Restaurant Review: Gluten-Free at Good On Ya Organic Cafe, San Diego

A beach-side cafe with a hipster vibe, Good On Ya Organic serves what its name implies: organic. From the fried eggs, diner-style in the pre-dawn to gluten-free pizzas with seasonal toppings, Good On Ya takes both its customers' dietary restrictions and its fresh, local food seriously.

Whenever I'm in Southern California, I have a standing date with a relative on the beach in San Diego -- beach and breakfast.  Nothing much about the date has changed. The beach at dawn is always fledgeling-warm. It cracks like a robin's egg into scarves of blue and gold over Pacific waves. Nothing much about our walk has changed. It takes us on an adventure dodging rising tides, ducking into used bookstores.

But Good On Ya has metamorphosed many times. Always gluten-free (with a few side options like a flour tortilla or sourdough toast which contain gluten), it nonetheless has served GF waffles, then dropped the waffles; served only breakfast, then added lunch; been counter-service and then…

[ Recipe ] Wicked Easy Gluten Free Cocoa Pancakes for Easter

Although not traditionally gluten free, pancakes don't require the rise-and-bind of gluten and yeast. They're easy to make without wheat or gluten.  But perhaps if you ask around before trying, you'll get a funny array of scoffing, snorting, yea-ing, no-ing, and blank stares.

Do not listen. Srsly.

 I had a family I used to work with reach out, asking for easy pancakes for their celiac, many-allergied seven-year-old.

"But you have celiac disease! You can't eat pancakes," some wicked "wise" teacher told him last week.

A nice example of misinformed.

One can eat pancakes with celiac disease, obviously -- as long as they're gluten-free. These pancakes are chocolate. Simple. And gluten-free. Rather crepe-like, they bend and fold if you want to stuff them. If not, they they have a nice sweet edge under the dusky cocoa, making them easy to eat as snacks, sans syrup or with, fruited or coated in nuts and coconut flakes.

"Easter bread!" I told t…

Restaurant Review: Gluten Free at Ostra, Boston, MA

A seafood and celiac-safe sleek dining destination in Boston, Ostra plays with both surf and turf, with a seasonal menu whose subtlety is serious as its chef's care for avoiding cross-contamination.

Ostra is beautiful. Before you even see your plate, the high ceilings and silver tones of the interior evoke the sea; and they've somehow calibrated acoustics to allow voices and piano played from the entry way to wash more like waves than the racket of Niagara. But beauty and stellar seafood together wouldn't be a good match for me -- or many other autoimmune-abused diners -- if the chef and kitchen weren't so conscientious about safe food preparation. Ostra is one restaurant in which a gluten-free eater, and celiac, will never feel ostracized.

To summarize the stats of just why I felt safe dining out with celiac disease in a few sentences:  The hostess instantly recognized our reservation, and the term "celiac"; she assured us the server would check with us; and …

Restaurant Review: Pena Pachamama, San Francisco, CA

Peña Pachamama --gluten free raw eats and treats; vegan live-raw Bolivian fare

In San Francisco, the air is wicked warm compared to the Northeast, the streets are steep, as are the prices, and the eateries are strewn with "GF" markers -- sometimes celiac-safe, sometimes bandwagon-fad-only. But the famous Bolivian bungalow on Powell Street, a favourite of Robin Williams, Pena Pachamana is no fad. This family-owned restaurant, dim-lit and featuring flamenco and live-music daily for special dinner shows, also serves a fully gluten-free menu -- and its owners take food and the enjoyment and safety of their diners personally.

I love Peña Pachamama, and my visit this last January only highlighted its strengths.

The spot serves all organic fare, altogther gluten free (except for small traditonal salteña cakes brought in, segregated in the kitchen, and served with one sampler plate on request). Also vegan -- which while no necessity for the sensitive celiac crowd -- Pena makes wicke…

Book Review: The Sophisticated Peasant

"Fortunately, there came a point where my desire to get well became stronger than my desire to" do or eat whatever I wanted.
So begins The Sophisticated Peasant, in author Sharon Kane's gentle voice, before transitioning into a treasure trove of personal experience, old and new cooking methods, and recipes rooted in an attitude towards eating as nourishing and palate pleasing as the final products themselves.
Sharon founded Gluten Free Sourdough Company out of her diagnosis, and has become a resource for amazing gluten-free breads and sprouted cookies in the Boston area. Utlizing her recovery journey, she has created products even those "restricted" thought they'd never eat again -- specifically, amazing sourdoughs which don't require wheat or chemicals to shine.
I quibble with the term “healthy” sometimes used in the text, as it has connotation of judgment these days -- as if other food “is not”. But I can’t quibble with the attitude.
In Peasant, she goes …

When a Merry Christmas Isn't: Celiac Chat on Life

When the days are snowy and bright, but the tables are piled with celiac blight. Christmas-tide is full of food. What time isn't? But that's a good thing...unless you have a disorder which makes the larger portion of the food not just inedible, but dangerous.

Perhaps a greater challenge in a holiday season is the focus on food, for feasts require feasting, and that means edibles. But the Western tradition is heaped high with edibles inedible to us.

It does make a wicked opportunity for creativity.

...or a wicked excuse for isolation.

When a happy Christmas isn't happy, it's time to troubleshoot.

Chat about your challenges with a friend
Find something new to do or try
Disorders are ditches in our lives, not the roads

This season, I met up for a date at a little cafe around the corner from St Paul's near Harvard. As we unbundled, and ordered tea & coffee, gluten free came up.
"Seriously," I quipped after a fairly blase remark from him, "You have a su…

Recipe: Chia Chai Pumpkin Mousse, & Gluten Free Griddle Cakes

[ Leave a comment below for a BONUS entry -- open until Dec. 20, 2018 at 12am EST ]

Every year when Winter whips in, the kitchen is cold, and even when it warms up with the oven on or  the heat seeping up from the lower-neighbour's flat, it isn't the time to eat cold too.

Bodies, I think, know that cold is dangerous in the Northeast.

Probably because it is.

Nu Naturals, a lovely little family-owned company I met while visiting California for work last year, makes syrups that are gluten-free and vegan. Since I have a dairy-protein-allergy on top of celiac, this is a wicked boon to me; and I spent a few mornings making warm food and playing with the Chair, Cocoa, and Pumpkin Spice syrups, along with the cocoa powder and my own chia seeds.

Also, egg white protein, because I got a bloody good deal on a heap of it off of Amazon from another celiac-safe company, Now Foods.

Anyhow, warm eats are celiac-can't-be-beats. (Didn't you know warm food is easier on the guts?)

This Chi…