Gluten Free in the Florida Keys

Uggh… that’s so close to rhyming… ‘gluten frees in the Florida Keys’?  Nope…. it’s kinda making me crazy. Maybe I should just change it to ‘What I Ate on Vacation.’ Boring, but the almost rhyme wouldn’t bother me then. *sigh*

Anyway… so Gluten Free Stuff That I Ate on Vacation in the Florida Keys. 

The first day as we drove down the A1A (between St Augustine and the first Keys) we stopped for a picnic lunch along the beach. (Because there are sandy beaches along that stretch, but not IN the Keys.) We’re back on track with our much healither GF lunches… lunch meat, nuts, fruit and water. It’s easy to pack, way healthier, lower carb and travels nicely in the small cooler. 

The Florida Keys are filled with Gluten Free Friendly resturants. You could walk around and eat forever…. which I strongly considered… and tried to argue for, but Brian wanted to be ‘healthy’ and sight see and stuff.  ūüė©

Thank heavens for the Find Me Gluten Free App. I don’t know how any GF person can survive without it!  FMGF was filled with recommendations all throughout the Keys. 

For lunch we stopped at Marker 88 in Key Largo. They had good reviews on FMGF  and the sales guy from the Visitor Center gave us a card for 10% off. 

The food was really good and the staff was polite and helpful with ordering GF safely. They had a separate GF menu and I appreciated that the GF menu was posted on their website. It’s nice to see what’s available before you get to the restaurant. 

Brian and I were even able to stay on our Arbonne Detox plan (a little longer). Except for the Coconut Crusted Deep Fried Ice Cream that we shared for dessert…. umm… but I had to order that for you guys, right?!  I have a responsibility to my readers! 

Brian got the Shrimp Zoodles. My mom has been telling me to make zoodles for forever, but I kept resisting… they just didn’t sound yummy…. Mom was right (As usual) the zoodles were delicious! 

I ordered the Alligator Reef Salad. There’s no alligator in the salad…. but the crab, shrimp and hearts of palm were super yummy. It was served with a Mango Citrus dressing that really complimented the shrimp and crab. 

The Coconut Fried Key Lime Ice Cream sounded better than it actually was.  The coconut crust was good, but the ice cream was super frozen. Obviously it had to be really cold so it could be fried, but it made it really difficult to eat.

Marker 88
88000 Overseas Hwy
Islamorda, FL 33036

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By dinnertime I didn’t care about keeping to the detox…. I wanted pizza!  Off the Hook Grill was well recommended on the GFMF app…. for a good reason! ūü§§

Brian got the Duck BLT… made with duck bacon. OMG! Sooo good. 


I got the Lobster Pie.  It was good… but also kind of odd, but good…. I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite pizza ever.  The bits of fig and balsamic vinegar gave it a slightly sweet flavor. Not bad, but I prefer more savory pizzas. The crust was fabulous though! 

Our waitress brought me a sample of the blueberry cider from Slim Pickens Cider and Mead. (A local brewer!) I’m not normally a big cider drinker, but I couldn’t pass up blueberry. It had a nice berry flavor, but not overly sweet…. crisp.   Perfect with pizza. 

We liked the restaurant so much that Brian and I went back the following morning for breakfast. 

Brian ordered the GF pancakes. He liked them, but they weren’t my favorite. They were thick and a bit ‘biscuit’ like. 

Since we were going out on the Sailboat / Snorkel / Kayacking tour that day I didn’t want to eat anything that might upset my tummy. 

I ordered scrambled eggs and duck bacon with a side of potatoes and gf toast. The waiter was great and told us that the potatoes themselves were gf, but since they’re fried there could be cross contamination… but since we were the first customers that morning and they change their oil every day the potatoes would be safe.  I appreciate that he took the extra step to warn me that they were safe this time, but might not be next time. 

The toast seemed to just be Udi’s… I should have told them to skip the toast, but every once in a while I come across something new and yummy. 

Word of warning: the restaurant is tiny.  Seriously tiny… 18 seats at tables and about 8 at the bar. Make reservations! 

Off The Hook Grill
728 Simonton St
Key West, FL 33040
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After a fun / tiring day on the sailboat, snorkeling and kayacking we were starved. (They fed us a good lunch on the sailboat, but I tried to stay out of the after lunch snacks… and a day in the water will wear you out!) 

Brian had been craving BBQ. I argued for Mexican, but I caved when I heard that the BBQ place was closer. I was just ready to eat and then go back to the room and get cleaned up. 


The waitress gave us a separate GF menu (single sheet of paper). She didn’t seem very knowledgeable about what was GF or not. I asked if the potato salad was safe and she said she thought it should be safe because potatoes are gluten free. Ugh. We ordered the BBQ Plate for Two. All of the sauces were Gluten Free and we decided to stick with green beans for our sides since they were listed on the gf menu. 

Despite asking for a Gluten Free menu, talking about Gluten Free choices and SAYING that we were Gluten Free they still brought us a basket of cornbread. What?!? (Strangely, the only mention that I can find on their online menu about gf is that the cornbread isn’t Gluten Free… but no other mention of what is or isn’t gf. So why bother?) 

The food was good and we didn’t get sick…. I’m not confident that they had the best understanding of GF…. it seems more like the meats and sauces are gf and if you stick to those you’ll be okay. 

Charlie Mac’s 404
404 Southard St
Key West, FL 33040

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I read some delicious sounding reviews for Le Petit Paris and had insisted that we weren’t leaving Key West until I got to go there for breakfast. 


Cinnamon Rasin French Toast with cinnamon butter and walnuts. *gasp* It was syrup coated heaven! I should have asked what brand of bread they used, but I was so busy stuffing every last bite into my mouth I never managed to ask. It was absolutely delish!  


Brian ordered the GF pancakes. They were…. cute?  Four very small, strawberry decorated pancakes made up Brian’s breakfast. It was almost comical compared to my heaping plate of French Toast. Fortunately for me, Brian doesn’t like raisins, so I didn’t have to share! 

Breakfast was not inexpensive. There was a $4 up-charge for all GF orders… which seems a bit steep to me…. but, the food was delicious. So just go in knowing that you’re going to pay an arm and a leg. (It’s worth it though!) The pancakes were $12 and the French Toast was $11 before the extra $4. Strangely, my French Toast got the upcharge, but Brian’s pancakes didn’t…. I took a bite of his pancakes and didn’t have any issues, so…. 

Le Petit Paris
825 Duval St
Key West, FL 33040

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I also made an extensive search of Gluten Free Key Lime treats, but that’s a whole other post. It was challenging, but I love my readers…. Diet be damned!  I ate every gf Key Lime treat I could find…. ’cause I love you guys! ūüėĀ  Post coming soon 

Tijuana Flats

Our new house is in a new community… so there is construction going on constantly. Which is actually not as awful as I had expected it to be. ¬†Even when the house next door to our was under construction it wasn’t really noisy. ¬†There seem to be small teams of trades that come, do their part and then move on to the next house. ¬†My only problem comes from the teams that play the spunky music like you hear in the Mexican restaurants. ¬†Apparently I’ve got some Pavlovian response going on and the second I hear Mexican music I start craving nachos and salsa. ¬†I can’t help it… I can’t shut up about it either. ¬†I may be making Mom and Brian slightly crazy with my constant talk about nachos. ¬†We’ve had taco bowls for dinner twice this week! ¬†I really hope that team moves out of earshot soon. ¬†I don’t seem to have any uncontrollable cravings from country or rock music, so I should be fine soon.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on if we’re considering my detox or my crazed cravings…. Tijuana Flats just opened in Town Center. ¬†Even though I’m on this 30-day Arbonne Detox I couldn’t miss the grand opening. ¬†I checked the menu online first to make sure I wouldn’t be faced with salsa and chips as my only options… because I wouldn’t be able to resist. ¬†They actually had a really easy to read/understand Allergy Information page. ¬†(Why can’t they all be like this?!) It’s a nice chart that clearly list gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts and fish…. and best of all… says sensible things like “dairy free if ordered without cheese.” ¬†So often these charts leave you to wonder…. is there dairy/gluten in there somewhere that I’m not imagining? ¬†Would it be safe if I just didn’t get cheese on it? ¬†Is it worth the risk???

I figured I’d be safe with one of the Bowls and could even stay within most of the Detox restrictions. ¬†I’d have to forgo the chips this time… but 20 more days and everybody better stand aside!

Mom and I tried to go at lunchtime, but that was just silly. ¬†The parking lot was packed and cars and golf carts were circling the lot like…. well…. hungry sharks. ¬†To celebrate their Grand Opening, Tijuana Flats was offering free burritos…. there was no way I was going to get a parking spot at noon. ¬†Duh!

We replotted the schedule and did our grocery shopping first… on empty tummies…. Can you even imagine what I threw in the cart?!

Fortunately I was finally able to sneak into a parking space around 1:00. ¬†Mom and I darted across the parking lot, dodging golf carts all the way and were promptly blasted back by the music and chatter from inside. I feel old just for saying this…. but damn, turn the music down! The greeter at the door supplied us with menus and when I asked about a gluten free menu she said they didn’t have a ‘menu’ but they did have the allergy info and offered to grab it from the counter for me. ¬†I already had it on my phone, so I passed, but she did add that the people at the order counter could help me too.

After glancing at the menu, Mom and I decided to stick to our game plan… Burrito Bowls. I told the ladies at the counter that we were gluten free and they all nodded confidently, and started rattling off a long list of things that would be safe. ¬†They even mentioned items that are gluten free, but would be at risk for cross contamination from the fryers. (Bonus Points!) ¬†We ordered our Bowls to-go since we still had the groceries in the car and I sent Mom out to turn the A/C back on while I waited.

It was crowded and noisy (just turn the music down a little?) but all the staff was just so darn nice. ¬†They must have been feeding them pixi-sticks and Mt Dew in the back room or something, because after that crowd I don’t know how everyone was still being friendly. ¬†The restaurant had a giant mermaid picture on one wall and I thought about snapping a picture, but it was crowded and I didn’t think I could crop out all the people… so I guess I’ll just have to go back again soon…. for the blog. ¬†There is a nice patio area outside where I’d probably choose to sit next time… just to avoid the noise. ¬†When your order is ready a server comes out and YELLS your name…. repeatedly, because apparently no one pays attention, or maybe they just can’t hear either.

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The Burrito Bowls were huge and absolutely delicious. ¬†We both ordered chicken, and had them hold the cheese and sour cream (this time). ¬†Everything was bright and fresh. ¬†I can’t wait until I’m done with this detox and I can try the tacos! The burritos were HUGE and look fantastic, but they’re made with a flour tortilla, so those won’t be safe for me even after the Detox Program is through. ¬†I’m just happy to have a safe and yummy Mexican place so close to home now!

I just noticed when I went to get the link…. I can order online… OMG!!!! Just think of the snacking possibilities!

 

Tijuana Flats – Nocatee

41 Settlement Drive

Ponte Vedra, FL 32081

Present Moment Cafe

Vegans are tricky.

Last week I had the chance to visit the Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine. ¬†Someone had recommended it to me… with the warning that I shouldn’t let the “vegan-y” stuff scare me away. ¬†We’d been discussing gluten free restaurants and she told me that I just had to try the Present Moment. ¬†Almost everything on the menu is gluten free. Everything is dairy free… and meat free too….. It sounded like something I’d like to try eventually, but… but no meat? ¬†Ummm….

I’ve had Mom and Brian on this Arbonne Thirty Day Detox… forever…. a week. ¬†The Protein Shakes are good and dinners are easy enough, but dining out is a challenge. ¬†No gluten, dairy, soy or corn is really hard at a regular restaurant…. but not at a vegan restaurant!

The Present Moment Cafe is really cute with colorful, eclectic decorations. ¬†It’s not a very big place, but there are lots of little tables, perfect for visiting with friends and enjoying a Detox Smoothie.

The three of us chose a low table near the window, surrounded by two cushy couches. The menu is clearly labeled if the food contains wheat or soy.  Everything is obviously egg and dairy free since the food is vegan.

We ordered drinks while we decided what to eat.

Purple Haze Acai, blueberry, banana, cashew milk.

Detox Cooler Pineapple, cucumber, mint

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After a bit of arguing over who was getting what… we all have to try something different and share… we finally placed our order.

Tacos of Life Pine nut and walnut pate, with fresh
salsa, Mexican “cheese” and guacamole in two romaine
shells topped with cashew sour cream and jalapeno
vinaigrette. Served with two dehydrated corn chips…10

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Mom enjoyed the tacos. ¬†I tried a bite of the Pine Nut & Walnut Pate that was the “meat” of the dish. ¬†It was good. ¬†I’m not giving up meat anytime in the near future, but if I had to… this was a pretty tasty alternative.

Pad Thai Sweet and spicy Asian vegetables, served
over kelp noodles with a sesame garlic sauce, and topped
with curried cashews… 16

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The Pad Thai was delicious. ¬†The kelp noodles weren’t what I was expecting… I was thinking of something green and… sea-weed-ish… The kelp noodles were a bit chewy, but in an enjoyable way. ¬†They had a definite “bite” and “crunch” to them. ¬†We liked the noodles enough that we bought a bag to take home and experiment with.

Okay…. so what would you think if the day’s special was a carrot hot dog? I mean, they had “burgers” that were made out of beans and stuff… and an “Un-Tuna” sandwich. ¬†It’s not crazy to think that the carrot “hot dog” ¬†was made from carrots and other stuff smooshed together to resemble a hot dog, right?

WRONG.  Vegans are tricky!

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It was a damned carrot on a hot dog bun! ¬†I kid you not.. a carrot… smothered in sauerkraut… on a hot dog bun.

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Here’s the really crazy part…. it was actually pretty tasty. ¬†Yes, of course I ate it! ¬†I’d ordered it, I was going to try it. I’m pretty sure those Vegans were laughing at me for paying $10 for a carrot on a bun, but I’d show them…. I’d eat that damn carrot and like it!

It actually was pretty good though.

I only took a few bites of the bun because I am trying to avoid all the fake-y gluten free stuff while I do this detox, so I tried a few bites… (Yummy GF bun!) and then ate the rest of my sauerkraut covered “hot dog” with a fork.

The sweet potato salad was delicious and I’m planning to take a shot at duplicating the recipe soon. ¬†They had a cookbook of restaurant recipes for sale, but of course, that recipe wasn’t in it!

We’d made it this far and not broken many of the detox rules, so we decided to treat ourselves to desert. ¬†(The sugar was a no-no, but I¬†think everything else was okay..) We ordered one Banana Split to share.

Classic Banana Split¬†Homemade vanilla cashew ice cream, fresh berries, bananas, raw vegan vanilla and cacao creme topped with candied pecans… 9.5

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The cashew ice cream was delicious! ¬†I’d rather not have to give up dairy, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having cashew ice cream if it turns out that dairy is one of my food¬†nemeses.

I don’t think I’d like to become vegan, but the food at the Present Moment Cafe is certainly delicious enough that I don’t mind being vegan-ish for a meal or three. ¬†The staff was sweet and great about answering any food allergy/ingredient questions. ¬†The cafe itself is cozy and comfortable; perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch with friends.

 

The Present Moment Cafe

224 West King Street
St. Augustine, Florida 32089

Detoxing (again)

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that I went gluten free after a variety of health issues combined to make life miserable. ¬†(If you haven’t read my Gluten Free Living Story you can see my 1.5 year review here.)

I’ve been Gluten Free for…. five years?¬†(Did I do the math right? ¬†December 2012 – June 2017 = 4.5 years… WOW!)

Okay, so four and a half years… and yes, life is absolutely better without the wheat and the awfulness that come with eating it. ¬†The food world has changed quite a bit in the last 4.5 years. ¬†Gluten Free food is available nearly everywhere and many restaurants have gluten free menus, or at least have a vague understanding when you tell them that you can’t eat gluten. ¬†Grocery stores have dedicated Gluten Free isles and more and more products are clearly labeled. It makes finding food so much easier…. and I think that may be part of my problem. ¬†I’ve found a lot of gluten free replacement foods… high in carbs and sugar and low in real nutrition.

You see…. I’ve been feeling ‘off’ for a while now. ¬†I’m so tired. ¬†Even though I think I’m sleeping through the night I have zero energy during the day. ¬†I’ve been having more headaches and my tummy has been making random comments about food again. ¬†It’s not the gluten, I know I’m not getting into that…. but there’s something that’s messing with me. ¬†I’m just not sure what….

I know what I need to do… eliminate the ‘big uglies’ and detox. ¬†Then reintroduce foods and see what is causing the problem. ¬†I know I need to do it…… but….

Apparently the Universe has had enough of my whining and not working on a solution. ¬†I was roaming through CostCo when I saw a giant box of energy drink fizzies… you know, the kind you add to a bottle of water… ¬†and I was reading the label to see if it was GF and if there was possibly enough caffeine to get me through an afternoon. ¬†A lady stood across from me reading the back of another box of fizzies… “I just wanted to see what they use for the caffeine,” she said, leaning past me to stick it back on the pile, “Arbonne sells something similar.” ¬†Before long we were exchanging business cards, chatting about Yoga and Gluten Free Living and discovering that we live in the same neighborhood. ¬†(I knew that CostCo has everything, but I didn’t know that you could go there to find new friends!)

I left our first Starbucks date with a bag of Arbonne goodies, a scheduled Jamberry play date and an order of the Arbonne Detox Kit.

Did you know that Arbonne has a Detox Program? ¬†I didn’t… I thought Arbonne was just skin care. ¬†So the Universe has sent me a friendly neighbor to tell me to shut up a figure out what is the problem. ¬†(The Universe told me to shut up, not my neighbor.)

I liked that the Arbonne products are all Gluten Free. ¬†(Yay, one concern already covered.) I also liked that everything came together in one kit/program. ¬†Yes, I could find a protein drink and a tea and vitamins and fizzies and whatever else on my own and possibly save a bit of money (Arbonne isn’t cheap), but I’m tired… so so tired. ¬†I also like that it also comes with a person. ¬†Someone I can text and talk to… someone who knows I’m supposed to be doing this detox and will probably ask me how I’m doing… and could quite possible catch me stuffing a cheeseburger and fries in my face….. They call it “accountability,” but we all know they mean “guilt.” There’s also a private Facebook group to chat with other people who are starting the program at the same time….. ¬†that could be good… of course, we all could be really bitchy at the same time since we’re eliminating a bunch of foods…. which is why its better that its an online group and not a face to face meeting.

STEP 1 – Eliminate common allergens and non-healthy ingredients. ‚ÄĘ Wheat/gluten ‚ÄĘ Dairy ‚ÄĘ Refined sugar ‚ÄĘ Alcohol ‚ÄĘ Soy ‚ÄĘ Corn

I’m really not excited about eliminating Dairy…. I like cheese… no, I LOVE cheese. ¬†Cheese goes in everything. ¬†(Which is probably a sign that dairy is a problem for me.) ¬†I’ve already eliminated Gluten, so I’m ahead of the game. ¬†Alcohol is a bummer, but really I just drink an occasional glass of wine, so its not a huge deal. ¬†Sugar is gonna suck. ¬†If we’re eliminating Soy and Corn too, that pretty much means anything that comes in a box. ¬†Which I know is a good thing….. did I mention that I’m just so damn tired? Fortunately Brian and Mom are going to give the program a try too, so I won’t need to make different meals for them. ¬†Its only 30 days and hopefully I start to perk up quickly like I did when I quit gluten. ¬†After the initial 30 days I can start to reintroduce foods and see if there was a specific food (I really, really hope it’s not cheese) that was bothering me.

Have you tried the Arbonne Detox Program?  Got any tips for me?

Okay, here we go…. cross your fingers for me and follow along on Instagram and/or Facebook for photos and updates.

 

 

 

Kamiya86 

Boo was sitting on my lap the other morning, trying to wheedle a few more nibbles of omelette from Brian. ‘She needs to get her teeth cleaned again,’ he said, falling prey to her big brown eyes and feeding her a bit of egg.

I’m not sure which one of us growled at him… honesty it could have been either one. Boo is a Pomeranian, and they’re prone to bad teeth. I try to brush her teeth, but she hates it and… well, I’m a terrible mommy.

Boo actually handles it all better than I do… I’m the one that needs to be sedated during her appointments. (I’m a Helicopter Pom Mom.) Once I dropped her off for her cleaning I had to keep myself distracted until it was time to pick her up, so Mom and I went shopping and out to lunch. Food and Retail Therapy are my solutions to most everything.

I’ve driven past Kamiya86 a dozen times and wanted to try it out, but when I’ve actually had the time Mom wasn’t feeling up to trying sushi (I’m still working to convince her that raw fish is yummy) or Brian was in the car (he’s going to take even more convincing). This time Brian was at home and Mom was feeling brave, so relying on the one review on the Find Me Gluten Free app we decided to give it a shot. (And we were only 20 minutes or so from home, so if we needed to, we could go home and die.)

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I asked the hostess if they had a Gluten Free Menu. ¬†She said they didn’t have a specific GF menu, but most everything could be made gluten free.

Our waitress was very sweet, but didn’t have the best English. ¬†She nodded confidently when I said that we had a gluten allergy and said ‘no problem.’ ¬†She returned with our drinks and a bottle of gluten free soy sauce then peered at the menu with me. ¬†We started off simple and ordered Summer Rolls as an appetizer. ¬†The hostess was hovering nearby and made sure that I was getting the Summer Rolls and not the Spring Rolls, which are deep fried. ¬†She stayed close while we made our order and reminded the waitress to bring us the sweet and sour sauce instead of the peanut sauce.

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Pad Thai is usually safe so I figured I’d go with an easy choice. ¬†The waitress nodded and agreed that it was gluten free. ¬†Mom wanted to be more difficult. ¬†She pointed at several different dishes that I was pretty sure weren’t safe for us.

“Please just order the Panang Curry, Mom,” I tried again.

“What about the Pad Thai? Do I like Pad Thai?” This is an old conversation.

“You hate the Pad Thai…. its noodles.”

She made a face, “I don’t like all those noodles.”

“I know! ¬†Order the Panang Curry.” ¬†Fortunately there weren’t many other diners in the restaurant to think that I am a horrible daughter for yelling at my sweet mother. ¬†(She just looks sweet, btw.) ¬†We have this conversation¬†every time we order Thai. ¬†I think she’s just messing with me.

Mom finally settled on the Panang Curry….. shocker! ¬†She and I have very similar taste except where it comes to noodles/pasta. ¬†I guess throw her off when I order things with noodles.

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I was actually a little jealous, the curry smelled delicious. Mom let me sneak a taste and it was very good. Surprise, surprise, she didn’t want to try any of my noodles. ¬†I did make her try the chicken from the Pad Thai though. So often the chicken in Pad Thai is dry and chewy, but it was nicely seasoned and juicy. ¬†The sauce was fabulous with just a hint of lime. The addition of bean sprouts added a nice fresh crunch. ¬†I wished for some crushed peanuts on top, but all in all, this is my favorite Pad Thai in Florida so far.

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I got a text from Brian after lunch that Boo had finished her dental cleaning… no cavities! and would be ready to go home in a few hours. ¬†Such a relief! ¬†Mom and I shopped until it was time to pick her up. ¬†Apparently I was still really wound, I shop a little wildly when I’m anxious…. because I bought a giant cat-cube-tower-thing at the pet store and then went a tiny bit bizerk in Home Goods (that store is SO dangerous!).

Boo was not the least bit amused with me when I picked her up. ¬†She did give the vet a couple friendly licks before we left, so I’m taking that as a sign that she was okay with them. ¬†Boo isn’t the most…. well, she’s a bit anti-social. ¬†She’s not mean, it just takes her a long while to warm up to people and other dogs. ¬†Until she decides if she likes you she not going to let you touch her… she prefers to just watch people from under the couch. ¬† She’s a distrusting little introvert…. like her momma. ¬†(Too bad I can’t fit under the couch.)

She whined a little on the car ride home until I turned the air conditioning on full blast and pointed all the vents at her. ¬†She’s not impressed with the Florida heat. (She didn’t like Missouri winters either though!) At home, she ran straight to Brian even though I reminded her that it was his idea to send her to the vet in the first place. ¬†Snot.

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A week or so later Mom and I drug Brain to¬†Kamiya86 for lunch. ¬†He was hesitant, but I promised that we’d just try a small sushi sampler and he could have Fried Rice for his meal.

We had a different waitress this time who seemed much more confident about the gluten free items on the menu. ¬†She said the Miso Soup was gluten free, and since it came with our meal anyway I figured I’d try it. ¬†(I did a quick google when she left and confirmed that while some Miso soups have barley they can be made gluten free.) The soup was interesting. ¬†It was a nicely flavored broth with bits of tofu and wide leaves of seaweed.

We picked a small sushi appetizer that our waitress assured us would be safe and give us a nice variety to try. ¬†I tried to use the chop sticks, but mostly ended up flinging raw fish around the table. ¬†Brian had better luck with the chop sticks and the waitress gave Mom a set of kid’s chopsticks to take home and practice.

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The sushi was delicious. ¬†Mom and Brian even enjoyed it and agreed that we’d need to come back soon and try a few more of the different options.

Full disclosure: I did have a bit of an upset tummy later. ¬†I didn’t feel like I’d been glutened, that’s a faster reaction and hurts more and usually comes with a headache. This was just more like something didn’t entirely agree with me. ¬†The Miso soup could have been to blame, maybe it wasn’t GF(?), but Brian did some googling and read that some people have trouble digesting the raw fish. ¬†I’m going to lean toward the raw fish theory…. or maybe just too much rice for me. ¬†Sometimes I have trouble when I eat a lot of rice. ¬†I will definitely go back, but I’ll go a little easier on the sushi and skip the Miso all together (it was good, but not something I’d crave).

1286 3RD STREET SOUTH
JACKSONVILLE, FL 32250

Deliciousness from Disney’s Boma Restaurant

I have a kitchen! ¬†More or less…. I’m just missing some crown molding and countertops. ¬†I have the old countertops sitting on the new cabinets so I’m not completely topless. ūüôā

Living in the RV worked great for our situation, but I’m really happy to have room to move around again…. and a real kitchen. ¬†I missed my kitchen. ¬†I’m so excited to be able to really cook again! ¬†We’ll keep using the RV for work and travel, but I don’t see full time RV/Tiny House Living in my future.

We’ve been super busy getting things organized and settled for the past few weeks. ¬†To celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary Brian and I decided to skip town for a couple of days and celebrate at Disney.

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I love pretty much everything about Walt Disney World, but as a foodie who can’t eat gluten, Disney is food heaven. ¬†Brian makes reservations at as many of the Signature Dining restaurants as he can and we eat, walk, ride a few rides, walk, eat some more…. waddle to the next ride… wait in line… ride…. eat again. ¬† It know it sounds unhealthy…. I’m not recommending this as a diet plan or anything, but its fun for a few days. ¬†(I actually lost a pound instead of gaining the ten I expected!)

One of my absolute favorite places to eat in Disney is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Boma – Flavors of Africa – “Resembling a lively African marketplace, this restaurant features all-you-care-to-enjoy buffets at breakfast and dinner.”IMG_8090

Now, I know we GF people hear “buffet” and think “certain death,” but Disney is really pretty good. ¬†I’m not going to die if I get into gluten, I’ll just wish I would, but I know there are some people that end up in the ER after being glutened. ¬†I wouldn’t risk a buffet if I was them, but I personally feel pretty safe at the Disney buffets. ¬†The gluten foods usually seem to be fairly separated from the GF items and the staff behind the buffets keep an eye out for spills and potential cross-contamination with spoons.

Even though Brian and I have eaten at Boma several time, I still ask to have the chef walk us through the buffet. ¬†Each time there has been something that caught me by surprise as being GF or NOT being GF. ¬†It’s always better to ask… and the chefs are so nice!

My favorite dish at Boma is the Bobotie.  According to Wikipedia, Bobotie, pronounced ba-boor-tea, is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.  This time I remembered to snap a picture of the tag with the dish so I could remember what to google when I got home.  I found this recipe on Mad About the Mouse.  It seemed pretty close, so I decided to give it a try as soon as I got home.

Okay, hear me out… I know you’re going to take one look at the ingredients and think I’ve lost my marbles… but you’ve just gotta trust me on this one. ¬†It’s delicious. ¬†I know, I know… Sugar? ¬†Raisins and ground turkey?? Together?! ¬†I swear…. it’s delicious. ¬†The curry, cinnamon and coriander combine with the eggs and meat for a delicate sweetness that you can “smell” in the back of your throat. ¬†Much like Thai food, its not so much of a “nose” smell, as a “throat” smell. ¬†That sounds weird, but there’s no better way to explain. You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one.

The following recipe, as I’ve said, is from Mad About the Mouse. ¬†I decided to actually follow the recipe once before I started messing with it. ¬†The Bobotie that I had at Boma last week had red and green peppers in it…. I’m sure because Brian picked them out and left a pile on my plate. ¬†The sign said there were mushrooms and I don’t remember any raisins or almond slivers. ¬†Most of the recipes that I’ve seen call for crumbled up slices of bread, but it is definately GF at Boma, so they’re either using GF bread or not using bread at all. ¬†The bread is crumbled up, so I can’t say for sure one way or another, but I’d think that the eggs and meat might need the bread to help bind everything together. ¬†I used Canyon Bakehouse GF bread. ¬†Next time I’ll try leaving the bread out and see how it goes. ¬†I’ll also omit the raisins and almonds (Brian doesn’t like them either) and add one cup of diced red and green peppers instead. ¬†I think the peppers added a lighter sweetness that I liked better than the raisins. ¬†(The raisins were good, but my tastebuds really wanted the peppers since that’s how it tasted before… you know how it is.)

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Bobotie

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb (I used ground turkey)
  • 3 slices white bread, crumbled into pieces (I used Canyon Bakehouse GF bread)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup seedless¬†raisins
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325¬ļ.

Heat oil and cook onions, carrots and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat, cooking until caramelized, around 5 minutes.  Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium and add cinnamon, ground coriander and curry powder.  Stirring well to coat the onions.

Using the rice wine vinegar, and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.¬† Add ground lamb or beef, cook breaking the meat into smaller pieces. ¬†Continue cooking until meat is done, spooning out the excess grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon. ¬†(Since I used the ground turkey there wasn’t enough grease to bother.)

Pour the meat mixture into a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish and let cool slightly.

Add crumbled bread and 1 cup of cream, stirring to mix well.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, raisins and almonds.  Add mixture to the meat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and milk.  Pour the custard mixture over the meat mixture to form the topping. DO NOT MIX.

Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

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Let me know if you try it and what you think!

 

D-Luxe Burger 

Oh! All the wonderful Gluten Free FOOD in Walt Disney World!!

Thank heavens for all the walking we have to do around the parks or I wouldn’t be able to waddle back to the hotel at night!

During our most recent trip to Disney Springs (what used to be know as Downtown Disney) Brian was hungry (as usual). ¬†I’d read good reviews from the Disney bloggers that I follow so we decided to give D-Luxe Burger a try.

The burger was good. Nothing amazing, but better than a regular quick-service burger. The bun was dry… so so dry. The fries were good though and all the fry dips were Gluten Free.

Our meal was delivered to our table in a paper to-go bag. I assume that’s how they differentiate Allergy meals from regular meals which are served on plastic trays.


Not my most favorite meal in the world of Disney, but it was a good enough burger and we appreciated the differentiation between our meal’s (paper bag) and the non-allergy friendly meals’ (plastic tray) delivery.

The staff was kind and knowledgeable… of course we got the poor gal that was being trained that day… nothing like being a learning experience! Her trainer was with her though and explained how to enter allergy orders and then called the chef upfront who confirmed that we just had the one allergy.

They’ve added a lot of new shops and restaurants to Disney Springs since our last visit (a year and a half?). D-Luxe Burger is located in the new section and is situated next to one of the ‘river’ areas. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the pretty view with our French fries.

Definitely worth a visit.