It’s always a pleasure to get restaurant recommendations from readers. But I need to acknowledge another group that has been sending a lot of great information my way: my non-celiac friends. Blessed with eagle eyes, they are sharp when it comes to picking up gluten-free news, and thoughtful when it comes to passing it along.
My friend Leslie, author of The Ladiesâ€™ Room Reader Quiz Book: 1,000 Questions and Answers About Women and the Things They Love, has a particularly keen eye. While researching a story on Tampa, Florida, she discovered that the Lee Roy Selmonâ€™s restaurant chain (named for the first Tampa Bay Buccaneer enshrined in the National Football Leagueâ€™s Hall of Fame) has an extensive gluten-free menu. Another of her finds is CafÃ© Formaggio, a Long Island, NY, restaurant that serves gluten-free pasta, pizza, brownies, and beer. Her most unusual discovery so far has been Chiarelliâ€™s Religious Goods, also on Long Island, which makes gluten-free Communion wafers. Leslie also discovered the impressive Gluten Free Diet Center on Eating Wellâ€™s website, which includes extensive information about the diet, many recipes, and a Q&A with the executive director of the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Another friend â€” Yvonne, author of The Everything Family Christmas Book: Stories, Songs, Recipes, Crafts, Traditions, and More â€” told me about a new cafe in Calgary, Alberta: Primal Grounds Cappuccino Bar & Eatery. It has two locations and a broad list of gluten-free meal options that includes curry pineapple chicken, shepherd’s pie, and beef lasagna, as well as sandwiches that can be prepared with rice bread.
Jenna, who co-writes The Haiku Diaries, found out that Firefly restaurant in Washington, D.C., offers a glamorous menu for gluten-free gourmets, and that Panzano, an Italian restaurant in Denver, bakes gluten-free focaccia. Both properties are owned by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
Stephanie, who lives in Toronto, passes along the names of celiac-friendly restaurants she hears about from a co-worker who has celiac disease. She was the one who told me about Four, which I wrote about in June. One spot she told me about recently is Mio RistoBar, which is located in Torontoâ€™s Financial District and offers gluten-free pasta and entrees.
Some of my friends find gluten-free spots even when theyâ€™re not looking for them. Ellen was taking her kids to the optometristâ€™s when she passed an Italian restaurant offering a gluten-free menu. It turned out that the restaurant, Sambuca, was one Iâ€™ve dined at but havenâ€™t yet written about for this site; itâ€™s an institution on Manhattanâ€™s Upper West Side.
As I was finishing off this column, my sister-in-law Michelle e-mailed me about gluten-free recipes from Gourmet magazine, including one for chocolate chip cookies and one for lemon layer cake. The recipes are from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts, a book that has just been reissued. That reminded me of all of the help Iâ€™ve had from certain family membersâ€¦ but that will have to wait for another time.
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Iâ€™m leaving for Turkey tomorrow (November 6th), so this blog will be quiet for the next two weeks. But I will be back after that to share my latest finds.