Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Papa Johns now offering GF pizza

Papa Johns is the latest pizza chain to introduce gluten-free pizza, so of course I gave it a try.

Now I know you probably saw headlines about how Papa Johns said its gluten-free pizza isn't safe. Here's my take on that, which you may or may not agree with.

Basically, Papa Johns' procedures are the same as every other delivery/carry out chain. None of them have facilities that can guarantee a gluten-free pizza absolutely free of cross contamination. That doesn't mean the pizza isn't safe, just that they can't provide a guarantee. This is what the company said in its announcement:

"Operationally, Papa John’s employs procedures to prevent contact with gluten, and while the crust is prepared in a separate, gluten-free facility before being shipped to stores, it is possible that a pizza with gluten-free crust could be exposed to gluten during the in-store, pizza-making process. Therefore, the brand does not recommend its Gluten-Free Crust made with Ancient Grains for customers with Celiac Disease or serious gluten intolerances."

I have celiac and I'm still going to try it. I really, seriously believe that any contamination, if at all, will be okay and be below the 20 ppm standard. Everybody needs to make their own decision about how comfortable they feel, but that's my take.

So anyway, what about the pizza? I would rate it okay -- not great. The crust (made of sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa) was decent, but the ingredients didn't have as much flavor as I would have hoped.

The best thing about Papa Johns is the price. They are charging $9.99 for a two-topping gluten-free pizza, but they have a lot of specials where you can get a pizza for 50 percent off. And in my case, Papa Johns is the closest pizza place to my home offering a gluten-free pizza.

And no, I felt no ill effects after eating it. I will probably try it again when I want a cheap, quick pizza.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Red Robin finally in Jacksonville.

I've been waiting for years for Red Robin to come to Jacksonville, and the hamburger restaurant finally opened a Jacksonville location a couple of weeks ago at the St. Johns Town Center.

There's two things that make Red Robin very appealing: they offer gluten-free buns as an option for $1 extra, which isn't too bad considering the surcharge at other places. And, they say their french fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer and are gluten free.

Also, the french fries are "bottomless," so you can get more if you want them.

You can also get an Omission Beer, which some people want to avoid but if you're okay with Omission, that makes Red Robin one of the few places you can go for a gluten-free burger, fries and a beer.

So I went last night to the new Red Robin and it was everything I hoped it would be, for the most part. The best part was when I ordered another plate of fries, it came almost instantaneously. It was very impressive.

The one drawback to the restaurant was trying to get allergen information. There are numerous burger options and I was interested in one called "Red's Tavern Double" that included "Red's Secret Tavern Sauce." I asked the server if the sauce was gluten free and he went to the kitchen to ask, but nobody had an answer. So I just ordered a conventional burger.

Your best bet is to check on the menu online (www.redrobin.com) before you go. The menu has a link to an allergen check, but it doesn't seem to work so well. I found the best way to get to the allergen menu is to go there directly at www.redrobin.com/allergen-customizer.html

Just click on "gluten" as your allergen (or whatever other allergens you need to check) and go to the menu from there to find out what you can eat.

I have visited Red Robin in other cities, and I'm glad we finally have one in Jacksonville.