Gluten Free Blog Posts
2019 Halloween Candy
As Halloween is just around the corner, I asked my daughter what her favorite candy is. This is a unique list as only gluten-free candy can appear on here:
Top Seven Gluten-Free Candy of 2019
Here's the printed list of the most popular candy for an eight-year-old with celiac:
- Three Musketeers Bar
- M&Ms Peanuts
- M&Ms plain
- Reese Peanut butter cups
- Hershey Bar
- Jelly Belly Beans
- Snickers Bar
The only candy that she really wants to get is the Three Musketeer bar.
Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park in Bellingham, Massachusetts is a fun place for the family to spend some time playing together. There’s all sorts of fun trampolines, rock wall climbing, Sky Rider Coaster and so much more.
Gluten Free goodies
Urban Air Adventure has Gluten-Free Pizza and Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets on the menu. You can order them at the Cafe or as part of a meal for a birthday party.
One thing I noticed at the birthday party is that they covered the Gluten-Free pizza to prevent and cross-contamination. This is the first place where I have seen a venue go out of the way to protect the pizza after cooking it.
Regular Cheese Pizza cost $15, whereas the Gluten-Free one is $10 (It is a bit smaller than a typical pizza.) The Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets cost $6.75.
There menu doesn’t mention if the french fries are Gluten Free, but when I ordered them I noticed that they were oven-baked and not fried in oil - which leads me to believe they are Gluten Free.
If your having a Birthday party, you will be allowed to bring outside food - just they know so the Party host is aware of the situation.
Fun place to spend a day
My daughter had a lot of fun playing around with all the activities, she didn't want to spend much time eating.
We ended up spending about 5 hours on our first visit. She loved doing the Sky Rider Coaster. Check out the YouTube video of all the exciting things at the Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park Location
Urban Air Adventure Park is located at 189 Mechanic St, Bellingham, MA 02019. It's about a 30-minute drive from Framingham.
There's a rapidrefill gas station nearby where you can fuel up the car and get some snacks and drinks for the ride home.
What About SkyZone?
I asked my daughter if she had a choice would she go to SkyZone or Urban Air Adventure Park. She was mixed about which is better. She liked SkyZone because it was closer, but Urban Air Adventure Park had a lot more interactive attractions.
I have a feeling we'll be going back here soon. At least we can spend a few hours and get some lunch without leaving the facility.
We love Smashburger, as my daughter says so often - they have the best Gluten Free cheese burger.
However has Smash Burger jumped the Shark?
Check out these photos from 2017 and 2019 from Smashburger in Natick, Massachusetts. These are the same order: A Gluten-Free hamburger with a side of fries.
September 15, 2017
September 26, 2019.
I know it's been 2-years between the two photos, but I would expect to see a better option two years later. (Whatever happened to the side pickles?)
My daughter still loves going to Smash Burger, but I think she has noticed that she isn't getting the same burger. Hopefully
New SmashBurger in Massachusetts?
There are rumors that there's a new Smash Burger opening up someplace near Boston. In Massachusetts, there are locations in Medford, Natick, and Westwood.
What Do You Think?
Have you seen a quality decline at Smash Burger?
Boston’s North End is well known for fine Italian food. On any given night, you’ll find people line up by restaurants on Hanover Street.
The best way to finish off the night is an Italian dessert treat. Lucky for you there are a lot of choices.
Some great places to try are:
What About Gluten-Free Options?
Last month we were looking for a place that offered Gluten Free dessert for my daughter. We went to all the above places and only found one place that offered anything that was gluten-free.
The only places that we're able to help us on a busy Saturday night were Modern Pastry.
Bova Our first stop was Bova’s. We had visited before and thought they said they had Gluten-Free treats. But when we inquired about options we were told that they didn’t have many options.
Mike’s Pastry Our next stop took us to Mike’s Pastry. It was a busy night, the line wasn't out the door, but it was crazy inside. The only thing that’s Gluten-Free at Mike’s is the Italian ice cream. We wanted something more.Modern Pastry
This was the only place that let us know that they had Gluten-Free options. Even on a busy Saturday night, they took the time to let us know what they had available. We selected the Whoopie Pie.
Modern Pastry Menu
The official Gluten-Free menu at Modern Pastry - it's on the bottom on the near the back wall.
Dave and Busters
Dave and Busters opened up a new location at the Natick Mall. We have been their plenty of times but rarely went for a meal. Usually, its to play games with friends. Recently we decided to catch up with friends and enjoy a dinner.
After arriving we thought, "Was Dave and Busters safe for Celiacs?"
Gluten Free at Dave and Busters
Six Things We Learned at Dave and Busters
There's no Gluten Free menu. The server said that we needed to talk to the manager to place any allergy item.
When we told the manager that our 8-year old has to eat gluten-free. He said that there were some options.
There's Tomato Feta Soup, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Grilled Salmon, Shrimp Skewers, Cabo Chichen, Lawnmower Salad and similar items. (Not very kid-friendly)
For kids they only have Grilled Chicken.
We decided to improvise and ordered a Cheeseburger without a bun and a side of white rice - as they don't have a dedicated fryer.
She enjoyed her meal, adding Ketchup to the rice. She was busy playing games but did manage by to finish up her food.
I don't think it was the best burger she had, but it's hard to beat the food/entertainment. She was fine after we left and didn't experience any issues after eating gluten.
You can find additional information about gluten free options on the Dave and Buster's Gluten-Free Menu 2019 on the No Gluten page.
Dave and Busters is located on the second floor of the Natick Mall, near the food court.
The Mexicali Grill in Natick is a branch of a regional Mexican restaurant. They offer casual dinning with Mexican fare and margaritas in a very colorful family setting.
Last week we visit the Natick restaurant to meet up with some friends. We heard that they have Gluten Free options, so we thought it would be worth the try.
Five Things We Learned About The Mexicali Grill
- They do have gluten free chips. You need to ask for that. We actually had to ask two different servers because the first one said that they didn't have it - where as the second one said it wouldn't be a problem.
- No Gluten Free menu - We told our server that my eight-year old daughter has celiac and needed to eat Gluten free. My daughter ordered a Fajita with corn tortillas.
- When the order was brought out they indicated that it was the gluten free meal. My daughter didn't eat much of her dinner - perhaps that was because she ate a lot of the chips.
- For desert we ordered vanilla ice cream with a side of chocolate. When the ice cream arrived, it was on a taco shell - clearly no looking gluten free. We informed the server, and they apologized and said they would take care of it. They took the plate and brought it back to the kitchen. We were a bit concern that they would simply take the ice cream off and put it on a new plate. I think my daughter was a concern too and didn't eat much of the ice cream.
- Perhaps one reason for the confusion is that our table was severed by different hosts. The person that took our original order wasn't the one who took our desert order. (But they should have known that there was an allergy at the table.)
The ice cream plate at the Mexicali Grill
We did have a good time at the Mexicali Grill, the mess up with the ice cream didn't ruin our evening. We will be going back - probably go someplace else for desert afterwards.
Finding the Mexicali Grill
The Mexicali Grill is located at 148 E Central St in Natick, Massachusetts.
Erickson’s Ice Cream
For over 80 years Erickson’s Ice Cream stand has been serving excellent ice cream from its location in Stow, Massachusetts. They have a lot of flavors - some regular some seasonal.
Gluten Free Cones
Erickson’s ice cream now has gluten-free cones! Celiac kids can now enjoy their favorite ice cream in a cone just like other kids!
Four things We Learned
- They have sugar cones and regular cones.
- Make sure to tell the person at the window that it’s an allergy and they will make sure to get a clean scoop.
- In 2019, a child cone is $4.25, Regular is $5.25 and a Large is $6.
- The Kids size is pretty big. You may want to get a dish just in case they are not able to finish it before it melts all over them.
- Erickson’s ice cream closes for the season in October. lIn 2018, they closed on September 14th to update the kitchen.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe
Very few places in Metro-west have breakfast offerings for Gluten Free. We have found that most places have scrambled eggs and fruit as the gluten-free option. Usually, homefries are not safe since they are not cooked in a dedicated fryer.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe in Wayland is certainly an exception to the rule. They have a great Gluten Free menu with lots of good options.
Four Things We Learned Eating at Mels Commonwealth Cafe
- While they have Gluten Free options, they do have an important disclaimer on their menu. (See Below)
- Knowledge staff. One of the waiters we had had a daughter that has to eat gluten-free - she was very aware of what side options were safe to select from.
- Lots of good choices on the menu: French Toast, English Muffins, Potato Pancakes, Toast and Breakfast Sandwiches.
- Food was served with the regular meals but the server did mention it was the gluten-free meal.
GLUTEN FREE DISCLAIMER
Our gluten-free foods are prepared in a kitchen where foods containing wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts, and seed, etc are also prepared. Mel's is sensitive to the dietary needs and concerns of our customers and we provide gluten-free foods in response to customer request, but we cannot ensure that cross-contamination of ingredients does not occur in our kitchen. Please be aware that during kitchen operations, glutinous items are prepared during the day, although during our gluten-free preparation process we only use gluten-free items. Please be aware that there is a possibility that food items will come into contact with wheat and/or gluten. Accordingly, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND consumption of our gluten-free foods by those with celiac disease.
Safe to Eat
We didn't have any side effects from eating at Mel's Commonwealth Cafe. Usually, when my daughter gets gluten she gets into a mood - but that didn't happen in either of our visits to the diner. We'll certainly go back because of the options and the yummy food.
Mels Commonwealth Cafe is located on Route 30 in Wayland. It's located in a small shopping center near the Bright Horizons in Wayland. There's plenty of parking in the back.
We suggest arriving early since the place does get busy during normal breakfast and lunch times.
The Friendly Toast
The Friendly Toast is a local popular eating establishment. They have restaurants in Portsmouth, NH, Back Bay, Boston, Cambridge, MA, Burlington, MA, Burlington, VT, and Bedford, NH.
I have heard they have a good Gluten Free options, so a couple of months ago, I took my daughter to the Back Bay location for dinner.
Eight Things We Learned
- The place is very busy for breakfast and lunch. Many times when I walked by the restaurant I saw long lines of people waiting to be seated.
- When we went at 4 pm on a Friday, it was very quiet. It was a good time to go.
- The restaurant is decorated with a lot of retro images. Great place for kids to look around at all the different memorabilia.
- They didn't a have a dedicated Gluten-Free menu. The menu has a "Gluten-Friendly" label on items that can be made Gluten Free.
- Lots of good choices for my daughter to pick from - she "settled" for a hamburger with a side of bacon. I think she wanted the bacon because I told her it was a popular breakfast place - similar to J&M Diner in Framingham.
- The waiter was educated about Gluten-Friendly options and worked with us on side options that she could have. While the regular burger isn't listed as Gluten Free, she could have a grilled gluten-free toast as a bun.
- The order came out quick, and my daughter loved it. She especially loved being able to use
- We'll certainly go back. I think my daughter is excited to the Gluten-Free pancakes - but didn't want to have it for dinner after a long day in Boston.
Gluten Free Plain Burger
Juliana enjoying the "plain burger" at Friendly Toast. The burger was anything but plain. She really enjoyed it!
Finding the Friendly Toast
The Friendly Toast in Boston is located at 35 Stanhope Street in Boston Ma - near the Clarendon Street Garage. You can get here by public transportation - the Back Bay Station is less than a block away - near the Clarendon Street entrance.
Gluten Free at Lifetime Athletics
LifeTime Fitness has a Cafe, called LifeCafe, that offers members lots of healthy choices. In that selection are some Gluten-Free options that my eight-year-old daughter loves. We are members of the Lifetime Athletics in Framingham, Massachusetts
Not listed on the "official menu" but you can get a gluten-free grill cheese with a side snack. My daughter loves this sandwich. It's so good that she takes her time eating it.
You can find the grilled cheese listed in the Life Cafe store menu, it's not available as on option online or in the LifeTime App.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Pizza can be healthy if it's made with the right crust, and Cauliflower Crust pizza is all the rage right now. The Caulipower Pizza at LifeCafe is made without flour and is certified gluten-free.
The pizza is excellent - a great treat for a workout or, in my daughter's case, a few hours at the Kids Academy. She loves it! It's nice because you don't have to say "Gluten-Free" as Caulipower pizza is all they have - so everyone get's Gluten-Free Pizza.
We usually just order plane cheese. It always comes well cooked, much better than the Caulifower that we get at California Pizza kitchen.
Trader Joes Pancakes
Finding a good Gluten Free that an Eighth Year Old will eat is tricky. You can just pick out any cereal on the shelf.
Trader Joe’s has a great frozen pancakes that my daughter loves. Which is great because over the years we have tried various frozen pancakes and waffles. They are certainly worth the try if you have tried some of the popular Gluten Free brands.
Five Things We Learned about the HomeStyle Pancakes
- Available at Trader Joe’s. They are located with the regular frozen pancakes. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a separate freezer for Gluten Free goods.
- The pancakes comes individually wrapped in a pack of three. There are four packs. We have to buy 2 boxes for the week.
- Takes about 1:25 seconds to cook. I usually split the pancakes and spread them on a plate.
- Great with chocolate drizzle, cut up strawberries and whip cream topping. (Part of a complete breakfast)
- Pancakes are small dollar size - perfect for kids.
Gluten Free Cakes
Back in 2007, my wife got me this birthday cake fromThe Icing on the Cake in Newton, Massachusetts.
This cake was long before we found that our daughter needed to eat Gluten Free. While The Icing on The Cake doesn't make any Gluten-Free cakes, we did find a bakery that makes some of the best gluten-free cakes in New England:
Gerardo's European Bakery in Westborough, MA makes amazing Gluten Free cakes. We have had nothing but success with all types of Gluten-Free cakes. They have a great flavor selection and they help out to make sure that you get the best looking cake as possible.
Google Search of Gluten Free
Earlier this week, I was searching to see if there were any Gluten Free options at any of the Cafes at the Boston Public Library. IIt'sa fun place to go on a warm day since they have a nice courtyard to eat at.
When I put in my search for "Gluten Free Boston Public Library" in Google, I got back an interesting response:
Did you see it?
On the bottom of the first search is a filter - "Must include: gluten." Which obviously means the search query should include Gluten.
Funny thing is that I don't want it to include gluten.
Unfortunately there's no online information on the Boston Public Library on if any of their eating places have Gluten Free options. I'll have to inquire on another visit. We ended up going to Dirty Water Dough. It was very good pizza.
American Girl Birthday Party
This weekend we celebrated my daughter's 8th birthday party at American Girl in Natick, Massachusetts. This is her first party that we had at American Girl.
In previous years, we celebrated her birthday with her grandparents on her actual birthday in the restaurant. This year we invited a few friends to celebrate at a private dining room using the deluxe package.
Nine Things We Learned about the Deluxe Party at American Girl
- We brought our own cake from Gerardo's European Bakery in Westborough. In the past, my daughter didn't like the gluten-free cake that we had at American Girl. American Girl was fine that we brought in an outside cake. We served the guest the cake that comes with the deluxe package. Only the adults and my daughter got the gluten-free cake.
- The gluten-free cake is what was she used to blow out the candles.
- The deluxe package includes a table activity and a craft. We only had time for a craft. My daughter got everyone involved by doing a sing-a-long to some of her favorite songs.
- The craft was creating a bracelet out of string. The hostess did a good job explaining the task and help people set up their craft. The activity did involve a fair amount of work, and only one person was able to complete it in time.
- The deluxe package is 90 minutes - but the hostess said that it didn't seem like a long enough time for 9 girls.
- There was another party in the room next door. We kept going back and forth with who could sing happy birthday the loudest. I think the other room won simply because there were more people in the room.
- Basically this felt more of a lunch party than a typical birthday party that we have gone to in the past. Usually, birthday parties involve activities away from the table for a while and the party concludes with some food. This party felt more of her inviting her friends to a private lunch.
- Everyone had a good time and enjoyed their meals. Which is the most important thing!
- We were happy that the package included a goody bag, as it was one less thing to worry about.
Google Trends is a great way to find out popular searches around the world. I thought it would be interesting to see the most popular countries that search for Gluten Free. Obviously, it would be more popular in English speaking countries. Some translation examples:
- German: Gluten-frei
- Spanish: sin gluten
- Portuguese: livre de glúten
- Russian: не содержит глютен
- Chinese (Simplified): 不含麸质
Australia and New Zealand are the countries with the highest interest in searching for gluten-free. The Tasmania region is the strongest region in New Zealand that put it ahead of all other countries.
Boston ranks 15th in 58 cities in the Google Trends report. Just short of Melbourne, Australia.