True Food

Rating: A+

It's funny how sometime the places you go to the most don't even end up on your blog. This is my go-to in Chicago. They're great with allergies, and I order food from here all the time. Some of my favorites:

Turkey Burger with gluten free bun *(And I usually don't even like turkey burgers)

Smashed avocado toast with poached eggs (just tried for the first time today)

Anything with their Chicken Sausage

Kale salad (awesome garlicky dressing. Can be dangerous for those around you afterwards though ;)

Gluten Free Pizza!!! (Margherita and the Vegan option are my favorites)

Seasonal Ingredient Salad

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Unfortunately, the only thing I have photos of is the Smashed Avocado Toast. Here you go! :)

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Update: Found another old photo of the 2 egg breakfast with Chicken Sausage. I LOVE their chicken sausage even though it gives me heartburn every time.

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The Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin is also AMAZING!! It's a must eat!

Blueberry Muffin (GF Obviously)

Blueberry Muffin (GF Obviously)

 

 

 

Francesca's (Bryn Mawr Location)

Rating: A/A-

To be fair, I've only tried one meal here, and it tasted good, but there was nothing spectacular about it. I would love to go back and try more items to really give it a fair assessment. I ordered the Penne alle Verdure. It was really flavorful, although I wish there would have been more vegetables in it.  Here is their gluten free menu if you're interested in checking it out. :)

Warning: I asked about their "gluten free pizza" and they don't do anything to prevent cross-contamination, and they only have one pizza stone, so don't order the pizza if you have celiac disease (At least at this location).

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Homeslice

Rating: A/A-

I definitely want to try this pizza in person because it's just always better in person, but I've been pretty satisfied with their pizza every time I've ordered it. Their ingredients seem really fresh and it seems almost "healthy".

I called to ask about cross-contamination and they said that they change aprons/gloves and put the pizzas on a different surface (I can't remember if they said it was elevated or on aluminum foil), but they definitely said it was separate. It's totally a buyer beware thing. I have Celiac Disease, and based on my research and how I feel, I'm most concerned about anything more than 20ppm, so something like a shared kitchen or a shared oven, as long as it's not directly touching the same surface as gluten, is a risk I'm willing to take. But please be aware that there's always a chance it could be cross-contaminated.

This was "Da Duba". Loved it

This was "Da Duba". Loved it

I can't remember what this one was called, but definite thumbs up!

I can't remember what this one was called, but definite thumbs up!

Flip Crepes

Rating: B+

Flip Crepes is in the French Market building, and it's a great place to go for a quick bite to eat.  The crepes aren't the best I've ever had in my life, and I wish the inside was heated up more, but I would never turn one down if it were put in front of me. It's also a huge bummer that they don't do breakfast crepes all day, or at least have egg crepes available.  I ended up ordering the Caprese (with salami added to it) and the Banana Nutella Crepe.

 

Caprese: Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Spinach, and Pesto

My favorite part about this was the pesto. It was surprisingly good and flavorfull.

 

 

Banana Nutella

You can't really go wrong with a Banana Nutella Crepe.  It's like the "Basic B*tch/Pumpkin Spice Latte" version of crepes, but I definitely thought they overdid it a bit with the nutella.  I'm sure that just depends on the person that makes it for you, though.

 

High Tea at the Langham Chicago

Rating: B-

I had to show off my flowers from Trader Joe's .  I was really proud of myself :)

I had to show off my flowers from Trader Joe's .  I was really proud of myself :)

The Langham is a gorgeous and relatively new hotel in Chicago.  I've stayed at the Langham in London and actually had their high tea there, so I expected the experience to be similar in Chicago, but they were really lacking in terms of gluten free options. I would definitely go to the Peninsula way before the Langham.  The tea was really nice and they had a warm chocolate cookie that I loved in addition to the macarons, but other than that, it was pretty mediocre.  I didn't really like any of the sandwiches. I definitely didn't think it was worth the money.

The chocolate cookie I was referring to above is at the front of this plate.  The macaron was really good, and how can you go wrong with a chocolate covered strawberry? I mean, the desserts tasted good, but as far as fun and exciting gluten free options, I was underwhelmed after what I had experienced at the Peninsula. 

The chocolate cookie I was referring to above is at the front of this plate.  The macaron was really good, and how can you go wrong with a chocolate covered strawberry? I mean, the desserts tasted good, but as far as fun and exciting gluten free options, I was underwhelmed after what I had experienced at the Peninsula. 



Le Pain Quotidien (Gold Coast)

Rating: A

 

UPDATE 10/17/16:

I just had to post more pictures because I love LPQ so much. Lately what I've been doing is just buying a whole loaf of bread from here and making avocado toast at home everyday. Their bread is LEGIT! It's not Chambelland bread, but it's a very close second.

I got an egg on it this time, and it was SO SO GOOD!

I got an egg on it this time, and it was SO SO GOOD!

UPDATE 2/18/16:

They now have AMAZING gluten free toast! Go get it ASAP! I had it yesterday for the first time, and it's all I've been thinking about. Here's a pic:

The bread was incredibly dense and filling. It was full of nuts and seeds. I LOVED IT!!!!

The bread was incredibly dense and filling. It was full of nuts and seeds. I LOVED IT!!!!

 

I never even considered eating here until my hair stylist told me they had great gluten free avocado toast.  Obviously, I was sold immediately.  Even though I think it's incredibly overpriced, I'm really impressed with this place, especially given that it's a chain.  The food seems really high quality. This is what I've tried that I can recommend:

  • Avocado Toast - citrus cumin salt, organic chia seeds and extra virgin olive oil (My favorite)
  • Organic Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding
  • Goat Cheese & Oyster Mushroom Omelette
  • Lentil & Avocado Salad - organic lentils, carrot, radish, fennel, wild arugula, sunflower seeds and lemon Dijon vinaigrette (Other than the avocado toast, this is my favorite thing)

 

Part of Avocado Toast with Lentil & Avocado Salad

This gluten free avocado toast is the bomb.  It comes with about five pieces on these buckwheat crackers that are actually pretty decent.  I have one of them paired here with the Lentil and Avocado salad.  This is my favorite thing, and I try to get it every time.  I would 100% recommend it.

This gluten free avocado toast is the bomb.  It comes with about five pieces on these buckwheat crackers that are actually pretty decent.  I have one of them paired here with the Lentil and Avocado salad.  This is my favorite thing, and I try to get it every time.  I would 100% recommend it.

Organic Coconut and Chia Seed Pudding

This definitely could have been better, but it was not bad.  I make chia seed pudding at home a lot for myself, so maybe my standards are high, but I thought it was pretty expensive for what it was. I really liked that it came with berries on top.

Nana

Rating: A

Nana is a really cool restaurant in Bridgeport that I've been meaning to go to for a long time.  I finally got a chance to go for lunch a few weeks ago (They serve the breakfast menu until 2:30pm), and they didn't have as many gluten free options as I was hoping for, but the food was really good.  There were a ton of menu items that had a mexican twist, which I miss being from San Antonio.  They also had a great Kale Salad.  This was what I tried:

 

Blue Scotch Kale Salad

avocado, roasted red peppers, pickled red onions, cotija cheese, citrus vinaigrette

I really liked this salad a lot. I think the dressing was probably my favorite part, but I liked the addition of the avocado and roasted red peppers.  I would definitely recommend it.

 

Huevos Rancheros

two eggs any-style, crispy corn tortillas, refried pinto beans, vidalia onions, peppers, guacamole, queso fresco. choice of: chorizo or soyrizo

Loved this!

 

Baked Chilaquiles

corn tortilla casserole, black beans, poblano cream, two eggs any-style

This was good too, but really rich.  It wasn't really what I remember chilaquiles being like, but it was definitely interesting and very flavorful.

I am looking forward to trying Nana Organic again, but based on what I've tried so far, I would definitely recommend it if you're in the area.

Bandera

Bandera is one of our all-time favorite places to eat.  It is definitely my husband's favorite place to eat in Chicago.  They don't have a gluten free menu, but they're very accommodating with what they do have. We didn't start coming here until a couple of years ago because it was on Michigan Avenue and we kind of just always assumed it was a touristy place and wouldn't be that good.  We were definitely wrong.  The produce and quality of the food is great.  I don't think they do anything free range or organic, but it definitely tastes like very high quality food.  Every single time I go, I get the Macho Salad and a side of fries with Spicy Mayo and Ketchup.  Things I would recommend:

  • Dip Duo
  • Artichoke Appetizer
  • Macho Salad
  • French Fries
  • Pork Chop
  • Prime Rib Sandwich (They don't have GF Bread so not for celiacs, but I had them make it on a gluten free baguette one time and it was amazing.  It took a lot of effort though)

Unfortunately I don't have any photos (I'm definitely taking some the next time we go), but here is a photo of the Pork Chop (which seems to sell out every night we go) to tide you over for now.


Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago)

Rating: A+

They have since changed the bread to regular sandwich bread, but it's still pretty good.  Just a heads up. :)

They have since changed the bread to regular sandwich bread, but it's still pretty good.  Just a heads up. :)

I don’t even know where to start when telling you about this place. The ambiance is amazing. You can see more at their website. It literally feels like summer in California in there. It will be a nice respite from winter, and it will be AMAZING in the summer. SHSM took over the space that Tilli’s in Lincoln Park formerly had, and I am SO GLAD they did. They have a retractable roof, a cute baked goods station at the front, a cool bar, an open, kitchen, and bright, open seating.
When I say “Go to this place immediately!”, I mean it more than ever. This was by far the best gluten free eating experience I’ve had in Chicago thus far. They have a gluten free menu in addition to their regular menu. The gluten free one isn’t posted online yet, but rest assured they have gluten free bread (made in house), gluten free sandwiches, burgers, FRIED calamari, FRENCH FRIES. AHHHH! I’m so excited!

Here is what I’ve tried so far. (Except I forgot to take a picture of the Ahi Tuna Tostadas. They were close to my favorite if not my favorite thing I tried.)

Ahi Tuna Tostadas (amazing flavor combination)

Super Green Salad (kale salad)



This salad was delicious. I can’t wait to try the others.


Fresh Burrata with Celery Root, Lemon, Fresno Chili, Shaved Baby Fennel, and Housemade Bread


mmm.......

So, I don’t even know what to say. WARM, GLUTEN FREE HOUSEMADE BREAD served in a restaurant?!!!!!! AHHHH!! I was so excited when this came out. It was delicious! I would maybe want to add some aged balsamic vinaigrette next time on the side, but it was really good.


Bourbon-Candied Carrots

SO GOOD!! Great side to order. Not that complicated, and I could probably make it at home, but really good nonetheless

 



 

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Prime Rib French Dip - Slow-roasted, sliced to order, horseradish, natural au jus

HEAVEN.....in a sandwich! I’ve been begging Bandera for months to let me bring in gluten free bread to eat their version of this sandwich, and they always say no. Summer House Santa Monica....THANK YOU!!!!


Event though I already felt like I was going to throw up, I bought a gluten free chocolate chip cookie. It was really moist and delicious.  I have to buy them pretty much every time now.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie


I’m so happy to share this place with you guys. I LOVE IT!!!!!


UPDATE 1/22/14

- Okay, so they changed their gluten free bread to more like regular GF toast (tastes delicious)

- They changed the burrata dish to a more tomatoey dish. Still delish!

- They reduced the amount of items on the menu (for sure no more calamari, but I can’t remember what else they no longer have. Definitely a lot smaller though)

- The now have allergy tags for the gluten free dishes (FINALLY)


This time I tried the special:

Lobster Frites

I was actually really impressed with this. The lobster was delicious and not as expensive as I would have that. And who doesn’t LOVE fries?

 

 

Pasta W/ Forest Mushrooms truffle, chicken brown butter brodo

I was sort of confused by this because it said “chicken” in the description, but I’m guessing there’s maybe just some chicken broth mixed with the brown butter? Anyway, I love truffled ANYTHING, so of course, this was no exception. This dish is really light. I actually might have preferred a slightly heavier sauce if this had been all I was eating. I wish this had slightly more truffle flavor, but that's just me. It was a great size and, believe it or not, I didn’t leave the restaurant feeling sickly full. :)
 

Wok n' Fire (South Barrington)

Rating: A/A-

I was pleasantly surprised with this place. The food was actually read good and fresh. It was definitely a little too loud and crowded, but they really did their best to have good service, and I really enjoyed the food. Also, they have a pretty extensive gluten free menu.

I started with this side salad (the dressing was delicious)




I’m giving this Pad Thai a lot of screen time. It deserves it ;)




I honestly can’t remember what rolls I got, but they were pretty good. I know one was the Mexican Roll or Crazy Roll. The other one, I really can’t remember. They were both decent, but I definitely preferred the Pad Thai.



Au Cheval

Rating: A/A-

This cute little diner is ALWAYS busy. I’ve been waiting forever because i thought the popularity would eventually die down, but it hasn’t, so I had to just suck it up. Needless to say, it was TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT. They have a nice gluten free menu, and they’re incredibly accommodating. I cannot even tell you how delicious and filling the food was. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone visiting or living in Chicago. I apologize in advance for the low quality pictures (what else is new?) :)

They put bacon and eggs on pretty much everything in the restaurant






Doc B's (River North)

Rating: A


I went here for the first time last week, and I think I may become obese if I start going here too often. For some reason, I walk into this place, and I lose all of my self-control. They have a lot of gluten free options, but unfortunately they don’t have a gluten free menu. I’m posting my version here for a reference for you, and not all of the employees are knowledgeable about it, so you might want to reference this when you go. They can do most of their sandwiches and burgers gluten free and most of the apps are gluten free. Also, the fires have their own fryer, so those are okay too. Also, I have heard the gold coast menu is totally different so don’t reference my list there. I forgot to take pictures the last time I went, but I took pictures today of the two things I didn’t scarf down so fast it was embarrassing. I’m sitting here SO FULL as I write this. Anyway...

Turkey Burger

This was really good. I’ve kind of recently learned that I’m not a huge turkey burger fan and today solidified that (although I ate the whole thing). This was actually really good and the best one I’ve ever had. I’m just having an epiphany here, so I thought I would document it. There’s just something about ground turkey that I don’t like.

Reuben Sandwich

This was my favorite thing that I had.  It comes out with crispy cheese melting everywhere and the grain mustard is the perfect accompaniment to the sandwich.  Loved it!




Here’s my make-shift gluten free menu to save you some time :)


Diamond Fresh Seafood (Lake Zurich)

Rating: A-

Okay, so let me just preface this with the fact that this place is NOT FANCY and kind of/really does smell like fish. Sounds like a fun place to go, right?
Anyway, it’s basically like a fish shop that sells food you can eat there too, and I have to say the food is amazing. I would give it an A+ if it weren’t for the general ambiance of being a fish shop.
Okay, now on to the good stuff. The owners are this really adorable couple and they will tell you all about their kids in addition to cooking your food. They are pretty much the nicest people I’ve ever met, and the wife is the chef. She has gluten intolerance, so she makes pretty much everything gluten free. When was the last time you had gluten free Seafood/Clam Chowder? I’m guessing never. For me, that was when I was a kid because it literally doesn’t exist anywhere that I’ve seen except for this little shop. My other favorite things here are the fish tacos and the oysters rockefeller and the cole slaw. Well pretty much everything I’ve tried...


Delicious Seafood Chowder




GF Fish Tacos with the best sauce ever. Not the best pics (as usual, but trust...)

FIsh Entree


Cubs Game (Decades Diner)

Rating: A-

I wasn’t expecting much after my experience at the Sox game, but I was really impressed with all of the gluten free options at the Cubs game. I was able to get gluten free popcorn, peanuts, and this amazing hot dog meal with real relish (not the weird neon green stuff). Decades Diner is really cute. I would definitely go there again.


How weird/good does the Elvis Nanner Sandwich sound?!!


I even got a gluten free Cider Beer to round out my meal! :)


Beatrix

Rating: A



I really love the vibe and the food of this place, and I have no idea how I only discovered it a few months ago. It’s a regular restaurant, but it also has a little coffee shop counter and a bar. And they have bloomberg streaming and tbs everywhere, but it also somehow has sort of a relaxed vacation vibe with cool plants, etc. I’m probably not describing it well, but you should go check it out.

Potato Salad Deviled Eggs

No idea why these are called “potato salad” deviled eggs, because I don’t taste potatoes in them at all, but they’re delicious. The aioli that’s on the plate is awesome!

Chicken Ceasar Salad

This is one of my favorite salads here because they put the Ceasar-type dressing at the bottom of the plate and a light vinaigrette on the actual salad, so you can kind of pick and choose how much dressing you want and what flavor combination you’re going for.


Supernatural chopped salad (old version)

This salad was really good too. Right now they’re doing it with peaches.

 

GF Burger

This was decent, but I really don’t understand why they don’t just buy some Udi’s Hamburger buns to enhance the experience. Or make their own for that matter, given that Lettuce Entertain you is such a big company, and they have an in-house gluten free capable bakery.


Desserts:

The CHIA PUDDING

This was so delicious. I know a lot of people are on the Chia pudding bandwagon, but I loved the presentation of this as well as the coconut and mangoes on top with the passion fruit glaze. It was the perfect amount of sweetness.
 

Fred's at Barney's

So, I was at Fred’s in Barneys a few months ago for a coffee with a friend, and I saw that they had gluten free options on their menu. I had to come back and try it, and I’m so glad I did. They don’t have a full gluten free menu, and honestly, the selection is a little limited, but what they do have that's gluten free is AMAZING! Their gluten free bolognese pasta is great, and it just feels so luxurious to have lunch there. I would definitely recommend it. I forgot to take a picture of the asparagus we got with the aged balsamic on it, but that was my favorite part (hard to believe, given that the pasta was that good).I love coming here because it's almost never busy and they have an amazing just-above-street-level view.  It's really nice when the weather is nice enough to sit outside. They now have DELICIOUS gluten free PIZZA! Here’s what I had today. I’m definitely going to start coming here more. It’s pretty expensive, but I was really impressed with the pizza.


This is their Emilia Romagna
“bianco mozzarella and parmesan drizzled with acto balsamico”

Apparently this is their most popular pizza, and it was SO GOOD! I also love their Margherita pizza. I would definitely recommend this place!



Can’t find the name on the online menu. I wan to say this is called the Madison Avenue salad?

It normally comes with tuna, but I got it with no tuna, so that should help you if you’re trying to order it. It was definitely fresh and flavorful, but I could definitely have used more salad dressing on it.

 

Gluten Free Bolognese Pasta















Recommendations:

Roasted Asparagus parmesan cheese, black pepper & aged balsamic vinegar

Caprese Salad mozzarella di bufala, heirloom tomato, fresh basil & monini extra virgin olive oil

Braised Beef Bolognese braised beef brisket with red wine and san marzano tomato with housemade pappardelle and parmesan cheese.


Bolognese Pasta (SO GOOD!!!)

Any of the Pizzas gluten free, but particularly the Emilia Romagna and the Margherita

Stella Barra Pizzeria


Rating: A


The Lettuce Entertain You people have done it again! I LOVED this place. The service was a little lacking and it was a tiny bit loud, but those are my only complaints (and I’m an old lady inside, so you can disregard the noise comment). :) Stella Barra is connected to Summer House Santa Monica (aka my favorite place ever). The vibe is very different though. Summer House is really bright and cheery. Stella Barra is more of a wine bar feel, with darker colors and booths, and it’s much smaller.

Anyway, I called ahead to make sure Stella Barra was okay for gluten allergies. Let me just warn you: In any commercial bakery/pizzeria, there are about 7ppm of gluten floating around in the air. I abide by the <20ppm and I’m safe motto, and it seems to work for me, but if that doesn’t work for you, please take heed. Also, they don’t have a separate gluten free menu yet, but they’re working on it. Here is their regular dinner menu. They just released their gluten free pizza last week, so I’m sure they will eventually.

They store their gluten free crust in a completely separate area wrapped in plastic. They prepare it in a separate area/surface, and they cook the pizza on parchment paper in the oven, so there is a risk of cross-contamination, but really not a big one, in my opinion. They did have the manager come over before I ate to explain that they weren’t liable, etc., if I got sick, but after going over their preparation methods, I really felt fine about it, and guess what? I feel FINE today! :)

Okay, so on to the fun stuff. I tried:

Salads:
Heirloom Spinach and Purple Kale Salad:
Medjool dates, pecorino, cracked black pepper, mustard vinaigrette, lemon zest

Ceasar Salad (with no croutons):
This was on their specials list, which I no longer have access to :)

Vegetables:
Brussels Sprouts (BEST THING I TRIED):
Moscato Vinegar, parmesan, NO BREAD CRUMBS

Roasted Cauliflower:
brown butter, smoked provolone, hazelnut, lemon

Pizza:
White-
Half Prosciutto and Farm Egg:
mozzarella, gruyere, pecorino, chili flakes, cracked black pepper, sunny-side up egg

Half Shaved Mushroom:
gruyere, melted onions, black truffle, torn parsley, rosemary, thyme

Red-
Half House-Made Pork Sausage:
fresh mozzarella, fennel sausage

Half Margherita:
fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil

Here's what we had: I've compressed two visits into one :)

Overall, I think Summer House is still my favorite restaurant, just because of the variety, but anytime I want Gluten Free pizza, I will be going to Stella Barra Chicago. :)
GO HERE ASAP!