Tag Archives: Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants

Starbucks Tries Gluten-Free Again

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010 my local Starbucks store will be one of many that will be offering a line of new snack options with 220 calories or less per serving.  Out of the list of 9 snacks, 8 of them appear to be gluten-free and allergen friendly!  After the Gluten-Free Orange Valencia Cake came and went, I am very happy with Starbucks for trying gluten-free again.  I am thrilled to be able to grab something for my GFK while I am fulfilling my weekly caffeine requirements.  All of these snacks are pre-packaged and labeled with ingredient lists so there is less chance for cross contamination issues but beware many contain nuts!  Starbucks has given us lots of gluten-free variety and they are all affordable. Check out the list below!  Let me know if you think Starbucks has finally gotten it right for the gluten-free and food allergic community.

Lucy’s Cookies – the one I am most excited to try!

Lucy’s cookies were created for a child who has to be careful about what he eats by a mom who’s a doctor and thinks everyone deserves something good to snack on. These delicious cookies are baked without wheat, gluten, dairy milk, butter, eggs, casein, peanuts or tree nuts. Available in Chocolate Chip, Sugar and Cinnamon, each variety has just 120-130 calories per serving.  Priced at $1.50 U.S. for Grab & Go Packs and $5.95 for a box you can share with friends and family.

Peeled Snacks

When one woman invented yummy Peeled Snacks, she gave us permission to enjoy snacking again.  Peeled Snacks use real fruit, bursting with flavor, to make a wholesome treat. With a full serving of fruit and just 130 calories or less per single-serving bag, they’ll give you a nourishing boost that won’t weigh you down.  Available in organic much-ado-about-Mango, Apple-2-the-core, and all-natural Cherry-go-round varieties.  Priced at $2.00 U.S.

Peter Rabbit Organics
Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Pouches show kids, and parents too, that real fruit can be fun and delicious. Available in the Apple & Grape and Mango, Banana and Orange varieties, each pouch has 80-85 calories per pouch. Priced at $1.95 U.S.

Sahale Snacks®
After two friends hiking up Mt. Rainier found themselves craving a more satisfying snack, they decided to create these gourmet nuts.  Sahale Snacks uses whole ingredients in their natural form — such as cashews, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, and peanuts — and combines them with dried fruits, then adds fabulous ingredients like organic orange blossom honey, lemongrass, or pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans. Available in Pomegranate Cashew, Soledad Nut Blend, and Barbeque Almonds, a blend created exclusively for Starbucks, each 2 oz. serving has just 140-150 calories. Priced at $2.50 U.S.

Stretch Island Fruit Company
Created by a family determined to make life sweeter for all of us, Stretch Island Fruit Company Original Fruit Leathers are real fruit, plain and simple.  Every original Fruit Leather is equal to half a serving of fruit and has just 45 calories. Available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada in the Harvest Grape, Autumn Apple and Summer Strawberry varieties. Priced at $0.75 U.S.

Two Moms in the Raw
We hope you’re as inspired as we are by the journey one woman made when she (and some other moms) created these granolas. The granola mixes from Two Moms in the Raw are made to be 100% delicious. Available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada in two gluten-free varieties, Blueberry and Gojiberry, each of which is just 220 calories per serving. Priced at $3.95 U.S.

We love the philosophy behind these distinctive chips: food tastes best when it’s made with quality ingredients and thoughtful preparation. Available in Multigrain, a distinctively nutty flavored chip made with flax, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, and Sweet Potato, lightly sweetened with cane sugar to enhance the natural nuttiness of a sweet potato in a chip.  Both varieties are 210 calories per 1.5 oz. serving size and provide 5g of fiber. Priced at $1.50 U.S.
These bars with wholesome ingredients you can see and pronounce are the perfect grab-and-go snack, and just 170-190 calories.  The bars are free of gluten, dairy and wheat. Available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada in Mango Macadamia, Almond Cashew, Fruit & Nut Delight, and Cranberry & Almond.  Priced at $1.95 U.S.


Gluten-Free Gratitude – Let’s hear your RAVES

GFK in soccer camp at age 4

GFK in soccer camp at age 4

Stacy was a casual church acquaintance who became a life-long friend because of a food choice and a soccer camp almost 6 years ago.  Back then my son, the gluten-free kid (GFK) was only 4 and severely allergic to more than 35 foods.  Food allergies and Celiac Disease were not as common as they are today and I felt alone and scared to let my GFK participate in things that most parents don’t think twice about.  I remember trying to let the GFK go to the soccer camp Stacy was running. The only problem was the popsicles served at break time.  I was nervous and explained the situation to Stacy. She went so out of her way for us that it still makes my teary thinking about it.  She hit the stores knowing what ingredients the GFK had to avoid and came back with a special box just for him.  She says it was a small thing, that it was no big deal, but I was so thankful and happy that I brought her a small trinket of a thank you gift the next day. We have been dear friends ever since.

I am happy to report that I am collecting more and more happy and thankful stories like this one as time goes on.  A more recent incident involves my good friend Pam who planned her son’s entire 10-year-old birthday sleepover party around my GFK being able to participate and feel comfortable.  She took 6 boys to Beau Jo’s for gluten-free and dairy-free pizza and even made gluten-free Fruity Pebble Treats for the birthday cake.  My GFK was so happy he was able to go to a party and feel normal.  There aren’t enough words to describe my gratitude for good experiences like these.

More shout outs need to go to my neighbor Emma who keeps a “safe food” box on hand for the GFK and last weekend bought a box of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownie mix to bake while he was over for a play date.  And, of course my family.  Here in Colorado there are 7 grandkids and the GFK is the oldest.  My family only brings safe chips to family events and fills the Easter eggs with safe candy or toys instead of the typical chocolate favorites.  My Mom even called this week to report all of the “safe” Halloween candy she picked up.

So, while I love Gluten-Free Steve’s Rant post on his blog, I thought I would give you all a chance to post about your gluten-free or food allergy related RAVES here.  Let’s celebrate all of the great people who go out of their way to help those with food allergies or a gluten-free diet.  Tell me about your angels and let’s celebrate our gluten-free gratitude.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for the Gluten-Free Community

Coors FieldThere’s some good news and some bad news today.  I’ll start with the good.  

Coors Field will now be offering gluten-free foods during all home Rockies baseball games!  Beginning July 20th, Denver-based Deby’s Gluten Free Bakery will offer hamburger buns, hot dog buns, cookies and brownies from a Gluten-Free Booth, located at Section 147, next to Buckaroos.  This is on a trial basis so please support their efforts on behalf of the gluten-free community!  Gluten-free pretzels and gluten-free beer will also be available from another vendor. If this booth does well, Deby’s hopes to also move into Invesco Field for Bronco’s football games.  

Now for the bad news.  You may have already heard that Starbucks has discontinued its Gluten-Free Orange Valencia Cake.  They say that they were hearing it was too much of a treat, and not a nutritious snack.  It is being replaced by Kind Fruit and Nut Bars that are cheaper than the cake and hopefully more nutritious.  The addition of the Kind products doesn’t help me much since my Gluten-Free Kid is also allergic to all nuts.  

I feel like it has been two steps forward and one step back for the gluten-free community this week.  Let’s hope Starbucks re-considers and comes up with a better gluten-free, dairy-free, NUT-free product in the near future.  In the meantime, if you live in Denver please support Coors Field and its new Gluten-Free Booth!  If you make it there, I would love to hear from you on your experience.

Gluten-Free French Fries go Old School


Gluten-Free French Fries from Old School Burgers

Gluten-Free French Fries from Old School Burgers

I have been on a mission to find some fast food gluten-free and allergen friendly french fries for my gluten-free kid (GFK).  So, we hit up Old School Burgers here in Colorado.


I looked this place up because of my love for In-N-Out Burgers in California.  In-N-Out is the first place we hit when we land in Southern California each summer to visit family and friends.  In-N-Out serves fresh, quality food that is made to order.  They only fry french fries in vegetable oil and they are amazing and free of all allergens for the GFK.  I had heard that Old School Burgers based here in Colorado was the closest thing to In-N-Out in the state.  So, I researched the OSB menu and was initially pleased with what I saw as far as fries were concerned.  I then followed up with an email to customer service and they said this:  

“Our fries are simply a potato hand-cut and fried in trans fat vegetable oil.  We don’t fry chicken or other stuff except that we offer onion rings on Mondays only and then we dedicate one fryer only for them and do not mix that fryer with fries.”

That sounded good enough to me so the five of us jumped in the car and headed over to the Englewood location of OSB.  Upon entering, the place wasn’t exactly like In-N-Out.  It didn’t feel as crisp and clean but it didn’t feel dirty either.  We asked the proper questions upon ordering but I was getting some different answers on the oil issues.  The young guy who was cooking for us told us they change the oil each Sunday, then fry onion rings on Mondays only.  He then went on to say they skim the leftover onion ring bits out and the rest settles down into the bottom of the oil.  Uh-oh, this would make the oil cross-contaminated for Celiacs and I wouldn’t feel comfortable feeding the GFK fries from contaminated oil.  But, since it was Sunday and the oil had been changed that morning, we were able to order some fries for him.  And let me tell you, these fries were fresh, hot and tasty.  My son was in heaven.  So much so that in the end he ate four adult sized orders of these tasty treats. 

Since the GFK is also a vegan, he wasn’t able to try the burgers but the rest of the family did and they were pretty good too.  You can order the burgers “naked” without a bun and use a lettuce wrap instead if you are on a gluten-free diet.  I would also avoid the secret sauce being that it is made up of about a dozen different ingredients and could very well contain gluten. 

Anyway, confronted with the possibility of contaminated oil, I wrote to Joe Cohen, president of OSB.  He responded by saying:

“After we cook onion rings (in the far right fryer only of each store) we completely filter the oil and remove any sediment or particles in the fryer.  By the time we are finished, the oil is clean.  To be on the even safer side, you could also ask that your fries be cooked in one of the other fryers.  Each fryer is self-contained so only the far right one has the oil from the onions.  The other fryers only have oil that fries potatoes.”

This helped put my mind at ease enough to try OSB fries again but I will continue to badger them with questions until I like the answers.  Management and staff have to get real on how they’ll cook fries from now on.  Food allergy training wouldn’t hurt either.

Bottom line, if you haven’t found fresh and tasty fries since going gluten-free this place might be the answer.  We will most likely be regular customers there this summer and OSB has been tentatively added to our gluten-free friendly restaurant list.  OSB has three Colorado locations, one in Englewood and two in Aurora.

Old School Burgers

901 W. Hampden Ave. unit 103

Englewood, CO

Why The White Chocolate Grill is a Must Visit for Gluten-Free Diners


Robert Kabakoff and Chris Walters of The White Chocolate Grill

Robert Kabakoff and Chris Walter, The White Chocolate Grill

I am on a mission this summer to find gluten-free and allergy friendly restaurants for my family to enjoy.  If you follow my blog, you know that my 9 year-old suffers from many food allergies as well as Celiac Disease.  He has had a difficult school year watching his buddies enjoy tasty burgers, yummy french fries and bubbling pizza in the lunchroom.  I have been researching gluten-free menus in the Denver area for a few months and now that school is out, we are on our way.

On the top of my list was a new and very cool restaurant called The White Chocolate Grill located at Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree.  My husband, Tim and I visited last night on a date night for inspection. We were impressed.

The WCG, a contemporary American restaurant with rich wood and cozy, dark leather booths far exceeded my expectations.  Upon entering, I asked for a gluten-free menu which the hostess happily presented and which featured a variety of options for starters, salads, main courses and dessert.  Our server, Shawn immediately noticed the gluten-free menu on our table and took care to address our issues.  He also sent over Chris Walters, the general manager and Robert Kabakoff, the chef and one of the owners, who spent a good 15 minutes chatting with us, making us feel very comfortable and welcome on a busy Saturday evening. 

Robert shared that his prior business partner’s wife and kids were Celiacs and he dined out with them often and observed how restaurants didn’t take gluten-free requests seriously.  Robert took this to heart with the WCG menu and how gluten-free meals are prepared and served at his restaurant.  He and Chris explained how a gluten-free order is specially tagged and handled carefully, also the kitchen staff is trained on what gluten is and how it affects those who suffer from Celiac.  There is a separate gluten-free space in the kitchen and a dedicated fryer for french fries.  And, they are working on adding more alcoholic drinks for gluten-free adults who visit.  Since our GFK has such an extensive list of food allergies, Robert and Chris were willing to work with us on a special meal to accommodate our son when we return.  

To end our evening, Tim and I shared the gluten-free Molten Chocolate Soufflé Cake and it was warm, sweet, rich and delicious.  I couldn’t tell that it was gluten-free and I can’t think of a better way to end the evening.  Thank you to The White Chocolate Grill, Robert, GM Chris and team!  

We had a fun night, excellent service with allergy-friendly food and have added another restaurant to our gluten-free and allergy friendly restaurant list.  We will definitely be visiting WCG again soon and this time we will bring along our kids.  I know they will love it as much as we did and we can dine without worrying about our son’s health.  WCG also has locations in Scottsdale and the Chicago area. 

The White Chocolate Grill

8421 Park Meadows Center Drive

Lone Tree, CO  303/799-4841

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pizza at Beau Jo’s


Can't beat this sign to make you feel comfortable eating gluten-free and dairy-free at a restaurant.

Can't beat this sign to make you feel comfortable eating gluten-free and dairy-free at a restaurant.

Yesterday was Field Day for the kids at school.  Of course, there was a BBQ celebration after that the GFK couldn’t eat so I did some research and we tried our first gluten-free, dairy-free pizza at a local restaurant.  I was nervous to go but did my due diligence with online research, emails and calls the day before.  We went to Beau Jo’s in Denver and it was an awesome experience.  If you are here in the Denver area or ever pass through, I highly recommend this place.


The Beau Jo’s online menu has all of the information you could possibly need but I went a step further and called to find out exactly what was in the dairy-free cheese and the pizza sauce.  I got an immediate response and was very comfortable with all of the answers.  The menu in the restaurant even has a top 8 allergens column that tells you exactly what is in the item you are considering.  The gluten-free crust is provided by Deby’s Gluten-Free Bakery here in Denver just to be sure there is no cross contamination in the kitchen.  Deby’s also provides on-site gluten-free desserts.  That’s right, there was an entire gluten-free dessert cooler and it was all labeled with the top 8 allergens as well.  

The GFK had a tasty pizza lunch and was thrilled to get a pizza box to take his leftovers home in.  It’s the little things that excite us!  So, we have added another restaurant to our rotation and we are very excited about it!  


Gluten-free, dairy-free pizza from Beau Jo's in Denver.

Gluten-free, dairy-free pizza from Beau Jo's in Denver.

Have you ever eaten gluten-free at Beau Jo’s?

Starbucks has Responded to the Gluten-Free Community!

images1I blogged a few months back about voting for Starbucks to add gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free treats to the bakery case.  Well, I am happy to say that Starbucks has answered our call, kind of.  Today, Starbucks announced they will begin offering Gluten-Free Orange Valencia Cake with Almonds nationally on May 5th.  Exciting for some gluten-free foodies but many who have Celiac Disease also suffer from other food allergies and nuts are one of the top 8 allergens.  So, I am a bit disappointed because my son happens to be one of the many Celiacs who can’t ingest any nuts, including almonds.  Sad to say, he won’t be able to try this exciting new gluten-free treat from Starbucks.  But, I am still hopeful that this cake will be such a hit that Starbucks will develop more treats and maybe a nut-free one!  At least they are heading in the right direction.  For the Starbucks announcement, click here.

What would you like to see Starbucks add to the menu?