Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gluten-free pancake at Another Broken Egg

I made my first visit to the new Another Broken Egg Cafe in Tapestry Park yesterday.

I've been waiting for this to open. Every time a restaurant chain announces it is coming to Jacksonville, I check out the menu to see if it will be gluten-free friendly. And when I saw Another Broken Egg's menu, something jumped out at me: a Gluten-Free Jumbo Pancake!

I don't know of any other restaurant in Jacksonville that offers gluten-free pancakes.

So of course, that's what I had. It was one large, kind of thin pancake. I would rate it as just okay, not great. There was nothing wrong with it, but nothing great about it either. Except the fact that I could order a gluten-free pancake in a restaurant.

The menu also has several omelettes, all of which can be made gluten free "friendly," it says.

The menu warns that the restaurant does not have a 100 percent gluten-free kitchen, which is no surprise. That's why it refers to items as "gluten-free friendly."

So, I wouldn't call this a must-visit place for a gluten-free breakfast. But if you're looking for a place to go with family and friends for a gluten-free breakfast, this is a good choice.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More gluten-free spots coming to Jacksonville

A couple of notes I picked up at the Gluten Free & Allergen Free Wellness Event about new gluten-free spots coming soon to Jacksonville.

One is a gluten-free coffee shop coming to the Avondale area called Southern Roots Filling Station. Owner Mariah Goelz had a booth at the event and said the shop will offer quick, healthy food options.

While there will be some non-gluten-free items available, "everything we make in house will be gluten free," she said.

Goelz currently markets products under the brand Southern Roots Apothecary, so I was able to sample a double chocolate chip cookie. I think she'll have some good stuff at the shop.

Another local shop coming soon is Sweet Pete's, which as you probably know is renovating the old Seminole Club building in downtown Jacksonville for a candy shop and a full-service bar and restaurant.

The Financial News & Daily Record has reported that plans filed with the city indicate the restaurant will be a gluten-free cafe.

Sweet Pete's had some candy samples at the event -- according to its website, most, but not all, of its candy is gluten free -- but didn't have anyone there to talk about its plans. A promotional card offered with the candy said the restaurant is coming soon, but didn't say anything about it being gluten free. This will bear watching.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Good stuff at gluten-free event

I hope a lot of you found your way to the Gluten Free & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Jacksonville yesterday. There was a lot of good stuff to see.

I'll be writing about some other stuff in the coming days but perhaps the most interesting news for me came from a representative of the Celiac Support Association who is interested in starting a support group in Jacksonville.

Of course, we have had a Celiac Support Group of Jacksonville, which I have been heavily involved in, but the group has been dormant in recent months for a number of reasons, including a lack of a venue.

With this national association interested, as well as interest from the Mayo Clinic of possibly getting involved, I'm confident that we will get a support group going again in 2015. If you've never been to a celiac support group, it's an opportunity to not only get information on the disease and the gluten-free diet from other celiacs, but also just to commiserate about our condition. I don't like to whine about it, and I'm sure a lot of you don't like to either, but sometimes you just need to whine and everyone in the group understands.

I'll keep you posted on further developments but in the meantime, if you're interested in joining a support group, please send me an email.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reminder: Gluten-free expo coming up Saturday

Just a reminder, if you haven't made plans already, that the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event is coming up this Saturday at the Hyatt in downtown Jacksonville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will feature speakers, as well as an exposition of vendors showing off their gluten-free products.

This is the first event of this kind in Jacksonville. I've been to gluten-free expos in other cities and they are always a lot of fun and very informative. I'd encourage anyone on a gluten-free diet to attend. If I can give up a few hours of football on a Saturday afternoon in the fall, anyone can.

For more information, visit the event's website: http://gfafwellnessevent.com/

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mayo Clinic studying celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity

I recently met with Dr. Maria Vazquez Roque, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville who specializes in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

She told me about two studies going on through Mayo that you might be interested in. One is on gluten sensitivity for people who do not have celiac disease. This study is centered on understanding gluten sensitivity and how symptoms develop.

If you are interested in possibly participating in that study, you can call the study's coordinator, Jonathan Wright, at (904) 953-2014.

The other study is an ongoing examination of celiac disease done by Mayo and other organizations. This study focuses on celiacs who have been on a gluten-free diet for more than 12 months but continue to have symptoms.

You can find more on that study through its website, www.celiactionstudy.com, or by calling Verna Skinner at (904) 953-0703.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Extend Nutrition's new bars are gluten-free AND sugar free

Extend Nutrition sent me samples of two new bars which are not only gluten free, but also sugar free.

I've been complaining forever about the sugar content of gluten-free snacks and have wondered why more companies don't offer sugar-free products that are also gluten free. If I only had any baking skills myself, I would probably be trying to sell a line of gluten-free, sugar-free cookies.

Anyway, Extend's products are promoted to stabilize blood sugar, but all of the company's products are also gluten free.

The new sugar-free bars come in two varieties, Cookies & Cream and Chocolate & Caramel. They're both great, although I liked the Cookies & Cream bar better.

The 1.48-ounce bars have 130 to 140 calories.

I haven't seen these particular bars on the shelf, but Extend products are available in Publix and Winn-Dixie stores, among other places. If you're looking for a sugar-free snack, you might want to give these a try.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hungry Howie's offers gluten-free pizza, with a warning.

Hungry Howie's Pizza this week became the latest chain to offer a gluten-free pizza crust, but with a warning.

The company said if you have celiac disease, this pizza "is not for you."

"Because Hungry Howie's Pizza prides itself on making pizza dough fresh in-store daily, the new gluten-free crust is not suitable for those with celiac disease, as trace amounts of gluten can be found in kitchen areas where the crust is made. However, those who prefer gluten-free food items because of dietary choice or mild gluten sensitivity can enjoy the brand's new crust," it said.

This sounds like Domino's Pizza's gluten-free disclaimer. I've had Domino's pizza with no problems, and an independent company tested Domino's gluten-free pizza in several cities a couple of years ago and found no gluten or less than 20 parts per million. But I still wouldn't recommend it for people who have more severe gluten-free sensitivities. Proceed with caution at Domino's and Hungry Howie's.

As far as Hungry Howie's goes, I'm not going to try it because there are no locations near me. It seems like there used to be a lot more Hungry Howie's restaurants in the Jacksonville area, but now there are only a handful left.

Hungry Howie's gluten-free crust is available in a six-slice small pizza. The crust is made with rice flour, rice starch, potato starch, water and olive oil.