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Thank you!

22 Nov

On this Thanksgiving Thursday, 2012, I would like to thank all of my friends, blog followers, readers, twitter followers, and family who have supported me in starting (and continuing) my blogging adventure. It has been a slow start, but I hope to truly become a gluten free resource and couldn’t do it without all of your support.

This year has been a wild one, and I have all kinds of things to be grateful for. Reflecting upon this past year since last Thanksgiving, let’s recap:

November 2011 – Applied to grad schools, smoked our first turkey on the tiny stoop of our apartment, fully realized we found our first home and panicked about our qualifications and paperwork

December 2011 – Spent most of it wondering if we’d be moving and if I had gotten accepted to graduate school … And had many a moment when I was grateful that I was even fortunate enough to be looking into buying a home or into grad school … Was also grateful for my dad making it a year since his triple bypass and hospital stay in Dec 2010!

January 2012 – Home purchase approved! Waited and waited for move-in date, spent most of the month doing home inspections, wondered about grad school

February 2012 – Moved in to our very first home! It was a really surreal experience.

March/April 2012 – Was accepted to all graduate programs I applied to!

May 2012 – Graduated with my BA in Psychology, began summer-long Operation Make-My-House-A-Home mission, got a job as a nanny for a wonderful family

August 2012 – Started my grad program

September/October 2012 – Whirled around trying to stay sane

November 2012 – Am in disbelief at how my life has been going, am grateful to have such a wonderful husband, warm home, great friends, and an exciting future

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, and to those of you who will support and help me in the future. I am so grateful!

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Gluten Free Night at Melting Pot Sacramento Review

22 Oct

Good morning!

For those of you who follow me, you know how excited I get over the opportunity to eat out and not have to worry about being “glutened,” and let me tell you – The Melting Pot here in Sacramento has got that covered. I had previously enjoyed an anniversary dinner there with my husband, but when I heard there was a restaurant-wide gluten free night I had to go back. This time around my mom joined me and we had a fabulous time.

First of all, before I get to the food, let me comment on how helpful and friendly the staff is. The hostesses, servers, and management are extremely helpful, accommodating, and informative.

Our server explained that the evening’s meal would be accompanied by a new bread with the cheese course and an assortment of tasty treats with the dessert course. We were all about trying it! Our server also mentioned that they had gluten free beer available for the cheese fondue that required beer as an ingredient. Nice touch.

For our first course we had the Spinach Artichoke Cheese fondue, made with “Rich Fontina and Butterkäse cheeses blend perfectly with spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic” and although on the website menu it mentions requesting cornstarch, our server informed us that all of The Melting Pot locations have switched over to permanently using cornstarch. Again, a nice touch, and very good to know.

The fondue came with three different types of “dippers” that were equally delicious. We enjoyed green apples, a vegetable medley (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower), and the most exciting one: bread! The bread was from 7 Sisters Gluten Free, which is a restaurant in Citrus Heights, CA. The bread was chewy, dense, and absolutely perfect for dipping. The flavor paired well with the fondue we chose as well. Yum!

We ate nearly every last drop of the fondue, and if the bowl weren’t so hot we probably would have licked it clean. For those of you who haven’t made it out to The Melting Pot (I know, it can seem pricey), it would be worth it to go for a few cocktails and cheese fondue alone. No need to have the entire four-course meal to enjoy a tasty fondue!

Next we enjoyed the salad course. I enjoyed their new Strawberry Almond Salad while my mom enjoyed the Spinach and Mushroom Salad. Both were absolutely delicious.

Then came the impressive entree course. We enjoyed Court Bouillon, which is “Vegetable broth hand-seasoned with herbs and spices” and it is so good! Our entree plate came out with white shrimp, chicken breast, filet, peppered sirloin (I didn’t catch what the server said, but it was good whatever it was), and mahi mahi. It also came with a bowl full of vegetables (mushrooms, red potatoes, and broccoli) as well as five different sauces for dipping the cooked meat into. The sauces included: Green Goddess, Ginger Plum (yes, gf!), Curry, Gorgonzola Port (my favorite), and a rip-your-face-off cocktail sauce made with horseradish that is to die for. I love anything that has some kick to it, and the cocktail sauce hits the spot. All of their sauces are really flavorful, though, and pair extremely well with the meat and vegetables.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with how one might cook meat and veggies at a fondue restaurant, it looks a little something like this: you cook it is a rolling pot of broth for a few minutes, pull it out, dip it in a sauce, eat it! Couldn’t be easier, or more fun.

Once we had gorged ourselves on the entree course, it was time for the dessert course. For those of you who have yet to try The Melting Pot, this is another course to come in for without doing all four courses. Go, enjoy a cocktail, and order up a pot of melted chocolate. There is an array of flavors to choose from, and even an option for you to create your own concoction. My mom and I chose dark chocolate with Grand Marnier. So. Good.

When my husband and I enjoyed our anniversary meal I had only fruit and marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong – it was fabulous. However, this evening being a gluten free meal, we were served an impressive plate of sweet treats that made our mouths water (despite being pretty full already). The plate included fresh strawberries, bananas, pineapple, gluten free cheesecake, gluten free lemon cake, and gluten free brownies! The sweets came from Kerry’s  Sweet Decadence, which is worth checking out.

The cakes were a bit soft for dipping, so instead the server suggested we drizzle the chocolate over the treats on our plates. Drizzle we did.

Towards the end of our meal, the General Manager, Leo, came over to chat with us about the evening’s meal. After raving about how wonderful it is to be able to truly enjoy a meal without fear of being sick, he informed me that ALL of their staff go through extensive allergy training, including training on gluten. In fact, he mentioned that they were also tested (4 page test, folks) on things like how many parts per million is safe regarding gluten contamination. Both Leo and our server informed us that the kitchen has separate dishes and whatnot for gluten free prep as well. Music to my ears!

The entire evening was just perfect. Everyone was helpful, knowledgeable, and more than willing to accommodate us. Although all of the delicious treats may not always be on hand just yet (they are working on it), I will happily wait for the next gluten free night. For anyone looking for a gluten free night out or are celebrating a special occasion, The Melting Pot in Sacramento is the place to go. You won’t have to worry about being “glutened,” nor will you have to be bothered by ill-informed staff.

A huge thank-you to everyone at The Melting Pot, as well as to Melanie from the Gluten Free Specialty Store! Don’t forget to check out Melanie’s blog to see what is going on at GF Specialty. 🙂

Gluten Free Eats in Sacramento

18 Oct

One of the largest and most influential resources for those living gluten free here in Sacramento is the Gluten Free Specialty Market. Melanie, one of the busiest women around (just check out their site and blog – you’ll see what I mean), has compiled a great list of restaurants in Sacramento to check out if you are living gluten free. She includes notes about contamination risks, too.

I can’t wait to work my way through the list and see what I can discover myself!

Check out the list here.

I’d like to note that I have a friend who works at The Red Rabbit and he has done an amazing job of educating himself about gluten free eating. He has been with me during my journey, as well as worked with top chefs who have a great deal of experience working in allergy-friendly environments.  He has assured me that RR can accommodate anyone looking for a great gf meal. All you have to do is be sure to communicate with your server/the staff and you can enjoy nearly all of the dishes on the menu at any given time (they have a seasonal menu). I ate there with no ill effects and wrote up a review about my experience as well. I definitely look forward to eating there again!

Gluten free night at the Melting Pot Sacramento!

16 Oct

I know this is short notice, but check it out! This is straight from The Melting Pot‘s website:

Gluten-Free Dinner & Happy Hour

OCTOBER 17-18

We’re proud to be partnering with 7 Sisters to offer their delicious gluten-free baguette for dipping into our creamy cheese fondues, and with Kerry’s Sweet Decadence for some mouth-watering treats to dip into our irresistible chocolate fondues.

Join us on Wednesday, October 17th to sample these items in our gluten-free happy hour.  Cheese fondue or chocolate fondue for two is $16, and will include these fantastic gluten-free treats.  Wash it all down with $3 beers and $4 glasses of wine or featured cocktails.

Or, go all out and join us for a full gluten-free dinner on Thursday, October 18th.  On this evening, we will be offering the following entirely gluten-free menu:

Cheese fondue:

Your choice of any of our cheese fondues, served with fresh vegetables, apples, and 7 Sisters’ gluten-free baguette to dip.

Salad:

Your choice of our Spinach & Mushroom Salad, Wisconsin Wedge Salad, or the new Strawberry Almond Salad.

Entree:

Seasoned choice Angus sirloin, Filet Mignon, White Shrimp, Breast of Chicken, and Salmon, accompanied with fresh vegetables and an array of gluten-free dipping sauces.

Chocolate fondue:

Choose any of our chocolate fondues, served with fresh strawberries, bananas, pineapple, marshmallows, and gluten-free cheesecake, brownies, and lemon yogurt cake from Kerry’s Sweet Decadence.

$78 per couple
(includes all four courses and court bouillon or bourguignonne cooking styles.  Does not include beverages, sales tax, or gratuity.).

You won’t want to miss this spectacular gluten-free dinner!  Reservations are highly recommended.  Call 916.443.2347 to book today!

 

Partners: The Gluten Free Specialty Market on J and 27th; Kerry’s Sweet Decadence ; 7 Sisters

Pizza Rock Sacramento

31 Aug

Happy Friday, everyone! What better way to celebrate than to go out and grab a bite? Well, I started early and went last night, but would love to do it again tonight.

Anyway, last night my mom and I had dinner at Pizza Rock here in Sacramento. It is downtown across from the Crest Theater, and their outdoor seating makes for the best people-watching spot around.

I had heard that they recently added gluten free pizza to the menu, but when I had called to make sure I was told they often ran out of the gluten free dough. Well, bummer. When I go out to eat it is almost always on a whim, so I figured this place would forever be out of the question. However, after asking my mom if she wanted to go to dinner to celebrate surviving my first week of grad school, she suggested this place. She called and was told they never run out now and suggested we go. Go we did.

The atmosphere is pretty cool. Although we sat outside, the inside is something to be seen, for sure. I made sure to check it all out on my way to the restroom (not gluten-related, thank you).

Our waitress was friendly and willing to answer any of my questions. I asked if they had anything aside from the two gluten free pizzas they offered that was gf on the menu and as willing and friendly as she was, her facial expression gave me the answer I needed. Her eventual response was, “salad?” to which she quickly added, “I could double check for you,” and I continued my interrogation. She was patient and helpful, but the menu only shows to specifically gluten free items (pizzas), and the appetizers are questionable. We did manage to pick apart some of the appetizers (the green beans looked delicious) and discovered they were fried in the same oil as glutened items. Oh, well. Also disappointing: the gluten free pizzas are precariously placed on the page above the delicious pasta dishes that are NOT gluten free, so it is a bit confusing and disappointing.

 

Aside from this initial disappointment, we were told that any pizza could be made gluten free. Great! Downside? There is a $5.00 up charge. Why it costs $5.00 to do that, I’m not sure, but I’m sure there are reasons. The gluten free pizzas cost $18.00, the pizza we decided upon was $17.00 (we ordered the Cal Italia – yum), but with the charge it became $22.00 for our selection. Was it worth it? I have to say the pizza was pretty tasty. Not only was it delicious, the consistency of the dough wasn’t bad at all and it carried the toppings well. I would’ve eaten more had I had the room, but I was also shoveling a salad that was quite filling.

 

Their selection of salads was pretty good, and the salad we ordered to share was delicious. It was so good, in fact, we actually enjoyed it ON our pizza. We ordered the Gorgonzola & Apple salad with “Mixed Sonoma Greens, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola, Apples, Spicy Candied Bianchi Orchards Walnuts, Dried Cherries” and it was delicious. The cherries really made it, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the pizza.

 

Once we had chowed down on most of the salad, a server brought out the pizza and was very patient with us while we double- and triple-checked that it was gluten free. It was surprisingly large in size compared to most gluten free pizzas available and was piping hot. The Cal Italia was a Gold Medal Winner of the Food Network Pizza Champions Challenge and oozes with “Asiago, Mozzarella, Imported Gorgonzola, Sweet Fig Preserve, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Balsamic Reduction” and called our names, for sure.

 

The crust was thick, but not too much so, and wasn’t gooey like some “paste” dough I’ve encountered. It was flavorful and chewy, and was even better topped with some left over salad. Whoever makes the dough (I didn’t ask) has really nailed it. Kudos.

 

Overall, the service was friendly enough, the time it took for the food to arrive to our table was good, and the food was great. Although I was too hungry (and busy chatting about my grad program) to really inquire about all the logistics of the dough (i.e. where it is made, who handles it, etc.) I’d suggest this place to anyone looking for a really enjoyable gluten free meal. Note: I did take an enzyme pill before the meal, so I’m unable to tell you if I had any real side effects due to the pill’s efficiency in handling the gluten I ingest.

If you’ve been here and had an experience you’d like to share, please let us know!

 

Happy eating!

Update: GF Picnic moved to 9/29!

31 Jul

Hey everyone!

Check it out: the GF Picnic hosted by the Gluten Girls in San Francisco has moved to 9/29/12, and is no longer 9/22/12.

The picnic is open to the public (invite your friends) and will be in Dolores Park from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Come out to meet fellow gf people, bring a gf picnic lunch, and enjoy the day!

Check out the evite and save the date.

GF Picnic in San Francisco 9/22/12

31 Jul

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a cool thing in Sacramento, but it is close enough. The fabulous Gluten Girls of San Francisco are hosting a gluten free picnic open to the public in September at Dolores Park! I am so excited! This is such a wonderful idea and what could be better than a picnic in S.F. (I left my heart when I moved away, for sure) and meeting new people and getting new ideas? Nothing I can think of!

What makes this even better? Well, it is on my birthday! Ha! The picnic will be held on September 22nd, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in Dolores Park.

Check out the evite and RSVP!