This past summer we saw Phantom of the Opera at the Boston Opera House. We searched around looking for a great place to eat Gluten Free. We found some great reviews with Back Deck and thought it would be good to check out.
Brief description from their website:
Hardwood charcoal is made by partially burning oak and maple with limited oxygen which eliminates the more volatile components, like trapped hydrogen, methane and tars, allowing for a more predictable, even burn and much less smoke than wood. At the same time, we feel it gives you some advantages over grilling with gas.
Besides the pleasant smoky flavor it imparts, charcoal gives you higher, more intense heat. Charcoal can produce temperatures 100 degrees higher than gas which means foods sear better, delicate food like fish stick less, and the "grilled" taste, which is a product of the hot grate searing the surface of the foods, as well as the smoke produced by the fire, is enhanced.
If you are skilled in charcoal grilling, in some ways burning hardwood charcoal allows you more control than gas. A charcoal fire has many levels of heat, unlike a gas fire, so that if you can read the fire you can adjust the temperature under a piece of food by simply moving it to a hotter or cooler spot.
Gluten Free Options
They have a dedicated fryer for their french fries. Which isn't all that important for adults but its good news for a six-year-old. My daughter order the usual Cheeseburger.
They have a separate Gluten Free menu with lots of options to select from, check out the Dinner menu online.
The waitress was very knowledgeable about their gluten-free options and how the kitchen is set up to prevent any cross-contamination.
The Flourless Chocolate Sundae was yummy and highly recommended.
It was actually a good experience eating at Back Deck. We had an early dinner, which was good since we could take our time and not feel the rush to make the show.
Note: We tried to get a reservation closer to the 6 pm show time but they didn't have anything available. If you do eat early and have sometime before the show, there are a couple of nearby coffee shops where you can sit and chat. Caffe Nero is direct across the street from the Boston Opera House.
The Downtown Crossing area isn't a fun shopping experience as it was back in the 80s and 90s. It's not as fun to walk around and browse the stores. (Hasn't been the same since Barnes and Noble left.)
As we were leaving the restaurant was getting busy - clearly from the theater crowd.
We certainly will be going back to Back Deck for our next show at the Boston Opera House. The food was delicious and they had great gluten-free selection.
Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub
Muddy Moose is located in the center of the busy North Conway Shopping area. Tourist visit here because of the location and the food. It's a very popular location.
If you arrive during the typical lunch or dinner hour, expect a 20-30 minute wait.
Gluten Free Options
The Muddy Moose has a separate Gluten Free Menu. Be sure to ask for it when they call your name. (or as you see them collect the menus as you walk to the podium.)
There are lots of excellent Gluten-free options on the menu, including Burgers and Sandwiches on gluten-free bread. They don't have a separate fryer, so french fries are not available.
My daughter ordered the Trailside Burger with a side of white rice. She was happy to get the rice since she actually likes that when we go out for Chinese.
The person taking the order was educated about the Gluten Free options and make sure to put that it was for an allergy.
My daughter liked the Trailside Burger but didn't really like the rice. While she did like the thought of getting rice, I think she was disappointed because other children had french fries with their order.
If you do go to Muddy Moose, my daughter would recommend getting the Baked Potato as the rice wasn't that good. Otherwise, it wasn't a bad place to go. It was a good casual restaurant that seemed reasonably priced.
Directions to Muddy Moose
The Muddy Moose is located at 2344 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860. Directly across the street is the 1768 Country Inn.
A few months ago we tried getting to the 110 Grill and found that it had a 40 minute wait. On the next attempt, we arrived early and we were seated within a few minutes of arriving.
Allergy Friendly Resturant
From the top of their menu:
Here at 110 Grill, we pride ourselves on our commitment to accommodating all guests' allergen needs. We do this through preparing dishes to order in our scratch kitchens, utilizing allergen picks and only having management deliver allergy-safe dishes. Our management teams have current certifications for Food Safety and Allergen Awareness, and all employees receive extensive allergy awareness training to ensure guest safety.
Gluten Free Bread
Most places don't have any gluten-free bread as an appetizer while waiting. 110 does have it. The waitress was very helpful in making sure that my daughter had a Gluten Free bread. Which is nicely toasted. When one didn't arrive, she ordered another one.
My daughter was delighted to get two pieces of fresh warm bread. (I suspect that its frozen dough and they warm it up in the oven.)
110 Grill has a separate Gluten Free menu with lots of choices. (You can see the menu on their site.) My six-year-old daughter was excited to order Fish and Chips.
We were delighted that they were able to make a kids size portion of the meal. It was the perfect amount. She loved the Fish as well as the chips.
For dessert, 110 Grill actually have a Gluten free cake. This is a perfect option if you're looking to do a cake to celebrate a birthday or any special occasion. I got the Caramelized Banana Flatbread, which isn't gluten-free, and it was delicious. I wasn't able to finish the whole thing and had to take it home.
Finding 110 Grill
The 110 Grill that we ate at is located in Hopkinton, Massachusetts - just off of exit 21 on 495. As mentioned earlier, this is a very popular restaurant, we highly recommend having an early dinner - especially if you have hungry kids.
There are locations in Berlin, MA, Braintree, MA, Chelmsford, MA, Haverhill, MA, Hopkinton, MA, Leominster, MA, Nashua, NH, Rochester, NH, Wayland, MA.
Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery
In North Conway is a small coffee shop located directly across the street from the old '5 & 10' store is The Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery.
From their website:
The Met Coffee House has been a destination in downtown North Conway, New Hampshire for over fifteen years and is proudly locally owned and operated by Larry and Diane Flaherty.
Stop in for a refreshing hot or cold specialty latte, a quick bite, or a piece of delectable desserts. Whether you're in town or from far away, Meet Me at The Met for Coffee, Comfort, Culture and Community.
Really Good Coffee
We stopped in to get some coffee after a long day at Storyland. The store was pretty quiet as it was very close to closing time. The service was awesome. We didn't feel rushed.
They worked with us to make a very good coffee. We wanted a delicious low-calorie coffee. They knew exactly what would satisfy our taste buds Almond Coffee with sugar-free caramel.
Wow were they right!
Try the SugarFree Caramel Coffee with Almond milk - its way better than what's offered at Starbucks. (Not sure why there's is better. )
Gluten Free Snacks!
In the refrigerator are some gluten-free snacks to enjoy. We saw brownies, cookies, and other treats. Perfect snacks to fill you over until lunch or dinner.
We love Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks but there's something special about trying the local flavor. People that get hired to work at a local shop go out of their way to satisfy their customers.
Next time you're walking around downtown North Conway, stop in for a treat. If you eating Gluten-free, you'll be happy to enjoy a snack as you walk through all the small shops.
Nothing like holding a nice hot cup of coffee while walking around North Conway to explore all the outlets.
We tried going back again on our trip but our schedule didn't make that option available. It's on our list for our next trip.
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub, located in Glen New Hampshire, is a pub style restaurant well known for their grill food and BBQ sauce. It's a favorite for locals and seasonal visitors. There have live entertainment on the weekends.
They are famous for the BBQ ribs. I remember getting some back in the late 1980s. They were really good and I look forward to trying them again.
On this particular trip I skipped the ribs as I didn't want to spend much money - we were on a low budget trip.
Gluten Free Options
They didn't have a Gluten free menu. Our server worked with us to create a dish that my six-year-old daughter could eat. They do have gluten free buns.
The server did tell us that they didn't have a dedicated fryer so we couldn't order french fries.
We ordered a cheeseburger with no bun and a side of string beans - fortunately, my daughter like string beans over french fries.
We went to the salad bar and got from fresh vegetables to start. My daughter was very tired from a fun day at Storyland. She just ate the salad and didn't touch much of her dinner.
The food was delicious and my daughter loved it. I think she was a bit skeptical about her food because they didn't have a Gluten free menu.
Can't really recommend this place because officially they didn't have any gluten-free options. However, if you're looking for good BBQ this is the place to try. The BBQ sauce was delicious and I would go back just to try the ribs again.
Finding the Red Parka
The Red Parka is located in Glenn, New Hampshire. Just down the street from Storyland. It's a great place to stop after a long day at the park. You can enjoy a nice meal and avoid the traffic through North Conway.
You can purchase the Red Parka BBQ sauce, which is gluten free, at the bar or at Zebs General Store in North Conway.
Ashland Ale House
The Ashland Ale House is a local pub in Ashland, Massachusetts. It's far away from all the busy shopping area near Route 9 and the Natick Mall. It is located in the same plaza as Market Basket.
Five Things I learned about the Ashland Ale House
The place is very popular with the locals, so expect a 20-30 minute wait during the typical dinner hour. If you arrive before 5:30 on a Saturday night, you shouldn't have much of a wait.
The booths are made to sit six adults. On our recent visit with a party of six, we opt for a table. While we had to wait 20 minutes for our table, we made the right choice with 2 kids. It just made things a bit more comfortable.
You can play Mass Keno while you're at Ashland Ale. Learn about the game before you go. You place all bets and collect winnings at the bar. Who knows you may win enough to pay for your dining experience.
Most people visit to try the large beer selection. They have over xxx different types of beers mostly from New England. I tried the Apple Cider from Lookout Farms. It was very good. My advice is if you're trying something new, don't order a large - you don't want to be stuck having to finish off a beer you don't like.
Framingham Beer Works has about 15 beers on tap and British Beer Company has 26 Beers on tap. Ashland Ale has 20 Beers on tap
Gluten Free Options
Ashland Ale house has a limited Gluten Free menu. They don't have a dedicated fryer for French fries but will bake the fries. Which tastes just as good as the frier and I would recommend getting those instead of the regular french fries.
My daughter got a cheese burger. She liked it a lot, especially when we cut it in quarters. She ate most of it and we didn't take any home with us.
Finding Ashland Ale House
From Downtown Framingham, take Concord Street all the way to about a 1/2 mile from the Ashland town line.
Orange Leaf - Natick, Massachusetts
Do it yourself yogurt places are coming and going. They all have the same business model, let the customer pick their ice cream and topping and then they pay by weight.
The one place that stands out from all the rest is Orange Leaf. They have a flat rate based on the cup size.
Customers pick the size they want. There are no surprises when you get to pay. Which is good to know!
Allergy Friendly Toppings
If you have any food allergies you may shy away from such places. Such places could be a cross contamination nightmare.
However, Orange Peel has a special section behind the counter. They have special sprinkles containers where you can put on allergy free toppings. There's a sign above them that indicate they are for those that have allergies.
As for the soft serve ice cream, they had a large selection with only one of them that wasn't gluten free. (Cookie and Cream)
You can find Orange Leaf in Natick at the Route 27 / 9 plaza.
Dirty Water Dough
If you're looking for great gluten free pizza in the Back Bay, you can't go wrong with Dirty Water Pizza. Locals know this is the place to go to get delicious pizza in the Back Bay.
You can buy just about any pizza by the slice. However, they don't offer Gluten Free pizza by the slice. They told me that the best bet is to order a head of time. They only have a small size gluten free. It's really good, as my company has placed many orders from there and the gluten free pizzas are always a big hit. After a company meeting, typically there's leftover Cheese or Vege pizza but there's never ever any left over gluten free pizza.
California Pizza Kitchen has gluten free pizza, but if you want something different in Boston, try the dirty Water Dough pizza.
Four things I learned about Dirty Water
- They have a small area for in-house dining. With 28 seats inside. There are no outside dining options. There are a couple of tables setup by the window where you can sit and watch people walking down Newbury Street. Great place for People Watching.
- There is a TV where you can watch ESPN TV. If you want to change the channel just ask! On the wall is a picture of Sam Adams with a slice of pizza.
- If you order online via their website, use the "Special Request" to ask for the Gluten Free Dough.
- If your still hungry after eating at Dirty Water, Ben & Jerrys is about a block away.
Finding Dirty Water Dough Company
Dirty Water Dough Company is located at 222 Newbury Street in Boston Back Bay. (Easy address to remember!) Take the Green Line to Copley Square and head North to Newbury Street. (Walk away from the Boston Public Library and Copley Square.)
Take a left on Newbury Street and Dirty Water Dough will be about a block and a half down. (Just after the Exeter Street intersection)
Harley and Jacks Burger Brew
We recently were looking for a dinner spot near Ossipee, NH. We came across Harley and Jacks Burger Brew. We did a quick internet search and found that they had a gluten free menu, so we thought it would be worth going in and having dinner.
It wasn't a pleasant experience, and we won't be going back.
The waitress that we had didn't know what Gluten Free or being a Celiac meant. She thought it had to do with dairy. We had to educate her on avoiding wheat and cross contamination.
The Gluten Free menu is basically a regular menu that has the gluten free items highlighted. It's a bit confusing to read because they have gluten free buns but none of the hamburgers were highlighted.
Order #1 - Chicken Wings
My daughter loves Chicken Wings and was happy to see it on the Gluten Free menu. So we placed that as her order for dinner. We told the waitress that we wanted a kids size gluten free Chicken Wings.
When the order arrived the Wings you could smell how spicy it was. I was asked to take a bit and it was very spicy - even to my taste. I was a bit surprised on how spicy they made it for a child.
When the waitress came back, we asked for something else for my daughter. We took another look at the menu, and order a plain cheese Gluten Free pizza. This would be a modification of something that they had on the menu, but the waitress told us that the kitchen would make it happen.
Order #2 - Pizza
The pizza came out about 15 minutes later, by then most of us had completed our meals. We cut up the pizza into small slices. My daughter said that she really liked it. She didn't eat much of it, even though she kept complaining that she was really hungry.
We felt the service was pretty bad. The food was just 'ok' wasn't something that would make us come back again. I had a burger and thought it was fine.
As for my daughter, we probably should have stuck with the pizza from the start. It was a bit risky to order something like Chicken Wings. Certainly didn't expect to be served spicy wings to a six-year-old.
Lesson learned: When going to a restaurant where you encounter some uncertainty of food, stick with a simple order. She would have been fine with a hamburger with no bun or a pizza.
Harley and Jacks Burger Brew is located on 1020 Route16, Ossipee, NH 03864.
Santa's Village is a theme park located in northern New Hampshire. It has lots of rides and attractions for kids and adults all around the Christmas Theme.
In their advertising, Santa's Village mention that it's one of the USA's Top 25 Amusement Parks - The only New England park on the list! It's worth checking out if it's better than Canobie Lake Park and Six Flags New England.
Someone told me that it's a half day park. That didn't appear to be the case as our recent experience showed that you can spend the entire day at the park and still not get on all the rides.
For kids, it's a long ride from North Conway to Santa's Village. We stocked up on some fruit snacks so no one was hungry on the ride up to the park.
Assorted Notes from the Trip
- Its 145 miles from Boston, about a 3 hour drive.
- Santa's Village doesn't check for outside food.
- Strollers rentals are Free. They do have a donation box if you want to contribute something to keep it free.
- Strollers are hard plastic ones. There are two different sizes. You may want to bring a small seat pillow for the kids.
- There are designated Smoking area through out the park. Kind of funny that they put one next to Santa's House.
- Santa's Village will hand stamps you if you plan to reenter the park. This is a neat thing for the kids to do as they exit the park.
- There are plenty of fast food establishments in Jefferson, NH. There's even a Dunkin Donuts, which was a good stop after a long day in the park. (It's a long drive back to North Conway!)
Gluten free Options
Based on our past experience at Canobie Lake Park, we decided to play it safe and bring sandwiches and gluten free snacks to the park.
We stopped at Haniford the night before and got some cold cuts and some gluten free bread. We packed everything in a bag cooler with an ice pack.
There are lockers near the entrance. However, they don't charge for strollers. We simply hooked our bags to the stroller so that we could stop and eat whenever. There would be no need to go back to the entrance to get our bags.
Finding Tables at Lunch
We had no problem finding a table to eat at lunch time near Burger Meister Food Court. We did notice that most people did buy food from the concession stands. A few people did have bag coolers.
We did buy drinks and cotton candy, along with plenty of souvenirs. We certainly help contribute to the local economy. We even stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts in town to get a drink for our ride back to our cabin in the woods.
Lots of fun in the Park
There are lots of fun things to do in the park. Lots of exciting rides and adventures for the kids. There are shows happing all the time.
Some memorable rides:
- Reindeer Carousel - Fun Carousel ride
- The Great Humbug Adventure - Arcade style game, similar to the Toy Story experience at Disney Studios.
- Yule Log Flume - Log ride where you will get wet.
- Skyway Sleigh Monorail - Fun way to see the park. Great family picture opportunity for a custom Christmas Tree Ornament.
- Santa's Home - Meet Santa! Don't forget to ask what you want for Christmas. Check out the details in the house while waiting in line.
We found that the Elfabits to be a fun game!
- You visit the Elf University by the entrance to get an Elfabet Game card.
- The kids take the card and start looking for the Elves
- When they find an elf, they put the card in the box and a hole get's punch at that Elfs letter.
- Tip: Near the Elf University, is a hint to where to find all the elves. This is useful when you're looking for that last hole punch.
Water Park Fun
The water area of the park is a lot of fun, and kids can spend a long time enjoying the slides and waterfalls. There are plenty of chairs for parents to sit and watch their kids. There are changing rooms nearby, and if you forgot to bring a towel or bathing suit, there's a store that has all the water park accessories that you need.
We ended the day at the Water Park, so the kids wouldn't be soaked or cold when going on various rides.
Don't forget to pack bathing suits, towels, and pool shoes. Pool shoes are not allowed on the large slides.
Everyone having fun at the HO HO H2O Water Park
My six and a half-year-old daughter had a lot of fun at Santa's Village. She had a fun time looking for the alphabet elves and going on all types of rides.
Of all the things that we did on our two-week vacation, she loved the time spent at Santa's Village.