Category Archives: All Business Reviews

Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop is Fantastic Gluten Free New Orleans Goodness

Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop

2309 N Causeway Blvd
Metairie, LA
70001
(504) 835-2022

www.gumbostop.com

Recently we spent a few days in New Orleans. It is a fantastic city. I knew I wanted to try some authentic New Orleans cuisine. Being a celiac with a corn intolerance I thought this would not be an easy task. Googling gluten free new orleans brought up tons of restaurants, but I couldn’t be sure any were actually any good with cross contamination issues. I did some reAding of reviews and most were iffy. That is until I stumbled upon Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop.

The reviews for this place were out of this world. I was feeling pretty comfortable with eating there as a celiac. Next step was to email and facebook message Chef Ron to see if he could accomodate my corn intolerance. He responded quickly and was sure he could make me something wonderful that would fit my diet. Since I am still mostly on the corn-lite side of the corn intolerance spectrum I decided to go for it.When we arrived we were greeted by a server and I let her know first thing about my celiac and corn intolerance. She sent out Chef Ron himself who went through the menu items with me that were gluten free and don’t contain corn. A large portion of the menu is gluten free or adaptable! Chef Ron even offered to make me his fried green tomatoes appetizer using Bob’s Redmill flour. I was super excited since I rarely get to eat any appetizers in a restaurant. We also chose the Jambalaya and the seafood gumbo.

Gluten Free Fried Green Tomatoes

Gluten Free Fried Green Tomatoes

The fried green tomatoes were out of this world! I have never had a fried green tomato in my life and did not know what to expect. They came out beautifully plated. They were so pretty I didn’t want to eat them but hunger took over. Alan liked them so much he actually licked the leftover spicy mayo off of the plate.

Gluten Free Gumbo

Gluten Free Gumbo

The gumbo was fantastic I’m sure, I am just not a fishy seafood person. I did enjoy tasting crawfish for the first time. I liked it more than I thought I would.

Gluten Free Jambalaya

Gluten Free Jambalaya

The jambalaya was fantastic! The sausage was grilled perfectly and very flavorful. The chunks of chicken and the tomatoey rice were spiced just right and made me want to eat way more than I should. Thankfully the portions are enormous. Even though Alan and I pigged out, we still had leftovers enough for a small dinner that evening.

Chef Ron is a really nice guy who cares a ton about his food and his guests. At one point he told me he was “here to nourish me”. That feeling of appreciation from the chef was a feeling I have not gotten at any other restaurant and it really made me feel great.

Photo of Chef Ron and Laurie

Photo of Chef Ron and Laurie

After the meal Chef Ron even took a moment to snap a photo with me. If you haven’t tried Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop please please go right now.

Rating by Laurie Clark: 5.0 stars
****

Mandy's Pizza Squirrel Hill Allergen Free Pizza

Mandy’s Gluten Free Pizza And Subs Review ~ Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Have you ever been on a really long road trip and gotten tired of eating out of a cooler? Well that’s how we ended up at Mandy’s. Alan and I took a three week road trip in our van. We brought the Coleman stove and ate well, but sometimes you just want the comfort of a hot meal you don’t have to cook and clean up after.

We sought out gluten free pizza in Pittsburgh PA. Mandy’s intrigued me because I noticed it is corn free as well. Actually Mandy’s accommodates  corn free, egg free, nut free, casein free, dairy free ,soy free , and vegan diets. Their new Squirrel Hill location had just opened that weekend which made it all the more appealing to the blogger in me.

We unfortunately arrived to hear some terrible news… they were out of gluten free pizza crusts. This was frustrating since it had not been easy to find street parking for our behemoth of a van that was close by. We almost gave up the quest for gluten free pizza out of frustration and by that point ravenous hunger.

Google maps and a few quick calls led me to their original location in West View. We decided the pizza sounded so good that it would be worth the twenty minute drive.

The shop is small and plain with only a handful of booths. Many of the tastiest places I’ve eaten in the ‘burgh are similarly skeptical looking though.

I did not question there dedication to gluten free in the least. The owner created a gluten free pizza for his son when he was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. They have since expanded to selling their own brand of allergen free baking mixes as well.

Mandy's Pizza Allergen Free Baking Mixes

I was particularly intrigued by the offering of gluten free hoagies. We ordered a gluten free Hawaiian pizza and a gluten free steak hoagie. It was priced in line with other gluten free restaurant fare. We double checked with the cook that he understood gluten free to which he gruffly answered “I don’t make people sick.”

Mandy's Pizza Gluten Free Menu Allergen Free

The pizza was one of the best gluten free pizzas I have tried. The crust was a good combination of crispy and chewy. Most gluten free pizzas lack the chewy gooey where the cheese and sauce meet the crust. This pizza had that. It reminded me more of the texture of a normal pizza.

Mandy's Gluten Free Hawaiian PizzaMandy's Gluten Free Hawaiian Pizza

Mandy’s does not skimp on toppings for their pizzas either. The cheese was stretchy and abundant, the sauce was just enough, and the ham and pineapple were plentiful.Mandy's  Gluten Free Hawaiian Pizza

The gluten free sub bread was thick and chewy. I believe it would have made fantastic garlic bread or french bread style pizza. For me it was a bit heavy for a sub. Don’t take that the wrong way I loved the bread. The flavor was great I am just a dreamer and could see so many other possibilities that would suit it. The meat on the sub was adequate, but the large thick bread hid the flavors a bit. Next time I’m in the area I’ll try an Italian and see how the stronger flavors come through.

Mandy's Gluten Free Pizza Pittsburgh, Pa Gluten Free Steak Hoagie

All in all I really enjoyed Mandy’s and definitely  recommend their pizza and subs for those with allergies.

Eating Corn Free At PF Chang's

Eating Corn Free At PF Chang’s

Every year I receive gift cards to local restaurants for Christmas. This year I got one for PF Chang’s. I was very hesitant to go there since I could not find any information on weather they could handle my corn intolerance. I had been there multiple times before and they handled my celiac gluten free meals perfectly. Since needing to go corn free as well I was afraid that there would be nothing I could safely eat.

I went on there website and noticed that all of there meat is listed as marinated with cornstarch. I relegated myself to getting a plain steamed veggies meal and enjoying the company of my family while they ate awesome PF Chang’s goodness.

I let the server know about my celiac and corn intolerance. She immediately told me about the nifty allergy matrix system their restaurants use. They type in your allergens and it spits out all of the safe menu items and items that can be modified to suit your allergy needs. I was excited to hear this.

The server came back a  few minutes later to inform me that corn was not in their allergy matrix, but the manager would be right out to help me figure out what they could make me that was corn free.

Before the server even left our table the manager arrived. She was extremely nice and told me salmon and chicken would be good protein options for me. They could make them fresh without the cornstarch marinade.

I chose chicken. She then asked how well I tolerated spicy food, I love medium to spicy foods and told her so. She quickly decided that the Chang’s Spicy Chicken could easily be done corn free and gluten free. She also suggested that I get it with a side of Garlic Snap Peas since the Chang’s Spicy Chicken did not come with many vegetables.

I was so excited to be able to eat a corn free meal at a restaurant! I know the salmon would have been an option too, but the chicken sounded so good I went with her suggestion.

They may have other corn free options as well if you don’t like spicy food. I didn’t ask about other options since the first option sounded good and I was ravenous.

Our food took slightly longer than normal to be brought out to us but I was glad that they were taking good care to keep me safe.

The food was amazing! The chicken was sweet and spicy with a light crunch. They dusted my chicken with potato starch instead of the normal cornstarch to keep it corn free. The beans were a great addition as well. I was told that the beans are not on their regular menu anymore but they always have them and will make them if you ask. I was extremely happy that they went to such lengths to keep me safe and my belly happy.

My server and the manager were friendly and helpful and made the experience of eating out fun for me. So if you need a restaurant that can adapt meals to any allergy PF Chang’s is the place to go.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse, Huguenot Rd. & Robius Rd. Chesterfield, Virginia

Outback Steakhouse

We have visited this location on a few occasions, and they seem not to understand Gluten Free. More than once our gluten free burger has been brought out on a bun, requiring the entire meal to be replaced.

On 4/14, we ordered Outback using Midlothian Delivered. After our driver waited for an hour and twenty minutes, which is inexcusable on most nights and even more ridiculous on a Monday, our order was brought out and wrong. Our driver instructed the server if there is any chance the Gluten Free burger touched a bun, it needs to be remade. And, back the burger went. At least our driver, Ryan, knows about cross contamination. After another twentyfive minutes of waiting, the food was brought back out.

Let’s just skip the rest of the issues we had with our order, and move on to the following email sent to Outback, using their online contact form a couple of days later.

Hi,
I am writing due to repeated failures in your staff to understand how to create a safe gluten free meal. I have had multiple experiences where my gluten free burger was brought out to me on a bun. The Huguenot Road location is the location where this happens the most.
I am aware that your establishment has worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to create a gluten free menu. I thought that adequate staff training was included in that GIG approved status.
My experience last night could have made me very ill.
I ordered Outback for my family through a great local delivery service Midlothian Delivered. The driver is well experienced with gluten free and saved me from getting ill.
He arrived at Outback and placed our order. After an hours wait for our food to be ready, he checked to make sure the order was right before leaving your establishment. He quickly realized that some of the burgers had the wrong toppings on them including my gluten free meal. He had to force the server to admit that my burger had at one point been on a bun and been taken off of it. The driver then explained again the seriousness of celiac and our food got remade. I ended up with a meal that was safe for me and I did not end up with any ill effects. If it had not been for that very knowledgeable driver for my delivery service, I would have been ill for up to 3 weeks from that one burger. Your staff really needs to understand the seriousness of this illness and understand the procedures for preparing a gluten free meal. If this can not be done please consider discontinuing your gluten free menu until it can be safely consumed on a regular basis.
I will be contacting the GIG about the multiple failures at that location ad maybe they can offer some staff retraining.
I ended up waiting a total of about 2 hours for our meal to arrive. That was not the fault of our delivery service. That was the fault of your restaurant directly.
I would like to also note that the others I ordered for were very unhappy with their meals as well. The bacon on the burgers was under cooked and two of the meals burgers had less that 6 french fries with them.
I previously enjoyed dining at Outback about once every two weeks. I will be discontinuing eating there from now on. My health is much more important than a juicy burger.
Thanks!
Laurie
http://www.mygfgirlfriend.com

A few days later, we had zero response from Outback; so, we tweeted them as well. As of this posting, we have still heard nothing. A “Gig Approved” restaurant, with a customer who had an issue, and Outback will not even respond. Sad, Outback, sad.

One last thing. This was my (Alan’s) and my dad’s meals. Have you ever seen so many fries in your life [sarcasm]. If you want a great burger and fries, and safe service, head to Five Guys. There locations do it right and faster than we can write their reviews.

Rating by Alan Cook: 0.5 stars
1/2

California Pizza Kitchen GLuten Free Pizza Review

California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza Review

California Pizza Kitchen

11800 W Broad St.
Richmond, VA
23233
(804) 364-9047

http://www.cpk.com/‎

When I first read that California Pizza Kitchen would be making gluten free pizzas available I immediately went to Google to get some facts. This is not the first time the restaurant has offered gluten free pizzas. A few years ago they sold them and had a mixed response as to how gluten free and celiac safe they really were. California Pizza Kitchen realized quickly that they needed to stop serving those pizzas and research how to provide a completely safe gluten free pizza that all gluten intolerant and celiacs could enjoy with out possibility for cross contamination. In October of 2013 California Pizza Kitchen once again rolled out a gluten free menu including four delicious gluten free pizzas. This time they teamed up with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). Continue reading
Mellow Mushroom Gluten Free Review Richmond Va

Mellow Mushroom Richmond Va Gluten Free Review

Mellow Mushroom Richmond Va Gluten Free Review

3012 W. Cary St.
Richmond, VA
23221
804-370-8210

http://mellowmushroom.com/store/richmond-carytown

Update: Scott at Mellow Mushroom contacted me today. “As for the gluten free pizza, it sounds like the pizza wasn’t fully cooked.  Every shift over the next couple of days will be making two gluten free pizza’s, one under cooked and one cooked properly, and will have the staff sample and see for themselves the difference.  Hopefully this will stress the importance of properly cooking gluten free pizzas.”  I have been offered a gift certificate to try again. In fairness to the company, my family will be revisiting the location soon using the certificate. I will post an update to this review at that point based on the quality of food and service.Update 7/29/2013:

My family revisited Mellow Mushroom around 5 pm on a Monday evening. I was given a gift card by the management that paid for this meal. The staff was very pleasant and accommodating and our meal was well prepared and tasty. The gluten free pizza was cooked correctly this time and it made a huge difference in the texture and flavor. Like I said in my original review, I had eaten at the Raleigh NC location and had a great meal. I expected that the underdone pizzas, order mix ups, and hurried staff at the Richmond location during our first visit was due to the time of day and day of the week we came as well as the newness of the location. If you would like to enjoy a gluten free pizza with your buddies the pizza at Mellow Mushroom is good. The toppings are fun and flavorful, and the crust when properly cooked is a crispy, thin, and tasty. The regular pizzas were a hit with my parents both times as well. Continue reading

Shane's Rib Shack Gluten Free Review

Shane’s Rib Shack

Shane’s Rib Shack

11501 Busy St, North
Chesterfield, VA
23236
(804) 893-4642

http://www.shanesribshack.com

Let me start out by saying I highly recommend this place for gluten free barbecue.
Now on to the more detailed review.We began taking exterior photos as soon as we got out of the car. The restaurant was not busy since we came around 130 pm on a Wednesday the weekend before their grand opening celebration. When we walked in we were greeted by a man who I assume was the manager. He asked us who we were with in a friendly manner. Alan being, well, Alan replied that we were with ourselves. He’s such a goof. I told him we were with mygfgirlfriend.com and here to write a review. He showed us to the counter and offered to let us sample anything we wanted before we ordered. He then left us in the hands of the friendly cashier. It was nice to be treated so well.We wanted to try a bit of everything so Alan ordered the Shack Sampler with 1/4 Baby Back Ribs, 2 Grilled Chicken Tenders, 1/4 pound of BBQ Pork, Green Beans, and Potato Salad. I ordered the Two Meat with a 1/2 Chicken, 4 Baby Back Ribs, Baked Beans, and Coleslaw.We made sure to ask for no Texas Toast. Everything was ordered off of the gluten free menu. The cashier mentioned that a possible ingredient might not be gluten free in the potato salad and went to check. More than one employee confirmed that it was in fact gluten free and I had no issues with it. I was very glad they took the time to check. We were given cups and told to go ahead and sit and the food would be brought right out to us.The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating.Since neither of us ordered the BBQ Chicken, we asked for a sample to try for this review. It was tender and very flavorful. The chicken comes in chunks as opposed to shredded. The flavor was mild and slightly sweet with a bit of pepper. This left us with a palate to try out the signature sauces on the tables.

The mustard sauce was my favorite. I liked the brown mustard
flavor and it was not overly sweet. Overall the other sauces were on the sweet side.The
original BBQ sauce was a combination of sweet and sour with vinegar being a prominent flavor.
The spicy and the hot were very similar in flavor starting out mild and sweet and turning
spicy at the end.

Shane's Rib Shack Meal Gluten Free

The food arrived very quickly and the employee even brought us plastic ware and napkins. When
we looked at the large portions we knew we would be taking home leftovers. You get a ton of
food for your money at Shane’s. Since we already had a taste for good BBQ from sampling the
chicken, We were eager to dive in to the meats.

Shane's Rib Shack Chicken Tenders Gluten Free

Alan’s grilled chicken tenders were good. They reminded him of home grilled chicken. They were a tad dry but it did not affect their flavor. They had a nice smokey flavor from the grill and some yummy crunchy spots as well. We had them plain but you can get them tossed in any of their BBQ or Buffalo Q sauces.

Shane's Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Gluten Free

The Baby Back Ribs were meaty and amazing. They were really tender with a pleasant amount of char and sauce. The sauce was sweet but complimented the smokey ribs well.

Shane's Rib Shack Half Barbecue Chicken Gluten Free

The half chicken was the surprise of the meal. I confess I only ordered it because we were writing a review. I would not normally order chicken on the bone. It turned out to be my favorite thing I tasted besides the ribs. The half chicken was very large. The skin had a delicious barbecue flavor and the meat was juicy and very tender. I will definitely be buying this again next time we visit. I had plenty of leftovers from this and it even made a nice chicken salad the next day.

Alan liked his pork BBQ. He normally prefers Carolina style but thought this was very juicy and tender. It had a light flavor and like the chicken BBQ left room to play with the signature sauces. Surprisingly I liked the chicken BBQ better than the pork.

The sides were standard for a BBQ place that borders between sit down and fast food. The coleslaw had too much dressing for my liking, but otherwise it was pretty good. It reminded me of really good prepackaged slaw. The vinegar flavor played off of the mayo well.

Alan loved the baked beans while I found them too sugary. I mixed in some mustard BBQ sauce and it fixed the sweetness for me.

Alan liked the green beans and said they reminded him beans he ate as a kid and liked. I found them overly peppery but otherwise thought they were ok.

I thought the best side was definitely the potato salad. It was creamy without being overly mayonnaisey and had a nice touch of mustard and relish.

We ended up taking home leftover ribs chicken and sides. The employee came and cleared our plates and brought to go boxes and a bag. We used the restrooms before leaving and they were very clean. On the way out many of the employees thanked us and encouraged us to come back soon. I will definitely be back this weekend for their Grand Opening!

Shane's Rib Shack

Rating by Laurie Clark: 4.5 stars
****1/2

Shane's Rib Shack on Urbanspoon