Rebecca's Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free in the Upper Midwest

Rojo Mexican Grill May 24, 2011

I finally made it out to the new West End area in Saint Louis Park, where I tried out Rojo Mexican Grill. while they don’t have a specific gluten-free menu, they were able to accommodate. (update: they now have icons next to the GF items, and there are many options!) it’s so nice to have more Mexican restaurants to eat at (with chips we can eat), now that Baja Sol cantinas (the sit-down restaurant versions) have closed.

the chips are made in a dedicated fryer even, which is a treat (I was misinformed on my first visit when I was told that they were made in a shared fryer). I was warned on my second visit that if it gets really busy, there’s a chance they could end up contaminating the chip fryer with other things, so I’d make sure each time that that didn’t happen on the day you go. the salsa is decent, and the guacamole is good (note that although it’s not listed, it comes with cheese on top, so if you have dairy allergies, request it without the cheese garnish).

as for entrees, they were able to accommodate several things. I had the tacos on soft corn tortillas, and they were amazing. they reminded me of the short rib street tacos at the Herb Box at the Lifetime Fitness in Eden Prairie. they both seem to be an elevated new (to me, at least) sort of taco, and I’m loving it! I didn’t inquire beyond those items, but they seemed very willing to adapt their menu to be gluten-free. and I would be surprised if they couldn’t do the fajitas on the soft corn tortillas. and I’m sure at least some of the salads could easily be made gluten-free. I’m not sure about the ribs or burgers though.. you’d have to ask.

as for sides, I don’t enjoy eating beans, but their beans were so amazing that I could’ve devoured an entire bowl of them!! never in my life have I enjoyed beans so much. I very highly recommend them!! the coleslaw is also gluten-free. I’m not a caraway seed fan though, so I didn’t enjoy that as much. (both the beans and the coleslaw are dairy-free as well). the dirty rice was gluten-free, though not dairy-free. I’m not sure about the soups.

and then for the best part of any Mexican restaurant… the drinks! I had the red wine sangria, which was one of the best I’ve had. instead of a simple sugar syrup, like most sangrias (I think), they use soda water. it tasted like a wine soda, and it was delicious and huge! they weren’t sure if the margarita mixes were gluten-free (not surprisingly), but next time I may try out a mojito¬† too.

the West End area is a great area filled with restaurants, a movie theater, and some fun shopping. if you haven’t been there yet, go check it out! Rojo is one of the restaurants with gluten-free options, but from what I hear, most of the restaurants in that area can accommodate. I’ll have to try more of them and keep you posted! (it will be difficult to go there and NOT eat at Rojo though! it’s one of my new favorites!)

 

Original Pancake House: more GF options! May 20, 2011

in case you haven’t heard yet, the Original Pancake House has a newly expanded gluten-free menu!

they have lots of different varieties of pancakes (ranging from different fruit varieties like strawberry, blueberry, or banana, to pecan, coconut, chocolate chip and bacon). the pancakes they’ve had for awhile now, but now they’ve added a similar variety of waffles now as well! they also have french toast (but I’m told that they’re having some discussion as to how that will be handled right now, so maybe wait a couple of weeks to order that). they also have crepes, omelettes, and the usual variety of side dishes (bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns).

if you have dairy allergies, none of the “batter” options (pancakes, waffles, crepes, or french toast) are dairy free. the butter they use is clarified butter (casein is removed), but there’s still milk or milk powder in the batters, so that doesn’t help much. I would think that the omelettes could be dairy-free, but I didn’t inquire. of course most of the sides could be dairy-free though.

the Edina and Eden Prairie locations have these gluten-free options.

 

Jason’s Deli May 11, 2011

I’d heard of Jason’s Deli awhile ago, but had never stopped to check it out… until some friends from down south told me how popular this restaurant is in Texas. it sounded like quite the hotspot! so I decided to finally go see for myself. and it was a great experience!

first I’ll note that if you want to go there, you may want to just print off either their allergy or gluten-free menus online (yes, they have both!), as there are quite a few options! but if you don’t, they have both at the restaurant.

as for food choices, they have several gluten-free soups (note: the fire-roasted tortilla is the only soup that is both gluten-free and dairy-free) and salads (they also have a salad bar, though I don’t dare eat from food that sits out for people to serve themselves, as I think it has a higher potential for cross-contamination).

the sandwiches are made with Udi’s bread, and in a separate area with clean utensils. they’re even willing to grill it in a clean pan if you prefer your sandwich toasted! (I forgot to double-check whether they use separate containers of toppings for the GF sandwiches, but I didn’t have any issues.) the ingredients to choose from for the sandwiches are quite extensive~ almost all of the meats (the only exception I know of is the marinated chicken, but always consult the gluten-free menu to be sure of your choices), of course vegetables and cheeses are okay, lots of spreads (including a yummy smoked red pepper cilantro aioli, which is also dairy-free), and some fun other toppings, like guacamole or pico de gallo. it’s a huge selection!

for the sides, they have the normal potato chip options, as well as potato salad, fruit and dip, chips & guac, chips & hummus, etc. plus, they have huge baked potatoes topped with different things to choose from! that’s definitely what I’m going to try next time!

they also have gluten-free kids meal items listed~ from gluten-free grilled cheese, to hot dogs, to PB&J, among others. it’s a real treat to have such choices!!

and then to top it off, they have an ice cream machine for a free dessert at the end of your meal! avoid the ice cream cones, of course, but the chocolate syrup is just fine to add!

I was very pleasantly surprised by Jason’s Deli~ not only by the vast amount of choices, but also by how they take allergies seriously and use every precaution to prevent any cross-contamination!¬† although I’m thankful for places that serve gluten-free sandwiches, it can be quite tricky to keep it safe for celiacs, so I don’t always trust these places. but Jason’s Deli knows what they’re doing and take it seriously. not to mention, they couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful!

so far there’s just one location in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro, and it’s in Eden Prairie, across from the mall. they’re opening a second store soon in Edina though, which will be on France, a few blocks north of 494.

all in all, it has great food with plenty of options, and it’s just really nice to have another place to go for a quick meal!