Tag Archives: downtown jacksonville gluten-free

May is Celiac Awareness Month

gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness monthIt is amazing how far Celiac Disease Awareness has come in the almost 10 years since I was diagnosed.  There are a few things I am happy about and a few things I would LOVE to see change as we try to raise awareness of Celiac Disease.

For those of you new to the Celiac world- according to The University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center, Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine
and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.

Things that make me happy about where we have come with Celiac Awareness:

  1. Every grocery store has some type of gluten free offering beyond just Whole Foods and specialty stores.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  2. Restaurants are beginning to educate their staff better to avoid cross contamination.
  3. Friends and family care and actually want to learn what “gluten-free” means- sometimes even taking steps to avoid cross contamination and make you a meal.
  4. We are seeing more and more restaurants that are dedicated gluten-free (no worries about cross contamination!!)
  5. Sooo many recipes online!!!  I have found the joy of cooking through this diagnosis.gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  6. Travel has gotten so much easier.  I have enjoyed trips on Cruises to the Caribbean, Ireland and Italy that were amazing and I didn’t go hungry once!gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month

Things I would LOVE to see changed about Celiac Awareness:

  1. The question: is this a serious allergy when I say I am “gluten-free” and “living with Celiac Disease.”  I dream of a day when I see “gluten-free” on the menu and I don’t have to say a word afterwards.  I hate to say it but french fries fried in the same oil as breaded chicken fingers should not be labeled gluten-free.
  2.   Stop making fun of the gluten-free diet.  Yes there is a large percent of the population who use gluten-free as a diet tactic but there is an even larger group of people- approximately 3 million- that have to follow this diet to stay alive.
    gluten free jacksonville may is celiac awareness month
  3.  Incorporate a laws- similar to what these countries have done– to protect people living with Celiac Disease.
  4. Stop using gluten-free labeling as a marketing tactic.  There are laws in place but there is no one enforcing these laws.
  5. Provide better subsidies for those of us living with Celiac Disease.  Gluten-free goods are very expensive. When I went gluten-free my grocery bill per week was $50 more expensive and continues to be that way.  Thank goodness I live near a Trader Joes!
  6. Educate more primary care physicians on the signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease.  When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years ago, my physician was very skeptical when I asked to be tested for Celiac Disease.  I had done a ton of research online and that was the only thing I could find that matched my symptoms. She is one of the top doctors in our area and she thought it was a waste of time.  But she did it and was extremely supportive when the results came back.

What has your experience with Celiac Disease been?


  1. University of Chicago Medicine – Celiac Disease Center
  2. Celiac Disease Foundation
  3. Beyond Celiac

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Gluten-Free Expo in Jacksonville, FL November 15, 2014 from 10am-3pm

On November 15th, the first gluten-free expo in Jacksonville will be held at the Hyatt Riverfront in Downtown Jacksonville from 10am-3pm. The event will feature national bloggers, doctors, dietary experts such as:

  • Julia McRae: Certified Nutritionist. She herself suffered with Ulcerative Colitis in her youth.
  • Desire Anderson: brings 10 years of experience as an outdoor educator and has worked at various camps and educational institutions throughout the nation. She has a wide and adventurous background, in travel, art, woodworking, science education and outdoor, off-grid living and cooking.
  • Jen Eccleston: author of the blog “my BIG FAT grain free life” and owner of Jen Tilly Tea. Using humor and quite frankly, crybaby moments, she seeks to deal with food allergies, bowel health and autoimmune disease while retaining her belief that allergen free food really CAN taste delicious.
  • Shannon Ford, Mrs. United States 2011, an advocate for Celiac Disease Awareness. After being diagnosed in 2009, it became Shannon’s goal to bring more attention to the illness and advocate for better labeling of our nation’s food supply.

I am really excited that we will have an entire day dedicated to gluten-free. I look forward to learning and sharing ideas around living healthy gluten-free.

Tickets are only $10 for adults and discount tickets for seniors and military. There will be an expo hall where gluten-free and other allergen free items will be available for sample. Participants include some of my favorite brands: Glutino, Udi’s, Enjoy Life and more.

Are you planning to attend? What do you hope to get out of a gluten-free expo?

For more information and to purchase tickets click here…

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Sponsor Post: Naturally Smart Now Sold In (more) Stores

gluten free jacksonville naturally smart frozen dessert gluten free jacksonville naturally smart frozen dessert

Our Sponsor, Naturally Smart Frozen Dessert, is continuing to sweeten up the Jacksonville frozen dessert market.  Their founder, Mark Patterson, has really been pounding the pavement.  I see him everywhere.  Usually I run into him at the local coffee shop early in the morning where he is preparing to continue to spread the word about Naturally Smart.  Some places you may have seen Naturally Smart:

1.  At one of the many tastings they have participated in…

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2. Around town in the Naturally-Smart.com van…

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3. At Fresh Market, Winn Dixie, Grassroots Market and Whole Foods….

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gluten free jacksonville naturally smart frozen dessert

4. On the news…

Naturally Smart a healthy alternative to ice cream | Gatorsports.com

The “SMART” Dessert | One Spark

Naturally Smart frozen dessert | News – Home – News4Jax

Smart People Eat Dessert

Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville Magazine

We are very excited for Naturally Smart Frozen Dessert.  It is nice to see a local “passion” succeed.  Have you tried it?  What do you think?  Check out our previous sponsor post on Naturally Smart.

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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:

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

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

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.


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!


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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EatUp Downtown: Gluten-free

Check it out! One of my favorites (even before going gluten-free) Eat up Downtown!  This week long event August 13-26 in Downtown Jacksonville promotes restaurants downtown. Each restaurant offers a pre-fix menu ranging from $15-$35. As far as I know the gluten-friendly restaurants are:

Most restaurants take reservations, make sure to call ahead and perhaps even ask them about their gluten-free offerings. These places get extremely busy during Eat Up Downtown.

While you are Downtown take a walk along the river or stop in to one of my favorite bars, Dos Gatos, for a cocktail.

Happy Dining!

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Where Can I Get Gluten-free Beer in Jacksonville?

From Redbridge to New Planet, to Bards, to Greens, to New Grist, to Omission, to Dogfish Head Tweason’ale there are numerous gluten-free beers out there.  Yes, I know cider is gluten-free, however this is just a listing for gluten-free beers.  Almost all of these places have cider as well.  Redbridge is the beer I find most readily available, however New Planet is slowly becoming readily available and rightly so, they have 4 different flavors.

tweason'ale gluten free beer jacksonvilleRestaurants

  • BJ’s Brew House (Town Center) Typically Redbridge is available here
  • Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas (Atlantic Beach) they have a HUGE selection.  I have seen New Planet, Dogfish Head Tweason’ale, Omission and Daruma here. In addition to ordering with your meal they are also a retail shop.
  • Kickbacks (Park and King Area) I have had Dogfish Head Tweason’ale, New Planet, Redbridge, and Greens; they usually have the best selection.
  • Mellow Mushroom– (Beaches and Southside) typically just Bards and New Planet.  I have better luck with the MM at the beach.
  • European Street (Beach, Southside, San Marco, Riverside) I have had New Planet here, but they typically have more than one option.

Greens beer gluten free jacksonville


  • Engine 15– (Beaches)  I have heard that they occasionally have gluten-free beer on tap.  I have had Omission in the bottle there.
  • Burro Bar– (Downtown) not sure if it is there all of the time, but I have had a Redbridge here before.


  • Beer:30 (Park and King)  Tons of gluten-free beers here from Omission, to New Planet to Greens and more.  They are very friendly and if you call ahead they will chill your beer for you.
  • Total Wine (Town Center) Always has an assortment.  They had a selection of New Planet, Greens, New Grist



Who did I miss?


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EatUp Downtown

In an effort to bring more people to downtown to enjoy some of Jacksonville’s finest restaurants, Downtown Vision started an annual tradition known as EatUp Downtown.  It used to be only one week, but due to high demand they have expanded it to two weeks and starts August 15th and runs until August 28th.  I love this event, each participating restaurant offers three course meals for only $25. 

I contacted Downtown Vision to find out which restaurants will be offering gluten-free options and this is their response:

“…University Club, Cafe Nola, Indochine, Morton’s and Charthouse have let us know that they will have gluten-free options available…”

I also happen to know that Chew and bb’s are also very accomodating to a gluten-free diet.  Here are each of their menus during EatUp Downtown.  It is recommended that you make reservations before visiting and as usual it is always best to tell them about your dining needs ahead of time so they can make an necessary accomodations.

Please share your experiences from these restaurants on our facebook page.  I know I plan to!

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Gluten-free Farm to Table Dinner at Chew July 20, 2011

I am so excited to announce our partnership with Chew in Downtown Jacksonville to bring you a Farm to Table Dinner wine/beer pairing that is completely gluten-free.  As someone who enjoys dining more than anything, I miss these kinds of dinners.  If you have never been to Chew, you are in for quite a treat.  Not only is the ambiance quaint, the food is delicious.  This is one of my favorite local restaurants.  No one in Jacksonville has done this sort of thing, this is going to be fun!

Come and enjoy a food and wine pairing that is completely gluten-free.  Here are the details:

Cost: $40 per person plus tax and gratuity for a three course dinner and wine pairing with a gluten-free beer happy hour.  Parking is on street and at that time the meters do not have to be fed.  Call Chew directly to book your reservation.  Space is limited, so please reserve your spot ASAP!  For reservations call (904) 355-3793.

Where: Chew Restaurant in Downtown Jacksonville: 117 West Adams Street, 32202
When: Wednesday July 20th from 6-9pm
The Details:





6-6:30: Gluten-free beer reception

6:30 Dinner begins:
1st course
smoked mayport shrimp ceviche
avocados, plantain chips, spicy citrus

wine: hugenot cellars, cuvee de blanc, california

2nd course
black hog farm heritage pork chop
hominy, fresh harvest vegetable & granny
smith apple slaw

wine: reunion, malbec, argentina

3rd course
fresh harvest peach streusel
with cinnamon ice cream

coffee: bold bean’s ‘riverkeepers roast’

*because of the freshness of our ingredients some items are subject to change*

Hope you can make it!

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