The Pig: Pork and Pickles

Where: The Pig Restaurant, 630 Weaver Dairy Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514

GF Menu: Yes! You can view their online menu here.

What I ate: GF BBQ Plate with cole slaw, pickles, and potato salad. Mom ordered a GF BBQ Sandwich, also pictured here.

How to order it: The menu is clearly marked with “GF” next to appropriate items. The daily specials are written on a chalkboard.  If it is not clear what items are GF, be sure to ask the staff for their GF recommendations when you place your order at the counter.

When looking at the menu, you might be surprised that the collards are not marked gluten-free. The day we visited, the cashier said the collards are not GF because a bit of beer-braised pork is added to the collards for flavor.

The “sprouts & shrooms” are also not marked GF. This is due to the fact that the brussels sprouts are flash-fried in the same fryer as the hush puppies. Good to know.

If they haven’t run out of it by the time you place your order, the GF sandwich bread comes from my absolute favorite GF baker, Dave Gardner, at Imagine That! Gluten Free Bakery.

ImagineThatGF2

Dave is based in Durham. I buy his GF bread (flax seed, cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, among others) at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. He produces the best GF bread and pizza crusts I have tasted anywhere.

What it looks like:

ThePigBBQPlateThis NC hickory-smoked BBQ was warm, smoky, and spicy without being overwhelmed by vinegar. It had that fresh red pepper kick that builds pleasantly on your tongue and lips.

Created with finely chopped cabbage, impossibly tiny carrot shreds, and fresh celery seeds, this cole slaw was sophisticated, but not too sweet.

The potato salad consisted of small, red-skinned potatoes that were cooked just right, a very light mayonnaise sauce, and fresh paprika.

I am not a sweet pickle fan, but I could possibly be converted by these subtly sweet pickles from The Pig. I plan to return soon specifically to order their Pickle Plate (GF).

PigBBQSandwichLargeHere’s a photo of mom’s sandwich, which I also sampled. Hickory-smoked BBQ pork was piled high and topped with a layer of slaw on toasted GF bread from Imagine That! Gluten Free, of Durham.

Green Note: Chef and owner Sam Suchoff, who formerly worked at Lantern, Neals’ Deli, and the Barbecue Joint, carefully selects local antibiotic-and-hormone-free meats to serve in his restaurant.

ThePigSign

He prepares locally-sourced meats such as sausages, bologna, and bacon for customers to purchase by the pound and take home. He also sells his homemade “hog dogs” at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market.

ThePigFM2

BBQ and ham for sale at the Carrboro Farmers Market.

ThePigFM

Sam at his post at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. This was a rare moment of quiet. Though it was 10am, his table was already being flooded with eager customers purchasing ham, bbq, and “hog dogs” to either eat on the spot or take home.

The Pig’s home page emphasizes local products with the following line:

“Working with the NC Natural Hog Grower’s Association & their antibiotic & hormone-free , pasture-raised piggies to bring regional flavors & local ingredients to the party in your tummy.”

The Pig on Urbanspoon

Saxapahaw General Store: GF Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Happy New Year! In the spirit of adventure, and trying new things, let’s drive west of Chapel Hill to visit Saxapahaw, NC.

Saxapahaw is a happenin’ little hamlet with music (The Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw’s Historic Cotton Mill), a seasonal farmer’s market, and locavore food that garners the attention of The New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Garden & Gun Magazine.

Today’s venue, Saxapahaw General Store, was most recently praised in the January 2015 issue of Our State Magazine.

Where: Saxapahaw General Store, 735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw, NC 27340

GF Menu: Yes! You can view the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with a multitude of delicious GF options on their website. You can order a GF omelet with a side of GF toast for breakfast. At lunch, there are GF pizzas, salads, and sandwich options with GF bread. The dinner menu changes daily, but one standard you can always rely on is the GF pan-seared fish with risotto and asparagus.

What I ate: GF pan-seared fish with veggies.

How to order it: The online menu is clearly marked with [GF] next to appropriate items. The daily menu is written on a chalkboard.  If it is not clear what items are GF, be sure to ask the staff for their GF recommendations at the counter where you place your order. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable foodies, so will help guide you in the right direction.

What it looks like:

SaxHalibut2North Carolina fish was placed atop sauteed local vegetables in this dish. This pan-seared fish had a soft interior and crispy exterior, and just the right amount of umami flavor. The supporting zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and tomatoes provided textural contrast, color, and the organic taste of local farms. SaxGFCookiesYou can purchase goods from the in-store market for dessert, or find GF baked goods like these individually-wrapped GF chocolate chip cookies at the counter.

Green Note: The Saxapahaw General Store is housed in a re-purposed gas station and convenience store (see pic by clicking here).

Chefs Jeff Barney and Cameron Ratcliffe operate their business with a conscious decision to celebrate what is local, promote sustainability, and make good food and products accessible to the community. This page describes their mission:

“They wanted to be stewards of local foods, good wine and beer, nutritious snacks, and eco-conscious dry goods, and they hoped to participate in a new kind of local economy that would strengthen fellow small businesses, promote conscious farming, and become part of a network of small communities finding a better way to live and to do business together.”

SaxGreenNote This sign posted above the trash can encouraged us to leave food scraps on our plate rather than throwing them in the trash. The staff will compost these scraps or help feed chickens at Cozi Farms.

A note on their Home page lets you know how the chefs support local farms:

“We are proud to source most of our meats, all of our eggs, and all the local produce we can find each season, from farms right here in the NC Piedmont. Click for a listing of our most current local farm goods. For a full listing of locally sourced items we offer for retail or through our kitchen, visit our Purveyors page.”

SaxLocalGoodiesThese store shelves are stocked with an bountiful array of NC products. Doesn’t it make you proud?

Saxapahaw General Store on Urbanspoon

Acme Food & Beverage Co.: Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread

Where: Acme Food & Beverage Co., 110 E Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510

GF Menu: Yes. Though items are not currently marked on the menu posted on their website, they are clearly noted with gluten-free symbols on dine-in menu.

When I contacted Acme about their gluten-free options, the General Manager, Stephen Murtaugh, offered these important clarifying notes:

The icon on our menu is meant primarily for those pursuing a gluten free style diet. Anyone with allergies, or celiac disease, should make that clear to their server when they order to avoid the risk of cross contamination. Certain items, like French fries, come in contact with some flour when fried since we also fry dredged items in the same fryer.

If a guest gives us advance notice of their food allergies by calling ahead and noting on their reservation then we will usually call them ahead of time to discuss their dinner and make sure they get something absolutely delicious and 100% safe for them to consume.

What I ate: Salmon Entree with an appetizer of Gluten-Free Cornbread

How to order it: The Acme menu changes regularly since the Chef/Owner Kevin Callaghan creates daily offerings from seasonal and local ingredients. Look for the GF symbol next to the menu items. As the General Manager suggests, let your server know you are dining gluten-free for health reasons. Acme also offers you the courtesy option of calling ahead to discuss your gluten-free dining needs in advance of your visit.

What it looks like:

AcmeGFSalmon2

A pan-seared, spice rubbed salmon filet was the centerpiece of this dish. The chef cooked this fish perfectly, preserving the sweet tenderness of the meat inside while presenting a picante crispness on the outside. Garnished with a green sauce and fresh cilantro leaves, it was simultaneously light, yet satisfyingly savory. Black beans, gluten-free creamed corn grits, and a fresh tomato completed the dish.

AcmeGFCornbread

The GF cornbread arrived at the table piping hot in a shallow cast iron skillet, which kept the bread warm well into our meal. Acme uses a gluten-free cornmeal in their house cornbread recipe. GM Stephen Murtaugh also informed me that these skillets are used only for the gluten-free cornbread to avoid risk of cross-contamination.

AcmeGFCBCloseup

This cornbread was thick and fluffy, but not dense. It was flavorful, but not overly sweet. The texture was more like bread than cake. It had a lovely brown top and crispy edges.

The huge cloud of butter and the fresh-cracked pepper rounded out the presentation.

Finding an establishment that offers any kind of GF bread is a treat. I was over-the-moon to discover this freshly-made and down-home delicious cornbread at Acme.

Green Note: Acme supports the local community’s sustainable agriculture as well as helps sponsor cultural and educational programming in the area. The following is taken from their website under the “Local” tab:

Acme Food & Beverage Company is pleased to do business with such community-supported programs as The Carrboro Farmers’ Market and Core Sound Seafood.

We are proud sponsors of local events like Farm to Fork, Ackland Art Museum’s annual fundraising gala, and Terra Vita sustainable food celebration.
View an image gallery featuring Chef Kevin Callaghan at the 2011 Farm to Fork event.

It has also been our good pleasure to work with children in the Durham Public Schools through SEEDS, a non-profit community garden-based program.

Acme Food & Beverage Co on Urbanspoon

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza: GF Pizza & Beer

Where: Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, multiple locations across North Carolina and the southeast (I visited the 501 Meadowmont Village Cir, Chapel Hill, NC 27517 location.)

GF Menu: Yes! Click HERE to view it online.

What I ate: Gluten-Free Greek Pizza

How to order it: Ask for the Gluten-Free menu. The list of available GF pizzas is long. I counted fifteen, including a classic pepperoni. (FYI, did you know that not all pepperoni is gluten-free? Brixx has us covered, though. The chefs use Hormel’s GF pepperoni.)

Since each of the pizzas on this list can be cooked to order as regular or gluten-free, be sure to remind your server that you want the gluten-free version when you place your order.

The GF menu offers the following information:

We’re proud to offer options for those on gluten-free diets by necessity or choice. Please let your server know of any dietary restrictions you have or if you would like additional information about our gluten-free kitchen procedures and ingredients (updated 5/12/14).

At the bottom of this menu, they go on to describe in meticulous detail the careful process with which they handle GF pizzas in their kitchen. Their website also states:

At Brixx, we we’re all about equality. So, we’re proud to offer all of our pizzas on gluten-free dough for an additional $2. While our pizzas aren’t created in a completely gluten-free environment, each gluten-free pizza is prepared and cooked in its own container. Here’s a link to an ingredient sheet on our gluten-free dough.
Though I didn’t order one when I visited, every Brixx location carries at least one GF bottled beer. On the GF menu, they encourage you to “ask your neighborhood location about their latest gluten-free brew or make a suggestion!”

What it looks like:

BrixxGFPizza2

This pizza arrived hot out of the oven on its own thin metal pie pan (used to avoid cross contamination in the wood brick oven). It featured sliced roma tomatoes, mozzarella, kalamata olives, red onions, and feta cheese topped with fresh basil and a balsamic glaze drizzle.

BrixxGFPizza4

I’m pleased to report that this pizza passed the eat-with-my-hands test! When I picked up a slice, this thin and surprisingly crunchy crust stayed firm, supporting the fresh ingredients. The slices never became soggy, but stayed crisp and light. This is one of the better GF pizza crusts I have tasted. It was crispy, buttery-tasting, and more salty than sweet, as a pizza crust should be, with the hint of woody smokiness only achieved in a wood-burning brick oven.

Green Note: The Chapel Hill Brixx location offers reusable carry-out bags for $1, encouraging us to “buy a bag for two great causes: save the planet and get a nifty reusable bag.” Why carry your own bag? A statistic on igotmybag.org tells us: “Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil.
Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon

DaisyCakes: A Sweet Spot in Durham

“Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free” recently hit a sweet milestone, garnering 50,000 hits. Let’s celebrate with some exquisite Gluten-Free cupcakes!

Where: DaisyCakes: Downtown Durham’s Bakery and Cafe, 401 A Foster St, Durham, NC, 27701

GF Menu: For the desserts, yes. DaisyCakes serves both regular and Gluten-Free items. Click HERE to view the GF dessert menu online.

DaisyCakes shares their inclusive philosophy on their website:

“Just because you are gluten free doesn’t mean you should have to do without a delicious pastry. We aspire to make all of our gluten free desserts as delicious as their gluten counterparts.  We’d like to think that if you weren’t gluten free and you tasted  one of our gluten free treats, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.”

What I ate: From the lunch menu, I ordered Celeriac soup with a GF biscuit on the side. Afterward, I purchased two GF “Chocolate Fix” and two GF Red Velvet cupcakes to take home.

How to order it:  You’ll find daily menus on the chalkboards. Also, look for the “Gluten-Free” labels inside the baked goods case.

As always, ask the knowledgeable servers whether an item is GF. For example, when I asked whether the soup was Gluten-Free, the server answered “yes”, and then also explained that they had fresh Gluten-Free biscuits to go with it.

What it looks like:

DaisyCakesCeleriacSoupandBiscuit

This Celeriac (root vegetable) soup had a light broth and was garnished with green onions. The accompanying GF biscuit was an unexpected treat, as it was fresh, buttery, warmed, and perfect for dipping in the soup.

GFChocDaisyCakesCupcake

The primary reason I went to DaisyCakes was for the GF cupcakes. A friend of mine had ordered DaisyCakes’ GF cupcakes to serve at her toddler’s birthday party. These sweet treats were a real hit.

Both the “Chocolate Fix” cake and the Red Velvet cake were moist and soft. Due to DaisyCakes’ own special GF flour blend (Equal Measure: One-for-One Gluten-Free Flour Mix), these cupcakes tasted like cake is supposed to taste! The icings were not too sweet, and they accented these cupcakes perfectly.

Green Note: The day I visited, the chalkboard menu advertised:

“We use local and organic ingredients as much as possible. We use Latta Eggs and Dairy from Homeland Creamery. We proudly serve Counter Culture coffee.”

DaisyCakes also supports local community by hosting “Dessert Room”, a pastry and dessert treat event on Friday and Saturday evenings until 9pm, during which a percentage of proceeds will be donated to a non-profit organization in Durham. The last time I checked online, six out of the eight offerings at Dessert Room were Gluten-Free.

This Elsa Schiaparelli quote is stenciled over the kitchen window in DaisyCakes Cafe: “A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” I happen to agree, especially when the cook bakes Gluten-Free.

Daisy Cakes on Urbanspoon

Published in: on November 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Catch: Has Me Hook, Line, and Sinker

Where: Catch, 6623 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28405

When you dine at Catch, you are in for an exquisite culinary experience because Chef Keith Rhodes was named the 2011 Best Chef of the Southeast, he was a NC James Beard Semifinalist, and has been on Top Chef.

Gwyneth Paltrow visited Catch in July 2012 for a cooking lesson with Keith Rhodes. To read about her experience and see more photos, visit her curated site called “goop”. She also gave kudos to Catch’s “mixologist”, Richard Watson, who whipped up a Cucumber Tequila Cocktail for her.

GF Menu: No.

What we ate: Pan-Roasted NC Black Sea Bass Filet from the Daily Menu and Pan-Roasted Organic Salmon from the Regular Menu

How to order it:  We appreciated the descriptive list of ingredients on the menu at Catch. The menu also helpfully notes, “All food is prepared to order”.

Let your server know that you will be dining Gluten-Free. The servers at Catch are very accommodating and want to help you find something both safe and delicious.

We checked with our server to make sure that the salmon dish could be made with a Gluten-Free soy sauce for the glaze. She assured us that the chef could make this dish gluten-free after she confirmed with the kitchen.

What it looks like:

CatchSeaBass3

This scrumptious black sea bass was pan-roasted and draped over a bed of rice noodles, shitake mushrooms, and Shanghai Bok Choy. The gorgeous sauce was a coconut-blue crab fumet. The chef garnished it with a hearty dollop of lemon verbena pesto, fresh cilantro, and thai basil.

CatchSalmon2

(Our table was candlelit, so I couldn’t capture as much detail as I had hoped in this photo.) Tender inside, with a pan-roasted crispiness on the outside, this was salmon prepared at its best. Here, the rice noodles were combined with stir-fried organic vegetables and a soy sauce chili glaze. This dish was garnished with toasted sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

 Green Note: Catch is doing everything right.

Chef Keith Rhodes and his wife, Angela, recognize the value of buying organic and local. Their website explains: “By striving to support North Carolina’s organic farmers, local fisheries and sustainable fishing practices, our customers help stimulate the local economy.” 

In addition to his second popular restaurant called Phun Seafood Bar, located on Princess Street in Wilmington, Keith Rhodes has launched the Catch Food Truck this year. Follow this fresh, local, organic food truck featuring California and Mexican Street Food here: http://www.catchthefoodtruck.com/. The food truck website boasts: “Catch food truck uses eco friendly packaging and NC soybean oil for frying. We also recycle the cooking oil to produce bio diesel.”

If you’d like to learn how to make sustainable seafood choices, the Monterey Bay Aquarium produces pocket-sized regional guides. These are incredibly handy to pull out of your wallet in a restaurant, market, or when traveling. I recently picked up both the Sushi Guide and the Southeast Consumer Guide. You can download any of the guides here for free.

Catch on Urbanspoon

Agno Grill: 100% Gluten-Free Eatery in Philly

This is my 100th post on “Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free”. Though this blog is dedicated to the quest for Gluten-Free food in the South, I want to share a restaurant from north of the Mason-Dixon line because this establishment is 100% Gluten-Free.

Where: Agno Grill, 2104 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

GF Menu: Yes. Everything on the menu is 100% Gluten-Free.

Agno means “Pure” in Greek. Their brochure states:

Our Food:

  • Always made fresh daily by our trained staff
  • 100% Gluten-Free
  • No white sugar or white flour
  • Organic, All-Natural, GMO-Free
  • All Poultry, Meat, Produce, and Dairy is Organic and Hormone-Free
  • Prepared, Marinated, and Grilled In House Daily
  • Created and Crafted to Maximize Flavor and Nutritional Value

What I ate: Knowing that everything in the restaurant was Gluten-Free, I was like a kid in a candy shop. There were so many choices, and I wanted to try them all. I finally selected a Falafel Wrap, since freshly-made GF wraps are hard to find. I ordered a Tahini Cookie for dessert.

How to order it: This is one of the few places in the world you won’t have to tell your server that you are Gluten-Free. You can just order your food in gluten-restriction anonymity. Follow Agno’s simple steps for building your own meal: 1. Choose your base (salad, black rice, or a wrap). 2. Choose your protein (chicken, steak, falafel, veggies, salmon). 3. Choose 3 toppings. 4. Choose your sauces. Click here to see a lovely layout of options from their seasonal menu.

What it looks like:

Agno2

Everything at Agno is made fresh  from the organic meat marinades to the baked goods. I knew this wrap was going to be delicious and filling. Look at the size of it!

Agno4

At my request, the server loaded this wrap with falafel, brocolini & fennel salad, roasted cauliflower, and white beans with parm and spinach. The falafel is hidden under the healthy heap of veggies.

AgnoTahiniCookie

This photo is the last bite of my warm-from-the-oven, fragrant Tahini Cookie. I forgot to snap a picture until it was nearly gone. This cookie was made from ground sesame seeds and rolled in whole sesame seeds. It was chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and flavorful to the last bite.

When you want more Gluten-Free baked goods for breakfast, lunch, or dinner while you’re in Philadelphia, walk around the corner from Agno to their sister establishment Pure Fare (with 2 locations on South Street in Philadelphia). I picked up four different kinds of GF Muffins from Pure Fare. Again, it was a treat to have so many safe and delicious options.

Green Note: In addition to offering organic and GMO-Free food, Agno is committed to having a low environmental impact. They offer compostable utensils in the dining area, and special soap in their restroom.

AgnoGreenNote2

The sign perched above this soap dispenser says:

Agno is proud to feature FURTHER HAND SOAP in our wash rooms. The glycerin in this soap is distilled from kitchen waste grease. The grease is converted into clean burning biofuel and the extracted glycerin is purified to become FURTHER SOAP. As you wash your hands, you are completing a perfect, sustainable circle.

AGNO Grill on Urbanspoon

Marché Artisan Foods: Brunch Bouquet

As of March 2012, “Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free” has had nearly 20,000 views. Thank you, Readers, from the bottom of my Gluten-Free heart!

Also, I am over-the-moon to report that this Gluten-Free Gal is getting married! In April 2012, I will start a new life in yet another great Southern town – Nashville, Tennessee.

There, I will continue my Quest for Gluten-Free Food in the South.

My family remains in the Triangle Area, and so I plan to return often and continue reviewing restaurants in this area, too.

Regardless of the restaurant location, it is my sincere hope that posting these GF options will help you feel empowered to seek out healthy GF meals for yourself and your families.

So, next up is a review of a Nashville, TN establishment called Marché Artisan Foods. Enjoy!

Where: Marché Artisan Foods, (located near “Five Points” in Historic East Nashville) 1000 Main Street, Nashville, TN 37206

GF Menu: No.

What I ate: Omelette du Jour, Soup du Jour, and Risotto

How to order it: Unless you are ordering at IHOP (where even the omelets are filled with fluffy pancake batter), you can generally feel good about choosing eggs. As always, though, if you are extremely allergic, be sure to ask the server whether the pan or griddle on which the item is cooked has come into contact with any gluten.

When considering a soup or a risotto, always ask the server whether the broths are Gluten-Free. In pre-packaged broths, gluten is sometimes added as a preservative to extend the product’s shelf life.

A note about cheese: I hope I’m not the first person to tell you this. You may already know that blue and gorgonzola cheeses are off-limits to those on a Gluten-Free diet (as their blueness comes from bread mold). But are you aware that some companies use gluten/wheat flour to dust their packaged shredded cheese? Apparently, the gluten helps keep the cheesy shreds from sticking to one another in the bag. So, whether buying cheese to cook with at home, or ordering an item containing shredded cheese at a restaurant, ask your server/chef whether the cheese packaging denotes a risk for those with gluten allergies.

My server checked with the kitchen, and assured me that the broth was made in-house, without gluten, and that the items I ordered were gluten-free.

What it looks like:

Can you see the vapors rising up from this steaming hot, colorful, hearty cup of soup? Cauliflower conversed with green beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and herbs. This soup had texture. The veggies were not soft from over-boiling; they retained their integrity.

I want to take omelet-making lessons from this chef. The form was so light and fluffy, and also cooked to perfection – not runny on the inside, and not burnt on the exterior. It arrived hot-off-the-pan, and each cheesy bite just begged to be combined on the fork with the cool, crispness of the greens, seasoned lightly with a vinaigrette and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Fresh butternut squash, herbs, and parmesan. Sounds simple, right? Due to the expert balance of these ingredients with the risotto, the taste was so rewardingly complex.

Green Note: Marché creates delicious meals using local and seasonal ingredients. Their website contains a page called “Partners & Friends” in which they list their local farm sources for produce, meats, and market goods. You can purchase free-range eggs produced by local hens, artisan chocolates from Nashville’s own Olive & Sinclair, and other culinary delights at Marché.

Marché Artisan Foods on Urbanspoon

Angelina’s Kitchen: Local and Seasonal Delights

Where: Angelina’s Kitchen, 23 Rectory Street on Business 64, Downtown Pittsboro, NC 27312

GF Menu: Yes. Check the dry erase board for GF options and Daily Specials. Angelina’s menu features ingredients that are local and seasonal, so items are updated regularly.

The paper menu includes a key for “GF” and “V”, indicating “Gluten-Free” and “Vegan”. The restaurant also offers Gluten-Free pita bread.

What I ate: Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bowl with Green Chile Beef Stew and Greens Bake + GF Sweet Potato Brownie.

How to order it: Place your order at the counter, confirming with the friendly server that your choice is Gluten-Free.

What it looks like:

A meal I could eat every day…

The Green Chile Beef Stew was made with local green chiles, Cohen Farm local beef, homemade beef broth, with corn, carrots, tomatoes, and black beans.

I especially relished the warm “Green Bake”.  Chef (and Owner) Angelina explained that this menu item is created with fresh local greens (whatever is in season – often collards, swiss chard, kale, arugula, spinach, and always loads of parsley). It is then baked with diced carrots, sauteed onions, and flavorful ricotta, or a special type of Greek gruyere cheese.

Served on a large bed of nutty brown rice, this was exactly what I craved on a chilly day.

This dessert was both GF and Vegan! This unique Sweet Potato brownie came from the brilliant Abilicious Bakery, and was moist, chewy, and lightly spiced.

Green Note: Occasionally, my heart sings when I see a particularly beautiful business model in action. What does this kind of model look like? It looks like Angelina’s Kitchen. It is a model of awareness, in which the business owners’ primary intentions bend purposefully toward community development, public health, and responsible environmental stewardship.

Angelina’s:

1. works with, and promotes (via their website and word of mouth), local farmers.

2. partners with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

3. uses compostable cutlery within the restaurant

4. offers recycling bins in order to reduce waste

5. features the work of local artists and offers handmade products for sale (see pic below)

and

6. encourages us all to eat healthy, local, and in season.

Handmade herbal soaps from Anole Nook Farms, Abilicious Bakery Gluten-Free products, a calendar of Pollinators from Debbie Roos Photography.

Angelina's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Simply Crepes: “Mais Oui!”

Crepes originated in northern France and are traditionally made with wheat flour; however, I’m delighted to report that a new restaurant in Raleigh, NC offers buckwheat crepes!

Buckwheat, also called a pseudocereal, is not related to wheat. It is not a grain and does not belong to the grass family, but still produces fruits that can be used to make bread flour.

Where: Simply Crepes, Lafeyette Village, 8470 Honeycutt Rd, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27615

GF Menu: Yes! Their menu states,All entrées and desserts can be made with a Gluten and Lactose Free buckwheat crêpe for [an additional] $1.00.”

What I ate: Turkey and Smoked Gouda Cheese Buckwheat Crepe + Chocolate Peanut Butter Creme Buckwheat Crepe

How to order it: Select a crepe from the menu, which currently features about 16 different entrees. Double-check with your server whether or not the contents of that particular crepe are in fact Gluten-Free. Place your order, stating that you want your dish to be prepared in the GF buckwheat crepe.

When we visited, our server asked us, “Are you ordering Gluten-Free based on a dietary preference, or do you have an allergy?” Surprised at this question, we asked why they needed to know. She informed us that the kitchen requires this information in order to take extra precautions when preparing dishes for those with food allergies.

What it looks like:

A warm and savory mountain of thinly sliced turkey, bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, fresh greens, tomatoes, and maple mustard vinaigrette, swaddled in a fresh-off-the-skillet buckwheat crepe.

Why stop at one crepe when you can have two? The crepes are so light and fluffy, I didn’t feel guilty about ordering dessert. I opted for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Creme Crepe. Fresh peanut butter cream, chocolate fudge, bananas, and vanilla ice cream were gift-wrapped in a delicate buckwheat crepe topped with double chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Green Note: Buckwheat is healthy for your body and the earth. While researching its properties, I found a page titled “The Basics of Buckwheat”, which explains how buckwheat is also a smart agricultural choice for farmers:

Buckwheat has a variety of healthful properties. It’s an excellent plant source of easily digestive protein and contains all eight essential amino acids, so it’s close to being a “complete” protein. Buckwheat is also high in fiber (a big bonus for celiacs), B vitamins and, according to a USDA study, keeps glucose levels in check better than other carbohydrates — which is good news for celiacs who also have diabetes. It’s also said to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

Buckwheat is hardy, which makes it resistant to damage and therefore relatively inexpensive and easy to grow. Tom Bilek, a Minnesota buckwheat grower, says “buckwheat will grow on anything.” According to the National Buckwheat Institute, Buckwheat is one of the few commercially grown crops that does not use chemicals.

To the Owners and Staff of Simply Crepes, I’d like to say, “Merci Beaucoup!”

Simply Crepes on Urbanspoon

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