Spoon your way to gluten free happiness at Rice Cream Shoppe. This rice pudding lover’s paradise offers 18 gluten free flavors – six of which are also vegan!
Rice Cream Shoppe opened a few weeks ago on Bleecker Street in the West Village. I finally made my way down there over the weekend and met with one of the owners, Nino, and tried my very first New York City rice pudding.
All rice puddings are made on premises at this vintage-meets-whimsy café decorated with red and aqua-colored stripes and wall illustrations by artist Leif Parsons. All ingredients that are put into the machines/equipment are gluten free, so there is no cross contamination. The only gluten in the entire cafe comes from cookie crumbs, that are sprinkled on top of two flavors, and a brioche bun. Other than that, everything is gluten free.
French Vanilla Chip
Dulce de Leche
Rum Raisin (vegan)
Mint Chocolate Chip (vegan)
Gluten-free toppings, such as toasted coconut, roasted crushed mixed nuts, and seasonal fruits are also available.
The six vegan flavors – soon to be eight! – are made with a soy milk base. The vegan rice pudding is creamy and divine. I loved all 4 flavors I tried.
The puddings come in three sizes: small ($6.25), large ($7.75), and quart size ($20.00).
And stay tuned, later this spring Rice Cream Shoppe will start serving vegan gelato!!
Disclaimer: I received this meal free of charge. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.
AMIRA is a veteran specialty rice brand with a line of authentic basmati Indian rice with superior taste and versatility. Many people do not know that basmati rice has a lot of health benefits. It lowers the risk of heart disease, is an excellent source of magnesium for regulating the nervous system, decreases risk of colon cancer, is a great source of energy, has 20% more fiber compared to other rice and is gluten free and low in fat.
All natural, kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO, AMIRA’s authentic Indian basmati rice not only tastes good, but it is good for you. Their coveted product range includes the Amira Gold Line, which consists of Natural Basmati Rice, Natural Thai Jasmine Rice, Natural Thai Jasmine Brown Rice, Natural Brown Basmati Rice, and Smoked Basmati Rice. For those who are familiar with AMIRA, such an extensive and dynamic product line is not unexpected, as the brand continues to make significant strides in the areas of growth and development; which is evidenced by the launch of their organic product range, which includes organic Brown Basmati Rice, Traditional Basmati Rice and Sona Masoori Rice.
1 packet of Dizzly Pig Tsunami spin seasoning OR 1/2 teaspoon each: Paprika, Onion powder, Garlic powder, Turmeric, and paprika
salt and papper to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 large carrots, chopped
1-2 cups broccoli
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated 1
Preheat oven to 450 and roast the carrots for 20 minutes.
To start the rice. Add the water and rice to a medium size soup pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked. After 20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add in broccoli and half the seasoning and cook until heated through.
Remove vegetables from skillet. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the chicken and sprinkle with remaining seasoning. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Add the vegetables and soy sauce. Stir and cook for a few more minutes, until vegetables reheat and chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Serve over AMIRA rice with carrots.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond http://glutenfreebostonandbeyond.com/
AMIRA’s authentic Indian basmati rice embodies the qualities that have earned basmati the title of “super grain,” while the brand’s passion for purity has taken them from humble beginnings to the position of global market leader that they occupy today. AMIRA’s commitment to the company-wide philosophy of maintaining a “passion for purity” and producing foods that adhere to their exceptionally high standards of quality is evident in every facet of their production process. Knowing that not all rice is created equally, AMIRA sources their basmati from the foothills of the Himalayas – an area dedicated to the cultivation and production of basmati rice. Aged for a time period of 12-18 months before the processing stage is initiated, the rice is prepared in a state of the art treatment plant to preserve all of its purity. From cultivation to packaging, AMIRA‘s objective is to ensure that the highest of customer expectations is met, and not only strive to create a great product, but to bond people and cultures across the globe through the common language of food.
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.
Adjusting to a gluten free diet can be a challenge. Avoiding wheat is just the beginning, since a number of other grains and many processed foods also contain gluten. This can be quite a surprise for those making the transition, but some foods are reliably safe options. One is rice. The grain itself is naturally gluten free, and since it’s seldom processed in facilities that also handle wheat, there is little possibility of cross-contamination. Rice has been a big staple in my diet, even before 2009 when I was forced to go gluten free. I love rice, but not all rice tastes the same. There are so many varieties out there; white, brown, black, jasmine, arborio, wild rice, long grain, and the list goes on and on. One of my favorites is Basmati rice. Traditionally used in Indian cooking, we cook it quite often at home too.
Not All Basmati Rice is Created Equal. Truly authentic Basmati can come only from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Just as you wouldn’t call sparkling wine from California champagne, neither would you call rice from France Basmati. There, a perfect harmony of climate, fertile soil and pure spring water produce this most extraordinary grain. The exceptionally fragrant, long-grain rice of Royal® is grown under the careful attention of India’s most expert farmers, and after harvesting it is aged for a minimum of twelve months in temperature-controlled silos. As with fine wine or cheese, this aging process brings out the full flavor of the grain, and also results in a non-sticky texture. This fluffy, aromatic and delicate-tasting rice is sure to enhance any meal.
Royal produces premium and authentic Basmati rice using ingredients that have grown in the same place for generations. It’s delicious and worldly flavor makes it a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is non-GMO project verified, gluten free, and contains a low glycemic index.
Authentic farm-to-fork Basmati rice is grown by India’s expert farmers and aged for 12 months.
The long-grain rice has a non-sticky texture, is naturally fluffy with an incomparable nutty flavor.
Commitment to comprehensive traceability.
The floral flavor and aroma make it delicious plain and in dishes like risotto, Mexican rice and rice pudding.
Royal® Basmati Rice can be found in grocery stores and is available in many convenient sizes.
Soak rice 15-30 minutes for extra length (optional)
1 cup rice
2 cups of water
1 tbsp. of oil/butter (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)
Stove Top: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in sauce pan with tight fitting lid. Add 1-cup rice, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Once the cooking process is complete, leave the cooked rice in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve.
Microwave: Take 1 cup of Royal® Basmati Rice and gently rinse twice. Drain the rice and add 2¼ cups of fresh water. Cover tightly with microwave-safe lid and cook on HIGH power setting for 15 minutes*. Remove from microwave. CAUTION. BOWL WILL BE HOT. Microwave ovens vary. If rice is too hard in the first cooking, use more water. Use less water if it is too soft.
Electric Rice Cooker: Take 1 cup of Royal® Basmati Rice and rinse twice to remove starch. Use ratio of 1 cup (dry rice) : 2 cups (water). See rice cooker manual for specific operation.
You can find Royal Basmati Rice at grocery stores and retail chains across the country. To find a retail location nearest you, click here. You can also purchase it online in 10 lb. bags.
Last week I posted about gluten free ramen noodles I had just discovered from Lotus Foods. Well today I am going to tell you about some of their other products; rice! This isn’t just any old rice. Lotus Foods rice is different from your run-of-the-mill white or brown rice we usually buy at the store.
If you are looking for a way to enjoy delicious tasting exotic rice and make a strong statement that you care about how your food is grown, packaged, and distributed, you need look no further than Lotus Foods.
“Healthier Rice for a Healthier Life.”
Lotus Foods rices are selected for superior taste, fast and easy cooking, and nutritional value. Lotus Foods partners in fair trade with small family farmers to preserve local biodiversity and grow rice more sustainably. This means healthier rice choices for you and your family, a cleaner environment, and improved quality of life for farmers.
Each rice varietal is distinguished by its terroir, or unique growing conditions, and treasured for its distinctive cooking quality, taste, texture, aroma, color, and nutritional value.
Lotus Foods rice are easy to cook and are ready in just 20-35 minutes.
Organic Brown Jasmine Rice
Whole grain aromatic rice imported from Cambodia. Jasmine rice has a floral aroma and flavor with a lovely supple texture, unlike the chewy and bland taste of some brown rice. This rice cooks in 30 minutes, is high in the minerals magnesium, manganese, molybdenum and phosphorous and is a good daily source of protein, fiber, zinc, and complex carbohydrates, as well as 60g of whole grains per serving.
Organic Jasmine Rice
This long grain rice also from Cambodia, has the same floral aroma. But white jasmine rice has a soft and sticky texture, and cooks in only 20 minutes. It has 5g of protein and 2g of fiber per serving, and is a good source of manganese and molybdenum.
Organic Carnaroli Rice
Prior to today I had never heard of carnaroli rice. Nicknamed the ‘caviar of rice’, Carnaroli is a plump small grain with a creamy yet toothsome texture. It is a cousin of Arborio and makes great risotto. It is also great for paella, sushi, or pudding and can be prepared like traditional rice.
Carnaroli rice is higher in calories than other rice varietals but has 15% of your daily recommended iron, and zero fat
Organic Forbidden Rice
Throughout Asia, black rice is among the rarest and most exclusive grains, historically reserved for royalty, emperors and deities. The reason is due to health benefits. Forbidden Rice contains antioxidants called anthocyanins that give black rice and other foods, like blueberries and açaí, their blue-black color, but rice has more fiber and no sugar. Also high in high in minerals, such as magnesium, molybdenum and phosphorus, and is a good source of protein, fiber, manganese and complex carbohydrates.
Black rice is one of my favorite varietals. It has a deep purple color, delicious roasted nutty flavor, and soft texture.
Organic Jade Pearl Rice
This sushi-style, pearl rice is infused with wild-crafted bamboo extract. When cooked it has aromas of a bamboo forest and a light vanilla taste. It is so different from any other rice I’ve tried. You must try it!
Organic Madagascar Pink Rice
This long grain rice is lightly milled to retain 66% of its wholesome bran layer. It has a subtly sweet flavor with hints of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It cooks in only 20 minutes and is a great alternative to basmati.
Organic Volcano Rice
Imported from Indonesia, volcano rice is a colorful blend of brown & red rice, grown on West Java’s (Indonesia) mineral-rich volcanic soil. When cooked, the rice is moist and tender, and it is aromatic with a satisfying wholesome flavor. It was one of my favorite rices; I loved the flavor and soft texture.
If you are wondering what to do with these unusual rice varieties that you’ve probably never heard of let alone seen or tasted; don’t worry. Their site has dozens of recipes searchable by rice product, or by meal type.
Don’t have 20 or 30 minutes to spare or wait for the rice to cook? Well you are in luck. Cook up a serving of whole grain, heirloom rice in just 90 seconds with Lotus Foods convenient microwavable Heat & Eat Rice Bowls.
The Heat & Eat Rice Bowls make eating organic, whole grain heirloom rice quick and simple, all the while supporting family farmers practicing unique growing methods. In just 90 seconds these bowls deliver great tasting, exceptionally nutritious “fast food”.
Available in three varieties: Forbidden Rice, Organic Volcano Rice, and Organic Brown Jasmine Rice.
The rice bowls are a super easy, instant start to a complete meal paired with fresh vegetables and protein or a quick, healthy snack right out of the bowl. The bowls are microwave-safe, BPA free and recyclable.
All of the products are gluten free, non-GMO verified and with no added salt or fat. Like the new Lotus Foods Rice Ramen, the bowls can be the easy, instant start to a complete meal or a quick, healthy snack.
Lotus Foods products are available for sale across the country in most natural food and co-op stores, gourmet/specialty markets, chain grocery stores, and online directly from our web site or Amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.
Ramen Noodles. Oh how I’ve missed you. In college you got me through many a late nights studying and cramming for my exams. But when I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in 2009 I had to stop eating ramen. I knew I would never eat ramen noodles again. Those deliciously, unhealthy, super cheap, readily available, and easy to make noodles were never to be a part of my life again. Or so I thought.
Ramen is no longer out of bounds for those of us on gluten free diets! Lotus Foods, a California based company that specializes in exotic rice, has introduced a rice-based gluten free ramen.
Traditionally, ramen, a Japanese-style noodle, is made from wheat, but Lotus Foods has found a way to make this noddle from rice instead.
The Rice Ramen is:
And Ready in 4 minutes!
Rice Ramen is available in three flavors: Forbidden Rice® Ramen; Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen; and Millet & Brown Rice Ramen. You have a choice of buying individual ramen cakes with savory reduced-sodium miso soup flavor packets to make an instant bowl of nourishing noodle soup, or a package of four ramen noodle cakes packaged together without any flavor packets. The later is great for making your own soup. Try adding shrimp, scallions and sweet onions to vegetable broth to make a satisfying soup, or top ramen noodles with Asian styled stir fried vegetables and chicken.
Not only are the noodles easy to make, and in 4 minutes no less, but they provide a convenient bowl of flavorful and nourishing soup. Lotus Foods Rice Ramen is much healthier than the leading brands of ramen you typically see on store shelves. With less fat and sodium, and more nutritious, they are enjoyable even for those who do not have to avoid gluten.
The Forbidden Rice® Ramen is made from heirloom black rice. In addition to being gluten free, Forbidden Rice® is one of the most nutritious ancient grains, and a good source of antioxidants.
The noodles are very dark purple, almost black in color and have a delicious nutty and earthy flavor. This is one of my favorite varietals of rice.
The broth was a very light white miso with mushrooms and tamari, and 33% less sodium than regular Ramen soups. The rice gave the broth strong purple hues.
The Jade Pearl is a green organic ramen infused with chlorophyll-rich bamboo extract. The main ingredient is Jade Pearl rice. I didn’t know anything about this rice, but according to Lotus Foods,
“When cooked, this beautiful jade-colored rice produces the aroma of a bamboo forest, a light vanilla taste, and an explosion of health-giving nutrients. Our Organic Jade Pearl Rice makes an especially pretty plate presentation, sushi, Asian style risotto and dessert pudding.”
The noodles are really interesting with an earthy flavor and great texture.
Millet and brown rice are two if the most nutritious and easily digestible grains. The Millet and Brown Rice Ramen comes with a savory red miso broth packet. The noodles, on their own, have a wholesome nutty taste.
For a complete meal, add your favorite vegetables and proteins to any of the miso soups.
Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been sourcing fair-trade ingredients from small family farmers around the world who are growing rice sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. The company’s objective is not only to help rice farmers earn a living wage but to bring healthier rice choices to consumers. Lotus Foods line of products include nine organic rice varieties, whole grain rice, heat and eat rice bowls, cookbooks, rice cookers, and more.
The Rice Ramen Miso Soup retails for $2.29 ( 2.8 oz. pouch) or a 10 pack for $19.90. The Rice Ramen noodles retail for $6.59 (10 oz. bag) or $35.54 for a 6 pack. Available online and in most natural food and co-op stores, gourmet/specialty markets, and chain grocery stores. I have seen some of their products at the Whole Foods Charles River Plaza location.
Stay tuned for more delicious rice products from Lotus Foods coming soon!
Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.
The Boston Center for Adult Education is the oldest nonprofit adult education center in New England. Founded in 1933, it quickly established itself as a cultural stomping ground where individuals could learn, discuss, create, and enjoy themselves.
Now, almost 80 years later, the BCAE continues its role as Greater Boston’s leading provider of adult education, offering nearly 2,000 classes each year.
The BCAE is working to increase their gluten free class offerings and are excited to have holiday specific classes for the winter term. They’ve added many new gluten free classes to its class offerings (see below), and I was lucky enough to attend the Gluten Free Holiday Sides class this past Sunday. The class was taught by Mary Greenfield, a classically trained personal chef and nutrition coach with experience in many dietary approaches, including: paleo/primal, Whole30, WAPF, raw vegan, cooked vegan/vegetarian, SCD, GAPS, and the best gluten free home cookin’ you’ve ever had!
During this class we learned how to make 4 sides dishes that can accompany our Thanksgiving turkey, holiday potluck or even be eaten as a vegetarian main dish. All dishes are adaptable for any allergies you or your guests might have. This is a great class for someone who is new to a gluten free diet or for someone who is looking for new dishes and techniques to add to their repertoire.
Mary was a great instructor; she was enthusiastic and it is very clear she is passionate about fresh, local and healthy food. She encouraged us to experiment with different flavors and amounts; it’s not necessary to follow a receipt to the t and it’s perfectly ok if you don’t! The class was very hands-on, which I loved! It really allowed us to learn and experience cooking for ourselves.
Today’s dishes featured fresh, local and seasonal produce right from the farmers market. Throughout the class Mary offered us tips and ideas on how to adapt these recipes for different dietary needs and taste preferences.
The four recipes we made today included:
Caramelized Onion and Cranberry Relish
Stuffed Carnival Squash
The Thanksgiving Salad was super easy to make. First we made:
Maple Cayenne Walnuts
2 cups walnuts
½ cup real maple syrup
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Mix coating ingredients together in a bowl. Add walnuts and stir to coat. Spread out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they start to brown a little. Cool completely.
These nuts had such a kick! Super hot with a slight sweetness from the maple.
The salad dressing was equally as easy to make:
Smooth Dijon-style mustard
Salt and Pepper
Freshly squeezed orange juice (or good bottled juice)
Whisk together a dollop of mustard with a glug of balsamic and a splash or two of orange juice. Add salt and pepper—they dissolve more easily in these acidic ingredients than in the oil. Continue whisking while slowly pouring oil. Taste, adjust, and dress your salad.
Caramelized Onion and Cranberry Relish
Butter or olive oil
2-4 large onions, halved then sliced the long way (cut parallel to the grain of the onion)
Apple cider vinegar
12 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup sugar or maple sugar (you may end up doubling it)
pinch of salt
First we made the caramelized onions, something I’ve never done before. Heat a large pan or Dutch oven. Add the butter or oil and onions. Stir to coat, then leave them alone. Stir only occasionally.
Tip: Onions caramelize best when given a lot of time at low heat to just do their thing. The trick is to stir them just often enough that they never burn on the bottom, but infrequently enough that they have time to get nice and brown.
Once they are good and brown, pour a splash of vinegar to deglaze, and scrape up all the brown bits. Add cranberries and sugar, a good pinch of salt, and stir. Cook until the berries have popped.
Tip: Allow to come to room temperature before serving. This can be made ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Because this is a side dish, you want it to be very flavorful.
The sugar is used to counteract the extreme tartness of the cranberries. Personally, I would have liked less sugar and will make it with less sugar this Thanksgiving!
Next up was the Stuffed Carnival Squash. Carnival squash is very similar to acorn squash.
Tip: Plan to serve ½ carnival or acorn squash per person as a vegetarian main dish and ¼ squash per person as a side.
First roast your squash. Cut in half, scoop out seeds, and set cut side down in a baking pan with a little water. Bake until soft, about 45-60 minutes.
Olive oil or butter
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove
2 ½ cups wild rice, long grain white or brown rice* check package instructions and adjust the amount of broth and cooking time accordingly.
5 cups vegetable broth or stock* homemade is best or buy organic low sodium
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons thyme, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cranberries
1 cup pecans or pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted and cooled.
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook the onion and celery in oil or butter until soft. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat. Then add the broth or stock and the next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until done; 20-50 minutes, depending on your rice type. Most of the liquid will have been absorbed, but it should not be dry. Season to taste.
In a separate pan cook mushrooms in oil or butter. Gently fold cooked mushrooms, cranberries, nuts or seeds and ¼ cup parsley into the rice mixture. Scoop into cooked squash halves, set on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until hot all the way through. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.
Tip: You can make the rice mixture ahead of time. Before baking, let rice come up to room temperature. This may take longer to warm up; 30-50 minutes.
This also makes a great alternative stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey, chicken or pork roast.
The final dish we made was the Roasted Vegetables. Roasted Vegetables are one of the great-underrated side dishes for holidays as well as every day. They are versatile, delicious, and everyone loves them!
You can roast cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, every different kind of winter or summer squash, peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, turnips, tomatoes…you get the picture. The trick is to roast each vegetable separately then combine them together at the end. That way, each vegetable is cooked thoroughly but not overcooked, and keeps its own perfect texture.
Cut vegetables into bite sized pieces. Toss vegetables in oil, salt and seasoning of choice: rosemary, dill, pepper, paprika, cayenne, curry powder, thyme, or whatever else you like.
Cook them separately then combine. Together, they create a symphony of flavors.
Tip: Most vegetables can be cut ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator overnight.
Are you hungry yet? I sure am! Good News, the BCAE has 3 upcoming Gluten Free classes:
December 7, 2013 – GF Chocolates: Treat yourself or a loved one to handmade chocolate treats! We will learn about making molded and filled chocolates, ganache truffles, and a flourless chocolate cake recipe that is endlessly adaptable. Extra sensitive? All of Chef Mary Greenfield’s recipes are either allergy-friendly or can be with very simple modifications.
January 25, 2014 – GF Breakfast Treats: Going gluten-free doesn’t mean succumbing to blah-breakfasts. Join Cuisine en Locale’s Chef Mary Greenfield and discover how easy it is to make sweet treats and savory favorites. Mary takes pride in creating delicious dishes that work for all diets, and the recipes taught in class are guaranteed to have all of the flavor you want, and none of the allergens you don’t!
February 8, 2014 – GF Valentine’s Day Chocolates: Love conquers all – including allergies! This is hands-on course in creating tons of sweet treats, minus the wheat. From brownies to chocolates and everything in between, students will learn how to make irresistible Valentine’s Day recipes that are just as satisfying for those who don’t need to avoid gluten as they are for those who do!
Sign up for one of the gluten free January or February classes and save 30% with the early bird special if you sign up before November 30th! (The 30% discount applies to all classes at the BCAE, not just the gluten free ones!) These classes would make a great gift or fun afternoon activity to do with your friends, your mom or your boyfriend/girlfriend! We had a blast and I think you would too!
Each class is about 3 hours long. Unfortunately the kitchen is not 100% gluten free so these classes are not suitable for people with severe gluten allergies.
I hope to see you at the next class on December 7th!
Disclaimer: I was invited to this class for free to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.
Please take my GF dining out survey here, to help me gather data for an upcoming post. Thank You.
I’ve wanted to check out Red Lantern since my roommate went there this past winter and told me they had a gluten free menu. It is on the pricier side so it hasn’t been on the top of my “Must Try’’ list until I saw this Living Social Deal; $30 for $60 worth of food and non-alcoholic drink. (The deal is available to purchase until June 2, 2014 and doesn’t expire until September 4, 2014. )
We had a great time at Red Lantern last night, the food and drinks were delicious but the restaurant itself has a bit of an identity crisis going on. It doesn’t know if it’s a bar, a lounge, a restaurant, a sushi bar, or a chefs table. Whichever kind of experience you want to have, you can do that here. But, the design is smart, breaking up such a large open space into smaller spaces with different seating plans. I loved the decor – red lanterns, Buddhas and stone statues – and red accents throughout the restaurant. But it was LOUD. Why must restaurants make the music so loud during dinnertime?
So our initial thoughts on the restaurant were so so but once we sat down and took our first bite of food, our attitude changed quickly. The ambiance might not be perfect, but the food is creative, delicious and flavorful. I was impressed with the number of options on the gluten free menu. The chef was also willing to make a gluten free sauce to go with the Halibut special.
We sat at the open kitchen right in front of the wok station. For an appetizer we shared the Chicken Lettuce Wrap ($14) The chicken is stir-fried is a sticky sauce (thickened with cornstarch) with chilies and vegetables and served with baby iceberg lettuce in which to wrap the filling. It also comes with a Hoisin and spicy plum sauce, heavy on the spicy! The dish is fun to share or could easily be a meal for one.
The signature cocktail list is pricey but worth a try. Using quality ingredients they have created Asian inspired drinks from regular classics, such as the Lychee Martini ($14) and Shanghai Street Sangria ($11). I opted for the Lantern Tea with Southern Comfort, Grand Marnier, Fresh Citrus and Tea ($11) and Jeremy had the Grass-Fed Mule, their twist on a Moscow Mule, made with Lemongrass infused cross vodka, fresh lime and ginger beer ($11). Moscow Mules have always been a favorite cocktail of mine, but there is something about the lemongrass and lime that made this drink a stand out.
For dinner we shared two entrees. I ordered the Scallop Fried Rice ($15). Fresh wok fried rice, cooked to order with egg, scallion, sesame oil, bean sprouts and vegetables. There is no soy sauce and it was not missed. This was one of the best fried rice dishes I’ve had in a long time. It was both flavorful and light.
We also shared the Wood Grilled Miso Sea Bass ($33), which is served with Japanese Eggplant and Smokey Bok Choy. The fish was tasty and buttery, but the sauce was too heavy on the miso paste. It overwhelmed the fish that was otherwise cooked beautifully. The dish is also served with baby bok choy and a side of Jasmine rice.
We could see our fried rice being made right in front of us, which was really cool! Once the chef was told it was gluten free, he moved the soy sauce aside so not to accidently add it. He moves so fast with the wok and adding ingredients, so that was a great move and reassuring that they know how to handle gluten allergies. Food runners ran our food and it was reassuring when they said it was gluten free. When we received our bill it also said “Gluten Allergy”, again another assurance that from ordering to cooking to serving, every step of the way the chefs and runners knew it was a gluten free meal.
In addition to the hot dishes Red Lantern’s gluten free menu also offers plenty of creative sushi rolls, traditional maki and sashimi platters.
So Red Lantern may have an identity crisis but it’s food is top notch. It would be a great place for a girl’s night out or a fun date night. And don’t forget you can get a great deal from Living Social here.
To save even more (20%) use promo code MEMWKND14 at checkout!
I’ve never been big into frozen meals, not before my gluten intolerance nor now. But when I was offered to try out a new natural frozen food line I didn’t hesitate; the packaging alone caught my eye! I was intrigued, and hopeful, that I would finally find a frozen meal I would like; one that was not too salty or high in calories that I could heat up quickly when I didn’t feel like cooking.
Saffron Road offers “gourmet world cuisine” – Turkish, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Manchurian and good old chicken tenders, nuggets and bites. Saffron Road prides itself on all natural, vegetarian fed meat raised without antibiotics. Why is this important? I was curious of that myself. So after spending about 15 minutes googling this, I’ve learned that vegetarian fed meat contains less total fat and has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats). I also learned that 80% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for animals, not humans. This is disturbing, considering how many people could benefit from antibiotics. But, I will not get into that here. Overall, it appears to be healthier to eat the antibiotic free and vegetarian raised meats.
I’d like to clarify for the sake of full disclosure that these products were sent to me free of charge for review purposes. I was not paid anything to write this review. Rest assured, I will be thorough in my review.
I had two choices: cook in the oven for 40 minutes or heat in the microwave for 5 minutes. I was hungry so I chose the later. The aromas that filled the air from my microwave, made me feel like I was about to eat a very delicious ethnic meal from an Indian restaurant. The first entrée I tried was the Chicken Tikka Masala. Described as braised white meat chicken simmerwed with Tandoori spices in a robust, creamy tomato sauce with basmati rice. All of the products have a heat indicator on the package. This one was medium. – I avoided all ‘’hot’’ entrees, as you all know I could not handle those – I loved the flavor of this entrée and it certainly had a kick to it; my lips were left burning. The sauce was incredibly flavorful and rich, but not too creamy, and the chicken was tender and juicy; not rubbery like many frozen dinners I have tried before. I love that each entrée is one portion and a sizable healthy portion at that. This one was the lowest in calories (290), fiber (3g) and protein (18g), and the highest in sodium (670mg) that I tried.
Next I tried the Lemongrass Basil Chicken. This is by far my favorite dish. The sauce was made with green curry, peppers, onions and basil. It was light and rich in flavors. The rice was a perfect texture. But, I was disappointed with the amount of chicken in the entrée. I had some plain chicken breast in my fridge left over from dinner last night and I added it to the sauce. This dish has 370 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 20 grams of protein and 460mg sodium per serving. It was pretty high in saturated fat, 6 grams, the highest I’ve seen yet.
Saffron road also makes a Lemongrass Simmer Sauce, which I also tried. It was tasty and I will most likely buy it again, but it wasn’t as good as the meal. But, much more affordable ($2.99 at my local Wholefoods) and goes a lot further.
The third entrée I tried was the Chicken Biryani; tender chunks of chicken baked in basmati rice topped with caramelized onions in the classic hyderabadi (type of Indian cuisine) style. This dish was loaded with flavors; ginger, garlic, turmeric and onions to name a few. I devoured the entire plate. This entrée had less sodium than the Masala, and I could definitely tell. (I am so sensitive to salt!) The calories were slightly higher (400) as was the protein (25 g). I believe the higher calories are due to the significantly larger amount of rice in the dish. I was surprised that this was higher in protein because it seemed to have less meat than the Masala. All other entrees had ample sauce, but this one left me craving more.
The Lamb Koftis was my least favorite meal. The sauce was a bit bland compared to the other entrees. The meatballs were also lacking in taste, and compared to the other entrees that are so rich in flavor, this was a let down for me. The meat itself had a nice texture, but could have usedmore spices. The rice was so fluffy; I absolutely loved it! This dish has 340 calories, 4g of fiber, 13g of protein, 450 mg of sodium per serving. This is the least amount of sodium yet! I always ragged on my dad for eating frozen entrees with over 600 mg of sodium. I read once, years ago, 600 mg should be the maximum in a frozen meal. This has been my rule of thumb for every frozen item I buy now. Not only is the sodium not good for you, but I personally do not like salty foods and know I would not like something with that much salt in it.
Overall, I found the entrees to be very tasty and full of flavorful, I was very impressed by this, which I have not found to be true of my frozen meals. I loved the texture of the rice in every single entrée, as well as the meat; all were moist and tender. My only compliant is the amount of meat in each meal. Each entree contained such small amounts of meat and I was left wishing there was more.
Not all of their products are gluten free, but a majority are; including simmer sauces, chicken fingers and chicken tandoori nuggets (I must try these), and the chickpea snacks. Saffron road also offers vegetarian and vegan options.
I offered to make a side dish for my friend Lauren’s bbq, and I did not want to make a tradition potato, pasta or egg salad. Quite frankly, I do not like egg salad nor am I a big fan of traditional potato salad (too much mayonnaise). I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, and after deciding I wanted to make a rice and quinoa salad (I made a cumin scented quinoa and black rice salad for my graduation party that turned out great) I made up this recipe. I knew I wanted something light and tasty. Using rice as the main ingredient is a nice departure from the traditional bbq salads, and much lighter too.
Summer is the perfect time for a cool salad. This one is simple to prepare and the ingredients give it a refreshing, cooling and satisfying taste. The flavors mix very nicely together to give this dish great flavor. Often times many summer salads are loaded with mayonnaise and this one is not, also making it a much healthier choice.
2 cups brown rice
2 cups quinoa
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
1 medium cucumber, diced
⅓ cup walnuts
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
½ cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt (optional) and pepper to taste
1.The quinoa and rice can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Cook, separately, according to the package directions. To give a little extra flavor use vegetable stock in place of water to cook the quinoa, or use half water and half stock.
2.Rinse cherries and remove stems. Cut around the pit into slices.
3.In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, walnuts, rice and quinoa. Mix well.
4.Add in the parsley, onion powder and paper (and salt if using).
5.Add in the lime and lemon juices, one tablespoon at a time and mix well in between each one.
6.Add cherries in last, right before serving or else it could turn the dish red from the juices.
7.Serve chilled or at room temperature.
I also think adding mint – or replacing the parsley with it – would also make a delicious dish. Next time I am going to try it this way!
I got together with my friend Alex, who recommended Veggie Planet. She actually raved about the food and was so excited when I said yes. Tucked away in an alley, downstairs, in Harvard Square near Border Café, and easy to find. Even though there is no gluten free menu, they are VERY gluten free friendly. Everything is made to order and they allow for substitutions.
How is works is you choose your base – pizza dough (not for us), brown rice or coconut rice. Then you choose one of the delicious entrees to go on top. And you have the choice or a small or large. The smalls were plenty big; I didn’t even finish my whole meal.
The menu and entrée combinations are so creative; it was hard to decide what to order. I ended up ordering the Roasted Vegetables – roasted butternut squash, Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes and spinach topped with olive oil and fried garlic. It was pretty tasty and worked so well with the coconut rice. I did not like the Portobello mushrooms, not sure why, but the other vegetables were delicious, I especially enjoyed the butternut squash. It took 10 minutes at most for our meals to be made and delivered to us.
Everything on the menu is healthy but by no means does it lack any flavor. Alex also enjoyed her meal, the peanut curry with broccoli and a Thai peanut curry sauce topped with fried tofu ‘croutons’ and peanuts. The tofu looked so good and I am definitely trying that the next time I go back.
I wouldn’t say the food was over the top or blew me out of the water but it was a tasty snd inexpensive healthy GLUTEN FREE mean in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The feel is very hip and gives off a retro diner vibe.
They also serve salads, smaller bites, soups, sandwiches and desserts; only the ice cream is gluten free (sometimes the dessert of the day is too). I was surprised to see they also had a very small beer and wine selection, $4 for glass of and $5 for a glass of wine. Entrée prices range from $6.85-$7.15 for a small and $10.75- $11.35 for a large.
There are concerts in the main dining room after 5PM so the restaurant becomes incredibly small, and you can only eat in the dining room if you have a ticket. We arrived on the early side and didn’t have a problem getting a seat in the ‘public’ dining room.
Our server was very friendly and I loved that the restaurant’s mission is to use local and organic ingredients, and they also donate a small percentage of its profits to charity.
If you are looking for a quick, affordable, healthy and tasty meal I recommend checking out Veggie Planet.