Pizza is The Light of My Soul (East Coast)

If anyone knows me, knows I love pizza. Mostly just for the slight hint of garlic, toasted edges brushed with warm butter. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

But 3 years ago, all that ewy gooey goodness came to end when I had to start eating without gluten (wheat, barley, rye) That didn’t stop me from exploring. If there is a pizza place that serves gluten free pizza, presume I am going to (risk) try going there. As most us gluten-free eaters know, there is always a risk of contact with gluten in a un-dedicated kitchen.

Here are few I have visited in various states along the East Coast.

Marcos Huntington, WV.                                                                                                                      I typically went for the Hawaiian (pineapple, bacon, and ham) or Meat Lovers (sausage, pepperoni, ham) pizza on a frozen 12″ Udi’s thin crust covered in a thick rich tomato sauce. This specific Marco’s Pizza was trained in cross contamination, so I worried very little when ordering from there. Which was a lot.

Pies and Pints Charleston, WV.                                                                                              Another knowledgable franchised restaurant that served their pizza on a Udi’s crust, but 6″ instead of 12″. I would order the “Steak & Mushroom” with a horseradish crema. This crema balanced out the woodsiness of the mushrooms and saltines from carmalized onions to give it a rich buttery flavor.

Pizza Hut Ravenswood, WV.                                                                                                          The area lacked a range of regular food options and next to nothing for gluten-free. A pepperoni and cheese on 12″ Udi’s crust was only ordered in desperate times. Luckily, Pizza Hut does mention that their pizza is not made in a dedicated kitchen, and risks contact with gluten ingredients. Advise those with Celiac Disease to order at your own risk. I have been contaminated a couple of times from here.

Donatos Columbus, OH.                                                                                                             Donato’s creates their own gluten-free crust made from brown rice and tapioca flours. I have ordered a pepperoni and cheese, and a vegetable pie with very little symptoms afterwards. I think I keep going back to this one for the garlic, and herbaceous sauce on extra crispy crust.

Pizza Rev, Columbus, OH.                                                                                                                    I ate at one on the college campus, because there weren’t many other options to choose from. They make their crust standard with rice and tapioca flours. Primarily made to jump on the gluten free movement for those cutting back or just going gluten free according to the company. I stayed basic with vegetable toppings, basic tomato sauce and prayed I didn’t get sick.

Pizza Rustica Columbus, OH.                                                                                                              I remember very little about this place. I also don’t belive it is still in business, so I’m going to pass up the flavor profile.

Your Pie, Savannah/Roswell, GA.                                                                                                      A lovely franchise similar to a Chipotle in which you build your individual pie your way, or from a menu of sorts. The company pre-makes their rice/tapioca flour crust and bakes it in a separate aluminum pan therefore eliminating contamination in the large brick oven. The more knowledgeable employee would prepare my personal pizza in the back using ingredients not yet placed out on the floor to help with cross contamination. Due to spinning flour dough and shaping it with regular flour, there is notice that some flour particles could land on toppings. Do not recommend this for a severe celiac, as this had happened to me at the Roswell location.

California Pizza, Atlanta, GA.                                                                                                              I was unable to find out what they use as their base in the crust, but did come across this statement

              These gluten-free pizzas are prepared using the strict procedures approved by The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), using a certified gluten-free crust and other ingredients verified by our suppliers as gluten-free.

There are 3 choices you can pick from that won’t risk contamination. Aside from the statement, I thought there pizza lacked flavor and fell short. Just as you would imagine anything gluten free would from a chain. Not a top contender if had to go back.

BJ’S Restaurant and Brew House, various locations.                                                              According to the website.

An herb-infused, 10-inch crust topped with pizza sauce and BJ’s signature five cheese blend. With the exception of our meatballs, all of BJ’s classic ingredients listed on the pizza page in our menu are gluten-free

 Not your typical place to order pizza, but it’s delicious. It comes as a small portion; be prepared to order something extra if you are a big eater. Risk of contamination: low but possible since it’s not made in a dedicated facility.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list as I keep traveling. The idea is this list helps someone beginning their journey down the gluten free path

XOXO.
Mae Lively

The gluten “sickness”

I am currently at home due to a bilateral viral eye infection, and have gotten through most of my “stay at home to do list”. One thing I haven’t done in some quite time is post. My angle  for my blog is Gluten, but there is more to it than that. I’m a baker, a wife, a traveler, a foodie, and I crave learning.

However, all these things are hard to do if I come into contact with wheat, barley, or rye. It is even more difficult to work once I have been contaminated, like I was last week. Moreover, how does one explain this “illness” to people who have no idea what Celiac Disease is.

So let me explain my auto-immune disease that everyone as come to know as a fad diet. I can not have wheat, barley, or rye in anything including but not limited to food, hair and body products, or packaging. It sounds crazy that gluten can be found in hair and body products. But some products use it as a preservative and if one is extremely sensitive, it can cause the person to have a reaction. A reaction depends on the person. In my case, I get lethargic, have mental fogginess (yes it is a real thing), and grouchy. I don’t intend to be mean/rude/snappy I honestly have no control over it. Once a single crumb, or product with gluten reaches my system it is all white blood cells in attack mode. My body literally thinks a virus has entered my system and my body enters attack mode trying to remove this invader. Having to explain this over and over again gets very tiresome because I show no outward signs of being sick. On the inside it feels like I am facing all symptoms of the flu.

With the “gluten flu” it makes interacting with people a  chore. Driving a dangerous activity, as I often do not remember how I got from point A to point B. More times than not, it also increases my blood pressure to dangerous levels that could cause a stroke. Celiac disease is no joke, and I wish that it became more common knowledge. Until then I will continue to have to explain it, continue to politely not accept food brought in from other’s home, and keep praying for way to ease the symptoms.

 

XOXO

Mae Lively

Traveling Gluten Free

You have taken the time to plan out all your out fits, made numerous lists of what you need, finally packed everything, and then it hits you…..what will I eat where I am going.

We have all been there. I pack plenty of snacks. I normally go for some starbursts, reeces pieces, chips, a breakfast bar, pretzels, water, and Gatorade. On my last trip, 13 hours broken up, I made sure I was prepared. You can not always guarantee that what ever grocery store or gas station you stop at is going to have something safe to eat. AND please don’t even get me started on if we have to eat at a fast food restaurant. “you really don’t want a bun with that”, no lady I really don’t.  Bake potatoes only save you from hunger pains for about 2 hours before you want to rip into your next bag of snacks.

I fortunately did luck out on gluten knowledgeable peeps in the South. (which is already surpassing the amount where I live). We started out at Tom+Chee. Other than having to take a lactose pill before all the cheese on my grilled cheese, I would give this place a whirl again. Our next stop was in Nashville. Dinner at “Merchants” with grilled and iced shrimp as an appetizer left room for the amazing tasting Carolina Mountain Trout with potato puree, cauliflower, lemon parsley salad, grapes with out the brown butter sauce! Although bar hopping led to mostly liquor and ciders, we did have fun. Our breakfast was at a local coffee shop “Frothy Monkey” that served GF bread and jam. MMM, go just for the jam.

Lunch was served by the famous “YO MAMMAS”. If you are ever near, in, or around Birmingham, AL…..GO GET CHICKEN AND WAFFLES. You are missing out if you don’t. Sersiouly…my mouth is watering just thinking of the buttery goodness. It was the first time I had chicken wings in about 4 years. Again, when I state people don’t know what gluten is where I live, I am not joking. Food is limited in my neck of the woods.

We wrapped up with dinner at “Mike’s Cafe and Oyster Bar”. Not exactly cealiac friendly. But I was able to get steamed oysters, and a lettuce salad. I played it safe at this place just because it was more of a pub style restaurant, and I was just beginning my honeymoon. We ventured out to more places through out the week, but that will be saved for another day.

How does everyone else travel gluten free?