Battle House – Mobile, AL

On our return from New Orleans, LA, we decided to stay a couple of days in Mobile, AL at the Battle House Hotel and Spa. We arrived fairly late in the evening and upon checking in we asked if any of the hotel restaurants offered gluten free selections. The manager went to the kitchen and returned with the chef on duty that night. Her name is Allie Sansom and she immediately put our mind at ease about staying there. Allie was very knowledgeable about celiac. The hotel restaurants do not have gluten free menus but she described what items she could make gluten free. There were several items to choose from.

Late night eating is all about the desserts so Allie prepared a couple of gluten free desserts and sent them to our room. She included a personal note saying that she would prepare our dinner the following night.

The Trellis Room, which is the main restaurant for the Battle House, was closed so we went to the Royal Street Tavern, also in the hotel. We were surprised to find out that Allie had already informed the bartender to call her when we arrived. There were not many people there at the time and we soon realized that we had our own personal chef for the night! Allie told us that she was going to prepare scallops for my wife and I ordered Ahi Tuna.

glutenfreemobileAllie delivered our meal to the table and described exactly how she had prepared it. It was obvious that she knew her stuff when it came to cooking gluten free and avoiding cross contamination. The meal was amazing! Any thoughts of not being able to find gluten free options in Mobile were gone.

After enjoying the atmosphere and food it was dessert time. Allie to the rescue again! Gluten free vanilla creme burlee and a gluten free chocolate cake were the picks. When Allie brought these to the table it caught the attention of several people who had came into the restaurant. Everyone wanted to check them out. They were welcome to look but we were’nt going to give up any samples for anyone! Just like the meal, the desserts were amazing.gluten free desserts

Needless to say, our gluten free experience at the Battle House was one of the best that we have ever experienced. The care and concern that the management and staff extended to us was above and beyond all of our expectations. If you are anywhere near Mobile, Alabama and need to eat gluten free, make sure to go to the Battle House. Ask for Allie and you will not be disappointed! We are already planning our next trip.

More information about the Battle House can be found here.


Gluten Free Food Labeling Requirements

This artice is re-printed from CBS News.
(CBS News) Gluten-free food has become popular and profitable — but sometimes products labeled “gluten free” — aren’t.

Now, the Food and Drug Administration is preparing strict new standards – and that’s a relief for people who are allergic to gluten.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reported Jennifer Shannon is a careful shopper, double-checking labels to make sure the food she is buying is gluten-free.

Shannon told CBS News, “If a company is going to sell me a product based on the fact that it’s gluten-free, I think they should be held accountable for it.”

Shannon has celiac disease, an allergy to gluten, which is a protein found in common grains like wheat, rye and barley. About three million Americans now suffer from this disease, which can have a wide array of symptoms, such as bloating, constipation, problems digesting food, numbing feeling in the extremities, and for some sufferers a rash.

Right now, the gluten-free label on the products is not regulated — something the FDA is looking to change by establishing a tough new standard for labeling foods as gluten-free.

Gluten-free products have gone mainstream and are big business, ringing up $2.6 billion in sales – up 30 percent in the last five years. Kelloggs’ new gluten-free Rice Krispies is now a top seller.

Some celebrities are even advocating a gluten-free diet for health benefits alone. But not all doctors are on board.

Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, told CBS News, “A gluten-free diet is not necessarily a healthy diet. People who are on a gluten free diet for an extended period can become iron-deficient and B Vitamin deficient.”

But for celiac patients like Jennifer Shannon, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment she has.

Shannon said, “Gluten-free food is the only medicine for celiac. It’s the only thing available and it’s a cure essentially. It’s how you heal yourself through eating and so knowledge of what’s in the food you’re eating is very important.”

The new standard, “Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill noted, matches the one already in place in Europe. It’s expected to take effect early next year.

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Muriel’s – New Orleans, LA

Before my wife was diagnosed with celiac disease, we seemed to plan our vacations around what we wanted to eat. After the diagnosis, nothing changed except what we wanted to eat! Gluten free New Orleans here we come! Planning a trip to the New Orleans French Quarter around gluten free dining choices seemed impossible. We found that eating gluten free in the French Quarter can be a challenge, but not impossible. One of the first restaurants that we found online that published a gluten free menu was Muriel’s.

The first thing on the menu that caught her eye was the three gluten free desserts offered. That was all that it took to make the decision to go to Muriel’s. It was an easy walk from our hotel and there was no wait when we arrived. Our waitress was knowledgeable of their gluten free menu and made some recommendations. Since it is rare to find a resturant that offers gluten free desserts, my wife didn’t waste any time ordering. “One of each will be fine”, she told the waitress.

A few minutes later the waitress appeared with a slice of flourless choclate cake, a vanilla bean creme burlee and three flavors of house made sorbet. I did manage to get a few bites myself and everything tasted great. She voted them the best sweets in the French Quarter! I tried their onion and garlic soup (not gluten free) and it was amazing.

Although we did not try any of their entrees, they have several listed on their website which has the gluten free menu listed separately. If you are looking for gluten free in New Orleans, Muriel’s is a great place to try.


What Is Gluten?

What Is Gluten?

By Mike Hunter

Gluten is a protein molecule commonly found in grains like rye, wheat, and barley. Found in almost every variety of bread, cereal, or grain. Most types of bread contain this protein.

The exceptions to the gluten in food rule are grains like wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, soybeans, oats, and sunflower seeds. Breads or products made from these grains contain no gluten.

Is Gluten “Bad?”

People who prefer to avoid gluten fall in two categories–either they’re allergic (this is known as Celiac disease) or because they believe it will lead to health problems. Supposedly problems can arise in the digestive system. Everything from intestinal ulcers to gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

How Do You Avoid Gluten?

The easiest way to avoid the protein is to not eat foods that contain it, or to eat very little of them. Unfortunately, even some “gluten-free” foods are contaminated because of the way they are grown or prepared.

It is possible to remove most of the protein from wheat flour–this process produces wheat starch rather than wheat flour, and wheat starch is mostly gluten-free. We say “mostly” because it is impossible to get rid of all of it.

To be declared “gluten free”, the FDA requires only a “majority” of the protein in a substance to be removed. So a “gluten-free” bread may have only a little bit of gluten in it, but this can be enough to cause someone with celiac disease to have a bad reaction.

What Is Gluten Good For?

Gluten can be a good thing. Gluten makes bread chewy and elastic–bread without gluten is not “chewy” the way bread should be. When gluten is removed, bread dough becomes sticky and thick and makes a bread that is dense and hard.

Gluten provides nutrients, protein, and the “rising” ability of bread. Gluten also becomes firm while it cooks and (when combined with a starch) gives the bread its typical “bread shape” that we know and love. Bread without gluten is just plain ugly.

A final “plus” in gluten’s corner is its ability to absorb. Sopping up gravy or pasta sauce with bread is only possible because gluten absorbs liquid well. That’s why gluten is usually in most meat substitute products, to imitate the absorbent quality of meat.

Gluten is an important part of many people’s nutrition, but it also causes digestive problems for some of the population. If you think you have a problem with gluten, contact your doctor to decide on testing and a possible course of treatment.

If you would like to learn more about gluten then visit askdeb.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Hunter
http://EzineArticles.com/?What-Is-Gluten?&id=5483953

 

 

Fried Butter on a Stick

The fried butter on a stick at the Iowa State Fair has got to be one of the strangest foods that I have seen. Lets watch the video about this unusual fair food and then talk about how to make it gluten free.

Now that you have the concept of fried butter on a stick, lets create a more healthy gluten free option. I’m not a cook by any stretch of the imagination so I will describe the process in easy to understand terms. Create a batter with Gluten Free Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix

Full disclosure here; I have not tried this and unless we run out of gluten free desserts at the house, I doubt I ever will. But for those that have no fear, try making a gluten free fried butter on a stick!

Naked Pizza – New Orleans, LA

During our recent visit to New Orleans we discovered a pizza place named “Naked Pizza”. On their online menu, they had a gluten free pizza listed. On our way out of town, we decided to stop in and see what Naked Pizza was all about. The store only offers takeout and limited delivery so don’t plan on sitting inside to eat. When we went inside Naked Pizza we found that they have a gluten free crust and you can build whatever kind of pizza you want with many gluten free toppings. The staff working the day we were there was very knowledgeable about cross contamination issues and we could actually see them prepare the pizza. Naked Pizza only offers their gluten free pizza in a medium size but that was fine for us.

The pizza only took about 10 minutes from order to us walking out the door. The pizza tasted great! I ordered a regular pizza so I could compare the taste. (Sounded like a good reason to eat more pizza). I liked that they completely prepared my wife’s gluten free pizza before starting on my regular one. I was very surprised at the taste. I would not have known I was eating gluten free pizza if I had not ordered it that way. My wife was very happy to have a freshly prepared pizza! And when mama’s happy, …… well you know the rest!

Anyone in the New Orleans area that is looking for gluten free pizza needs to try them! They also have about 16 other locations across the country. You can look them up at www.nakedpizza.biz