Sadness thy name is Whole Foods

In a previous post about GF bread, I told you about LivWell brand and how wonderful it is. Whole Foods was the only place I know of who carried that brand imported from England. Every time I went in to purchase more, they were out, and I finally got the gumption to ask why? 

It turns out that Whole Foods was starting to have trouble with the company so they severed ties. No more yummy bread? NOT fair…

Best GF Bread Thus Far

This is not going to be chock full of quirky dialogue and funny witticisms, OK, maybe a little. It is just how we roll here at GF DC. I have tried A LOT of the GF bread out there. And let’s face it, most GF bread on the market would not be distinguishable between well worn cardboard if it were not packaged in pretty bags and stamped at 6.00 a friggin loaf. Grrrrr. I mean, you hear people writing columns about which GF bread tastes the best, but come on, it really means which one can we doctor up enough to mimic real bread. Seems that bread making is rocket science. It is one of those mysteries we cannot crack, like the common cold, hair loss, Jimmy Hoffa.

Well, there is one I have tried that shows there is a small dot of light beckoning us to the end of this dark dank tunnel. It is made by a British company called Livwell. So far I have only tried the seeded bread loaf and crumpets. The amazing thing is this bread gives at the touch. It does not feel like it is made of clay and mortar, it is SOFT. You can even eat it without toasting it first! I know! Unbelievable.

The crumpets were pretty good, but the bread is the true gift here. I am eager to try more, however, the one problem is I have only found it at Whole Foods. My plan is to find out from them if they can start carrying more. I am only one of a starving public who needs real food again. So, dedicated fans, I will keep you posted…

Oh yeah, here is the link. Party on. http://www.livwell.eu/

Today We Tackle 2 Countries

I know it may seem like I have gone into hiding, but I promise you it is nothing that permanent. I recently had a job upset, and it has taken some time to adjust. I should be back now, fingers crossed.

Well, to commemorate my return, I am reviewing two restaurants stemming from 2 separate countries and cultures. One is from India (Cuisines also included are Bangladeshi, and Bengali); the other, Ethiopia. Let us start this party with the former.

Sid’s Kitchen
298 Sunset Park Drive
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: 703.435.2465
Email: sidskitchen@gmail.com
Website: http://www.sidskitchen.com/

My favorite kind of restaurant in the whole wide world are those little holes in the wall that deceive you with their modest looks, then bowl you over with fantastic food. I just like a place with no room for pretention. The name was promising. It made me think of someone’s home. From the moment I arrived, it felt like I had been invited for supper at a friend’s. We were greeted by, who I can only assume, was Sid. He was an enchanting middle aged man with such a sweet temperament. His wife seemed to run the joint, manning the kitchen all by herself. He good heartedly admitted, she cooks, I am the dish guy. Totally charming.

To get to the meat and potatoes, so to speak, it is a seat yourself smallish buffet. But if all the dishes are divine, larger is just unnecessary.  The good news is, aside from fried foods and bread, Indian food is naturally gluten free. The surprising bit is that there was only 3 items that fall into the “bad” category, everything else was free for the taking. Every last morsel was heaven. Spicy, but not too spicy. The only thing that was missing was a really good yogurt sauce, but that could be a regional difference. They also include with the price of the buffet, a can of soda or bottle of water.

The price is the best part after the fabulous food. You get all this for $7.99. No I am not jerking your chain! No I will not pinch you either.  All in all, I think it is my new fave Indian dive. Not only was there wonderful hospitality, but also fabulous food at reasonable prices. This is a combo that cannot be beat.

Manna Bakery and Bistro
14215X Centreville Square
Centerville, Virginia 20121
Phone: (703) 543-6990
Website: http://mannabistro.com/

Manna Bistro & Bakery on Urbanspoon

I LOVE Ethiopian food. I tried it for the first time almost 12 years ago, and after that, I have not found a place I enjoyed  as much. It is like I have been searching for a lost love. I had tried a couple of places. One was pretty well known in DC, but it just lacked something. Finally I have found her, my new Ethiopian food temple.

Like Indian food, Ethiopian is naturally gluten free. Even the sourdough spongy pancakes you use in lieu of utensils (injera) is made from a gluten free grain, called teff. That is, authentic injera is made of teff. To appease the American palate, most Ethiopian restaurants make injera using teff AND wheat flour. It is almost impossible to find a place that does it old school anymore.

I did some research, and Manna had both kinds. So off I went to taste the fruit so long withheld from me. The décor is modest, just as I like, and the food tasted better with every bite. With Ethiopian food, I actually prefer vegetarian. I usually get the veggie sampler so I can get a little of all my favorites, messer wat (a spicy red lentil sauce, Kik-Alicha (a yellow split pea sauce), and Atakilt (Cabbage, carrots, and potatoes). In my previous experiences, the serving sizes seemed a little skimpy with the sampler, but not at Manna. The portion sizes were spot on. My husband, and taste adventurer extraordinaire, got the Doro Alicha (chicken simmered in onion, garlic, ginger and herbed butter), and it too was divine. This will be my main haunt for Ethiopian, of this I promise you. Oh yeah, try the French macaroons. They are celestial pockets of pleasure to the tongue, and GF.

The Best Darn Tootin Pizza in the DMV

Pizza, it is one of those foods you may love with a passion, or one you feel you can live without. If you are like me, you are somewhere in the middle. I am one of those who did not think twice about pizza, until I was told I could no longer partake of its bready cheesy goodness. Then I simply craved it. That is the saying, “you never know what you have till it’s gone.”

The good news is that we are not living in the GF dark ages anymore. A whirlwind of new products is ever rising from the dark. Restaurants are recognizing our right to eat in places other than our homes. Freedom is ours!

For that purpose I am here to report my own personal favorite pizzas currently available to the gluten-challenged crowd.

#3  Mellow Mushroom   cartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizza(3 pies)
1030 Elden St
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: (703) 707-9300
Website: http://mellowmushroom.com/

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon

Very tasty pie, delicious crust. Awesome sauce. The downside is the staff are not as knowledgeable, so it can take a while to get your order taken. Like most places, they have certain toppings that are considered GF, stick with those. I am not sure I trust the staff to know what is GF and not GF in their ingredients. Another downside is they do not deliver.

#2 Ledos  cartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizza (4 pies)
Several locations in the DMV. Click here to locate your Ledos.
Location of my review:
254 Hunters Woods Plaza
Reston, Virginia, 20191
(703) 758-9800
Website: http://ledopizza.com

Ledo Pizza on Urbanspoon

Ledos was a standard watering hole before I found out about the celiac. When I heard they had started making GF crust, I just could not resist. All I can say is do not try to resist. Their GF pizza is fantabulous. Still, they do not deliver.

#1 California Pizza Kitchen & zPizza  cartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizzacartoon_pizza (5 pies)
Multiple locations for both restaurants.
http://www.cpk.com/
http://zpizza.com/

CPK

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Zpizza

Zpizza on Urbanspoon

I cannot say enough wonderful things about CPK and zPizza. The deliciousness actually made my eyes roll back in my head. Crust is thin and crunchy, and so good I actually ate the leftover crust, which I NEVER do. CPK also has separate handling space and equipment for their GF menu items. Still, alas, no delivery. zPizza delivers, but there is nothing near me. If you are fortunate enough to have this pizza shrine within delivery distance, you can be assured you have my never ending envy you lucky bastard. ;-)