Monday, June 30, 2014

Glutened again....lesson learned

I was glutened over the weekend. I didn't get seriously ill or anything, but of course it was a bad situation and taught me a lesson about being more careful.

It happened at Mellow Mushroom in Jacksonville Beach, which is normally a reliable gluten-free place. I wrote a month ago about how happy I was to see that they had a gluten-free beer on tap, Prairie Path.

So I went there and ordered a Prairie Path with my pizza. As I was finishing the pizza, I ordered another Prairie Path and was informed that they were out of Prairie Path and had given me a different beer.

Of course, I was horrified and let them know that. The short story is, there was miscommunication among the bartenders which resulted in them serving me a normal beer.

To their credit, the restaurant handled it well. The manager came to talk to me and was very concerned and gave me his card to call him if I did require medical treatment. I knew that wouldn't happen, and I told him that I would probably feel lousy but I wouldn't get seriously ill.

He picked up the tab for my meal and gave me a $20 gift card to come back again. And he said he would call me when they got Prairie Path back in.

This is the first time I've been glutened since the awful incident at a Jaguars game last fall. If you didn't read my account of that, check out my Times-Union column about the incident here. Jaguars management also took that seriously and I hope they will have a better gluten-free program this season.

Here's the lesson I took away from the Mellow Mushroom incident. Everywhere else I go to drink beer only has gluten-free bottled beer. So, I never have to worry about what I'm being served. I can see what the bottle is.

With a draft beer, we really have no idea if what's in the glass is exactly what we ordered. I should have double-checked when they handed it to me: "This is a gluten-free Prairie Path, right?" I've had to ask questions like that when I was served food and wasn't so sure it was gluten free. I really can't take anything for granted.

So, I'll take that lesson away, and hopefully Mellow Mushroom also learned a lesson about being more careful with its gluten-free clientele.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Italy sounds like gluten-free heaven, according to the NYT

I visited Italy about 10 years ago and I would love to go back one of these days, but of course my gluten-free diet makes me hesitant to go any place where I'm not sure I can find anything to eat.

I've heard anecdotally that there are many Italian restaurant with good gluten-free programs, but this story today in the New York Times clinches it. Now I have to find a way to get back there.

It really makes Italy sound like gluten-free heaven.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Canyon Bakehouse breads coming to Target

Canyon Bakehouse announced yesterday that its gluten-free bread line will be available in all U.S. Target stores.

This is good news because Canyon Bakehouse products, particularly its hamburger buns, have long been a favorite of mine but aren't always easy to find. I've bought them mostly at Native Sun.

I'm also hoping to find good prices on the products at Target.

Canyon Bakehouse buns were basically the first hamburger buns I found that didn't crumble in my hands. Udi's buns have gotten a lot better recently, but I still rank Canyon Bakehouse at the top.

Canyon Bakehouse's full line of bread varieties include: 7-Grain bread, Mountain White, Deli Rye Style, Cinnamon Raisin, Hamburger Buns, and Hot Dog Buns.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gluten-free cookie warning

I saw a couple of blog posts last week about a supposed gluten-free cookie brand called Bart and Judy's, but I didn't worry about it because I had never seen them for sale around Jacksonville.

However, I stopped by The Fresh Market this morning and I did see Bart and Judy's cookies on the shelf, so I guess I should pass this on.

Basically, Gluten Free Watchdog, a company that tests products for its gluten contents, found that Bart and Judy's cookies exceeded the 20 ppm standard set by the FDA to determine if foods are safe for celiacs.

You can read more about it on this report from

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Great burger at Moxie, but the bun crumbles

I finally made it to Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails at the St. Johns Town Center to try its gluten-free burger.

I've been wanting to try it since Tom Gray, the chef who runs Moxie, told me about it a few months ago. A couple of things held me back: one is that Moxie is pricey; the second is that I was told the fries weren't gluten free.

However, I finally went yesterday, prepared to have a side salad or whatever with my burger.

I got the gluten-free menu at the restaurant and was surprised to see it listed the burger with fries. I asked the server, who didn't seem very knowledgeable about the gluten-free menu. So I asked her to check with the kitchen.

She came back and said, yes, the fries are gluten free. So I was happy to order my burger and fries.

There are actually a lot of options on the gluten-free menu. I'd love to tell you more about it but I was basically fixated on getting a burger, so I didn't really look it over. The gluten-free menu is not posted on the Moxie website.

The burger was absolutely delicious. According to the menu, it's a beef-pork-bacon blend. It worked for me.

However, the bun didn't. I ran into that age-old gluten-free problem. The bun crumbled in my hands.

I've had a lot of good luck with gluten-free buns lately, both at restaurants and even in the Udi's buns I buy at Publix. I was pretty optimistic that the general state of gluten-free buns was improving, so I was disappointed in this bun.

The burger cost $14, which is a lot for a burger, obviously. The good news is, when I sat down, they offered me a bottle of complimentary sparkling water which they said is made in-house. So I didn't pay for a beverage. That brought the total bill to $14.98 with tax.

Anyway, despite the bun problem, I did enjoy the burger and the gluten-free menu looks very good. So I would recommend Moxie.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Glutino recalls Rosemary and Olive Oil crackers

Last month, I told you how I liked some Rosemary and Olive Oil crackers that Glutino sent me. However, today I got some bad news: Glutino initiated a voluntary recall of those crackers because of possible salmonella contamination in the seasoning.

Glutino assures me that the batch I got was safe. It says those crackers with a "best buy" date of Oct. 26, 2014, stamped on the box are subject to the recall.

The company said the recall was initiated because the seasoning supplier, Kerry Ingredients, recalled the seasoning blend used in the crackers because of possible salmonella  contamination.

If you have a package with that date, you can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Hey, at least they weren't recalled because of gluten.