Is there anything better than frozen yogurt in the summer? It cools you off while making you feel good! Even better it tastes great and at 16 Handles you get to flaunt your flavor by creating your own creations.
16 Handles serves high quality frozen yogurt that come in a variety of delicious flavors and toppings. 16 Handles is a self-service yogurt bar so you can create what you want and how much you want. All yogurt products are all natural, and gluten free toppings are labeled.
The national frozen yogurt chain has just debuted a creamy vegan flavor called Yo Soy Vanilla. This means being lactose-intolerant or vegan no longer means having to avoid your favorite frozen treats. The best part is, the new flavor is also gluten free!
CEO Solomon Choi says, “We developed Yo Soy Vanilla as a response to our customers who wanted to enjoy a non dairy flavor that wasn’t a fruit flavor. Vanilla is our best selling flavor so now we’re offering our best to our veganfriendly handlers.”
16 Handles also just debuted fruit smoothies, made with real fruit and artisanal frozen yogurt. With fun flavors like BFF (Strawberry Banana), Tropic Thunder (Mango Pineapple) and BRR Berry (Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry) you can walk out a smooth(ie) operator.
All yogurt products are all natural, and gluten containing products are labeled.
You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well thanks to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour, this is actually possible. Instacart, a website and an app where you order your groceries from your favorite stores, recently launched in Boston and connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. In Boston, this includes Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Market Basket and Costco. Instacart is not affiliated with these stores, but it makes shopping there so much easier.
I have a busy life and getting to the grocery store is not always easy, nor is it on the top of my “favorite things to do” list. I mean who likes going to the grocery store at 5pm? The lines are long, the people are moody, and I’m usually hungry. And lets face it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to go to the grocery store.
Eating a gluten free diet makes this even more of a chore. I shop at multiple food stores because each one offers different gluten free items or significantly different prices for the same product. Instacart lets you mix and match from various stores. So rather than having to run all over the city to different grocery stores, someone else can do the schlepping for me!
With delivery prices as low as $3.99, and free for orders $35 or more this is a no brainer. I can definitely spend $35 in one shopping trip, thanks to the high prices of gluten free items. The minimum order is $10. Deliveries can be made in less than two hours but can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you’ll be home. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 12 minutes. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free.
I placed my first order at 5pm today. I ordered items from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods. It was easy to browse items by aisle, as you would in a grocery store, and I could filter by brand and/or dietary preferences including gluten free, organic, kosher, and vegan. This was a huge time saver. I was impressed with the number of gluten free products on the site. It’s not like food delivery/take out sites that don’t always list the gluten free options- you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.
Can’t find what you are looking for? It’s impossible to list every single item a grocery store carries. Luckily there is an option to Add a Special Request/Custom Item. All you have to do is include a description of what you are looking for the, the more specific the better, and you can even add a photo, which I did to make it easier for the shopper.
What happens if something is out of stock? When something is out of stock at the store Instacart will do their best to replace it with something similar. During checkout, you can choose specific replacements for any item, or ask for no replacement of an item. If you allow it, your shopper will call from the store to confirm replacement items.
You can view the status of your order and make changes and if the Shopper has not started working on your order, you can add to, modify or cancel your order very easily.
My first order:
Placing my order was super easy. I ordered food from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods.
My shopper called me because an item I wanted wasn’t in stock, but they had another flavor, so I told her that was ok. She also told me she was having a hard time finding the special request item I had added to my order. That didn’t surprise me because I know that not all Whole Foods carry that very new item. A few minutes later I received a text message with an estimated delivery time. My shopper actually arrived 15 minutes before the estimated time, I can’t complain about that!
I was impressed with the quality or service and communication. I also really liked the convenience and ease of the entire processes.
Prices are set by Instacart and may vary from what you may see in your store or your sales flyer. However, you will see the price for each item when selecting your grocery list. I found that the prices were very similar, if not the same, as what I typically pay for my groceries. For example a carton of Almond Breeze Almond Milk at Whole Foods cost $1.99 in the store and on Instacart. There were some items that seemed a bit high to me, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins at Whole Foods sell for $3.99 and a bit more at Shaw’s, about $5.99-$6.99. On Instacart the price at Whole Foods was also $3.99 but at Shaw’s the Puffins cost $7.99.
After your order(s) is delivered you receive both a text and e-mail. If any replacements had been made the e-mail will show this as well as the adjusted price. You are also asked to rate and tip your shopper. Tipping is not required but shoppers appreciate recognition of their hard work. You can tip in cash or using your credit card during checkout or after delivery.
Instacart is available in and around Boston and NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Woodland Park) 7 days/week from 9am-midnight, depending on local store hours.
I love ice cream. I will eat ice cream no matter what the temperature is outside. So when I was recently presented with the opportunity to go to J.P. Licks and sample their ice cream flavors I was ecstatic!
J.P. Licks is a Boston-based company. They opened their first location in Jamaica Plain in 1981. Known for their high quality, homemade cream, the unique, intense, and ever changing flavors, as well as their ice cream cakes, they now have 12 locations throughout Boston and the greater Boston area, with their 13th store opening this spring in Assembly Square, Somerville.
At J.P. Licks you can taste as many flavors as you’d like before placing your order. But you should be kind to the servers and only try a few. Luckily for me, I was there with a group of bloggers specifically to sample their ice cream. So I didn’t feel so bad asking to try so many flavors!
J.P. Lick’s offers many gluten free flavors of their ice cream, soft serve yogurt, hard yogurt, NutraSweet yogurt, Yogurt X, sherbets, sorbets, toppings, and cake ingredients.
*Note: They rinse, sanitize and disassemble the machines between each flavor. Flavors containing gluten products are produced on the same machinery as gluten free products.
JP Licks also offers dairy free, lactose free, and vegan ice cream made from coconut, soy and/or hemp. For a complete list of ingredient information click here.
Ice creams containing nuts are kept in a separate cooler than non-nut containing ice creams. If you have a food allergy or sensitivity don’t hesitate to speak up. They will wash the scoops and even scoop out of a fresh unopened bucket of ice cream if you need them too because just like you, they don’t want to risk cross contamination either.
Every month J.P. Licks comes out with new monthly flavors, some which end up becoming regulars on the menu. Each month the flavors get more creative than the last!
This months new gluten free flavors include:
I tried the Mint Irish Lace and Madagascar Vanilla Coconut, which is my new all-time favorite.
In addition to ice cream, J.P. Licks roasts their own Fair Trade Certified Organic coffee!
They even have espresso bars so you can order lattes and cappuccinos, and skip the long lines at Starbucks.
Perhaps you’ve heard – Restaurant Week is now Dine Out Boston. Whatever name it goes by, I’ve still got you covered when it comes to gluten free options.
From March 16th-21st and then again from the 23rd-28th participating restaurants will be offering tasty prix fixe lunch or dinner menus (or both). New this year are the three pricing tiers for each meal period. Lunch menus are available for $15, $20 or $25, and dinner menus are priced at $28, $33 and $38. Price and number of courses vary by restaurant.
Below is list of participating restaurants that offer gluten free options on their Dine Out Boston Menus. Some offer full Gluten Free menus while others have a few gluten free options on the menu, or can accommodate very easily by subbing gluten free pasta for regular, etc.
If you would like me to add your restaurant to this list, or if you are a gluten free diner who has recently enjoyed a gluten free Dine Out Boston meal somewhere else please let me know and I will be happy to add it to the list.
Dine Out Boston Restaurants with Gluten Free Options:
Kitchensurfing brings a chef into your kitchen for parties, lessons, and so much more.
Kitchensurfing (KS) is a marketplace for chefs of all kinds. From hobby chefs to Michelin chefs, you can browse the chefs on the site, view their sample menus, read their reviews, and book any of them. From private cooking lessons in your home, to meal deliveries, to a private dinner party for two or thirty-two, KS allows you to ‘shop’ around based on your own needs, wants, budget, and diet.
Last month Jeremy and I had a wonderful, restaurant-quality, 4-course meal with Chef Chris Hallahan. We were blown away not only by his culinary talents, but also by his passion for food and locally sourced ingredients. He was friendly and engaging, and answered all our questions. You can read all about our first KS experience here.
The whole experience was so wonderful that I decided to use KS again, but this time I wanted a cooking lesson.
After browsing a few profiles and menus to see who would be a good fit for a gluten free, dairy free cooking lesson we chose Michelle Lahey. Michelle is a Boston based personal chef and I love her blog, The Economical Eater, so I was thrilled when she replied to my request for a cooking lesson for my sister and I!
The Menu for our cooking demonstration:
Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers with Vegan Tzatziki Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Roasted Butternut Squash Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
Michelle’s food was fantastic. She was engaging, super friendly, and really easy to talk to. She was really knowledgeable about vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free food, such a relief!
Michelle’s menu incorporated fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.
I really like Brussels sprouts but have never cooked them myself, so I was eager to learn to do this once and for all. And it’s much easier than I thought!
Our previous attempts at making veggie burgers have all failed. Michelle’s recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers was easy to follow and can easily be swapped with different types of beans and spices. We loved the Middle Eastern spices and flavor combinations in this burger.The vegan tzatziki was also easy to make and paired perfectly with the burgers. This is something I plan on making again. Since going dairy free I hadn’t eaten tzatziki. I was surprised with the simplicity of the recipe. Michelle used So Delicious almond based yogurt and also recommended coconut yogurt was well. I haven’t been able to find plain coconut yogurt so I just bought the almond yogurt when I made it.The pumpkin chocolate chip dessert bars were to die for. My sister and I felt like we had died and gone to heave. The secret ingredient— garam masala—gave the bars an unbelievable flavor. They were absolutely incredible. And lucky for us she left us her recipe so we can make them again and again! The recipe is also available on her blog.
Not only did Michelle show us how to prepare the food, each step of the way she explained what we were doing with all the ingredients and how each one contributed to and played a role in the dish.
We enjoyed learning new recipes that we can now add to our repertoire. I like that Michelle focused on healthy, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. We liked everything about this meal and we felt good eating it.
Click here for a 25% off coupon for your next Kitchensurfing booking! This code is valid through Dec. 31 (you don’t have to have your meal prior to the 31, it just has to be booked by that date). This code can be used on any KS service.
Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.
A new alcohol delivery service app called Drizly, developed by three Boston College alums, rolled out this past spring and we used it tonight for the first time. I don’t know what took us so long to get on board!
Drizly is a convenient and enjoyable way to buy alcohol. Drizly allows users to have their favorite beer, wine, and/or liquor delivered to their door in 30-60 minutes, without the hassle of going to the liquor store, and without any markup!
I’m sure you’re asking, “How is this legal?” Well, rest assured, it is completely legal. The Drizly team is following Massachusetts law and has worked with some of the best law firms in the state to ensure that everything is absolutely on board. They have a state of the art ID verification system that makes sure the person ordering and receiving the alcohol is over the age of 21.
So how do you get started? Simply download the Drizly app and put in your address and payment info. Browse their list of available beer, wine, alcohol and extras (bitters, Bloody Mary Mix, martini olives, etc.), place your order and then sit back and relax.
Save $5 on your first order with promo code “glutenfree”. Enjoy!
Attention Gluten Free Diners! Believe it or not, delectable dishes await you at a number of restaurants this Restaurant Week.
It’s that time again, when some of Boston’s finest – and most expensive – dining establishments offer dinning experiences for affordable prices. Last year’s 3 course dinner menu cost $33.12, and the year before $33.11. Well this year they decided to raise the price by not only 1 cent, but $5.01. However, this is still an unbelievable price for many of the options available. At The Capital Grille, the Bone-in Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin will cost you $43 on a regular night. Pigalle’s Cassoulet braised lamb shank runs at $31 on the dinner menu and the seared salmon at Davio’s will set you back $29. Now that you have a little more perspective on that, I think you don’t mind such a big price increase this year. (Some restaurants are including a glass of wine or sangria in this price too, others have great wine specials to go along with the restaurant week menu)
As someone who loves food I naturally have always participated in restaurant week, which is actually two weeks twice a year in Boston. But as someone who has developed food intolerances over the last few years (gluten free since 2009, dairy free since 2012 and now yeast free too), it has made me a little anxious. Until recently, a limited menu rarely meant something was food allergy/intolerant friendly. [Unfortunately it still does sometimes]. Over the years I’ve had to politely decline invitations from friends to dine at certain restaurants due to my dietary restrictions and the lack of Restaurant Week options. I’ve also persuade them, sometimes more like whining, to go somewhere else, even after hearing them say they’ve “been dying to try this place” or “have been waiting months to go here”. Well, that is all changing. As gluten free diets and other food allergies are becoming more prominent in our society, it is leading restaurant owners and chefs to becoming more aware of and knowledgeable about gluten free diets and how to accommodate to our dining needs.
Below is a list of restaurants that offer gluten free Restaurant Week menu options. Some offer full Gluten Free Restaurant Week Menus. Some off gluten free options on the menu and others can accommodate very easily by subbing gluten free pasta for regular, etc.
If you would like me to add your restaurant to this list, or if you are a gluten free diner who has recently enjoyed a gluten free Restaurant Week meal somewhere else please let me know and I will be happy to add it to the list. Click on the restaurant name to bring you to the Restaurant Week Menu.
Disclaimer: This list is my own personal list based on personal and past experiences.
Whole Foods recently opened in Brookline on Beacon St. (in the former Johnnie’s Foodmaster location), and is one of the smallest, if not the smallest, Whole Foods I’ve ever been to. The grocery department is scaled down and there is a bigger emphasis placed on prepared foods, quick-serve, coffee and the juice bar.
This is the first time I’ve seen a juice bar in a Whole Foods.
Providing customers with a healthier option when on-the-go, Whole Foods only uses 100% organic fruits and vegetables, and locally grown produce when in season. You can custom make your own juice or smoothie, or choose one from the menu.
The kind people over at Whole Foods offered me the chance to try their custom juices and smoothies. The menu offers a variety of healthy and delicious juice recipes, including all-natural smoothies if you are in the mood for something a bit sweeter.
All three juices were refreshing and delicious. Whole Foods has created 3 unique recipes designed to detoxify your body, aid in digestion and rejuvenate your system.
The digestive aid was my favorite; I did ask to go light on the ginger and it was still a bit too strong for me.
In the mood for a smoothie instead? Try one of the delicious smoothies on the menu like the Beacon St. Berry, or make your own. They’re great as a meal, snack or dessert.
The Emerald Necklace contains spirulina, a complete protein source containing all essential amino acids, made from algae. The Beacon St Berry Smoothie contains goji berries, which are also an excellent source or protein and amino acids, among other valuable nutrients. I also liked that I had the choice or Kefir, almond or soy milk as my base; something for every dietary need.
Juices and smoothies come in two sizes and cost $6 -7 each.
Make sure to pick up a loyalty card! Buy 9 juices or smoothies and get the 10th free! They also offer coffee loyalty cards.
On October 6, The Fireplace restaurant will once again be joining the 4th annual Boston Local Food Festival. Owner and chef Jim Solomon’s inspiration for the restaurant stems back to being a 10-year-old boy during the bicentennial, when he walked from Lincoln to Concord, and met President Ford at the Olde North Bridge. “This was the moment I developed a great pride in being a Bostonian,” says Jim, and it sparked his lifelong interest in “time period; local ingredients, wood burning, and rod iron cooking.” And 12 years ago, that passion, manifested itself into The Fireplace.
The Fireplace, located in Brookline’s Washington Square, is a New England grill and barbeque, with an emphasis on wood-smoked and rotisserie dishes utilizing the freshest offerings from the New England region. The restaurant was founded 12 years ago with the idea of buying local. Jim believes in a low carbon footprint, not wanting to waste energy, and really support the local farmers, fishermen, and cheesemongers. Jim believes in serving what’s fresh and local; supporting the local economy, and serving food with the best flavor and health benefits.
The Fireplace is Boston’s first, and Brookline’s only, Certified Green Restaurant. Jim is working hard to promote food and environmental sustainability, and to encourage other restaurants to get involved in this movement and become more ecologically friendly.
Jim is excited to be back at BLFF “to help raise awareness of not only local chefs, but also the importance of supporting your community, and keeping the dollars you spend in that community”. “It’s really important to maximize that point— from an ecological stand point, it’s best not having to truck in ingredients and when you buy what’s fresh and local, the flavors tend to be superior”. Many chefs do not grow up with a connection to the local environment the way Jim did, and he hopes the BLLF can introduce other chefs to how to utilize local ingredients in their preparations of world-influenced cuisines.
The Fireplace offers a gluten free menu. Jim’s commitment to gluten free “started by accident.” “I knew some people were coming in who had a gluten intolerance and wanted to help them eat what they wanted. That’s what I do as a chef – cook for people- and I didn’t want anyone to go without tasty options just because they were somewhat limited in what they could order.” So he started learning more about what he could serve to be helpful and accommodating to people with gluten intolerances and celiac, and now you can order a full gluten free meal complete with dinner rolls, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and desserts provided by a local gluten free bakery. Currently, there is a Living Social Deal, $30 for $60, you can get it here and go try the gluten free menu!
The gluten free bread and desserts are not made in house in order to avoid cross contamination. Because the Fireplace makes their own bread, there are flour particles in the air. And since he doesn’t have the capacity to have a separate kitchen just for gluten free baking, he’s not attempting it at all. I applaud him for this; in my view it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, the gluten free bread, pizza, and desserts he serves are excellent. During Restaurant Week, The Fireplace offers a separate Gluten Free menu, one of the very few restaurants to do this.
It is clear that Jim is making a difference in our community in so many ways. He continues to sponsor and partake in several charity events and organizations throughout the year, serves on the boards of many local committees, and founded dinegreenbrookline.com. One of the things he enjoys the most about having a restaurant is weaving himself into the community he lives in. He donates to roughly 450-500 charities each year through gift certificates, auction dinners, cooking at hospitals and different galas to name a few.
Giving back to the community doesn’t end there. The Fireplace also offers a Humble Offerings menu; humble dishes at humble prices. This menu is offered Sunday thru Thursday, with each dish costing no more than $20. Why does he do this you ask? When he opened The Fireplace 12 years ago a rib eye cost $20. Now that same rib eye costs $36. He doesn’t want the restaurant to be a place only visited on special occasions, that was never his intention. In an area loaded with you people and an economy going through though times, the Humble Offerings Menu is a way he feels he can give back and let everyone enjoy a delicious and healthy meal.
The Fireplace offers a series of Fireside Chats, where guests can sample wines, spirits, beers, and sample tastings from the menu. In an effort to share his passion for American wines, New England beers, and local spirits, he brings in local artisans to educate his guests while they sample his delicious food. Fireside chats take place twice monthly – every other Saturday – from 3:00 – 4:15 P.M. Click here for the complete 2013-2014 schedule. The price ranges from $20-$30 per person. Reservations are appreciated but not required. So, if you ever wanted to learn about Sauvignon Blanc, Single Malt Scotches or New England Mico Brewed Beers, this is your chance!
Anna’s Taqueria has been serving delicious Mexican food at six locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville since 1995. With its reasonable prices and customizable menu, Anna’s has something to offer everyone, including vegetarian, vegan and most importantly, gluten free options.
Even those of us with special diets and allergy concerns can enjoy fresh and flavorful Mexican food at Boston’s most beloved taqueria. Everything on the menu, except the large and small flour tortillas, is gluten free. There is, however, a possibility of cross contamination because of the wheat tortillas, and it is best to ask your server to change his gloves. As always, it is important to inform your sever of your food allergy.
A complete list of allergen information can be found here. Whether it’s gluten eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat or shellfish, Anna’s labels every menu item.
A recent sampling of Anna’s offerings provided me with a glimpse of what this local chain has to offer gluten free diners. Starting with refreshing beverages, which are made fresh daily, I first tried the horchata, made with milk, cinnamon, and almonds or peanuts (changes daily). Not too sweet, this was the perfect drink to cleanse my palate and offer some relief after trying the spicy salsa. It is very different from the Spanish horchata I am accustomed to, which is made with tiger nuts, but still quite delicious.
The hibiscus tea, on the other hand, was too sweet for my liking, but it was much lighter and less filling than the horchata. The lemonade, made with freshly squeezed lemons and sugar, was also a bit too sweet. The agua fresca was refreshing and light. Made with fresh puréed watermelon, water and just a pinch of sugar, it is an extremely popular beverage in Mexico.
Anna’s keeps it simple with fresh ingredients and authentic recipes. The tacos and the Mexican Plate can be ordered with your choice of grilled chicken, chicken ranchero (with onions, tomatoes and hot peppers), steak, steak en salsa roja (spicy red pepper sauce), lengua (beef tounge), carnitas (roasted pork with Mexican seasonings), chile verde (braised pork with peppers), al pastor (marinated pork with pineapple and red onion), grilled vegetables, or rice and beans.
I opted for the grilled chicken Mexican plate with rice, pico de gallo, lettuce, guacamole, and grilled vegetables. All plates are served with two warm corn tortillas on the side. The pico de gallo was incredibly fresh and flavorful, as was the chicken. Other ‘’toppings’’ include black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, cheese, sour cream and a variety of salsas. Ordering at Anna’s is more like having a conversation with the servers on the line. They ask you what you want you can say yes, no, more, less; your meal is it’s 100% customizable and is made exactly how you want it.
I also tried the warm corn tortilla chips, served with guacamole and salsa. The guacamole was excellent. The chip salsa, as it’s called on the menu, is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, a variety of hot peppers and lots of cilantro! The other three salsa options include:
Guacamolio –spicy green sauce made with avocados and hot peppers
Salsa Roja– red sauce made with hot peppers
Salsa Ardiente – a temperature hot, spicy green sauce made with hot peppers
Nut and Dairy allergies:
Beware, the guacamole has sour cream. Instead I suggest you opt for fresh sliced avocado or the spicy guacamolio. The horchata also contains dairy (milk). Each country in Latin America makes their horchata differently. Traditional Mexican horchata is made with rice, vanilla and sometimes cinnamon. Other varieties are made from tiger nuts, almonds, peanuts, or barley. Anna’s horchata not only has milk but it contains either almonds or peanuts, depending on the days batch. If you have any sort of nut allergy I suggest you skip this one all together.
The restaurant was packed at lunchtime, but the line moved very quickly. Anna’s is a great place to get tasty, authentic and healthy Mexican food. It’s [very] possible that they will serve gluten free tortillas for quesadillas and burritos in the near future, but they want to perfect the process before they start offering them to customers. With special attention given to food intolerances and allergies, I feel very safe eating at Anna’s, and know I will be back soon!