Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese Gluten Free Pizza in Durham!

Great news for young gluten free folks and their parents.  Chuck E Cheese has rolled out their gluten free pizza and cupcake option nationwide.  I first posted about Chuck E Cheese GF trial in Minnesota back on May 17th, click here if you would like to read this post and see the video about the Gluten Free products.  I spoke with the staff of the Durham, NC Chuck E Cheese this morning and they confirmed that they are offering a personal pan size cheese pizza for $5.99 and a gluten free cupcake is $2.99.  I hope to visit soon and check out the quality of the products, if you have beat me to a taste test please post your comments.

The Durham Chuck E. Cheese is located near Target by the old South Square area
3724 Mayfair St
Durham, NC 27707

Sun-Thurs 9 am-9pm
Fri-Sat 9am-10pm

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Petition FDA for Gluten Free Labeling

We have been waiting and waiting on the FDAs final ruling on gluten free labeling.  The ball started rolling on this topic several years ago, and was supposed to be in place by 2008.  In August 2011 the FDA reopened the comment period on Gluten Free Labeling for 60 days.  Everyone anticipated the ruling on gluten free labeling to be in place by the end of the summer 2012, but we are still waiting.   A petition has been started to bring this concern before the White House. You can read more about the petition at the Celiac Disease Alliance site.  If you would like to see the petition and would consider adding your name you can get more information by following this link ,
Note 25,000 signatures are needed by November 1st, so sign now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Firebirds, Restaurant Review

I think I have visited Firebirds at least three times in the last few months.  The reason I keep going back is that they serve great food in a fun atmosphere and seem to really understand what it means to order gluten free!  They have a gluten free menu with many delicious options from main entrees to salads.  One of my favorite menu items is the strawberry shrimp salad pictured above.  During my visits this summer I had a manager check with me to be sure everything was okay and a server deliver my food separate from the rest of my table, indicating "we took special care of your gluten free order". I really appreciate this level of attention to special dietary needs, but one must remember that you need to remain on your toes when ordering and speaking with your server.  As with most restaurants today the gluten free menu does include the following disclaimer:  "Please note our chefs strive to prepare every one of these dishes gluten free as listed.  Firebirds cannot be held liable in the unlikely event that cross contamination occurs."  If you read my earlier post which suggested the NFCA webinar on dining out, you are equipped with your questions and have considered your options when eating out to reduce your risks of cross contamination.

Firebirds is a chain with many locations. In North Carolina those include: Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and the Durham location which is at the Streets at Southpoint.

All locations:
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 11pm

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cross- Contamination in Restaurants, Educate Yourself!

You are probably reading this blog because you are looking for some suggestions on places that you can select to dine gluten free.  Those of us who have been living a strict gluten free lifestyle can understand what a challenge this can be at times!  I attended the NFCA sponsored webinar this week entitled: Cross-Contamination in Restaurants: What You Need to Know and highly recommend viewing the archived webinar.  Even if you have been eating out gluten free for some time, this is a great resource and will equip you with good information to help when selecting restaurants and ordering your food. The webinar is archived here and features the following three speakers:
 Ken Schelper, Vice President of Davanni's, Board of Directors for Minnesota Restaurant Association, Amy Jones, MS, RD, LD, Chief Clinical Dietitian and Celiac Support Group Facilitator, Mary Rutan Hospital, and Pam Cureton, RD, LDN, Clinical and Research Dietitan, Center for Celiac Research, University of Maryland
It was very helpful to hear Ken's point of view as one who has been involved in the restaurant business for many years. He gives a "behind the scene" look at food preparation.  The webinar is one hour and then has about 15 minutes of Q and A; well worth your time!  Great job NFCA and panelists!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Melting Pot, Restaurant Review

Looking for a unique gluten free dining experience? Then I would suggest checking out The Melting Pot Restaurant. The menu is based on fondue type dining and offers a gluten free menu. The restaurant staff including manager and waiter were very familiar with the needs of gluten free dining. I was offered a four course meal which included: an appetizer of melted cheese with vegetables, apples and gluten free bread, a salad, the main course which consisted of shrimp, pork, beef and chicken in a Merlot-broth and finally melted chocolate with fruit and marshmallows. Part of the experience is that you actually cook your food yourself in your table's fondue pot. Because of this your entire table would need to choose the gluten free option, because you couldn't have your friend dipping pound cake in your melted chocolate and ruining it for you! The restaurant offers very private booth seating for a romantic dinner and also larger tables which would be fun for a family or a group of gluten free friends!

7011 Fayetteville Road, Suite 101, Durham,NC 27713
(Across from Southpoint Mall. Next to Hilton Garden Inn)
Phone:(919) 544-6358
Monday-Thursday:5 p.m. - 10 p.m
. Friday:5 p.m. - 11 p.m
. Saturday:4 p.m. - 11 p.m
. Sunday:4 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Carolina Today Show Segment on Gluten Free Living

I had the opportunity this week to spend some time with the Yalonda Calloway and Sharon Delaney the co-hosts of the  NBC 17 My Carolina Today Show We discussed Celiac Disease and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.  The Thursday, July 26th episode featured a brief segment which includes a cooking demo for flourless peanut butter cookies, take a peek:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom, Restaurant Review

I have eaten at Tyler's Restaraunt and Taproom a few times this summer. Tyler's offers a gluten free menu which features several salads, BBQ, and most sandwiches (minus the bun of course) It is clearly stated on the GF menu that items prepared in their fryers cannot be guaranteed as gluten free, so that means the french fries, sweet potato fries and homemade chips are out. On my most recent vist I ordered a cheese burger "sans"  bun and substituted a side of potato salad in place of fries. I had planned on taking a picture, but was hungry and ate most of my meal before I realized I forgot to take the photo!  I've also tried a few of their salads which are generous in portion size.

I noticed three different gluten free beers and one cider listed on the beer menu as well . 
Estrella Damm Daura $4.50
Green's Discovery Amber $8.00
Green's Quest Triple $8.00
Crispin Original Cider $5.75

T'yler's has four locations in: Apex, Carrboro, Durham and Raleigh.  The Durham location is located in the lively American Tobacco Campus, 324 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701,  and recently opened an outdoor biergarten.

Monday 11am-9pm
Tuesday 11am-10pm
Wednesday 11am-10pm
Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday 11am-11pm
Sat 11am-11pm
Sunday 10am-9pm. Sunday brunch is 10am-3pm, dinner at 5pm. Late night always runs after games and shows, times will vary but typically at least an hour.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zoës Kitchen, Restaurant Review

Due to my job I spend a lot of time in the Morrisville area.....which is just a short drive down the road from Durham.  I wanted to share a new place that I discovered for lunch, called  located in the Zoës Kitchen  new Park West Shopping Center at  1017 Market Center Drive Morrisville, NC, 27560.  The website describes the restaurant as:
Zoës Kitchen is a natural extension of Zoë Cassimus' lifetime of cooking for family and friends. Inspired by Zoë's original recipes and her simple, fresh-from-the-garden sensibility, we start every day by making the food from scratch onsite at each restaurant. Our dishes are wholesome; our portions generous. It's Mediterranean-inspired comfort food with customers' dietary concerns in mind--nothing fried with gluten-free and vegetarian options. Zoë means "life" in Greek. Why not live it to the fullest with tasty food shared among close friends and family?

 I was able to pull up a gluten free menu on line before I went there for lunch. This included several options including: salads, hummus, grilled chicken kabobs and braised white beans.  The atmosphere was casual but very nice, you order your meal and then they give you a number and the meal is delivered to your table shortly.  I enjoyed  Zoës Favorite:  two kabobs, grilled peppers and onions, tomato, braised white beans and a side greek salad.  The meal was delicious, very fresh tasting!

Sorry, no Zoës in Durham yet. Other locations in our area include two in Raleigh: located on Oberlin road and North Hills Street.

I look forward to returning for another lunch sometime soon!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Angus Barn-Restaurant Review

My family had a great experience dining at Angus Barn the other evening. We had wonderful customer service and attention to detail for the birthday boy in our party.  Angus Barn also offers attention to details for the gluten free patron.  The restaurant offers a gluten free-dairy free menu with many tasty options.  Our server informed us that, the crew at Angus Barn takes allergies very seriously and that our steaks would be prepared on a separate grill and prep area to help prevent any cross contamination.  Our waiter went out of his way to meet our needs.  He brought us extra crocks of cheese for our celery so that the gluten free diners did not need to worry about those cracker crumbs from the others at our table ruining the cheese for us.  He was very mindful of the appropriate salad dressing options and we didn’t even need to remind him to “hold the croutons”!  I enjoyed the petite filet and baked sweet potato and my GF daughter order the baked potato and beef-vegetable kabob. Both were delicious.  At dessert time the complimentary pound cake was delivered to our table to celebrate the birthday and we were offered the wonderful gluten free option of ordering a GF chocolate-hazelnut/almond torte.  It is rare to be offered such a nice dessert when eating out, so of course we opted in and shared a piece of the torte.  I have posted a picture here for you to see.  Angus Barn has a casual welcoming atmosphere and has been serving guests since 1960.  The restaurant is a bit on the pricey side for every day dining, but well worth it for that special occasion. Reservations are suggested.  I would highly recommend you visiting and don’t forget to grab an apple (there are large bushels by the door) on your way out, after all apples are gluten free!

Hours and Contact Information from the Angus Barn Website:
Main Dining Rooms
Mon. - Fri. 5:30pm-10:30pm
SAT. 5pm-10:30pm SUN. 5pm-10pm

Wild Turkey Lounge
Mon. - Sat. 3:00pm-11pm • Sun. 3pm-10pm

The Country Store
Mon. - Fri. 3:00pm-10:30pm
Sat. 12:00pm-10:30pm
Sun. 1:00pm-10:00pm

Reservations are recommended. Please call for all reservations.
We accept VISA - Mastercard - Discover - American Express - Diners Club - Cash

9401 Glenwood Avenue
(Highway 70 at Aviation Parkway)
Raleigh, North Carolina 27617
TEL 919-781-2444

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese's Introduces New Gluten-Free Menu Options

There has been so much chatter around the launch of Domino's "Gluten free Pizza", hop over to GF Raleigh to see Zach's post that summarizes how Celiac's are responding to this tease of a "gluten free pizza".  But be encouraged look at what Chuck E Cheese is testing in some Minnesota markets. They seem to understand cross contamination concerns all the way down to a disposable pizza cutter! The folks at Triumph Dining have a nice post about this gluten free pizza option and the summary of the efforts this company is going to in providing their gluten free options.  Stay tuned for more news on this menu item for those young gluten free folks who may be able to go to Chuck E Cheese and enjoy pizza and cupcakes like their friends. Note:this is not yet available in North Carolina.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Expanding Resources At the Durham County Library

 The library was one of the first resources  I went to when I was first diagnosed with Celiac  Disease.  In 2006 I think there were less than 10 listings under gluten or celiac disease.... consisting of some gluten free cookbooks and Jax Peter Lowell book, The Gluten Free Bible, which I read cover to cover.  My first post on Gluten Free Durham three years ago mentioned the gluten free resources available at the Durham County Library.  At that time the listings had grown to 20 options.  A search in the library data base today yields 66 titles under the general keyword "gluten"!  Some of the older cookbooks are dated 1990 with the newest books released this year.  Remember when reading older  publications some information and guidelines may be out-dated.  Some of the older cookbooks are great classic resources, yet some of the newer books include recipes with healthier whole grains.  As always check with your health care provider on specific details in managing your gluten disorder.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Celiac Disease Update on The People's Pharmacy

Tune in the weekend May 5/6 Saturday or Sunday to the People's Pharmacy and hear an interview with Dr, Peter Green, MD, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. He is co-author of the book:  Celiac Disease:  A Hidden Epidemic.

•WUNC FM Chapel Hill NC Saturday 7:00 AM Sunday 3:00 PM 91.5

If you are unable to listen to the event on the radio you can access recorded events at the People's Pharmacy Website

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Celiac Awareness Month-NFCA webinar

May is National Celiac Awareness Month.  NFCA the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is hosting a free webinar tomorrow, May 3, 2012 at 2:00pm which will provide up to date information from the leading experts in Celiac Disease and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity:
NFCA will kick off Celiac Awareness Month with a live hour-long broadcast featuring gluten-free experts Alessio Fasano, MD, Stefano Guandalini, MD, and Cynthia Kupper, RD, CD. Moderated by Alice Bast, NFCA Founder and President, the panelists will provide a “State of the Union” on celiac disease and the new kid on the block, non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
This is a great opportunity to stay current on the latest scientific and practical information for those following a gluten free diet. For more information and to register, go to the NFCA registration link.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gluten Free Durham Reader Shares Cookie Recipe

I recently received this tip from Minerva, a Gluten Free Durham Reader who was  experimentng with baking treats for a 4 year old celiac. See her recipe and comments befow:

I adapted this from a ginger cookie recipe in an old book out of need to provide cookies to a 4 year old celiac, using whatever ingredients I had available at the time. They came out great! I call them "Sofias". I am not much of a decorator, so I'm sure others can improve on this recipe.

1- Prepare enough gluten-free cookie flour (I call it "cookie flour because have not tested if will work well in other recipes):
   a. Equal parts of:
      Brown Rice Flour
      Tapioca Flour (aka Tapioca Starch)
      Very fine milled Corn Meal (I find it at the hispanic supermarket;
         NOT the same as masa)
   b. Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour/starch/meal

2- Mix and sift together the dry ingredients
   2 1/4 cups gluten-free cookie flour (above)
   1/2 teaspoon baking powder
   1/8 teaspoon salt

3- Soften 1/2 cup butter and mix in the following
   1/2 cup brown sugar (loose, not packed)
   1/2 cup maple syrup (original recipe asked for molasses, had none)
   1 egg, beaten

4- Mix together dry ingredients and butter mix.

5- Put into one of those confectioners squeezable bags with a tip (sorry don't know what they are called) and make fun shapes (see pictures). Alternatively can mix and "massage" for a while into a dough that can be rolled down and cut. We also put some sprinkles before putting in the oven.

 6- Bake in 350 degrees preheated oven, 10-15 minutes depending on the tickles and shape of cookies.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are all Gluten Free Menus created equal?

Increasingly restaurants are catering to the increased demand for gluten free items on their menus. To find restaurants with gluten free offerings in most areas you can simply enter the "zip code gluten free" example for Durham: 27705 gluten free. This yields a list of 381,000 listings related to gluten free in this zip code and several of them are restaurants with gluten free options. But are all gluten free menus created equal? Who provides the over site of gluten free food procurement, preparation and training of all restaurant staff?

Within the Celiac/Gluten Free Community there are two well-respected Gluten-Free Restaurant Training Programs that partner with Restaurants to provide training. They include:

Gluten-Free Awareness Restaurant Program

GREAT Gluten Fee Kitchens Program

By accessing either of the above sites you can find listings of independent restaurants and chains that have taken the steps to provide proper training to the kitchen staff and adhere to some quality standards for gluten free menu items. In addition if you own a restaurant or work in the food service industry you may want to explore the resources available to you as you plan your gluten free menu offerings.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gluten Free in NC

I was in Asheville recently where I attended an education event for dietitians with featured speaker Shelley Case ,RD,  who is one of the leaders in the area of Gluten Disorders.  I figured if Shelley could come to us all the way from her home in Canada I could drive a few hours from Durham.   Check out Shelley's website it is an invaluable resource!  The seminar was followed the next day with a Gluten Free Expo in downtown Asheville.  Lots of goodies to taste, vendors to meet and an expert panel of health professionals and support group leaders.  While at the expo I met Jeff SanGeorge who is heading up the website Gluten Free in NC.  Jeff and his family have a passion for food and creating awareness about the gluten free diet.  He lives in Greensboro, NC.  Check out his site as it covers topics and tips throughout the state of NC .

Speaking of Gluten Free Expos, I have heard that Raleigh will be hosting their very own in August 2012.  Details to follow....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brunch down the Road in Chapel Hill, Weathervane-Restaurant Review

This weekend some friends  and  I traveled the short distance down 15-501 to Chapel Hill for brunch at Weathervane Restaurant which is located in A Southern Season Store.  It had been several years since I had eaten at Weathervane and was happy to see that their brunch menu denoted items that were gluten free with the GF symbol. They also note dairy free DF, Vegetarian V and Vegan V+ options. .
My gluten free options  for the Saturday brunch menu were limited to the salads and soups available on the menu.  I selected the combo salad platter for 12.99 and chose the almond chicken salad, the black bean-corn salad and the Asian glass noodle salad.  BUT please note after further conversation with my server I learned that the Asian Glass noodle salad actually has regular soy sauce as one of it's ingredients and thus is REALLY NOT GLUTEN FREE.  Instead I chose a gluten free tomato soup option.  This was just another reminder that those of us who need to follow a strict gluten free diet, must still ask those necessary questions even when something is labeled gluten free. My meal was great and I would recommend eating at Weathervane; I think perhaps they just had their menus printed too quickly and then realized that "aha most soy sauces actually contain wheat" and they have not updated their brunch menu to reflect this.  A look at the lunch and dinner menus also offer a variety of other gluten free options available for patrons. 

 A Southern Season is a well known specialty store that carries gourmet food items, wine, housewares, as well as some gluten free goodies.  A quick walk through the store and you spot: gluten free pasta, gluten free cookies and various baking mixes .  A  Southern Season also offers various cooking schools, and may offer some opportunities for gluten free cooking or baking classes. 

Store Information:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8am - 9pm / Monday - Thursday
8am - 10pm / Friday
Brunch & Dinner
8am - 10pm / Saturday
10am - 9pm / Sunday

University Mall
201 S. Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Support for Following a Gluten Free Diet

It has been awhile since I have completed a blog post.  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease six years ago and have been blogging about living GF in Durham for the last three years.  Since my diagnosis there has been an information explosion in print, internet and other media related to gluten free living. The frequency of my blog posts have slowed as I have hit many highlights about gluten free options in Durham.  GF living for me has become second nature.  I stopped to ask myself am I running out of things to say?  Are these posts helpful to others?  Well I recently received an email from a reader, who reminded me how important support and accurate information is when trying to navigate a gluten free diet.
 Following is part of this email:

 I just wanted to quickly say how amazing this blog is. I just started dating a girl couple months ago who is both gluten and dairy intolerant, and other than cooking for her, I had no clue what kind of restaurants would be able to cater to her enjoyably. I just took a shot in the dark and typed in gluten free restaurants in durham and your blog came up. It has been more than helpful and informative, and I plan on taking her to curryblossom tonight. Thank you again! You are a life-saver.(used with permission)

What a reminder this was to me about my original search for information six years ago.  I looked everywhere and read everything and even talked to strangers on the phone that would share tips with me about how they lived with their Celiac Disease.    I work as a certified health and wellness coach and one thing I always ask my clients who are getting ready to make a change is "who or what is going to support you in the process?"  Support is key to a successful lifestyle change and is much needed in managing a chronic condition like Celiac Disease or navigating a strict gluten free diet due to gluten intolerance. It gives me great satisfaction that my blog posts have offered support to others and I thank a reader for taking the time to send me this email.  It has given me the inspiration to continue to post knowing that this could be a form of support for others.  I would also like to direct readers to other forms of support that are available in our area:

Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group-Meets Rex Hospital Dining Room
Email :   Pat Berger contact

Raleigh Cel-Kids Support Group-Helping Children cope with Celiac Disease

NC Faces Support Group (Food Allergic Children Excelling Safely)

Other Resources:

Find Me Gluten Free-free application for smart phones; locates gf restaurants

Gluten-Free in the Triangle Meet Up Group

Gluten Free Week at Camp Kanata
Overnight YMCA camp in Wake Forest, North Carolina scheduled for August 2012