Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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SafeCeliac has moved away from this blogspot site, and now all new posts will be done directly on All the posts and comments found here have been moved to the new site, and this blog will eventually be deleted.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cora's Breakfast in Cambridge

Well, I finally made it to Cora's Breakfast in Cambridge (on Hespeler Road). I had heard through the grapevine that they had buckwheat crepes, so I was looking forward to seeing if they were gluten-free.

Unfortunately, they are not and they do contain gluten. Also of note: the breakfast sausage contains gluten as well.

However, the breakfast was still incredible. There are plenty of dishes that celiacs can enjoy, including omelettes, fruit bowls, etc. (Their fruit creations are amazing!)

A little tip: get there early, as by 9:00 am on a Saturday they already have a lineup!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Langdon Hall

This week my wife and I went to Langdon Hall in Cambridge for dinner. What an amazing experience. The food was incredible, and the service was top notch as well. As a Celiac, you are in great hands. I mentioned to the server that I had Celiac disease and I didn't have to explain anything about what I could and couldn't have. She knew exactly what that meant.

They started me off with in house baked gluten free bread. It was a cinnamon-nut bread, which the waitress commented on as being 'different' for dinner but was great nonetheless. (I wouldn't say it was the best gluten free bread I've ever had, but certainly very decent and a welcome treat at a restaurant.) The only other restaurant I've ever had this treatment at was Verses in Kitchener.

Anyway, the menu seemed to have lots of choices for Celiacs - though you have to be a real 'foodie' to understand some of the things on there. There were lots of 'high' end food options like foie gras, duck, seafood, lamb, and items you don't usually find even at upscale establishments.

I wasn't too adventurous, and ended up choosing a salad to start (which was wonderful) and followed by a main course of beef two ways. The beef was served with mushroom quinoa, and steamed spinach and other veggies which was actually really good. The presentation of the food was so well done.

My wife chose a scallop appetizer (which was also gluten free) and tasted amazing. Probably the best scallop I've ever eaten, and cooked perfectly. Her main entree was duck, which I didn't try since we didn't ask if it was gluten-free.

We were too full for dessert, which actually turned out ok since this was one area that Langdon Hall didn't do very well for Celiacs. The only option was gelato (which apparently is very good there), but we decided against it. Lots of non-GF options though.

All in all, it's definitely a great place to go as a Celiac - highly recommended! But be warned - it's probably one of the most expensive restaurants in the area. Our meal, which was 2 appetizers, 2 glasses of wine and 2 entrees was almost $190 after tip! You could almost eat twice at Charbries or Verses for that price. But it's definitely worth a try for some special occasion.

Feel free to leave a comment if you've been to Langdon Hall yourself, or want to share any other restaurant information here.

Aroma Cafe in Uptown Waterloo

It's been a while since my last post - life has been busy. But one of the gems that I found in the last few months was a little cafe in Uptown Waterloo called the Aroma Cafe.

Besides having excellent coffee, the Aroma Cafe has a wide selection of gluten-free products. They have muffins (the types change regularly: I've tried blueberry, poppyseed, apple cinnamon, and others), cakes, desserts, soup, and even sandwiches that are all GF. I haven't yet tried a sandwich or dessert there - if you have, please feel free to leave a comment.

I spoke to the owner and I was impressed with her knowledge about eating gluten free. One thing to note though: because it is a small cafe, they will use the same knives and cutting boards as they do with non-GF products. They seem to be careful, but it may make sense to ask them to wipe down the cutting board and knife to be extra careful.

The Aroma Cafe is located in the Atrium, which is beside Angie's on Erb Street.

33 Erb Street West

Saturday, April 12, 2008

El Rinconcito Mexicano - Mexican Restaurant in Cambridge

Let me start by saying that El Rinconcito Mexicano is probably my best restaurant find in years.

Firstly, finding a real authentic Mexican restaurant in Kitchener-Waterloo is impossible - they just don't exist. El Rinconcito Mexicano is probably as authentic as you get, and the food is incredible. Since we now live in Cambridge, we are about 10 minutes away from this restaurant, located on Ainslie street near Main in downtown Galt.

Secondly, real Mexican food is usually very Celiac friendly since a lot of it is made from corn flour. El Rinconcito Mexicano's menu has plenty of options: from corn tacos, enchiladas (made from corn) and also other options that are less known to me, such as gorditas. You have to stay away from the burritos and other items made with flour tortillas, but the two ladies that work there (I think mother and daughter) are very friendly and helpful if you can't understand the somewhat cryptic menu. (See below for what their menu looks like!)

All of the food is home made and cooked fresh. The prices are very reasonable: you can easily eat most of the dishes for $8 tax included. I've been twice now and had the enchiladas (with chicken) and also the soft tacos (I've tried chicken, pork and beef). I also had the gordita which was amazing. Although there are some standard drinks available (Coke, Sprite, etc.) many of their drinks are sodas from Mexico, like grapefruit or orange soda. Pretty cool.

Now, don't expect fine dining here. The decor is made up of a good mishmash of what looks to be garage sale items and old furniture from a student apartment. There are probably only about 5 tables, so if it's busy you're stuck with takeout. Here's a picture to illustrate:

But all of this adds to it's character, and quite frankly with food this good it doesn't matter what you're sitting on. It's clean - that's the most important point here.
Plus, if you ever need ingredients for your Mexican feast at home, the restaurant has also a few shelves of hard to find items such as corn flour, mole sauce (not GF), peppers and salsas from Mexico.

Well there you have it. Even though from Waterloo it's probably about a 30 minute drive, it's definitely worth the trip some Saturday afternoon for a great Mexican lunch! Enjoy.

Blackshop Restaurant in Cambridge

My wife and I went to Blackshop on Hespeler road for her birthday a few weeks ago. Although I can honestly say that their sister restaurant in Waterloo (Sole) is not my favourite, Sole does treat Celiacs very well. I thought I'd see if Blackshop was similar.

Well, my overall impression was similar to Sole. The atmosphere was wonderful, and the menu looked great. The waitress didn't know much about Celiac disease but asked the chef about all my choices.

But overall the food just didn't taste amazing, as the menu, atmosphere (and price) would lead you to believe. I found it just mediocre, and actually didn't feel well afterwards.

I ended up ordering from their Southwestern specialty menu. For an appetizer I had an interesting twist on tacos - the shells were made from shredded and baked Parmesan cheese. Unfortunately the beef was served at room temperature. I didn't complain because I thought maybe it was supposed to be served that way. (?) Overall, I can't really say I enjoyed it though.

I chose the Enchiladas for my main meal. They were stuffed with pulled pork, which in theory sounds amazing but overall just tasted 'ok' - they definitely didn't wow me in any way. My wife ordered the Tequila Tiger Shrimp, and although the shrimp was good it was way too spicy for her to eat. They marked it with a '2 chilies' meaning it's medium, but it was way hotter than my '3 chili' tacos which we both could eat without breaking a sweat.

Here's one I haven't heard before though. My wife ordered the potato frites for an appetizer - basically french fries - and I asked the waitress if they were gluten-free and cooked in a separate fryer so I could sample them. She came back and said they were cooked in the same oil as other gluten-products, but "the chef says it's ok because all gluten breaks down in such a hot fryer and therefore you have nothing to worry about".

Wow! That's news to me, and of course I didn't believe it. All literature I've read certainly does not give this indication, and thus I stayed away from the fries. (As an aside - does that mean I can have onion rings because all the gluten content breaks down? Hahaha, wishful thinking.)

So that was pretty shocking. That comment alone makes me very skeptical about a restaurant. I appreciate the fact that they mention it, but a comment like "if you are very sensitive to gluten you might want to stay away from the fried food" would be a better answer.

Anyway, by the end of dinner, I wasn't feeling all that great, so we passed up on dessert. I really wanted to try their creme brule, (and it is my favourite) so you can tell I really wasn't feeling good! I'm really not sure if it was gluten contamination in their food or just indigestion. (I didn't get completely sick, just an upset stomach.)

I don't know if I'd return to Blackshop any time soon - their atmosphere and menu does look good, and perhaps their regular menu items are more tried and true. But for a $120 meal for 2 people (including wine), I feel like their are plenty of other restaurants (like Verses or Charbries in Waterloo) that would be much better options.

Have you been to Blackshop? What was your experience like? Feel free to leave a comment.

Fifty's Restaurant in Cambridge

A few weeks ago my wife and I visited Fifty's restaurant in Cambridge on Hespeler Road. It's a diner, with a menu that's typically tough for a Celiac to find options on - burgers, sandwiches, etc. But we thought we'd give it a try as sometimes you can find hidden gems in places like this.

I was hopeful, but I can honestly say it was a disaster. Although their menu was rather large (you could almost have anything: sandwiches, salads, ribs, chicken, fish, etc.) most didn't look appetizing or definitely contained gluten.

Firstly, the server didn't really know too much about eating gluten free, but she did offer to check with the kitchen staff. So I asked about the burgers (of course without the bun) but they contain wheat. The fries are cooked in the same oil as chicken fingers and other gluten-products. So that was out.

I ended up choosing the chicken breast sandwich without the bun, and coleslaw. I got the meal about 20 minutes later and the chicken was on a bun. I mentioned this to the waitress and she went back to the kitchen and returned in 2 minutes with a 'new' plate - she said this one was cooked fresh and didn't touch any bread.

I'm not sure what to think of that. Maybe their chicken breasts are already cooked and they could produce another one in 2 minutes, but it seemed awfully quick considering the first try took almost 20 minutes.

Anyway, the meal came with a mustard-mayo condiment on the side, which I asked about and the waitress said: "well the kitchen wouldn't have served you it because I marked 'no wheat' on your it must be ok". I thanked her politely but didn't eat it. About 5 minutes later she came back and said that it probably did have wheat in it after all.

Finally, my coleslaw had a few chunks of chicken in it. And my wife's didn't and that concerned me. How did a couple pieces of chicken get in the coleslaw? It just makes me think that the kitchen isn't being very careful in their preparation.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I won't be going back to Fifty's any time soon. In fact, my wife's dinner wasn't very good either (just a simple club sandwich) even if you're not a Celiac, I wouldn't recommend Fifty's.