Category Archives: Seattle

More updates to our maps

As we continue to collect new information, we’re updating our maps and how they are structured on the site. Check out the list of cities under the restaurant maps menu to see new maps! Stay tuned for new lists representing the locations on each of the maps. Notes for each restaurant will pop up when you click on a particular location on the map.

Thanks for sticking with us as we upgrade and update! As usual, if you have new recommendations or suggestions, please email them to us!

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All new restaurant map!

We are so pleased to bring you a new and improved feature to this site. Check out the Restaurant Map (in the menu above). Currently, you’ll mainly see locations in and around Seattle but zoom out and explore the map as we’ll be adding location all around the world soon! Click on a pin to view our notes about each place (when available) and enjoy! I’m expecting this to be especially helpful for me while I’m on the go and I hope it will be useful for you too!

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How to Cook for a Celiac

What is Celiac disease? And what’s the difference between “Celiac” and “gluten free”?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease for which the only effective treatment is a strict gluten free diet. 1% percent of Americans have Celiac disease, and awareness and diagnosis of the disease are on the rise, so you’re increasingly likely to encounter people with Celiac disease in your social circles.

It has also become common for people without Celiac disease to follow a gluten free diet, for a variety of reasons. Non-Celiac gluten-avoiders generally do not worry about cross-contamination or rogue breadcrumbs here and there. Some will even “cheat” and enjoy a slice of pizza from time to time. However, for those with Celiac, the diet must be completely gluten free: no cheating, no cross-contamination, and no mistakes. It is a lifelong commitment and the strict gluten-free diet is the only effective treatment for Celiac disease!

If someone with Celiac disease accidentally ingests gluten, what are the consequences?

Ingesting even a very small amount of gluten will cause an autoimmune response. This can result in a host of different agonizing symptoms that can last a week or more. It’s not uncommon to be sidelined from  work, school, and social events because of being ‘glutened’. However, these unpleasant short term consequences aren’t even the full story: people with Celiac disease who repeatedly ingest gluten risk long term irreversible damage to internal organs, increased the risk of some cancers and other autoimmune disorders, and many other possible complications. This combination of short term unpleasant episodes and serious long term health risks makes people with Celiac disease very cautious about what they eat.

Can I cook for a friend with Celiac disease?

Absolutely! Cooking for people with Celiac isn’t as daunting as you might think but you’ll need to be communicative, thoughtful, collaborative, and very careful. Your friend will appreciate you for it!

Crash course: What is gluten and what foods is it in?

Gluten is a composite protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is made up of the proteins gliadin and glutenin and is what makes bread and pizza dough stretchy, chewy, and fluffy.

In nature, gluten is only found in wheat, barley, and rye. What makes life difficult for Celiacs is that gluten is often a hidden ingredient with cryptic or generic names. Gluten is used as an additive and as a stabilizing agent. Most people know intuitively that beers, breads, and doughs contain gluten because we know they are made from wheat or barley. But who would guess that gluten is in most soy sauces, and often found in salad dressings, ice cream, sour cream, ketchup, pre-shredded cheese and even nuts?

The Ground Rules

Because gluten is often hidden in packaged ingredients, it is understandable that friends and family may be overwhelmed by the thought of taking on the task of cooking for someone with Celiac. And someone with Celiac is likely to be very hesitant about eating food prepared by someone who is new at it. There are a few ground rules to be prepared for:

  1. Communication is key. Keep in touch with your Celiac friend. Have their phone number on hand and don’t hesitate to contact while shopping or cooking. They are the expert and will feel better if you ask questions. Not sure about a label, certain brand, or ingredient list? Take a picture and text/email to it to them.
  2. Avoid already-open items in your refrigerator or cupboard–these are likely to have been contaminated. For example, if you have a half-empty jar of peanut butter, it has almost certainly been contaminated through double-dipping or contact with bread crumbs or crackers, or other sources of gluten. Open a fresh package, or pick up some sample packs if you only need a small amount.
  3. Skip the “bulk section.” Most people with Celiac disease avoid ingredients from the bulk section of the grocery store because scoopers often travel between bins and ingredients are likely contaminated with gluten.
  4. Almost anything that comes in a bag, box, bottle, or can is processed and may have gluten in the ingredients. Check every label very carefully. This includes nuts, seasoning mixes, soup stocks, and everything else. (See the “Guide to reading nutrition labels” below.)
  5. Beware of your spice collection. Read labels of spices and spice mixes–both are potentially unsafe.
  6. Oats are a grey area. You’ll need to communicate with your Celiac friend to find out if they eat oats. Even if they do, however, oats must specifically be marked as “Gluten free.” They must be grown and processed in special gluten free facilities because they are so likely to be contaminated with gluten.
  7. Avoid porous or non-washable cooking surfaces such as the toaster, wooden spoons, wood cutting boards, pizza stones, cast-iron pots, basting brushes, colanders (unless dishwasher safe), or your grill. Because these are porous and cannot survive the dishwasher, unless they have never been used, are likely contaminated with gluten. If you insist on grilling, use clean aluminum foil so the food won’t touch the grill. If you’re worried about a baking sheet, use parchment paper.
  8. If you’re hosting, keep any packaging from ingredients you have used. Your Celiac friend may want to inspect these when they arrive.

Packaged products: How to read labels

  • Don’t be shy! Email pictures of labels to have them OK-ed or vetoed by your Celiac guest, especially if there is any question, whatsoever, about any ingredient. Keep your eyes open for ingredients you aren’t sure about. Check out this list for an introduction.
  • Read beyond the list of ingredients. There is usually important information below the list.
  • Regardless of ingredients, if a label says: “May contain wheat” or “May contain traces of what” it is not gluten free
  • If a label says: “Packaged on the same equipment as items containing wheat,” they are likely not gluten free. Some people with Celiac feel comfortable with these items depending on the company, so ask them.
  • If an item has no gluten-containing ingredients but the label says: “Packaged in the same facility as items containing wheat” they are safe.   
  • Some packaged items say: “Gluten Free” on them. These are most likely safe, but you still must check the labels because, although there are new laws around gluten free labelling, they are still young and may not be completely trustworthy or enforced. But, in general, if made in the U.S., a gluten free label is likely a safe bet.
  • Look for allergen warnings or “Allergy information:” They are usually found under an ingredient list. Here is an example of an allergy warning: CONTAINS MILK AND SOY. MAY CONTAIN WHEAT
    • How to interpret Allergy information on nutrition labels:
      • If wheat is listed, even under the “may contain …” section, the item is not gluten free and should not be used.
      • If an item has allergy information listed and wheat is not listed, it is likely gluten free but still check the full ingredient list.
      • If an item does not have allergy information, inspect the ingredient list even more carefully and if you aren’t absolutely sure about all listed ingredients, do a quick Google search: “[brand name item name] gluten free” to look into it. Or have your Celiac guest do this investigation for you.

NutritionLabel

Cooking & Serving

  • Be diligent about cooking with clean utensils and cooking surfaces.
  • Corral all of your gluten free and safe ingredients in one area to keep yourself from accidentally grabbing something from your cupboard or refrigerator that isn’t safe (including spices, vinegars etc … ).
  • If you will be storing the food before serving, use clean dishes or storage containers and store GF items on a higher shelf than the other non-GF items in your refrigerator. Label GF and non-GF items clearly.
  • If possible, try not to serve both gluten free and non-gluten free options. This complicated how you serve the food as you’ll need to be extremely careful not to transfer serving utensils between them, and you will have to warn all guests to do the same (which can get socially awkward). If you must serve both options, serve the person with Celiac first to minimize the chances of exposing them to cross-contamination.

It’s worth the effort!

This may seem like a lot to take in at first glance, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that it isn’t so difficult. And, your friend with Celiac will truly appreciate your effort, your diligence, and the great care that you’ll take in keeping them healthy, well fed, and having fun together!  

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Event: Old School Treats’ Holiday Cooking Class for Kids

This upcoming event for kids sounds fun!

A local small catering bakery (Old School Treats) is teaching a “Holiday Cooking Class for Kids.”

Last summer they were at the Maple Valley and Magnolia Farmer’s Markets selling Gluten-free baked goods and are now offering a cooking class at the historic Pike Place Market Atrium Kitchen, on:

Saturday, December 27th, from 12:00-2:00.

We want to share the tricks that we have learned on how baking Gluten-free does NOT have to sacrifice amazing taste!

Our motto is: “Tastes, like you remember!”

You can contact Old School Treats at:

425-654-1007

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Zucchini Garbanzo Bean Salad

Z.chick.pea.salad

Zucchini Garbanzo Bean Salad

8-10 servings

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Jerusalem: A Cookbook”

A family BBQ was planned for Sunday and I knew that I would be gone for most of the day, so I had to do all of my preparations in advance.

I decided to make a salad that combines both cooked and raw ingredients. The cooked ingredients were prepared in advance, and the raw vegetables and dressing were added just before serving.

Ingredients
3 zucchini, cubed
⅓ cup dry garbanzo beans (or 1 can of garbanzo beans)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
extra virgin olive oil

1 pepper, cubed
10-12 radishes, cut
1 small red onion, cubed
6 -8 oz feta cheese, cubed

Dressing:
5 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Lemon rind
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Soak the garbanzo beans overnight submerged in water and (GF) baking soda
  2. The next day, cook the garbanzo beans in clean water for about 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and cover the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil. Add the  cardamom, allspice, cumin, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Pour garbanzo beans into the spices and fry over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Sautée the zucchini: add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat well. Fry zucchini cubes about 5 minutes over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned but still somewhat firm.  Set aside to cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve: combine all dressing ingredients into a jar and shake well. (The dressing can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve).
  5. Just before serving, combine zucchini, fresh vegetables and cheese. Pour dressing, mix well.
  6. Warm garbanzo beans to room temperature and add to the salad.

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Upcoming Gluten Free Expo in Tacoma, WA

I was recently contacted by the Gluten Intolerance Group. They asked me to share that they will be hosting a gluten free expo on November 9th. It sounds like a lot of fun and I hope to be able to attend!

Here is their message:

“GIG is hosting an Expo and Celebration on November 9th,   1 – 5 pm at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.  This will be a great opportunity to sample gluten-free products and help GIG celebrate 40 years of supporting the gluten-free community. The Celebration will include events for both adults and kids to enjoy, with gluten-free vendors showcasing new products, silent and live auctions for fabulous gluten-free related items & experiences, bouncy houses, and fun for all ages.
Admission is just $ 5 and kids 12 and under are free. 
Thanks GIG for including GFNoms!

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A Few Favorite Gluten Free Products

I’ve been meaning to share some of my favorite gluten free products, but alas, life has been quite busy.

What I’ve included below is a snapshot and is by no means comprehensive!

First off, I’ve been raving to my friends and family about Brazi Bites, so it’s time I rave to all of you as well.

Brazi Bites Baked

I’ve made pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese buns) from scratch before and while it was a great success, it seemed like a lot of work. The great thing about Brazi Bites’ frozen pao de quiejos is that they are frozen! You can pull as many as you like out of the freezer and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes. When you make them from scratch, you have to bake the whole batch, so I very much appreciate how convenient and easy Brazi Bites are to enjoy. The disadvantage is that you might end up eating a few too many!

Brazi Bites Bite

Next is Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta. This pasta has been the most successful and really tastes like normal gluten-ful pasta. It doesn’t stick and get as gummy as the other dry gluten free pastas (Trader Joe’s GF pasta is the worst). They have many different varieties and just last week I made Thai peanut noodles with the linguine noodles!

quinoa pasta

I’m a pretty big fan of cookies and I’m happy that there are several great GF cookie options. Perhaps too many … I should eat less junk. Some of my favorites:

Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Cream

Tweasonale and glutino

Trader Joe’s GF Joe Joe’s

TJ's joe-joe's

Glutino GF lemon wafers

Glutino lemon wafers

and WOW Baking Co.’s Oregon Oatmeal Cookies (the Snickerdoodle one is great too!). As you can see, the WOW cookie bag is empty. I wonder why.

WOW cookie

On to beverages. Good GF beer seems to be the holy grail, and I have never been a beer connoisseur, so you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt!

My favorites are DogFish Head Tweason’ale

Tweason'ale

 New Planet Tread Lightly

New Planet Tread Lightly

 and RedBridge.

Redbridge_2

As for ciders, my list keeps growing and growing! After having way too much fun at the Seattle Cider Summit, I discovered awesome new ciders like Reverend Nat’s Hallelujah Hopricot, Alpenfire, Finn River Habanero Cider, Carlton Asian Pear, Sea Cider Bramble Berry, and the list goes on. And on. The sweetest (not my favorite aspect of ciders) and most accessible, is Spire Dark & Dry.

Dark and Dry

As I look at my list it seems quite unhealthy. But I’ll keep in mind that these are all packaged items, so I’ll be sure to take it easy!

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Tilth & Agrodolce

Maria Hines’ Seattle restaurants include Tilth, Agrodolce, and Golden Beetle. I have been lucky enough to try Tilth and Agrodolce. And hopefully the Golden Beetle is in my near future. Based on my experience with her other restaurants, I have high expectations both for the food and for the gluten free competency at Golden Beetle.

Tilth:

I have a weakness for old houses that have been converted into restaurants and bars. This factor, combined with all of its rave reviews and awards, made me excited to try Tilth in Wallingford! It has taken me several years to have enough in my wallet to get there, but I am happy to say that I have now managed to go to Tilth for brunch and for dinner.

I was somewhat underwhelmed with the gluten free brunch options. I resorted to the scrambled eggs each time, and they were good, but not excellent –or at least not excellent enough to justify the price. The most exciting part of the brunch was the homemade gluten free raisin bread which was outstanding.

The service at brunch has been friendly but not always knowledgeable. One brunch server told me the granola was a gluten free option. When I asked about the oats, she said that they were not ‘specifically gluten free’ but assured me that they were still safe … ahem. Not true. Normal oats: not safe for consumption.

Dinner at Tilth, however, was a completely different experience. It was excellent. I was impressed with the food, presentation, ambience, service, and most importantly, the plethora of gluten free options.

The server was very helpful with the menu and the kitchen was good about avoiding cross contamination.

And sitting outside didn’t hurt either! It’s such a fun and rare treat here in Seattle!

I recommend Tilth and hope I can go back for dinner again soon! We tried a chilled soup, halibut, pea risotto, and asparagus with smoked salmon.

 

Tilth Halibut:

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Tilth Risotto:

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Tilth Asparagus: 

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Agrodolce:

A friend recently brought our attention to Agrodolce in Fremont when they stumbled upon their gluten free menu(!). We were pleased to discover that Agrodolce is another Maria Hines restaurant. And, once again, she did not let us down. The food and the service were both just as good as Tilth.

If I was forced to decide, I would give the slightest edge to Tilth’s food for the cleaner, fresher flavors, but it’s a stylistic preference and it’s basically a toss up. I’d be thrilled if you bought me dinner at either one! And even though Agrodolce is not in a converted old house, they still did an impressive job with the space. Sitting inside still felt like the outdoors.

They had awesome gluten free pasta imported from Italy. I can’t help but wonder, though, why they don’t make their own? I’m sure the chefs would do an amazing job. We also tried a fig and arugula salad (really good), seared broccoli (really good), and st. jude’s albacore tuna (really great).

Agrodolce St. Jude’s Albacore Tuna:

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Agrodolce Broccoli:

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Tilth on Urbanspoon

Agrodolce on Urbanspoon

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Portage Bay Cafe

Portage Bay Cafe is an affordable, fun, and delicious brunch spot. They have 3 locations: South Lake Union, Ballard, and the University District. The University District Portage Bay is smaller and cozier than the Ballard location which has more of a warehouse-meets-cafeteria vibe. It is much brighter, though, and I actually prefer it to the University District location which always seems too out of control and hectic for my taste. If you are without a reservation on a weekend, be prepared to wait for a table at either location!

Atmosphere aside, all of my Portage Bay experiences have been positive. I have, however, learned that it is important to be very clear and diligent with the servers. On one occasion, my eggs arrived with a piece of (not gluten free) toast perched atop. And it is also worth noting that Portage Bay Cafe has a self-service “fruit bar” which comes with many of the brunch items. I have never tried it because of the likelihood of cross contamination (see ‘self-service’), but I hear it is a lot of fun!

The menu makes life very easy for people on a gluten free diet. They mark gluten free items very clearly and accurately. They even make their own gluten free bread for toast or french toast! I like the swedish pancakes so much, though, that I have a hard time ordering anything else. The swedish pancakes are rice & tapioca flour and come with lingonberries and lingonberry-butter, both of which are amazing.

Portage Bay Cafe’s Swedish Pancakes

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Portage Bay Cafe on Urbanspoon

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The Whale Wins

I was not expecting to write a negative review of The Whale Wins. There has been a lot of buzz around it, so we had high expectations. Perhaps it was over-hyped because this is Renee Erickson (of The Walrus and the Carpenter)’s latest creation. But I’m sad to say that it was not a memorable experience. For us, The Whale did not, in fact, Win.

The service, ambience, and design were stellar: an open layout with plenty of natural light (we sat near the windows). They managed to use their warehouse-like space cleverly and did a great job decorating it in a fun, yet simple, way. I especially liked the big neon letters hanging from the ceiling!

One big advantage of their menu is that most items can be prepared gluten free (yay!). But it might not be worth the price or the high expectations. We were a small group and shared the Lettuces Salad, Roasted Carrots and Fennel, Brown Butter Roasted Turnips, Roasted Dungeness Crab (with Harissa butter), and the Roasted Whole Trout.

The highlights were the Trout and the Turnips (everything is relative). The other dishes were a major disappointment  –especially the crab. There were only wisps of crab meat and the harissa was completely overwhelming. It was impossible to taste anything else and we had to ask for clean plates to the save the other dishes from harissa-contamination!  The carrots and fennel suffered the same fate. The salad was fine, but it ends there. It was very very simple.

The Trout:

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The bad crab:

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We did not try any desserts or drinks, so I cannot comment on those. Next time I’m in the area, I’ll skip the Whale Wins and head next door to give Joule a try instead!

The Whale Wins on Urbanspoon

 

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