Review

City O’ City, Denver CO {Restaurant Review}

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The end of the school year is nearing and between the stresses of moving out, studying for final exams, and choir concert rehearsals, it has become important to remember to cherish these last few days we all have to spend together. Sure, we are only sophomores, but we will all be studying abroad in our various international locations next year meaning we won’t all be together as a group of friends until we are seniors. Yikes.

My friends Shannon, Brianna, and I will be sharing a storage unit over the summer and into the 2012/2013 school year so we got together for brunch to finalize the details. I might mention that we spent about 5 minutes going over storage unit details and the rest of the time simply enjoying brunch… just the way it should be 🙂

City O’ City is a cafe, bar, and restaurant located in the stately and hipster-filled Capitol Hill area of Denver. They offer oodles of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free menu options along with focusing on fresh, local ingredients-my kind of place! At first I decided that I was going to order the oatmeal (marked as gluten free) that came with fresh fruit, brown sugar, and almond milk. However, when I asked the slightly aloof waitress if the oats were certified gluten free, she seemed surprised to hear that oats aren’t always automatically gluten free. She went to check with the manager, and came back to tell me that they cannot confirm that the oats are gluten free which to me, translates as NO, the oats are not gluten free. Bummer, since they mark the oatmeal as “gluten free”…they might want to check up on that.

Despite this, it might have been a good thing that I was unable to order the oatmeal because my alternative choice ended up being absolutely amazing! I ordered the Savory Waffle, which is basically a non-sweet waffle base, topped with a seasonal vegetable ragu and melted fondue cheese. The waffle itself was cooked to perfection, slightly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside-thick too! There aren’t any waffles served at City O’ City that have gluten, so you can rest assured that the waffle iron is completely gluten free. Bonus points on that! The vegetables on top were fresh, plump tomatos, soft butternut squash, and tender carrots plus more vegetables that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I heard from someone that the vegetables come from the owner’s own garden- I wouldn’t doubt it after tasting the freshness of them! The cheese was fabulous and I could seriously eat it all day.

The waffle-vegetable-cheese combination may sound bizarre but please just try it if you get the chance. When my friends tasted it (they loved it), they related the taste to healthy pizza or an open faced lasagna. I know, I know, it sounds weird when you can’t get the image of a sweet, breakfast waffle out of your head. But just trust me.

City O’ City is open until 2 am every day and they offer tons of gluten free desserts along with coffee so you can bet that I will be hitting that place up often when I’m back from Italy next year!

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Uncategorized

Gluten Free Travel Site-College Reviews!

I was recently contacted by the lovely people of Gluten Free Travel Site in regards to a new initiative they are taking on for gluten free college students. If you don’t already know about GFTS, they are an extremely helpful resource for all gluten free eaters who are looking for advice and reviews from real gluten free diners. They specialize in reviews for people who are traveling and want to do some research for their dining options while traveling, but as I mentioned, they are expanding into a (much needed!) college review portion. Seeing as they only feature reviews from real gluten free diners, they need help filling out their college reviews! If you have any first hand experience dining at any particular college, please take a few minutes to submit a review to GFTS. It can really make a difference for prospective students who are wanting to know a bit about the gluten free options at the schools they are considering!

Here’s what you can do to help:

1.) Click Submit Review from the orange menu bar across the top of any page of the site or go directly to http://glutenfreetravelsite.com/submit.php

2.) Choose the geographic location where the college is located (from the pull down menu)

3.) Choose a username and password (this is necessary for submitting a review, but not for searching/reading reviews or otherwise using the site)

4.) Fill out the review form, choosing COLLEGE in the field where it asks for the type of review. The reviewer can be as brief or as detailed as they like in the comments.

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Recipe, Tips & Tricks

Hearty Quinoa: my staple food

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I used to not be a huge fan of quinoa. It was boring, only tasted palatable with an unnatural amount of salt, and wasn’t worth the time to cook. This was before I understood the brilliant magic of quinoa and its’ undying versatility. It can transform into the most delicious, healthy, and hearty meal (or side dish) all depending on what you choose to add to it, making this the perfect meal for college students.

That having been said, this recipe is simply an interpretive guide that does not seek to suggest that you have to follow every step and use every ingredient mentioned. Instead, this recipe serves as my personal favorite way of preparing quinoa, which is, of course, open for change depending on individual tastes!

Ingredients (single serving)

1/2 cup Quinoa (can be any type)

1 cup water

1 medium roasted sweet potato (roasted, instructions for roasting after recipe)

1 mango (I used a Champagne mango)

1/4 can black beans

*This recipe makes for great leftovers, so doubling the ingredients is encouraged!

Instructions

  • Put a medium saucepan over high heat and bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the quinoa for a good 10-15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, assemble the rest of your chosen fillings. I love sweet potato, black beans, and mango, but I’ve used apples, cranberries, diced red pepper, mushroom, and feta cheese- pretty much anything (within reason) goes!
  • Cube your chosen fillings to bite-sized cubes.
  • Check that the quinoa is fully cooked- the water will be completely absorbed and the quinoa will be light and fluffy like rice.
  • Spoon the quinoa into a bowl and add about a handful of each of your chosen fillings-again, this part is up to you- add as much or as little as you would like!
  • Mix all the ingredients together, salt, pepper, and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Roasting:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Peel a sweet potato of your choice size, and cut into bite size cubes.
  • Spread out the potato cubes on a baking sheet, and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the potatoes, then mix it around so each cube gets evenly coated in olive oil.
  • Roast the potatoes from 15-20 minutes (this will vary depending on how large you cut the cubes, and your oven type). After 15 minutes, check the potatoes every few minutes by poking a fork into a cube to see if it is tender.
  • Right after the potatoes come out of the oven, sprinkle with some sea salt and enjoy!
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Daily Life, Review

Company Cafe, Dallas TX

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I was in Dallas this weekend for my dear sister’s college graduation! Whaaaaat??!! When did we grow up??

Despite its’ slightly crummy weather, Dallas proved to be a pretty happening place. I’ve been there before a few times, but I’ve only been there one other time since going gluten free and during that one time I stayed at my sister’s apartment living off of scrambled eggs and Pinkberry frozen yogurt so I had yet to truly explore Dallas’ gluten free scene. May I say that I was pleasantly surprised. Lots of options not only for gluten free diners but generally allergen free diners, vegetarians, and even raw vegans.

I was there over Mother’s Day, so we celebrated nice and proper by getting a delightful brunch at my new favorite spot in Dallas- Company Cafe. My sister’s boyfriend works here and was able to recommend it to us, knowing that I’m gluten free and am therefore, always looking for places that I can eat safely without sacrificing good food for everyone else in the party.

It was fantastic. You know you’ve come upon a safe haven restaurant when their menu places asterisks next to the items that canNOT be made gluten free, and everything else in naturally gluten free. When I decided to order the waffles- labelled on the menu as “gluten free waffles”, I asked my sister’s boyfriend if they cook the waffles in the same iron as the regular gluten-y waffles. To my delight, he informed me that they don’t even make regular waffles there- only gluten free! Basically, I didn’t even have to mention a word about my Celiac Disease aka “gluten allergy” to anyone, giving me a feeling of normalcy and relaxation that celiacs rarely experience in restaurants.

The waffles were just what I was craving-paired with the unlimited pomegranate mimosas that they just kept bringing out-it was the perfect way for me to kick off the hell week that I would be experiencing at school in the following days.

If you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend that you check out Company Cafe!

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