Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Posts tagged ‘bourbon street’

Eating My Way Through Gluten-free New Orleans Part 1

I have returned from New Orleans safe and sound and enriched and enlightened.  I can say I was on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras and, to be honest, it was tamer than people build it up to be.  The food is another story.  It is out of control.

My first NOLa meal was far from stereotypical creole food.  Fat Tuesday is a legit holiday in the city, so many businesses were closed.  But after some exploring, we stumbled upon a Middle Eastern place in the Garden District – Mona’s Cafe.  (There’s actually one of these downtown on Frenchman St. too).

We’d skipped dinner the night before, so we pretty much ordered every appetizer on the menu as soon as we sat down, and nothing disappointed.  Now I know a hungry palate is a lenient one, but the stuffed grape leaves at this place were truly divine.  As a bonus, I found out our waitress followed a gluten-free diet, so I knew what I was getting would be safe.  I got the falafel plate.

After lunch, we drove through the Garden District, which is a beautiful part of New Orleans, street upon oak-lined street  of centuries-old houses with wrap-around porches and sprawling gardens.  Tulane University is here, and we quickly noticed students around our age walking toward a particular destination.  We parked and got out  followed, and there, along St. Charles Street, we found the Truck Parade, Mardi Gras tradition:

Nine hours, a day parade, thousands of beads, an hour of traffic and a cab ride later we were starving again, and everywhere seemed packed.  A sprawling cafe in the heart of the French Quarter with live music and a wait staff that seemed eager to join the party was our saving grace, and there we tasted our first authentic New Orleans food.  Po’Boys, Etouffee, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice – we got it all that night.  I was told that the etouffee was the only one of the above non-sandwich dishes made with a roux (a combo of butter and flour), but other places use a roux for their gumbo, so it’s always a good idea to ask.

Our bellies full of spice and Hurricanes, we headed over to Bourbon…you know what, let’s just fast forward to the next day.

To be continued…



NGNP Goes to…New Orleans

Photo by Miriam Castillo

Well, not in New Orleans as this post goes up, but currently somewhere between Florida’s panhandle and the Big Easy.

Before leaving, I asked about everyone I ever knew who had ever even stopped over in New Orleans where the hot spots were – siblings, fellow grad students, Gwyneth Paltrow…

I then emailed a couple of restaurants that had been recommended to see if I could get the skinny on their GF options before visiting; however, none of them have gotten back to me just yet.  This doesn’t mean I won’t try them.  I’m talking to you, Boucherie and Bayona

Finally, I consulted the forums for to see what other traveling Celiacs had to say about the place.   I learned of a few 100 percent safe places (Bubba Gump’s was a surprise) and a couple not-so-safe ones (Gluten in your red beans and rice? Really?)

Google shared with me an article from Best of New Orleans that had this little snippet:

Fortunately, more restaurants in the New Orleans area, including Naked Pizza, Casamento’s Restaurant and Mark Twain’s Pizza Landing, are offering gluten-free options.

“We’re going through a case (of gluten-free pizza crust) every two weeks,” saysJacques Broussard, owner of Mark Twain’s Pizza Landing, which introduced gluten-free menu items in 2008. Connolly points out that there is no benefit to getting off gluten if you’re not exhibiting symptoms of celiac disease, so most diners can feel free to enjoy pizza with a gluten crust.

Let’s be honest.  It’s my last spring break (as a student at least), it’s New Orleans and it’s Mardi Gras.  I can’t promise that my mind will always be on this blog.  But I will be on the lookout for the best GF NOLa has to offer – and I’ll be tweeting about it along the way.

Catch you on the flip side.



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