Gluten Free Lunch at Pub Italia in Ottawa

Pub Italia Ottawa

We spent last weekend visiting our dear friends in the suburbs outside of Ottawa. During our visit, we ventured into the nation’s capital to do some shopping and go out for lunch at Pub Italia.

Pub Italia is located in Ottawa’s Little Italy. It’s a cross between an Italian trattoria and an Irish pub. That means casual Italian food with an extensive beer bible, and menu items like Irish nachos.

Read More

Another Gluten Free Trip to Grand Palladium Resort in Jamaica

Grand Palladium Jamaica Fruit

We had such a wonderful trip to the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica last year that we decided to go back again this year. I had just finished a busy period at work and it was such a cold winter that I wanted a quick escape to somewhere warm. Based on how busy it was and that we were going with friends who wanted to go to an all-inclusive, we thought it was easier to go back to the same resort as last year. I didn’t have the time to research other options.

My expectations were high considering the amazing service, great food, and lovely resort and grounds last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that my stay this year was as good as last year’s.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great trip with our friends. Gorgeous weather, nice beaches, lots of snorkeling, refreshing pina coladas, and great company. However, it could have been a situation of new management or the fact that the resort has grown more popular and busy, because we encountered more unpleasant staff members than last year. I also found that while the quality of the food was just as high as last year, the service towards me needing to eat gluten free wasn’t quite as good. It didn’t seem like people wanted to help as much as before.

Read More

Cavallo Nero Trattoria in Ancaster

Cavallo Nero Gluten Free Pasta

Recently we had a joint birthday celebration with family from out of town. Instead of one party having to drive two hours to visit the other, we decided to meet in the middle and go out for dinner. The halfway point put us around Hamilton, Ontario — an area I had yet to explore since my gluten days. My mother-in-law found Cavallo Nero online, a restaurant located in Ancaster, Ontario. It showed promise since its website said, “We pride ourselves on serving only the freshest ingredients by adopting the farm to table approach with our local partner purveyors.”

Cavallo Nero has a decent sized dining room with nice décor. We had a great round table in our own little area which provided the opportunity for conversation that everyone could hear and follow. Too often you go out for dinner and can barely hear the conversation across the table.

I had the Wild Mushroom Chicken served with gluten free penne. The pasta dish was comprised of field mushrooms, spinach, and chicken breast with a white wine cream sauce. The mushrooms tasted quite good, but overall it was somewhat average. It tasted more like pasta in mushroom soup, and my bowl was pretty full of liquid. The sauce really didn’t coat or stick to the pasta.

Read More

A Refreshing Raw Key Lime Square at Rawlicious

Rawlicious Key Lime Square

I really can’t say enough positive things about raw desserts. They are naturally gluten free, soy free, gum free, and oh so delightful. I’ve been a fan of them since living in Port Credit where I was a frequent visitor to Raw Aura. It’s such a treat to be able to pick out anything from the dessert case.

One raw chain with several convenient locations across Ontario is Rawlicious. I’ve visited a few of its locations – Yorkville, Bloor West, and Barrie.

Recently we had a family celebration in Barrie, Ontario and it was such a lovely indulgence to stop at Rawlicious in downtown Barrie to pick up a raw Key Lime Square for me and my cousin so that we could partake in the ‘birthday cake’ celebration in our own allergy/intolerance-free way.

Read More

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.

Read More

Eating Gluten Free in Italy: A Look Back

IMG_3669_DxO resize

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.

Read More

My Gluten Free Experience at Grand Palladium in Jamaica Part 2

IMG_9003 resize

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)…

Read More

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.

Read More

Preparing for a Gluten Free All-Inclusive Vacation


Let me first say that I have wholeheartedly avoided going to an all-inclusive resort for the past four winters since becoming gluten free.  I mean avoided it like the plague. During the past two winters in a bid to skip out on the cold, we have thought about going to the Caribbean. But after reading many horror stories of fellow gluten free travelers and seeing the price tag at the Sandals resorts where you could eat safely, I always said no. Neither situation seemed worth it to me.

So this winter I once again found myself in the same conundrum, wanting desperately to escape the negative 30 degree weather but not wanting to spend $5,000 on a one week trip when I’d rather go backpacking for a few weeks instead. Then suddenly in the span of less than 24 hours there we were booking an all-inclusive trip to Jamaica. Looking back I am so glad we took the plunge. We went to the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. My parents and friends have both gone there before to rave reviews. When my parents went two years ago they said the resort offered gluten free menus at the a la carte restaurants. I even found a couple references in an online review board that people with Celiac Disease were able to eat there safely. Plus, in talking with travel agents they said the company is known for being able to accommodate people with food allergies and sensitivities so they thought I would be OK. It sounded promising. Still I was scared.

To help alleviate some of the worry that I still had, I packed a lot of snack foods with me to ensure that I did not go hungry. Some of the essentials I brought that I would also recommend to other people travelling gluten free are…

Read More