Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mixed bag of new gluten-free breakfast items

Well, gluten-free Cheerios turned out to be a disappointment, as we learned definitively this week that we can't trust the safety of them.

But on the bright side of breakfast, I did find a couple of new microwavable breakfast items at Target in the last couple of weeks, with mixed results.

The first was a line of gluten-free breakfast sandwiches made by Udi's. Now if you saw my post last week, you know I had a fantastic gluten-free breakfast sandwich in Chicago at a place called Lyfe Kitchen, and that was the first time I can remember even finding a gluten-free breakfast sandwich. So I was naturally intrigued by Udi's selections.

Of course, I didn't expect this frozen sandwich to equal the fresh breakfast sandwich at Lyfe. But unfortunately, the Udi's breakfast sandwich didn't really live up to my low expectations. I would rate it as mediocre.

On the brighter side, I also found some new breakfast cups made by Evol Foods. Now Evol is not a 100 percent gluten-free company and I don't think all of its breakfast cups are gluten free, but the two I tried do have a certified gluten-free mark on the label. And they were pretty good for a quick breakfast, I thought. I'd recommend them.

As I said, I stumbled onto these products at Target and haven't seen them anywhere else. But if you find them and are looking for quick breakfast products you can keep in the freezer, you might want to give them a try.

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Mills recalls some of its 'gluten-free' Cheerios

As you may have already heard, General Mills today announced it is going to have to recall some of its new Cheerios cereals that were supposed to be gluten free, because an error at a plant in California resulted in wheat getting into the products.

With all the problems I've been reading about the new gluten-free Cheerios, I wouldn't try them myself. And just a couple of weeks ago, a doctor at the Mayor Clinic told me that Mayo is not recommending celiac and gluten intolerant patients eat Cheerios because of questions about General Mills' testing methods for gluten in the product.

But if you are interested, here's the full press release from General Mills about the latest problem:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Beaches gluten-free shopping options growing

For Beaches residents, the gluten-free shopping options just keep growing and growing.

Native Sun opened its Jacksonville Beach store last month, and today's Times-Union reported that another organic and natural foods chain called Lucky's Market plans to open its first Jacksonville area store in Neptune Beach next year.

I finally visited the new Native Sun and I liked what I found. It seems like the cafe area is bigger than the cafe in the Baymeadows store and the grocery shelf space is smaller. However, as I walked through the aisles, it looked like all the gluten-free products I've previously found in Baymeadows are available at the Beaches store.

They even have their gluten-free bakery products available, including the doughnut bites.

As I've written before, Native Sun's director of research, Ginny Nehring, does a great job checking on products that claim to be gluten free. If you see the "no gluten added" tag on the shelf at Native Sun, you can be extremely confident that the product actually is safe.

We'll have to see what Lucky's Market brings next year. But I checked its website and it says its deli offers gluten-free items and as far as the grocery section goes, it said "we’re also working hard to expand our already large selection of gluten-free items."

So we're getting a lot of good shopping options at the Beach. Trader Joe's opened last year, and even though that store frustrates me at times, you can still find some good gluten-free stuff there at a good price, particularly their hamburger buns and bagels.

And of course Whole Foods is planning to open a Jacksonville Beach store sometime before the end of this century.

Okay, they actually say it will be in 2021, but I'm betting Whole Foods opens before that.

Now if we could just get an Aldi at the Beach, I'll be fulfilled.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gluten-free ramen noodles ranking

Looking for gluten-free ramen noodles? Well, I can't help you but CeliAct posted a roundup of the best gluten-free ramen noodles, so check it out here:

Monday, September 28, 2015

New gluten-free favorite: breakfast sandwich at LYFE Kitchen

I spent the weekend in Chicago, visiting mostly places I had gone on previous visits that served some great gluten-free options. But I did discover a new favorite on this trip.

Now one of my Chicago favorites is a doughnut shop called Do-Rite Donuts that makes gluten-free doughnuts. Since its so hard to find fresh gluten-free doughnuts, I made it a point to eat breakfast there on all three days of my last visit.

This year, after my chocolate doughnut breakfast on Friday morning, I decided that maybe I shouldn't eat doughnuts for three straight days. Another place I noticed near my hotel was a restaurant called LYFE Kitchen, which has a very extensive gluten-free menu for breakfast and lunch. So figured I'd give that a try on Saturday

LYFE Kitchen is a relatively small chain with restaurants in Illinois, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas. It features locally sourced ingredients and socially responsible practices. I appreciate socially responsible restaurants but the truth is, just give me great-tasting gluten-free food and I'll be a loyal customer.

I ordered a gluten-free turkey sausage and egg breakfast sandwich on a gluten-free English muffin. I think that may be the first time I've seen a gluten-free breakfast sandwich on a menu, so it was an easy choice.

And guess what? It was fantastic! I absolutely loved it. In fact, it was so good that I scrapped my plan to go back to Do-Rite Donuts (no offense to them) and instead got another turkey sausage and egg sandwich on Sunday morning.

Yes, it was that good that I preferred that sandwich over a doughnut.

I should also mention that it came with a side of fruit, which I didn't even notice on the menu.

So next time I'm in Chicago, or anywhere else with a LYFE Kitchen, I'll be back for more. And I may even try a gluten-free lunch there on my next visit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Red Robin finally looking at Jacksonville

It looks like Red Robin will finally be coming to Jacksonville.

A report today in the Financial News and Daily Record says that the hamburger restaurant chain is looking at sites for a restaurant in Jacksonville, particularly, of course, in the St. Johns Town Center area.

I consider this good news because Red Robin is one of the most gluten-free friendly major chains out there, and I've been waiting for them to come to Jacksonville. I've had good experiences eating there in other cities.

You can get a burger on a gluten-free bun and the "bottomless" French fries are also usually gluten free, but I would advise checking with the restaurant staff to be sure about that.

I recall when I got my bill at a Red Robin in Tampa, I noticed it had "ALLERGY ALERT" in big letters printed three times. So yes, I do believe they were paying attention when I told them I have a gluten "allergy."

Of course, it will probably still be a while, but I'm looking forward to Red Robin opening here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Gluten and allergen free event scheduled for November

I don't have all the details yet, but there will be a Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Jacksonville in November for the second straight year.

Last year's event was held at the Hyatt downtown, but this year's event on Nov. 14 is scheduled for the Prime Osborn Convention Center, so it looks like it will be a bigger event this year.

If you're never been to one of these expos, it can be a great opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers and also to sample a lot of gluten-free products. Generally, there will be rows of vendors offering samples.

You can read more about it here: