Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Politics, Religions and Which is the Best Gluten Free Pasta

They say that one should never discuss politics or religion in polite company.  If you are gluten free then you should probably add pasta to that list!  It seems everyone has their favorite and some people are quite passionate about their likes and dislikes when it comes to pasta.

Best overall: Schär - Overall,  I think Schär makes the best pasta.  It holds up best when cooked and has a texture closest to regular pasta.  A lot of supermarkets are carrying the Schär line now so it should be easy to find.  I've seen it at ShopRite, Kings, Foodtown and Stop & Shop.  If you can't find it locally, it can be ordered by the individual box at the Gluten Free Mall by clicking here: Schär Gluten-Free Pasta

Everyday use: Goldbaums - For everyday use I usually go with Goldbaums pasta.  It is one of the least expensive gluten free pastas available and it comes in a 16oz package.  I usually bring left overs for lunch at work and making a pound of pasta provides me with three meals.  I've seen Goldbaums at Kings and Fairway.  If you can't find it locally, it can be ordered in bulk on amazon.com by clicking here: Goldbaums Brown Rice Pasta

Stuffed Shells: Tinkyada - Overall, I'm not a big fan of Tinkyada pasta.  I don't think it holds up well during cooking and I find the texture to be softer than regular pasta.  I've also found their cooking times to be excessive.  Anytime I've cooked their pasta for as long as recommended I've had mush.  They do however make more shapes of pasta than any other company.  The only shape I use is their large shell if I want to make Gluten Free / Dairy Free Stuffed Shells.  I've seen Tinkyada pasta almost everywhere, but have only ever seen their large shells at Nature's Pavilion (on rt23 in Pompton Plains) and Fairway.  They can also be ordered in bulk on amazon.com by clicking here: - Tinkyada Brown Rice Shells

Lasagna: DeBoles - DeBoles also makes a number of pasta shapes (but be careful as they also make gluten containing pasta).  The only one I use is their No Boil Lasagna noodles when making Gluten Free / Dairy Free Lasagna.  I've seen DeBoles in a number of supermarkets in the area.  They also can be ordered in bulk on amazon.com here: De Boles Rice Lasagna

Fresh: RP's - RP's makes four shapes: Fettuccine, Fussili, Spinach Fettuccine and Linguini.  You can read my full review here: RP's Fresh Gluten Free Pasta and if you can't find it locally (they're sold nationwide at Whole Foods) you can order them online from the Gluten Free Mall here: RP's Pasta Company Gluten-Free Pasta

Other Brands:  I've tried a couple of other brands as well.  They're reviewed below:

Bionaturae - Overall this pasta is good, but a little soft texturewise.  [Not mushy, just soft.]  It comes in a 12oz bag and is a blend of rice, potato, and soy.  Shoprite has this brand as do a number of other stores (but be careful, Bionaturae makes gluten containing pasta as well).  Amazon.com has them in bulk: Bionaturae Gluten Free Pasta

Le Veneziane - This corn pasta is also quite good and a number of my friends rave about it. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find (the only store I've seen it in is Corrado's) and comes in an 8-9oz bag/box. Amazon.com has it by the individual package here: Le Veneziane Italian Gluten Free Pasta

Ancient Harvest - A blend of Corn and Quinoa, it is probably one of the most nutritious gluten free pastas around.  It comes in an 8oz box and holds up very well when cooked.  I usually pick it up at Whole Foods if I'm going to get it.  The Gluten Free Mall has it as well: Ancient Harvest Quinoa Gluten-Free Pasta

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: Uno Chicago Grill (6 locations in NJ)

I stopped for dinner at an Uno Chicago Grill Saturday night after a basketball game (for those interested, Seton Hall lost).  Whenever I go out with my brothers they are always sure to pick somewhere I can eat so we usually hit Unos a couple of times a season.  

Steak Tips, Brown Rice and Craisins, Steamed Brocoli,
all prepared Gluten and Dairy Free at Uno Chicago Grill
Since Unos has a touch screen computer kiosk in their lobby that links to their nutrition information, it is easy for me to eat there. This online resource not only lists the eight major allergens (the same ones required on groceries) but each entry also contains a link to a full listing of every ingredient in a menu item. That's right, no need to rely on asking what is in a certain sauce or side dish, you can easily look it up! 
The Brown Rice and Craisins is GF/DF, as is the steamed broccoli.  The Steak Tips used to be on the GF menu but aren't anymore.  They don't contain any gluten ingredients (only Soy is listed as an allergen), so I asked my server (and the manager who he brought over).  They confirmed they didn't have any gluten ingredients and said they could prepare it gluten free. 

As always it was a good meal and it was nice to feel safe in a chain restaurant.  Now I just wish they would get Daiya cheese so I can try their gluten free pizza too!

One final thought - the chain has reported some financial concerns so I wouldn't wait to long to visit them.

Unos Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
Other chain restaurant reviews you may be interested in: