Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elmo's Diner, Restaurant Review

We ventured to Elmo's Diner on Ninth St in Durham last night for dinner. Elmo's is a great "neighborhood like" diner. It serves breakfast anytime, sandwiches, dinner specials, kids meals and wonderful milkshakes and malts. But what does it have for the gluten free patron? When we arrived I asked the hostess if they had any information on gluten and their menu, she said "no but that all the servers are very knowledgeable about gluten" and that they encounter this request often. I found this to be true and our server very helpful. If you have time before you go out to eat you can access Elmo's menus from their website, so you can take a look at the offerings before you arrive. A few items to note when ordering: according to our server all the chicken dishes contain gluten due to the marinade they use. Also many of the fish dishes have a similar marinade, but you might be able to request some fish made special. Although the enchiladas are with a corn tortilla, the sauce contains gluten. Their french fries are cooked in a designated fryer for only potatoes so that makes them okay. They offer several burgers that would be an option ordered without the bun. They also offer many salads that would be fine (minus the chicken). You have the option of a vegetable plate with the choice of several vegetables. I opted for a veggie omelet with home fries, and substituted applesauce for my toast. Malts would not be an option, because of the malt powder but many milkshakes would be okay (I would ask them to clean the mixing machine before they blended a GF shake). Elmo's has two locations the one in Durham and the other in Carrboro.

Hours of Operation:
Sun-Thurs 6:30 am-10:00 pm
Fri-Sat 6:30 am-11:00 pm

776 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705

200 N Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC 27510

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Locopops: Cool Treats

What a beautiful Sunday afternoon. After meeting with a friend and walking the wall on Duke's east campus I decided to stop by Locopops for a cool treat. The Locopops on Hillsborough Road in Durham was busy with people eating their gourmet frozen pops. These treats are a sort of Mexican Paletas and come in 20 different flavors. The options are listed on a white board in the shop, about half are regular offerings and the other half are "guest star flavors" changing from time to time. When I asked my server about allergy information pertaining to gluten she informed me that the dairy based varieties "might cause some gluten reaction due to the thickening agent that is used." I was curious about the ingredient, but no list was available to review. I checked out the website also, but they do no list any nutrition information. I was told the non dairy varieties such as very berry and cherry hibiscus were gluten free. Locopops has locations in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh and are now operating on their spring/summer hours 12:00-9:00 daily.

Locopops Locations:
2600 Hillsborough Rd, Durham
231 South Elliot Chapel Hill
1908 Hillsborough St, Raleigh

Locopops phone: 919-286-3500

Friday, March 20, 2009

Petition to the Raleigh City Council - Food Allergen Poster

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about new ways to improve the lives of those with Celiac Disease and/or another food allergies. Dining out in restaurants is a big issue for the estimated 12 million Americans with a food allergy. For those of us on a Gluten Free Diet, we are well aware of the dangers of eating out.

About this same time, I saw an interesting article about something the City Council of New York City did. The NYC City Council actually passed a law which requires restaurants to display a food allergy education poster and will fine locations $100 for non-compliance. I thought this was a great idea and would be a good starting point in the education of food service workers in the food allergy arena. Of course this does not guarantee that food allergy sufferers can have a safe meal, but it is a start down that path. Food service workers need to know what the allergies are and how to prevent cross-contamination.

So, I decided to email the Raleigh City Council about the issue and my proposal. I offered up my services on the creation of the poster and anything else they would need. I have not heard back as of yet. In the meantime, I created an online petition to gain a little more ammunition. Please take just a few minutes to read the petition and to sign it. The more signatures, the more the City Council will take this issue seriously. Thanks for your time and support!

Click here to sign the Food Allergy Education Poster Petition to the City Council of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Opportunity To Increase Gluten Awareness, Chef to Plate Program

I had the opportunity to meet with Cynthia Kupper, RD, executive director of The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)this past week. She was in North Carolina doing some work in Wake Forest and made time in her busy schedule to meet me for dinner at Z Pizza in Raleigh to review some plans for the East Coast GIG summer camp at Camp Kanata this summer. During our time together she highlighted the Chef to Plate Program scheduled for May 3, 2009. (May is National Celiac Awareness Month.) This is a program sponsored by GIG celebrating restaurants that offer a gluten free menu. It is a free program that offers literature to restaurants to display in their establishments on May 3, 2009. Restaurants will be advertised locally and will also be listed on the GIG website. If you would like more information on how you can be involved as a campaign leader or if you are a restaurant and would like to sign up for this program click here. Mark your calendars for May 3rd and plan to eat out at your favorite gluten free restaurant on that day! As a side note, it was definitely worth the drive from Durham to meet with Cynthia and to try the gluten free pizza at Z's pizza, it was delicious!


15,900 - That's my estimate on the number of Celiac's in Triangle area.

15,423 - If you go by the NFCA's estimate that 97% of Celiacs are undiagnosed, this is my estimate of undiagnosed Celiac cases in the Triangle.

So here we are, 477 of us - with more coming each day thanks to increasing awareness and better diagnosis. From the statistics kept on visitors to this blog and the number of RSS subscribers, I would estimate that about 120-140 of the 477 are reading this blog each day.

I didn't just make these numbers up of course, new information was released today (see this article from the N&O) about Triangle population estimates. The Raleigh-Cary area now tops the nation in growth.
The Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area, which includes Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties, grew by 4.3 percent from July 2007 to July 2008, and is now home to close to 1.1 million people. It well outpaced its closest rival, the Austin, Texas, area, which grew by 3.8 percent, to become the national leader.

The national growth average was just under 1 percent.

The Triangle has been near the top of the nation's growth chart for more than a decade, as newcomers poured into the area to take jobs in technology, tourism and academia. The resulting building boom, and the jobs that came with it, drew hundreds of thousands of new residents.

The Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area, which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties, didn't make the Top 10, but its population continued to swell at a steady 2.5 percent, up slightly from the year before. Just fewer than 490,000 people live in that area.
So there are 1.59 million Triangle residents. Some estimates say that 1% of the population in the US has Celiac. So what does this mean to all of us? The Triangle has a formidable number of Celiacs and this information should help drive the market for Gluten Free products. I hope to see more and more restaurants, grocery stores, etc... catering to us in the future. With almost 16,000 of the most loyal customers ever created, how could they not?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, Recipe

With all the rain the past several days and lots of basketball games to watch we were in need of a quick gluten free treat. While I know the triangle blogs do not spend much time on publishing recipes this one is just a must have to keep on hand for those emergency munchies:

Flourless Peanut Butter Gluten Free Cookies
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon GF baking soda
1 teaspoon GF vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips, or M & M's

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a bowl using a sturdy spoon. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes (cookies will be soft in the middle). Cool 5 minutes, then remove. Yield= 1 1/2 dozen


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: Bennett Pointe Grill and Bar

My family has had a good experience dining out at Bennett Pointe Grill and Bar. This small independent restaurant has been titled "the best kept secret". Located in West Durham in the Bennett Pointe Shopping Center, it offers a casual family atmosphere. The website advertises "Low-carb and other diet dishes made to order". You may view their website, including menus and directions here.

Their large menu offers many salads, steaks, fish and burgers. Both times I have visited the server was very helpful in talking with the chef and also knew not to put croutons on my salad. My daughter enjoyed a bunless burger, with a side salad.( Word of caution: their fries are not cooked in a dedicated fryer.) I also like their salmon dishes and they have great vegetables.

If you go on a weekend, I would recommend a reservation as there was a 45 minute wait when we tried to dine there one Friday evening.

I have tried to feature less well known restaurants thus far on the Durham Blog, if you know of others please let me know.

Bennett Pointe Grill and Bar
4625 Hillsborough Road
Durham,NC 27705
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: M-F 11:30-2:30
Dinner: M-Sat 5:00-9:30
Bar: until around 9:30

Monday, March 2, 2009

Delight-Gluten Free Magazine

I have recently learned of a new publication Delight Gluten Free Magazine. This has been described to me as "The Martha Stewart or O magazine for the gluten free community." I subscribe to few magazines, as I just do not find the time to sit down and read them. But I will try this one, as it sounds like it would be worth my time. You can learn more information by checking out their website: here This is a quarterly magazine; subscription rate is $14.00 for 4 issues. The February-Premiere issue offers gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free and even some rice-free recipes. The may issue is being advertised as offering travel advice, just in time for those summer vacations. Happy Reading!