Gluten Free Burgers at Soda's Jerk's in Edmonton's West End

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My non-Celiac friend Ali has been ranting and raving about Soda Jerks in Edmonton's West End since it opened up this Summer of 2011.  He and his wife seem to eat there as often as Amanda and I eat at Red Robin for gluten free hamburgers.  Well, the other day Ali told me he thought he saw something about 'gluten free' on the menu the last time he was in.  So I decided to visit the Soda Jerks website and gave them an email.  More specifically, I emailed Ryan Bennett, their kitchen manager.  Good news, their beef patties are gluten free, their french fries are fried in a dedicated fryer and they keep gluten free buns in stock!  Here is what Ryan wrote.  Ali also said to sign up for their news letter and follow them on Facebook and stuff because they always have great promotions.

Our menu was designed to provide gluten free options for those with celiac's disease as well as those with dietary restrictions involving gluten.  Although our turkey and veggie burgers do contain bread crumbs and soy respectively, our beef burger patties are made in house without any bread crumbs or fillers containing gluten.  We have sourced out a tapioca based gluten free bun which we have available as a bread option, we also have a bed of greens (salad) option available as a substitution on our build your own burger menu.  Our side menu as well provides several gluten free options, our fries are cut and prepared in house without breading and we also serve sweet potato fries, house salad and garden vegetables gluten free.  We do have a dedicated deep fryer for our fries, and we will prepare all of our guests with allergies food away from our main kitchen line to prevent cross contamination of our products.  I know that many of our customers as of late are choosing to visit our restaurant because of our gluten free options and would like to thank you for helping raise awareness through your website.  I hope that I have been able to answer your questions, please feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.  Looking forward to seeing you and your readers soon.

Thanks,  

Ryan Bennett
Kitchen Manager
Soda Jerks Restaurant
ryan.bennett@sodajerksrestaurant.com

Soda Jerks on Urbanspoon

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Eating Gluten Free at Louisiana Purchase

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Louisiana Purchase may not have a gluten free menu, but they sure know how to serve up some great gluten free Cajun meals.  They are located downtown on 111 St just south of 104 Ave.  The restaurant looks very rustic with its brick exterior and interior, which is pretty rare to see in Edmonton.

Rib Combo with Jambalaya
We have been to Louisiana Purchase several times already.  Once with the Celiac Association, once on our own, and once with a Celiac Dinner group.  Most of their menu is gluten free except for stuff like green onion and crab cakes.  The wait staff has known what is gluten free or not, and of course if they are not sure, they will certainly go find out.

Boudin with Cottonpickin' Chicken and dirty rice.
We tried out several dishes already, and none have been disappointing.  If you can't chose just one thing, there is part of the menu where you can order two half sizes of something to make a full meal.  Allows you to try several things.

Amanda tried the BBQ Rib Combo plate.  Yes the BBQ sauce is gluten free, and oh so good!  The combo plate comes with ribs, Louisiana Jambalaya and black-eyed pea salad.  Amanda typically doesn't like beans but really loved the bean salad.  The ribs were fall off the bone goodness and the jambalaya was just as good.  I think I may just have to order that next time.

Gluten free flourless chocolate cake
I ordered two half orders so Amanda and I can sample a few other gluten free items on their menu.  The first was what I had the first time I ate at Louisiana Purchase which was the Salmon, Shrimp & Crawfish Boudin.  It is essentially a seafood sausage.  I love it, and I would order it again and again.  The menu describes it is Cajun sausages stuffed with delicately spiced seafood and rice - with pink & green peppercorn cream.  The other half of the order was the Cottonpickin’ Chicken which is described as Grilled spiced breast of chicken with back bacon and provolone cheese - with Ancho chili cream.  I really loved this too, and so did Amanda.  So much so that she traded up some of her ribs for some extra chicken.  I thought it had a similar taste to butter chicken.  That's probably why I loved it so much.

Finally, we both shared a gluten free flourless chocolate cake.  Yes, you heard me right, flourless chocolate cake!  These must be getting popular in general, because we've seen it on the menu of Highlevel Diner as well.  Of course because its a flourless chocolate cake, its very rich, so not much is needed to fill that craving.  But of course, I can never have enough chocolate cake richness.  Mmmmmmm.

Louisiana Purchase on Urbanspoon

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Even the waiter at Red Robin knows better than me

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I recently wrote about how "I can't believe I said that to someone with Celiac Disease", well, I did it again, kind of.  Amanda and I went to Red Robin, one of our favourite places to go to for a gluten free hamburger.  We went to the west end location in Edmonton, because its the closest one to us, and they are typically really good their catering to Amanda's gluten free diet.

Well this time I truly put my foot in my mouth.  I don't know what comes over me sometimes.  We saw the burger of the month promo which was a Jim Beam burger with BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, garlic butter, bacon and Swiss cheese.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Well, I let Amanda order first and she ordered it, with the lettuce wrap because as she told the waiter "I have a gluten allergy".  And then once again with my infinite wisdom, I said "I'll have the same but NORMAL".  Really after all the times Amanda reminds me that one of her pet peeves is people thinking she is not normal, I call the burger I order normal?  Boy did I kick myself after that one.  And to make it worse for me the waiter said it better when he repeated the order, and said, "And you would like the Jim Beam special, as-is...".  Great way to put it! Now why didn't I think of that?

Just a side note, as I mentioned above about how we like how the west end Red Robin location serves us; the server came back requesting Amanda order another hamburger because they were not able to confirm the ingredients of the special sweet BBQ sauce because its not a standard sauce.  Something we never thought of, but the staff looked into anyways.  Way to go Red Robin !

Red Robin (West - 170 St/100 Ave) on Urbanspoon

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Have you tried Kinnikinnick's Gluten Free Soft Bread?

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In January 2012, Kinnikinnick will be releasing their gluten free soft bread.  Currently, if you live in Edmonton you can pick up a load for under $5 at the Edmonton Kinnikinnick store.

Amanda and I recently drove by for our bi-weekly visit to the store.  Instead of buying our usual two loafs of the gluten free sunflower flax seed bread, we subbed out one loaf for their new gluten free soft bread.

gluten free tuna sandwich
We kind of took a double take when looking at it, like "huh? this is gluten free".  Looked just like it would if you got a loaf of bread at the local bakery.

It didn't take us long to take this bread for a test drive.  We toasted it, we sandwiched it, and we french toasted it all in the span of 24 hours.  We put it through the ringer, and it passed with flying colours.

Toasted gluten free Kinninnick soft bread
When we got home, we immediately pulled out a can of tuna and made our first gluten free tuna sandwich at home in over two years.  Yes, that's two years without having a gluten free tuna sandwich.

The bread also toasted very nicely and it held up well with the French toast.  After speaking with another friend that bought it earlier, I was told it should hold up well on the kitchen counter instead of freezing it.  She said it lasted 10 days on her counter.  That's crazy!

Another bonus for Amanda with the gluten free soft bread is that it was much lower in carbs per slice.  Which meant she was able to have two pieces of this soft bread, instead of just one of the flax seed bread or simple be able to just take less insulin for a snack of just one piece of bread.


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Calgary Flames Tom Kostopoulus on Letting people know you are gluten free

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Recently Global Television in Calgary aired a great story about Calgary Flame, Tom Kostopoulos and how he is reaching out to the Celiac community in Calgary.  This article brought up something that we haven't really talked about yet, don't be shy about letting people know that you have Celiac Disease.

Tom talked about how he kept it a secret from his teammates over 9 years since his diagnosis.  He played for several NHL teams before reaching the Calgary Flames.  He said that he felt like it was not anyone elses business.  It seemed like he wasn't telling anyone because he was affraid of not fitting in or inconveniencing anyone.

I'm happy he changed his mind, and now he is working with the Canadian Celiac Association Calgary Chapter encouraging kids to talk about Celiac Disease, helping with awareness.  Tom goes on to say how you would be surprised what others would do for you if you do tell them you require a gluten free diet.  And its true, people do so much for you, and all sorts of people come out of the wood work helping you, accommodating you and even looking out for 'gluten free' stuff for you.

Great job Tom and Global TV on this story.

Click here to view the video.




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Gluten Free Fish and Chips at Brits! NO WAY!

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Gluten free deep fried pickles
Okay so get this, you can actually get gluten free fish in chips in Edmonton!  This was a great find by one of our Celiac friends Dani.  Dani has contributed a few posts for us in the past, so we were happy when she invited us out to Brits to check out their gluten free fish and chips.  And before you ask, yes they do use a dedicated fryer!

And to our surprise, not only could you have gluten free fish and chips, but gluten free deep fried pickles, deep fried oysters, and onion rings!

So was it good? Hell ya!  Did they charge extra for gluten free?  Hell no!  What a treat!  Not exactly the healthiest treat, but it was good.  For the fish, you have choices between several types including, Cod, Halibut and Haddock.  The pieces are huge, so you only need the 1 pc if you are looking to eat it all on your own.  Amanda and I both ordered 2 pcs each, and we had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Gluten free fish and chips (cod)
They also have imported specialty drinks from the UK like Cherry 7up.  This is a must try, because I have not seen gluten free fish and chips anywhere, ever in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto or anywhere in my travels.  Although Dani said she found out about Brits, because they have a location in PEI where she tried it out.

Anyways, let us know what you think about Brits.  Brits has two locations but we only went to the downtown location.  We are have not confirmed if the south end location has gluten free fish and chips or not.

Brit's Fish and Chips (Downtown) on Urbanspoon

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

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One gluten free person can make a difference

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Awhile ago I complained, I know I know you're totally shocked that I complained about something (kidding). I made an official complaint while at the cafeteria at the University of Alberta Hospital. You may or may not know or remember, but in the past they were offering a small variety of gluten free lunch items, beyond the order in advance Kinnikinick pizza. Anyways, over the past while those other gluten free lunch options were disappearing day by day. Before our vacation I ran into one of the head kitchen staff and while I'm sure they have a different title, the point is that I took my opportunity to share my frustration with the ever declining number of gluten free options available at lunchtime.

Well, we're back from vacation and today while in the cafeteria I noticed that they actually listened to me! Yup, it's true. All I really asked for was that they start to lable stuff that is gluten free as being gluten free, so that I (and others) won't need to ask the person doing the serving about the ingredients, because my experience is that those folks do not know if the item they are serving are gluten free or even if it even contains flour. Plus, I am always shocked and surprised at just how many food items have flour added to them when in all logic....they don't need it!

Needless to say, I was super excited and pleased to see that there were a little florescent yellow sticker on top of the sign showing the special of the day that read "Gluten Free". How wonderful is that!

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

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Kinnikinnick's gluten free products are now certified Kosher!

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We recently learned about a new certification that Kinnikinnick recieved.  Our friend RL, who guest posts from time to time has been eagerly awaiting this certification.  She was so excited to learn of this, that she typed up the guest post below in a matter of minutes.  Thank you RL

In case you haven't heard...Kinnikinnick products are now certified Kosher!

The average person may not see this as significant, but for this gluten free kosher vegetarian, it is.

When a product is certified Kosher(pareve) it means that the product is free from dairy and meat products.  It's a really easy tool that can help any vegetarian identify if a food is right for their diet.  And with Kinnikinnick products one has the further knowledge that the product is Gluten Free!

Being Certified Kosher means that Kinnikinnick will hopefully now have their products available in such markets as Israel and the Middle East where issues of Kosher and Halal are of importance.  It will also mean that institutions with kosher kitchens, such as synagogues and hotels in Edmonton, across Canada and the United States, will be better equipped to cater to their gluten free clients.

Click here for the list of Kosher products now available at Kinnikinnick.

Click here to learn more about Orthodox Union and Kosher.


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Gluten Free for the Christmas Holiday's

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It is that time of the year.  I may be Jewish, but I do feel the holiday spirit.  Especially in Edmonton when one thing is certain, there will be snow on the ground when Christmas rolls around.

I try to collect as many gluten free holiday tips as possible or at least a gluten free recipe or two from other bloggers.  Things have been pretty busy so far, so I have not collected much, but I wanted to get out a holiday post as soon as possible.

I do have a couple holiday gifts ideas to bring to a Chanukah or Christmas party.  You can pick up quite the unique selection of gluten free products at Winners or Home Sense.  They have a lot of chocolates, cookie and cake mixes, and gluten free cookies and snacks.  These products are great for building a gift basket.  You can also probably get some great baking utensils to add to the basket, and even buy the basket from Winners or Home Sense.  Otherwise, I would recommend a trip to Dollarama where you can definitely get a snazy basket and ribbons/wrappers for really cheap.

This note is from Kinnikinnick and the special holiday items they'll have available beginning December 5, 2011:

Flavor of the month EggNog and Peppermint Patty:
  • Festive muffins
  • Mince tarts
  • Mince pies
  • Pumpkin pies
  • Pumpkin tarts
  • Assorted chocolates
  • Peppermint chocolate chip cookie
  • Festive cookie
  • Assorted cookie tins
  • Assorted gift baskets
  • Yule logs
  • Eggnog jelly rolls
  • Gingerbread cookies in assorted shapes
  • Sugar cookies in assorted shapes
  • Mini theme cakes
  • Special cupcakes
  • Petit fours and petit secs
  • Kinnikrisp cut outs trees and snowmen
  • Assorted squares individual
  • Festive bread
  • Fruitcake
Please phone Kinnikinnick ahead to place special orders and that product is available: 780-732-7527

As for recipes, I'll keep on adding more as I find more, but here are a couple to start:
  1. This one is from President's Choice none-the less.  It is a Chocolate Quinoa Brownie!  We had a quinoa brownie before and loved it.  This recipe should be interesting to try.  Click here for the recipe.
  2. We made these chocolate snacks for valentines day, but they would make a great dessert for a Christmas party or a home made gift to a friend.  Click here for the recipe.
  3. Try this recipe for gluten free pop cakes using the gluten free Betty Crocker mixes.Click here for the recipe.
  4. Some great Christmas holiday snack ideas you can make using gluten free Chex Cereal.  Click here for a list of the recipes.
  5. Submitted by Katie, she loves this Peanutty Chex Squares recipe from Betty Crocker.  You can by gluten free Chex cereal at most Edmonton grocery stores now.  Click here for the recipe.
  6. Edmonton's "The Tomato" reminded me about their list of gluten free holiday baking.  Click here for the recipes.
Let me know of some more recipes I can link to for the holidays or even any places to go shopping for some gluten free holiday treats.  Email me at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com

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

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