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.

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

taqueria

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

ki_sushi

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.