Monday, September 30, 2013

Restaurant Review: From Seed to Sprout

Finally, a brunch where I can eat almost anything I want!

Gluten Free Vegan French Toast at From Seed to Sprout
Recently, I met one of my Celiac Support Groups at From Seed to Sprout (410 Main Street, Avon-By-The-Sea, NJ 07717) for brunch. They're closed Monday, open for breakfast/lunch during the week, and brunch on the weekends (although they do some dinner nights by reservation only). The brunch menu is a bit different from the weekday menu so some of the items we had may not be available during the week.

The restaurant is entirely vegan and has quite a few gluten free options as well (although not all of them are marked on the menu so you'll have to ask). [Only the pancakes couldn't be done gluten free, their only other gluten items were sandwich bread, rolls and english muffins, but they have a delicious gluten free millet and flax seed bread that can be substituted in (and our non-gf waitress stated the gf bread tasted better anyway)!] The juices / smoothies were all vegan (so no worries about cc with milk) although they did offer wheat grass (which if grown/harvested correctly is gluten free).

Grilled Avocado Sandwich on Gluten Free Bread
We ordered a variety of gluten free / vegan meals as well as some freshly prepared juices / smoothies. The gluten free / vegan french toast was amazing (since I can't handle a lot of egg, I haven't had real french toast in years)! Those who ordered it, raved about the grill avocado sandwich. And everyone was enamored with the coconut bacon!

From Seed to Sprout also has two dessert cases, one is for gluten containing baked goods and the other is for their raw vegan desserts which are all gluten free! Since our entire group was gluten free we decided to order one (or two) of every dessert and sample them all. The desserts were all great but the real standout for me was the lemon goji macaroon!

Our Line of Raw, Vegan,
Gluten Free Desserts
This is definitely somewhere I plan on returning to (especially to try that grilled avocado sandwich!)

From Seed To Sprout on Urbanspoon

If you're looking for some other shore area restaurants try:

Via Roma

Good Karma Cafe

Papa Ganache

Or check my full NJ GF Restaurant List!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Are Burger King's New Satisfries Gluten Free?

So what if they're lower fat, are they gluten free?

No gluten ingredient Burger King Fries and Satisfries
Burger King announced today new lower fat french fries or Satisfries. According to the press release the new fries have 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than the leading (McDonald's) french fries. [Note: this is based on weight, not menu size - small, medium, large, King, etc.] [A little back-of-the-envelope math from the BK nutrition page leads me to believe the Satisfries contain 20% less fat and 20% less calories than BK's regular fries.]

But lets face reality, we're much less concerned about fat and much more concerned about gluten. For that, it mostly comes down to cross contamination. Just like Burger King's regular fries the new Satisfries contain no gluten ingredients. If your local restaurant has a separate fryer and safe handling procedures then the fries should be gluten free. Here are the ingredients from the BK website:

SATISFRIES™: Potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following oils: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), tapioca starch-modifies, contains 2% or less of corn starch-modified, paprika extract (color), rice flour, salt, sodium acid pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color), turmeric extract (color), xantham gum.

I stopped at a Burger King on the way home tonight and purchased a small regular fries and a small Satisfries (pictured above). [The satisfries were $.30 more by the way.]  Personally, I thought the new Satisfries tasted better and were fluffier on the inside.

In the end it really comes down to the cross contamination in the fryer and after they are fried (the BK I stopped at didn't but most share a warming bin for the onion rings and fries with just a metal divider between them). With so many other dining options now, I don't often risk a stop at Burger King.

For more thoughts on gluten free french fries, including a list of which restaurants and chains offer them click here: Gluten Free Fries!

And click here for more Gluten Free Fast Food / Chain Restaurants!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bakery Review: Pink Frosting Bakery (Verona, NJ)

Last year a vegan cupcake shop opened up next to the barber I go to.  They had decorated their front window long before opening and announced that not only would they be totally vegan but that they would cater to gluten free customers as well.  I have had cupcakes from Pink Frosting (534 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, NJ 07044) a number of times since then and have been quite pleased (even though it has taken me way too long to finally review them).

Vegan / Gluten Free Cupcakes (Vanilla Spice / Banana Split)
from Pink Frosting Bakery in Verona, NJ
Their shop is a store front on Bloomfield Avenue directly across from Verona Park.  [There is no street parking directly in front of their shop but a large municipal lot down Park Place around the corner.] They have display cases of pre-made vegan cupcakes including two to four gluten free varieties (flavors vary). They are not just a cupcake shop however, they offer to make any of their cupcake flavors as cakes with advanced notice and they do special orders on flavors of cupcakes as well.  Their menu lists a dozen different cupcake flavors and states that nine of them can be gluten free!

Over the past year, I've noticed that both the number of daily gluten free offerings and the variety of flavors has increased quite a bit.  Their frosting is surprisingly light and airy / fluffy.  Truth be told, I'm not really sure how to describe it other than to say it is the best dairy free frosting I've had.

The entire shop is vegan and although they charge slightly more for vegan/gluten free cupcakes it is still a reasonable price compared to other gf bakeries.

Other bakeries you may want to try:

Papa Ganache Vegan Bakery

Or any of the others on my New Jersey Gluten Free Bakery List.