Winterlicious at Aria

Flourless walnut cake with frangelico anglaise and espresso gelato

I have wanted to eat at Aria Ristorante since I read it was one of Toronto’s best new restaurants in 2012.  So I jumped at the opportunity to eat dinner there during Winterlicious.  I’m pretty new to the concept of Winter/Summerlicious, having only been to my first last summer at Toula.  My advice to anyone gluten free or with other food intolerances/allergies, do not be scared of the prix fix menus.  You’d be surprised at how many of the participating restaurants have at least one naturally gluten free option available for each course.  All it takes is a quick phone call to learn about your options, every restaurant that I have called has been more than willing to make me a safe, delicious meal.  Don’t let gluten hold you back!

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The Gabardine

This week I met my friend Lisa for dinner after work. Lately we have been in a habit of either eating in Yorkville or getting take out pizza from Magic Oven. But following my foodie resolutions, I figured it would be best to try something new. Once again, I found out about The Gabardine from Toronto Life. If you’re ever stuck trying to find somewhere to eat, check out their website – you can search by neighborhood and type of food amongst other criteria, which makes it so convenient! A quick search of the Financial District brought up The Gabardine and boy it did not disappoint!

Lisa and I both ordered the risotto. We happily exclaimed that it was the best risotto we have ate since Italy. The Gabardine offers a daily vegetarian risotto, priced daily and naturally gluten free of course. We lucked out and had cauliflower and artichoke – I never would have guessed roasted cauliflower would be such a superstar in risotto!

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Brunch at Barque

Delicious brunch of fried eggs, pulled pork, cumin spiced beans and guacamole!

Today Ryan and I went out for a delicious brunch at Barque Smokehouse. It was a mild winter day, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to get out and explore another area of Toronto. It was our first time in Roncy and not only did we thoroughly enjoy brunch, we also had a great time walking up Roncesvalles Ave. visiting cute coffee shops and health food stores. We actually managed to stop in at four places recommended by Toronto Life (getting a good start at my foodie resolutions!)

Barque Smokehouse was the highlight of our afternoon in Roncy. I was happy to discover that they offer several naturally gluten free dishes on their menu, including their dry rub ribs, brisket and pulled pork! Yum! Who doesn’t like smoked BBQ?! The staff was very friendly and explained that the dry rub used on their smoked meats is both gluten and soy free. They also kindly warned me against ordering anything from their fryer because of cross-contamination (that means I won’t be enjoying their fries, which look amazing).

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The Pump House Grille

My favourite gluten free blackened chicken alfredo (lightly blackened)

My go-to restaurant in Port Credit is The Pump House Grille.  Around the time that I discovered I had to go gluten free I spotted a ‘New Gluten Free Menu’ sign outside it.  It was such a relief at that time knowing that there was a restaurant within walking distance that had a dedicated gluten free menu.  Since then, my friend Kaitie and I have made it a habit of eating there together and have quickly narrowed down our standard order.

The Pump House Grille has a larger than expected gluten free menu including hearty chili, nachos, salads and pasta dishes, as well as steak and salmon entrees.  My favourite thing to order is the blackened chicken alfredo.  It’s delicious – nothing fancy, just a big serving of creamy comfort food!  The pasta is so tender thanks to the creamy alfredo sauce that at first you might think they gave you gluten pasta, but nope – it’s just that damn good!

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Food-Themed New Year’s Resolutions

Typically to ring in the New Year everyone frantically makes resolutions to better themselves in the coming year. Often these resolutions are far fetched and are rarely fulfilled. Well this year I am creating food-themed New Year’s resolutions instead. Sure I find it difficult to reach my working out goals and I never seem to get more organized and stop procrastinating, but I am sure I can keep food goals. I mean I love food, so why wouldn’t this work?! So here it goes, my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions…

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Estiatorio Volos

Wild arugala and shaved fennel salad with Mancuri cheese, grilled pear and roasted walnuts

Last week, my Mom and I went out on one of our mother-daughter nights! We went to see the National Ballet of Canada perform Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! It was a fun night out, I hadn’t seen a ballet in about 15 years! I am still a Broadway girl at heart, but this ultra modern ballet with elaborate sets and a tap dancing Mad Hatter was entertaining!

But you know that mad scramble to find dinner before a theatre production? Well we managed to avoid it this time. Within a two minute walk of the Opera House we came across Estiatorio Volos. The menu looked promising and it had a pre-theatre prix fix menu to select from so we decided to get a table.

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Gluten Free Garage: A Recap

Gluten Free Garage

A week and a half ago my Mom showed me an article in the Toronto Star about an upcoming gluten free event happening in Toronto called Gluten Free Garage.  Skeptically, I read the article.  I had heard about other gluten free expos and exhibits happening around the city before, but was always hugely disappointed after discovering the vendors only sold mass-produced and highly processed gluten free crap!  I had no desire to ever attend an event like that, so I read that article with little hope in my heart.  But the more I read about the Gluten Free Garage, the more excited I got.  When I read the list of exhibitors online, I immediately marked November 11th in my calendar because this was one event that I was not going to miss!

The Gluten Free Garage stood out in many ways.  The most obvious being the quality of the exhibitors – one of the key reasons behind RonniLyn’s thinking in organizing this event. We’re talking about locally sourced and handmade products.  The exhibitors were friendly, knowledgeable and always willing to help.

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Oliver and Bonacini

Simply delicious Lemon Posset

Ever since going gluten free, Oliver and Bonacini has been a staple restaurant of mine.  I have been to three different locations: Bayview, Front and Blue Mountain.  Needless to say, I have narrowed down some of my favourite dishes – mac & cheese and lemon posset being top of the list.

The gluten free macaroni and cheese with chicken and green peas is comfort food at it’s best!  Like most kids, I grew up on Kraft Dinner, so it’s always a nice treat to eat this grown up version made with goat cheese, Fontina and aged white cheddar. The staff are always very knowledgeable about allergies – which is what is expected at such a nice restaurant. They always have gluten free pasta on hand. When you order the mac & cheese gluten free, the kitchen skips using flour as a thickener to the sauce and doesn’t add breadcrumbs to the top. This makes the cheese sauce a bit more runny, but hey you’ll never hear me complaining – it’s delicious!

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