Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jiko - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Last night, my daughters and I had dinner at Jiko - The Cooking Place, a signature dining restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, one of our favorite resorts at Disney World.

Jiko serves a blend of African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine, and the menu changes seasonally.  Jiko used to have a gluten free menu, but now they have an allergy-friendly menu which lists safe options for people with gluten/wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.  These allergy-friendly menus are being adopted at all quick service and table service restaurants at Disney World and Disneyland between April and September of this year.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Peak Season Pops

This morning, I didn't feel like cooking breakfast, so my daughters and I headed to the Winter Park Farmers' Market, which is held every Saturday from 7am to 1pm.  While my girls devoured their gluten-filled cinnamon roll, we strolled over to Peak Season Pops to see what they were offering this morning.  

First up, I tried the Blueberries 'N Cream, which is one of the best popsicles I have ever had.  It was smooth and creamy, and had the most wonderful blueberry flavor in every bite.  I will definitely be trying to recreate the recipe at home this summer.  

I also enjoyed my pineapple basil pop, one of the vegan choices offered this morning.  

My daughter Emma really enjoyed her tropical mango pop, while Katie raved about the straight up local watermelon so much, I bought one to bring home.  

Peak Season Pops are gluten free, handmade, seasonally inspired, preservative free, and use local ingredients.  

Last fall, I enjoyed the pumpkin chocolate chip.  

I also really like their avocado lime.  

If you love chocolate and enjoy a little spice in your life, try the dark chocolate cayenne.  

I have never tried a Peak Season pop that I didn't like, and they always have a large selection of vegan and dairy pops to choose from.  

June 8, 2015 Update

This past weekend, my daughter Emma chose the watermelon lime pop, which she said was even better than the plain watermelon we had last week.  I was really impressed by the Hulk, which is a combination of apple, banana, spinach and kale.  Thankfully, this is one of Peak Season Pop's regular flavors, so I can enjoy it any time we visit the Winter Park Farmers' Market.  I also loved the orange & cream, and the plain vanilla.

Peak Season Pops can also be found at the Maitland Farmer's Market and the Orlando Farmer's Market on Sundays.  You can follow Peak Season Pops on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or visit their website here.  

What is your favorite Peak Season Pops flavor?

Friday, May 29, 2015

California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Margherita Pizza

Earlier today, we stopped at the Walmart on Turkey Lake Road to look for California Pizza Kitchen's new gluten free frozen pizzas.  Walmart didn't have the BBQ Chicken pizza I was hoping to find, but I did purchase a Margherita pizza.  

Liberty Inn - Epcot

Earlier today, my daughters and I had lunch at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot.  

Liberty Inn is a quick service restaurant featuring American favorites, like burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, steak and salads.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

I recently asked Michelle Couch if she would be interested in doing a guest blog post about afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, one of her favorite gluten free experiences at Disney World.  

Fogo de Chao

Yesterday, my daughters and I had lunch at Fogo de Chao on International Drive.  Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian steakhouse that can be found in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Brazil.  You can view their restaurant locator here.  

I first learned about Fogo de Chao while I was using the Find Me Gluten Free App on I-4.  When I saw one of my college friends from Brazil raving about it on Facebook, I decided I had to give it a try.  My daughters and I had the full churrasco experience, which includes all the grilled meats, sides, and dishes on the market table for one price.  Desserts are purchased separately.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats

At any Disney theme park or resort, you will find an amazing assortment of Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats.  As a celiac, I have to avoid wheat, rye, and barley, ingredients I commonly look for on food labels.  

At the end of the list of ingredients for this iced Rice Krispies Treat, you find warning statements that this product contains milk, soy and coconut, and is manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and/or tree nuts.  Even when I don't see wheat in the warning statements, I still scan ingredients.  The words wheat, rye or barley don't appear in the ingredients list of either of the Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats pictured, but they are still not safe for celiacs.  The Mickey shaped treat pictured does have a warning that it is manufactured in a facility which handles peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and egg, so hopefully celiacs would stay away from that one because of the risk of cross contamination.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

La Hacienda de San Angel - Epcot

Last Saturday, we had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot.  Nina, our international student, chose the restaurant for her final meal at Disney before she flew back to China.  My whole family was happy with her choice, because we love La Hacienda de San Angel, which is featured in my Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Disney blog post.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Whispering Canyon Cafe Lunch - Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Earlier today, my daughters and I had lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, my favorite resort at Walt Disney World.  We have never stayed there, but I think the resort is incredibly beautiful, and I love the theming.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rose & Crown Allergy-Friendly Menu - Epcot

Yesterday, we stopped at the Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot to check out their new allergy-friendly menu.

In April, Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts started rolling out new allergy-friendly menus, which should be available in all Disney-owned and operated table-service and quick-service restaurants by September.  All of the new menus state that you may still speak to a chef before placing your order.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Narcoossee's - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Last night, my daughters and I had dinner at Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort to celebrate their last day of school.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lottawatta Lodge - Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park

Earlier today, I had lunch at Lottawatta Lodge at Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park.  

Blizzard Beach is my family's favorite water park in Orlando.  I love the theming of a one-time ski resort that has melted away to form a watery wonderland.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cup4Cup Brownie Mix

Tonight, I made chocolate crinkle cookies with Cup4Cup Brownie Mix.  I made brownies with this gluten free, dairy free mix when it was first introduced, but I am a little brownie challenged.  I somehow always end up overcooking them.  In general, I am not a huge brownie fan, unless they have cream cheese swirled in them, but my daughters love them, so once or twice a year, I let them talk me into buying a brownie mix.  

After seeing a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on Cup4Cup's website, I decided to buy some brownie mix to make the cookies.  You can view the recipe here.  I added 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, and two large eggs (beaten) to the mix, stirred it well, then froze it covered in a small bowl for 35 minutes.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Inspired by Happiness Three Layer Cakes

Last night, we had our final international student dinner of the school year at P.F. Chang's.  After feasting on a variety of gluten free dishes, my friend Arlene brought out the gluten free cake she bought at Publix for the celiacs in our group.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cookies con Amore Glutenetto Cookies

One of my favorite Pittsburgh traditions is the cookie table at wedding receptions.  With our Italian and Catholic families, my husband and I had multiple cookie tables at our wedding, and platters of cookies at my wedding and baby showers.  At the time of all of these major life events, I was still eating gluten, but if I had to bring cookies to a wedding or shower now, I would definitely bring Glutenetto cookies by Cookies con Amore, if I didn't feel like baking cookies myself.  

I became interested in trying Cookies con Amore's gluten free Italian cookies after reading rave reviews in my private Facebook group, Gluten Free in Orlando.  Locally, several of my blog readers have found them at HomeGoods stores.  For Mother's Day, my husband ordered me the gluten free spring assortment online.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

San Angel Inn Restaurante Dinner - Epcot

On Mother's Day, we had dinner at San Angel Inn Restaurante in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

San Angel Inn is modeled after a 17th century hacienda at the base of Mayan ruins, and the lunch and dinner menus feature traditional Mexican cuisine.  At this restaurant, you will dine in perpetual twilight while boats from the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros float by.

I was excited to see that their menus now have a "GF" next to gluten free items, and I was told that other dishes could be modified to be gluten free.  

We quickly devoured a complimentary basket of  freshly fried corn chips, which are made in a dedicated fryer.  Served with two varieties of salsa, it's a great way to start your meal.  

The five of us decided to eat family-style, sharing four entrees.  Our favorite is always the Pollo a las Rajas, which is grilled chicken breast served with red peppers and onion cream sauce, poblano rice, and queso fresco.  If you do not like the taste of onion, don't worry, because it is so subtle, you probably won't even realize it is there.  Our chicken was cooked and seasoned well, and I loved the creaminess of the rice with the sauce and the queso fresco.

We also ordered the Carne Asada, which is New York strip served with a cheese enchilada, black refried beans, red bell pepper, onion, Mexican rice and guacamole.  Our steak was tender and cooked to the recommended temperature of medium, and I thought it tasted great with a little bit of the guacamole on top.  I am not much of an enchilada fan, but I enjoyed the bite I tasted.  I did not sample the beans and rice, but everyone else must have liked them, because they disappeared quickly.

The only entree we chose that I would not order again was the Camarones a la Diabla, which is roasted diabla-style shrimp served over yuca puree and cascabel chile sauce, with a side of poblano rice.  I really liked the yuca puree with the shrimp, but I didn't enjoy the taste of the cascabel chile sauce, which was quite spicy.  I wish there had been much more of the yuca puree and way less of the chile sauce, and I would have liked to see the rice served on the same plate.  Because we had so many plates of food on the table, I didn't even realize the rice was meant to be with this dish until after I had already eaten it. Nina, our international student from China, loved the Camarones a la Diabla, and was very happy to finish this entree after everyone else tasted it. 

For our final entree, I chose the Lomo de Puerco en Pipian, which is pork tenderloin served over roasted vegetables and "pipian" - pumpkin, chiles and almond sauce.  My husband, Nina and I really enjoyed this entree.  Our pork was nice and tender, and well complimented by the pipian.  I loved the roasted squash and red pepper that accompanied this dish as well.  This was my second favorite entree, after the Pollo a las Rajas.

For dessert, my daughter Emma and I shared the Crema Bavaria and Mousse de Chocolate.  

San Angel Inn's Crema Bavaria is featured in my blog post about my favorite gluten free desserts at Disney World.  It is described as creamy bavarian mousse served with mixed berries, cinnamon, orange liqueur and vanilla sauce.  This dessert is about as perfect as dessert can get for me.  It is not overly sweet, the combination of flavors is incredible, and the creamy texture of the mousse is divine.  

I love chocolate, so I was excited to try the chocolate mousse with almond brittle candy.  The best part of this dish for me was the almond brittle, which you can't see because it's buried under the whipped cream.  My daughter Katie ordered the same dessert, but hers had a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the whipped cream, which she loved.  I was a little sad that Emma's and my dessert did not have any cinnamon, but I didn't feel like sending it back.  On top of the mousse was some fruit, and there were chocolate pieces inside of it.  The Mousse de Chocolate was very good, but Emma and I both agreed that the Crema Bavaria is our favorite dessert at San Angel Inn.

The lunch and dinner menus at San Angel Inn are a little bit different.  Lunch is served from 11:30 until 4:00, and dinner from 4:30 until closing.  You can read my lunch review of San Angel Inn here.

Other gluten free options on the menu include the Sopa Azteca (tortilla soup), Tostadas de Tinga, Pescado a la Veracruzana (catch of the day), Peto en salsa Poblano (grilled Wahoo fish), and Helado de Dulce de Leche (caramel ice cream).  You can view San Angel Inn's menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at San Angel Inn Restaurante?  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dairy Queen and The Orlando Eye

Yesterday, we stopped at the Dairy Queen on International Drive for some ice cream before heading to the Orlando Eye, Orlando's newest attraction.  

Dairy Queen has a gluten sensitive guide, which you can view here.  It lists menu items that do not contain gluten ingredients, like their chocolate and vanilla soft serve, sundaes (chocolate, caramel, hot fudge, marshmallow and strawberry), and manufactured novelties like Dilly and Starkiss Bars.  

I ordered a medium size cup of vanilla and chocolate soft serve.  I have been eating Dairy Queen soft serve since I was a child in Pittsburgh, and it still tastes just as amazing now as it did back then.  It's smooth and creamy, and not overly sweet.  It really is the perfect treat for a hot afternoon in Orlando.  You can view Dairy Queen's store locator here.  

The Orlando Eye, the tallest observation wheel on the east coast at 400-feet tall, officially opened last Monday.  

It has 30 air conditioned capsules with seating and audio, and each one holds up to 15 people.   

The views were great, the ride was smooth, and I love that the Orlando Eye is continuously moving.  Be prepared to enter and exit quickly, though it will stop for people with special needs.  

From high in the sky, we could see Disney World, Universal, and the city of Orlando.  We would not ride the Orlando Eye again during the day, but I hope to ride it at night when my family visits in December.  

Discounted tickets can be purchased online on the Orlando's Eye's website, which you can view here.  Our tickets gave us a two hour arrival window.  Be prepared to spend about 90 minutes there as you wait in line, get your picture taken, view the pre-flight 4D cinema experience, wait in line again, then ride the Ferris wheel, which takes about 20 minutes.  Tickets for two adults and two children cost about $70 for the time slot we chose.  Was it worth the money we spent?  Absolutely!  I love that there is always something new and exciting to do in Orlando.  

Overall, I had an amazing Mother's Day - Mickey waffles with bacon and fruit for breakfast at home, church, soft serve at Dairy Queen, the Orlando Eye, and dinner and rides at Epcot.  But best of all, I got to spend the day with my twins.  As I like to tell them, I am the luckiest mommy in the world. 

June 22, 2017 Update

Since moving to California, we have been frequenting the Dairy Queen in nearby Capitola.  For a while, I was getting my usual - chocolate and vanilla soft serve in a cup.

We have also tried the Cherry Dilly Bars.  My daughter Emma and I thought the cherry coating was a little strange tasting, but my daughter Katie loved them.

My family usually orders Blizzards, which I cannot eat because of cross contamination issues, so I have started bringing Trader Joe's Gluten Free Joe-Joe's or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups so I can enjoy the taste of my two favorite Blizzards without the worry of being glutened.

The Disney addict in me likes to put Mickey ears on my ice cream.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Dairy Queen?  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Flour & Spice Boutique - Melbourne, Florida

Update - Flour & Spice Boutique closed their storefront in June, but is still taking special orders.  You can view their website here

After having amazing waffle pizzas at The Bald Strawberry, a 100% dedicated gluten free restaurant and bakery, we walked to Flour & Spice Boutique for some sweet treats.   

Located just a few doors down from The Bald Strawberry, Flour & Spice is a 100% dedicated gluten free bakery that also offers dairy free and vegan baked goods.  They make cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bliss bars, brownie bites, bonuts (baked donuts), French macarons, pound cakes, empanadas, and pies and cobblers.  Sugar free treats are available upon request.  

At The Bald Strawberry's old location, I remember trying and liking Flour & Spice's  macarons about two years ago.  The churro macaron I ate today was not good.  A macaron should be a little crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, which this macaron was not.  It was very hard, and looked to be overcooked once I bit into it.  When I spoke to the gentleman at the counter about it, he did not charge me for my macaron.  Nina, our international student, tried the Camp Fire Girls honey graham macaron with chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallows.  She told me her macaron, which was gluten free and dairy free, was too sweet.  

We both also tried the mini red velvet bonuts (baked donuts), and neither of us was impressed.  I thought they were very heavy, and Nina thought they were too sweet.  

Before we left, I ordered a brown eyed girl cupcake, which is a chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter buttercream.  With this cupcake, Flour & Spice redeemed itself in my eyes.  The cake was rich and chocolaty, and the buttercream was creamy and not overly sweet.  This cupcake gets an A+ from me, and will keep me coming back to Flour & Spice when I visit The Bald Strawberry.  

My daughter Katie liked her Dough Boy chocolate cookie cupcake.  She said the cake was moist, and she enjoyed the frosting.  

My daughter Emma ordered the chocolate covered strawberry cupcake, which she said was too sweet.  My husband Mitch had a mini red velvet and a mini chocolate peanut butter cupcake, and enjoyed them both.  

The cranberry bliss bar I brought home had nice flavors, but was a little dry, and bordered on being too sweet.  

Overall, we found Flour & Spice Boutique to be very hit or miss.  I love macarons, but would be reluctant to try them again after our experience today.  I think we will stick with cupcakes in the future when we stop in.

You can read more about Flour & Spice Boutique on their website here.  My friend Amanda has a great gluten free and dairy free review on her blog Eating Out Without.

What are your favorite baked goods at Flour & Spice?