Posts Categorized: Restaurants we ❤

from the mouth of a gf babe

This is Lily.

 

A few things about her:

She likes to read, draw and swim.

She takes dance lessons (hip hop) and plays on a basketball team.

She speaks French.

She has a younger sister who is the bomb.

She loves her tiny dog Chiquita.

Her favourite food is rice (brown and white)—in sushi, fried or just plain steamed.

Her favourite subject in school is math.

She has celiac disease. She was diagnosed when she was three.

On the morning of her 11th birthday, Lily woke up with a stuffy nose. When asked what she thinks it means to have a cold on her birthday, she replied, without missing a beat: “It’s going to be a SICK year!”

That’s Lily, always making lemonade out of lemons. See for yourself.

What is celiac disease?
It’s a disease that affects your gut [specifically your small intestine]. What happens is when you eat gluten, it doesn’t sit well with your gut and your body gets angry and tries to get it out. Some people have symptoms and there are many different kinds of symptoms—I throw up, get bloated and get bad stomach aches. Some people don’t get symptoms, but it’s still doing damage inside of them.

[For a more complete definition of celiac disease, go to www.celiac.ca]

What is gluten?
It’s a protein that’s in found in certain grains, like wheat, rye, spelt, kamut and barley. When I was younger my mom and I made a sign out of stickers with these words and taped it up in the kitchen to help me learn how to read them. It’s really important to read ingredients and not just assume something is safe to eat, unless it’s a fruit or vegetable of course.

 

 

Do you remember when you found out you had celiac?
I was only three, so I didn’t really know what was happening to me. I was getting sick (barfing) every night and I had lots of stomach pain. Then I remember one day we were at the doctor’s office and I was getting my blood taken. That’s how we found out I have celiac disease. After I stopped eating gluten I felt much better. My hair started to grow and I started to grow.

Was it hard when you first went gluten free?
I don’t think I really noticed a change in my diet, except I remember asking my mom for the Puffins cereal I loved and she said “no more Puffins” and I got really upset with her. But I don’t remember my parents having to say “no” a lot. I just remember them giving me food to eat and I was happy.

How do you feel now, after being gluten free for eight years?
I feel fine.

Your hair is really long now.
Yeah! It keeps growing!

What’s it like to eat gluten free all the time?
I don’t really notice. I don’t really remember eating gluten. Sure, I see my friends eating it, but I feel like I have food that tastes better, I bet, and it looks better. You can always find something that is gluten free, so I can eat just about anything. Basically I don’t think that my diet defines me. It’s part of me, but it’s not me.

Are there ever times when you wish you didn’t have to be gluten free?
Not really, because I can basically have the same foods as everyone else, except they’re gluten free. There’s always a replacement. Sometimes I do feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I want to eat something with gluten, but then I remind myself that somewhere in the world there is a gluten-free version of the same thing. I just have to find it. Plus, I just think about how sick I’ll get if I eat it. It’s not worth it.

When was the last time you got glutened?
I was in Florida at a hotel and they said that there was a gluten-free buffet table and that everything would be safe. There was even a dedicated gluten-free toaster! I ate a bagel, muffin and fruit. At the beach, my stomach starting hurting but I sort of ignored it and didn’t think much about it. And then I started feeling really nauseous and told my mom. My stomach started to really hurt so we went back to our hotel room and I started barfing all over the place. Then I took a nap.

Do you prefer eating in or going out?
Eating at home is so easy. Our house is totally gluten free because we don’t want me getting cross-contaminated or eating something with gluten by accident.

I love going to restaurants and I have my favourites. But sometimes when we eat out my parents make a big fuss about things. I know they’re just trying to make sure the food is safe for me, but it embarrasses me.

What would you tell a friend who finds out that they have celiac disease?
That it’s not that big of a deal. You can always adapt to it. In a few weeks, you’ll think it’s natural.

I’d also recommend some bakeries. Almond Butterfly has the best bagels and cupcakes. Bunner’s has the best cinnamon buns. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo has the best muffins. Sorelle and Co. has the best donuts. And I love Tori’s cupcake with a donut on top.

Do you have any friends who also have celiac disease?
I have a few friends who have celiac disease. We tell each other about great restaurants we’ve been to.

What are your top 3 restaurants?
I can’t name just three. There’s Pukka for Indian. Edo for sushi (they have gluten-free tamari!). Mad Mexican for nachos and tacos. Live has the best burritos. For brunch I love to go to Cocoalatte, Public Kitchen and Hibiscus (best crepes!). And we recently discovered Basil Box, Asian food that is totally gluten free and so yummy!

 

 

What do you love about Gluten Free Garage?
I can go to all the different vendors and eat whatever I want without having to ask if their food is gluten free—I know it’s all safe! But the day is not just about finding yummy food that’s gluten free, it’s also about letting gluten-free people know that they’re part of a larger community and they’re not alone. I feel very proud of my mom and happy that she did this for me and for all the gluten-free people in the world.

What are you doing this year at Gluten Free Garage?
I’m very excited to be a guest speaker! And even more excited that Almond Butterfly Bakeshop is partnering with me to do cupcake decorating! I’ve wanted to be a speaker for a few years and my mom kept saying wait until you’re older. This year I finally convinced her that I can do it. I’m older now and a lot more responsible. Every month at school I have to present a book report to my class and it’s made me a better public speaker and more confident to share my ideas.

 

Lily Eklove is the Gluten Free Garage muse and taste tester. Diagnosed with celiac at age 3, she has grown up with the autoimmune disease and has learned to be her own advocate when it comes to the foods she can and cannot eat. A fifth-grader in French immersion, Lily dreams of going to Paris one day to eat gluten-free croissants. In the meantime she’s pretty happy with the cupcakes from Almond Butterfly.

 

 

Fries before guys

Serving up some attitude with a side of fries.

Serving up some attitude with a side of fries.

 

Flashback to Gluten Free Garage in the fall of '14 with gluten-free girl Lily and her pal Axel going to town on some Hero Burger fries.

Flashback to fall 2014 Gluten Free Garage with gluten-free girl Lily and her pal Axel going to town on some Hero Burger fries.

 

This year Gluten Free Garage is hosting an unprecedented number of vegan and vegetarian vendors. But we know that there are many gluten-free carnivores out there who will be asking: “Where’s the beef?”

Enter Hero Certified Burgers.

You know what my beef is with Hero Burgers? Their french fries, which themselves are gluten free, are made in a shared fryer, so there is a risk of cross-contamination. Hence, my daughter, and everyone else with celiac disease, cannot have them. Which is a bummer, because Lil loves fries.

But I appreciate that Hero Burgers is very clear about this in their communications, because it keeps people with celiac and gluten intolerance safe. Also on the plus side, most of their proteins (except for the hot dog) and condiments are gluten free and they have gluten-free buns from O’Doughs that are warmed in a dedicated toaster. And, most recently, they added gluten-free naturally smoked beef bacon to the menu.

Click here for a full list of the gluten-free offerings at Hero Burgers.

Back to the fries. You may wonder why Lily is eating them in the above photos. Is it an act of gluten-free child rebellion? No, she knows how much it sucks to get glutened. It’s because at Gluten Free Garage the Hero Burgers food truck serves up fries—and poutine!—made in a dedicated fryer with fresh, clean oil. So Lily and her fellow celiacs get to order a side of fries with that!

GFG sponsor Hero Burgers / Photo: Lewis Mirrett

Keep on truckin’ / All photos by Lewis Mirrett

 

Hero Certified Burgers is a Silver sponsor of Gluten Free Garage.

 

gluten-free road trip

There was excitement in the air. We were going to Canada's Gluten Free Market...in a Zipcar! I've always wanted to drive a VW Beetle. Off we went to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington.

There was excitement in the crisp fall air. We were off to Canada’s Gluten Free Market…in a Zipcar! (My car was in the shop and I’ve always wanted to drive a VW Beetle.)

 

Being new to the “Zipsterhood,” I wasn’t sure how this car sharing would all play out, but becoming a member and picking up the car was a piece of (gluten-free) cake! Literally, you can be sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle in 4 simple steps:

1) Join Zipcar.
2) Reserve a car.
3) Unlock the door (with your Zipcar card).
4) Drive!

You can drive by the hour or the day, with gas, insurance and up to 200 km a day included. Best of all, there was a Zipcar location two blocks away from our house. Off we went on a gluten-free shopping spree to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington!

 

Organic Works Bakery's Peter Cuddy couldn't wait for us to taste his new bread.

I pretty much could be the biggest fan of Organic Works Bakery’s Quinoa & Honey Bread. OWB owner Peter Cuddy knows it, but today he couldn’t wait for us to taste his new Buckwheat, Chickpea & Flax Bread. He kindly gave us a loaf to take home and I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast all week long. Note to self: Pick up some more at Gluten Free Garage!

 

After three samples of their roasted vegetable Lasagna, Franny declared: "This is the best pasta ever!"

After three samples of Antipastos Kitchen’s lasagna, my younger daughter (who does not have celiac disease) declared: “This is the best pasta ever!” Now that’s a nod of approval! I’m sure she’ll be back at the Antipastos table at Gluten Free Garage for more.

 

This was our best new gluten-free find!

Our best new gluten-free find! Blossom Bakery’s artisanal veggie flatbread pizza—so flavourful, an amazing crust, lovely combinations of toppings. We went home with two savoury pies, which were devoured upon arrival. Wait til you taste these pizzas at Gluten Free Garage!

 

Girls in the back seat, groceries in the trunk, here we go!

Girls in the back seat, groceries in the trunk, here we go! Off to the vegan and gluten-free Lettuce Love Cafe  and sister bakery Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe in town.

 

By this time the girls were calling the Zipcar "our" car (while making quotation marks in the air).

By this time the girls were calling the Zipcar “our” car (while making quotation marks in the air).

 

My Goddess Bowl at Lettuce Love Cafe sounded fresh.

Lettuce Love Cafe on a Sunday afternoon in Burlington is THE place to be! After much deliberation, I ordered the Goddess Bowl (dreaming of it now), hubby had the BLAT sandwich (“bacon”, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and the girls had grilled cheese sandwiches with avocado (made on none other than Organic Works Bakery bread!). Never been to Lettuce Love? At Gluten Free Garage, you’ll have the chance to get a taste of what they do and you’ll see it’s well worth the drive to Burlington! You’ll also get to meet Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, the inspiring mother/daughter duo behind Lettuce Love and Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe.

 

A trip to Burlington without a stop at Kelly's XO Bake Shoppe.

A trip to Burlington without a stop at Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe is like a trip to the CNE without going on a ride. It is a MUST. Here are just a few reasons why:

 

The chocolate dip donut. We love us some gluten-free donuts and these babies are the real deal. (Fellow donut junkies take note: The bakery offers them Friday to Sunday only.)

 

The Dulce de Leche cupcake

The award-winning Dulce de Leche cupcake.

 

The Mile High Brownie. 'Nuff said.

The Mile High Brownie. ‘Nuff said. No, wait, it should be said that the baked goods at Kelly’s do not contain any gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, lard, casein or artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Say what?!

 

A long day, as this big sister crashed on top of her little sister can attest to...

After a long day with loads of tummy love, gluten-free big sister crashed on top of her little sis on the way home in “our” car. The End.

 

Zipcar, Organic Works Bakery, Lettuce Love Cafe and Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe are all sponsors of #GFG2014!

SPECIAL ZIPCAR OFFER FOR GFG PEEPS: Click here to sign up and save on your Zipcar membership!

would you like poutine with that?

Fries and cheese curds and gravy, oh my!

Fries and cheese curds and gravy, oh my!

 

A trip to the Gluten Free Garage just isn’t complete without stopping by the Hero Burgers food truck for the best poutine this side of Papineau. Our favourite corner spot for gluten-free (and hormone- and antibiotic-free) burgers and buns, HB has our carnivorous cravings covered all over town. Thanks to this short-order saviour, there are plenty of GF options to choose from, but note that not all locations offer the gluten-free poutine—made in a dedicated fryer with trans-fat-free canola oil—so be sure to ask before ordering (the Colossus and Yonge & Shephard restaurants have them). We’re purists when it comes to poutine so we stick with the traditional dish, but for the more adventurous, Hero Burgers serves up four different flavours: beef, mushroom, garden and Caesar.

 

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Available at all locations across the GTA!

 

 #GFGsponsor

5 things making me happy this week

Some are gluten free, some have nothing to do with gluten at all.

Avocado goat cheese toast=GF toast, avocado, honey goat cheese, pepper, lime juice

With more than 6,000 toasts tagged, New York magazine calls it “the most annoying food on Instagram.” We call it delicious. Our avocado toast, made with Organic Works gluten-free quinoa and honey bread, is topped with honey goat cheese, hemp seeds, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a pinch of black pepper.

 

Shopping up a storm at Canada's Gluten Free Marketplace.

Enjoying all the yummy gluten-free goodies we bought at Canada’s Gluten-Free Market (did we go overboard with the GFG branding?).

 

Feasting on Chinese food takeout from Riz! The General tao chicken was gone in a blink!

Feasting on gluten-free Chinese takeout from Riz on Bayview! I highly recommend the General Tao chicken.

 

A tall cold refreshing glass of Thornbury Apple Cider, which I pronounce my drink of summer 2014!

Washing down the Chinese food with a cold sparkling glass of Thornbury Apple Cider—gluten free and made in Ontario! I picked it up at the LCBO. My official bevvy of summer 2014!

 

Kicking off World Pride in our own backyard. Happy Pride!

Kicking off World Pride Toronto in our own backyard. Happy Pride!