Tio Pablo – Totally gluten free Mexican food in Richmond, VA!

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Its humble entrance

Tio Pablo’s Mexican restaurant might not look like much outside and it’s an area of downtown Richmond being rehabbed, but an all gluten free restaurant warrants a try anyways! While some folks have said it’s not the best neighborhood at night, I have not felt unsafe during our several visits during the day. It’s conveniently located just off I-95, within 2 blocks of  the train station (Main Street Station) and the city’s farmer’s market.

The interior of the restaurant is small, but has nice theming.

       Chips brightened

 

The joy of an all gluten free restaurant means the chips are safe!

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Queso dip, chips, side of potatoes, and side of rice.

 

The queso cheese dip is not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

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Carne Asada taco

I must say the carne asada taco looks simple, but the flavor is fantastic! They use all corn tortillas and since it’s all gluten free, there are no cross contamination concerns. These corn tortillas blow all others out of the water in terms of taste and texture, too!

The menu has a wide variety of proteins from chicken to carne asada to shrimp and more. There are vegetarian options like sauteed cactus or sauteed vegetables. You can choose to get them in tacos, tostados, or gorditos.
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They also have some other entrees, like this Quesadilla Grande, which uses a thicker and larger corn tortilla and is filled with meat, cheese, and veggies. So yummy! There are sides like rice, beans, or roasted potatoes that are quite good. Breakfast is served on Saturday and Sunday 10am until 3pm also!

Dessert includes gluten free Cheesecake of the Day (habanero pictured–unique but delicious) and gluten free Tres Leches Cake. They also have flan, but I haven’t tried it yet.

In addition to being entirely gluten free, nothing contained peanuts, and the tortillas are vegetarian, so no lard, making multiple safe pork-free options.

I was not compensated in any way for my review, I just couldn’t wait to share such a great place with you! Knock on wood, they don’t make any major changes, because this place is fabulous!  You can view their full menu and find their phone number and address on their website at http://www.tiopablotacos.com.

Boatwrights Dining Hall allergy review

Boatwrights Dining Hall allergy review – gluten free, pork free, nut free (also pumpkin seed, arrowroot, and sorghum free)

A review of Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside table service dinner option, themed with a partially built ship and boat wright tools, pictured here:

Many of your know I love Disney World–not so much for the characters like
many others, but because of their amazing allergy protocols! Most of Disney
World’s owned restaurants do a great job of keep people safe and most of them do it while providing great tasting food. We visit family in the area so we frequently add a few days in Disney World before returning home, specifically because of their generally good allergy protocols (knock on wood they stay that way!). One of the great recent additions that acknowledges the heavy allergy population of visitors is their allergy menus:

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However, sometimes one falls short on taste and that’s how I feel about Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside. They kept me safe, and for that I’m grateful, but the food was horrible! The rolls served were the normal GNI gluten free rolls and were fine, but the appetizer of Colonel Peace’s Pieces were terrible–they had no flavor or spices in the batter and the remulade sauce sadly didn’t help!

I didn’t feel like any of the entrees were good choices (except Voodoo Chicken and waffles, but I can’t eat Disney’s waffle mix because I cannot tolerate arrowroot or sorghum), so I went with steak, green beans, and potatoes–one would think it’s hard to mess that up, right? Wrong. These green beans had no flavoring, were rubber texture, and the steak was rough and flavorless. The mashed potatoes were decent, but not amazing.

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The position of the lights throughout the restaurant also were not good, as the lights on the sides of the wall made both my husband and I a bit dizzy! You can see how harsh the glare is in the photo below. For dessert, I ordered the butterscotch creme brulee, only to find out it was a No Sugar Added dessert! (I avoid sugar substitutes and normally don’t have to mention this on top of my many allergies, because typically the menu denotes it, but this time it did not.)

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I must add that I really enjoyed Port Orleans Riverside as a resort, but this was a major downfall, as we always like to spend at least one day where we don’t leave the resort–a rest day, which means there has to be decently good food for a few meals. There is no sit down location open for breakfast (just the quick service) and this is their sit-down dinner option, disappointing dining for an otherwise great resort!

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The Wooden Monkey: Gluten free in Halifax, Nova Scotia

As I said in my other post, recently we made a trip north to Canada–more specifically to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Now, Halifax may not be a gluten free paradise like some cities or Disney World, but it can hold it’s own for a small city/big town! It’s also beautiful, here’s a view of the waterfront from a boat:
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There were a few places on the water with safe options for lunch and dinner, but having done my research before I came, I saw there was a gluten free bakery (that I’ll cover in another post) and a celiac-friendly (not just gluten free, celiac-friendly!) restaurant called The Wooden Monkey.

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The Wooden Monkey has two locations–one in Halifax a few blocks uphill from the waterfront boardwalk area and one across the water at the ferry landing in Dartmouth, near Evan’s Fresh Seafood. The one in Dartmouth was closed on Mondays when we wanted to visit, so we went to the one up the hill in Halifax.

They are focused on local and healthy, they don’t even have a deep fryer, but they do have safe fries that are baked and delicious! They have lots of vegan and vegetarian options in addition to gluten free and their menu has entrees with nuts, soy, and dairy marked on the menu.

For their starters, they have lots of gluten free options, we opted to order the nachos and a side of their version of fries, called “Roasties.” It was a large order, flavorful, and plentiful. Truth be told, this with an order of their fries would have been enough food to skip an entree and then have dessert.
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The entree menu is entirely gluten free but largely seafood based, as many menus are in this fishing town, but as I don’t love fish, I opted for the braised beef with mashed potatoes. It had good flavor though a little strong on the onion flavor, but it was too heavy for me to finish after the hearty appetizer. They also had gluten free pizza and buns which sounded great, but they had sorghum (which I also can’t tolerate). The full menu can be viewed on their website.
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Dessert holds two gluten free options–tofu pie and local, organic dairy ice cream. While the Tofu pie comes highly recommended, I avoid most forms of soy and the crust is made from nuts, so I simple had the ice cream which was good.

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I’d recommend the Wooden Monkey to anyone visiting Halifax or Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, but especially anyone with food allergies or dietary restrictions, as they know their ingredients and mark the top 8 allergens, too!

(I was not compensated in any way for this post, just trying to share what I know to help others with food allergies enjoy their trip more!)

McGuire’s Irish Pub: Gluten free in Pensacola

While in Pensacola, we also visited the famous McGuires Irish Pub.  Here people sign & staple dollar bills to the ceiling.

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They have mug holders like pubs in Europe do, where people have a mug they keep at the pub on a certain hook to use which entitles them to cheaper drinks.

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The decor and atmosphere were great.  The drinks were cheap.

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Since my group had already planned to eat here, I called ahead and thankfully found out they had a gluten free menu.  Again, it isn’t necessarily a restaurant I would pick as a celiac, but I had to make do since I didn’t have my own car there.

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Since I don’t eat pork or love seafood, I was yet again left with very few options. I decided to order the Irish potato skins (without bacon) and tenderloin bites–2 appetizers for a meal.

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The Irish potato skins scared me at first, as it had brown pieces of what looked like bacon, but the waitress double checked with the kitchen and found that they were the rind pieces of the gouda cheese.  They were delicious and safe thankfully, a plate of them filled me because that was my entire meal.  (They would not serve the tenderloin bites well done and I don’t like my meat undercooked. There was also a crouton on the plate when it came out rare–needless to say, I was just grateful for the potato skins at that point.  People there seem to like their meat uncooked and don’t like to accommodate any other tastes!)

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There were no gluten free dessert options, sadly.  To keep with the $1 bill theme, after dinner mints were served. No clue if they were gluten free, so I didn’t eat them.

(I was not compensated for this review. This is just my own personal experience and opinion to help others.)

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms Gluten free (Betty Crocker’s recipe)

While I failed to take pictures, I recently had some great friends over for dinner. Both of them were awesome about what could they bring to feed me safely (even though I had offered to host so I could just cook it all)…they are so amazing!  I served my white chicken lasanga (https://glutenfreeva.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/gluten-free-white-chicken-lasagna/) with gluten free garlic toast. One friend brought salad, and one of them carefully found out what/how she could bring stuffed mushrooms that would be gluten free.  She brought this AMAZING appetizer of crab-stuffed mushrooms, based on the Betty Crocker recipe below! I highly recommend this addition to any dinner party!

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gluten-free-crab-stuffed-mushrooms/751267c7-de43-44eb-afaf-25732c2ac8d8

Gluten-Free Crab Stuffed Mushrooms by Betty Crocker (with notes from me on specific ingredients to help those unfamiliar with gluten free)

Ingredients:

24 large mushroom caps
1 pkg (8 oz) gluten-free cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2  teaspoons GF Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perkins is recommended)
2 scallions, minced
1/2 cup gluten-free shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked gluten-free jumbo lump crabmeat (use real crabmeat, as most imitation has gluten)
2  tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 13×9-inch baking dish.
2 Remove stems from mushrooms, and dust dirt off mushroom caps with damp paper towel.
3 Place mushroom caps topside down on baking dish.
4 Mix cream cheese, lemon juice, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, and Cheddar cheese in large bowl.
5 Fold in crabmeat gently.
6 Place a heaping spoonful of mixture on top of each mushroom cap.
7 Sprinkle each mushroom cap with Parmesan cheese.
8 Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through- but not extremely hot. Serve warm.