Category Archives: Dining

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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Gluten-free Whiskey Jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

A new restaurant is in town, Whiskey Jax Kitchen and Cocktails.  Located near Baymeadows and 9A their menu includes salads, burgers, seafood and of course Whiskey cocktails.  The space is very warm and welcoming and the staff is very friendly.  While they do not have a dedicated gluten-free menu at this time, their kitchen staff is knowledgeable of steps to take to avoid cross contamination and they offer gluten-free bread.

I ordered the burger with egg and bacon with a side of their roasted fingerling potato medley and whiskey pickles.  I am usually fine ordering a burger without the bun, but since they had gluten-free bread I thought I would give it a try.  The burger was HUGE and delicious.  I loved the potatoes, the portion wasn’t too large and they were nicely seasoned.  Another option for a side, instead of the potatoes is the kale salad.  Other menu options that the chef mentioned they could do gluten-free included the Southern Atlantic Salmon, Bourbon Salmon, the Pork Chop, or any of the salads.

Because they don’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu, you need to let the server know of all of your gluten-free needs.  They cook their burgers on the flat top, but for the gluten-free burger and the potatoes, they used a separate skillet to help avoid cross contamination. But you have to let your server know prior to ordering.

Some other cool things:

  • they have live music most nights during the weekend
  • they have a great happy hour Monday-Friday from 5pm-7pm
  • they have USB chargers under the bar to charge your phone
  • they have a Sunday brunch with bottomless mimosas
  • they have a great Old Fashioned

Have you been yet?  What do you think?

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax
gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

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Fresh Jax Gluten Free Dinner

A few months ago I was invited to the coolest dinner party. Jason, from Fresh Jax, invited me and a guest to attend an all natural, vegan, gluten-free, healthy, delicious food tasting.  My good friend Marika joined me for this Vegan deliciousness.  My boyfriend had an event that night and honestly I am not sure how long he would have lasted without meat.   The dinner was a nice time for she and I to catch up and to oo and ah over cashew cheese and quinoa stuffed red pepper like health food nerds (don’t worry we had some wine to complement our healthy food).   Jason, along with his wife Hilary and Chef Johnny Vines created an amazing dinner that was purely plant based and nutrient full.
gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
You may recognize Jason and Hilary (pic above: aren’t they cute? seriously they smile like this all the time), for the past 2 1/2 years they have been frequenting The Riverside Arts Market Downtown and most recently Jaxson’s Night Market the third Thursday of the month Downtown.

They specialize in hot sauce, pastries, spices and most recently they came out with a Quinoa Cookbook. My favorites are the Everything Sauce and Coconut Bacon.

Hilary and Jason met while they were both working in the corporate world as design specialists. Their idea to create Fresh Jax started at their wedding. Their infamous hot sauce was actually a gift to attendees at their wedding. People loved it so much they suggested bottling it. The rest is history. Hilary is also a yoga instructor. Their dream is to open up a storefront where they will have GMO free, gfree and dairy free healthy foods to go Monday thru Friday, a yoga studio and farm to table dinners once a week. Until then, check them out at the Riverside Arts Market or Jaxson’s Night Market. Not only is their food delicious, they are super nice people too.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

 

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

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Present Moment Cafe Gluten-Free

Whenever work takes me to St. John’s County I always have to stop at Present Moment Cafe in St.Augustine.

gluten free jacksonville present momentEverything is raw and everything is gluten-free and dairy-free. Everything I have ever had has been delicious. It is located on King Street across US-1 from the hub-bub of Historic St. Augustine.

Today I had the house pizza and a piece of chocolate marble torte with drunken bananas. My belly is happy!!gluten free jacksonville present moment

gluten free jacksonville present moment
gluten free jacksonville present moment

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V (Gluten-Free) Pizza in San Marco

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco
Join me as we welcome the newest gluten-free pizza joint, V Pizza (not V’s Pizza or Five Pizza just V Pizza). I have been driving by this place constantly wondering what was going on. Not long after seeing the sign “Opening Soon” I got a message from an old high school friend who is now one of the owners, Rudy Theale, wanting me to talk to him and his staff about living gluten-free. I was very impressed about his commitment to doing gluten-free right. When asked to come and take a tour and do a tasting I thought, why not!

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco

With a focus on fresh ingredients V Pizza is taking the gluten-free pizza business seriously. They taste tested multiple gluten free pizza dough products before deciding on their final crust. They were looking for something that had a great taste but would be easy to keep the customer with serious allergies (celiac like me) safe. The pizza dough comes in a metal tin so that the pizza can be cooked in along with the other pizzas without touching the same surface as gluten-containing pizzas. In addition to pizzas, their menu will feature gluten-free desserts and a baked chicken dish. There is a $1-$2 additional charge for gluten-free pizzas.

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco

When I went for the tasting a few weeks ago I was quickly introduced to the kitchen prep team. One of the team members was the chef who has the most wonderful Italian accent. He was really proud of his product and was eager to show me the separate gluten-free area where the pizzas were prepared. They use separate utensils (including the pizza cutter) from the gluten-containing pizzas. Almost all of their ingredients and toppings are gluten-free, including their meatballs. On most menus meatballs are off limits because bread crumbs are one of secret ingredients. At V Pizza, their recipe does not call for bread crumbs. He immediately made a meatball pizza with mozzarella, oregano and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Because I am also dairy-free I had some helpers on hand from Liz Morgan PR taste test for me. They were impressed by how great it tasted and couldn’t believe it was gluten-free.

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

Next the chef made me a meatball pizza, no cheese and lots of veggies. It was AMAZING! I wanted to eat the whole thing right there but had to play it cool and box it up to take home (don’t tell anyone but I had a slice in the car on the ride home :)).

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

They are taking multiple steps to avoid cross contamination: educating their staff, separating gluten-containing items in the prep area behind a glass enclosure, using separate utensils and making the gluten-containing dough in a separate room limiting its ability to contaminate the gluten-free pizzas.

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

I think they will do well. The location is convenient, the space is in an old paint store and they have a cool bar in the back called The Side Car where they are mixing up fresh cocktails and I heard they make a mean Lemon-cello. I can’t wait to go back.
gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza

gluten free jacksonville v pizza san marco gluten free pizza
Address: 1406 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville (San Marco), FL 32207 904.527.1511

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NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Training

gluten free jacksonville nfca great kitchens gluten free training
When I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease I thought anything that said “gluten-free” was safe for me.  I quickly learned that just because a restaurant has a gluten-free menu it does not always mean that they took steps to avoid cross contamination.

NFCA great kitchens gluten free jacksonville

A few months ago I found out about the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens: Gluten-Free Training. GREAT Kitchens is a gluten-free training to food service professionals working in a variety of settings. This $100 training teaches skills and techniques to meet gluten-free needs and serve gluten-free meals safely and confidently.

As Jacksonville becomes more gluten-friendly I would love to see more restaurants taking steps to train their kitchen staff and servers on gluten. I would especially love to encourage local restaurants. I find that it is the chain restaurants who provide most of the training for their staff because of a need in a larger market. It is the local restaurants I find that a majority of the time have not educated their staff on food allergies.

Some of the issues I have with restaurant servers:
1. They don’t know what gluten is.
2. They think I can’t have ANY carbs.
3. They think items that have been fried in the same oil as breaded items are gluten-free.
4. They aren’t aware that sauces like soy sauce carry hidden gluten.
5. They don’t write down that I have celiac disease on the ticket so the kitchen staff has no idea that they should take extra steps to avoid cross contamination.
6. They don’t write anything down and try to memorize my order as well as the order for the 8 other people at the table.

As of March 1st, 2014 there are no restaurants in Jacksonville that are certified as a GREAT Kitchen. I would love to see this change and I would love to update our gluten-free restaurant listing with a list of GREAT Kitchen certified restaurants.

What are some of the issues you have when dining out? Do you avoid dining out altogether because it is so hard?

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Gluten-Free Moxie Kitchen+ Cocktails

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails st. johns town centerI am so excited.  I love when new restaurants come to Jacksonville, especially when they use fresh ingredients, have a great menu and are opened by great chefs (who happen to be really down to earth nice people). Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, a Chef Tom Grey creation, is now open for business.

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails is in the Town Center between Nordstrom Rack and Seasons 52.  They feature fun and funky american food with international (and a little bit of southern) influence.  Their menu is quite diverse and items range from craft cocktails, cheeses, burgers, seafood and decadent desserts. A majority of the food is made from scratch and/or sourced locally.  The vibe of the restaurant is a fusion of industrial, rustic and prohibition. gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails salt and pepper shakers

My boyfriend and I went during the soft opening and had an amazing experience.  Even with the restaurant being so new, staff were knowledgeable, friendly and attentive.  The menu makes it really hard to decide what you want to eat.

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails menu

We started off with cocktails: a Lorem Ipsum (fancy margarita) for me and a B.E. for my boyfriend. Each of our drinks had their own ice cube shape: the Lorem Ipsum- a tall slender chunk of ice, the B.E. a large square ice cube.gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails craft cocktails Lorem Ipsumgluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails craft cocktails b.e.

We then moved on to two appetizers (both gluten free): we had the octopus appetizer and a plate of 2 cured meats.  Both were amazing.  The octopus appetizer came with chorizo, olive crisp, corn nuts and black garlic.  I am not a huge fan of octopus, but the way the server described that it was prepared to reduce the chewiness we had to try. Plus it was just so unique we were intrigued. The flavors of the octopus dish left me wishing I didn’t have to share.

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails octopus

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails cured meats

Unfortunately, our main course was so tantalizing I immediately dug in and forgot to take a picture.  But trust me when I say the food is amazing.  My boyfriend had the Filet Mignon with the chimichuri sauce and I had the rainbow trout.  We ordered the collards and ham and the brussel sprouts as our sides. I loved these sides (I love vegetables). The brussel sprouts were actually kinda sweet.  The rainbow trout was gluten-free and dairy-free and came on top of mashed sunchoke (a vegetable similar to an artichoke).  They had to make some variations to the meal so it is very important to let your server know of your allergy.

Gluten-Free notes (updated 12/3/2014):
– They have a dedicated gluten-free menu
– They do not have a dedicated gluten-free fryer
– Corn nuts, popcorn bar snacks are gluten-free
– Salads, Short Ribs and BBQ Pork Steak and the burger can be done gluten-free

For dessert, my boyfriend was a devil and had the coconut meringue cake that was enormous.  DEFINITELY NOT GLUTEN-FREE 🙂

We were so lucky, Chef Tom was in the restaurant and came around to all of the tables to say hello and see how things were.  I expected him to say hi and rush off to the kitchen in a rush but he seemed so calm and stayed to chat a bit. It was very apparent that this is his dream.  It is so refreshing to know that someone as successful as he is can stay so grounded and friendly.

gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails chef tomAll in all the restaurant has a wonderful layout and even has the flexibility to host meetings, special events, etc.  They have outdoor seating downstairs and upstairs and two bars.  The upstairs bar has a great lounge feel while the downstairs lounge accommodates guests waiting for a table.

One of my favorite features is their water filtration system which provides still and sparkling drinking water.  I crave their sparkling water it is delicious. My other favorite feature is the upstairs artwork by my favorite artist- Dennis Campay.  gluten free jacksonville moxie kitchen + cocktails dennis campayThis is a great place for a date, special occasion, a holiday dinner or when friends are in from out of town.  There are a variety of prices so you could dine on a budget or splurge. 

moxie kitchen and cocktails logo

Have you been?  What was your experience like?
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails on Urbanspoon

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Gluten-free Flying Iguana Taqueria and Tequila Bar

gluten free jacksonville flying iguana taqueria

Recently my boyfriend and I ventured to Atlantic beach to try the new Flying Iguana Taqueria and Tequila Bar.  Iguana is a Latin American inspired restaurant with hints of Mexico and Peru which usually means there will be gluten-free offerings.

gluten free jacksonville flying iguana taqueria

The location is in the space of the old Sun Dog Diner. They did extensive renovations to the space; you would never even think it was a diner in a former life. While it was two days after they opened and extremely crowded, we only had to wait about 30 minutes. This was enough time to run into friends and try some of their creative margaritas. Instead of giving us buzzers they took our phone number and would text us when our table was ready. I love this! It allows free rein to stay at the bar, go to other bars in the area, walk to the beach, etc. We chose to stay at the bar to try some of their yummy looking drinks. We had The Garden and Blood Orange margaritas. The Garden was the second best drink I have ever had (the best drink I have ever had was at Loa Bar in New Orleans). The bar at Iguana is quite large and takes up the entire side of the restaurant. We were one of many lingering waiting for a table.

gluten free jacksonville flying iguana taqueria the garden

I love the decor behind the bar. Once we were seated we had to get the table guacamole. According to my boyfriend the chips and salsa was pretty good. They serve two different types of salsa a red and a verde (green salsa). Beware, while the salsa is gluten-free, the chips are not celiac safe; they fry them with other breaded items. This may change, but while we were there the chips were being fried over at Al’s Pizza (they have the same owners). They were really nice and gave me corn tortillas for the guac and salsa.
gluten free jacksonville flying iguana taqueria
We ordered spicy verde, meat and potato, carnitas and blackened shrimp tacos. They have three different options for tortillas; flour, corn and a half corn half flour.  The server let me know that the meat and potato and the carnitas tacos were the best options for me, but you should ask the server when you go.  I think their options will change. I was very disappointed that my tacos accidentally came out on the half corn and half flour tortillas.  Unfortunately, I did not know this until I took a bite.  They were very nice and felt really bad and made me another meal. Unfortunately for those of us with Celiac that little bite is quite damaging.  My advice- the corn tortillas are smaller, the half corn/half flour are big like flour tortillas.  I enjoyed the meat and potatoes and carnitas once they were safe to eat. My wish is that they add a fish taco that isn’t fried.

gluten free jacksonville flying iguana taqueria
I think they still have to work through a few kinks. We were there the first week so I am sure things have changed since then.  I will definitely be back even if it is just for drinks. We did not have dessert but they have Coconut milk flan that I am definitely going to try next time.

The atmosphere is very festive and vibrant (loud at times). There are a lot of outside tables and it has an open flow. I loved that it was casual, open air, fun and in a great location. I look forward to going back but will definitely spend a little more time chatting with my server, and possibly the manager before placing my next order.

Have you been? What do you think?

Flying Iguana Taqueria and Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

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Question and Answer: Gluten-Free Near the Hyatt Downtown

Question: I happened upon your blog when looking for GF restaurants in Jacksonville, where I will be for a week the end of the month. I will be attending a conference for work at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Can you offer any suggestions close to the Hyatt as I will not have a car? But other suggestions for dinner would also be welcomed or anything else I shouldn’t pass up!

Answer: While there are not many options too close to the Hyatt there are some that are a either a long walk or quick cab ride. You may want to contact the hotel ahead of time to give them a heads up about your gluten-free needs, they are pretty good at accommodating a gluten-free diet.  The Hyatt is located in Downtown Jacksonville right on the St. Johns River.  It is conveniently located close to charming neighborhoods such as San Marco, 5 points and Riverside/Avondale all either a long walk or short cab ride away.  Here are some of my recommendations:

Downtown:
Indochine (walking distance)- thai food,  great for lunch or dinner
Cafe Nola inside MOCA (walking distance)- great for lunch or dinner, check their website they are not open every night
Koja Sushi at the Landing (walking distance)- open for lunch or dinner.  No gluten-free soy sauce but sushi is pretty good.
Chart House (cab or long walk)- good place for dinner, mostly seafood, they have a gluten-free menu
Olio Market (walking distance) – good lunch spot
Pho A Noodle Bar (long walk)-  gluten free options available, good lunch spot

gluten free roast beef sub european street jacksonville, fl

European Street Roast Beef Sandwich on Gluten-Free Bun

San Marco:
bb’s (cab or long walk)-  gluten free menu, good for lunch, dinner or brunch on weekends
European Street (cab) – gluten free bread for sandwiches from Cookie Momsters, gluten free beer and good happy hour 
Taverna (cab) – Chef has a gluten- allergy, they are very knowledgeable.  Good for dinner, somewhat fancy
Pulp (cab) – smoothie shop
Hightide Burrito (cab)-  fast food mexican locally owned and fresh

Avondale: 
Mellow Mushroom (coming soon) (cab): gluten free pizza and beer!
The Brick (cab): gluten free menu

Riverside:
Sweet Theory Bakery (cab)- they close every night at 6 but it is worth it, there is nothing like it in Jacksonville. They are gluten-free and dairy free.

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle sweet theory baking co

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle from Sweet Theory Baking Co.

5 points:
Larry’s Giant Subs (cab)-  is a local chain sandwich shop with a few locations and gluten free sub rolls from Cookie Momsters and wraps
Sushi Cafe (cab)-  pretty good sushi, no gluten-free soy sauce but delicious none-the-less
Black Sheep (cab)- best roof top in town, farm to table concept
Grassroots Natural Market (cab)- plenty of gluten-free snacks, prepared foods, smoothies, etc. Convenient to center of 5 points.

Food Trucks:
Corner Taco (location varies)- make their own corn tortillas and use cornmeal for fried foods. Blog post

tempeh and carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Tempeh and Carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Special events:
Riverside Arts Market– Almost every Saturday
The Cummer- Free Tuesdays and First Saturday of the Month
Art Walk- First Wednesday of the Month
Museum of Contemporary Art Free Saturday and Sunday for Bank of America Card Holders

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Gluten-Free Restaurants for Eat Up Downtown August 12-25th 2013

eat up downtown 2013 gluten free jacksonville

Photo Source: Eatupdowntown.com

It’s that time of year again!  Eat Up Downtown is coming August 12-25th.  For those of you who have not ventured out to Eat Up Downtown here is the dealio: “Eat up when Downtown’s finest restaurants collaborate to bring patrons special three-course menus for  $15, $25 or $35. This dining promotion will have you trying new restaurants or visiting old favorites at unbeatable prices. From casual cafés to fine-dining establishments, this yearly event will offer something for every palate. There are no coupons to clip or tickets to buy, just simply make reservations with the restaurant of your choice! (full list here).”

While many of the menus are not gluten-free, the restaurants listed below will be willing to work with you to accommodate any of your gluten-free needs.  Please make sure to call ahead for reservations and let them know about your food allergies.

bb’s

In the past they have been able to suggest a gluten-free version of whatever is on the menu.  Just make sure to notify them when you make reservations.

Cafe Nola

Here is the response from Chef Kathy:

“I am the Chef at Cafe Nola @ MOCA. I understand how difficult it can be for my guests living with celiac disease. For eat up downtown there is at least one item for each course that is gluten free or can be easily modified to be gluten free. For the first course we have a grilled asparagus, blueberry, goat cheese & pecan salad with champagne-blueberry vinaigrette. Or if we leave off the crispy breaded avocado the vodka gazpacho is an option. For the entree the shrimp & grits without the crostini or the scallops minus the curried pita croutons are gluten free. For dessert I will have a version of the peaches & cream that is crustless. The full menu with descriptions is online at eatupdowntown.com.”

Chart House

They have a gluten-free menu.  Mention your gluten-free needs and they should be able to accommodate your needs.

Indochine- Thai:

I eat here quite frequently for lunch.  You will need to make reservations.  When you call them let them know what your needs are and usually they can suggest something that will work.  I know for sure the curries are gluten-free you will just need to ask about the noodle dishes and the meals labelled from the wok.  You can get edamame for appetizer too!

Olio

All of their salads can be made gluten-free, their gazpacho is gluten-free, and they can substitute corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas with the fish tacos.

Pho A Noodle bar

I have not eaten here yet, but they have gluten-free menu items.  The deal is $15 and includes a starter (summer rolls and edamame are gluten-free), an entree (they have gluten-free kelp pasta substitute) and an adult beverage.

River City Brewing Company

Here is the response from Chef Micah:

“Our current menu out there doesn’t have any gluten free menu items on it, but I definitely have some options available.  For the first course we will be offering a warm spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette with pear and fresh asiago cheese. For the second course we will be offering a gulf shrimp scampi with fresh tomatoes, white wine, butter and gluten-free spaghetti.  For dessert we will be offering a Florida Fruit Parfait topped with whipped cream. “

Zodiac Bar & Grill

Their gluten-free items include greek salad, choice of kabobs ( lamb, beef or chicken ) served with grilled veggies.

Have you been to Eat Up Downtown before?  Where will you be dining gluten-free downtown?

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