Leo’s Ristorante (Bristol, RI) Offers A Gluten Free Pizza Option!

I couldn’t believe it but I actually found a local restaurant (NOT a chain) that not only listed on their website that they have a gluten-free option but they are actually reasonable in price!! If you have Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance and are looking for a gluten-free pizza option, go and check out Leo’s Ristorante. Leo’s is located at 365 Hope Street in Bristol, right down the road from Roger Williams University (according to their website, students if you show your school ID you get 5% off!! – wish we saw that before last night). Their over all menu is pretty extensive – starters, soups and salads, entrees, paninis, sandwiches, and of course pizza!  Now this is where the gluten-free option comes in!  You can order a medium size pie (pizza) for an extra .99 which is AMAZING I have seen some places (never went in due to price) that charged up to $20.00 for the same size pizza.  So if you get a one topping pizza at Leo’s you are looking at spending around $9.98!! Bryan and I ate there last night – he had an extremely good-looking burger and in his words “probably the best fries I have had in a long time” and I had my pepperoni pizza for under $20.00. I will be honest it took everything inside of me not to reach over and grab one of those fries!  I did ask in advance if they were fried separately or with other breaded items, and sadly the fryer is shared.

Seeing as we are still new around here, I called ahead and made a reservation for the two of us.  The place is cute, right down town on the main road in Bristol (If you haven’t been there, you should check it out.  Bristol was voted the most patriotic town in the US not that long ago).  We got a window seat (they also have out-door seating), and for people watchers like ourselves, it was a great place to be seated.  The staff was attentive, friendly and well-informed of their products.  Our waitress was great, very friendly and answered all of my many questions and if she didn’t know the answer she asked and came back to us.  We started talking about celiac disease and I handed her one of my business cards, which she gave to the proprietor of Leo’s.

Like I mentioned before Bryan really enjoyed his meal.  My pizza was great too.  The crust was nice and thin with a good crunch to it.  It even held up to the sauce, cheese and pepperoni…so soggy crust – which I think is some times hard to find with gluten-free pizzas. Now that you have all seen the photo above, I will shamefully admit that I ate that entire thing myself!  Eeeek!  But like I said last night, the crust is so thin that really it was like eating three sizes of “normal” pizza.  Needless to say we’ll be eating there again for sure.  Amazingly I didn’t have that “ooh I ate way too much feeling”.

On our way out I actually got to speak with Paul the proprietor for a little bit about gluten fee options.  As of right now they only have two gluten-free options – the pizza that I had (with a ton of topping choices!) and their Polenta with Rabe (Leo’s Polenta fried til crisp and topped with fresh rabe and grilled Italian sausage).  However, Paul is really considering offering some more gluten-free options on their menu.  He was very excited about off of this – eager to learn and grown this customer base.  Like I said before they are the only reasonable priced option around me.  There are a few places in Newport but all very expensive.  I was explaining to him that there are so many dishes out there that are naturally gluten-free (given they are prepared in a “safe” environment).  Most salads could be gluten-free with out croutons and a gluten-free dressing.  I am very excited to see what comes of this.  I would love to see some more options, maybe a Friday Night Gluten Free Special!  I also think it would be great for their business being the only ones around offering such a thing…so keep your fingers crossed!

Another very exciting part about Leo’s is they are using locally grown and seasonal produce – which is so great to see especially around here where there are so many great local products.  We try to go to the farmer’s markets around here as much as possible.  I’m loving our selections of fresh produce, veggies, cheese and even grass fed beef.

Thank you Paul and the rest of the Leo’s staff for a great dining experience!

Girls Day in Carmel

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Before I move I really wanted to do a “girls day” with some of my close girlfriends.  We ended up spending a few hours in Carmel just enjoying each others company.  I decided to pick the restaurant seeing as I’m the one with the restrictions.  I don’t actually go to Carmel often (even though I live the next town over!), so it was harder than I thought to find a place that was reasonably priced, had a decent looking menu and had good reviews online.

I came across the site for Piatti Restorante & Bar – was in Carmel, menu looked awesome (many things I could have), was open for lunch, the prices were pretty decent so I made some reservations and listed that I have Celiac Disease (explained it a little bit) and when we arrived they asked which one had Celiac and helped us with the menu.  Our waiter went back and checked with the chefs for their salad dressings, the appetizers etc.  Obviously the pasta and pizza were out but they were willing to make anything for me, just had to ask and it was mine.

For starters we had:

Some very tasty berry drinks that sadly I can’t remember the name of and can’t find them their online menu!

GAMBERI ~ Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp, Arugula, Cannellini Beans & Lemon Oil

and

PARMESAN FRIES

Both of these little starters were fantastic.  I’m a big fan of the shrimp wrapped in bacon with the white beans! So tasty.  The Parmesan fries just sounded good and they were perfect, nice and crispy, not soggy.

For our meals Alicia and I ended up getting the same salad:

RUCOLA E FICO : Arugula, Prosciutto, Roasted Figs and Goat Cheese with Sherry Vinaigrette.

A light and refreshing salad.  The figs were unbelievable tasting with the goat cheese and prosciutto.  The dressing was nice and light.

Victoria ordered the

PRONTI : Maytag Blue Cheese, Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, Pine Nuts, Parmesan & Red Wine Vinaigrette

We all stole bites of each others dishes and hers was awesome.  Part of me wished I ordered that one with the salty olives, the cool cucumbers and the crunch of the pine nuts…yummm.  Mine was still really good though:)

Lisa was the only one who opted to be different (no surprise there-ha) and ordered some pasta which sadly I didn’t get to try any of but sh really enjoyed it:

STROZZAPRETTI “Twisted Rope” Pasta, Chicken & Prosciutto Meatballs, Mushroom, Tomato & Sage Soffritto

All in all this is a fantastic reasonably price place to enjoy and extremely wonderful dinner/lunch.  The atmosphere was very pleasant and the wait staff was above and beyond what I expected.  They were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful to me and my dietary needs.  If you have one of these in your area I suggest taking your other half out for a nice date night or get together with your friends for a girls night out.  After our lunch we headed down to the cheese shop to get some samples of great cheeses and brought a few home!  I love that little place.  Got a little surprise visit from Lisa J. right before we headed home too.  Very happy I got to see her before heading back east.

Victoria, Myself, Lisa and Alicia

Lisa S. Myself, Alicia, Victoria and Lisa J.

Thanks girls for coming out with me today!  I’ll miss you

Salad Works – Gluten Free Options!

I love salads, however I love them even more when someone else makes them.  It’s hard for me to find really good salads where I live (you wouldn’t think so, but it’s true).  My option used to only really consist of Subway but you have to be very careful with them and cross contamination.  In the past few moths, we got a Erik’s Deli – which is great!!  They have a few salads and even provide a list of their ingredients for you to check over.  But up until we got Erik’s it was pretty bad around here.  The salads at Trade Joe’s are okay but nothing great and the Gluten Free options are very limited!!

Bryan has been craving a Chinese Chicken Salad for what seems like two months now.  He finally found one at this place called Salad Works. Here is a little blurb from their front page:

“Saladworks is the nation’s first and largest fresh-tossed salad franchise concept with over 100 restaurant locations across the country. Saladworks offers a “fanatic’ly fresh” menu of America’s Best Salads, Focaccia Fusion sandwiches and proprietary soups.
All Saladworks salads are made-to-order, chopped fresh daily, and under 500 calories! Choose from over 50 fresh ingredients and create your own today!”

See as I’m always looking for a place that has great salads I sent them an e-mail to see which of their products (salad dressings, meat etc) were gluten free.  I got a very quick response from Jennifer that said:

Thank you so much for taking the time to contact us.  Below you will find a list of items, including dressings and soups, that are labeled with allergen information, including gluten content.  Please note that fresh produce items like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc are not included because they are inherently gluten free and we do not use any kind of preservatives that would add allergens.

Please do not hesitate to let us know if there is any more information that we can provide.  We are currently working to distribute this information to our stores so that questions like yours can be answered at the store level.

Thanks again and have a great day!

-Guest Relations”

She also included a chart in the e-mail that lists all of their products and which ones contain gluten (along with other allergens!). Please click  Allergen Information to view it as a PDF.

I’m very excited to try Saladworks out this summer!

The Melting Pot – New GF Menu!!

I would like to start this by saying I have not been to a Melting Pot restaurant yet, but hope to try one out in the near future.  I received an e-mail from Triumph Dining about the Melting Pot now offering a gluten-free menu.  I love fondue so I got really excited about this.  When I was younger my parents used to have these fondue parties with some of my dad’s hunting buddies.  It was usually an oil based fondue that they would cook their game meet with, but in recent years I have only had one fondue (it was okay).

The menu looks great!  It is their normal menu, however under each item they list what substitutions (if any) to make it gluten-free.   I love when places do this – they actually give you some options.  I don’t like when you go somewhere and their “gluten-free options” consist of a salad with no dressing, blah, who wants that??

Visit their website to find a location near you or to view their menu options!

Click here for a PDF version of their Gluten Free Menu! gf-pacislandmenu!!