Blaze Pizza for Gluten-Free and Food Allergies

Posted on January 17th, 2016 by Alison | Posted in Restaurants/Stores | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Most pizza places have gluten-free options these days — how things have changed from 2002 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease! I recently tried a new concept in pizza at Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, based in southern California. The name says it: this is pizza that bakes in a very hot oven for 180 seconds. The way you order your pizza is like Chipotle, an assembly line where you get to pick your ingredients as your pizza travels down the line. All pizzas are one size, a personal size, and The Build-Your-Own pizza is around $8.50 (depending on location). For that, you get to pick unlimited toppings, like applewood bacon, grilled chicken, pepperoni, artichokes, arugula, cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic, fresh basil, pineapple, sautéed onion, spinach, goat cheese, gorgonzola, ricotta, and pesto drizzle just to name some. You don’t get charged per ingredient like most pizza places, but of course the gluten-free crust is $3 extra.
Blaze-PizzaBlaze-Pizza-OvenWhat is the gluten-free status of Blaze Pizza? On their website, they say “We work with wheat-based flour, and do not use a separate oven or press for our gluten-free dough. If you are highly sensitive to gluten, please consider your dining choices carefully.” However, according to 2 different locations I spoke to, they do have separate dough presses for the gluten-free dough. In addition, each pizza is pressed onto its own baking disc, and when you order, they ask the severity and they will do a glove change and get sauce from a different area if requested.

To be honest, it was not the best gluten-free pizza crust I have tasted, but it was so nice to be able to go with mixed company (gluten-free and non-gluten-free) to a place where everyone could get what they wanted and it was safe — even for my daughter with multiple food allergies (the crust is also dairy-free and egg-free and they offer Daiya vegan cheese, and the only nuts in the restaurant are on one salad).

Blaze-Pizza-Cutting

For more information, see:
Blaze locations
Blaze allergen info


Tomatina Restaurant offers gluten-free options

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by Alison | Posted in Restaurants/Stores, SF Bay Area | Comments Off on Tomatina Restaurant offers gluten-free options

TomatinaTomatina Restaurant, which describes itself as “fresh italian,” offers many gluten-free options on their regular menu (marked with GF). I recently tried this casual dining restaurant with my kids and another family. Everyone found something to eat and enjoyed their meals.

The gluten-free pizza is made on crusts from Mariposa Baking Company in Oakland. Be prepared to pay almost $6 more for a personal gluten-free pizza than a personal wheat pizza. I do wish restaurants would realize that we brought six people to eat because they offer the GF pizza, so they are making up for the cost of the gluten-free pizza in the other meals and drinks we ordered. But I’m not complaining — I was happy to have a place we could all go. The restaurant takes precautions with regards to cross-contamination by baking the gluten-free pizzas on pans rather than on the floor of the pizza oven.

The gluten-free pasta options are from Heartland and Barilla — both are a blend of corn and rice. I didn’t try any of the pasta dishes (since I had already eaten a giant bag of popcorn at the movies right before!) Gluten-free pasta can be substituted for almost all of the pastas for an extra $2 and they use separate water to cook the pasta (you’d be surprised how many places use the same water to cook regular and gluten-free pasta — always ask!)

Tomatina Trio of Sides

I did have the gnocchi, which are little dumplings served like pasta in tomato sauce. Though gnocchi is made of potato, they are almost always also made with flour and therefore not gluten-free. But at Tomatina, they are gluten-free, and they were very tasty! My friend and I ordered the gnocchi as part of “3 sides for $13” with two vegetable dishes. We really enjoyed each one. (Photo above is taken from the Tomatina website — gnocchi is in the middle.)

I will definitely be back to the San Rafael location — it is an easy and affordable place to go with kids, but nice enough to have a glass of wine with your meal. They also have restaurants in Alameda, Dublin, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Walnut Creek and one opening in Union City.


Asian Box – Fresh Gluten-Free Asian Food

Posted on August 10th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Restaurants/Stores, SF Bay Area | Comments Off on Asian Box – Fresh Gluten-Free Asian Food

Asian Box logoAsian Box is a new fast-casual restaurant offering made-to-order Asian street food inspired boxes made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients. It first opened in Palo Alto, CA, and now has locations in Mountain View, San Francisco, Burbank and Los Angeles. I had the chance to try the restaurant a few days ago, at their San Francisco location in the bottom of Macy’s in Union Square. I loved it! And everything on the menu is gluten-free. EVERYTHING!

The concept is like Chipotle in that you get to pick what you want in your meal, step-by-step. Asian Box starts with the choice of Brown Rice, Jasmine Rice, Asian Salad or Chilled Rice Noodles (my favorite!) Then you choose a meat (chicken, pork or beef), or tofu, or shrimp. Each protein has its own special marinade or spice blend. Every box includes vegetables and then you pick your toppings, which include fresh bean sprouts, pickled vegetables, fresh jalapeno, scallion oil, crispy shallots, chopped peanuts, fresh herbs, fresh lime squeeze, and caramel egg (extra charge). I highly recommend just saying “All” and you won’t be disappointed. Lastly, you choose your sauce — Tamarind Vinaigrette, Sriracha, Fish Sauce, Peanut Sauce, and a few more signature sauces. You can even choose more than one sauce.

I had the chilled rice noodles, beef (garlic and soy glazed), all toppings, and then I asked for two sauces on the side, the Tamarind Vinaigrette and the Peanut Sauce. Both were delicious. Everything was really light and fresh. The pictures I took are not great, but give you an idea of the meal you get. The first is my meal as described above. The second is my friend’s — tofu with sriracha sauce. For a complete look at their menu, visit their website.
Asian Box BeefAsian Box

At “The Box”, they make all that they can from scratch in their restaurants. They buy from local farmers whenever possible, they never cook anything that was raised with hormones, antibiotics or pesticides, and all of their packaging is compostable (with compost bins present in their restaurants).

Besides all these great things about the restaurant, and the tasty food, the best part is not having to wonder or ask about whether the ingredients are gluten-free! This is a rarity when it comes to Asian food, as wheat and soy sauce (which contains wheat) is used so commonly.

I encourage you to try Asian Box for a casual meal if you are in the vicinity of any of their locations in northern and southern California (there will be more opening soon, I’m sure). I wish they had a location closer to my house so I could eat here often!


Gluten-free backlash?

Posted on April 1st, 2013 by Alison | Posted in Emotions, Restaurants/Stores, SF Bay Area | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

The other night I went out with a group of people to a new restaurant called Salito’s in Sausalito, California. I hadn’t looked at the menu ahead of time, but rarely do I have a problem eating out gluten-free these days (unless it is a Chinese restaurant). Restaurant awareness has grown tremendously since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago, and especially in the last few years. If you haven’t heard of gluten-free by now, you are living under a rock. But after this dining experience, I wondered for the first time if there could actually be a backlash happening in some places.

CONTINUE READING »