Thursday, September 29, 2011

A few of my favorite places

For those of you who didn't read my previous blog, let me tell you about some of the favorite gluten-free places I've found in Jacksonville in my nine months of gluten-free living.

Pizza: I've spent a lot of time writing about gluten-free pizza, because I can't live without pizza. Fortunately, there are a number of choices in the Jacksonville area. I do frequent Mellow Mushroom, where you can not only get gluten-free pizza but also gluten-free Bard's beer.
Another place you can go for gluten-free pizza and beer (RedBridge) is the new BJ's Brewhouse in front of Costco on Gate Parkway. I've only been once but I liked it.
Tommy's Brick Oven Pizza on Southside Boulevard is another place to get a good gluten-free pizza, and Brucci's Pizza has has gluten-free at its three area locations.
I particularly enjoyed California Pizza Kitchen's gluten-free pizza, but it turns out the chain didn't quite understand cross-contamination issues when it launched its gf pizza menu in June. At last report, it had pulled the gluten-free pizza from the menu while it addresses the problem. Now that I'm blogging again, I hope to post an update on CPK soon.

Sandwiches: There are two places I go that offer sandwiches on gluten-free bread. One is Jason's Deli, which has a gluten-free menu that allows you to build your own sandwich. The other is European Street Cafe, which servces gluten-free bread from the Cookie Momsters bakery in Jacksonville. European Street has the added bonus of serving gluten-free beers. The beer selection seems to vary by European Street location, but I enjoy visiting the Jacksonville Beach restaurant because it has three different varieties of gluten-free beer.

Mexican: TacoLu in Jacksonville Beach has become a favorite spot of mine. You can ask for gluten-free tortilla chips and get many of their specialty tacos on a corn tortilla. The staff is well aware of the requirements of gluten-free diners.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a good fast-food spot for gluten-free tacos in corn taco shells.

Chinese: P.F.Chang's China Bistro not only has a large gluten-free menu but also has a special area in the kitchen to ensure that the gluten-free dishes are separated from the other meals being prepared.

Seafood: Bonefish Grill in Mandarin hosted a gluten-free diner for myself and a group of celiacs several months ago, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Not only can you get a good selection of appetizers and main courses, but it also offers gluten-free bread. It's the only restaurant I know of that offers gluten-free bread to accompany a meal.

Italian: At least two restaurants in the area offer gluten-free pasta dishes: Enza's Italian Restaurant and Maggiano's Little Italy.

Breakfast: First Watch, a chain that recently opened its first Jacksonville locations, is the only restaurant that I know of that has a gluten-free breakfast menu. There are no gluten-free pancakes or french toast, but there are plenty of omelet options and other dishes.

Burgers: Five Guys has become my favorite burger place. You have to bring your own bun, which I do, but the burgers and fries are gluten free.

All gluten-free: The Present Moment cafe in St. Augustine is an organic, vegetarian cafe, and everything on the menu is gluten-free! I only went once, but it was delicious.

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