Crab Louie’s – gluten free in Richmond

If you’re looking for a fantastic gluten free place on the south side of Richmond (technically Midlothian, Virginia), be sure to check out Crab Louie’s!

Crab Louie's Midlothian 2

While unassuming in this historic building in a shopping center, this place has a HUGE gluten free menu. It’s not all seafood either! They are pretty well aware of the gluten free needs to keep it safe in the kitchen, but the servers can be a little hit or miss, so do stay vigilent.  Also, be prepared–they have several complimentary homemade sweet breads they serve, these are not gluten free!

Crab Louies salad Martha Vineyard

The Martha’s Vineyard salad comes with greens, onions, tomato, mushrooms, dried cherries (my favorite) and a maple vinaigrette that is delicious! Be sure to specify gluten free because there is usually croutons on the non-gluten free version.

Crab Louie's baked potato GF

For some reason, I don’t have a picture of the chicken dish I sometimes get (grilled chicken dijon), with a baked potato as my side.

Crab Louie's GF crabcake 2   Crab Louie's GF Crabcakes Dec. 2014

But the real charm here is the gluten free crab cakes!! And the delicious sauce that comes with them is amazing–I even use it on my baked potato too.

Crab Louie's GF bananas foster

The Bananas Foster Sundae is heavenly, BUT you do have to be careful that they make it fresh and it’s gluten free, as it is usually served with a gluten-ful rolled wafer stick stuck in it. As a celiac, I have had to ask them to re-make it, but it is so worth it!
Here is the link to their very large gluten free menu: http://crablouies.com/site/gluten-free-dinner-menu/.  As always, all opinions are my own and to the best of my current knowledge.

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Squash Lasagna – gluten free, low carb, and yummy!

Summer Squash Lasagna GF

Squash Lasagna

*Not the prettiest picture. I was too excited and ate a bunch before taking a picture. This was after I sliced it and put it i the fridge, but you get the idea.

I love lasagna, but finding gluten free noodles isn’t always easy and this is a way to make it lower carb and get some veggies in!

Ingredients

1/2 jar Prego spaghetti sauce (gluten free–I like the Three Cheese variety)
2-3 medium yellow summer squash
16 oz. container of cottage cheese (I like Daisy–very few ingredients, creamy, and gluten free)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (separated into two 1 cup servings)
1/2 pound cooked ground beef
1 egg

*This is for an 8×8 square pan, double the recipe for a 9×13 casserole dish.

Slice squash into thin rounds
Toss lightly in some olive oil and bake in the oven about 10 minutes (or microwave) until soft.
Mix together cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, ground beef, and as much spaghetti sauce as desired. (I like to layer them separate as seen below, but for simplicity you can mix it all in one bowl.)
Squash Lasagna cheeses egg      Squash Lasagna beef and sauce

Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of square pan.
Layer spaghetti squash over the sauce.
Spoon cheese/beef mixture over squash slices.
Over the cheese, lay another layer of squash.
Spoon cheese/beef mixture over squash slices.
Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil.
Cook at 375 for about 40 minutes, broil for 3-5 minutes to brown the top, if desired.

Squash Lasagna building GF

*I prefer yellow summer squash because it doesn’t have a bitter taste like zucchini can and it’s not as overbearing as other kinds of squash, but this could work with other squash varieties, if you desire.

Boma: Disney World allergen Restaurant Review

Boma

Boma Breakfast 2-1   Boma Breakfast 3-1
Somehow I still haven’t posted on my two favorite Disney breakfast venues: Boma and 1900 Park Fare.  I do hesitate to post places I love and will go back to, perhaps for fear of “jinxing” a good thing, but alas I want to share the good for those seeking a great experience!
Boma Breakfast 1-2
Let’s talk about Boma.  It’s an African-themed buffet in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  It is open for breakfast and dinner, but I much prefer their breakfast.  It’s also a very good value on the meal plan, as it’s 1 sit-down meal credit for a huge buffet.  Now, I know, celiacs and others with food allergies cringe at the word buffet normally, but this is Disney.  They are generous with getting fresh items from the back away from cross contamination and offering substitutes as well.  So, for gluten free, I had an egg and cheese omelet (could have had other things in it, but I’m just a plain Jane). They had turkey bacon–hooray for non pork breakfast meats!

Boma Breakfast 1-1

They have the yummiest mixed fruit juice they call Jungle juice.  There was also fresh fruit of course.

Boma Breakfast 2-2   Boma Breakfast 2-3
For breakfast carbs that were safe, they served skillet potatoes most days (we went multiple days on our last trip).  They also have gluten free Mickey Waffles. (Side note, like most Disney locations, the allergen free Mickey waffles were made using Namaste mixed with Bob’s Red Mill.  Unfortunately, something in Namaste makes me ill–I’m guessing the arrowroot powder, but most people love these, so I know I’m a rare exception.  I was hoping for Cup4Cup, but alas they couldn’t find any.) There was also a nice showing of Udi muffins (chocolate and blueberry at this time) and MY FAVORITE Kinnikinnick donuts (vanilla glazed and cinnamon sugar at this time).

Boma Breakfast 3-2

I would pick this location again especially for the Kinnikinnick donuts, as those with eggs would make a pretty fulfilling breakfast. I only wish they offered another ingredient mix for the waffles.
Boma dinner fufu strong spices Boma dinner dessert sorbet and donuts GF SF
We also had dinner here one night and if you didn’t have a pork restriction, it was probably more enjoyable, but for gluten/nut/pork free, my options were limited. Some yummy steamed vegetables, their Fufu (spiced mashed white and sweet potatoes blended–pictured above), with some carved turkey or grilled fish (not pictured).  For dessert, they only have sorbet and fruit, which was okay but nothing special.  They did oblige my request for some more Kinnikinnick donuts with dinner for dessert. Sadly, they did not offer any of the gluten free Zebra Domes I’ve heard so much about (perhaps they are not nut free? I’m unsure).

Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West Resort in Disney World – a Gluten free, soy free, peanut- and pork-free review

One of our yummiest but simple meals of the trip was at Olivia’s Cafe. It’s a cute cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.  The chairs and placemats are a bit mismatched and I asked our awesome waiter, Jason, why.  He told us the short version of the story about the inspiration for the cafe.

Olivia's Cafe

The story goes that Olivia was a woman who loved to cook as a way to occupy herself when her husband went off to WWI.  She would share her food, but ran out of plates and chairs, so she told anyone she’d feed them but they had to bring their own plate and chair.  I wish I had taken more pictures, because the decor was bright and colorful, very pretty in a surprisingly modern way!

Olivia's Cafe at Old Key Resort drinks

Onto the food, well first–the drinks. They had a delicious acai berry smoothie I was able to have (as it would turn out, my only non-boring drink of our trip!), it was so refreshing and delicious!  I also had some cranberry juice, a refreshing change.

Olivia's Cafe at Old Key Resort breakfast

And now–the star: “Poached Eggs and Hash.”  I had done my research before the trip and wrote Disney Special Diets ahead of time as I knew I’d like to try the poached eggs with the sweet potato-white potato hash but it normally is made with ham (and I cannot eat pork). They had not told the restaurant, but the chef, Corey, was amazing and said if I was willing to wait, he’d have some made just for me! The poached eggs were perfect, the hash was very good but the onions were strong–if I was having it custom made again, I’d also ask for no onions.  It normally comes with Hollandaise sauce, which I didn’t think was safe so I just had them skip it.  The platter came with Udi’s toast (done perfectly) and butter in place of the gluten biscuit.  (This meal was gluten free, pork free, soy free, and peanut free.)

As always, I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom Gluten free, soy free, and peanut free

Crystal Palace

We have found over several trips to Disney, that although all Disney owned restaurants (beware that not many in Epcot at Disney-owned!) will do a fairly good job at serving safe food and accommodating food allergies, the best food quality and servers/chefs seem to be at the resort restaurants instead of in the parks.  I will start with those places we ate in the parks, since those are often most popular!  We ate lunch at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom.  This is a character dining experience and we saw Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger too!

*As always, all my meals are gluten free (to the celiac standard), peanut free, and pork-free, but this trip had the added complication of completely soy free (previously I tolerated soybean oil & soy lecithin).

Crystal Palace roasted sweet potato slices best

Crystal Palace is a buffet, which would make me nervous anywhere except Disney. At Disney, they will get you fresh items from the back and supplement as needed. The first item on the buffet and not near any contamination issues were these roasted sweet potato slices, dusted I think with some cinnamon and sugar–they were heavenly! They were the only thing I got from the buffet, the rest the Chef (Ron) brought or made in the back.

Crystal Palace salad

I also had a mixed green salad the chef made in the back, with yellow mustard (my preferred dressing when I’m away from home–more flavor than oil & vinegar, but still gluten and soy free!)

Crystal Palace gross steak great potatoes

Chef Ron also brought me some sliced steak and mashed potatoes from the back, the mashed potatoes were delicious but the steak was too fatty to even be edible. Luckily, we had a large breakfast so I was no too upset at the lack of protein in this meal. It was not my favorite, but tolerable.

Crystal Palace strange seeded rolls

Bread service here was terrible. There were some strange brand of gluten free rolls that made me nervous as they looked to have ground seeds in them (I’m severely allergic to pumpkin seeds)–the chef said they weren’t seeds, but appeased my request for Udi bread. First, it was served very burnt, but on a subsequent trip he realized it and served me some less dark toast. Crystal Palace burnt UdisCrystal Palace bread re-served

For dessert, since I’m not dairy-free, I was able to have the soft serve vanilla ice cream but I was full. They also brought me some Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies, packaged.

Overall, it was safe and I loved many of my side dishes and the chef was very kind, but I was definitely disappointed in the sub-par meat quality (and lack of meat options) as well as the bread issue.

I was not compensated by Disney in any way, I just like to share my experiences to help others enjoy allergen-friendly travel!