Pho Saigon – Manassas, VA

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8130 Sudley Rd
Manassas, VA 20109
Phone number (703) 365-7700

Well Gluten Free Birds, I have another gem for you. About a month ago I tried a pho restaurant in Manassas VA, and I felt it was high time I told you about it. If you do not already know this about me, you will now. I LOVE Vietnamese food.  I am an Asian food junkie.

I have been to Pho Saigon twice, and there is a man there who completely gets when I tell him, no gluten. I have explained this includes soy and hoison sauce. He is knowledgeable enough about the menu, that he can tell me the items I can eat and not worry.

Now, for the food. What you should know about pho is that the real deal does not have soy sauce in it. If the chef knows what he is doing, it should not be in there. Pho Saigon makes a delectable bowl of pho. They are definitely experts, deft in their craft. I slurped every drop of the aromatic broth. Pho is all about the broth.

Interesting factoid, pho originated in Northern Vietnam, but now both north and south adore this dish. They have; however, each personalized to their specs. What you eat in a restaurant is a mix from the 2 regions. The Southern version has more sweetness to it, and they added the plate of sprouts and other greenery that you add at the table.

Just yesterday I stopped in again, and I just felt like eating something other than pho. I asked my friend, and he recommended the grilled shrimp vermicelli. Let me tell you, it was a big bowl of heaven. They give you quite a lot of shrimp, I would say about 10, and they were a little crispy and very juicy.

I usually douse my vermicelli in enough fish sauce to turn it into soup, if you have avoided this condiment, stop depriving yourself of this heavenly liquid. I cannot say enough nice words about Pho Saigon. If you live in or frequent the area, make sure you grace their doorstep.

Kiln & Co. – Reston, VA

1641 Washington Plaza N
Reston, VA 20190

Last week I was enjoying a beautiful morning at the Lake Anne Farmers Market. I was ecstatic to see a new custard place had opened where the pharmacy used to be. I eagerly ran inside, and waited patiently for the privilage to order from a new and up and coming establishment in my beloved Lake Anne.

When I was finally able to order, I asked about the gluten free status of their milk shakes. They were dismissive when they responded their milk shakes were definitely not gluten free. They actually said they put cake mix in them. Can I say eeeewwww. Then they weakly offered to mix the custard with milk, which I guess is what a milk shake is, but when phrased that way, in that tone of voice, it completely lost all appeal.

They behaved as if they could not wait for me to leave. So, I cannot report on the quality of their product dear readers. In this case, my scathing review is more to do with the customer service than the edibles they offer. For the gluten consuming crowd, this place could be perfect for you, but those with celiac disease, or other ailments, stay away.

Oh yeah, they offer pottery making as well.

Founding Farmers – Potomac MD

12505 Park Potomac Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854


I had heard about Founding Farmers over 9 years ago, but only now did I actually get a chance to check them out. The 1st location opened in DC around 2007. I had heard wonderful things about their brunch, and that they did have a gluten free menu.

Finally the planets aligned, and I got a chance to check out their location in Potomac MD. The decor was very “now”. They have their mission dedicated to farm to table, and local ingredients displayed prominently on their wall, like they wanted to be extra sure you were aware. Trust me, you are not missing this information. This is so in at the moment. Even Silver Diner now claims this about their restaurant.

Their gluten free menu is actually pretty decent, and they even list menu items that can also be converted. I started with the devilish eggs and I picked the prime rib with the sautéed green vegetable (a mix of green beans, broccolini, rapini, and garlic).

I was so excited to try this place, and the results are more smoldering than red hot. The devilish eggs were so so. I adore deviled eggs, but these were different. Maybe this is why they call them devilish eggs. They are similar, but not quite what you would expect. They are more like egg salad in an egg white shell. The flavor was pretty good, but the texture was a little off.

The entree was actually solid. The greens were tender and elegantly flavored, and the quarter of a cow, or so it felt like, was delish. The mashed taters were also very good. I was not as thrilled with the service. Not so much regarding their knowledge of the gluten free menu, but more attentiveness, and the knowledge of their bar.

They kept saying they had a pre-prohibition style bar, but had a really hard time explaining what that meant. From looking online, it seems it has to do with the style and preparation of the drink, meaning things were homemade. I did notice less fu fu beverages, like a Cosmo. But don’t talk about something unless you are well schooled on the details.

The Farmer John was the beverage of the day, which meant, absolutely nothing. Usually if a drink is the featured beverage, it is on special, not so with FF. The price was the same as any other day of the week, I thought that was kind of lame. I did feel like splurging, so I went ahead and ordered this drink, named after an agrarian worker. The drink, was mediocre, not bad, it just did not set off fireworks. I found the alcohol was too strong, I guess I am a weakling. I prefer more balance. I will likely not be getting an alcoholic drink there again.

The dessert options for gluten free diners is limited, so I skipped that part all together. This was a good thing, since my dinner for two came out to 90+ after tip, YIKES!

Recently the DC location was reviewed by the Washington Post. This review was ruthless. In my opinion, I think there may have been a personal reason for so much shadow being thrown their way. The MoCo location was by no means that horrible. I would go with 3 1/2 stars, and I might eat there again. I would be sure to limit my order, or I could lose my home to foreclosure.

Lake Anne Market

1645 Washington Plz
Reston, VA 20190

Phone number(703) 435-0532

Rating: taco-clipart-taco2taco-clipart-taco2taco-clipart-taco2taco-clipart-taco2taco-clipart-taco2

Listen closely, because I am about to change your life. I have 2 words for you, homemade tortillas. I have always been on the fence regarding Mexican food. Of course, what I am referring to as Mexican food is actually tex mex. The only thing remotely similar between tex mex and authentic Mexican food, is that some kind of tortilla is involved.

Well, no more am I on the fence. Last weekend I tried THE taco that changed my mind. Lake Anne Market is located in small building on the perimeter of Lake Anne shopping center. In there you will find a festive and family friendly environment, good music, wonderful people, and of course delicious food.

I originally encountered the staff at the Lake Anne Farmers Market, where they had a booth set up. Tacos only cost 3.00 a piece, so you could have a 3 taco delight for only $9.00. In my opinion, this is the best deal in the area for sure.

At the Farmers Market, they also sell pint size jars of their homemade beans, which I did not try at the time. More about these later. Turns out the corn flour soft taco shells are homemade as well, and soooo soft and delicious. I knew I had to go try the store itself.

Yesterday I decided to go there for lunch. They were very busy, so it can be a little wait, but trust me, it is worth it. You can also call in advance and order to shorten this wait. I am actually glad I did not. There is a definite up beat and warm vibe that envelopes this place. It is unique. It is fun to watch the chefs work in the kitchen too.

They seem to have a dedicated grill just for cooking the corn tortillas, and switch gloves to handle any flour ingredients, which are not grilled anyway. Let me tell you that these tortillas are the best I have ever tasted. I bought extra to use at home. Because they are so good, and versatile, I plan on using them for other things, like regular sandwiches, instead of gluten free bread. I detest GF bread.

While I waited, I tried their homemade beans. I’d swear, the moment I took that first bite, I heard a choir in the background. The flavor of these beans was so multilayered and rich. I could definitely see myself buying this from their booth at the Farmers Market.

I cannot encourage you enough to sample this little gem right here in old Reston. Soon I will try using the corn tortillas in making a recipe of chicken enchiladas which I got from a friend who was from Mexico City. Just for fun, I have enclosed the recipe below. This recipe IS authentic, and so refreshingly simple. You can really taste the individual ingredients and they come together beautifully, like a dance.

I will see you, I am sure, at the Lake Anne Market and Deli.



True Mexican Chicken Enchiladas. (Not exact measurements, just have fun)

Plain cooked chicken (Can be homemade or even rotisserie from the store)

Lake Anne Market and Deli corn tortillas

Salsa verde (Either homemade or jarred)

Queso Fresco (Crumbly fresh cheese)

Crema (Comes in a jar or bag)

Chopped fresh onions



Place some chicken (Not too stuffed) in corn tortilla and fold over, like a taco. Put in frying pan with oil and fry till tortilla is to your desired crispiness. Once all enchiladas are cooked, place a number on a plate and smother with salsa verde. Cover with raw onions and crumble queso fresco, then drizzle with the crema. Finish off by enjoying every delightful bite. You can also serve with some of those delicious beans from the Market.😉

Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant

275 Sunset Park Dr
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone number (703) 435-2166

A new gluten free ally has come to our little corner of Reston/Herndon. As always, I must make it known to all. Once in a while I get a major hankering for Ethiopian food. The issue has been that they were always so far away. I would either have to traipse to DC, Chantilly, or some other vista too far off in the distance.

I am happy to report that this issue is resolved. Enatye has moved in to the Sunset Park shopping center. This unassuming little number sports a great menu, and friendly knowledgeable staff.

So when I crave Ethiopian, I crave vegetarian. Like Indian food, it really does not need meat. I ordered the vegetarian sampler, which includes: Spicy split lentil (misir wot), split lentils (alecha misir), yellow peas (kik wot), collard greens (gomen), and cabbage (tikil gomen). The highlights of this meal were the split lentils, cabbage, and yellow peas. The spicy lentils were a little too sweet for my liking, but every restaurant is different, with different specialties. They were good, just not my favorite.

I left the best part for last. A good Ethiopian meal can never be consumed without the delightful bread like substance known as injera. It is a cross between a crepe and a soft tortilla. It is your utensils for the entirety of the meal. I simply will not eat this cuisine if I cannot have injera.

This has been the issue for a long time. Traditional injera is made with teff flour, which is naturally gluten free. Americans are not as fond of this flour, so most restaurants blend it with wheat flour to make it more palatable for the masses. Only one place carries both, now there are two!

Now, not only can I feed my need for this delicious grub, I can have it right around the corner from my home! Woot woot!

The Mosaic District Heaven

I just discovered a delicious landmark, Mosaic District Shopping Center. There is a cornucopia of goodies waiting for the gluten free foodie. Today I met up with a girlfriend at the Mosaic District Farmer’s Market.  What I can tell you is that there are many jewels to uncover there. The vendors I got to try are listed below.

  1. Out of the Bubble Bakery: They make delicious gluten free brownies, cakes, and cupcakes.
  2. Pappardelle’s Pasta: They have a selection of gluten free handmade pasta and orzo.
  3. Zayna’s Delight: Delicious humus, the best baba ghanouj, and fantastic garlic aioli.

There are lots more, but these were the ones I interacted with. This is a fantastic market held on Sunday’s, 9:30am – 2:30pm. Mosaic is located at 2910 District Ave.; Fairfax, VA 22031.

On this little outing of discovery, I also stumbled upon a wonderful sandwich joint called Taylor’s Gourmet. They make high quality sandwiches for the gluten consuming crowds, but a lot of their menu can be made on a gluten free wrap. I am told the wrap is Udi’s, but it was fantastic! It could have completely passed as a regular gluten containing wrap. What they put inside is pretty damn awesome.

I had the Filbert breakfast wrap (A wrap filled with Smokey Bacon, Hot Capicola, Farm Eggs, American Cheese, Arugula). Pure heaven. I could have easily consumed two.

In addition to all of those goodies, this shopping center also has Four Sisters Vietnamese restaurant. They sport an entire gluten free menu that is divine. Plus Mom’s Organic Market is just around the corner.

Mosaic has so many options, I could spend an entire day sampling its bounty.

Al Nakheel – Vienna, VA

340 Maple Avenue West
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 938-4220

I know it has been a long while since I reviewed a restaurant, and I hope to change this in future. Today I cover Lebanese cuisine. Al Nakheel is located in a small strip mall in Vienna. It is small, unassuming, and attached to a wonderful little market.

The staff was small but very sweet and attentive, but the star of this visit was the food, as it should be. I got the Kabob Trio with chicken, lamb, and kefta. It came with rice and salad and I nixed the bread of course.

I have to tell you that these were the BEST kabobs I have had. Juicy, even the chicken. I am very picky about chicken, if I like it, it is good. The lentil soup was delectable but my favorite part of the meal was a garlic paste, called thoom. It was made with only roasted garlic and olive oil, and I could eat a bowl. The thoom came as a condiment, and OMG it rocked!

Most Middle Eastern food is gluten free, just stay away from the usual suspects and you should be good to go.