Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Eating Out Gluten Free in Prince George: Part 2

Cimo Mediterranean Grill: I must admit, our first experience at Cimo's was horrible. Our second & third trips proved more accurate to the rave reviews we had head from nearly everyone in town. AND they are now carrying gf pasta (the same one that can be found at Costco). They're in my good books (we even went there for my birthday dinner!) now.

De Dutch: Awhile back we got a page of coupons for DeDutch and decided to give it a shot. Whenever anyone from out of town asks where a good breakfast place is, this seems to be the crowd favorite.
Smoked Salmon Dutch Scramble
We arrived a little before noon on a Saturday morning to a line up nearly out the door. We ended up waiting a little over a half an hour for a table in this tiny breakfast spot, but we weren't starving so it wasn't a big deal. My guess is that they had mailed out coupons to the entire city during the week rather than staggering it over a few weeks. Everyone seemed to have one.

I was delighted to learn that the hasbrowns weren't deep fried (as many restaurants often do) and didn't have a coating (that is an obscene double order of potatoes in the photo to make up for the lack of toast fyi). I assume that this was the case as this is what they told me. At this point, I feel it necessary to tell you that I was in fact glutened during this visit to de Dutch, so for me to convey what they told me to you may be inaccurate. I was cautioned against any other meat selection for breakfast "just in case" although our very helpful server did tell me that she had read the packages and they all seemed okay.

My eggs weren't that great, and the fruit was out of a bucket rather than fresh. We were there for over 2 hours (not by choice!). Mr.C quite enjoyed his breakfast of DeBakon & eggs with toast & hashbrowns and says he would go back. 

Mr.Mikes: About a week after they first opened up in March we stopped in for a late dinner. Our server had told us that they were tremendously busy that Friday night despite it being the Easter long weekend. When I inquired about a gluten free menu, or what their offerings were to someone like me, he was very unsure and went to investigate. After returning with a gluten free menu (that he had originally told me they didn't have) I hummed & hawed over my options. Definitely nothing special. The back side of the menu detailed "the usual" steaks & chicken breasts.

Mr.Mike's GF options.
I ended up going with the bacon wrapped scallops and a side Cascadia salad. I was informed that they were out of cranberries and pecans for my salad, which wasn't really a big deal. It came out with cranberries and a cajun chicken breast- they brought me a meal sized salad instead. My jerk reaction had me spewing some words out of my mouth, and my salad was whisked away before it even hit the table. They made me a new one and didn't charge for it. Our server did tell us at the beginning that it had been his first shift...

Mr.C gave his mushroom burger 6/10 served alongside soggy fries. His caesar got a thumbs up, but my mojito was overly sweet. I ended up adding what probably amounted to an equal amount of water to my drink to make it tolerable. My bacon wrapped scallops were okay... They were messy looking and dry. The cocktail sauce that came with them was taken off of our table after I asked the manager to double check if I could have it (since cocktail sauce is almost always a no-go). I sensed that he wasn't sure how to read a label to check for gluten-free'edness. I never did get a clear answer about it. I wouldn't have any of what I had there again to say the least. There are plenty of other restaurants in town to go for a meal when dining with someone who does not eat wheat.

Nancy O's: Brunch is offered on Sundays until 3:00 pm and I'm happy to report that it's not too bad! Few restaurants are open for business on Sundays (especially during the day) and Nancy O's is a decent place to grab some grub! I had the Nancy O's Benedict with smoked salmon & avocado (I know- yum!) and fresh fruit instead of potatoes (they're deep fried). I was excited to learn that not only was their hollandaise sauce made from scratch (read: not a mix thickened with flour) but they also carried gluten free bread (tasted like Udi's). It's rare that I can have eggs benny anywhere! When my eggs were overcooked, they not only made me new ones, but a whole new benny set (double sauce, salmon & avocado- yes!) Mr.C had a B.E.L.T. (with avocado, just how we like em') which (presumably) would also be available with the gluten free bread upon request. 

My second visit to Nancy O's was for lunch and was not quite as good, but still good enough that I'd go back. Maybe even for the live music they have in the evenings on the weekends!
Note: As a liquor primary establishment, minors are not permitted at Nancy O's.

Ohh Chocolat: While they do offer soups, salads & sandwiches I can honestly tell you that this is not why I find myself coming back to Ohh Chocolat! Their dark chocolate is dairy free, and many of their chocolates are gluten free (including the truffles!). Ohh Chocolat recently combined their two locations (massey & 3rd ave) into one fantastic new chocolate making mecca right across from The Keg downtown! Since expanding into their new digs, OC has also expanded their offerings. Not every time I'm there, but more often than not they have some sort of gf treat. I've seen peanut butter cookies & brownies! Definitely worth stopping in after hitting up the PG Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Original Joe's

These guys have had a gf menu at all of their locations for years. And it's always good. It's awesome to have one in Prince George now rather than it being an out of town treat. While they did inadvertently gluten me awhile back (their lettuce wraps cannot be made gf) OJ's is still a fave destination of mine. Despite being a pub environment, they are family friendly as well.

Pho U & Me: This is definitely my go-to place when I need a good warm-me-up! Pho has always been a comforting meal for me; carbs & broth- it's like a celiac's chicken noodle soup! The service has always been fantastic and the food always good. I can honestly say that all I've ever had there is the pho, but salad rolls are generally a safe bet as well.

Looks good, doesn't it?

Rockford: With new locations popping up around western Canada every few months, Rockford is slowly showing up everywhere. On their website, they have an allergy information sheet crossreferencing all of the menu items with a dozen common allergens. What more could you ask for! Oh yeah, tasty food. Sadly this is where they're sort of lacking. I've had their lemon chicken (the option of quinoa instead of rice is awesome) a few times, and it's always just, blah. There just aren't a ton of options that are gf on their menu. Asian inspired menu? Between breading & soy sauce, it's just not a go-to for me.

Sassafras: This is easily my new favorite place in town! I've finally found someplace in town that's in line with how I like to eat! They have many vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free options and are well aware (and not afraid to double check ingredients) of what menu items qualify for someone with dietary restrictions. Having a celiac on staff helps with that of course... Sassafras is more of a cafe than a restaurant and is not open for dinner. Breakfast however is served at 7am and all day on Saturdays!

Head down for lunch and you'll be hooked!

P.S. When they tell you the yogi balls are addictive, believe them!

Chicken Thai Curry Hot Pot- Yum!

Tokyo Sushi: From what I could decipher myself from the menu, the options aside from simple rolls such as these include edamame. They don't have rice noodles of any kind, the menu descriptions are incomplete and the service sucked. While I generally expect there to be a language barrier when going into a place like this and trying to convey my allergies, there was no understanding of my needs at all.

As a rule of thumb, every restaurant I have reviewed for the purposes of this blog post (and it's predecessor and any others yet to come) I have patronized twice. I feel that it's only fair; maybe they were having an off day? Based on the UrbanSpoon reviews detailed in the link above, it appears that my experience is the norm. There are lots of sushi places in PG. I would skip this one if it was the last sushi place there was. I'll never go back...

Part one can be found here.

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