Continuing on our theme of western Virginia small towns, we come to Luray, VA. A small town off I-81 famous for the amazing Luray Caverns, all hope is surprisingly not lost for gluten free food, even here! Aside from the Caverns and a modest but impressive car museum, there isn’t too much to this town. There are some bed and breakfasts and it’s near the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park.
But, our highlight today for gluten free folks was a nice little place called Gennaro’s that had gluten free pizza! It was simple, but large, and enough! The waitress didn’t seem knowledgeable, though she was very kind and brought me the ingredient label when I asked (I was checking for my other intolerances, such as sorghum). The cook/chef/maybe owner did seem knowledgeable (and he also had that comforting-to-a-celiac Italian accent) and I didn’t get sick. The pizza was not anything impressive, similar to an Udi’s crust–but certainly something I was happy they had, so I could eat something! (Please ignore my family’s gluten sandwich and non safe fries in the background–only the pizza was safe!)
There was also a small bakery with gluten and gluten free items called Triple Oak Bakery nearby. I emailed the owner ahead of time and found out they had sorghum in their flour blend, so unfortunately I couldn’t partake. However, she was so responsive and kind that I wanted to be sure to mention her bakery as an option for the many of you who are gluten free and can tolerate sorghum!
Also, here’s some photos of the Luray Caverns–truly a must see when you are nearby!
Recently I had to travel to Lynchburg, VA for work. It’s a large town/small city but before I went it seemed like a middle of nowhere place. Naturally, I did lots of research as to where I could eat safely. Aside from chain restaurants, one of the very few recommendations was La Villa–a small, local Italian restaurant. (I often find authentic Italian restaurants to be celiac-friendly, likely because Italy is!)
The owner was actually the one who sat us and when I asked for a gluten free menu, he took quite the interest. He asked how I learned about the restaurant and proudly shared with me how many options they have and how the chefs are fully trained in Italy. He told me they fully understand celiac and gluten free safety. They essentially have a whole second kitchen area where they do the gluten free prep!
Normally this much tomato sauce would scare me–I like some, but heartburn appears often with too much…or so I thought. The owner convinced me I should try my dishes the way they come–with lots of housemade tomato sauce, made fresh and boiled down 6 hours EACH DAY! (It also didn’t have added onion, another suspect.) Surprise–no heartburn!
Above on the left is the gluten free cheese-stuffed ravioli. On the right is the gluten free chicken parmesan (grilled instead of fried) with Bionature GF pasta. I did not ask about nuts, but I did not have any issues.
The atmosphere was very casual–it reminded me of a remodeled interior of a Pizza Hut, but the food was of a much higher caliber. So know, if you’re ever in the Lynchburg area (for Lynchburg College, Liberty University, or the nearby Appomatox Courthouse) in search of gluten free, be sure to stop in to La Villa! (and tell em Gluten Free VA sent ya)
Wednesday Review: Glutino Frosted Toaster Pastries
So Glutino FINALLY changed the gluten free breakfast world by putting icing on their gluten free toaster pastries! I found them at Whole Foods Virginia Beach.
They had strawberry and blueberry, I tried the blueberry. I’m always afraid to post of my favorite items for fear of jinxing my luck with them, but these are new and good and you NEED to know about them! You can see they’re $5.49 for a pack of 5 at my Whole Foods, the same price as the unfrosted ones.
They tasted amazing! What a great on-the-go snack or breakfast to have. I occasionally have to travel for work, so that’s something I thought of immediately–a breakfast I can pack other than gluten free cereal, without needing a fridge/freezer or microwave! Now, I will say, in my ideal world, I would prefer organic or at least non-GMO, but when you have multiple food allergies, sometimes you just happily enjoy what won’t make you sick!
I ate these at room temperature, without toasting, so I know they’re tasty on the road when I can’t use a toaster. Fort those of you who prefer them warm, they could be toasted or microwaved. (They are only advertised as gluten free, but there are no peanut/nut/soy ingredients or “same line as” warnings. The only top 8 allergen listed is Eggs.)
Atlanta Airport gluten free options: Garbanzo Mediterranean (Center D)
My recent travels took me through the Atlanta airport. I had a short layover so I was confined to the D Terminal and many things were closed, but I was hungry. Unfortunately, even though flights were still plentiful through 10:30pm, it was 8pm and many restaurants were closed! So, I didn’t have access to many of the choices I had pre-researched! I had some emergency snack food with me, of course–but I really wanted a warm, real meal!
I saw that Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill had gluten free choices labelled and in fact most of their options were gluten free without the tortilla, so I decided to take a chance and eat there. It was set up similar to a Chipotle or Subway where you move down the line choosing what you want on your bread or in your bowl. (They were out of rice, which was upsetting when you think you’re getting a gluten free starch but then they’re out of it! But, that’s a problem with being in the evening, not if you’re going in the middle of the day.)
I got the bowl with lettuce, chicken, feta cheese, cucumber-tomato salad, peppers, and a little smoked eggplant dip. The food tasted good for the most part. I didn’t enjoy the eggplant dip. Their chicken tasted good, but I didn’t eat more than a bit because I tasted cumin in it (which I’ve been avoiding since the peanut recall after I had a bad reaction at a Mexican place from peanut-tainted cumin). If you don’t have any concerns with peanuts/cumin, the chicken was tasty. I also got their house dressing which was AMAZING! If I am eating again in Atlanta’s airport, I would make sure they had rice and get the rice, lettuce, feta, cucumber salad, peppers, and their dressing. Chicken optional.
Cascadian Farm Organic Berry Vanilla Puffs
At home, I’m not a big cereal eater, but when traveling, it’s a great way to be sure I have a gluten free breakfast or snack option! It doesn’t need to be kept cold or warm. It’s usually easy enough to find milk in a hotel or gas station nearby, and if you aren’t flying, you could take shelf stable milk or non-dairy milk with you.
This cereal is delicious! It’s Organic and non-GMO berry and vanilla flavored corn puffs, a bit like a gluten free flavored Kix cereal. They use organic yellow and purple corn, so there is not even any dye! There is also no corn syrup (high fructose or otherwise). I have to love that this is a very socially-conscious company too, even has a plant-based liner!
Pop it in a Ziplock container and it won’t get crushed on your trip. It also doubles as a bowl, so you can just add milk and you have breakfast!
I was able to find this at my local Whole Foods, Kroger, and Target, so it seems pretty easy to find! It’s also available on Vitacost.com if you don’t find it in stores locally.
(This is just my own personal opinion and helpful hints, I was not compensated in any way.)