Solodko Bakery: Gluten Free Cabbage Rolls? Yes Please!

solodko_sign

As you stroll along Sixth Street in Uptown New West, you might notice a sandwich board outside of a bright and cozy bakery offering Ukrainian treats. I mistakenly walked past it several times, possessed by the idea that a bakery wouldn’t have anything gluten free. Finally, I looked at the menu, and discovered that Solodko Bakery is a perfect place to grab a lunch that’s completely gluten free!

Gluten Free Options at Solodko Bakery:

The cabbage rolls: Also known as holubtsi, the cabbage rolls at Solodko are made with only nine ingredients, and none of those ingredients contain gluten. They’re also deliciously addictive. You can choose from a meaty version, or a vegan version. If you want to eat them right away, the lunch-sized order of cabbage rolls is four large rolls, served with sour cream. You can also buy them frozen, by the kilogram, and take them home to enjoy later! It’s all the deliciousness of cabbage rolls, without the pain of assembly.

Ingredients in the meaty cabbage rolls: Cabbage, rice, onion, carrot, ground pork, tomato paste, olive oil, salt, black pepper. Boom, done!

Ingredients in the vegan cabbage rolls: Cabbage, rice, onion, carrot, roasted peppers, tomato paste, olive oil, salt, black pepper. That’s it!

The borsch: Like the cabbage rolls, the borsch comes in a meaty or vegan version. This hearty and satisfying soup is made with ten simple ingredients, and is completely gluten free. The generous lunch-sized portion is served with sour cream (ask for it without bread, of course), or you can buy a two-litre bucket o’ soup to take home.

Ingredients in the meaty borsch: Beets, cabbage, tomato, onion, carrot, pork, black pepper, olive oil, salt, sugar.

Ingredients in the vegan borsch: Beets, cabbage, tomato, onion, carrot, kidney beans, black pepper, olive oil, salt, sugar.

cabbage_rolls

Cabbage rolls at Solodko

What to Watch Out For:

The pierogies: Called varenyky, the pierogies at Solodko come in a variety of savoury and sweet flavours. The dough contains wheat flour, so they’re not gluten free. However, they are perfect for all of your gluten-loving lunch companions.

The piroshki: The piroshki at Solodko are available in a range of sweet fillings. But like the pierogies, the dough contains wheat flour, so they’re not safe for gluten free people with a sweet tooth.

The bread and baked goods: Solodko offers a plethora of freshly baked bread and other treats, but these aren’t gluten free.

The Service:

Solodko Bakery is very proud of what goes into their food, and what doesn’t go into their food. They use real, fresh, simple-to-pronounce ingredients, and make everything in house. In fact, they’re so proud of what they make, you can find all the ingredients in every dish printed on the back of their menu. There’s no gobbeldygook on their ingredients list. The staff members are always very friendly, and love to chat about what they do! Since it’s a bakery, Solodko isn’t a 100% gluten free environment. But they are aware of the dangers of cross contamination, and do their best to avoid it.

cabbage_roll_nom

The Restaurant:

Solodko isn’t a restaurant per se, it’s a bakery, which means you place your order at the counter, and then receive your delicious treats. However, if you do want to enjoy your meal there, they have a few bar-style tables at the windows, where you can nibble your cabbage rolls and watch the street go by. The bakery is located right on Sixth Street, in the bustling Uptown neighbourhood of New West. It’s about a 15-minute walk from downtown, but if you don’t want to conquer the hill on foot, the 106 bus runs up Sixth, and there’s metered street parking nearby.

The Verdict:

Don’t let the word “bakery” fool you like it did me! Solodko is the perfect place to get authentic, gluten free Ukrainian food, made from scratch. The staff is fantastic, the food is amazing, and the bakery itself is bright and welcoming. Go get those cabbage rolls!

Happy cabbage rolling!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

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Taqueria Playa Tropical: Gluten Free Mexican in the Heart of New West

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Mexican food is one of the few things I enjoy that doesn’t have to be heavily modified to be gluten free. Corn tortillas, fresh salsa, roasted meat, refried beans, and heaps of cheese are all spectacularly delicious, and naturally gluten free. Lucky for me (and the rest of New West’s gluten free population), some of the best Mexican food New West has to offer is served up right on Sixth Street, at Taqueria Playa Tropical. You can sip on a margarita, nibble the complimentary tortilla chips, and enjoy fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine.

Gluten Free Options at Taqueria Playa Tropical:

The tacos: I love tacos! They’re basically the perfect food. Everything delicious all wrapped up into a Mexican masterpiece you can hold in your hand. Taqueria Playa Tropical uses corn tortillas when making their tacos, so they’re gluten free. The tacos are $2.50 each, and they offer a wide variety of flavours. If you’re not sure about an ingredient, it’s a good idea to check with the server. If you’re hungry, top off your meal with traditional rice and refried beans.

The enchiladas: Your choice of chicken, shrimp, or vegetarian fillings are wrapped in corn tortillas and drenched with salsa, melted cheese, and sour cream. Flanked by rice and refried beans, the enchilada platter is sure to satisfy the hungriest of gluten free food lovers.

The fajitas: Filled with chicken, steak, or shrimp, served up sizzling, and accompanied by corn tortillas, the fajitas are a gluten free mainstay at Taqueria Playa Tropical.

The pollo asado: If you’re in the mood for a fresh chicken dish, the pollo asado is right up your alley. Grilled chicken, pico de gallo, guacamole, and refried beans are served with three corn tortillas.

The carne asada: Got a carnivorous craving? Why not try the 8 oz sirloin steak, surrounded by piles of rice and beans. It’s all gluten free, so dig in!

The nachos: I’m a self-described “nacho monster,” and the nachos at Taqueria Playa Tropical are some of the most unique I’ve ever encountered. Handfuls of cheese, guacamole, and refried beans make it rich, but the fresh lettuce and tomatoes combine with the crunch of the chips to make it feel like a light, refreshing meal.

The chips and salsa: Each table is served a complimentary basket of chips, accompanied by two different kinds of salsa. The red salsa is fresh and sweet, and the green salsa packs a punch!

What to Watch Out For:

The burritos: The burritos are made with flour tortillas, so they’re not gluten free. The monster burrito is approximately the size of a small baby, so it’s probably a good thing that I can’t order it.

The quesadillas: Taqueria Playa Tropical offers a variety of different quesadillas, but they’re made with flour tortillas.

The tortas: Tortas are toasted buns served with your choice of filling. Unfortunately, the buns are not gluten free.

The crispy corn tortillas: I’ve been unable to confirm whether the crispy corn tortillas used in the tostadas are gluten free, so proceed with caution.

The Service:

Let me start by saying that I love Taqueria Playa Tropical. I do. The servers are perfectly friendly and polite, and are obviously trying their best, but they often seem overwhelmed. It’s a pretty big restaurant, and it feels like there are just not enough servers to keep up. Sometimes the food comes before the drinks, sometimes one person at the table eats while another waits, and sometimes it takes a very long time for the bill to come. That being said, the food is good, and the service is always friendly. I’ll definitely be back for more!

The Restaurant:

The restaurant itself is a funky, casual space. TVs on the wall show sports and Spanish-language shows. On weekend evenings, there’s live music. Since it’s often filled to capacity on weekends, they don’t take reservations during this time. If there’s a line when you arrive, just write your name on the seating list by the door, and you’ll be called when your table is ready. Taqueria Playa Tropical is located in the vibrant Uptown neighbourhood in New West. There’s street parking available, but if you prefer to take transit, the 106 bus runs right up Sixth.

The Verdict:

Taqueria Playa Tropical is a great place to get fresh, authentic gluten free Mexican food. I recommend planning for a bit of a delay in the service, just in case. The worst that can happen is that your food arrives earlier than you expected!

Happy taco devouring!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Ki Sushi: Sumptuous Sushi and Sake Meet Gluten Free Dining

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On the West Coast, we’re incredibly lucky to have access to cheap and plentiful sushi. Sometimes, it seems like there’s a shop on every corner offering fresh, flavourful Japanese cuisine. There’s a veritable smorgasbord of options, from rolls bursting with delectable fish and tender rice, to melt-in-your-mouth sashimi. With so many options available, and soy sauce in almost everything, it can be hard to know where to find the best gluten free sushi. New Westminster sushi lovers need look no further than Ki Sushi downtown for an array of wonderful, gluten free sushi.

Gluten Free Options at Ki Sushi:

The rolls: Ki Sushi offers a variety of gluten free maki rolls, because that’s how they roll! (Sorry, not sorry.) My general rule for sushi is to stick to the plainer rolls like tuna, salmon, negitoro (tuna and green onion), cucumber, and chopped scallop. Since they only contain rice, nori (seaweed), fish, and vegetables, they’re a safer option for gluten free diners, and less likely to have been cross contaminated. If you’re not sure about an ingredient in any of the rolls, just ask one of the friendly servers.

The soy sauce: Yes, you can enjoy the salty deliciousness of gluten free soy sauce at Ki Sushi. When I first went gluten free, I got used to not dunking my rolls in soy sauce, since the gluten free version wasn’t widely available. It’s available by request at Ki, and it’s a treat to be able to enjoy it again!

The sashimi: OK, so raw seafood may not be on the top of everyone’s list, but it’s one of my favourite things to order when I get sushi. The tuna sashimi melts in your mouth, and the salmon sashimi is fresh and flavourful. For a walk on the wilder side, try the octopus, yellowtail, or mackerel sashimi. If you can’t get behind the idea of completely raw fish, Ki Sushi also does tuna tataki, which is lightly seared on the outside.

The edamame: These steamed soybeans are sprinkled with coarse salt, and are a delicious gluten free treat to nibble on while waiting for your rolls.

The sunomono: Rice noodles, shrimp, and thinly-sliced cucumber are marinated in rice vinegar and served cold. It’s a tangy, refreshing appetizer, and since it uses rice noodles, it’s gluten free.

The miso soup: Hot, salty, and loaded with chunks of tofu and seaweed slices, this Japanese mainstay is sure to satisfy.

The nigiri: Thin slices of seafood sashimi are served on little beds of rice. Nigiri is a great way to experience lots of different kinds of sashimi. If you’re vegetarian, try the tamago nigiri, which is cooked egg.

What to Watch Out For:

The California roll: California rolls contain imitation crab meat, which is not gluten free. Imitation crab is a staple in many of the rolls at Ki, so it’s a good idea to make sure that the special roll you’ve been eyeing doesn’t contain it. If you’re in the mood for crab, Ki offers a real crab roll.

The tempura: This deep-fried treat is available at almost all sushi restaurants, but the batter contains gluten. Shrimp tempura is one of the main ingredients in dynamite rolls, so they’re not safe for gluten free sushi seekers.

The udon: Ki offers a variety of udon noodle soup, but the noodles contain wheat flour.

The ramen: Like the udon, the ramen noodles at Ki contain wheat flour, so they’re not gluten free.

The teriyaki: Teriyaki sauce contains regular soy sauce, so it’s not gluten free.

The sauces: Not all of the sauces at Ki contain gluten, but since many of them do use soy sauce as a base, it’s a good idea to ask the server about gluten free alternatives.

The Service:

Whether you’re dining in or getting a meal on the go, the service at Ki Sushi is always fast and efficient. In general, I’ve found that the servers are knowledgeable about gluten free alternatives and modifications, and if they’re not sure about something, they’ll check with the kitchen. The food always comes out quickly, and dishes are taken away promptly, to make room for more sushi goodness! They’re on top of the green tea refills too. I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the bottom of my teacup!

The Restaurant:

When you step into Ki Sushi, the first thing you’ll hear is trickling water. No, they don’t have plumbing problems, the sound you hear is from the koi pond at the entrance. Giant koi twirl lazily in the water, until they see you watching. As soon as they spot you, they’ll congregate at the surface, hoping for a treat! The rest of the restaurant is contemporary and comfortable, and in certain spots, you can watch the sushi chefs making beautiful platters of goodness. Ki is conveniently located right across the street from New Westminster SkyTrain station, which makes it a great place to drop in on your way home from work.

The Verdict:

Ki Sushi offers a plethora of gluten free sushi options. The fish is fresh and delicious, the service is quick, and you’ll always leave full and happy.

Happy chopsticking!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Me-n-Ed’s: Gluten Free Pizza Delivered to your Door

meneds

There’s nothing quite like a hot, thin-crust pizza topped with bubbling cheese and loads of your favourite toppings. When I went gluten free, I mourned the loss of restaurant pizza. Making gluten free pizza at home with crust that was closer to cardboard than food was just not the same. Although Me-n-Ed’s is technically in Burnaby, they’re less than a 15 minute drive from downtown New West, and will also deliver fresh, delicious gluten free pizza right to your door!

Gluten Free Options at Me-n-Ed’s:

The crust: Me-n-Ed’s does gluten free pizza crust right! It’s thin and light, tastes great, and bears absolutely no resemblance to cardboard. It only comes in one size, but I’ve found that the 10″ crust is more than enough to feed me for two meals.

The sauces: Not in the mood for marinara? No problem! The pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto, and garlic and herb pizza sauces are also gluten free.

The toppings: Most of the pizza toppings are safe for gluten free pizza lovers. You can choose up to four of the following gluten free toppings on any one pizza:

  • Italian sausage
  • pepperoni
  • roast chicken
  • shrimp
  • anchovies
  • smoked salmon
  • bacon
  • pineapple
  • olives (green and black)
  • jalapenos
  • green peppers
  • banana peppers
  • artichokes
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli
  • onions (red and white)
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • feta cheese
  • garlic

The nachos: The nachos at Me-n-Ed’s are mountainous. More than once, I’ve seen a platter of nachos be delivered to an unsuspecting diner, and have watched their eyes widen as they contemplate the impossibility of eating it all. Just make sure to let the server know you’re gluten free.

The salads: Me-n-Ed’s offers a variety of salads, but watch out for things like croutons, garlic bread, and teriyaki chicken. It’s also a good idea to verify with the server which dressings are gluten free.

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Bacon and pineapple gluten free pizza

What to Watch Out For:

The meats: Although Me-n-Ed’s offers a variety of gluten free meat toppings, the ham, capicollo, ground beef, and salami are not gluten free.

The bread: The “Starters” menu includes a variety of different breads. Unfortunately, these are not gluten free.

The specialty pizzas: Since the gluten free pizzas are limited to a maximum of four toppings, the specialty pizzas can’t be done on a gluten free crust. However, you can pick up to four ingredients to closely replicate one of the specialties.

The sandwiches: Me-n-Ed’s has subs and paninis, but these are also not gluten free.

The Service:

Me-n-Ed’s is proud of the quality of their gluten free ingredients. Not satisfied with the first gluten free crust they offered, they worked until they found one that was perfect. All of the staff are quite knowledgeable about gluten free options and modifications. The gluten free pizzas are cooked in a separate oven to avoid cross contamination, but the open-concept kitchen means that contamination could still occur. The gluten free pizzas take a little bit longer in the oven to achieve the right amount of bubbly, crispy goodness, and the staff members always make sure to let you know. If you don’t feel like going out, the delivery service is just as awesome as the restaurant service.

The Restaurant:

Me-n-Ed’s is a casual, family-friendly place that can also accommodate large groups. When you first walk in, you can see the pizza chefs twirling crusts and building delicious culinary creations. It’s a “seat yourself” concept, so all you have to do is choose an empty table and wait for one of the friendly servers. The Burnaby Me-n-Ed’s shares a parking lot with the McDonald’s next door, so it can get pretty busy. Fortunately, its proximity to Kingsway means that there are several bus routes nearby. If a meal out is not on the menu, delivery is free!

The Verdict:

Gluten free pizza that tastes like cardboard is a thing of the past! Me-n-Ed’s pizza is fresh, light, loaded with delicious toppings, and has just the right amount of bubbly cheese. Get it on the go, or stop by and say hi.

Happy pizza twirling!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Re-up BBQ: Gluten Free Southern Barbecue on the Banks of the Fraser

reup_sign

When you step into the River Market on the Quay in New Westminster, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the delectable aroma of smoked meat in the air. That delicious scent comes from Re-up BBQ, on the “Hungry Floor.” Serving up smoky Southern barbecue, Re-up is a great place to grab some comfort food while exploring the Quay. The best part? Most of their fare is gluten free!

Gluten Free Options at Re-up:

The ribs: Who can resist a rack of perfectly smoked “stick to your ribs” ribs? Huge, meaty, and flavourful, the ribs at Re-up are sure to satisfy any barbecue lover! Enjoy a half-rack for a filling meal, or a whole rack for an epic barbecue feast.

The pulled pork: Pulled pork is always a favourite with me, and fortunately, it’s gluten free. Choose 1/3 lb, 1/2 lb, or a full pound of deliciousness!

The brisket: Cooked low and slow, flavourful and satisfying, the brisket also comes in quantities of 1/3 lb, 1/2 lb, or 1 lb.

The chili: The black bean and corn chili is hearty and gluten free. Try it topped with a fried egg, or add smoked bacon.

The potato salad: The potato salad is rich and creamy, and especially wonderful when paired with the ribs.

The coleslaw: Tangy, refreshing, and crunchy, the coleslaw is 100% gluten free!

The chili cheese fries: Although the fries are gluten free, they’re fried in the same deep fryer as gluten-containing ingredients. This means that cross contamination is possible, and might affect people with moderate to severe Celiac disease.

The pit beans: A southern barbecue classic, the pit beans make a  great gluten free addition to any meal.

The drinks: The sweet tea at Re-up is exactly what sweet tea should be, and is made in house! The ginger beer packs a bite, and is extremely refreshing. They also offer homemade cola and lemon soda to slake your thirst.

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Half-rack of ribs and potato salad

What to Watch Out For:

The biscuits: Although buttermilk biscuits are another Southern classic, they’re not gluten free.

The gravy: The gravy is rich and thick, but unfortunately, not gluten free.

The buns: The buns used to make Re-up’s sandwiches are not gluten free. However, you can still enjoy the sandwich fillings as part of a barbecue platter!

The chicken batter: The batter on the fried chicken is made with flour, so it’s not gluten free. If you’re craving chicken though, they can do the chicken sans batter.

The Service:

I had my first visit to Re-up recently, and I was absolutely impressed by their service. The staff member asked if I was Celiac, so he could explain that the fryer was used for gluten-containing ingredients. He then went through the menu, explaining what was not gluten free, and helped me choose the best options for my barbecue platter. He did it all with a smile, and seemed genuinely passionate about the quality of the gluten free options they had. Good service can make or break a restaurant experience, especially for gluten free diners, and the service at Re-up made me excited to go back.

reup_drinks

Southern sweet tea and ginger beer

The Restaurant:

Re-up serves its delectable barbecue in the food court of the River Market. You can get your meal to go and enjoy it on the Quay, or grab a seat in the bustling “Hungry Floor” and enjoy the sights and sounds of the River Market. Re-up knows that you can’t rush a good thing, so the food takes about 15 minutes to prepare. To make sure you’re not stuck in a hungry crowd waiting for your food, they give you a buzzer that beeps and flashes when your meal is ready. So, you’re free to either sit and sip your sweet tea, or explore the market.

Currently, Re-up is running on summer hours, which means that it’s open from 10 AM to 7 PM every day of the week. It’s an especially popular place on sunny weekends, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for a bit of a line. If you don’t want to wait, you can call ahead to place your take-out order.

The Verdict:

Re-up brings authentic, slow-cooked barbecue to New West. It’s a great place to get top notch gluten free comfort food, and a perfect addition to sunny days on the Quay. Make sure to stock up on napkins for your barbecued feast!

Happy finger licking!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Browns Socialhouse: Gluten Free Dining in Historic Sapperton

browns

One of my favourite things to do is to relax with friends and enjoy delicious pub-style food. Cheese-laden nachos, juicy burgers, perfectly cooked chicken wings, and flavourful pizza are the ingredients for an epic get together. Fortunately, elegant gluten free pub food is close to home! Browns Socialhouse in The Brewery District provides an abundance of fresh gluten free choices.

Gluten Free Options at Browns:

The pizza: Both the margherita pizza and the Biltmore 2.0 are gluten free. The margherita pizza is light and fresh, with house-made tomato sauce and a sprinkling of fragrant basil. The Biltmore 2.0 is rich and decadent, with large shrimp, garlic cream, and fresh pesto. The gluten free pizza crust is thin, light, crispy, and so good I had to double check that they’d given me the correct pizza!

The pub burger: This juicy burger is topped with smoked bacon and havarti, and served on a gluten free bun.

The spicy chicken sandwich: To me, this sandwich is the epitome of everything good. It has tender grilled chicken, bacon, jack cheese, and chili mayo to give it a bit of a kick. It’s also served on a gluten free bun. The regular version of this sandwich has crispy chicken, so be sure to request the gluten free version.

The bowls: Browns offers two different gluten free rice bowls to satisfy your carb cravings. The grilled chicken bowl and potato-crusted cod bowl are both served on a bed of almond rice, and come with the signature Cowgirl Salad.

The fries: Although the fries are gluten free, they’re cooked in the same deep fryer as gluten-containing ingredients. This means cross-contamination is possible, so proceed with caution. The online menu doesn’t mention this possibility, but the physical Gluten Friendly menu in the restaurant does. If you don’t want to risk it, you can substitute a salad for fries.

The fish and chips: Yes, you read that right! Browns has gluten free fish and chips. Just make sure to order the gluten free version, in case any modifications are necessary. Since both the fish and chips are fried, this is also a “proceed with caution” dish.

The nachos: I’m a self-described “nacho monster,” and I always enjoy the nachos at Browns. The chips go into the same fryer as gluten-containing ingredients, so be aware that cross contamination could occur.

The chicken wings: Hot wings are a pub food mainstay, and Browns does them with Frank’s Red Hot. This dish also requires caution, since they’re cooked in the communal fryer.

The kale salad: I’m generally not a fan of kale, but this salad is loaded with vegetables, quinoa, mint, and almonds. The regular version of this salad includes wheat berry, so make sure to order the gluten free version.

The chicken salad: The grilled chicken Cowgirl and grilled chicken caesar are both gluten free, and topped with fresh and flavourful dressings.

The shrimp sushi roll: This is the gluten free version of their dynamite roll. It’s served with plain shrimp instead of tempura, and includes gluten free soy sauce.

What to Watch Out For:

The tacos: Browns offers a variety of tacos, but the tortillas are not gluten free.

The veggie burger: Like many veggie burgers, the one at Browns is not gluten free. It also comes with a sweet soy glaze, which contains gluten.

The blackened chicken: The blackened chicken is not gluten free, but grilled chicken can be substituted in many dishes instead.

The spicy fennel sausage and bacon pizza: Sausage and bacon may be tempting, but unfortunately, this is the one pizza that cannot be made gluten free.

The barbecue sauce: Condiments can be tricky for gluten free diners, since they’re a likely place for hidden gluten. The barbecue sauce at Browns is not gluten free, but many of their other sauces are.

The Service:

Browns works hard to make sure that gluten free diners are well fed and provided with information on potential cross contamination. On my last visit, the server made sure to verify that my request was due to an allergy, so they could take extra precautions in the kitchen. She also asked if I had any other allergies that they should know about.

A separate “Gluten Friendly” menu is available, and it clearly lists all of the gluten free options, as well as the items that might be contaminated in the deep fryer. Just ask one of the staff members for the menu!

sappers

Sapperton

The Restaurant:

Browns is conveniently located in The Brewery District, which is a planned neighbourhood of residences, shops, and office space in Sapperton. It’s close by the Sapperton SkyTrain station, and just a quick drive from Highway 1. It’s a comfortable, contemporary space with a large patio. Lots of wood, leather, and brickwork give it an opulent feel. It’s open until either 11 PM or 12 AM every night of the week, so it’s a great place to grab a late-night snack.

The Verdict:

If you’re looking for elegant pub-style food, then Browns is the place to go. They offer a good, solid range of gluten free options, and careful, knowledgeable service.

Happy munching!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Columbia Street Sandwich Company: Gluten Free Goodies in the Heart of Downtown

columbiasandwich

One of the things I missed most when I went gluten free was a nice sandwich. Toasted bread, loads of fresh toppings, juicy turkey, that sort of thing. I tried making sandwiches at home, but many brands of gluten free bread didn’t quite come up to the mark. They either tasted like cardboard, or the slices were the size of a playing card, or it was prohibitively expensive. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a very lazy chef, and convincing myself to chop up a mountain of veggies just for a sandwich was an exercise in futility. Thanks to Samantha and Melissa at Columbia Street Sandwich Company, my dream of a perfect gluten free sandwich has been realized.

Gluten Free Options at Columbia Sandwich:

The sandwiches: They are proud of their gluten free sandwiches, and with good reason. They tested ten different kinds of bread before finding the perfect slice. The result is gluten free bread that tastes good, toasts well, and is a decent size. The turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich is delectable and filling. They also offer vegetarian options, and classics like the BLT. Every sandwich comes with a mountain of fresh toppings.

The soup: They try to offer a gluten free soup option every day. The turkey quinoa soup is loaded with turkey, vegetables, and quinoa, and reminds me of the epic soups that used to come from our Thanksgiving turkeys. They go through two whole roast turkeys every day, and often make soup from the leftovers.

The baked goods: If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Columbia Sandwich will definitely satisfy your cravings with their gluten free baked goods. On a recent visit, I tried both their peanut butter cookie and pumpkin chocolate loaf. The cookie was light and chewy, and reminded me of after school snacks in my childhood. The pumpkin chocolate loaf was moist, full of chocolate chips, and not overly spiced. Despite trying to save room for the rest of my meal, I devoured the whole thing. Their gluten free treats are very popular, and often sell out quickly.

The snacks and sides: They keep snacks and side dishes in a little cooler by the cash register, and try to always have a gluten free option available. When I was there last, they had fruit bowls. Sometimes they have veggies and hummus. Whatever the gluten free option, it’s always fresh and prepared in-house.

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Gluten free turkey bacon avocado sandwich

What to Watch Out For:

The toaster: They don’t have a separate toaster for gluten free bread, so if you’d like your sandwich toasted, the bread will go through the same toaster as gluten-containing bread. They’re very good about letting you know, so you can decide if you’d like to take the risk.

The breakfast bagels: Unfortunately, finding a good, affordable gluten free bagel is even more difficult than finding decent gluten free bread. The bagels are not gluten free, but the breakfast toppings can be served on gluten free bread.

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Gluten free peanut butter cookie

The Service:

The service at Columbia Sandwich can be summed up in one word: amazing. Early on, Samantha and Melissa realized the need for good gluten free options, and have really stepped up to make it happen. The best part is that unlike many restaurants, they don’t charge extra for gluten free! They don’t believe that people should be penalized for having dietary restrictions, so the price of a cookie is the price of a cookie, whether it’s gluten free or not.

The friendly service and welcoming atmosphere means they have a lot of regular customers, and know them by name.

The kitchen is not a 100% gluten free environment, but they understand the risk of cross contamination, and are more than willing to answer any questions about their processes. Everything except the gluten free bread is made in-house, and has that fresh, homemade flavour.

The Restaurant:

As you might have guessed, Columbia Street Sandwich Company is located right on Columbia Street, in the heart of downtown New West. The restaurant itself is quite small, with a few tables and a bar near the window. It’s bright and cozy, and exemplifies the close-knit community spirit of New Westminster. Because of its excellent food and convenient location, it can get very busy around lunch time. If you want to avoid the rush, go early and request your meal to go! Recently, they opened a second location at 428 Columbia Street called Columbia Street Eats. This location focuses on non-sandwich lunch items. It’s also a small space, but bright and welcoming.

The Verdict:

Gluten free lunchers rejoice! The perfect gluten free sandwich does exist, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Columbia Street Sandwich Company is a great place for a friendly chat along with your meal, or a convenient place to get wonderful homemade food on the run.

Happy sandwiching!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Hub Restaurant: Amazing Gluten Free Burgers with a View

hub

Who doesn’t love to sink their teeth into a hot, juicy burger fresh off the grill? When I lived in Vancouver, I frequented a restaurant two blocks away that did amazing gluten free burgers. When I moved to New Westminster and that restaurant closed down, I was convinced I’d never again find a burger that measured up. But it turns out that thick, flavourful, gluten free burgers are no further away than Hub Restaurant in New Westminster Station!

Gluten Free Options at Hub:

The burgers: Their house-made burger patties don’t use breadcrumbs (or any gluten) as a binder, so they’re gluten free. They’re also thick, juicy, and perfectly spiced. If you’re in the mood for a basic burger, the Hub Burger will definitely satisfy. My personal favourite is the Yankee Burger, which comes with smoky bacon and a mountain of cheddar. For a bit of a kick, try the Crack Burger. Just make sure to ask for no onion rings.

The buns: Where there’s gluten free burgers, there’s gluten free buns! But they’re not limited to being paired with a burger. Hub’s sandwiches and wraps are also available on the gluten free buns.

The sandwiches and wraps: Hub is extremely accommodating when it comes to gluten free modifications to their sandwiches and wraps. The crispy chicken sandwich and crispy fish wrap can be done without breading, and can be served on a gluten free bun. If you see a sandwich you like, all you have to do is ask about a gluten free option!

The wok squid: This succulent appetizer can be made gluten free. Just ask for no breading.

The chicken wings: Although they’re normally dusted with flour, the chicken wings can easily be made gluten free.

The salads: Most of the salads don’t contain gluten, but watch out for things like wontons and panini crisps. These can be left off for gluten free diners.

The salmon: The salmon is paired with quinoa and seasonal vegetables, which makes it a fresh gluten free choice.

The beef: Hub offers two different beef entrees that can be made suitable for gluten free diners. Just make sure to let your server know you’re gluten free, because modifications may be necessary.

The fries and yam fries: These are “proceed with caution” dishes. Although the fries and yam fries are not battered, they are cooked in the same deep fryer as gluten-containing ingredients. This means that cross contamination is possible, and could affect people with severe Celiac disease. If you don’t want to risk it, I suggest the Hub salad instead.

The drinks: Hub is known for its selection of craft beer, but they also offer Omission Pale Ale, which is a gluten free beer from Portland. If you’re not into beer, they have a range of cider and other drinks to sip on.

What to Watch Out For:

The pasta: Hub doesn’t carry gluten free noodles, so the mac and cheese and cajun fettuccini are off the menu for gluten free diners.

The flatbread: It sounds fresh and delicious, but unfortunately, it’s not gluten free.

The poutine: Although cheese curds and crispy bacon might sound tempting, the gravy is not gluten free.

The onion rings: Hub is more than willing to leave the batter and breading off of their items. But unless you’d like a plate of fried onions, it doesn’t make much sense to ask for gluten free onion rings. Of course, if you do want a plate of onions, there’s no judgement here!

The caesars: Hub offers a variety of caesars, but they’re made with Worcestershire sauce, which usually contains gluten. If you don’t mind an alteration in the flavour, you can request a caesar without Worcestershire.

The Service:

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive before my first visit to Hub, because their menu only made a small reference to gluten free buns. But since then, I’ve been consistently impressed with their knowledge and willingness to accommodate gluten free diners. They train their staff on gluten free modifications, and make sure to let customers know that cross contamination could occur in the deep fryer. On a recent visit, they let me know that brand new servers may not be as familiar with gluten free modifications, but that they always have someone on duty who is. On very busy nights, service can be a little bit slow, but that’s to be expected when the restaurant is full.

The Restaurant:

Hub is located right in New Westminster Station, just by the platform. It’s a lofty, modern space, with large windows overlooking the river. Seating ranges from large semicircular booths, to bar seats, to longer tables with bench seating. They can accommodate large or small groups, and you can make reservations directly through their website. But the best seats in the house are available in warm weather, on their incredible patio. The distinctive red umbrellas can be seen from the Quay and the River Market. From your perch high up in New Westminster Station, you get a prime view of the river, the bridges, and the nearby market. All that and delicious gluten free eats!

The Verdict:

Don’t let the menu fool you! Hub has gluten free options aplenty, and all you have to do is let the staff know about your dietary needs. The staff is friendly, the space is beautiful, and the location can’t be beat.

Happy burger devouring!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Wild Rice Market Bistro: Gluten Free Dining Made Easy and Stylish

wild_rice

love Chinese-style cooking. I just can’t get enough of the crisp vegetables, tender rice, marinated meats, and tangy sauces. But because wheat is often a main ingredient in soy sauce, it can be hard to find Asian dishes to satisfy gluten free diners. Wild Rice Market Bistro on the Quay combines unique, Chinese-inspired flavour with fresh, local, organic ingredients. It’s gluten free dining done right!

Gluten Free Options at Wild Rice:

The vegan curry: This richly-flavoured curry is gluten free, and served on a bed of fragrant jasmine rice. If you’re craving protein, you can add chili tofu, chicken, or prawns. It’s a very generous portion, so you won’t leave hungry!

The Asian chicken wrap: It’s wrapped in rice paper instead of a tortilla, so it’s gluten free. It’s stuffed with chicken, tomatoes, blue cheese dressing, and buffalo sauce. I love wraps, and this one exceeded my expectations.

The garlic prawns: Who can say no to garlic prawns on a bed of cilantro turmeric rice? It’s delicious, and completely gluten free.

The chicken wings: Unlike many restaurants that coat their chicken wings in batter, Wild Rice offers gluten free wings. Just make sure to let the server know you need the gluten free option, because the menu does mention batter.

The yam fries and polenta fries: Who doesn’t love a good yam fry? Especially with roasted garlic mayo. The good news is that the yam fries are gluten free! If you’re in the mood for something a little different, the polenta fries are also gluten free.

The salt and pepper squid: Squid may not be at the top of everyone’s food list, but based on how much I miss sharing a plate of succulent calamari, I think it’s up there for me! Jalapenos add a little spice to this gluten free dish.

The sweet chili chicken and fries: This is a sweet and spicy gluten free option for people who may be missing chicken and fries.

The sauteed kale and mushrooms: This starter is both vegan and gluten free.

The kale caesar salad: The cashew tofu dressing, roasted garlic, and a balsamic reduction might just make kale worth eating!

The butternut and kabocha squash soup: This rich and hearty soup is gluten free. Just make sure to order it without the crispy onions, as these are not gluten free.

The chocolate cake: Yes, gluten free chocolate cake. Your eyes do not deceive you! It’s topped with chocolate sauce and a scoop of good old vanilla ice cream.

The Callebaut chocolate pyramid: If you’re not in the mood for cake, there’s a second gluten free chocolate option. Rich Belgian chocolate and pears poached in red wine will definitely make you want to save room for dessert.

chicken_wrap

Gluten free Asian chicken wrap

What to Watch Out For:

The soy sauce: Since many of the dishes are Chinese-style, soy sauce is a main component in some of the dishes. Anything labeled with “sweet soy” is not gluten free. If you have any questions about the sauce on a particular dish, just ask one of the staff members!

The wontons: Wontons are a common ingredient in many Chinese dishes, but unfortunately, they’re not gluten free.

The dumplings, buns, spring rolls, and potstickers: They look and sound delicious, but the casings of these Chinese mainstays are not gluten free.

The Service:

Wild Rice prides itself on catering to a wide range of dietary restrictions while maintaining a unique and fresh flavour. Their menu is, by far, the easiest menu to navigate, because all of the gluten free options are clearly labeled. The staff members know the menu quite well, and are able to explain any modifications needed to make your favourite dish gluten free. The last time I was in, the server explained that the gluten free Asian chicken wrap has pan fried chicken instead of deep fried chicken, and made sure that was OK before entering the order. Since modifications may be necessary, it’s a good idea to let the staff know that you’re gluten free. Although the kitchen is not a 100% gluten free environment, they are careful to avoid cross contamination.

The Restaurant:

Wild Rice is conveniently located in the River Market on the Quay. Large windows look over the waterfront, giving diners a lovely view of the river and mountains. In warm weather, there’s also a large patio area. Concrete and a shiny open-concept kitchen give off an industrial vibe, which is relieved by warm wood tables, colourful paper lanterns, and local artwork on the walls. It’s a popular place on weekends (especially sunny weekends), so reservations are recommended. You can make reservations directly through their website, or by giving them a call.

The Verdict:

If you’re looking for a wide selection of fresh, delicious gluten free food, then Wild Rice is definitely the place to go. Their unique dishes, convenient location, knowledgeable staff, and easy to navigate menu make it a dream for gluten free diners. It’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail, meal, and a view.

Happy chilling!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.

Angelina’s Restaurant: Best Gluten Free Breakfast in New Westminster

angelinas

One of the best breakfasts I ever had was a slightly crisp pannekoek the size of my plate, smothered in melted gouda, sliced mushrooms, and chunks of perfectly-cooked bacon. You might not believe it, but I didn’t discover this breakfast until after I found out I couldn’t have gluten! Angelina’s Restaurant on the Quay proves that authentic Dutch breakfasts don’t need to contain gluten to be exceptional. (Or egg-ceptional)

Gluten Free Options at Angelina’s:

The pannekoeken: They’re very proud of their gluten free pannekoeken, and it shows. The other gluten free pannekoeken I’ve tried have been closer to doughy pancakes. But the ones at Angelina’s are thin, slightly crisp, and have that proper “bubbly” texture. They’re cooked separately from the pannekoeken that contain gluten, so there’s less risk of cross contamination. You can order the pannekoeken with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings. My personal favourite is the bacon, mushroom, and cheese (with your choice of cheese).

The toast: If you’re in the mood for a more traditional breakfast, gluten free toast is part of their bread selection. It’s not mentioned on the menu, but it is available. Just ask one of the friendly staff!

The breakfast platters: There’s only one word to describe the breakfast platters at Angelina’s: EPIC. They come with your choice of meat (the meat options are all gluten free) or a vegetarian option, 2 eggs, roasted potatoes, fresh fruit, and gluten free toast. And the meat is not limited to a mere two or three strips of bacon, oh no. The few times I’ve been hungry enough to order the platter, the bacon covered more than half of the plate! It was the only instance in recorded history where I’ve been unable to finish all the bacon put in front of me.

The fruit bowl: If you feel like a lighter breakfast, try the fruit bowl. It’s legendary! I haven’t found a fruit bowl yet that can match Angelina’s for variety of fruit and freshness.

The omelettes: The 3-egg omelettes are gluten free, and are also served with roasted potatoes, fresh fruit, and toast.

The hash: The ingredients in the hash don’t contain gluten, but make sure to order it without hollandaise, and with gluten free toast.

What to Watch Out For:

The hollandaise: The hollandaise sauce is made from a mix, and contains gluten.

The waffles and French toast: They may look delicious, but the waffles and French toast are not gluten free. Try a gluten free pannekoek with a fruity topping and whipped cream if you’re looking to indulge your sweet tooth.

The Eggs Benedict: This breakfast classic has hollandaise and English muffins, so it’s not safe for gluten intolerant breakfasters.

The Service:

The staff is quite knowledgeable when it comes to gluten free breakfast options. On my first visit there, I mentioned that I was gluten free, and the server ran over the menu in detail, listing what I could have and what wasn’t safe. Although the restaurant is not a 100% gluten free environment, they are aware of the potential for cross contamination, and cook the gluten free items separately to try and prevent it. The service is unfailingly friendly and attentive, even during the busiest hours.

The Restaurant:

With its convenient location right on the Quay, Angelina’s is a very popular spot for breakfast. If you go on a weekend, especially around brunch, be prepared for a bit of a wait. But the food is absolutely worth waiting for! Since their focus is breakfast and lunch, they’re open from 6:30 AM until 2:30 PM Monday through Friday. To accommodate later breakfast-seekers on weekends, they stay open until 3:00 PM.

The restaurant itself is rather small, which is why there’s often a wait for a table. However, it’s bright and clean, with large windows, and fresh flowers on the tables year-round. In warmer weather, they often set up a few tables outside, so you can enjoy a view of the river as you eat. Dutch-style decorations are dotted here and there, adding personality and charm.

The Verdict:

Angelina’s is a bright, cozy place to enjoy an exceptional gluten free breakfast. Their pannekoeken are amazing, their breakfast platters epic, and the service is fast and friendly.

Happy pannekoeking!

 

If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.