Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kelsey's in Waterloo

I've written about Kelsey's before and how it didn't really cater well to Celiacs. Well, my wife had an inkling for nachos, so we decided to visit the King Street location in north Waterloo this evening for dinner.

I was actually pleasantly surprised! The waitress knew what gluten was, and checked up with the kitchen on a number of items on the menu for me.

We started with a huge plate of nachos - we had to have them without the ground beef because the seasonings they use are not gluten-free. Our waitress offered to replace the beef with grilled chicken, but we decided to just go without meat. The chips were indeed corn chips (she checked with the chef, and they only contained corn flour), and the toppings were just fresh tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos, and cheese.

By the way, the plate of nachos is huge! Way too much for two of us...as an appetizer.

The main courses are a bit of a challenge at Kelseys. Instead of opting for just a chicken salad like I have in the past, I decided on a sandwich...without the bun. It's a trick I've really come to depend on since many sandwiches are gluten-free once you take away the bread.

I ended up with a chicken club - chicken, bacon, melted cheddar and tomatoes and lettuce. The waitress checked up on it and it was indeed gluten-free. It was really tasty, though I suppose not very healthy. You can't eat like this every day - but if you're eating out, you might as well enjoy it, right?

The meal came with fries or a salad. The fries are cooked in the same fryer as other products containing gluten, so they were out. I opted for a house salad with just oil and vinegar dressing. It was decent - fairly fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded cheese.

The bottom line? A fairly decent meal at a restaurant I once deemed one of "KW's Worst Restaurants". (http://safeceliac.blogspot.com/2007/09/kitchener-waterloos-worst-restaurants.html) I guess I stand corrected.

Been to Kelseys? What did you order? Any good tips? Feel free to share a comment!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

SafeCeliac.com is here!

The SafeCeliac blog is now located at www.safeceliac.com (or www.safeceliac.ca).

If you have comments, or have thoughts about any restaurants in the Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge area, please feel free to leave them here. Just add a comment to this or any other blog post.

Hope to hear from you.

Rainbow Caribbean in Kitchener

One of my favourite restaurants in Kitchener-Waterloo is Rainbow Caribbean in the heart of downtown Kitchener. I initially got hooked on their food when they had a location in University Plaza, but that location has been shut down for a few years now...so I have to trek to King & Queen St. to get this wonderful food.

I always get the curry chicken meal, which comes with rice & peas. I spoke to the manager about their ingredients, and he checked with the staff and ensured me that no gluten was used in the chicken curry.

I've been visiting this restaurant for at least 4 years, and have never tried any other dish because the curry is so good (and addictive)!

And it's a pretty fair deal too: the main dish, a plantain slice, and salad (I have oil & vinegar dressing) for well under $10. The meal is quite large and is great for either lunch or dinner.

If you haven't tried it, venture down there and give it a whirl. Oh yeah, and you have to try "The Best" brand of juices - the mixed fruit or mango juice is amazing. Basically it's just squeezed juice into a can. Sweet and wonderful.

St. Louis Bar and Grill

Last week I visited St. Louis Bar and Grill on Northfield Drive in Waterloo. (283 Northfield Drive, 519-883-4777). I was taking a little risk - eating typical pub food for a Celiac is tough - but it's always interesting to try new places and see what options are available. A little bit of a fact finding mission...

I'm happy to report that my experience was actually very positive. The waitress initially didn't know much about their ingredients cooking techniques, but I was impressed on how much research she did by talking to the kitchen staff.

I ended up having the ribs & wings combo. First the wings: they are not battered, but they are deep fried. However, they are deep fried in their own fryer, separate from battered food. Secondly, their sauces are fine too. I had the medium sauce, but I wouldn't presume all of them would be gluten-free though. (such as honey garlic?)

The ribs are also fine, and the waitress checked all of the ingredients in the BBQ sauce for me. She even came back and asked if "corn starch" was ok to have. Very impressive.

Finally, I couldn't have the fries because they were fried in the same fryer as gluten-products. Instead, it was replaced with a salad, which had a simple vinaigrette that was also ok.

Overall, I was impressed with the options available to me, and the care taken by the staff to ensure the food I was eating was indeed gluten-free. The food - well - you can't eat like this all the time. I definitely wouldn't say they were the best ribs or wings I've ever had either, but I would go back because I know it's safe and I haven't found another place for wings in town.

Have you been there? What did you think? Any other pubs you have visited that have good gluten-free options? Feel free to leave a comment!