as no surprise to you that the NFCA decided to act.

In light of the uproar, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has opted to suspend the designation; Amber was supposed to indicate that a restaurant had completed, “Ingredient Verification and Basic Server Training, but kitchen practices may vary widely.” The NFCA has removed the program from their website and issued a press release indicating that they will review the, “most effective and clearest way to warn the community of the risk of cross-contamination and the use of the phrase ‘Gluten Free.’”
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Chuck-E-Cheese Tests Celiac-Safe Gluten-Free Pizza and Cupcakes

Amid all the hubbub about Domino’s gluten-free (but not celiac-safe) pizza, another very exciting gluten-free offering seems to have gotten a bit lost.

If you’re in Minnesota and have a child, you can now go to Chuck E. Cheese’s and enjoy a celiac-safe gluten-free pizza and gluten-free chocolate cupcake. Hearteningly, Chuck E. Cheese’s is going to extreme effort to ensure that these menu options are safe and uncontaminated.

As the press release explains, “the personal cheese pizza, manufactured by USDA/FDA-approved, gluten-free facility Conte’s Pasta, will arrive to stores in frozen, pre-sealed packaging. The bake-in-bag pizza will remain sealed while cooked and delivered and until opened and served with a personal pizza cutter at families’ tables by the adult in charge.”

There are also single-serving, pre-sealed chocolate fudge cupcakes from Fabe’s All Natural Bakery. You can see both options in the video above, and both are made by GFCO-certified companies.

Kudos to Chuck E. Cheese’s for going above and beyond to ensure a safe experience for all gluten-free children (in Minnesota). As with other test markets, if this one goes well we can expect to see more Chuck E. Cheese locations around the country offering gluten-free pizza and  cupcakes.

Have you tried the pizza? How was it?

Zenbelly: A Shared Kitchen to Help Find Your Gluten-Free Inner Peace

By Bridget

While we all love to see gluten-free items pop up on the menus at our former favorite restaurants, it always makes me a little weary to see that gluten-free pasta as an option, served right alongside the gluten-filled versions. It’s like when people say you can just take the bun off the burger and, voila, it’s gluten-free. For people suffering from full-blown Celiac’s disease, this “solution” is hardly an acceptable remedy. The risk of cross-contamination means that devoted gluten-free restaurants are often the only acceptable eating out options. Just as gluten-free products need to be processed in dedicated facilities, so too should our prepared meals. This means separate, “gluten-free” cookware, down to the meat thermometers and cutting boards!

Well, people living in San Francisco may soon be getting an answer to all their hopes and dreams when it comes to gluten-free eating out. Simone Shifnadel, a trained chef, nutritionist, and fellow gluten-free eater has big plans for the gluten-free community. Her plan is to open a gluten-free shared kitchen, café, and community space, called Zenbelly Kitchen, where bakers and chefs can come together to create gluten-free products in a completely devoted environment. No gluten will ever cross the threshold of the kitchen’s doors!

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Shabtai Gourmet Gluten-Free Bakery Review

By Lea

Hello everyone, Lea here. I’m glad to be back for my second blog post, this time to discuss some fabulous desserts. Shabtai Gourmet Gluten-Free Bakery kindly sent us some samples of their Ring Tings, Swiss Rolls and Black & White Cookies, and we enjoyed them to the last crumb (literally). They did not even last two days on the break room table. Shabtai is certainly doing something right.

All of Shabtai Gourmet’s products are gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, peanut-free, casein-free & dairy-free, and created in a completely allergen-free facility to boot. To use their words: “Shabtai has brought a fresh and exciting new approach to allergen free baking. Shabtai and his family owned bakery has grown over the years, yet has never lost its old world out of this world taste.” Not only are they free of all these allergens, they are also certified Kosher for Passover and Kosher Parve by the OK Kosher Supervision.

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Deerfields Bakery: Dreamy Treats For Gluten-Free Peeps

By Zach

No matter what diet, eating habit, or culture someone studies, there’s usually some type of sweet that can either bring people together, compliment a nice meal or just satisfy one’s sweet tooth. Looking at treats in this light makes the craving for sugary substances almost seem innate, and just because one has been diagnosed with Celiac disease or obeys a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t mean their mouth waters any less or their eyes don’t dilate when a succulent batch of cookies shows up on the table or cake is served at a special occasion.

It is in this realm of no-touching torment that bakeries like Illinois’ Deerfield Bakery have risen to the calling to provide gluten-free eaters the opportunity to indulge in their saliva-inducing desserts or eye-bulging treats. Deerfield Bakery’s gluten-free menu contains a piquant spectrum of saccharine goodies and wholesome grains that can certainly excite gluten-sensitive consumers.

“Day Dreams are the real deal,” as printed on their menu, “dreamy white chocolate chip and chocolate chips nestled in a brownie cookie.” Honest to goodness, they are the real deal. The melting of fresh chocolate combined with the soft cookie dough is truly a batch made in heaven. Mouth watering yet? Their Lemon Buttons are made with fresh lemons and drizzled with rich lemon icing. The cookie’s flavor has a great zing to it – not as pungent as most lemon bars, but still confidently zesty.

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GIG’s Gluten-Free Awareness Campaign: What’s Your Favorite GF Restaurant?

We’re coming up on a very special time of year: May, aka National Celiac Awareness Month. There are oodles of activities that happen during May, but one of our favorites is the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Chef to Plate Campaign.

To borrow from the GIG’s own description, “the Chef to Plate Campaign is a grass-roots campaign designed to help spread awareness of gluten intolerance through the use of restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu. It is free for restaurants to join. We simply ask that they post educational table tents and/or posters during the month of May—to celebrate National Celiac Awareness Month.”

Hundreds of restaurants around the world participated last year, reaching more than 7 million diners. This year there are more than 1,400 restaurants participating — more than a 50% increase from last year’s event!
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