The J&M Diner was one of 11 businesses destroyed by a 3-alarm fire on March 11, 2017, at the Old Path Village Plaza on Concord Street. The Diner reopened on November 27th to huge crowds. We decided to wait a couple of weeks and checked out the new place.
We were fortunate to be served by the owner of J&M. She told us that a lot of people were very excited that they were back in operations. She told us that they had a large Marathon Day following, apparently people that run the Boston Marathon like to treat themselves to a breakfast when they travel to Boston for the Marathon. (Just a heads up that there may be busy around the 3rd week of April.)
Same great Food and Company
The new restaurant has a much larger dining room and kitchen. We still had to wait for 15/20 minutes to be seated at 10:30 am. At least in the new location, you can sit and wait for your name to be called.
The food was good as we remembered. Sure you can get breakfast anyplace in the MetroWest, but there's something special about ordering a meal that's named Ooowy Googy. They do put a lot of creativity in their food.
The other nice thing is that J&M now accept credit cards! In their old location, it was a cash-only business. While they did have an ATM machine in the back - it had a $3 surcharge. We like it because we don't really carry that much cash around.
Gluten Free Options
While J&M Diner was constructing their new location, we asked if they were going to have any gluten-free options. In particular, we saw all the waffle machines they had lined up and wouldn't it be great if one of them was dedicated to making gluten-free waffles!
They told us that they were working on getting the store up and running. Once things have calmed down, they would consider having gluten free options.
We'll keep an eye out and will update on delicious gluten-free options at J&M Diner in Framingham, Massachusetts.
J & M Diner is now located at 50 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702.
Nespresso is a really good single cup coffee. If you haven't tried it yet, stop by one of the Nespresso stores and try one of their coffees. You can't get a free coffee, but its certainly worth the investment. A basic cup of coffee cost a bit less than one that you get at Starbucks.
Nespresso coffee shops offer all sorts of different drinks and for the most part, they are all gluten-free, with the notable exception of the Smores drink. Each drink can be made decaf - so your children can try the coconut peanut butter drink.
The people at the Boston, Newbury Street store are very friendly. They offer great one on one service. So if you have an allergy they will make sure that there's no cross-contamination.
Meanwhile at Home
When you do get your own Nespresso machine, here's a great drink-mix to try: Nespresso Mocha
2 scoops of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
Put the Swiss Miss in the cup and then add the coffee - obviously, make sure that you're using a mug that can handle the mix.
This is a great winter morning drink. You won't need to add any sugar or cream to this drink. (Ya I know there's plenty of sugar in the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate)
Did you see this Target commercial before Thanksgiving, titled "Target Holiday 2017 - Thanksgiving":
Kind of cute, right? Well, what you may not know is that the last line in the commercial was said by the Fad Barbie. This sort of implies that eating Gluten Free is a fad thing.
This is a bit insulting to those that have celiac because it implies that eating "Gluten Free" is just a fad diet. While many people have jumped on the "Gluten Free" bandwagon, it's certainly not a fad for millions of celiac users.
What do you think? Was the Target Commercial in bad taste?
Its always hard to find the right dish to bring to a potluck. You can't go wrong with a gluten-free chocolate dessert treat. The good thing about this recipe is that it doesn't take much time to prep, and you don't have to worry about it.
Gluten Free Pretzels have more of a crunch, and would certainly recommend using gluten-free pretzels than regular pretzels. In addition, gluten-free pretzels tend to hold the crunch longer when in the refrigerator.
Bag of Gluten Free Pretzels
M&M (Seasonal Colors)
Top a pretzel with a Hershey's hug and put it in the oven for 5 mins. Take it out and place an M&M on top of it. Put in the Refrigerator to let it cool for a few minutes.
Download the complete Instructions.
Things I learned
We have been making this for years, even so, there are a few things I learn this time around:
It takes about 2 bags of Hershey Kisses (16oz) to top all the pretzels in a 16oz bag.
One 1 lb bag of M&Ms is enough for 3 bags of Pretzels
Better off getting a 16oz bag of Snyder Gluten Free Pretzels than two 8oz bags Glutino's Pretzels. (Cheaper!)
The Snyder's Pretzels are a bit smaller and are perfect for this project.
Hershey Hugs are better than typical Hershey Kisses because you get a nice color swirl
Once completed, I kept the finish product cold all morning, and it was a nice and cold treat.
This easily could be made several days in advance.
Quick and Easy to Make
The nice thing about this is that there's no prep ahead of time. You don't have to wait for the microwave or mix ingredients at the last minute.
Simply store the container in the refrigerator and take it out when you're ready. A great idea for anyone who wants to contribute to a potluck but may not have time during the day.
Marshmallow Fluff and Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate are the perfect combination for a treat on a nice cold day. Have you tried it yet?
Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix
The large 58.4 oz container of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix is great to have in the pantry. You never know when you have to make a large batch of Hot Cocoa when company comes over. Once open the container is good for a year.
If Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix isn't strong enough chocolate, you can always put a Hershey Miniatures in the cup. Simple drop in the mini and stir the mix before topping it off with Marshmallow Fuff. The hot water will melt the Hershey Mini for a nice boost of chocolate flavor.
Typically you would top off the hot chocolate with standard Marshmallows, but the melted Marshmallow Fluff is an excellent way to sweeten your drink. I have found that the Marshmallow Fluff has a more taste than a standard marshmallow. In addition, you can pack more fluff in a cup than you can with typical marshmallows so you get a slightly sweeter cup of Hot Chocolate.
This past summer we visited several attractions in the White Mountains, including Story Land and Santa's Village. On our last day we stopped at the Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brew Co for dinner. It was a great experience and we'll certainly be going back!
We accidentally discovered Moat Mountain Smoke House because we stopped at the Local Grocer thinking that we could get a good Gluten Free meal there. We arrived too late and they had already closed the kitchen. They don't open for dinner. We did a quick search and surprise to find that the highest rated Gluten Free restaurant, on Find Me Gluten Free, in North Conway was right next door.
Good Gluten Free Options
Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brew has a great selection of Gluten Free options. Which was a nice change of all the different places that we tried in North Conway.
The server was very helpful with the choices that my daughter could have. The server appeared to be not only knowledgeable about how things were prepared in the kitchen, but also cross contamination issues.
My daughter selected the gluten-free cheese pizza. She was happy to have so many choices and even delighted to have cheese pizza on vacation.
The pizza was excellent, and as I recall she ate most of it. Which is a rare thing for her to do? Usually, she just has a couple of bites and says she's full. So the pizza must have been that good to want to eat a lot in one sitting.
I did have a bit of one of the slices and it was good well and nice and crispy.
We'll Be Back
All out meals were really good, and it was a nice family restaurant. They actually have quite a good selection of micro-brews. We'll certainly be back on our next adventure to North Conway.
We were lucky that we didn't have much of a wait, as we left we could see that the wait to sit down was going to long wait. I can tell you that it's definitely worth the wait. Especially if you want delicious gluten-free food.
Finding Moat Mountain Smoke House
Moat Mountain Smoke House Co. is located on historical White Mountain Hwy. It's about 4-minute drive North from the 5 and 10 store. The address is 3378 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH.
Perfect drink for a Post-Trick or Treat evening, also delicious as a Saturday Morning treat. Try this mix some time:
DIY Lucky Charms Shake
It's a homemade version of Burger King's Lucky Charms Shake. At least when you make it home, you know it will be gluten free.
Lucky Charms Still Gluten Free?
Lucky Charms are still Gluten Free. I have seen some Facebook posting about how Lucky Charms is not safe. All the information I have found out over the last few days are quite the contrary. The FCC hasn't posted any warnings and there's nothing about it on the General Mills website.
Fact is that Lucky Charms is still Gluten Free and currently meeting the US guidelines of being gluten free.
In 2015, there was a change.org petition titled, "Change testing and production of gluten-free Cheerios to be safe for all.' While not directly related to Lucky Charms, the Cheerios testing would have impacted testing and certification by General Mills. Oddly enough the petition failed to pass by one person.
Its Halloween season, time to start thinking of gluten-free candy.
Several bloggers have put out their annual list of gluten-free candy. Rather than duplicating their work, here's a link to verywell.com website. It's a good list of popular candy that and if it safe for celiacs.
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.
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 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.