Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Posts tagged ‘New Orleans’

Boucherie Nola is Gluten-free Friendly

Happy Saturday, everyone.

A representative of Boucherie in New Orleans, James Denio, was a couple days late in getting back to me about their gluten-free options, but when he did he was more that willing to be of help.  From what I heard, this place is a must-try and I will definitely make time for it if ever I go back to the Crescent City.  It turns out they were closed around Mardi Gras time anyway – so I wouldn’t have been able to go even if I had heard back in time.   Still,  I thought I’d share his helpful information for anyone planning a gluten-free Nola trip:

Hey Taylor,
Sorry about the lateness of my reply.  We do have a gluten free menu. What I do is I go through our current menu (we change it monthly) and highlight all the ingredients that contain gluten.  It turns out to be a very friendly menu for the population with Gluten allergies.  I hope this finds you well, and if indeed you are in the city still don’t hesitate when we arrive at the restaurant to ask our server about gluten free options; our chef is well versed in such matters.
-James

So there you go. I found that most servers in the city were happy to help if they could.  The only problem was when they weren’t sure what contained wheat and what didn’t.  I did have to assure one woman I could eat rice.

Bon appetit!

-Taylor

Eating My Way Through GF New Orleans: Part 2

Day 2 of our trip began in the lower ninth ward, where curiosity led us to the devastation that had befallen that area of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  The juxtaposition of former homes still sitting in ruins next to newly built eco-friendly houses with bright colors and spiral staircases was striking.

New houses built next door gutted ones in the lower ninth ward

 

Soon the sun came out and we  found ourselves at a divey joint on Decatur St., Fiorella’s that had run out of half its menu the night before, but was delicious and satisfying nonetheless.  I was a little wary about the cleanliness of the kitchen, though, so I might avoid this place if you’re ultra-sensitive, despite their extensive menu.

Somehow the day flew by as we wandered the French Market, sunned ourselves in Jackson Square, enjoyed cafe au lait at the famous Cafe Du Monde (which had no wait) and marveled at how clean the city looked hours after Fat Tuesday had ended.

Before we knew it, we were heading to our reservation at Jacques-Imo’s uptown, where a meal ensued that I will remember for a long time.

Grilled mahi mahi with avocado and green tomato sauce


The menu was huge, and I must say it contained a lot that I wish I could have tried – like the famous gator and shrimp cheesecake appetizer.  But I was more than happy with what I got, and our excellent waiter tried very hard to accommodate my needs.  My fish was good, but the sides were the star of the show.  Mashed potatoes that seemed to be cream and butter garnished with potato, and smothered cabbage that was spicy and comforting – and topped with sausage!

Sure the food was pricey, but you’re paying for excellent food, excellent service and a fantastic, friendly atmosphere.  We couldn’t have asked for a better end to our trip.  But we got one – we ordered four servings of the French vanilla creme brulee – and the waiter gave them to us on the house.  Did I mention the excellent service?

Sigh.  My last spring break as a grad student is over, but I couldn’t have ended my college career on a much higher note.  After all I’d heard about New Orleans food (beignets anyone?), I was afraid I’d be missing out.  But now that I’ve been, I don’t think that’s possible in a city like New Orleans.

-Taylor

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…

-Taylor

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 Celiac.com 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.

-Taylor

 

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