Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RICEWORKS







Victoria buys these rice based chips all the time, I never mentioned them.
Today, Isabella asked to take some to school for a snack, so let me tell you quickly.

I am not a favorite of potato chips or any kind of chips. Rice chips? Nah. Not for me. But they are gluten free, no transfat, made of whole grain rice (as compared to what??? Uncle Ben's?), tasty, colorful and so on. I am still not enthused about them. Personally.


BUT. The rest of my family loves RICEWORKS. Especially the Sweet Chili flavored ones. They do have a nice kick before the sweetness smoothes them out on your tongue.


Victoria buys them at Costco (LAAARGE bag), but I have seen them at Sobey's, Safeway and Superstore.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

GLUTEN FREE BREAD
























































Last October I wrote a post in here about the Top 5 bestsellers at GF Patisserie. Not much has changed really in that ranking, maybe the selection has gotten bigger, people buy more different sweets now. But still, undisputed in the #1 spot, are GF Patisserie's breads.

It is a daily staple after all, and Celiacs do enjoy a good slice of it, Hamburger or Panini, very much like the rest of us.
Victoria and Lauren keep producing bread at a great pace, every week. Wednesday, Thursday there is a bit of a rotation with the selection, but come Friday & Saturday, they go all out with every bread available.


Especially on Saturday, by far the busiest day, Lauren starts much earlier to bake so she can make as many loaves as their ovens will let them.
And yet, sometimes, when clients come in after 2pm, all there is left are some frozen loaves or Hamburger buns.


Incredible really, if you think that not even a year ago Victoria was just starting to have this plan about going to the farmers' market and sell her gluten free baked goods. She has not decided yet which Farmers' market in Calgary to pick in this upcoming season, but I will let you know for sure.


Here are some images (best to click on them) of gluten free bread from GF Patisserie.










Wednesday, April 22, 2009

GLUTEN FREE BIRTHDAY CAKES
















The girls are back at GF Patisserie and they are baking up a storm. Victoria ran the inventory low in the freezer, so now they have to start filling it up again with thos gluten free Pizza crusts, Hamburger Buns and all the other good stuff.
It seems that in the spring many people celebrate their birthdays...and GF Patisserie is getting lots of orders for gluten free birthday cakes. The day before we left on vacation, I had to deliver 42 cupcakes for a special birthday party. That lady was very happy to serve cupcakes as an alternative to a regular one. Customers who have had them before already, are spreading the word, and that keeps Lauren very busy.
Very much like with all other products she uses the best ingredients only, butter, cream, top quality vanilla, callebaut chocolate or other natural flavours and it produces the cake everyone questions if it is really gluten free. No better compliment is needed for them. That says it all.





Tuesday, April 21, 2009

STUDIO B AT M RESORT
























































M Resort is the latest addition to the Las Vegas casino hotel collection. It's a neighborhood casino, meaning the property is not located inside the Strip corridor, but closer to where the locals live.
The hotel is located on the very south end of I-15, just before you head out of into Las Vegas.

Great architecture if you like gleaming glass, very contemporary on the inside as well.
I wanted to check out their buffet, since the advertising was rather enticing. We did not end up eating at the buffet, but I was able to take a few images. Studio B, is advertised as a show kitchen buffet, not exactly a new concept, but a well executed one. All food stations are open, you can see the various chefs prepping Pizza, salads, grill meats, make Crepes and so on.

A stunning decor, with a large LED screen for more impact on what's at the buffet.
Cannot comment on the food, other than the presentation which was very very nice. Especially the dessert part. Fresh Crepes and Gelato galore would have me convinced to eat there, but the rest of the family did not want a huge meal that day. Next time.


For actual food reviews click here:

Monday, April 20, 2009

LUCILLE'S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ







































During my days as a travelling guy in the furniture biz, I had the chance to visit the southern US fairly frequently, since many of my clients were located in places like Memphis, Birmingham, Lafayette, Atlanta, High Point, Greensboro, and other great towns over there.

Once business was done, the great joy of those trips always was lunch or dinner. Many times I was asked if I ever had real BBQ and I always said no, to see which local BBQ joint is the pride and joy of my clients.

This way I got to eat at many distinctly different places and always let my clients choose what to order since they know best, it's their hometown BBQ after all.
Of course every time I did return home and enthused about my roadside shack experiences to Victoria, she wanted some Ribs or pulled Pork as well. Back then, there really only was one decent BBQ place in Vegas and when the owner of it got shot outside his house, that was it. No mo' BBQ.

But maybe a year later, just around the corner from our neighborhood they developed a new district (It's actually called The District) and with it came Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ.
I must admit that I was fairly skeptic, since Lucille's is a small California based chain, but we had to try it of course. And good they cook. or smoke, or BBQ. Lucille's fast became our neighborhood place of choice for casual dinners out.

A "smokestack" is placed right there in the middle of the restaurant, stainless steel and once in a while you can see the chef actually putting the ribs in, or take out.
And (almost) every time we go back to visit, a stop to Lucille's is part of the trip. Business is brisk to this day, portions are large enough to take home half the ribs and the flavors of their meats are excellent. The Beef Ribs (8 of them) are for sure the star on the menu, falling off the bones tender and a great BBQ sauce that compliments and does not over shadow the meat.

Choices of sides are roasted garlic mashed potatoes, shoestring fries, a baked potato, southern sweet potatoes, macaroni-and-cheese, cheese grits, BBQ baked beans, greens, peanut slaw, a vegetable medley, flame roasted corn on the cob, or potato salad. With the exception of the obvious Mac 'n cheese and grits ( so sad)all sides are GF as well. Some are excellent, some are misses (corn & greens).


Their flourless chocolate cake is fine, not excellent, but so large that all three of us had plenty of it. basically it is your typical fudge brownie creation that so many chains serve as GF dessert option these days.

I did not mention the really good, Biscuits, served warm with Apple butter, since they are NOT GF, but yes, they are brilliant too.



Here is a link to all their locations:


















OUTCH!


Caitlin from Glutastic uncovered a really interesting piece of journalism recently, which made her write this fantastic post:




Of course I agree with Caitlin with her assessment of the article in Avenue magazine, but I also have to say look at the magazine. The research and fact checking is sub par, especially a very old and closed location for Earth's Oven. How can you miss something so simple like that?


Avenue Magazine is a good magazine when it comes to glossy portraits of beautiful things, like a new home that's designed well, or who is the best dressed person in Calgary. But Avenue Magazine is not known for interesting stories, nor are they known for in depth reporting of ANY kind of important issues.


I am curious however how YOU perceive this article they wrote about Celiacs disease being over diagnosed, or mis diagnosed as leaky gut syndrome, or almost a lifestyle choice by many. Please let Caitlin know. And of course AVENUE Magazine.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

LOCAL LAS VEGAS














































So many people visit Las Vegas every year. Some 36 Million last year. Most come for a weekend, some stay for 4 days, but not that many stay a week or so.
In such a congested time frame it is not really surprising that 98% of the visitors do not venture outside the Strip and downtown corridor.

So much to do, so much to see, so much to eat. With most of the world's most famous chefs all having set up shop in one of the hotels, there really is no need to leave your resort area, unless you are mobile and want to see what Vegas can be. And if you are curios where locals eat.

With about a million residents, it's similar in size to Calgary. No matter what the politicians try to tell anyone, Las Vegas is a one horse town when it comes to industry. Again, very similar to the oil & gas industry in Calgary.
Diversification may have happened over the years, most of it is still related to the gaming industry. One way or another.
Anyway. Being a service industry town, you need sufficient staff to make that place run smooth every day. I think currently Las Vegas has hundred twenty thousand hotel rooms, with another 15K slated to open by end of this year and in 2010. Hard to fathom those numbers really. The corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd (MGM, New York, New York, Excalibur and Tropicana hotel) has more hotel rooms than the total of San Francisco.

Which in a very roundabout way brings me to food off the Strip. Many thousands of those great people who work in the service industry, are from Latin America. And those folks are known to eat well and bring their culture with them, no matter where they end up. So if you are mobile and venture north of the strip, say to Cheyenne, Lake Mead, or Nellis area, you are bound to find some real different, authentic food from south of the border.

During my last week's visit I did just that and went to La Bonita Market. Located on Lake Mead Blvd, it's your typical mixture of a grocery store, Tortilla factory, money wire place and of course, a great Cafeteria.
The more animal parts a national cuisine uses to make food, the more I like it. Taco with Cow Tongue? Check. Pig Skin or stomach? Check. Brilliant. Pig's ears? Maybe. Once.

I ordered a set of three Tacos, Chorizo, Carnitas and Buche (Tongue). Lots of Cilantro and all the condiments you want from a separate salsa bar.
Very tasty, very authentic and each one with a distinct different flavor. In the store itself I could have bought some of those Chorizos by the yard, as well as all the other ingredients, but who wants to go back and make Tacos at home if they are are already made and so good. And inexpensive at.99 each.

So the next time you visit Vegas, rent a car for a day, venture outside the tourist area and you will discover a city that is as vibrant as any other place you have been to.


















Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GLUTEN FREE BEER











One of the pleasures of free time is that you can actully look for things that a daily schedule with work and home may not always permit.
When we arrived, Victoria really wanted to find Red Bridge Beer, that gluten free version of beer by Anheuser Busch.

Whole Foods to the rescue. Even cold ones in the cooler!
Now, I need to say that even though I am from Austria, beer is not my beverage of choice and my experience with beer is limited. Same goes for Victoria, for obvious reasons.
But for the sake of tasting, we both tried it.

The good news, it smells like beer. Even foams up nicely. The color was a bit dark, similar to Malt beer in Austria.
The taste is different though. More on the sweeter side, I would like to compare to a Miller Light? Well, maybe a light version of a Miller Light

We finished one bottle between us and came to the conclusion that we went so long without beer, that we won't start drinking it now...so look out for a bread or something made at GF Patisserie with the beer from the remaining 5 bottles...