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 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Mediterranean Deli Bakery and Catering: Organic Gluten-Free Pita Bread + Dessert!

Where: Mediterranean Deli Bakery & Catering, 410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

GF Menu: Yes. The menu on their website highlights Gluten-Free options. When you visit the restaurant, all dishes in the deli case are carefully labeled with both Gluten and Nut allergy information.

What I ate: I have tried both the Fatayer and a Sampler Platter with Falafel and GF Pita Bread.

How to order it: Select your preferred GF items from the printed menu, or by viewing the dishes in the expansive deli case, then place your order at the counter. When/if the server asks whether you would like pita bread with your meal, be sure to insist on the Gluten-Free pita. The menu claims all Fatayers are available on a Gluten-Free bread, but always ask to be sure.

Mediterranean Deli’s GF pita bread is baked fresh every morning with organic GF flour in a 100% GF facility and is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group.

What it looks like:

MeditDeli

A fatayer is a pastry that can be filled with meats, veggies, and cheeses. Traditionally, the dough is formed in the shape of a boat to hold all the goodies. In the Gluten-Free version, this Greek Fatayer resembles a pizza.

MeditDeli2

The Closeup: A lightly browned crust supports a scrumptious combination of fresh spinach, roasted roma tomatoes, calamata olives, red onions, garlic, and feta cheese. It is served with an accompaniment of light tzatziki sauce.

MeditDeliPita

Have some GF pita with your meal, then purchase a bag to take home with you.

I like to heat mine in the toaster oven for one minute. Serve with hummus, olive oil, or even scrambled eggs at breakfast. Or create your own fatayer.

MeditDeliPoundCake

What sweet words: “Pound Cake – Gluten Free and Dairy Free”. This fluffy cake is a recent addition to the lineup of gorgeous desserts in the deli case. As you can see from the photo, its neighbor is made of phyllo dough, so those with extreme gluten sensitivity may wish to exercise caution.

MeditDeliHalva

This is my current dessert addiction. Dark chocolate-enrobed, marbled halva.

If you are not familiar with it, halva is a type of sesame fudge made primarily with nut butter and sugar. There are flour-based halvas in the world, so be careful when you see it in stores. This heavenly halva has been labeled “Gluten-Free”. Buy by the pound. Attempt to eat by the morsel.

MeditDeliChocCake

In case the other two dessert options aren’t enough for you, there is also a Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake. This one seems to be quite popular.

Green Note: The Mediterranean Diet offers benefits to our health and the environment. It encourages us to reduce the presence of meat on our plates. Large-scale meat production and factory farming are recognized as being heavily linked with destruction of our natural resources.

The following is taken from the Mediterranean Deli website:

The Mediterranean diet is a wonderfully healthy diet and an extremely easy one to adapt to our stressful and fast paced lifestyles. As a matter of fact, the Mediterranean diet can be the very aspect of our life which can give balance, harmony, and a sense of soothing and control over our lives. The diet does not require any sacrifices. It only requires us to limit our consumption of meats to perhaps a few times per month. The other important factor is to make the consumption of fruits and vegetables a daily habit. The vitamins, minerals, photochemical and fiber provided by the diets large amounts of vegetables, fruits, grains and beans are believed to account for the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries lower incidence of cancer otherwise commonly found in the United States.

Mediterranean Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coming Home: Part Deux – Sweet Gratitude

Hello! So much has happened since I last wrote, and I have some wondrous things to share with you:

  • In case you haven’t already heard, Dunkin Donuts has announced that it will offer a new GF cinnamon-sugar donut and GF blueberry muffin on their menu soon. These will be prepared in a dedicated facility and individually wrapped for sale. The global doughnut and coffee company also plans to phase out its foam coffee cups in favor of eco-friendly paper cups made from recycled material. To read more about the launch of the new GF offerings, click HERE.

Addendum: As of February 2014, Dunkin Donuts has canceled plans to release these items. To read more about this, click HERE.

GFDunkinDonuts

Photo credit courtesy Dunkin Donuts. To see more, visit the June 20, 2013 post on the Dunkin Donuts Blog “Behind the Beans”.

  • I usually feature restaurants located in the American South on this blog, but a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Israel and France. I’d like to show you what I found there. 

Israel surprised me with its Gluten-Free awareness. I bought delicious GF baguettes in the supermarket, and even ordered a full GF Israeli Breakfast at our hotel in the town of Safed. The innkeepers at The Safed Inn can bake GF bread, upon request, and they even use a designated toaster. 

Israel56

A GF dish served at Uri Buri Restaurant, a phenomenal seafood establishment located in Akko, Israel, included shrimp and eggplant noodles bathed in a delicate, savory broth.

Israel103

Inside the “Old City” of Jerusalem, a restaurant offered traditional (naturally GF) falafel and hummus.

Israel153

At a street market in Tel Aviv, a vendor sold locally-brewed ales. Two GF options were available. The one pictured above is a GF mead. The other was a pomegranate cider. I tried both. They were very refreshing!

France8Cropped

In France, I visited the 2013 Trip Advisor award-winning Helmut Newcake, a dedicated 100% Gluten-Free Bakery in Paris. I ordered three items – a financier, a fruit muffin, and a chocolate eclair. Bon bon bon! You and I could eat anything in this case.

  • Speaking of pastries, I baked this Strawberry Rhubarb Gluten-Free pie for July 4th. I was so pleased with this recipe from Dunn Sweet that I am passing it along to you.

Pie4

Does this look GF to you? This was the flakiest, fluffiest pie crust I’ve enjoyed since I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance seven years ago.

HumblePie5

With this GF pie crust recipe in your repertoire, and the appropriate GF flour in the pantry, you can once again bake a pie from scratch for your family and friends.

  • Over the past three years, many restaurants I have featured on Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free have come and gone. Some of the restaurants that remain, however, are courageously expanding their GF consciousness.

GFNemonde3

For example, Raleigh’s Neomonde Mediterranean Deli has begun offering GF bread and pizzas (pictured above), and bu*ku (also in Raleigh) now offers a Gluten-Free menu. 

  • I’m thrilled to announce that I will be relocating to my beloved North Carolina this summer. I am very grateful for the year I have spent working and dining in Nashville. Music City will always have a special place in my Gluten-Free heart.

Parthenoncrop

Nashville is referred to as the “Athens of the South”. I’ll miss the replica of the Parthenon (complete with a colossal statue of Athena inside) in Nashville’s Centennial Park.

  • Sweet Tea & Wheat-Free is nearing 33,000 views. A heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you who follow, comment, and pass along this resource to others.

A delightful thing happened to me last year while I was shopping at the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. A beautiful pregnant woman overheard me question a vendor about Gluten-Free items. She asked me if I was gluten intolerant. When I replied “Yes”, she recommended my own blog to me as a resource! I am happy to know that this is how information can be shared. We belong to an ever-growing community of people who care about how our food is made, and how we can support each other.

It is my sincere hope that the GF options posted on this site help you feel inspired, improve your appetite for alternatives to wheat, and encourage you to navigate your own GF quest with savviness and optimism. 

Another restaurant review coming soon…

Café Rakka: Heavenly Falafel

Where: Café Rakka Mediterranean Restaurant, 71A New Shackle Island Road, Hendersonville, TN  37075

GF Menu: No.

What I ate: My dining companion and I shared Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Mediterranean Salad, Falafel, Pomegranate Iced Tea, and a Mango Lassi

How to order it: Everything is made in-house, from the hummus to the yogurt and cheese. All menu items are made-to-order. When you place your order at the counter, let the server know that you are dining Gluten-Free.

I asked whether their falafel mix (traditionally made of chickpeas or fava beans) contained any flour. The server double-checked with the chef and announced that it was Gluten-Free. Then he graciously offered cucumber slices instead of the pita bread that normally accompanies this dish.

At Café Rakka, falafel are fried in a container that is not shared with any other items.

What it looks like:

The Baba Ghanoush was incredibly light; and to my surprise, it was garnished with pomegranate seeds. Each bite was a little bit sweeter than the last.

After we placed our order, I heard our hummus being blended in the kitchen. It was that fresh. This magical mix contained chickpeas, the Cafe’s own special recipe tahini, and lemon juice, plus a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of colorful spices.

Posted on a signboard above the counter was a list of the different types of hummus you can try in a “Hummus Bar” sampler. Here are some of the flavors I noted that day: Roasted Eggplant, Roasted Jalapeños, Roasted Onions, Spiced Cilantro, Olives, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Almonds, Roasted Mushrooms.

I wish my blog could feature a “Scratch ‘n’ Sniff” button, because I would install one for you here next to this photo. These lightly-browned, crispy-looking spheres with their hypnotizing aroma beckoned me to dig in.

Café Rakka’s homemade falafel were soft and delicately moist inside, with a thin, crispy crust on the outside. These were the closest thing I have had in years to fresh-out-of-the-fryer hushpuppies! I had to remind myself they were Gluten-Free.

This Mediterranean Salad was all about the cheese. Gorgeous blocks of homemade feta were soft, moist, and flavorful. The “About Us” page on the Café Rakka website explains, “Chef Rakka’s family has been renowned cheese, butter and yogurt makers in Syria for more than five generations.” Practice has indeed made perfect.

Green Note: Chef Rakka and his wife, Linda, emphasize the importance of cooking what is fresh and in season. Their website describes their commitment to this philosophy:

[Chef Rakka’s] cooking today continues to reflect that love of fresh food.  Just as he and his father, after a trip to the market in Syria, would bring home only what was fresh that day for his mother to cook, Rakka and his wife Linda decide on the daily menu specials based on what’s available fresh from the market. 

Cafe Rakka 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

California Pizza Kitchen: Nice Day for a White Pizza

December 2013 Update: I walked by a CPK the other day and this sign stopped me in my tracks:

CPKSign

The Gluten-Free pizzas are back! Currently, there are four options. See their online GF menu at http://info.cpk.com/documents/gluten_free_menu.pdf. As their website notes, these pizzas are prepared according to the strict regulations of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). As always, please inform your server of any allergies prior to placing your order.

June 2013 Update: While they still offer a Gluten-Free Menu, California Pizza Kitchen has temporarily pulled the Gluten-Free pizzas from this menu while they review their kitchens and procedures for potential cross-contamination. Still craving a pizza? Try Gluten-Free pies at Lilly’s Pizza, zpizza, or Mellow Mushroom in Raleigh.

California Pizza Kitchen announced the launch of a new Gluten-Free pizza crust in July, offering 29 of their original pizzas available Gluten-Free.

Where: California Pizza Kitchen, 5959 Triangle Town Road, #2121, Raleigh, NC 27616

GF Menu: Yes. At the Triangle Town location, the GF menu is incorporated into the restaurant’s regular menu.

What I ate: Asparagus and Arugula Salad (From the Small Cravings menu) + a White (GF) Pizza

How to order it: Regardless of where you are dining, it is a good idea to inform the server that you (and any other specific party members) will be dining Gluten-Free. This prepares the staff for your questions and hopefully helps ensure your safety throughout the dining experience.

When I mentioned to my server that I would be dining Gluten-Free, he explained that all of the pizzas listed on the menu (with the exception of the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and the Thai Chicken) could be made GF.

When asked how the GF pizza crust is prepared, he responded that it is handled with a designated set of utensils, placed on aluminum foil for baking, and then cut with a designated GF pizza cutter.

Folks who are extremely sensitive to air-borne gluten particles and cross contamination may want to read this discussion, on Triumph Dining’s website, to help guide your dining decision.

Online, the CPK GF Menu bears this disclaimer:

“Gluten-Free” designations are based on information provided by our ingredient suppliers. Warning: Ingredients or production methods used by our suppliers may change, or there may be product differences among regional suppliers. Additionally, normal kitchen operations involve shared cooking and preparation areas, or we may need to substitute ingredients in menu items. We are therefore unable to guarantee that any menu item is free from gluten or any other allergen, and we assume no responsibility for guests with food allergies or sensitivities.”

The Asparagus and Arugula Salad was light and tangy. Fresh arugula, crisp cuts of asparagus, sundried tomatoes, slivered almonds, and shaved Grana Padano Parmesan were topped with a homemade lemon vinaigrette.

The White Pizza arrived on a platter, crispy and golden around the edges, covered with sauteed garlic spinach, mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, parmesan, and pecorino romano.

A closer view displays the more traditionally thin Italian-style (as opposed to the thicker Sicilian style) crust. This crust tasted pleasantly of rice, and reminded me of a flexible version of a saltine cracker, topped with loads of good stuff.

Green Note: CPK also offers a Vegetarian and Vegan Menu. Why go vegetarian, even for a day? The semi-vegetarian global movement called Meatless Mondays, which advocates “cut out meat one day of the week”, offers this as one of several compelling reasons:

REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Bella Monica: Pasta Dinner

Where: Bella Monica, Olde Raleigh Village Shopping Center, 3121-103 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh, NC

GF Menu: Yes! They offer GF flatbread pizzas and pasta dishes. A PDF of their GF Menu is found on their restaurant home page, where this note is posted: Although Bella Monica is not a dedicated Gluten-Free kitchen, we do cook all GF items with separate and clean pans and utensils to reduce cross-contamination. We welcome advance notice of special dietary requests to accommodate your needs and ensure your dishes equal the integrity of the other menus.

What I ate: Sausage Parmigiana over GF Penne Pasta + a Buffalo Mozzarella Antipasti

How to order it: Ask for the Gluten-Free Menu. Deliberate. Select!

What it looks like:

Sausage Parmigiana

Mama Mia, this was good! I ate PASTA? In a restaurant?! I had to pinch myself.

Fine GF penne pasta with terrific al dente texture, smothered in parmigiana cheese, topped with a sauce the restaurant calls “Nana’s gravy”, and sprinkled with fresh parsley. You can’t see them in this photo, but there are four – count ’em, FOUR Italian sausage links tucked underneath all the cheese. The portions are very generous. I chowed down and still had to take half of it home for lunch the next day (which is never a bad thing, mind you!). The pasta held its texture even with reheating.

The buffalo mozzarella salad (not pictured here) came with huge chunks of thick, creamy mozz’, fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes, a light olive oil, and a sprinkling of fresh black pepper, and perhaps some invisible sea salt.

Green Note: Did you know that you can also have Bella Monica’s pizzas at home? Their flatbread pizzas are available nation-wide in the frozen foods section of most natural food stores, including Whole Foods. Click HERE to see where you can find them locally.

Special Note: May has been declared “Celiac Disease Awareness Month” in North Carolina by Governor Beverly PerdueYAY!

Bella Monica will be hosting a multiple course Gluten-Free Wine Dinner on May 16th, 2010, at 5pm. To reserve your tickets (required) to this event, call Bella Monica at 919-881-9778.

Bella Monica on Urbanspoon

Vivace: Al Fresco

Where: Vivace, Raleigh, NC. There is also a Vivace Charlotte location, with a Gluten-Free Menu.

GF Menu: Yes! Click HERE and you can see it online.

What I ate: Steamed P.E.I Mussels (Antipasti) + Fennel Crusted Salmon (Secondi)

How to order it: Ask the server for the GF Menu. Select. Eat.

What it looks like:

Vivace Salmon

The Prince Edward Island Mussels (not pictured here) were enough to share and come with roasted tomatoes and garlic (no bread).

This salmon is lightly pan seared, yielding a crispy exterior. There are hints of fennel and rosemary in every bite. The chickpeas and artichokes are a savory, textural trampoline for the fish.

Encouraged by all the glittering options on the dinner menu, I asked to see the GF Dessert Menu. There isn’t one! You can, however, order a scoop of gelato (minus the cookie). Maybe by the time you visit Vivace, Dear Reader, there will be a few more GF options. If so, please tell us about them! I just learned that Vivace makes their own limoncello (made from lemon rinds, sugar water, and vodka). I may order that for dessert next time!

Green Note: Pining to spend more time outside? Vivace’s outdoor patio is open during all business hours. The bar inside the restaurant opens onto the patio, producing the sense of an open-air Italian piazza.

Want to reduce your carbon footprint by consuming fewer meats? In addition to a Gluten-Free Menu, Vivace features a Vegetarian/Pescaterian Menu.  The “Low Carbon Diet” states: “meat and other products (such as cheese) from ruminant animals such as cows, sheep and goats, are the cause of half of the food system’s overall contribution to climate change. Whether it comes from near or far, meat and cheese are “high-carbon foods.”

Vivace on Urbanspoon

Taverna Agora: Opa!

Where: Taverna Agora Greek Restaurant & Bar, Raleigh, NC

GF Menu: No.

What I ate: Boneless Lamb Chops (Padakia) with Lemon Potatoes & Vegetables.

How to order it: Check with the server that the meat entree is neither breaded nor simmered in a broth (which may contain gluten). See the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center advice on things to avoid.

What it looks like:

Taverna Agora Lamb Special

The lamb is cooked in its own juices. When you look at this photo, you may think you are seeing a bit of bone in the lamb, but that’s a piece of garlic, tenderly nestled into the meat to fantastic effect. The lemon herb potatoes are light. The dark purple cabbage is as tasty as it is beautiful on the plate. Eat your colors!

Green Note: Maybe you’re itching to go to Greece. Think of the reduction in your carbon footprint (no flight, no driving to the airport, etc.) by enjoying a mini Greek vacation right here in the Triangle. Okay, so perhaps that’s a Pollyanna spin, but visiting Taverna Agora and sitting outside on their patio while sipping red wine in their traditional Greek glasses really does feel like a getaway. Check their Calendar for “Greek Night” when they bring in live bouzouki music and a belly dancer. Opa!

Taverna Agora on Urbanspoon

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment