Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Roscoe’s BBQ July 28, 2010

I went to Roscoe’s BBQ in Rochester this past weekend, to finally check it out. they have two locations~ one is permanent and open year-round, and the other is seasonal, where you order outside the building and sit at one of the picnic tables in the parking lot. I went to the latter.

they told me that all the meats would be safe (always double-check for yourself, of course!), and that the BBQ sauce was gluten-free. I was prepared for a pulled pork sandwich (my favorite!), so I toasted up a piece of gluten-free bread and brought it with me. the pulled-chicken looked just as good. for ribs, you could order them one by one if you wanted, or by the half or full rack. and there were other meat options as well.

I didn’t end up getting any sides, but I believe there were several options that were gluten-free (the sides differ by location). I was told that the baked beans, green beans, potato salad, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad, and black-eyed pea salad were all gluten-free.

what I liked about the menu is that you could order no sides, or 1 or 2 sides, all at different prices. so if you’d rather not order any, you don’t have to pay for them!

I pretty much knew what I would order before I got there, because I’d already spoken to the permanent restaurant about GF options. but I was relieved and impressed that the people running the seasonal location were also well-informed.

for instance, they make their own root beer. and I asked if they knew whether it was gluten-free. I figured it was a shot in the dark, and that they likely wouldn’t have any idea. but sure enough, they were prepared for my question, and it was in fact GF! it was REALLY good!! and it was fun to be able to order a half gallon container of it to share or bring home. they also have root beer floats that I noticed later, which is a fun summer treat. yum!

 

Minnesota State Fair Gluten-Free Baking Competition July 26, 2010

Northland Celiac is sponsoring 4 gluten-free baking contests for the state fair this year. according to their website the categories are:

Quick Loaf & Loaf (category 1077)

Pretzels or Snacks (category 1078)

Cookies or Bars (category 1079)

Muffins & Cakes (category 1080)

if you’re interested in participating, you’ll need to register by 4:30pm on August 10th. it doesn’t say where, but I’d check the Minnesota State Fair website for more info, in the Competitions section, under Creative Activities (pg 34 of the C.A. Premium Book).

when submitting your food entry, use a disposable container, as it won’t be returned to you on Sunday, August 22nd between 8-11am at the Creative Activities Building. Recipes must be submitted with the food, typed on one side of paper; with your name, address, and phone number on the other side.

 

farmers’ markets July 21, 2010

if you’re interested in buying a variety fresh produce, herbs,  meats, cheeses, flowers, etc, you should start checking out the local farmers’ markets. there are so many that I’m sure to miss several of them, but here’s the list I’ve gathered:

there are several locations of farmers’ markets in Minneapolis. the Lyndale Market is at Lyndale Ave and Glenwood Ave (just north of 394, south  of hwy 55). you can park for free under the I-94 bridge, which is  really nice. it’s open every day during its season, which is April to mid-November, 6am – 1pm. (and then they sell Christmas trees from mid-November through Christmas Eve).

Nicollet Mall Market is open every Thursday during its season, which is from May until mid-November, 6am – 6pm. it runs along Nicollet Mall, spanning from S 5th Street to S 12th Street.

the Mill City Market is also located in Minneapolis. it’s located right by the Guthrie Theater, and is open on Saturdays from 8am-1pm from May until mid-October. Spoonriver sells gluten-free crepes at their crepe stand. also, Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver’s now sell a gluten-free aebelskiver mix at this farmers market (along with other locations).

the Northeast Minneapolis market is open on Saturdays from 9am-1pm, from June through mid-October. one highlight for the celiac crowd here is that one bonus at this market is that The Roving Dish sells gluten-free (and vegan) pancakes and fritters!

the University of Minnesota has a farmers’ market from early July through early October, open on Wednesdays from 11am-2pm. besides fresh vegetables, they have a few drinks and foods to eat, some health services, and even free outdoor concerts during July.

other Minneapolis markets include Calhoun Square, Midtown Farmers’ Market, and IATP Mini Markets.

St Paul has an extensive list of locations, from various places within St Paul, to South Saint Paul, West Saint Paul, Roseville, Inver Grove Heights, Oakdale, Woodbury, Maplewood, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville, Savage, Roseville, Hugo, Andover, and Rosemount. like I said, it’s quite extensive. each of these are open at least one day per week.

another market in St Paul is the Highland Village Farmers’ Market. they run from early June through September, 7:30-11:30am.

also beyond the one listed in the St Paul link, Woodbury has a second market. the other Woodbury Farmers’ Market runs from mid-June through the beginning of October. it’s open on Friday afternoons from 3-7pm on Cooper St & Railroad Ave. there are various special events that they host, such as cooking contests (posted on their websites). they have between 10-15 vendors.

Centennial Lakes Farmers’ Market is new (located in Edina). it’s on Thursday afternoons from 3-7pm, starting in July and going through the end of September. parking is free at many of the adjacent lots. approximately 25 vendors sell their goods at this market.

Eagan Market Fest is held on Wednesdays 4-8pm at the community center, from the end of June through mid-September. they hold a food drive at the market each week, along with various special events. there’s also live music, concessions, children’s activities, etc. you could make quite a day of it!

Bloomington Farmers’ Market is held on Saturdays from 8am-1pm, from mid-June through mid-October. then from mid-November through mid-December indoors. there are around a dozen vendors at this market.

Hopkins has their market on Saturdays from 7:30am-noon, from mid-June through October in their downtown area. downtown Hopkins is a fun place to spend the day shopping (mostly antiques) and grabbing a bite to eat, not to mention their various festivals that occur on various Saturdays. it only has about a dozen vendors, but with these other factors, it can be a fun outting.

Minnetonka’s Farmers’ Market is held on Tuesday from 3-7pm at the civic center. they have 44 vendors, produce, meats, cheeses, canned goods, maple syrup, and many other items.

the New Hope market is held in the KMart parking lot from mid-June through mid-October. it’s on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. there are 50 vendors at this market, so it’s one of the larger ones. they have live entertainment and children’s activities.

Maple Grove has a market at their community center from mid-June to late October. it’s open from 3-7pm through September, and then from 3-6pm in October. this is a large market, with 60 vendors. they have music every market day, along with demos and activities for kids.

there are many, many other farmers’ markets in Minnesota, such as in Rochester, St Cloud, Duluth, Bemidji, etc. the list in that link is non-extensive, so if your city isn’t listed, just try and find your city’s information online.

 

Sassy Pig BBQ July 19, 2010

I’d been looking forward to going to Sassy Pig for a couple of months, right after I’d heard from some gluten-free source that they had lots of gluten-free options. soon after, I did my gluten-free ribs blog, and spoke with someone at the restaurant, who seemed to really know a lot about it, and very readily. having these two experiences, I was prepared for a great gluten-free experience. so I was a little surprised when I got there, and they didn’t seem to know much about what was gluten-free. but I have to say that what they lacked in knowledge, they made up for in heart. here’s what happened:

we walked up to place our order, and the girl behind the counter didn’t have any idea what I was talking about when I asked if the meats were all gluten-free (as I was told over the phone before the ribs blog, but wanted to confirm). she ran in back to ask someone, and came back saying that the rubs were gluten-free, so all of the meats should be fine. I went ahead and ordered the two-entree dinner: ribs and pulled pork. (as per gluten-free side dishes, I never did find out which were safe, because when I asked the girl in a follow-up question about which sides were okay, she had the same bewildered look, but this time she didn’t run back to ask. so if you go there, you’ll have to ask for yourself).

when my meal came out, someone who seemed more knowledgeable brought it to our table. and I asked if both BBQ sauces at our table were safe (I thought that I’d confirmed this on the phone previously as well), but she wasn’t sure, and ran back to ask the cook. the cook thought so, but wasn’t entirely sure himself, so I went in the back with him to read the recipe. the recipe included worcestershire sauce, which I knew may contain gluten. so we went further in the back to read the ingredients on the bottle. sure enough, wheat flour was listed. then we looked at the ingredients on the BBQ sauce’s base sauce, in case I could just use that, but there were a couple of questionable ingredients on there, so I just decided to be safe and skip the BBQ sauce entirely.

the chef said that it would be easy enough to switch brands of worchestershire sauce, and I believe he was going to check on the questionable ingredients in the base sauce, so that they could make their BBQ sauce gluten-free. so it’s really nice of them to care and make such an effort. but unless you can confirm that this has happened over the phone, I’d suggest you bring your own BBQ sauce with you if you go there.

so I went back to my table, disappointed that I was going to have to eat my plain meat. and then I was even more thankful that I’d toasted a piece of gluten-free bread ahead of time, to bring along for my pulled pork. but I must say that the meat was actually quite delicious, even without any sauce! it was really tender and moist, and I didn’t even miss the sauce much at all. so that’s a testament to their food!

I realized later that since there was such confusion, I really should’ve looked at the ingredients in the rub myself too, just to be sure. I didn’t get sick, but I think I’d double-check next time anyway, just in case.

overall it was a mixed experience. although they weren’t quite prepared with the knowledge of what’s gluten-free, they were very willing to help me and adapt their ingredients in the future. they were really thankful that I’d come in and asked the questions that I did, so that they could learn more. and the food was really good, even without the BBQ sauce. so although they don’t quite have the kinks worked out yet, they sounded like they were really going to try. so I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you should go there or not, depending on how conservative you are with your restaurant choices. but it’s definitely got potential (and great food)!

 

Cooqi: Open One Last Day July 13, 2010

Cooqi will be open one final day this Thursday, July 15th from 1-5pm. you need to pre-order by emailing: judy@cooqiglutenfree.com, and she’s accepting cash or checks only (no credit cards).

here are some of the things you can order: Ellie bread baking mix, pancake mix, flour mix, pizza/ pita mix, granola, brownies, baked Ellie bread (very limited quantity), pizza crusts.

make sure to email her right away if you want to order any of these items for the one-day opening!