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We made our visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia at the end of July/beginning of August, which was accidentally perfect timing for Natal Day. It’s the birthday of their city and a bit like a mini 4th of July here in the states. There were musicians, performers, and food stands along the water front which made it a great time to visit! The weather was perfect, while the rest of the US and most of Canada was roasting in unusually high summer heat.  Aside from the tourist recommendation, I know this is a blog about food. That said, Natal Day comes with many restaurants closed and limited menus at others, so this is what we were able to find for dinner at Murphy’s, which was right along the waterfront and was one of the few that I was able to read about beforehand that had gluten free options.20160801_204206

As one might expect, the menu is seafood heavy. I wasn’t starving so decided an appetizer might be best. Appetizers marked gluten free for Natal Day were:
Bacon-wrapped scallops, Mussels, Lobster Dip, and Seafood Chowder.

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I choose the lobster dip and it was a large portion and delicious!

 

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Dinner options include: Nova Scotian whole lobster, Molasses Salmon, and BBQ Chicken Supreme.

Dessert included a chocolate torte that was gluten free, but I couldn’t get a straight answer about if there were nuts or nut flour, so I opted to try one of the ice cream stands we had seen.

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Imagine my surprise when one of the ice cream stands (Black Bear, I believe it was called) had gluten free cones! Even a brand I knew–Edward and Sons. Unfortunately, there servers didn’t have a lot of knowledge about which flavors were gluten free and they weren’t marked, so I stuck to vanilla and chocolate.  They graciously cleaned scoops for me, so all in all it was a good, sweet ending to our first Natal Day!

Gluten free at Boston Pizza in Halifax, Nova Scotia

I apologize it’s been a while–I thought I had covered the rest of the Halifax restaurants completed, but I had not. Another restaurant we went to while in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) was Boston Pizza. It was not a planned place to eat, but we walked past it hungry after we arrived in Halifax proper from the airport.

Boston Pizza is a chain and we had eaten at one in Niagara Falls safely a few years ago, so I stopped in to ask if they had the same gluten free options and they did. They have oven baked gluten free wings and delicious Kinnikinnick gluten free pizza crusts–one of the very few I’ve found that aren’t thin and crispy.  I often use these at home in fact for pizza since discovering them in Canada (they’re available at my Kroger in Virginia).

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While I have to say this location was less well versed in gluten free than their Niagara Falls counterparts, with careful questions and guidance, it was suitable for a convenient meal and delicious! It’s just around the corner from the main bus stop getting into town, and a block or two away from the Marriott waterfront, so a great location.

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!)

Boston Pizza – a celiac gem in Niagara Falls!

Boston Pizza

Located right in heart of Clifton Hill, Boston Pizza is your best bet for good gluten free food in Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.  The picture below is from the SkyWheel. Boston Pizza is also conveniently located across from the Clifton Hill stop on the red line of the tourist bus system (WeGo).
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As you can see below, they had a VERY large menu. Their servers also were very knowledgeable.  After the other difficult venues, this place was such a gluten free heaven that we had a few meals here.

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Over a few visits, I had their oven baked wings, a salad, and their gluten free pizza twice. The pizza was the Kinnickinnick brand and extra yummy! (If you’re not familiar with this brand, first is one of the only soft gluten free crusts out there. It is also nut free, soy free, dairy free!)  All was delicious and safe! Also some yummy cocktails available. The gluten eaters in my party enjoyed their gluten pizzas as well.

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Be prepared to wait for a table since this is in a busy area (worth it for good gluten free food though!) and service in Canadian restaurants in general (like Europe) was much slower than in the USA, just be prepared for that almost everywhere.

Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls, Ontario – fell flat

Recently we went on a road trip: Niagara Falls, central Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. I wanted to share the good and the bad from the places I ate with regards to celiac / gluten allergy (I also don’t eat pork, pumpkin seeds, or nuts).

Hard Rock Cafe –
Sadly, this place was the worst of our Niagara Falls trip in every way, despite a decent selection on the menu:

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The setting: This is one of the smaller Hard Rocks I’ve been to and the atmosphere itself just wasn’t as impressive as usual, but to make matters horrific, the speaker system went out while we were there and there was a constant LOUD buzzing for almost 10 minutes! I have no idea why it took customers trying to walk out before they at least turned it off!
Also, getting there with any disability would be impossible unless you wanted to eat outside in the heat at street level!  I could not find an elevator and the escalator up was hard to find but existed, while the escalator down was not working (my bad ankle was acting up at this point in the trip).

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We obviously went there for the gluten free menu, which seemed to have a lot of options: burger, steak, grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, ribs, grilled chicken sandwich, but it was very small when eliminating the fried items and what was celiac-safe after asking questions! Even then, they didn’t take it very seriously. They first brought me fries as a side with my burger even though they were not safe gluten free and not what I ordered (mashed potatoes).  Then they re-served the same burger with mashed potatoes put where the fries were. It also had the lettuce, tomato, and onion, and mayo on it–which I asked for none of!  The prices were outrageous and that is accounting for high prices that are normal in Niagara Falls, these were doubly ridiculous compared to any rational price.

The food was terrible: the two “normal” people in my group said the food was bland and had less than no flavor (one got chicken macaroni & cheese, one got a burger and fries).  My gluten free burger was just so-so for flavor and the mashed potatoes were flavorless!

By this meal, we had gotten used to the slower pace of service, but this server was terrible. He forgot half our items (literally, didn’t bring some of our drinks until asked twice AND forgot specifics on food), didn’t check back, didn’t top off any empty drinks!

(As always, I was not compensated for this review in anyway.  This is merely retelling of my personal experience to help others with allergies.)