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Brick Oven on 35th

Posted: July 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Brick Oven on 35th

After an afternoon of rollerskating yesterday, my youngest daughter and I got dinner at the Brick Oven on 35th restaurant. The restaurant is an old house in one of Austin’s older areas near the Seton Medical Center. They have lots of artwork by local artists on display (and for sale) on the walls. The old plaster walls and hardwood floors provide a certain ambience. We enjoyed it.

They have an extensive gluten free menu that includes pizza! I ordered their Hawaiian pizza on a gluten free crust. Even though it was a small personal size, I thought I would only eat part of it and take the rest home. But it was soooo delicious I gobbled the whole thing. My daughter ate all of her pizza (with gluten crust) as well. It’s now the next day and I’ve had nary a sign of any gluten contamination. Of course, if they are going to claim a gluten free menu in the middle of all the medical buildings and practices that surround a major hospital, I suppose they better know what they’re doing!

This is now officially on my list of favorite restaurants! I just wish it was closer to us. Their gluten free pasta dishes are made using brown rice pasta. Their gluten free menu even included gluten free beer! I didn’t have any, but the fact that there’s a place in Austin where celiacs can safely order the classic American combination of pizza and beer is pretty amazing to me.

Definitely two thumbs up!


Shady Grove

Posted: July 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Shady Grove is a wonderful and very “Austinish” local restaurant. It’s located on Barton Springs in south Austin and is one of the places the people with whom I work like to go for lunch. I haven’t been to Shady Grove (or many restaurants really) since I was diagnosed with celiac.

Last week, my coworkers were planning a lunch and were also planning to meet a friend of ours who is now retired. I really wanted to go, so I called the restaurant the night before and went through my normal spiel and discovered they had a gluten free menu! (I suspected they might. It’s that sort of restaurant.)

We went to lunch on Thursday and I explained my need to the waitress and she came back with a gluten free menu. Actually, it wasn’t just a gluten free menu. They had sections for dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan selections as well. I had the brisket tacos which were great. There weren’t a huge number of gluten free options, but there were enough for some range of choice. And mostly I was just happy to be able to go out and have lunch with friends safely somewhere.

Two thumbs up and a shout out to Shady Grove!


Taste of Ethiopia Take Two

Posted: June 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tonight, after our new roof was installed, we had made plans to go back to Taste of Ethiopia for dinner. My wife had called the owner, Woinee, several days in advance so that she could make her gluten free injera (Ethiopian flat bread made primarily from teff). Unfortunately, she had a catering engagement when we got there. Her husband is very nice, but we missed her personality and conversation at dinner. However, before she left, she had left the special injera for me!

I ordered the vegetarian sampler so I would could share and still have plenty of leftovers tomorrow. My younger son got a ground beef dish. I believe it was called kifto or something like that. My wife had the doro wat this time. My wife and son shared one family style dinner plate on the normal injera. I had a separate plate on top of my injera. We both had rolls of injera on the side. I also splurged with two cups of their coffee. I love it.

My injera? Wonderful. It was flexible and spongy, not the slightest bit crumbly. It had the texture of a real bread. And I loved being able to tear off pieces of it to use as my utensil picking up bites of food. I’m looking forward to my leftovers tomorrow. If you live in Pflugerville or the Austin area, you have to try out the restaurant. If you can’t eat gluten, call Woinee at least three days in advance and explain your special need. Otherwise, show up any time and indulge. If you can make a lunch visit and try their vegetarian buffet, I recommend that as your intro to the cuisine. If you have younger kids who tend not to be adventurous, they do have very American options like chicken nuggets for them.

My wife does recommend the doro wat with rice the way I had it last visit rather than eating it with injera. The rice mixes with the sauce and makes it easier for you to get more of the full flavor of the dish in every bite. My wife loves Woinee and missed her tonight but does not love the food as much as I do. Still, she likes it and will be happy to go there with me any time I crave another dose of Woinee’s food.


Taste of Ethiopia

Posted: June 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My wife, our law school son, and I headed to Taste of Ethiopia for lunch. None of us had had any prior experience with Ethiopian food, but the reviews were enticing. This restaurant is truly a dining jewel hidden away in a corner of a strip mall here in our own town of Pflugerville. If you live here and have not yet eaten here, you need to correct that omission as soon as possible.

We were met by the owner, Woinee Mariam, as we entered. My wife and I got the coffee while our son got the spiced iced tea. Since this was lunch, Woinee explained, it was not the full coffee service, but the coffee was still amazing. As a big poster declares, coffee truly is Ethiopia’s gift to the world. Apparently, in the full evening coffee service, Woinee will roast, grind, and brew the coffee in the traditional way. (Actually, I’m not sure if she does that at the restaurant or not, since it would certainly take time. But I’m anxious to find out!)

I then explained to Woinee that I had celiac and couldn’t eat wheat, barley, or rye. While not exactly an allergy, for practical purposes it can be treated that way. She said that her daughter can’t eat gluten or dairy, so she understands the diet. And she makes everything herself, so she knows exactly what is in it. Unfortunately, the injera (ethiopian flat bread) they typically make does contain wheat, so I couldn’t have any. However, Woinee said that if I call three days in advance, she can ferment the teff and make traditional gluten free injera for me! Wow! Obviously, that’s now high on my list of dining plans. I can’t wait!

I had the Doro Wat with rice (since I couldn’t have the injera). The chicken fell off the bone. The hardboiled egg was delicious. And the sauce was absolutely wonderful. I thought I would start with what is considered the national dish of Ethiopia for my first visit and it lived up to the reviews in every way.

My wife and son got the vegetarian lunch buffet. Woinee wouldn’t let them get forks! She came over and walked them through how to unroll and tear of pieces of injera and pick up and eat the food using the injera as their only utensil in the traditional Ethiopian manner. They tried some of everything and cleaned their plates – picking up all the food with their fingers.

At one point an older gentleman who was eating when we arrived left and Woinee ran out the door to ask him if he wanted some water to go. She came back in to get it for him and told us he was working outside and it was too hot not to have water. That sort of individual care and attention characterizes her approach to everyone. It’s as though we were guests in her home. When Woinee found out that our son was in law school, she gave him a big hug and told him that he must be very smart and a hard worker to be doing that.

If you live here and you’ve never eaten at Taste of Ethiopia, 1466 Grand Avenue Parkway, Pflugerville, TX, then go. You won’t regret it.


Gluten Free at NXNW

Posted: June 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Gluten Free at NXNW

As part of my wife’s birthday celebration, we decided to try North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery. Their menu looked pretty good and they had developed gluten free options. My wife had a flounder special which wasn’t on the menu. My son had a chicken pasta dish. And I tried out the fresh vegetable grille from the gluten free menu. Service was good. The grilled vegetables in my dish were wonderful and I loved the bell peppers and lentils under them. The others said their food was good as well. Obviously, I couldn’t sample everyone’s dish the way we once did.

In short, this seems like an excellent gluten free dining option here in Austin based on my first experience.


Gluten Free Mother’s Day at Flemings

Posted: May 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gluten Free Mother’s Day at Flemings

My research showed that not only was Flemings offering a Mother’s Day Brunch, but they had a gluten free menu. So I made reservations at the new Domain location in Austin and specified in the reservation that I had celiac and needed the gluten free menu.

I dropped my family off and went to park. My wife said they had the gluten free menu ready for us when we got there. She never even had to mention. Our waiter, Dallas, was extremely helpful. I had expected my family to order from the brunch menu while I would have to order something different from the gluten free menu. However, on examination, it appeared that there was at least one option in each category that was similar to the gluten free menu. I asked Dallas and he checked with the chefs. The selections I pointed out were all gluten free with only the slightest modification, which the chefs readily agreed to make. So I got to order the same brunch the rest of my family ordered! That was so cool.

In all honesty, this truly felt like a feast. It’s not a feast we can afford too often. But it was a wonderful experience all the way around. My wife and children also loved the food. But my wife and I had been to Flemings once before, prior to my diagnosis, so I knew they would love it. My experience there as someone with celiac couldn’t have been better in any way I can imagine.


Rice Pudding at Katz

Posted: May 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rice Pudding at Katz

Last night, to celebrate our 19th anniversary, I took my beautiful and charming wife to see The Grapes of Wrath at Zachary Scott Theatre. The performance was truly amazing and the final scene was heart-wrenching in its raw, exposed humanity.

My wife had had a very busy day and had not eaten much, so she was hungry after the performance. We decided to stop at another nearby Austin icon, Katz. (Long time residents will immediately picture Marc Katz yelling his slogan on TV. Katz never closes!) A New York style Jewish deli is not the most likely place for someone with celiac to go. However, the waiter was extremely helpful and attentive. He went back to the kitchen and confirmed with the cooking staff that the rice pudding (a wonderful treat!) had no gluten in it. Just rice, cream, sugar, cinnamon, and strawberries. I had coffee and rice pudding while my wife enjoyed something more substantial.

While my perennial favorites like their bagels with cream cheese and lox and their massive and wonderful reuben sandwich are now off-limits to me, had I been hungry for something more than dessert, I had the impression from my experience with the one dish that they were more than willing to take the time to work with me to find something I could eat. Have I mentioned lately that I love living in Austin?


Celiac at Chuy’s

Posted: May 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Celiac at Chuy’s

If you’ve never been to Austin, then you may not have experienced the unique TexMex heaven called Chuy’s. It’s long been one of our favorite places and we were thrilled when a new one opened in Round Rock a few years ago. When my father-in-law wanted to take us out for my birthday a few weeks after my diagnosis, it’s one of the first places I thought of going.

My wife called them and spoke with the manager. I believe her name was Sandy and she was extremely helpful. She knew what celiac was and said they set aside some of their chicken each day specifically to use for people who can’t eat gluten. (Their normal meat preparation apparently includes some type of beer-based marinade.) When we arrived, our waitress recognized celiac and immediately warned us they couldn’t absolutely guarantee there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination. She didn’t know the details, but spoke with the manager to find out exactly what I could have. She came back with the list of sauces I could have. Most of their sauces are thickened with corn starch, so were on the available list. I chose my personal favorite, their hatch green chili sauce for my chicken enchiladas. The rice and beans were also safe. The manager came by to check on us and see that everything was OK.

I knew when I was diagnosed that Austin, being the sort of place is it is, would be an easier place to live with this disease than many other places. And my first experience with a home-grown restaurant bore that out. They knew about celiac, were prepared for it, and were as helpful as they could be. Obviously, the risk of cross-contamination in any restaurant is such that I don’t eat out much anymore and I wouldn’t risk it as a regular event. And my menu choices at Chuy’s were seriously limited (which I knew would be the case). But it was an encouraging encounter. And it’s great to know that I’m not forever barred from Chuy’s. 😉


About

Posted: April 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My name is Scott Morizot and I live in the Austin, TX metropolitan area. I decided to start a blog after being diagnosed with celiac disease. Rather than approaching it simply as a disease, I decided to approach it through the lens of faith. This blog includes the intertwined thoughts and musings of faith and experience in the journey with such a diagnosis. It collects resources, but also my internal thoughts and experiences.

If you’re unfamiliar with celiac, you may want to read my post, What Is Celiac Disease?

The series, Not the Fast I’ve Chosen, chronicles my thoughts as I started this blog after being diagnosed.

If you want to contact me for any reason, you can do so via email scott at faithandfood dot morizot dot net.