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. 🙂

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 325º.

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.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Brian finally managed to get lunch reservation to Le Cellier Steakhouse…. and I was so excited… until I woke up with a raging headache.

The nice thing about living near Disney and having Annual Passes is that it’s not like I’m ‘wasting’ a vacation day if I can’t get going…. but I really, really wanted to try Le Cellier and it’s not the easiest place to get reservations.

I took hot shower, aspirin and chugged a bunch of water….. then I moped around the hotel room and whined for an hour or two. Brian made me eat a banana and drink coffee… which because that cured my headache once, he assumes it should work every time.

I finally felt well enough to venture out… and I figured if the headache did finally kill me maybe the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion would take me in. You know there’s 999 ghost in the Haunted Mansion…. but there’s room for 1000!


Epcot was celebrating their International Flower & Garden Festival… which is GORGEOUS!!! They had a bazillion flowers and topiaries everywhere…. and food vendors. I love the food vendors at the Epcot festivals. The signs are clearly labeled with Gluten Free, vegan and vegetarian options. Most of the booths had at least one GF option. Since I was still whiny about my headache Brian stopped at every booth with a GF offering and made (oh, the torture!) me eat. And drink a bottle of water. I have a bad habit of getting my meals out of wack when I have a headache…. or letting myself get dehydrated…. so Brian just keeps shoving food and water at me until I stop whining.

I ate the scallops too fast to take a picture and Brian wouldn’t let me get another order even though I told him it was for the sake of the blog.

I did manage to restrain myself long enough to take a photo of the Raspberry & Chocolate Creme Macaron though.


We wandered around a enjoyed the topiaries until it was time for our lunch reservation.


Le Cellier Steakhouse is super hard to get a dinner reservation and only slightly easier to get a lunch reservation. It is one of Disney’s Signature Dining Experiences. (If you are on the Disney Dining Plan it will cost you two dining credits.) We’ve been wanting to try it for a while, but just haven’t gotten the chance. By the time we made it to our reservation my headache had mostly faded, but going from the lovely warmth outside to the air conditioned cool indoors made it flare up again. I felt guilty as I poked at my rather expensive chicken.

Poulet RougeAndouille-stuffed Chicken Roulade, Autumn Hash, Acorn Squash Purée, and Ginger-spiced Cranberry Glaze

Brian ordered the Rib-Eye.

Black Angus Rib-EyeCrisp Fingerling Potatoes, Neuske’s Bacon Vinaigrette, Heirloom Carrots, Maple Bordelaise Butter

I didn’t get a photo of the Rib-Eye, but I did manage to steal and eat about half of it…. The chicken was good, but headache-tummy likes steak better. (I don’t understand it either… don’t even try.)

The food was fabulous… even with a headache I recognized that the food was delicious. The restaurant itself was beautiful. Dark and rich looking with gleaming wood and soft lighting. I really wish I’d been feeling better and could have tried more of the menu. My headache just really hated the air conditioning so we didn’t get to stay long. Once back outside I started to feel better. (I’m such a weirdo.)


Le Cellier is defiantly on my list of Must Visit Again places. I’ll try not to have a headache next time!

Breakfast in Disney World 

I love pretty everything about Walt Disney World. Dole Whips, Mouse Ears, Character Encounters, rides….. and the FOOD. Oh, the food. For a Gluten Free girl Disney World is absolute heaven. First of all, they actually have Gluten Free food…. and it’s GOOD. Even better… they have Gluten Free food available everywhere and the don’t treat you like a freak or punish you for asking for it. Disney is magical for anyone with food allergies. To be able to eat delicious, safe food and be treated like a normal human all in the same experience…. it’s just magical! 

Now that we’re Florida residents and Annual Passholders, Brian and I have been trying to work our way through a wider variety of the Disney restaurants. (It’s a real burden guys, but I’m doing it for y’all and the sake of the blog. 😉)


I LOVE breakfast… but not first thing in the morning.. too early. I’m more of a brunch kinda girl. Which works perfect in Disney!

Boma – Flavors of Africa, located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge has quickly become one of my favorite places for breakfast. It’s a buffet, which would normally mean certain death for someone with a gluten allergy (cross contamination central!), but not in Disney.

Disney doesn’t unnecessarily add flour or gluten containing ingredients to things. (I don’t have a dairy or nut allergy, but I’ve seen other people who do at the buffet and there seems to be a great variety for them too.) Did you know that a lot of buffets add pancake batter to the scrambled eggs to make them fluffier?  Yeah… wtf?! Not at Disney! Food just has ingredients that belong.

At Boma we told our waitress that we both had a gluten allergy. The chef came out and walked us around the buffet. He knew each item and the ingredients. The oatmeal is made with certified gf oats and water so it’s safe for GF and milk allergies.

The chef made us a special batch of Allergy Friendly Mickey Waffles and brought us a plate of gf donuts (Katz brand).

Be sure to try the Jamba Juice at Boma! Guava, pineapple and orange juices… yum.


We also had breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe. I ordered the Allergy Friendly Mickey Waffles (of course) and Brian tried to order the Allergy Friendly pancakes, but the waitress misheard and brought him waffles too.


As it turns out, the were celebratory waffles…  Just as we were pouring our maple syrup Brian got the phone call that we’d received an offer on the house that we’d just finished rehabbing. Woo hoo! Under contract in 24 hours!


The waffles were delicious. Crisp on the outside and fluffy perfection on the inside.

Not every restaurant gets the Mickey Waffles right. I’ve had them a few times where they are too crisp on the outside and still gummy on the inside. I think the Allergy Friendly batter needs to be cooked a bit longer and at a lower temp to get them just right. Dont feel bad about sending them back if they’re not right. Disney won’t know what’s working and what’s not if we don’t speak up.


On our last morning we had breakfast at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was a character dining experience, but I didn’t know any of the characters. It was also a buffet…. but it was nothing like the buffet at Boma.

The buffet was very basic… and not especially tasty in my opinion.

The eggs and potatoes were especially salty.

And the Allergy Friendly Mickey Waffles were gummy on the inside.


The did give us an Allergy Guide…. which was a nice idea… even though it was fairly limited/boring.

Boma is still my favorite Disney breakfast. If you have the opportunity to try only one… visit Boma. The food, flavors, atmosphere and staff are all amazing.

Flava Moose

I posted something on Instagram a while back… I don’t remember what, but I do post a lot of food pics (food, Jamberry, seashells and my Pomeranian!) and I received a notification that Flava Moose liked my photo.

Flava Moose?  Oh, I had to see who was this Flava Moose.

Flava Moose is just the yummiest, most overwhelming and awesome ice cream shop in the universe!  (And I’ve made it my mission to check them all out!) Flava Moose may just be my favorite though.

Why?  Well, to start with, the combinations are endless!  IMG_3814.jpg

You begin by choosing a size… a Small is still three scoops…. just sayin’….

Then you choose whether you want Ice Cream, Gelato or Ice.

Next you you have to pick a Milk…. Soy, Cashew, Almond, Coconut, 2% Lactade, Whole or Greek Yogurt. (I’d vote for whole milk, but if you have a dairy issue, they’ve got you covered!)

Nope, not done yet…. What kind of sugar do you want to use?  Splenda, Honey, Regular Sugar, Maple Sugar or Stevia?

How about a waffle bowl?  Or would you like you ice cream in a crepe?  They’re made fresh as you watch.

(I was talking with the Flava Moose man during my last visit and I’d mentioned that I was img_3816Gluten Free so I couldn’t have the waffle bowl….the delicious smell was torture! and he said that they’d been considering adding GF waffles and crepes.  Eeeeep! Of course I squealed and promised that I’d come in and taste test for them! One in each flavor should do it, right?)

No no, we’re not done… I got side-tracked with the whole GF waffle bowl thing….. NOW…. pick a flavor.  Your brain may just possibly explode from the sheer possibilities of deliciousness.

 

 

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Brian chooses chocolate every time.  He says he’s a purist.  (whatever)  Mom is working her way through the fruit flavors and I’m bouncing around the menu.  Blackberry & Raspberry was delicious!  So was Lavender & Raspberry….. (I’m on a raspberry kick lately.) I’m thinking I want to try the chai next time… or maybe the rose?  There are also veggie flavors to choose from.. carrot, broccoli, aloe, corn…. I’m not sure about those…. they sound too healthy.

 

 

Okay, but that’s just the ingredients… now lets talk about how it’s made!  Each order is made individually… that’s how you can have so many combinations.  They first blend the base flavor and the milk then the concoction is poured over a -40° pan.  Using two scraper/spatulas they scrape and smooth and blend the ice cream mixture until it is just the smoothest, creamiest and dreamiest.img_3812

Of course you can add toppings and sauces, but I don’t usually choose to add any. I think I heard that there were over 18 different toppings.

It’s not a super fast process, but it is fun to watch.  We took our out-of-town-friends to try Flava Moose last week.  It was our last stop on the two-day “See Where We Live Now” tour and we were all getting kind of tired from running around.  It was nice to stop and let the ice cream be the entertainment for a bit.  The Flava Moose crew mixed our ice creams and chatted with us as one at a time we each received our chosen creations.  We’d all grab a spoon and sample each other’s and oooh and ahh.  Then the next ice cream mix was being drizzled on the -40° pan and the scraping, smearing and squooshing show would begin again.  It would probably make a great first date stop.  The shop is only two blocks from the beach… after you got your ice cream you could walk to the beach to eat it…. yeah… ice cream and a walk on the beach… totally romantic!  (Yes, my idea of romance does include ice cream…. duh.)

Every time you leave the Flava Moose crew hollers “Bye, see you tomorrow!” and I think ‘thank, goodness I don’t live closer or, yeah… I would back tomorrow.  Blast you, Moosie!’

 

311 North 3rd Street
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

A few weeks ago I noticed the sign for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and immediately googled the menu.  Jackpot!  Right on the front page of the menu it said that most items either were, or could be Gluten Free.

I’ve been trying to drag Mom and Brian there, but they kept making faces at me.  I like really Greek food… the more olives, grape leaves, lamb and feta that you can throw at a dish the better.  Mom and Brian aren’t quite into it that much, so I had to keep giving them the menu and whining to get them to go.

It’s a good thing it took me several tries to get them to go since apparently Taziki’s didn’t open until that very day.  We missed the grand opening event by an hour, but they were still quite busy.  The owner, John, came over to greet us and chat about the menu.  I told him that we were excited to see so many Gluten Free options on the menu.  (I like to make tell the owners/staff/chefs how much I appreciate the GF options.  I know it can be more work to keep things safe for us GF people and I like to make sure they know how much it is appreciated… and that it affects our decision to choose a restaurant.)

John was super sweet and knowledgable about the menu.  He mentioned a lemon chicken soup and since Brian was working on a cold I asked if that one was GF.  He thought for a moment and then replied that no, it wasn’t because the stock had wheat.  I was impressed that he knew.  Later when he visited our table to check on us he told us that everyone who works at the cafe has to take tests on all the menu items and has to know what is in everything.  Nice.

I ordered the Taziki’s Feast without the skordalia sauce, since it isn’t GF.

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 Taziki’s Feast with the Chargrilled Lamb – Fresh grilled lamb, carefully seasoned, and served with our homemade skordalia sauce 

It was fabulous! I really liked the salad too.  Could have used more olives, but that could just be me and my olive obsession.

You’ll notice the Pita triangle on the edge of my plate.  Not Gluten Free.   I mentioned it to John when he stopped by to check up on us.  I said it would be nice if they had a button or something to denote Gluten Free orders to prevent cross contamination.  He was very apologetic and said they did have a GF button (or something similar) and that the kitchen should have known better.  They’d only been open a few hours, and it was crazy busy.  I was impressed with how well they did with our orders as it was, so I didn’t really want to complain… just point it out.  It was obvious and I was able to remove it and just avoid that area of the salad.

Mom and Brian really enjoyed their lunches too.  Brian had salmon, Mom had shrimp and I stole nibbles from both.  I think I’ll order the shrimp next time.  It was quite tasty with the lemon and butter.

All in all I’m pretty excited about the new restaurant.  They’re impressive with they’re understanding of the menu and all the ingredients.  The Pita Triangle guy needs a bit of work, but it was the first two hours, so….  The food was delicious, fresh and bright and the restaurant is pretty and spacious.  I’m looking forward to going back soon.  Mom and Brian even agree… I win again!

14035 Beach Blvd.
Suite 8
Jacksonville, FL 32224

 

Columbia Restaurant

Every time we go to Saint Augustine we talk about going to the Columbia Restaurant, but for some reason or another we end up choosing to eat somewhere else.  It’s a good thing that we kept skipping the Columbia and tried all those other places…. because now that I’ve visited the Columbia I never want to go anywhere else!

We planned to spend the day in Saint Augustine.  I wanted to find a couple of gifts to send to friends back in Missouri, take some photographs and lunch, of course, was high on the ‘to-do’ list.

img_5014I made reservations using the Open Table app, mostly because Open Table gives you points for making and keeping reservations that can be used to earn gift cards to restaurants or Amazon.  I didn’t really expect to need reservations… it was a chilly, grey Saturday afternoon in February.  Silly me.  The restaurant was packed.  I heard other people being told that there was a 45 minute wait to get a table.  Fortunately, with our reservations, we walked right in and got a table.

We asked for a Gluten Free menu and the server returned quickly with three ‘real’ GF menus.  Not those dingy, mangled paper menus that some restaurants grudgingly hand out to the GF people.  These were real menus… with lots of options!  img_5033

Mahi Veradero – 

Grilled boneless fillet of Mahi Mahi crusted with ground crispy green plantain chips, topped with a citrus butter sauce.  Served with yellow rice. 

It was SO good.  Mom and Brian ordered… other things… I can’t even remember… I was so distracted by my own plate.  It was fabulous! Mom and Brian loved theirs as well… whatever it was.  We all agreed that the Columbia was our new Very Favorite Place in Saint Augustine.

img_5034That opinion wasn’t in the least bit influenced by the pitcher of Sangria that Mom and I shared.

Sangria de Cava – 

A sparkling white sangria made tableside with Jaume Serra Cristalino Spanish Cave brandy, orange liqueur and fresh citrus juices. 

The restaurant itself was beautiful, with art, sculptures and fountains… beautiful tile-work and graceful columns.  I would have loved to have taken more photos, but the place was fairly packed and people get all weirded out when you start taking photos… or when you ask them to move so you can take a better photo!

After lunch we picked up a few packages of the Columbia’s Sangria mix to take home andimg_5064 add to our gifts being sent back to Missouri.  Next we headed into Saint Augustine to shop and explore.  Brian wasn’t feeling up to walking around a whole lot, he sprained his ankle earlier this week, so he let Mom and I wander off to find the restrooms…. totally unsupervised.  First we found Le Macaron French Pastries.  And we definitely needed to try a few of those…  Then there was Claude’s Chocolate and a few more gifts and a few for us to sample later…..

I’m pretty sure that Brian realized that it wouldn’t take us that long to find a restroom… public restrooms are pretty prevalent (and nice and clean too!) around Saint Augustine…. I think his ankle hurt bad enough that he didn’t care how much candy Mom and I were out buying… and ‘sampling.’

img_5066When we caught back up to Brian, our arms loaded with sugary treats…. for gifts! (and sampling) I insisted that I had to go see the lions at the bridge.  We’ve been to Saint Augustine a handful of times since we moved to Florida and I have yet to get close to the guardians of the Bridge of Lions.  I was already this close and I had my camera with me and everything!  He wasn’t super amused, but he was resigned and really, Mom and Brian have no room to complain about my photography.  Mom bought me my first camera and indulged me with rolls and rolls of film throughout my childhood….. and Brain keeps buying me new lenses for my ‘grown up’ camera…. so really….. they’re enablers.

I am absolutely, completely and totally in love with the lions of Saint Augustine…. and pretty much everything else about Saint Augustine. After a few dozen photos of the lions… from every angle… and a few using my phone and the selfie-stick, I relented and let Brian take us back to the car.  I miss our little French town of Kimmswick back in Missouri… but I’m loving that I’ve got the Spanish town of Saint Augustine to explore.

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Tommy’s Brick Oven Pizza

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Brian has been wanting to try Tommy’s Brick Oven Pizza for a while now, but some how Epik Burger keeps interfering… (I dunno… don’t look at me…. ) The other night he was craving pizza and I’d had my Epik Burger fix the day before so I couldn’t really say anything.  Tommy’s had really good reviews on Find Me Gluten Free.

Why haven’t we been eating here all along?!  The pizza was fabulous!  No, seriously… not ‘good for gluten free,’ but GOOD… actually good. Best of all, the Gluten Free-ness of the pizza seemed to be an honest concern for the staff.   Out front there’s a guy tossing pizza dough in the air and stretching crust onto pans…..  and that just looks like Gluten Doom…. but then I saw one of the other guys dissapear into a different room and come back with the prepared GF pizza on a sheet of parchment paper.  The pizza was transfered from the paper into the brick oven…. completely avoiding the gluten-ed crust tossing area.

According to their menu all the toppings are Gluten Free except for the meatballs.

Mom and I decided to share a pizza.  They’re 12″ and that’s plenty for the two of us.

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Funghi Pizza
This pesto based pie is topped with Portabella and button mushroom slices, and lightly topped with mozzarella, then dusted with Romano cheese for the finishing touch.

The Brumos (59) Racer Pie
A ‘World-Class’ Pie, for our local ‘World-Class’ Daytona Racing team: Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, and Ham. A True Champion!img_3582

Brian was right…. and now I’m addicted to Tommy’s pizza.  We went back again a few nights later.  This time I wanted to try a pizza with the tomato sauce instead of the Basil Pesto…. Brian has already settled on his favorite and he went with the Brumos (59) Race Pie again.  This time Mom and I split the Jack Murray Pie.

img_3717Jack Murray Pie

Everyone loved Tommy’s Uncle Jack, and he loved it loaded! Here’s his favorite with Pepperoni, Sausage, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Onions, Olives, and Bacon.

I’m not sure which was my favorite…. both were really good. I’m thinking next time I’ll tell Mom to order the Funghi Pie and Brian to order the Brumos Racer Pie and then I’ll steal pieces from them both!

4160 Southside Boulevard Unit 2
Jacksonville FL 32216

Rice Bowl

I’ve been trying to convince Brian to go to The Rice Bowl since we first visited Jacksonville in July, but he kept turning his nose up at the suggestion… and then, knowing me so well, would distract me with Epik Burger or MShack.  Last week I finally put my flip-flop down and insisted we give The Rice Bowl a try.  (Honestly, because I have no control at Epik Burger or MShack and will eat myself stupid… and I’m trying to be better…. all this eating out is delicious… but not good on the waistline!)

We asked for a Gluten Free menu before we were seated and it took them a bit to find one…. it had gotten mixed in with the other menus… but they weren’t at all perturbed by the request.  The GF menu was extensive and clearly marked and the waitress was helpful with suggestions and clarifications.

Mom and I decided to share an appetizer and entree.  (See?  I can be sensible.) img_2419

Spring Rolls

Cilantro, lettuce, basil, carrot and shrimp wrapped with ricepaper and served with hoisin sauce

Royal Dish

Chicken,beef,lobster and shrimp served with special blend of vegetable with a traditional brown sauce (white sauce for GF)

Brian ordered a huge bowl of Fried Rice…. most places use soy sauce in their fried rice, so he doesn’t get to have it often.

Fried Rice (Combination)

Includes your choice of meat and onion, carrot, green pepper, scallion. Toppings include tomato, cucumber, pineapple, cashews

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The Royal Dish was delicious. It’s a good thing that Mom and I decided to share because I’d have been compelled to eat it all….. and I might have exploded in the attempt.  The GF white sauce (used instead of the usual brown sauce) was light and flavorful.  The vegetables were plentiful and cooked perfectly…. the meats… tender and delicious. The fried rice (served as a side with the Royal Dish) was quite good too…. light and flavorful.

The Spring Rolls were just so-so… they could have used a bit more flavor… maybe a bit of mint?  And the shredded lettuce was difficult to keep from falling out of the wrapper.  The Hoisin sauce was yummy though.

I was very pleased with the Rice Bowl… even Brian admitted that it was a good find… ha!

Rice Bowl Asian Cuisine
13947 Beach Blvd #110
Jacksonville, FL 32224