Friday, February 28, 2014

Paris Bistro -- Winter Park

On Wednesday night, my daughters and I had dinner with my parents at Paris Bistro in Winter Park.  During our many visits to Le Macaron, which is in the same building,  I always noticed how many gluten free choices Paris Bistro had marked on their menu.  

I ordered the Beef Burgundy, and chose sauteed green beans and creamy au gratin potatoes as my sides.  

The beef burgundy was delicious!  This dish was so flavorful, and the beef was nice and tender.  

The star of my meal though was the creamy au gratin potatoes.  I could eat a whole plate of them and leave happy!  I don't think I have had au gratin potatoes since my Celiac diagnosis.  They were heavenly!  

For dessert, I could have had Creme Brulee, but I chose to order the special of the night, caramelized bananas with ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, which I asked for on the side.  It's amazing how something so simple can be so delicious.  It was the perfect end to a great meal.  

We had hoped to sit outside at one of Paris Bistro's tables on Park Avenue, but had to sit indoors because of the rain.  Right outside of their restaurant, Paris Bistro has some indoor seating underneath this tree, which we were told was created by the company that makes fake trees for Disney.  It's pretty realistic looking.  

While my dad and I were sharing my dessert, my daughters dragged my mother to Le Macaron for some macarons.  

All of the macarons at Le Macaron are gluten free.  You can read more about Le Macaron here.  

On Paris Bistro's menu, there is a little GF to the left of every menu item that is naturally gluten free.  I was assured by the staff that they are very careful about cross contamination and use separate pans and utensils.  If you have Celiac or gluten intolerance, it is important to notify the staff at every restaurant you dine at, unless it's one of those rare restaurants that is 100% gluten free.  

Paris Bistro has a nice selection of gluten free appetizers and salads.  

The Beef Burgundy I ordered is described as beef slowly cooked with red wine and vegetables.  

My parents both loved their Veal Normande, veal slowly cooked in a white wine creamy mushroom sauce.  This menu item is also gluten free.  

Next time, I might try the Coq Au Vin, which is chicken slowly cooked in red wine, onions, bacon and mushroom.  

There is even a gluten free choice on the kids menu.  My girls, who do not need to eat gluten free, ordered the kid's pasta and cheese with white sauce.  

Paris Bistro runs a great lunch special from Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 to 4:30.  With the purchase of a drink, you get a three course meal for $11.95.  For the first course, the gluten free option is a Bistro Salad.  For the second course, you can order Coq Au Vin, Veal Normandy, or Beef Burgundy, and for the the third course, Creme Brulee.  

Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, you can enjoy a two course brunch at Paris Bistro for $11.95.  Gluten free choices for the first course include the Coq Au Vin, Veal Normandy, Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelet, and Mushrooms with Gruyere Cheese Omelet.  For dessert, the second course, the Creme Brulee and a scoop of vanilla ice cream are gluten free. 

March 7, 2014 Update -- I met my friend Shelley for lunch today at Paris Bistro.  We were seated inside the restaurant, which was fine with us on a cold afternoon in Orlando.  

We both ordered a beverage so we could take advantage of the 3 course lunch special for $11.95.  For my first course, I had the Bistro Salad, which was good, but nothing special.  Shelley enjoyed the soup of the day, a vegetable soup, that was also gluten free.  

For our second course, we both chose the Coq Au Vin, chicken slowly cooked in red wine, onions, bacon and mushroom.  I was not expecting chicken still on the bone, but I really enjoyed the dish and it was the perfect portion for lunch.  I was very excited that it was served with my favorite creamy au gratin potatoes.  

For my third course, I had planned to order the creme brulee, but when our server mentioned the special of the day, I couldn't pass up the caramelized banana.  The presentation is much prettier with the chocolate sauce, but I asked for it on the side.  I loved the cute little lunch portion!  

Arriving when they opened at 11:30, Shelley and I had the room we were sitting in to ourselves.  By the time we left, the restaurant was completely full, which is fully understandable with Paris Bistro's great lunch special and the quality of their food.

July 25, 2014 Update

My daughters and I took my husband to Paris Bistro tonight, for his first dining experience there.  We shared the salmon special, which was excellent, and an order of the beef burgundy.  Because everyone wanted the au gratin potatoes, we ordered two sides with each dish.

For dessert, I couldn't pass up the caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. Tonight, I forgot to tell our server to leave off the chocolate sauce, but I actually enjoyed it.  They didn't overdo it, so the chocolate was a nice subtle flavor.

We enjoyed all of our dishes tonight, and will definitely be coming back.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Landscape of Flavors Lunch/Dinner - Disney's Art of Animation Resort

After walking around Downtown Disney this morning, my parents and I headed to Landscape of Flavors at Disney's Art of Animation Resort for lunch.  I was seriously tempted by two of my favorite restaurants at Downtown Disney, Cookes of Dublin and Splitsville, but we stuck to our original plan and headed to Art of Animation.  Landscape of Flavors is a quick service restaurant in Disney's newest resort.

I have eaten there twice before with my husband and daughters.  Both times, I ordered from the World of Flavors Shop, one of several food stations at Landscape of Flavors.  

Today, I chose the Tandoori Boneless Chicken Thigh with acorn squash, potatoes, and basmati rice.  I was able to pick three sides because the naan bread that comes with the dish is not gluten free.  I had hoped to try the lentil crusted fish, but it is served only at dinner.  

Gluten free dessert options include mini brownie cupcakes from Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC at Downtown Disney, and OMG...It's Gluten Free Fudge Brownies.  

 Gluten free Lundberg Rice Chips and Rocky Mountain Popcorn are available as well.  

Landscape of Flavors also has gluten free Surf Sweets Fruity Bears and Enjoy Life Cookies.  

I was really impressed by how many gluten free options are available at Landscape of Flavors.  I enjoyed my Tandoori chicken, but I had to add a little extra salt.  The acorn squash was better on my previous visits because it was cooked more, but it was still tasty.  The rice is very plain, but I like to eat it with my chicken.  My favorite part of my meal today was actually the potatoes.  On my next visit, I want to try the shrimp or the lentil crusted fish.  My mom loved her Mongolian grill fish, which is a gluten free lunch option.  My dad said that his favorite side was the roasted cauliflower with tomatoes.  They both offered to let me try their meals, but I decided to pass because they had naan on their plates.  

September 19, 2015 Update

Landscape of Flavors now has allergy-friendly menus for breakfast and lunch/dinner.  

Gluten/wheat allergy-friendly options for lunch/dinner include the following entrees: create-your-own salad, Caprese sandwich, Buffalo-style turkey sandwich, tandoori chicken, shell-on-shrimp, Mahi Mahi, personal pan cheese pizza, personal pan pepperoni pizza, create-your-own pasta, chicken burger, create-your-own burger, surf and surf burger, and a vegetable burger.  Additional gluten free options are available after 4:30:  lentil-crusted Mahi Mahi, butter chicken, saffron-seafood pasta, meatloaf, salmon club sandwich, steak sandwich, and a patty melt with 1/3 lb Angus burger, sauteed mushrooms, and onions.

Landscape of Flavors has a separate menu that lists options for people with milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.  A big thank you to my friend Sarah from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW for sharing pictures of the menus.  

You can read more about Landscape of Flavors, and view their menus and hours on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Landscape of Flavors?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mini Chocolate Chess Pies

Last November, I saw a recipe for Chocolate Chess Pie on I'm a Celiac's blog.  I was amazed at how easy it was to make, and it was so delicious, I made it once a week for at least 6 weeks, and even included it as part of our Thanksgiving feast.  

The recipe calls for 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate.  I usually use Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips that I purchase from The Fresh Market.  They are labeled gluten free.

I have also experimented with Dagoba semisweet and unsweetened chocolate in this recipe, using one ounce of each.  Dagoba, like Guittard, is labeled gluten free, and I purchase it from The Fresh Market.

Like Pam Jordan from I'm a Celiac, I use Whole Foods GlutenFree Bakehouse Pie Crust.  It's perfect for quickly making Chocolate Chess Pie or my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie.

With my kitchen scale, I don't even need to get out a measuring cup for my sugar.

It's also helpful for measuring 2 ounces of chocolate.  

When making a full size pie, it will look like there is not enough filling when you fill your pie shell.  

The filling does puff up as the pie bakes, especially when I use extra large eggs.  

When I was sent a sample of Grandma's House Gluten Free Pie Crust, I had to make chocolate chess pie with it.  We do have a slight addiction to this pie.  :-)

Yesterday, I finally made mini chocolate chess pies, a version I have been wanting to make for a couple of months.  I used Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Piecrust Mix, the mix I use for my peach, raspberry, and apple crostata.  This piecrust mix is amazing!  Not only does it taste like a buttery wheat filled pie crust, but it is so easy to work with.  

I only used one of the packets of piecrust mix in the box. I put it in my mixer, added 1 stick of cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes), 3 tablespoons of ice water, and 1 egg large egg yolk, then mixed it until the dough came together.  It only took a couple of minutes to prepare.  I then weighed my dough, divided the weight by eight because I was making eight mini pies, and portioned out 48 gram little dough balls.  I didn't even grease my muffin pans.  

After rolling each lump of dough into a ball, I flattened them with my hands until they were larger than the opening of the muffin cup.  I then pressed and shaped each crust, not allowing it to come above the top of the muffin cup.  

The dough was incredibly easy to work with.  I didn't use any of the extra flour provided with the Williams-Sonoma Piecrust Mix for the purpose of rolling the dough.  

I filled each pie up to the top with the chocolate mixture.  I had a little bit left over, so next time, I am considering making 9 pies.  

I have noticed that when I use extra large eggs, the pie puffs up more.  It really isn't necessary with how much filling I had leftover, so I will be using large eggs the next time I make mini chocolate chess pies.  

Here's the finished product.  I allowed the pies to cool for about 15 minutes in my muffin pans, the removed them to finish cooling on a plate before putting them in the refrigerator.  I was impressed with how easily they lifted out of the muffin pans.  My husband, daughters, parents, and aunt & uncle all said they loved the mini chocolate chess pie last night.  My aunt said she couldn't believe it was gluten free.

Mini Chocolate Chess Pies


1 recipe of gluten free pie crust (enough for a single-crust pie) -- prepared
1 stick (8T) unsalted butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and chocolate over medium heat, stirring well to combine, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture, whisking well with each addition.

Make your pie crust and divide it between 8 muffin cups.  Press the dough into each muffin cup, not allowing it to come up over the edge.  Fill each crust with the pie filling and bake for 28 minutes in the center of your oven.  Allow the pies to cool for about 15 minutes before removing them to finish cooling on a plate.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe Notes

We like to chill our chocolate chess pie for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before eating it.  I take it out of the fridge when we sit down to dinner, and it is the perfect temperature for us when we eat it about 20 minutes later.

If you are making a full pie in a single pie crust, it needs to bake for 35 minutes.  When I use a frozen Whole Foods GlutenFree Bakehouse Pie Crust, I put it in the oven for 2 minutes to defrost it a bit before filling it.  Most of the Whole Foods pie crusts have cracks in them, but after heating it, they are easy to fix by just pressing the pie crust back together.

I have successfully made this recipe with extra large eggs and/or  half semisweet and half unsweetened chocolate.  We have loved it every time, no matter what ingredients I have used.

Many thanks to Pam Jordan of I'm a Celiac for posting this recipe from The Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC.  You can view Pam's Chocolate Chess Pie blog post here.

Linked to: Gluten-Free Wednesdays 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

White Bean Hummus and Flatbread

I am not a huge fan of most brands of store bought hummus, so I created this white bean hummus recipe.  We serve it with the lamb roast we make on Easter, or with crackers or gluten free flatbread.

White Bean Hummus


1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) - rinsed
1 can of white cannellini beans - rinsed
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice 
2 T tahini
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)


Use a NutriBullet, food processor, or stick blender to puree all the ingredients until smooth.

Recipe Notes

Tahini is a paste of ground, hulled sesame seeds.  I purchase organic tahini at Whole Foods.

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers are great with this hummus.

Rosemary Garlic Flatbread 

I learned how to make flatbread with Udi's Pizza Crust from the chefs at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  

I let it defrost a bit before rubbing olive oil on both sides.  I then put it in a frying pan over medium heat, and sprinkle a good amount of rosemary and garlic salt on top.  

If I am not busy with other food prep, I press it down with a spatula, working my way around the pan, so it browns more evenly.  

As you can see, the side with the rosemary browned a bit better because of my spatula treatment.  

As soon as it's finished, I cut it with my kitchen shears and serve it right away.  It's definitely best served hot.  I love to serve this flatbread with hummus, roasted red peppers, or even Caprese salad on top.