Category Archives: Dining

Fresh Jax: Gluten Free Goodness

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxI was recently contacted by Jason at FreshJax to stop by and see their almost one year old store. I have known about FreshJax for a few years now through their strong presence at the Riverside Arts Market and just hadn’t had the time to make it to their store. Prior to opening their store they invited me to a wonderful gluten-free dairy free meal that was delicious.  Fresh Jax is the brain child of one of the sweetest couples you will meet, Jason and Hilary.

As I walked in I was kindly greeted by one of 2 staff working at the counter. I asked for Jason and was asked if I would like a tour while I waited.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxAs I approached the cafe counter I could quickly see chili, broccoli soup, donuts, kale wraps, yoga bars, a TON of amazing spices and a nice menu of fresh to order food options. The thing that is so hard to believe is that their entire menu is clean and the ENTIRE STORE IS GMO-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE AND DAIRY-FREE. No joke! Staff are not even allowed to come in with gluten-containing foods.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

How do they do it?? They use a ton of locally sources fruits and vegetables and use a variety of replacement options such as organic coconut milk and organic maple syrup.  They also have a vast array of spices that they create in house.  A sample of their amazing spices include:

  • Bold Bayou perfect for pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob or as a marinade. It is made from Ancho Peppers so it is not too spicy but has a nice flavor.gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Grill Master: one of their most popular seasonings this time of year as people start firing up their grills. Great on burgers!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Their signature coconut bacon that tastes just like bacon.  Great to add to on saladsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Thai Coconut Curry includes real coconut and thai spices
  • Himalayan Sea Saltgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • Italian Herb Blendgluten free jacksonville fresh jax
  • A tofu scramble spice that makes tofu taste just like scrambled eggsgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They also have an entire case full of Kambucha and turmeric drinks. Turmeric is all the rage right now for its ability to decrease inflammation in the body which is very helpful for those of us living with Celiac Disease and other gluten-related illnesses.

They support a ton of local products such as 5 Points Candle Co. – they are organic soybean food grade essential oil with wood wick and a 60 hour burn. They are colorless so you are not breathing artificial coloring as they burn.

I tried their sushi bowl which is made of home made pickled veggies, carrots, ginger, seasoned rice with wasabi and cashew cream, black sesame seeds and guacamole. The flavors of the pickled veggies and the cream and guacamole make you forget that there isn’t ahi tuna in it. It was delicious and so fresh!gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

In addition to the cafe, spices and local products they also have a yoga studio attached. They have thought of everything! They offer 40 classes a month and they pride themselves on providing restorative yoga for every body! It is a beautiful space and you can purchase a class pass or a regular membership. They also host cooking classes and movie nights.gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxgluten free jacksonville fresh jax

They recently started catering office lunches to provide a healthy option during work meetings.  They are now offering boxed lunches for $15 per person that includes a kale wrap, yoga bar, cashew cheese and healthy chips, clean pickle and a pass for a free yoga class!  Here is an example of the yoga wrap they use for their wraps.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

I love this place! Not only is it a really nice environment, it is nice to support a business that is owned by passionate people who love what they do and believe and live out the mission of their organization. As I left I tried the chocolate donut with blueberry jelly.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jaxOMG! I was just thinking about how much I miss Dunkin Donuts chocolate donuts and this hit the spot and tasted just like it and yes it is organic, gluten-free and dairy free (I seriously asked 3 or 4 times because I couldn’t believe it).gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

If you are in the area- they are near 2-95 and Gate Parkway- I suggest you stop by.  Not only is it delicious but you are supporting this great couple who are truly following their dream.  gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

Have you been before? what did you think?

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Gluten-free and Vegan Six Course Meal at Super Food and Brew 

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewOn Saturday, August 20 I attended a Gluten-free/Vegan wine dinner at one of my favorite Downtown spots- Super Food and Brew. Over 30 people gathered to taste traditional meat dishes transformed into gluten-free/vegan deliciousness without a bit of compromise on taste.  I was lucky enough to dine with Jessica from Jax Vegan Love.  We had a great time sharing our opinions of the food and our favorite restaurants.  If you aren’t following her on Facebook you definitely should!
gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe first course was a  beet carpaccio.  The beets were sliced thin and the accompanying dressing was delightful.  It also included tempeh crumbles to add a little protein.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe second course was a Rainbow Vegetable Pad Thai Salad.  I am a big fan of thai food and the flavors were spot on.


gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe third course was an eggplant involtini with ratatouille.  Don’t even get me to try to pronounce this dish.  It was the first of the hot dishes that were served and I could have sworn there was cheese or meat in this dish.  But it was completely gluten-free/vegan

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe fourth course was a Forest Mushroom Risotto.  This was so creamy I swear there was butter in here.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe fifth course was a Carrot Osso Buco over Cauliflower Grits.  Traditionally this is served with some sort of beef and for those (usually the vegan’s date) that were meat eaters they graciously added a nice steak with this dish.  I am not a vegan, but I am dairy free and this was such a nice treat.  However, I was extremely full.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewThe grand finale was a Coconut fig bar, fresh Berry Nut Cream bar and a chocolate Tart with salted Oat Crust. We each got our own plate of these three desserts and they easily could have been shared with my table mate.

gluten free jacksonville superfood and brewI know you are thinking right now- I want to go.  When is the next one?  Well you are in luck!  Dale from Super Food and Brew is going to do another one since this one was so successful!  For all of the latest updates on events and restaurant openings please make sure you are following us on Facebook.

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Filed under Dining, wine dinners

New Gluten-Free Additions to Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails’ Menu

In honor of Summer Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails has added some new additions to their menu and many are gluten-free!  In case you are unfamiliar with Candy Apple Cafe and Cocktails- they are co-located with Sweet Pete’s  in Downtown, Jacksonville. The Candy Apple Café and Cocktails is a full service restaurant located in Downtown Jacksonville that serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch daily, as well as dinner Tuesday –Saturday. With a menu of French and Southern fusion cuisine, a full bar, and three private event spaces, The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails celebrates the decadence of everyday life. Here is a snippit of some of their food:

gluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktailsgluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktailsgluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktailsgluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktailsgluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktailsgluten free jacksonville candy apple cafe and cocktails

Their new gluten-free menu items include:

Brunch

VEGAN HASH GF/VA ($11)
roasted red potatoes, wild mushrooms, haricot vert, baby carrots and wilted spinach with romesco sauce

Appetizers, Soup, Salads,Sandwiches

BEEF TENDERLOIN TARTARE GF ($13)
house chips, soft boiled egg

HOUSE CHIPS GF ($6)
with smoked bacon dip

WEDGE CAESAR GF without crouton ($10/7)
sweet gem lettuce, boquerones, crouton, pepper-parmesan dressing

FRENCH ONION SOUP GF without crouton ($8)
sherry, caramelized onions, gruyere

Entrees

HERB ROASTED CHICKEN MOUTARDE GF ($24)
potato dauphinoise, grilled asparagus

SHORT RIB POT-AU- FEU GF without baguette ($28)
oxtail, bone marrow, celery root, cornichon, toasted baguette

WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO GF/VA without reggiano ($17)
lobster and chanterelles, sage beurre noissette, shaved reggiano

For more information click here. Have you been before? What did you think?

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Filed under Dining, Drinking

Time Out Sports Grill Gluten-Free

gluten free jacksonville time out sports grillIn honor of March Madness I thought it appropriate to share a Jacksonville Sports Bar that is taking strides to be safe for those with Celiac and other gluten-free allergies, Time Out Sports Grill. Located in a strip mall on Beach Boulevard between San Pablo and Hodges you almost drive right by this place. But once you are inside, there are many large TVs, a game area and a large bar. Almost every time I am here this place is packed and there is some exciting game going on.

The night we were here the Jacksonville Scene Kickball league was there having a great time. I went with my husband and a friend of ours Rita and everyone ordered a gluten-free dish. gluten free jacksonville time out sports grill flat breadsOne of the most exciting things is they have a gluten-free fryer. While eating fried foods every day is not a healthy choice, when watching sports who doesn’t enjoy some wings and fries! gluten free jacksonville time out sports grill wingsIn addition to having a dedicated gluten-free fryer they also have gluten-free flat breads that are delicious and gluten-free beer.

If you are in the area and in the mood for a sports bar definitely check this place out!

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Gluten-Free Dining in Italy

In November of 2015 my husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon.  Everyone thought I was crazy going to Italy with Celiac Disease.  There is pasta, bread, pizza EVERYWHERE.  So I did a little research and it turns out every child is tested for Celiac Disease by the time they turn one.  Food is such an important part of their lifestyle that it is in their law that every restaurant has to accommodate a gluten-free diet.

It didn’t matter where we went they always had gluten-free pasta, crackers, meats, cheeses or veggies to choose from.  If you were really lucky you got bread or PIZZA!

We ate a lot more than this but here are a few of my gluten-free Italian favorites. Oh and by the way, yes I know my husband is the cutest :):

Florence, Italy: 
gluten free jacksonville italy vino trallalla

Cacio Vino Trallalla

This is the Italian dream restaurant.  Reservations are definitely recommended there are only 4 tables.  The owners speak a good amount of English and they have a small menu each day.  We shared the worlds largest plate of meat and then my husband had lasagna (not gluten-free) and I had steak with truffle oil. It was so wonderful!  We didn’t want this meal to end so we decided to stick around for an after dinner sweet wine.

gluten free jacksonville italy la giostraLa Giostra

This place came highly recommended by locals and other travelers.  They are known for their Florentine Steak.  We went at lunch so I think we missed the liveliness that this place offers.  We enjoyed steak, a delicious meat plate and wonderful local veggies.  I particularly liked that they gave us a welcome glass of prosecco.

Ciro and Sons

This was our first gluten-free pizza experience in Italy and it was awesome. The restaurant had many gluten-free options and they were very knowledgeable about what I could have and what I could not have.  They had cozy outside seating which was great for people watching. We were a little late to lunch but they were very welcoming (in Italy locals never eat lunch after 2pm).

gluten free jacksonville italy lucca

Lucca

We just loved this cozy quiet little town.  1 hour from Florence and next door to Pisa, it is quaint and a great place to rent bikes and tour the city.  We love riding bikes so this was right up our alley. But before biking we stopped for a bite to eat.

gluten free jacksonville italy lucca buca di sant antonio

Buca di Sant’Antonio

This place had some of the best pasta!  My husband had fresh hand made tortellini that we watched being made by two non-English speaking Italian women (not gluten-free).   I was able to have some gluten-free crackers and a delicious gluten-free pasta dish that was to die for.  This restaurant was very romantic, candles, low light and very warm and cozy.  It was a chilly and rainy day and this was a nice little respite tucked away off a side street.

Montepulciano

DSCN2980You must stay at La Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano and you must eat at Osteria Acquacheta when you go to Montepulciano.  I absolutely loved this town and the views from our room.  There are many wine bars and restaurants in the area that you can visit but you can’t miss Osteria Aquacheta.

12285816_10207331507982586_1593787768_ngluten free jacksonville italy montepulciano osteria aquachetaOsteria Aquacheta

This place is known for their owner and for huge pieces of steak (oh and they only give you one glass for wine or water). While steak is their main focus they have great sides including pasta dishes.  They actually searched to see if they had gluten-free pasta but they had run out so I settled for some yummy fresh veggies. Their menu is small and changes with the season. There are two dinner seatings each night and reservations are a must.  We got a huge steak to split, some fresh veggies, apples and pecorino cheese and a $6 liter of Un Bottella de Vino Rosso de la casa (a bottle of House Red Wine we said this a lot). We lingered a little to finish our wine and watched the cross table conversations and the staff sitting to enjoy a family style meal at the end of the night.

Montalcino

gluten free jacksonville italy montalcino castello banfiBanfi Winery:

A friend of ours coordinated a tour of Banfi Winery during our Honeymoon.  Following the tour we decided to stay for lunch at their restaurant and enjoy a tasting of their wines.  They too had gluten-free pasta offerings.  This was probably the nicest meal we had the entire trip and one of the tastiest. We had a lot of dishes with Wild Boar in them in the Tuscany Region.  While it sounded odd it was actually quite delicious.  It looked like ground beef but had a richer flavor to it that wasn’t too gamey.

Rome

gluten free jacksonville italy mama eatMama Eat!

This is gluten-free heaven located in my favorite part of Rome: Trastavere! I encourage you to walk around after eating this is such a neat part of Rome.  They have pizza, pasta, beers you name it they have it gluten-free.  They speak great English and it is a very fun lively place.  They even made gluten-free bruschetta for us which was the only place I could get bruschetta and it was awesome; olive oil dripped everywhere! My husband was very impressed with their beer selection too; I had him drinking way too much wine.

gluten free jacksonville italy soffitta renovatioLa Soffitta Renovatio

This was my very favorite gluten-free pizza in Italy. The toppings were fresh and the sauce was to die for.  It was very easy to find gluten-free pasta, but pizza was always a challenge. It is located very close to the Vatican so we went in prior to our tour since it takes an entire day pretty much to see everything at the museums and the Basilica.  This is a nice gem in quite a touristy area.  It is a bit hard to find but well worth it.

12306007_10207346704802497_604099692_n La Carbonara

This place was tucked away in a locals-only area not far from the Colosseum.  They actually discourage TripAdvisor reviews, they want to stay a place for locals only.  Even though we were not locals they were very friendly but do not go if you are in a hurry.  Do not go to any restaurant and sit down and expect to be in a hurry. It was recommended to us by another local restaurant as a place to get gluten-free pasta.  I got the Carbonara Pasta and it was so good- it was made with egg, pancetta, olive oil, and garlic   SO GOOD!

gluten free jacksonville italy rome taverna trilussaTaverna Trilussa

This was our last dinner in Italy. It was wonderful.  They were more than accommodating.  They make their pasta in individual pans so I didn’t have to worry about cross contamination and we had the most amazing roasted artichokes. They were soo good. We ate so much food here and we went to aperitivo before hand.  You will need to make reservations and try to have your hotel do it because they gave us an early dinner time because we were American.  We were fine with eating late.  Most Italians don’t eat until around 9.

Other  tips:

Travel Guides

Do your own research before you go; TripAdvisor and Yelp are a big help and do some generic “Gluten-Free Italy” searches on Google.  I suggest doing research before you go and download the TripAdvisor City Guides. That way you don’t have to scramble to find something to eat last minute you can pull up your City Guide (which works without wi-fi) and see which restaurants you already pre-saved are nearby while you are sight seeing.

gluten free jacksonville italy rome apperitivo freni e frizioniAperitivo

One of my favorite Italian traditions.  It is kinda like happy hour but you pay a little more for your drink in exchange for snacks and appetizer type food.  The very best we found was Freni e Frizioni.  They had a whole buffet.  Then you go eat dinner afterwards.

gluten free jacksonville italy rome gelato gelateria valentino

Gelato

My favorite was around the corner from the Trevi Fountain in Rome Gelateria Valentino they had dairy free gelato too.

Ok- who is hungry?

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Gluten-Free Wedding

gluten free jacksonville weddingHave you missed me? I have missed you! Whether you noticed or not I had taken a bit of a break. We all need to get away sometimes to focus on other areas of our life and I am happy to report my little break was to plan my wedding to this man!

gluten free jacksonville wedding
On Nov 14, 2015 I married my boyfriend of nine years. It was the best day of my life and I am excited to go from Ms to Mrs! It can’t be easy to love someone with Celiac Disease but he does and he is so supportive.

We got married on the beach at the Sawgrass Country Club and had our reception at the Sawgrass Golf Country Club.  While our event was not 100% gluten-free I worked with wonderful vendors that could easily accommodate a gluten-free diet.  There can be challenges when you are planning events and need to accommodate dietary restrictions without breaking the bank. For instance, a gluten free cake for 180 people can run you close to $3,000 however if you do regular (gluten-containing) cupcakes and pair it with an 8 inch round gluten-free cake you can spend less than $500!

So here are my gluten free vendor successes:
Cake: Sweet ‘N’ Flour gluten-free and dairy-free marble cake with vanilla bean icing. Tiered cupcakes by Publix in Ponte Vedra, FL at Sawgrass Village these had gluten in them and were a huge hit without breaking the bank. We did a mixture of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and strawberry filling all with white icing shaped like a rose.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
Rehearsal dinner catering: Tacolu they do a great job and bring their own decor and it is always a crowd favorite! We had the Carne Asada and Banging Shrimp. Both were gluten-free and corn tortillas were available.  Paired with some Margarita’s it was such a festive night!

gluten free jacksonville catering tacolu
Bridesmaid luncheon: The Lodge in Ponte Vedra is just beautiful! They can accommodate any dietary needs and their terrace view cannot be beat!

gluten free jacksonville the lodge
Wedding reception: Sawgrass Golf Country Club we did chicken parmesan for everyone and they were able to make a special dish for those that are gluten-free or have other needs.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
We had the best team for our wedding. I seriously loved all of our vendors so much. I highly recommend a day of planner to help you enjoy your day. Other vendors I worked with:

Day of Coordinator: Rhea Harris
Hair: Gerald at True- Blue Hair Studio
Makeup: Kimtasha Pro Makeup Artist
Flowers: Publix Sawgrass Village
Videography: Siberian Pictures, John Wolfe
Photography: Emily Martin Photography
Centerpieces: Rockaway Gardens
Decor: Soulshine Rentals
Ceremony Decor and Rehearsal Dinner: Ambre Goff at Coastal Occasions
Floral: Publix Sawgrass Village Event Planning

Have you had a gluten-free wedding?  How did you do it?  Who did you work with in the Jacksonville Area?

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Thank you Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

On Monday April 13 Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails held a gluten-free dinner and it was AWESOME! Flank steak and chimichurri was my favorite (oh and the wine was pretty good too). gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen and cocktails

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