Gluten Free Garage – Part 3

Gluten Free Garage - Part 3

This past Sunday Ryan and I went to the Gluten Free Garage at the stunning Artscape Wychwood Barns.  I fondly remember the first event last year when I was amazed and thankful to finally have a gluten free event where local, homemade and natural foods were being showcased rather than the typical heavily processed and packaged foods at other events.  It was such a great roster last year and that continued at this event too!

I like this event because I know I can find some of my favourite foods from bake shops and vendors I love, plus I get to try new new foods too.

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Neighbourhood Review: Roncesvalles

Beautiful High Park

We’ve been living in Roncy for a few months now and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring our new neighbourhood.  It’s so nice having all of the restaurants and shops on Roncesvalles plus beautiful High Park all within a few blocks walk.  I’m so happy we moved to this area to be able to live in such an outdoorsy, green tree lined neighbourhood and also to have the city at our finger tips, easily accessible by subway or streetcar.

There are many gluten free options available in Roncy, both whether you’re looking to eat out or buy products to stock your fridge and pantry.  I was so surprised that one of the fruit markets even sells many of my favourite gluten free products – lentil crackers, tortilla chips, beans, nuts, as well as an assortment of other packaged goods.  Besides the below list there are also a lot of other good looking restaurants along Roncy that I think will have gluten free options, I just haven’t been everywhere yet.  I’ve got to continuing exploring!

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Playa Cabana Cantina – Tacos in the Junction

Playa Cabana located on Dupont St. has been rated the city’s best taco and they recently opened up another restaurant, Playa Cabana Cantina, in the Junction.  Ryan and I love tacos and so we had to go test them out on our recent excursion to the Junction.  There is a great vibe inside the restaurant; the decor seemed very authentic with its bright neon signs…much better than other over-the-top, tackily decorated restaurants I’ve been to with cactuses and sombreros!  There was a great bar area too!

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Neighbourhood Review: The Junction

The vegan and gluten free treats inside Bunner's

On a whim, Ryan and I decided to spend last Saturday in the Junction.  When our original plans fell through, we decided to explore a new area of Toronto that neither of us had been to before.  Since food drives most things for us, we decided to try this new highly rated taco joint in the Junction.  The restaurant is called Playa Cabana Cantina and you can read more about our food experience there soon.  So purely because we wanted to try these tacos, we decided to go to the Junction to spend the afternoon.  To my surprise, I discovered that the Junction is a wonderful area for people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerances.  Almost every little shop that I went into had something gluten free to eat!

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A Heaping Plate of Tacos at Milagro Cantina

Delicious Tacos al Pastor

Mexican food is one of the most naturally gluten free cuisines in the world, which is great news for me since I LOVE Mexican food!  After an afternoon of exploring the CN Tower with two colleagues who were on business trips in Toronto (one from India, the other from Texas), we were on the lookout for food.  Since my colleague from India had never had Mexican food before, I couldn’t resist stopping at Milagro Cantina for a late dinner.  It’s a tacky decorated Mexican chain restaurant with three different locations across the city – but it serves good food and big servings.  I mean what’s a better dinner lineup when you’re starving than guac and tacos with a margarita?!  Yum!

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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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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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