Sunday, April 6, 2014

Platano - Berkeley, CA

Platano (ROTD 3/16/2014)

Go for the lunch specials and you will leave happy with a full belly and only $6 lighter. Outside of lunch time, the entrees are a little splurgier, but there are plenty of other options that will still get you out the door for under $10. Pupusas are $2.50 all the time, and the fried yucca are perfection.

Don't be shy with the tomato-ey sauce and vinegared cabbage on the table - it's the perfect complement to anything and everything on the menu!

I particularly love how satisfying the menu is for someone who needs both gluten AND lactose free options. I never feel like I'm missing out on anything at all!

The ambiance can be a little desolate at night, but just keep your head down and buried in the food (and hopefully good company?) and you'll be good to go.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Join me in lobbying Nabisco for Gluten Free Triscuits!

I recently noticed supermarkets carrying a new line of Triscuits (brown rice Triscuits), and was sorely disappointed to see they were not in fact gluten free.  Double :( because Triscuits used to be my ultimate cracker snack. 

Join me in lobbying for gluten free Triscuits?  Here's a copy of the letter I just submitted on their site:


I am a longtime Triscuit fan, and was recently very excited to see your new line of "brown rice" Triscuits. However, I was miserably disappointed when I read the ingredients and saw that Triscuit remains "behind the times", and just launched another line for gluten fiends who already have a multitude of options.

I am gluten intolerant, and along with losing beer in my life, also had to deal with being unable to indulge in my former Triscuit habit.

I noticed you are an international brand, and as such, please know that there are many others like me around the world who were previous Triscuit consumers. I hope that you will someday rise up to be a more progressive and inclusive company by launching a gluten free line.

Thank you for your time taken to read this letter, and for your consideration,

Friday, March 29, 2013

A great review of gluten free beer from Udi's

This review divides beers between gluten free and gluten-removed beers:

Never Fear; Gluten Free Beer is Here!

Be sure to scroll down to the comments below the article for even more beer recommendations!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

a Gooey Ham and Cheese Sandwich

A Gluten and Lactose Free Sandwich

What other kind is there?! This was another win, made from Udi's multi-grain gluten free bread and raw cow's milk cheddar cheese.  With a light toast and mustard, this was extremely satisfying. The light chewiness of Udi's bread will never cease to amaze me.

Ham and gooey cheese sandwich on a brown plate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guide to Lactose Free Cheeses

If any of you are a cheesehead like me, the sight and aromas of a luscious cheese shop probably bring you close to tears, right?  Well, weep no more. After hours of research and personal experimentation to verify, there are now many options to choose from. So many, that I recently had the strange experience at Trader Joe's of having too many cheeses to choose from.

Here's my cheese journal of what works for me:

Goat or sheep milk

Cheeses made from these animals are generally safe. Any specialty cheese shop will carry many of these varieties. Look for styles of cheddar, gouda, feta, mozzarella, brie, and blue cheese made from goat or sheep milk. There are two varieties of goat cheddar that strangely don't agree with me (Trader Joe's and Woolwich), so always try anything new on a day off, just in case.

Swiss emmentaler and gruyere

Unique from Belgium or French varieties, Swiss emmentaler/gruyere is the only variety of emmentaler made from raw, unpasteurized cow milk.

Parmeggiano reggiano

Yup, that's right - make sure to get this exact variety, made with unpasteurized cow milk, and go crazy dressing up your (gluten free) pasta again! 

Raw, unpasteurized cow milk

 I suspect this critical ingredient is what renders swiss emmentaler, gruyere, and parmeggiano reggiano lactose free. Apparently pasteurization kills the active enzymes in milk that help digest the troubling lactose. Yay for french onion soup again!

Aged cheeses? 

While I've been told by several cheese mongers that the aging process kills the lactose, traces may still remain, and I've had mostly no luck tolerating aged cheeses. I've tried ones aged a few months to a couple years, finding none that are safe. Beware of relying solely on the "aged" characteristic to render a cheese "lactose-free".

Happy tasting and eating, y'all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Red Tomato Pizza House - Berkeley, CA

Red Tomato Pizza House
Downtown Berkeley, CA

Four available sizes of delicious gluten free pizza, with a vegan option as well. This really is as good as it gets, and I've never had such satisfying pizza since being riddled with both gluten and lactose intolerance. To close the deal, they are generous with toppings, and use all fresh ingredients.

The prices are beyond reasonable, they're one of the few places in Berkeley to accept AMEX, and delivery is FREE!

Friday, November 2, 2012

craving Pillsbury crescent rolls

Has anyone figured out a gluten and lactose free version of Pillsbury crescent rolls?? I would love to make some ham and cheese rolls.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zico Chocolate Coconut Water

a.k.a. The Best Thing to Hit My Taste Buds Since....

I don't know, since I discovered Red Mango, probably!

I initially tried this chocolate coconut water at a Yelp event, and I practically gave my soul away for refill after refill.

Glamor shot of 33.8 oz tetrapak on a wooden stool again against a black background.

The best day ever was when I saw it again at Trader Joe's for $3.49 for the large 33.8 oz tetrapak (the same size at Safeway was $7.00, and they didn't have chocolate). Amazing!

I can't remember what Yoohoo tastes like, but friends have likened it to that. All I know is, it's the perfect chocolate fix when I need some electrolytes, and not necessarily a protein shake. It does come in at 70 calories per 8 oz serving, so it takes a bit of self-control to regulate how often I indulge.


ps - I researched the smaller travel size options on Amazon, and reviews indicate that Zico in bottles taste different from tetrapaks due to different types of cococuts that are used. Definitely stick to the tetrapaks for the best taste experience.