Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gluten-free paninis and more at Vitality Bowls

I visited the new Vitality Bowls cafe in Jacksonville Beach. It's part of a chain, but this is the first one in North Florida.

The "superfood cafe" features bowls which are blends of a lot of healthy ingredients, and it seems most can be made gluten free.

However, I was most interested in their gluten-free paninis. Gluten-free bread is an option on the paninis.

I ordered a sirloin panini. It was good, but unfortunately pretty small. I was hoping for something more filling. It's also pricey. The sirloin panini is $7.99, and they added a $1 gluten-free surcharge, which would have been okay if it was bigger.

You can order a panini for a cheaper price as an addition to another menu item. I think that may be the way to go next time, to order one of their juice bar concoctions and a panini.

On the bright side, the restaurant is very aware of cross contamination issues and told me about the process they go through to make sure my panini is not contaminated with gluten. I did like that.

Vitality Bowls is an interesting place that is probably aimed at the more health-conscious crowd, as opposed to us desperately gluten-free people. But it's always nice to find another gluten-free option at the Beaches.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gluten free at the Omni

I was invited to a business lunch yesterday at Juliette's Bistro, the restaurant in the Omni hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

Since someone else was paying, I didn't say anything about my dietary issues. I figured I would just get a salad, if it came to that, and it would be fine.

When I got there, I asked the waitress if there was a gluten-free menu and she said yes and went back to get it. So I was pleased right away.

I was even more impressed when I got the menu. There was a pretty good number of gluten-free options, including sandwiches on gluten-free bread.

I always take advantage of the opportunity to order a gluten-free sandwich, so I ordered a grilled fish sandwich. It came on toasted bread with french fries, which I hadn't seen on the menu. I asked the waitress if the fries were gluten-free and she said yes.

Unfortunately, the bread immediately crumbled in my hand, like so many other gluten-free sandwiches. I had to eat it with a knife and fork. At least it was a generous portion of fish so it was a filling meal.

Despite the bread, I was pleased with the meal and the gluten-free choices. There really aren't a lot of gluten-free options downtown, at least restaurants which promote their gluten-free choices. Juliette's website doesn't mention its gluten-free menu.

Juliette's would be a particularly good option if you're looking for a dinner site before an event at the Times-Union Center, which is right across the street. It's pricey, of course, but at least it's there.