Coyote Kitchen in Boone NC

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Coyote Kitchen is hands down my favorite restaurant in the whole world.  And that’s not an exaggeration.  I have been in love with this place since my college days at Appalachian State.  Coyote Kitchen serves “Southwest Caribbean Soulfood” that is super flavorful and has eclectic ingredient combinations.

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They cater to customers with specific dietary needs such as gluten free or vegan, and serve antibiotic/hormone free meats!

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Eating gluten free at Coyote Kitchen is a breeze.  With the exception of their flour tortillas for the burritos, the majority of their food is gluten free.  They even have a designated gluten free fryer, so the french fries and corn chips are a go!

Their sweet potato fries are to die for. (I’d like to think of myself as a connoisseur of sweet potato fries).  Sweet, savory, crunchy and smokey with a kick.  And their house chipotle ranch is the icing on the cake.  I dare you to not eat the whole plate.

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I used to always order one of their massive burritos but now that I’m gluten free, I’ve started ordering their boats, which are equally as massive.  Listen to these ingredients:  coconut rice, roasted sweet potatoes, grilled pineapple, fried plantations…this place knows what they’re doing.

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This time I ordered the MOAB and had them replace the tofu with tempeh.

If you’re going to go the soy route, definitely stick with tempeh over tofu.  Tempeh is fermented while tofu is unfermented and can actual do more harm than good to your body. (especially to your thyroid)

Here she is.. in all her glory!

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Their portions are HUGE so I always have yummy leftovers for the next day.

If you are ever in the Boone NC area, I beg you to go try this place.  This foodie is a fan for life.

-glutenfreemrs-

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FARM BURGER, Atlanta GA

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While down in G.A. for Christmas, the husband and I stopped in for lunch at FARM BURGER in Dunwoody.  They offer grass-fed beef and hormone free meat and produce from local farms.  While their fries are not gluten free (fried in same oil as non gluten free items), they do offer gluten free buns!

You had me at grass-fed!

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FARM BURGER provides a fun, casual dining experience and even has an ice cream bar!

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You can sit at a table or at the food bar to get in on all of the action.

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Even though they specialize in grass-fed beef, I opted for a chicken burger (I know, why?!) I had eaten a lot of beef that week, ok!?  They offer specialty burgers on their menu but I decided to build my own.  I ordered a chicken burger on a gluten free bun with sauteed mushrooms, garlic and wait for it…goat cheese.

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Unlike many gluten free buns, their bun did not get soggy or fall apart on me! I was impressed.  My chicken was moist, yet had a crispy sear on the outside.  And you can’t go wrong with mushrooms and goat cheese.  I could live off of goat cheese.

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We loved our burgers and will most definitely return again.  FARM BURGER also has locations in Decatur and Buckhead as well as Asheville, NC.

Finding restaurants that serve grass-fed/hormone and antibiotic free meat is such rarity these days, so I give this place a solid 10!

-glutenfreemrs-

TRUE Crafted Pizza, Charlotte NC

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TRUE Crafted Pizza is a locally owned pizza joint located in the Stonecrest Shopping Center that has been open for almost a year.  They just recently started offering gluten free pizzas so the husband and I checked this place out over the holidays.

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This is a great promise indeed.

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As we were ordering we noticed an old Hollywood movie being played on a projector. How cool is that?!

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This place has a fun, family-friendly environment.

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Even got to spy on this guy while waiting for our food.

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I ordered the Gluten Free Four Cheese White Pizza which was topped with mozzarella, fresh ricotta, fontina and parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil.  I also added broccoli rabe to mine.

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The crust was thin, crunchy and perfectly baked.  The husband couldn’t even tell it was gluten free when he tried a bite! And let me tell you, they did not hold back on the broccoli rabe.

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They have other gluten free pizzas that sound amazing such as the Margherita and the Sausage and Peppers.

If you live in Charlotte and want some delicious pizza with fresh gluten free/dairy free options, this is your place.  We’ll be back for sure!

-glutenfreemrs-

F.A.R.M. Cafe in Boone

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I am so very excited to tell you about this find! Some friends and I were in Boone, N.C. this weekend to cut down trees from a Christmas tree farm.  We stopped into F.A.R.M. Cafe for lunch in Boone, not knowing anything about the organization.

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If you’re familiar with the Boone area it’s downtown across from Mast General Store where the Boone Drug used to be.

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F.A.R.M. Cafe is a “non-profit, pay-what-you-can community cafe that provides high quality and delicious meals produced from local sources whenever possible, served in a restaurant where everybody eats regardless of means.”

Their mission statement is:

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This is a donations-based cafe so they provide a suggested donation for each dish but if you are unable to donate, you can volunteer an hour of your time in exchange for your meal.  How awesome is that?!

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They purchase most of their produce from local farmers in the area and also “receive produce and other food donations from businesses and individuals within our community.”

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“The idea for F.A.R.M. Cafe began in 2009 when a group of citizens from High Country United Church of Christ who were concerned about the area’s unmet hunger needs discussed a community kitchen concept that was operating successfully in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was called One World Cafe.”

According to the 2011 U.S. Census, 20% of Watauga County residents live at or below poverty level, so this is an amazing organization to help provide healthy, affordable meals to local families.

They even offer a “pay it forward” meal token option where you can purchase a token as a gift certificate or to donate back to pay for someone else’s meal.

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The day we went for lunch, they were offering the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold day:  chili!

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The first thing I noticed was that they had all of their menu items clearly labeled with Vegan, Gluten Free and/or Dairy Free for those with dietary needs.  Man, I was in heaven!

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Obviously I couldn’t order the grilled cheese, but upon one of the server’s recommendations, I ordered half veggie/half meat chili with a garden salad.  I was incredibly impressed with the flavor of both the soup and salad.  We were all very satisfied with our meal and ready to go brave the cold air again!

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If you wanted a warm drink on your way out, they had a hot chocolate stand set up for donations.

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F.A.R.M. Cafe is “funded through direct donations of dining patrons as well as annual fundraising projects, outside contributors and grants,” so if you are interested in donating to this amazing movement, check out this WISH LIST from their website.

Go check this place out if you’re ever in the Boone area for lunch! You’ll be helping a great cause and eating some delicious, healthy food.

-glutenfreemrs-

Cross Contamination at Mexican Restaurants

imageRecently I have discovered yet another question that needs to be asked.  Even though a restaurant might serve corn chips, which are gluten free, do they fry it in the same oil as flour tortillas or anything breaded? If corn chips (or anything for that matter) are fried in the same oil as anything with flour or anything that has been breaded, they are no longer gluten free.  This is called cross contamination.

I guess I just assumed if a restaurant says they serve corn chips, or says that their corn chips are gluten free that they would be.  That’s not always the case. I don’t usually like to call negative attention to a restaurant, but I’d like to share the experience I had to bring more awareness to this situation.

The husband and I were in Asheville, N.C. a few weeks ago and decided to eat at a local Mexican restaurant called Salsa’s.  We have eaten there several times and love their unique, flavorful food and fun dining experience.  They are known for being gluten free friendly and having many gluten free options.

The husband and I split the Steak Molcajetes which is “a hot lava rock bowl filled with yummy goodness… served w/roasted veggies, cilantro & pozole on top, a side plate of rice, beans, and salsa.  It’s amazing.  I ordered a side of corn chips and salsa as well.

I ate a few bites of chips with salsa and could tell they had just been fried.  I had a weird gut feeling and asked our server if the corn chips were fried in the same oil as the flour tortillas.  She said yes.  I told her (as nicely as I could) that they are not gluten free if they’re fried in the same oil as flour tortillas or anything breaded.

I’m just thankful I asked when I did and didn’t eat a whole basket of chips filled with gluten! Hopefully they might make some changes to their fryer situation or to their menu because cross contamination with people with Celiac Disease is very dangerous.

After that incident, I have been doing some more research about Mexican chains and local restaurants as to which ones serve gluten free corn chips.  I hope this provides you with some clarity on whether or not you can eat the corn chips are these restaurants.

Chipotle Mexican Grill: YES!

Chipotle states their allergy information very clearly in this Special Diet Information Grid.  They clearly show that the only food they serve that contains gluten is their flour tortillas.  I’m very impressed with the fact that they have one fryer and the only thing that goes in it are corn tortillas and corn taco shells.  I even got a speedy response back from a customer service representative.  When I wrote asking about their fryer situation, a woman named Olivia kindly responded, “Thank you for taking the time to write. I am happy to inform you that none of our restaurants fry flour tortillas in our fryer. Both the chips and the crispy taco shells are corn tortillas, therefore those ingredients are gluten-free. I hope this helps!”  Chipotle also strives towards using local, organic ingredients and hormone free meat.

Moes Southwest Grill: NO!

Moes also has an Allergen Grid that is very helpful.  While they do serve corn taco shells and corn chips, their grid shows that those both contain wheat/gluten.  I spoke with a manager there and she said they fry their flour and corn tortillas in the same fryer oil.  Their grid shows that nothing else has gluten in it except for their flour tortillas/chips and cookies, so there’s no hidden gluten in any of their ingredients.  I love that their meat and cheese is hormone free and that their beef is grass fed!

On The Border:  NO!

On The Border has a downloadable Allergen PDF that has menu options for those with various allergies (gluten, peanut, egg, fish, etc.)  On the top of their allergen site it states, “Please be aware that during normal kitchen operations involving shared cooking and preparation areas, including common fryer oil, the possibility exists for food items to come in contact with other food products.”  I called and asked if they serve corn or flour chips.  While they do serve corn chips, the person I spoke with confirmed that they do use the same fryer oil for corn and flour tortillas.

Salsaritas Fresh Cantina:  NO!

Salsaritas provides an Allergen Grid on their website as well.  While their grid does not show that there is gluten/wheat in their corn chips or fried corn tortillas, they provide a ** beside all corn tortilla items that states that “corn & wheat tortillas are fried in the same oil creating potential gluten transfer in cooking process. The materiality of this potential transfer should be assessed on a personal basis.”  Something else to be cautious of when eating there is the following items (aside from the flour and corn tortilla items) are listed to contain gluten:  pork, shrimp, refried beans, biscuit, flavored sour cream, and chocolate chip cookies.

Qdoba Mexican Grill:  NO!

Qdoba provides an Allergen Information in a downloadable form.  Their site provides an “X” for items containing gluten and a “triangle” for items that may contain gluten.  The items that may contain gluten are their corn chips, corn taco shells, and corn tortilla strips.  Their website states, “Fryer oil has contact with product containing wheat ingredients.”  Some other items that are listed to contain or may contain gluten (aside from their flour and corn tortillas) is their cheese (really??), ancho chili BBQ sauce, potatoes and brownies.

Pacos Tacos and Tequila:  YES!

This is a restaurant we have in Charlotte that has several other locations around the U.S.  It is delicious and they were featured during Charlotte Restaurant Week.  Here is their menu.  While their website does not provide allergen information, I called and spoke with a manager and she reported that they have a separate fryer for their corn chips, so they are gluten free!  If you live near the Charlotte area and haven’t been here, I highly recommend it.

Cabo Fish Taco:  NO!

Cabo is local Charlotte Mexican restaurant that has been featured on The Food Network.  They do not have any allergy information provided on their website.  I called and spoke with a manager and he confirmed that they do serve corn chips but they are not gluten free.  He told me that their manufacturer of the chips has reported to them that there is a small amount of gluten in their chips.  They don’t have soft corn tortillas an an option there, so if you go be ready to get a burrito bowl or a salad.

Cantina Fifteen Eleven:  YES!

Cantina is one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants in Charlotte.  I wrote a blog about Cantina a few months ago.  While they don’t have allergy information listed on their website, I called and spoke with a woman who works there and she reported that they have corn chips as a gluten free option.  They do not fry their chips there but receive them bagged.  They’re not served warm but they are safe!

Loco Lime:  No!

Loco Lime is another great Mexican Restaurant in Charlotte.  They don’t have their allergy information listed on their website, so I called and asked about their fryers.  The woman I spoke with confirmed with her manager that they do use the same fryers for corn and flour tortillas.

Phew! That’s all I’ve got for now!

If you are GF, I hope you don’t feel defeated after reading this, but inspired with the knowledge to know where to go if you want to eat chips at a Mexican restaurant.  I mean, it’s kinda the best part of the meal (at least for me it is!) For those restaurants that don’t serve gluten free chips, don’t forget you can always order soft corn tortillas (they aren’t fried), and that is always a safe, gluten free option.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions or make any comments you may have!

-glutenfreemrs-

Zoe’s Kitchen

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Zoe’s Kitchen is a great restaurant that the husband and I frequent often.  They have fresh ingredients with a Mediterranean flare from Greek salads to hummus to kabobs.  Zoe’s Kitchen has a fun, family friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices for their fresh options.

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I love that they have a separate gluten free menu as well as 500 calorie, vegan and vegetarian menus!

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(Please disregard the three week old nail polish on my thumb!)  =o

I usually get a kabob meal because they give you the best bang for your buck.  If you are gluten free, make sure you definitely order from the separate menu because the sides listed with the entree items are different on the regular menu.  For instance, the shrimp kabobs normally come with a side of their rice pilaf, but since it’s not gluten free, the gluten free kabobs come with different side options, such as the braised white beans or potato salad.

Another thing I love about this place is their homemade Greek dressing that’s made daily!  Try not to use the whole bottle on your salad. 😉

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This time I ordered the shrimp kabobs from the gluten free menu and substituted the braised white beans for the potato salad (it’s soo good).  The kabobs come with an amazing cucumber raita, which is similar to tzatziki.  I also added a side of the roasted fresh vegetables (not pictured) which consisted of broccoli, carrots and onions.

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The husband and I have this thing where if he’s eating something containing gluten and it’s delicious, he tells me it’s “just plain awful.”  So for those of you who are not gluten free, he tells me their steak kabobs, pita bread and massive chocolate chip cookies are “just plain awful.” 😉

Zoe’s kitchen has lots to offer those who are gluten free, so if you have one near you, go check it out!

-glutenfreemrs-

The Tomato Head in Knoxville

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We went to a lovely wedding this weekend in Knoxville, TN.  Neither the husband nor I have ever been there before so we were excited to have the chance to explore a new city while up there for the wedding!

While at the reception, we were talking with a friend who mentioned some yummy places to get brunch in downtown Knoxville.  Since she’s gluten free as well, she mentioned a place called The Tomato Head that has lots of gluten free options and is very health oriented.  I said, “boom, we’re there.”

The downtown Knoxville area is very charming.  There were many people walking around the square, enjoying the crisp, fall weather and wide variety of restaurants.

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Once we were seated, we asked if they had a gluten free menu.  While they didn’t have a specific GF menu, our server was very knowledgeable about their gluten free options, from GF pizza crust to GF bread and tortillas.   One thing that really impressed me was their commitment to using organic and natural ingredients.

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Here’s the husband prior to his coffee. *sleepy eyes*

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With many of their menu items being gluten free, I had so many options to chose from.  Since ordering a sandwich at a restaurant is a luxury these days, I knew I wanted to order one of their unique brunch sandwiches.  I settled on the Annabelle sandwich with GF bread and the chorizo.

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One really cool option they had in the middle of the restaurant was a build your own omelet station. (not pictured) There were several chefs ready to create and cook your own personal omelet right before your eyes!

Then, came my Annabelle.

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Even though my taste buds weren’t functioning at their optimum (currently have a cold, boo) the flavors in this sandwich really blew me away.  When I’m cooking and eating, I really love for every single ingredient to be able to stand alone when it comes to flavor, so this really did it for me.  The combination of the savory chorizo, smoked chedder and roasted potatoes were complimented well by the sweet onions and tart granny smith apples.   And I can’t forget to mention the perfection that is their gluten free bread.  It felt light and fluffy like a biscuit, yet looked and tasted like an English muffin. So. Good.

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My sandwich also came with fresh fruit, which was a nice, fresh touch.

We were very impressed with everything about this restaurant and definitely will return again if we are in the area.

After eating, we did some more exploring downtown!

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Before we returning back to reality, we decided to make a little detour for lunch in downtown Hendersonville, NC. It’s a quaint little mountain town that will just steal your heart.

For lunch, we had some amazing Pad Thai at a local Asian joint called Lime Leaf. They have killer lunch specials, so if you’re ever in the area for lunch, check it out!

While strolling through downtown we stumbled upon one of my favorite ice cream stores, Kilwins.  Little did I know, the store owner has Celiac’s disease and the majority of their ice cream flavors are gluten free!! (with the exception of flavors with cookies, caramel, brownies, etc.)  They had a list printed out of all of their GF ice cream flavors to chose from.  Did you also know they use hormone and antibiotic free cream?!  Even though we had just finished our Thai, I got the Cappuccino Chocolate Chip!

You can always find room for a little ice cream! 😉

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If you would like to follow me on Facebook, my page is GlutenFreeMrs

‘Til next time!

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