Another Fabulous Gluten Free Meal at Canoe for Winterlicious

Canoe Winterlicious Entree

Canoe is consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in Canada. It truly is incredible and never disappoints. For the past few years, Canoe and Winter/Summerlicious have been synonymous to me. Canoe is always a great bet for the semi-annual event put on by the City of Toronto since it reliably serves up interesting dishes made with local ingredients and wonderful wine pairings.

OK, really I just want an excuse to have Canoe’s gluten free jalapeno cornbread.

Canoe is so amazing when it comes to food intolerances. The staff has always served me well and the chefs are accommodating and modify dishes that aren’t gluten free so that I can have many options on the prix fixe menu. It’s one of those restaurants where you honestly feel as though having a severe food intolerance doesn’t prevent you from tasting the dishes as the chefs envisioned them.

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Neighbourhood Review: Kensington Market


Kensington Market is like an entirely different city within Toronto. The best way to describe it is that it’s the kind of place you’d visit on your travels.

It’s one hell of a market. It’s got everything from world class cheese shops and butchers, to specialty popcorn stores and gluten free/vegan bakeshops. There are skateboard shops, rasta pasta huts, and people selling t-shirts and knick knacks. The smell of weed hangs in the air above Bellevue Square. Strange bug transformers made out of metal scraps dot one resident’s lawn and graffiti is everywhere. There is an unmistakable feeling as you enter. I like it. It’s different, and weird, and totally the type of place that I would visit while travelling. It’s the kind of place that you are drawn too. And not just because of its uniqueness, but also because of the incredible shops you can find there..

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Wine Tours and Lunch in Beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake

At the beginning of fall, Ryan and I spent the day in Niagara-on-the-Lake as a short getaway in celebration of my new job. We both enjoy wine and it had been a couple of years since we had gone to beautiful Niagara Wine Country. We went on two wine tours and in between stopped for lunch in Niagara-on-the-Lake.


In between our wine tours, we walked around the cute town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We had lunch at The Irish Tea Room, which offers a predominantly gluten free menu. It’s a great place to grab lunch. It was so convenient to be able to stop in for a quick lunch and not have to explain about cross contamination. I don’t know about you, but I have always found lunch the most difficult meal to eat out. Eating at The Irish Team Room was such a lovely change.

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A Family Dinner at Terroni Adelaide

Family dinners are typically home cooked with everyone sitting around the dinning room table. Usually it’s a stretch to convince my parents to go out with all of us for a nice dinner downtown (a burger joint is more of my Dad’s style). But a couple of months ago, we all went out for a celebratory dinner downtown. Seeing as the kids were treating on this occasion, I was allowed to pick the restaurant. We went to Terroni Adelaide because I had heard great things about the food, it was able to accommodate our party of eight, and let’s be honest I’m always drawn to Italian food. My aunt who is Italian has spoke really highly of Terroni (especially about its panini), so I was excited to finally be able to test the food out myself.

Terroni has three locations across Toronto. The Adelaide location is gorgeously set inside the historic Adelaide court house built in 1852 in Toronto’s financial district. It has a great atmosphere, and the bathrooms provide an interesting topic of conversation since the stalls are the old holding cells.


Italian restaurants are often able to easily accommodate gluten free guests. When I called to make the reservation I double checked with the restaurant that they had gluten free options. Of course they did.

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Gluten Free Pasta at The Hot House in St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood

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Impromptu dinners out are great; however, they can be a bit nerve wracking if you are gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease. I bet I’m not alone when I say that I like to plan my dinners out since it gives me an opportunity to check menus online and call the restaurant ahead of time to see if they’d be able to serve me a gluten free meal. Thankfully, over the past few years I have found several staple restaurants around the city that are able to prepare safe and good tasting gluten free meals. They have become my go-to places when I suddenly find myself out and about, and ready to eat.

The Hot House in the St. Lawrence Market area is one of those places as it has gluten free pasta on its menu. The restaurant was first introduced to me a couple of years ago by an elementary school friend. She worked nearby and recommended it when we met for dinner to settle a bet over an NFL game. The staff at The Hot House is really knowledgeable about gluten intolerance/Celiac Disease and they have always served me well. Plus, it has a huge patio with couches, which is very appealing during summer. It’s conveniently located at the corner of Front and Church, which offers a stellar architectural view of the city.

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A Homemade Gluten Free Birthday ‘Cake’

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I remember celebrating my first birthday after learning of my severe gluten intolerance. It was less than two months after going gluten free and it was still very new for me and my family. My parents actually bought a regular gluten-laden birthday cake for the occasion and I was responsible for buying my own slice of gluten free chocolate cake. Somehow it’s just not quite the same having everyone else slice and eat a nice looking birthday cake, while I’m stuck scraping the icing off of my plastic container — especially on MY birthday.

I’m happy to say that a TON has changed since that birthday. My family is super supportive of me and always ensures that family gatherings have gluten free food to keep me safe. And in their defence, five years ago there weren’t near as many options for gluten free baked goods as there are now.

My birthday cakes have definitely progressed for the better. Going from stale, dry individual slices of gluten free cake bought from the grocery store, to everyone eating slices of Raw Aura‘s amazing raw banana chocolate cake, to this year when I actually made my own ‘cake’! I can’t tell you how proud I am that I made my own gluten free birthday ‘cake’ for everyone in my family to eat together. That’s how a birthday’s supposed to be. I say ‘cake’ loosely since it wasn’t so much of a traditional cake than a Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie!! Oh my. What better way to celebrate a summer birthday than a cold cream pie? I love the banana – peanut butter – chocolate combo, so this was a real winner. My family loved it and fought over the leftovers. That’s how good it is. Nobody even batted an eye about it being gluten free.

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Eating Gluten Free in Italy: A Look Back

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I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to Italy three times, each as a gluten free traveler. In fact, I found out I had to be gluten free a mere three days before embarking on a month long trip to Italy in May 2010. At the time I was upset thinking that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the pizza and pasta Italy is known for; I mean what is a trip to Italy if you can’t enjoy the amazing food that so much of its culture is based around? Thankfully I soon learned two things.

  1. That quickly upon removing gluten from my diet I started to feel so much better. I could finally get out of bed instead of being curled up in the fetal position in so much pain, my energy level increased, my right arm no longer went numb, and the mysterious pain in my right calf disappeared. I felt good again. I was so grateful that I felt healthy enough to walk around and sight see in Italy. Really finding out I had be gluten free couldn’t have come at a better time.
  2. That Italy is such a fantastic place to be gluten free and it was easy learning the ropes there is so much awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance in Italy. (On the flip side though it meant I got spoiled and it was much harder to find good quality and good tasting gluten free foods at home).

Last Thursday there was a great article in the NY Times about Gluten Free Dining in Italy. It talked about how aware and sympathetic Italians are to those who must avoid gluten and ultimately how well they feed us. With wheat being such a staple in the Italian diet, Italians are so much more conscious of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Reading the article confirmed everything that I had experienced over my three trips to Italy. But more so, reading the article just made me miss Italy. I miss the food and how easy it is to eat there. I miss the culture centered around gathering over food and wine. I miss the people and the beautiful landscape. Italy is my favourite place in the world, probably a good part due to the fantastic food. That’s why on almost every trip to Europe I take I try to either fly into or out of Roma so that I can spend a day or two eating Italian food.

Italy has been on my mind a lot since reading that NY Times article. It made me realize that I have only written about my most recent trip to Italy last year: my favourites in Roma, our stay at an agriturismo in Tuscany, lunch in Lago di Como, Gelato, and the paradise that is Cala Ganone, Sardini. So I thought I would share some general thoughts about eating gluten free in Italy and some of my favourite gluten free dishes I’ve had at restaurants during my previous trips. It’s like a trip down memory lane for me.

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My Gluten Free Experience at Grand Palladium in Jamaica Part 2

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I had a wonderful vacation as a gluten free guest at Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort and Spa in Jamaica. In part 1 of this series I shared my experience with the great breakfasts Norman prepared for me and the pina coladas I’d order without straws or fruit. Now I want to share my experience eating gluten free at the a la carte restaurants.

Grand Palladium has seven a la carte restaurants. Having many a la carte restaurants was important for me because they have set menus and the chefs are better able to prepare you a meal from start to finish. My hope going into the trip was that I should at least be able to eat well for dinner.

I have to say that the resort’s Guest Relations team made my stay as a gluten free guest much easier. They always let me make dinner reservations, which I really appreciated since it gave me the reassurance that I would be able to eat at an a la carte restaurant each night and avoid the buffet. It was also really convenient since the two restaurants that can best cater to gluten free guests got really busy each night. They also had each restaurants’ menu for on display, which helped me choose where to eat. Immediately, I eliminated going to the Mexican, Asian and Seafood restaurants. Reasons being the Mexican food was made with flour tortillas not traditional corn, I can’t eat soy sauce, and I don’t like seafood, respectively.

Below is a recap of my experience at the a la carte restaurants that I ate at (or attempted to eat at)…

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My Gluten Free Experience at Grand Palladium in Jamaica Part 1


I had an incredible all-inclusive vacation at Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The vacation far surpassed my expectations. The resort was beautiful, the staff was lovely and the food, oh my the food. The food surprised me in so many great ways. The kitchen staff took good care of me so I ate extremely well and never got glutened. The food was fantastic not only for me as a gluten free guest, but Ryan also agreed that he never thought we’d eat such amazing food at an all-inclusive resort. It was such an enjoyable trip and we will definitely be back. I wanted to share my positive experience of eating gluten free at an all-inclusive resort in the hopes of encouraging others to have the confidence to do the same. I think this will take two posts: the first will focus on the buffet breakfast and the drinks, and the second will be about the a la carte dinners.

The morning after we arrived I met with the Food and Beverage Manager to discuss what my dining options would be during my stay. He explained that the most important thing was to make sure that I spoke with the supervisor and head chef at each restaurant, each time that I went there. He said I should carefully explain to the chef what I could and could not eat and they would be able to prepare something separately for me. He cautioned me to remember that I was still in Jamaica so some of the staff would just really want to help and please me by saying “yes” without fully understanding the situation. So it was very important that I always speak with the head chef.

The F&B Manager also provided me with a Celiac Palladium Dietary Card that I would be able to show to the kitchen staff (they didn’t have a soy one though). What’s funny about that card is that sometimes when I would show it to the wait staff while I explained that I needed to speak with the chef, they would look back at the card with terror in their eyes. Thankfully the chefs didn’t feel the same way.

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