It is hard to believe July is almost over, but it is quickly coming to a close. For me, that means school is about to start up for my daughter (big yay!) and it is time to write the second installment of my gluten-free dining report. There are many chefs who understand that it takes more than gluten-free ingredients to render a dish gluten free. There must also be safe handling procedures in place to ensure the finished product hasn't come into contact with gluten.
This month's installment bring with it: arepas, barbecue, fried chicken on the bone, housemade biscuits and cornbread, noodle bowls, baked goodies, and more. Please keep in mind that none of these establishments, except Arepa Mia, have dedicated gluten-free kitchens, but they take steps to avoid cross contact during preparation. Here are this month's contenders in alphabetical order:
Arepa Mia - their new location in Decatur is so close to opening and I am hopeful they will be open by September. Since this restaurant is 100% gluten free, I can't wait to add it to my rotation when I am in one of my favorite areas to dine gluten free.
Bantam + Biddy - is scheduled to open another location late this fall in Alpharetta in a brand new development called Avalon. The menu will continue to offer many gluten-free options, including fried chicken and jalapeno cornbread.
Burger 21 - has signed a multi-unit franchise agreement to develop three additional restaurants in the Atlanta area. As part of this deal, the three restaurants are targeted to open in the Buckhead, Cumberland Mall, and North Druid Hills areas. Burger 21 has also signed agreements with franchisees to develop locations in the Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Kennesaw, and Perimeter Mall areas. The restaurant has a gluten-free menu complete with French Meadow Bakery's buns, fries, and salads topped with burgers. Thanks Eli!
Century House Tavern - I learned about this restaurant in downtown Woodstock from Chef Tyler Williams, formerly of Woodfire Grill. I had the most amazing meal prepared by Chef Tyler at Woodfire Grill, so I pay attention to his recommendations. The marked up menu (GF) includes many gluten-free options: meats and cheeses, small plates, soups, and specialties. I am curious to try the Jack & Coke Braised Bacon and the Duck Leg Confit.
Doc Chey's Dragon Bowl - opened on July 22 serving Asian-inspired bowls made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients and housemade sauces. All of their meats are grilled to order and their veggies are chopped fresh daily. Their gluten-free options are marked with a 'wheat shaft' (insert pun here). It sounds like a simplified version of Big Chow Grill because you choose everything from the cooking style to the base then the veggies and finally the meat.
Fox Bros. B-B-Q - is now the official barbecue restaurant of the Atlanta Falcons and will bring their Texas-style southern barbecue to its tailgates, meet and greets, and special events throughout the 2014-15 season. The restaurant offers many gluten-free options, so if you are ever a part of or hosting an event at the Falcons' stadium and there is barbecue involved, enjoy.
Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub - in Brookhaven has a selection of gluten-free fare noted with a "GF" in a circle. The star of the menu to me is their gluten-free fried chicken. After being brined in buttermilk, it is fried in corn starch and rice flour in separate baskets and separate fryers. Their chicken fryers are in a different part of the kitchen and the chicken is put in the fryer by a completely different cook. It is fried to order and is a half of a chicken...a breast, thigh, leg and wing. Most of their fried items are either gluten free or can be done in gluten-free batter in a separate fryer. Their kitchen staff is well aware of the dangers of cross contamination and they give it the same amount of attention as if they were preventing cross-contamination with raw pork, beef, or poultry. The service staff is also very learned as to what is and isn't and what can and can't be done gluten free.
Southbound - offers a gluten-free bread plate featuring housemade biscuits, jalapeno cornbread (more like a solid corn souffle) and sliced baguette (probably Udi's Gluten Free) served with flavorful housemade jam and whipped butter. It is such an unusual treat to be able to enjoy gluten-free bread as an appetizer.
Sprouts Farmers Market - opened its Dunwoody location in the Mt. Vernon Shopping Center on July 16. The market sits in the space that had previously been occupied by Ace Hardware and had been vacant for years. All of their gluten-free products are noted with shelf tags and their produce selection is outstanding.
Starbucks - the gluten-free lemon tea cake with sliced almonds from La Boulange does exist and has been spotted in Boston, according to Gluten Free Philly. I tried the marshmallow bar last night and it is good. The bar is huge and creamy and not overly sweet.
What looks good to you?