Kinda Gluten Free at Earl's in Edmonton

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Contributed by ABS

Overview:
Today I went to Earls for a colleagues’ going away lunch. I had previously tried to go to Earls and eat and was completely unsuccessful. Now, it appears they have a better overall understanding of gluten free eating and needs, but then again it is still limited and in my opinion in need of some work. 

They presented me with an “Earls Gluten Aware Menu” (that is actually what they called it) and the choices were limited, but at least there were a few. They had a couple of snacks/sharing items, a couple of salad choices and a couple of chicken choices and a few more steak choices.

I ordered the Cajun Blackened Chicken. It was delicious! It came with warm fingerling potato salad and coleslaw, both of which were also delicious! The presentation on the plate was lovely as well.

While the service was great and the staff seemed to know what I was talking about I still had a few issues with Earls in general with their knowledge of gluten free eating.  Please keep in mind that this is merely my opinion.


Where they go wrong
Firstly, the menu titled “Earls Gluten Aware Menu” has a very limited selection available for those who need gluten free meals. As well, there are asterisks all over the place stating things like “seasonal sauces are removed because of possible cross contamination” or “nuts cannot be included because they are not gluten free.”

This means that essentially these so-called gluten free meal options (e.g., Cedar Planked Salmon) are only gluten free because they are served completely plain. Why would I want to order a salad that has a special dressing and candied nuts on it, but leave those particular items off and have it with ranch or something? Or have plain salmon when my friend gets to have it with a maple glaze sauce that is loaded with flavor. No thank you.

Another issue I had was that at the bottom of the menu there is a blurb stating something along the line of “due to constant cross contamination possibilities in the kitchen we cannot guarantee full gluten free status so patrons with allergies should carry an EpiPen to ensure no anaphylaxis reactions occur.”

Seriously?! This may have been done by head office as a way of ensuring they’re covered if something horrible happens to someone, but it bothers me when people don’t understand that celiac disease and allergy are two different things altogether. That leads me to believe that those who created this menu have no idea what they are talking about.

I could be wrong and I hope others have had different or better experiences, but I can say that of all the restaurants available I would not rush to Earls when looking for gluten free options.

Does anyone have something else to add about Earl's?  Let us know!  We hope to hear that Earls continues to improve their gluten free meal options.


Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

Earls (SouthEd Common) on Urbanspoon

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Our First Gluten Free Pancake Breakfast at Kinnikinnick in Edmonton

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Packed house!
This past Saturday (July 24) was the annual gluten free pancake breakfast hosted by Kinnikinnick and the Canadian Celiac Association - Edmonton Chapter.  I had been looking forward to this breakfast for a very long time because this was going to be our first Kinnikinnick pancake breakfast.

After dropping our dog Cookie off at Puppy Love for a buzz cut, I made my way down to Kinnikinnick where my wife and my in-laws were going to meet me.  Boy were we in for a treat!

Pancakes!
There were tables lined up on the front lawn at Kinnikinnick and when we arrived, they were filling up quickly. What a great turn out! The tables were full, the grills were pumping out hot pancakes and sausages and there were platters of fresh toasted cinnamon rolls and mini muffins...and most importantly, everything was g-free!

Sometimes people don't realize just how exciting it is to be able to enjoy a hot breakfast (or anything else) in a restaurant, out at an event or even in your own home....just like everyone else does.

A great big thanks to all who attended and to the wonderful people at Kinnikkinnick for hosting a fantastic gluten free event.


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Gluten Free Travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland - Part 2 of 2

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St. John's, Newfoundland
Contributed by ABS

Gluten Free Gala Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel
When we arrived at the gala dinner much later in the day I was served my “special meal” as my colleagues referred to it. The salad was fantastic. The dressing was made in-house and the server was prepared with the ingredients list when serving it to me. The chicken with mango salsa was lacking in flavor. I was still pleased that they had gone to such lengths to ensure my health and safety, particularly in such a large gathering of people (over 250). I was disappointed that the chicken was very overcooked and completely void of flavor, but I think it was because the buffet was so elaborate and time consuming that my single meal was an afterthought. As well, sometimes people assume that gluten free must mean tasteless or bland. The créme caramel was so delicious and pretty to look at that one of my colleagues asked the server if she could have one as well.

A Gluten Free Meal To Go – Courtesy of the Sheraton Hotel
For lunch everyone was given a bag lunch as many people were flying out early and others were going touring the city before flying out. I was overjoyed to see a bright green lunch bag marked “gluten free” just for me. Inside I found a fresh turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo and fruit (banana, orange and apple) and I snagged a bag of Lays plain potato chips from someone who didn't want theirs. Who needs three pieces of fruit for lunch? Eeek, not me.

Lunch on the Streets of St. John’s
While I didn’t eat the “to go” lunch until dinner time, while on the plane, it was still great.  For lunch we went out on the town and explored a local restaurant instead. My colleagues enjoyed their fish and chips while I was able to eat a shrimp and lobster omelet with artichokes and cheese. The omelet arrived with home fries (roasted potatoes) that were made in-house (garnished with salt and pepper) accompanied by a salad with Kraft dressing (in the bottle so I could be certain of the ingredients). The restaurant was very knowledgeable and helpful and the shrimp and lobster were truly fresh, caught that day – right out of the ocean! Can you tell we live in Alberta?

Overall I was very pleased with everything the Sheraton was able to do to accommodate me and I was pleased that I thought to ask in the first place. I had been told by others that in the past they had not asked and instead had eaten fruit and plain salad at these conferences. I didn’t think that was necessary and I am glad I didn’t settle for that.


Have more to add about St. John's, Newfoundland?  Email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com.

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Gluten Free at Sweet Mango in Edmonton

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Sweet Mango
9120 - 82 ave
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Phone: 780-462-8929
Web: http://www.sweetmango.ca/

# 36 on the menu substitute spring foll for rice wrap!
Sweet Mango has a huge menu with plenty of gluten free friendly menu options, and helpful staff that understand Celiac and gluten free needs.

The menu is too large to go over, but what we find most popular is the Vermicelli's.  They will even substitute spring rolls for rice wraps!  This has become one of our number one choices for Vietnamese style cuisine for their tasty entrees and knowledge staff.  Their menu is also vegetarian friendly!

What is your favourite menu item at Sweet Mango?

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

Sweet Mango on Urbanspoon

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Edmonton's Italian Centre Shop has a Unique Selection of Gluten Free Products

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Gluten free pasta in the
pasta section
Contributed by: Jonathon Iverson of the Italian Centre

Edmonton's Italian Centre Shop got its start when Frank Spinelli started selling Italian magazines out of a tiny store in 1959. Since then, the shop has steadily grown – first offering other Italian goods and then an expanding range of imported European products. Now, as a part of the Italian Centre's vast inventory of imported products and local items crafted in the European tradition, customers can find a growing selection of gluten-free products.

One of the store's widest varieties of gluten-free items is found in the pasta section. There are a number of gluten-free brands and varieties of the quintessential Italian staple – grouped together and clearly marked.

The Le Veneziane brand, imported from Italy, produces pasta using only corn flour and offers spaghetti, tagliatelle nests, penne, eliche (similar to rigatoni), fettuccine and small pastas for soups.

Farabella from Fara San Martino in Abruzzo, Italy makes pastas from corn and rice flour and their varieties include tagliatelle nests, lasagna and a variety of short pastas. They also produce a potato gnocchi made with rice flour.

Edmonton's Prairie Harvest import organic brown and white rice pasta from the San Zenone region of Italy.  Tinkyada. In eastern Canada, Praire Harvest has a dedicated brown rice facility where they manufacture pasta in a variety of shapes also offered at the Italian Centre Shop.

ZeroGrano has a couple gluten free
snack options at the Italian Centre
Returning to products imported from Italy, consumers can also find the wholly gluten-free ZeroGrano line of crackers and cookies made by Galbusera. The Italian Centre stocks their corn, potato and rice flour crackers, honey biscuits and chocolate layered wafers.

Duinkerken baking products, based in PEI, makes a Vitamin Enriched Rice Flour, a Potato Flour and a Gluten-Free Waffle Mix.  

La Tortilla Factory makes a gluten-free wrap made with millet and teff, available in the bread section of the store.

Finally, behind the Italian Centre's deli counters and in the pre-packaged meat coolers are the Freybe line of salamis, sausages and wieners, which are certified gluten-free.

For inquiries about additional gluten-free products in stock or the possibility of ordering others, please visit the Shop's:

Little Italy
10878-95 Street
Edmonton, AB

 or

South Side
5028 104A Street
Edmonton AB

Call: 780-424-4869

Italian Centre Shop (South) on Urbanspoon

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What is the difference between a Wheat Allergy vs. Celiac Disease?

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*This video is no longer available.  Please email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com if you find another video explaining the difference between Wheat Allergy and Celiac Disease.

The following is a great explanation of the difference between having a wheat allergy and Celiac disease (courtesy of videojug.com):


Stomach Allergies:
Wheat Allergy Vs Celiac Disease

Please contact us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com to let us know if this video is no longer working.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten Free Travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland - Part 1 of 2

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St. John's, Newfoundland
Contributed by ABS


Welcome to St. John’s!
I recently went to a work conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was my first time visiting this beautiful city, but also my first time traveling for work while maintaining a gluten free diet. As many of you already know all to well, traveling while gluten free can be a challenge. Ordinarily I would pre-plan, or at least get an idea of my options by checking out The Celiac Scene http://www.theceliacscene.com/ and I would map out some meal options for myself based on other people’s experiences. Gotta love the internet!  However, in this our meals were being hosted at the hotel for the most part. We were staying at the Sheraton Hotel at Cavendish Square, in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I also be sure to call ahead to notify the planners of my Celiac needs before attending a conference.

Gluten Free Breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel
For the first breakfast the server presented me with poached eggs on toast with fruit. To be honest, I did not eat the meal as I was not convinced that the toast was in fact gluten free. It just looked like regular bread with crusts cut off…good thing I brought along my own food from home for just this situation.

Gluten Free Lunch at the Sheraton Hotel
For lunch I was given a ham & cheese sandwich on raisin bread that was very obviously gluten free. It was heavy as a brick; no doubt it was gluten free bread. I removed the ham and simply ate a cheese & raisin bread sandwich with olives & pickles. My colleagues were enjoying a hot soup and sandwich (mine looked better if you ask me) and salad and home made potato chips. Right or wrong, I determined that these chips were made fresh in the kitchen and opted to have them with my lunch. I do not know for certain if there was any cross contamination prior to them arriving in our conference room, but I took my chances and felt ok.


Stay tuned for Part 2!


Have more gluten free experiences to share from St. John's?  Email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gabbana on Jasper Ave., A Downtown Gluten Free friendly Restaurant

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Gabbana Restaurant
11223 Jasper Avenue Northwest
Edmonton, AB
(780) 488-0955



Unfortunately Gabbana does not have a website to view their menu online, so I took a few pictures. Although there isn't a separate gluten free menu, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, are able to point out what items are gluten free and what items can be prepared to be gluten free. 

The menu is not large, but there were options available beyond just a salad! Be sure to always ask about preparations and ingredients in the dish. 




Gluten Free Edmonton - A guide and resource for people with a gluten or wheat allergy

Gabbana on Urbanspoon

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Gluten Free Miso Sauce

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Miso Sauce found at
Save-on-Foods
We first discovered miso sauce at Japanese Village here in Edmonton. Unfortunately the sauce served at Japanese Village is not a gluten free product, so we searched for a sauce to bring to our next visit.

We discovered a Naam Miso Gravy that didn't contain gluten at  Save-on-Foods at 109 St. and Jasper Avenue.

Miso sauce is great on rice and stir fry meats. Try it sometime and let us know what you think. Remember to let us know if you find other miso sauces elsewhere!

Gluten Free Edmonton - A guide and resource for people with a gluten or wheat allergy

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Gluten Free Recipe: Mango Sunrise: Mango Vegetable Stir-fry in Peanut Sauce

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This gluten free recipe is inspired by a dish we had during pre-Celiac times at Lime restaurant in Toronto. We are no longer able to eat that dish in Toronto because Lime does not use a gluten free soy sauce.

We've recreated the dish using gluten free products and love our spin on it.

Pre-cut stir fry ingredients
Sauce
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water (add more if sauce is too thick for your liking)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce (we use VH brand)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • chili flakes to taste (optional)
Stir Fry
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large chicken breast cut into 1" strips (omit for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1 large carrot julienned
  • 1/2 green pepper julienned
  • 1/2 red pepper julienned
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 2 mangoes cubed
Mango Sunrise
Directions:
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in small sauce pan over low heat.
  2. While sauce is warming up, begin preparing rice according to package directions.
  3. In a wok or large pan, add oil and fry meat over medium heat until no longer pink.
  4. Add carrots, and peppers. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add mushrooms and mango and cook for an additional 2 minues.
  7. Remove from stove, add sauce and stir.
  8. Serve with rice on the side.
Gluten Free Edmonton - A guide and resource for people with a gluten or wheat allergy.

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RL's Gluten Free Travels: New York City

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Babycakes, Manhattan, New York
Babycakes
On a day trip from Hartford I ventured to the best GF bakery in Manhattan, Babycakes (http://www.babycakesnyc.com). Located in the lower east side it is easily accessible by subway. I have dreams about Babycakes and their baked goods. They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free and kosher! The best part is no one would ever be able to tell the difference. I've taken non GF friends there and they are in awe. If ever in the tri state area, put Babycakes on your must see list.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A guide and resource for people with a gluten or wheat allergy

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Gluten Free at Taste of Edmonton 2010

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Taste of Edmonton - July 23 to August 1st, 2010 at Churchill Square

Looking to attend taste of Edmonton and not sure what you gluten free friendly menu options will accommodate your Celiac diet? Fear no more, a read Loni has written in with a great resource link for Taste of Edmonton that lists the Celiac friendly options along with what has peanuts, what contains seafood and which options are vegetarian.

Click here for the full menu list indicating Celiac friendly options. As always we recommend to ask questions and read labels.

Do you know of other listings for Taste of Edmonton? Email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com and we will post any additional resources to help our readers eat safely at Taste of Edmonton.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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