I Dream of Falafel Gluten-Free Review

By Zach

With the influx of alternative eating (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) over the years, all kinds of ethnic-based restaurants and American dining services have been gradually adapting their menus to cater to their clientele’s demand. The palette of gluten-free options for fast food and dine-in establishments is now more colorful than ever. A few weeks ago, I was privileged enough to enjoy a gluten-free sampling at I Dream of Falafel, located in downtown Chicago. Now, before you feel like this review is irrelevant to you (because you don’t live in Chicago), keep in mind that a lot of Mediterranean food has overlapping gluten-free entrees, appetizers and sides, which you can most likely order and indulge in at your local Mediterranean joint.

 I Dream of Falafel has a laundry list of great gluten-free items just waiting to be feasted on by grub-craving Celiacs. At a joint like this, a gluten-free lifestyle hardly seems limiting as tender chicken, beef, kefta (lamb), fresh falafel, authentic hummus, natural salads, golden-seasoned rice, and a savory selection of sauces are all up for grabs to stuff your stomach to satisfaction. They also have a unique take on falafel with their sweet potato falafel as one of their specialties. If you’ve eaten top-shelf falafel, you know it’s not too oily and its got a great crispy-to-substantial ratio, which their traditional falafel does. However, their sweet potato version takes on a slightly different texture as it’s more cakey, less gritty and dashed with a little bit of cinnamon, making it a memorable Mediterranean take on gluten-free falafel.

An assortment of excellent baba ghanoujeh, chickpea-creamy red pepper and/or traditional hummus served alongside your choice of protein and the piquant richness of a tomato-and-cucumber Jerusalem or fattoush salad should make any food-lover’s mouth water. To boot, they have five loaded-with-taste, gluten-free sauces to deliciously decorate your gluten-free spread. Each sauce adds its own personality, whether its their spicy tomato sauce packing a zesty punch, or their verdant raita sauce evoking a more mild, yet bold and herb-savory lushness.  Their vegetables have that coveted crispiness, their ingredients taste natural and unprocessed, and both are made fresh each morning making sure nothing is reused from the day before.

The genuinely nice service I received from Hassan and his staff, plus the succulent food I enjoyed from I Dream of Falafel could both easily deserve their own letter to write home about. As witnessed at this locally respected restaurant, gluten-free food does not have to mean bland and unoriginal menu options. You’ll soon find out, that once you start diversifying your taste buds, you’ll have more Celiac-friendly meals, which will also be the case because more dining serves within the food industry are rising to the challenge to have a menu abundant with gluten-free choices.

 

Check out the I Dream of Falafel website today.

(Photos By Kiersten)

Let Us Eat Cake!

By Bridget

Growing up, dessert was the spoil available only on very special occasions. Sure, a treat after dinner was always the incentive for eating veggies, but that dessert was one piece of candy, or even some ripe fruit. The good stuff – the cookies, cake, and brownies – were exclusively reserved for holidays and exceptional occasions. As an adult you may have a bit more independence surrounding this decision. You want a cookie? Go out and buy one. Eat all you want. But with living a gluten-free lifestyle, the “go out and buy it” part is a bit trickier.

Finding delicious gluten-free baked goods is like finding a pearl in an oyster; you know it’s there, so you’ll look, but it’s so rare that it becomes a coveted object. You savor every bite and immediately feel the giddiness only familiar through the memory of eating a gingerbread man on Christmas Eve before dinner. Dessert is again an experience set aside for good behavior and exceptional times. It is not a part of the mundane or everyday.

Click to continue reading »

Venice Bakery Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts Review

By Lea

Hello everyone! I’m Lea and this is my first guest blog for Triumph Dining. I say guest because I am not a blogger; I actually work for Triumph and helped put together our 5th Edition Grocery Guide as well as managing the 2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards.

Quick disclaimer: I do not have Celiac and have only been eating gluten-free for the 8 months that I have worked for Triumph Dining. Because of this, it’s a big deal for me to say that I actually prefer a gluten-free pizza crust to a pizza crust containing gluten. I first felt this way when I tried Venice Bakery’s gluten-free pizza crusts. They were kind enough to send us some samples a few months ago, and with all the confusion finishing up the Grocery Guide and starting the Best of Gluten-Free Awards, I had to delay reviewing this wonderful product. If you enjoy crispy, thin-crust pizza, then Venice Bakery pizza crusts are for you! Bonus: they are vegan, egg-free, dairy-free and soy-free as well!  (Note: their focaccia bread does contain eggs and cheese).
The first time I tried Venice Bakery’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust, I simply spread some store-bought pizza sauce on the crust, added some shredded mozzarella, and sliced a few mushrooms on top. The results were absolutely delicious! The crust had a perfect texture and tasted the way pizza crust should taste! In fact, my whole (gluten-eating) family proceeded to rave over the crust (needless to say, we immediately ordered some more).

What’s the best part about this crust (other than the fact that it’s gluten-free and scrumptious), you ask? It doesn’t need to be frozen! The crust comes vacuum-sealed and has an impressive shelf life. The tasty crusts I sampled lasted over two weeks! If you end up keeping them longer than that (why would you when they’re so delicious?), just pop them in the freezer and the crusts will retain their mouthwatering flavor when baked.

Venice Bakery carries a 12-inch gluten-free pizza crust and a 5-inch gluten-free personal pizza crust. Be careful when ordering, as they do carry gluten-full versions of all of these items. Don’t worry, though- they’ve been tested and certified by the Celiac Sprue Association.

You can order your own sample pack on their website http://www.venicebakery.com/. Thanks again to Venice Bakery for sending us these wonderful samples!

Burger King Changes Fry Recipe: GF Status Unclear

Thanks for the photo, TIME

A quick but important post today.

Burger King just changed their fries to a new recipe. Caveat emptor: as of press time, there’s no indication of whether or not the changes include gluten.

This marks the first change to Burger King’s fries since 1998, according to Time.

The new fries will be thicker, with reduced sodium and, “a coating that makes them crisper and keeps them hotter longer,” according to the article. Today, December 5, marks the day that the fries will be available in all Burger King locations.
Click to continue reading »

Gluten-free Subway: New City Announced

In January, Subway announced a gluten-free program testing in the Dallas area. And you were all pretty excited (we had more comments on that post than any other I can think of).

Today, I’m quite pleased to share with you Subway’s next gluten-free test market.

Drumroll please…and the gluten-free sandwiches go to:

Portland, Oregon!
Click to continue reading »

Celiac Around the World: Delhi’s First Gluten-free Restaurant!

Back in March, Caty wrote a post about gluten intolerance in India. Evidence suggests that the rate of celiac disease is increasing, particularly in the north of the country. These increased rates, some doctors speculate, could be thanks to more “modern” strains of wheat being introduced to the local diet.

Causation aside, it seems that India’s celiac population is a fact – and a growing fact at that. How do I know? Simple. Delhi’s got a new gluten-free restaurant.
Click to continue reading »

Gluten-free Baseball Fans Rejoice: Stadiums Hit a Home Run

Almost a year ago, Tiffany wrote a post highlighting some big news in gluten-free ballpark concessions. A few months later, Laura wrote about the gluten-free football stadiums catching up to the trend.

Thanks for the photo, Kevin H. Looks...tasty?

And now, just in time for Opening Day, I’m happy to add even more home-run news for 2011.

The first morsel of gluten-free goodness is for anyone in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tropicana Field, home of the Rays, is now also home of GF! Gluten-Free Ballpark Favorites. As you might be able to guess from the name, the concession stand is offering, “gluten-free versions of traditional ballpark favorites like hot dogs, pretzels, and beer.”

Batter up!

Click to continue reading »

Where Were You When I Was At School? Eat’n Park’s New Celiac Menu

So, a couple of months ago I moved back to Pittsburgh. It’s good to be back here, where I went to college and where I have many appropriately fond memories of many appropriately goofy things.

One of my favorite recurrent memories involved this one Eat’n Park, where my friends had developed a “secret code” to talk about which tables had cute girls at them. Ah, college.

I spent a lot of time there, but rarely got anything other than coffee or ice cream – it wasn’t the most celiac-friendly menu, to be honest. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a 24-hour “diner”/Denny’s kind of place. They’re known for their Smiley Cookies and a Midnight Breakfast Buffet in places where people need pancakes at 2am.

Anyway. Somewhere between when I left town and when I came back, things changed. Forgive my tardiness; I’ve known this for a while now and I’m only getting around to talking about it now, but – Eat’n Park has a pretty decent gluten-free menu. Go figure.

Click to continue reading »

Sweetwater’s Low Gluten Menu Excels and Perplexes

Some things in the gluten-free world have really perplexed us over the years. Like Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s  declarations throughout her book that celiac disease is an allergy. Or Starbucks’ recent decision to trumpet the addition of a new gluten-free offering followed, only weeks later, by a decision to remove said gluten-free offering with no more than a 140 character announcement via Twitter.

As perplexing as these decisions may sound to you, we found Sweetwater Tavern’s “Low Gluten Menu” equally bizarre.

Click to continue reading »

P.F. Chang’s Brings Brand-Name, Gluten-Free Food to Chinese Cuisine

Every town, big or small, seems to have a Chinese restaurant these days. Usually locally or family owned, these restaurants serve up familiar dishes in those nostalgic, white rectangular take-out boxes. The food itself, however, varies widely; some places serve deliciously prepared entrees. Others  gain a notoriety for food poisoning and low standards of quality.

For such a ubiquitous type of cuisine, I expected there to be many name-brand chains where people could come to expect the same, consistent dishes and flavors served at a steady, high quality. But alas, P.F. Chang’s, listed in our restaurant guide, is among the very few major names in Chinese cuisine to open multiple, national restaurants.

And the restaurant shines as its gluten-free menu provides customers with many great options to choose from.

Click to continue reading »