Thursday, August 29, 2013

Food Truck Review: The Green Radish (vegan with gluten free options)

A vegan burger so good, I'd consider giving up meat!

The weekend before last, I attended the annual summer Montclair Jazz Festival in Nishuane Park.  I had found out about the Festival from a press release announcing a new vegan food truck: The Green Radish. Being dairy free and mostly egg free, vegan food can often be quite safe (unless there is a lot of wheat gluten used as a meat replacer).  

Vegan Black Bean Burger on Gluten Free bread
from The Green Radish
When I arrived at the truck, I was a little concerned that the menu doesn't mention gluten free at all.  A quick inquiry revealed that not only were a number of their menu items already naturally gluten free, they offered gluten free bread for all of their sandwiches as well!

[Just a quick note, since I'm not vegan and my issue with eggs is minor, I only confirmed the bread was gluten and dairy free, I did not confirm it was egg free as well.]

For lunch, I had the Black Bean Burger.  This was by far the best burger (beef or vegan) I have had in years (and possibly ever)!  The bread held together nicely and the vegan chipotle mayo was incredible (I can't handle mayo made from egg so this was a nice change).  I was actually too full afterwards to immediately go back for dessert.

Being both dairy and gluten free means I almost never get dessert.  There are two gluten free / vegan desserts at The Green Radish: Grilled Seasonal Fruit in a Vanilla Sauce and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunchy Quinoa Cup (which I did get to try later in the day). It is a vegan chocolate candy about the size of a large marshmallow with a hard outer chocolate shell studded with quinoa and a soft peanut butter and mint center [no not mint flavor, actual fresh mint leaves].  Their other two desserts currently contain gluten but they have trialed them using gluten free flours and hope to change over at some point in the future.
Diners lining up for some amazing
vegan fare from The Green Radish!

And now for the downside - the Green Radish is a brand new food truck and they are still working out the details of where and when you can catch up with them.  From their facebook page it appears they've been out and about for a couple of weeks now.  Hopefully their website/facebook/twitter will be filled with appearances soon!  

I'm already stalking them here: The Green Radish on Facebook and here The Green Radish on Twitter and hope to eat from them again soon!

If you're looking for some other great take-away vegan / vegetarian food in NJ try the Nectar Cafe (review) in Glen Rock. For sit down dining I've flagged the vegan friendly options on my list of NJ Restaurants with Gluten Free Menus as well.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mango, Cucumber, Jicama, and Avocado Salad Recipe (vegan / gluten free)

I've made this salad a couple of times this summer for various cookouts and barbecues and it has been a hit at each. Jicama might be a little harder to find but a number of local supermarkets have had it for me.

Jicama, Mango, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad

1 mango
1 medium cucumber
1 jicama
1 avocado


1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2" piece of ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste

How to prepare Mango, Cucumber, and Jicama Salad:

Peel, pit and dice the mango.  (Keep dice size the same for all four fruits/veggies - somewhere between 1/4" and 1/2" should be fine.)

Peel and dice the cucumber.

Peel and dice the jicama.(sometimes jicama skin is too tough for my potato peeler if so, use a knife instead)

Pit, remove from skin and dice the avocado.

Combine mango, cucumber, jicama, avocado in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl combine grated ginger, minced garlic, chopped cilanto, olive oil, juice of one lemon, salt and pepper.  Mix until combined being careful not to over mix.  [As a time saver I like to add my dressing ingredients to my magic bullet to both chop the herbs/spices and combine.  If you do this, don't add the lemon juice until after or it will emulsify and you'll have a mayonnaise more than a dressing!]

Pour over salad and toss.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Makes 4-6 side dish servings


If you're looking for another great cookout recipe, you may want to try my Black Bean Quinoa Salad!

And don't forget to check my full list of Recipes (Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Allergens listed).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Restaurant Review: Nectar Cafe (Glen Rock, NJ)

Best Cinnabun I've ever had!

Vegan Watermelon Cucumber Gazpacho from Nectar Cafe
I usually bring my own lunch to work.  It is a rare day the cafeteria hasn't added wheat or dairy to at least part of the two lunch options and the GF/DF options around the office can be a bit of a drive.  20 minutes is at the far end of what I'll drive for lunch, but it turns out that the Nectar Cafe (175 Rock Road, Glen Rock, NJ 07452 [behind the CVS in the far back of their parking lot]) is well worth it!  [My GPS took me to their address which is on Rock Road, I parked across the street and walked.  However, they are a good block off of Rock Road at the far end of the parking lot.]

I want to start by pointing out that Nectar Cafe is in the middle of an expansion so I'll have to re-review them once their addition is finished.  They are expanding into the store front next to them so the location will remain the same, only be bigger, with an expanded menu and even some seating.  Not sure if their hours will change but for now they are 8am-6pm weekdays and 7:30am-1pm on the weekends.

Vegan / Gluten Free Crabcakes at Nectar Cafe
Right now, it is a small juice / smoothie bar with some pre-prepared items and made to order wraps.  Sadly, the wraps are all wheat based but they are hoping to add a gluten free wrap once the expansion is complete.  Other than the wraps, the only other wheat I saw was wheat grass for the juices (which if grown and harvested correctly can be gluten free although I didn't confirm).  All of the desserts were both gluten and dairy free including surprisingly enough the one that contained oats (I asked and it turns out they used gluten free oats)!  They listed rice, cashew and almond milk for the smoothies but some also contained yogurt.

The only other dairy item I saw was goat cheese on their pizza but they are looking to offer a vegan pizza as well.  However, what they offer in their display case changes from day-to-day so double check.

Vegan Raw Gluten Free YUMM CinnaBUN! from Nectar Cafe
I ended up having the watermelon and cucumber gazpacho and vegan crabcakes (gluten free as well).  The soup was outstanding and the 'crab' cakes were quite good as well.  The tartar sauce for the crab cakes was the highlight of the dish.

Finally, I was going to have the vegan 'snickers' cup but then I asked about the oats and found out they were gluten free.  So I switched to the YUMM CinnaBUN! and am glad I did.  It was delicious and easily better (both tastier and obviously healthier) than the fat, gluten, and calorie laden mess one can get in the mall!  [The label doesn't specify gf oats so double check when you go.]

I'm already looking forward to going back and trying their other offerings (ok, ok, mostly their other desserts)!

Nectar Cafe on Urbanspoon

If you're looking for other gluten free / vegan restaurants try:

Good Karma Café (Red Bank, NJ)

Papa Ganache (Matawan, NJ)

Loving Hut (Ledgewood, NJ)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Restaurant Review: Lo Fatt Chow (Lebanon, NJ)

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a gluten free friend at Lo Fatt Chow (56 Payne Road, Lebanon, NJ 08833). Lo Fatt bills themselves as healthy Chinese cuisine and they have added gluten free sauces to their kitchen so that they can accommodate everyone. [They strive to be low fat and low sodium as well but I’m way too concerned about being dairy free and gluten free to worry about salt and fat!] The restaurant is a takeout store front with a decent about of seating if you choose to stay in.

Black Bean Prawns from Lo Fatt Chow in Lebabon, NJ
Their menu is quite extensive with over 200 items. The menu flags items that are vegetarian, items that are hot and spicy and items that contain nuts/peanuts. The bottom of the menu notes that they have gluten free sauces available but it was trial and error to find the dishes that could be gluten free. We each picked out a couple of options and then had to run them past the woman at the counter until we found dishes that we both wanted and she was confident could be made gluten free. (As with most Chinese restaurants, dairy free was quite simple here.)

I ended up having a rice noodle dish I had never tried before, Chicken Chow Feng (it was good but just not my thing). My friend had a much more interesting Black Beans and Prawns that was quite good (and much more photogenic!).  Both items were listed as gluten free on the receipt.

While I would prefer a pre-made list of what can be gluten free the food was quite good and reasonably priced. There aren't a lot of other gluten free options out in that area and the next time I am out that way, I could definitely see myself heading back to Lo Fatt Chow!

Lo-Fatt-Chow on Urbanspoon

If you're looking for some other Asian restaurants to try, there's:

A Taste of Asia II in Chatham, NJ

Pei Wei in Paramus, Cherry Hill and Moorsetown, NJ

And as always, check out the full list for dining gluten free in New Jersey!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gluten Free Bakery List Updates

I've been quite behind on updating the gluten free bakery list but here are the latest 11 additions.  Click here for the full list of Gluten Free Bakeries, the updates are listed below:

Bashful Banana Bakery and Cafe (946 Boardwalk on Ocean Colony Walk (between 9th & 10th), Ocean City, NJ 08226) They’ve got quite a few vegan options and will substitute gluten free bread (other allergens unknown) for $.75 more. They also have gluten free/vegan muffins. I’ve never been.

CakeOver (79 N Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034)(Lake Hiawatha may appear as Parsippany on your GPS) – dedicated gluten free bakery. A number of GF items are / can be made dairy free as well. Entire facility is peanut free. I’ve gotten some desserts from here and they are quite good.

Just D’sserts in Elmwood Park has closed.

My Little Kupcake (685 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108) – this regular bakery offers GF and Vegan cupcakes as well as GF and Vegan special orders.

Vegan / Gluten Free Cupcakes
from Pink Frosting in Verona, NJ
Pink Cake Box [Specialty Bake Shop] – this specialty bake shop will do unique gluten free specialty cakes / cupcakes as well for events/weddings. (The owner is gluten free.) This is not a retail location; items are available by special order only. (18 East Main Street #101, Denville, NJ 07834)

Pink Frosting Bakery (534 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, NJ 07044) – a dedicated vegan cupcakery with 2-4 gluten free options as well. I’ve gotten cupcakes from here a number of times and highly recommend them. (Review coming soon.)

Posh Pop Bakery (86 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701) – I just ate here recently. This dedicated gluten free cake pop shop has a limited number of dairy free items. They will make dairy free / gluten free soft pretzels on special order in a choice of salted or with cinnamon and sugar.

SugarFlake Bakery has added a third location in Wyckoff, NJ. (397 Franklin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ 07481)

Sweet Note Bagels – is a food service provider of gluten free bagels (also dairy free). You can't buy directly from them, but they are available at eight NJ locations so far: and many other locations in and around Philadelphia, PA. I got to try them at the Appetite for Awareness last year in Philly and they are the closest to a real NY style bagel I’ve ever had gluten free!

Wildflour Bakery / Cafe (2691 Main Street, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648) – new dedicated gluten free bakery and cafe. They have limited dairy free options but these include vegan crepes, coconut macarons and some other cafe items (soup, salad, smoothie). Only open for breakfast and lunch (brunch on weekends). Closed Mondays. I haven't been yet.


Flourbuds (116A Main Street, Nyack, NY 10960) – dedicated gluten free bakery with dairy free / vegan options.

Wild Flours Bake Shop (11 New Street, Huntington, NY 11743) – I just ate here a couple of weeks ago and greatly enjoyed it. They are a dedicated gluten free bake shop with a very limited number of items that are not also dairy free (95% are both GF/DF).

If I'm missing any bakeries please use the contact me form at the left and send them my way!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Restaurant Review: Maud’s Tavern (Hastings-on-Hudson, New York)

On a recent trip to Nyack, NY (see By The Way Bakery review for details) we may have ‘missed’ and ended up in Westchester County. The kind staff of By The Way Bakery recommended Maud’s Tavern (149 Southside Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706) which ended up being just around the corner.

Gluten Free Lamb Chops at Maud's Tavern
in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Maud’s has had a gluten friendly menu for a very long time. I can remember seeing the on the list of restaurants I might want to try after the Colin Leslie Walk each year. It was nice to finally get to try them out.

Maud’s gf menu is quite long and while they have gluten free pasta, it is mostly gluten friendly (i.e. items that are naturally gluten free). Dairy free took some work, but our waitress was right on it and triple checked everything! I had the grilled lamb with steamed vegetables which was quite good (the potatoes either already had butter on them or were fried in a shared fryer). I hear the chili was spicy but also quite good!

If you happened to go and are not from the area, there are some great views of the Hudson from out their front window and down the end of the block by the train station.

Due to the distance I doubt I’ll be back, but if they were closer this is definitely somewhere I would go again!

Maud's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Looking for other NY gluten free restaurants? Try . . .

97lake in West Harrison

or check the handful at the bottom of my Gluten Free NJ Restaurant list!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bakery Review: By The Way Bakery (Hastings-on-Hudson, New York)

I first encountered the By The Way Bakery (574 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706) two years ago at the Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease Awareness (review). They were sampling some amazing gluten free / dairy free baked goods and I took a card hoping to visit their bakery some day. That day finally arrived!

On a recent trip to Nyack, NY, I may have been too busy chatting with my passenger to miss both the sign that said: “Nyack” and it’s partner sign “Last Exit before Bridge”! For those unfamiliar with NY geography, Nyack is on the west shore of the Hudson river at the western end of the Tappan Zee Bridge. If you miss the exit, you’re heading over the bridge into Westchester county.
Assorted Gluten Free bakery items at By The Way Bakery

Since we were already in Westchester (and it seemed a waste to pay the bridge toll just to turn around and try again) we checked online to see what was nearby. 97lake (review) wasn’t too far, and neither were the Golden Wok Cafe, or the By The Way Bakery. The friend I was with is very gluten sensitive and also has a lesser issue with tapioca so we decided Golden Wok might involve a language barrier that would be more than she was willing to risk (especially with an hour drive home).

We headed to By The Way Bakery and figured we could ask them for a lunch recommendation (and if not, we could still head back to Nyack). The bakery was amazing! Everything is dedicated Gluten and Dairy free. There were two full shelved of GF/DF cupcakes – red velvet, lemon, vanilla vanilla, chocolate with vanilla icing, carrot, and a couple of others I’m forgetting. There were cookies, brownies, tarts and cakes as well.
Gluten Free Cupcakes from By The Way Bakery
in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

I ended up with two dairy free / gluten free cupcakes – a vanilla with vanilla icing and a carrot cake. They both handled the trip home (as you can see the icing on the vanilla banged around a bit, but it was still delicious)! I also found their prices to be reasonable, especially for a dedicated bakery.

Sadly, Hastings-on-Hudson is about an hour away (and across the Tappan Zee Bridge) so I don’t think I’ll be heading back here often, but if I’m in the area, I do plan on trying more gluten free cupcakes!

Oh, and the staff was able to recommend a great restaurant for us: Maud’s Tavern (review) which is about two blocks away!

By The Way Bakery on Urbanspoon