I’m back for more gluten-free adventures in 2016

Always prepared...

Always prepared…

I have been MIA for a few months since I returned to full-time studies in my second language while working and trying to maintain a normal life. Surprise, surprise, I haven’t had time to post. I will try to be better this year and continue to share my gluten-free challenges, triumphs and experiences in Montreal and beyond.

Having such a packed schedule and many 12 hour days has been a real challenge in regards to preparation. I quickly realized that by not eating or not eating any healthy food for a few days I would not have a very effective semester so I had to learn to plan in advance,  which is the reality of being gluten-free. I had to at least twice a week prepare some real food, like lasagna or a big stir fry etc. and make some smoothies and oatmeal to grab on the go. There are very few places I trust for gluten-free pick-up and none of them were on my route between school and work so I had to adapt if I wasn’t going to live on just granola bars and coffee.

This past year was a great learning experience and a blessing. I got gluten poisoned several times, mainly when traveling, but it’s all part of the journey. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year full of lots of love and delicious gluten-free meals. I am off to New York for a belated Birthday trip and will keep you posted about all the great places I find!

Tips on Hosting a Gluten-Free Brunch

Gluten-Free Brunch

This summer I hosted two brunches with some of my favourite people at my new apartment. I find brunches are a great options as they are quite easy to prepare and I find them to be a more relaxing form of entertaining. My number one tip when hosting any event, whether it is a brunch or cocktail,  is to keep everything gluten-free when possible as it minimizes stress and any risk of cross-contamination. When everything is GF I can fully relax and enjoy brunch. I like to take advantage of an opportunity to break bread with friends (GF bread of course) without having to be anxious about what has touched my eggs. Gluten-free food and great company makes for the perfect get-together in my books.

The last brunch I hosted had gluten-free pastries from Le Marquis, egg muffins with cheese, fruit, smoked salmon, bacon, cheeses, coffee, tea, fresh juices and of course mimosas.

Here is a link to an easy egg muffin recipe http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/egg-muffins-clinton-kelly. These egg muffins are fool proof and you can add anything you have on hand like veggies and cheeses. They are also a good option as a snack or light meal during the week.

Gluten-free brunch

gluten-free egg muffins

Gluten-free brunch

Full list of Gluten-Free Restaurants in Montreal

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

I have been meaning to put together a list of all my go-to gluten-free places to eat in Montreal. I will keep adding new places I find and make it available on my home page. I’m also open to suggestions. This list is in no way comprehensive but aims to list all the 100% GF options and some of the safer bets among ‘regular’ restaurants.

Here it is: Where to Eat Gluten-Free in Montreal

Where to Eat Gluten-Free in Montreal

Here are a few of my favorite places in and around Montreal to eat safe. This list is in no way exhaustive but only includes places where I have had a safe gluten-free experience. Restaurants can change so unless it is 100% GF always call first and ask if they have gluten-free options and always make sure to identify your allergy to your server if you are at a regular restaurant that just caters to gluten-free. There is a trend for some restaurants to mark items as GF on their menu when they really may not be (especially fried food).

100% Gluten-Free Restaurants

There are not many…

Crudessence: Vegan, raw and delicious. This is a great bet for smoothies, kale chips, lasagna and desserts.

3 locations (in the city), $$

http://www.crudessence.com/fr/services/nos-restaurants-et-comptoirs-sante

Arepera Du Plateau: This casual restaurant in the heart of the Plateau serves traditional Venezuelan food and is 100% GF. Try one of their delicious arepas with their amazing sauces. My favorite is cheese and avocado.

Plateau, $

http://www.arepera.ca

Ottavios: Not 100% GF but has a 100% GF kitchen and even has dedicated plates and utensils. It is also BYOB and is great option for an affordable family dinner with lots of options for celiacs and non-celiacs.

3 locations (all a little but outside of the city), $$

http://www.ottavio.ca

La crêperie du marché: Casual crêpe stand in Jean Talon market that only uses gluten-free flours to make all their crêpes. They have both savoury and sweet options.

Little Italy, $

http://www.creperiedumarche.com/

Le point sans g: This food truck is open during the summer months and is 100% GF.

$

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-point-sans-g/373260342795161

100% Gluten-Free Bakeries

Baked to Go: This is my favorite GF bread in the city. Their petits pains and bagels are great. It is rare to find a GF bread you can use to make a delicious sandwich 2 days after buying without toasting the bread.

Plateau or you can order online, $

http://baked2go.ca

Le Marquis Sans Gluten: This is the only traditional bakery I have ever been to that is 100% GF. I highly recommend this place for cakes and pastries. They have a 2 display cases filled with amazing pastries and cakes, one case with only dairy free options. I didn’t think I would ever get to have gluten-free éclairs and tarts. They also carry sandwiches, breads and croissants!

Villeray, $-$$

http://www.boulangerielemarquis.com

Cookie Stephanie: This little shop in the Old Port has delicious cupcakes, mini cakes and brownies. They have even started making grilled cheeses.

Old Port, $

http://www.cookiestefanie.com/index.php/en/

Patisserie Petit Lapin: All their products are gluten-free and allergen-free.

Westmount, $-$$

http://patisseriepetitlapin.com/en/

Mi & Stu: Also dairy free and peanut free they carry delicious products including delicious challah bread. I would recommend calling in advance if you have a specific order.

Mile End, $-$$

http://www.miandstu.com/pains.html

Louise Sans Gluten: This completely gluten-free grocery store and bakery in Dorval is a celiacs dream. Lots of hard to find GF products and fresh baked goodies like donuts and baguettes.

Dorval, $-$$

http://louisesansgluten.com

‘Normal’ Restaurants the GFBFF loves 

These are regular restaurants so there is always a risk of cross contamination but all of these places have been great at accommodating gluten-free. Always make sure to ask questions and make sure the server knows you are celiac.

Toqué: They are great at accommodating a GF diet and the food is delicious. I highly recommend it and it’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Montreal. It is expensive but well worth it (the lunch menu is more affordable).

Old Port, $$$+

http://www.restaurant-toque.com/en

Pastaga: Pastaga is a great bet for a nice dinner. Most of the items on their changing menu are already or can be adapted to be GF.

Little Italy, $$$

http://www.pastaga.ca

Aux Vivres: One of my favorites for delicious vegetarian food. They have lots of salad and bowl options.

Plateau, $-$$

https://auxvivres.com/en/menus

Vin Papillon: The few times I have eaten at this trendy wine bar many of the options were GF and most were easily adapted by removing an ingredient. The food was great and fresh with their great wine selection.

Little Burgundy, $$

http://vinpapillon.com

La Prunelle: A smaller French BYOB that has several gluten-free options and is always happy to make substitutions to make something gluten-free.

Plateau, $$-$$$

http://www.restaurantlaprunelle.com/

I have reviewed a few other places but these are the top places I would 100% recommend.

$=Cheap

$$=Medium Priced

$$$=Expensive

Crêpe sucrée- with berries and whipped cream from la crêperie du marché

Crêpe sucrée- with berries and whipped cream from la crêperie du marché

Salad at Toqué

Salad at Toqué

Mussels at Ottavio's

Mussels at Ottavio’s

GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCT REVIEW: Club House Gluten-Free Gravy

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I was having a serious cheat day where I wanted to eat all the things and I just had to pick up this gluten-free gravy from Metro to make a homemade gluten-free poutine. This gravy mix is incredibly easy, you basically simmer the package content with a cup of water for 4 mins. For a packaged gravy it tasted great and was delicious on my french fries with some cheese curds. Gluten-free gravy in a pouch really makes a homemade 100% gluten-free poutine an easy cheat meal option. They had Brown Sauce and Chicken Gravy flavours at my grocery store and it was affordable at less than $2.

http://www.clubhouse.ca/en-ca/products/meal-helpers/25-less-salt/gluten-free-brown-gravy-mix

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Gluten-Free 5-à-7 at Balsam Inn

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I recently tried Balsam Inn, right beside Dominion Square Tavern, and had a great GF experience. I was there with friends for after work drinks and we sat outside on the terrace right near Peel street. The cocktails, food, service and atmosphere were great. Since we were there for cocktails we just ordered the side olives and bocconcini with tomato. Several options on the menu were gluten-free as is and many of the other options could be adapted. The waitress was very attentive in making sure my cocktail and food was gluten-free.

I definitely recommend Balsam Inn if you are right downtown and looking for a cute place for a drink and a bite to eat. As this is a regular restaurant there are risks of cross contamination so always make sure to tell your server.

http://www.lebalsaminn.com/

Accommodates gluten-free:  Yes

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No

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A Gluten-Free Food Truck & The Monthly Food Truck Event

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The first Friday of every month May through October about 40 food trucks converge outside the Olympic Stadium. Happily one of the trucks, Le point sans g, is 100% gluten-free. This was great for me as my boyfriend could try out a few of the trucks with lots of gluten and I could eat 100% safe. I’m sure a few of the trucks had some gluten-free options, but there could be issues with cross contamination.

I had a chicken poutine that was good but definitely not a poutine in my books. It would be better described as delicious french fries topped with shredded chicken, light gravy, mozzarella, tomatoes and crema. I also got two chocolate cookies which were delicious. The food truck can be found on other days all over the city. You can check out their Facebook page to see where they are. The food is good, safe and not too over priced surprisingly.

I would highly recommend checking this event out, especially if you have a friend/partner that loves food trucks or loves trying lots of different foods at once. There were lots of people but most of the lines were around 10 minutes long except for a few trucks. There are also beer and wine tents if you’re thirsty. It’s really an event for everyone. Even the vegans and celiacs thanks to two separate trucks that cater to each.

Here is an article about the monthly event at the Olympic Stadium:

http://www.shutupandeat.ca/2015/04/27/2015-montreal-food-truck-seasons-starts-this-friday/

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The not so fun part of living with celiac disease

Passing out on the grass from exhaustion while walking around Quebec City after getting 'glutened'.

Passing out on the grass from exhaustion while walking around Quebec City after getting ‘glutened’.

I have been sick all week. I have a mouth full of canker sores. I am exhausted. I feel like my stomach is a toxic dump. And I am up most nights in the washroom. I have hit my low. I try incredibly hard to be positive about having celiac disease but weeks like this really bring me down. I love traveling and eating out but eating out while traveling is what made me so sick and there is very little those of us with celiac can do about it.

Option 1: Travel and eat out and take chances.

Option 2: Stay home, eat safe and have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Option 3: Balance of option 1 and 2.

I try my best with option 3 but it is hard adjusting no matter how long it has been (over 10 years since diagnosis and 8 years eating strictly gluten-free). This is a bit of a rant but I think I should also represent the reality of celiac disease sometimes. Having celiac disease sucks and while I will continue to be positive about it the majority of the time and share recipes and gluten-free tips for eating out I will take moments here and there to recognize the pain and frustration. It is not fun to be sick for a week and not feel right for a week later. It sucks to miss out on birthdays and dinners to stay home being ill. It is not fun to spend vacation in serious pain. It’s even more stressful to be the person who cancels work meetings at the last minute because they can’t leave the washroom. It all sucks. Rant done.

Hope everyone is taking care of their diets and feeling well. I tend to take my health for granted until I get a bad exposure and I am reminded why I have to be so careful.

Any tips on what helps you when you have been glutened?

Restaurant Manitoba


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A few months ago I had a nice meal at Restaurant Manotiba and forgot to post it (I am a little behind on posting since I have had a busy past few months!). The menu is seasonal so make sure to call in advance and check their gluten-free options for the evening. It is also highly recommended to make a reservation. The night I was there almost half the dishes could be made gluten-free.

Manitoba has a great atmosphere and is definitely a good option for meat eaters. But while there is a lot of meat (I myself I am 99% pescatarian) I really enjoyed their spaghetti squash with romesco sauce, brussels sprouts, roasted veggies, beans and labneh. It was one of the best meals I had had in a while and was full of flavour.  My date and I had oysters to start and the waitress helped us choose a nice wine. He had the bone marrow and our friends had the chefs special. Everyone enjoyed their meals and I would recommend checking out their menu and trying it out for a gluten-free date night.

Here is the review in the Gazette:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Chesterman+Fine+Dining+This+resto+Manitoba+name+spirit/10038405/story.html

Manitoba

271 Rue Saint Zotique O, Montréal, QC H2V 1A4
(514) 270-8000

http://restaurantmanitoba.com/?lang=en

Accommodates gluten-free:  Yes

Price: $$-$$$

Gluten-free menu: No

** As always it’s recommended to call in advance and state you are gluten-free and to tell your server that you are celiac. Service and prep can change between visits.

Delicious spaghetti squash

Delicious spaghetti squash

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My Ultimate Dream Food Day in Montreal

Baked to Go Gluten-Free Croissant

Baked to Go Gluten-Free Croissant

I thought I would share my dream Montreal food day. This can serve as inspiration if you are a local looking for gluten-free foodie inspiration  or planning a gluten-free visit to Montreal. I was inspired by one of my favourite food blogs The New Potato. My ultimate dream food day around Montreal is obviously a day where there are no calories, I don’t eat at home and there are no stomach aches from too much gluttony. This Montreal gluten-free food tour would probably be feasible done in two days.

Breakfast: Brunch at Aux Vivres with my boyfriend who is obsessed with brunching. I would order the friend polenta served with salad, beans, guacamole and vegan “eggs”. Or I would just pick up a chocolatine (chocolate croissant) from Baked to Go with a big almond milk latte from a local cafe (probably Café Vitto).

La Polenta from Aux Vivres

La Polenta from Aux Vivres

Lunch: An avocado and cheese arepa from Areperas du Plateau with my brother who is also celiac.

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Dinner: A double date at Toqué enjoying a fancy and delicious meal.

Delicious and simple salad at Toqué

Delicious and simple salad at Toqué

Dessert: Sharing a pastry or slice of cake from Le Marquis Sans Gluten.

Some of the treats at Le Marquis Sans Gluten

Some of the treats at Le Marquis Sans Gluten

Midnight Snack: Sharing a classic poutine @ Poutineville  with my girlfriends after a few drinks at a local bar.

Poutine

Poutine

A girl can dream…

Spring is here: Asparagus Risotto

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Fresh local asparagus means spring is finally here! The Jean Talon Market is full of asparagus and it inspired me to make risotto as the first alfreso dinner at my new apartment. After the winter we had in Montreal eating fresh food outside is more than a treat! Risotto is one of my favourite dishes to make and pretty hard to screw-up once you learn the basic steps. There are thousands of risotto recipes but I love this one from Thug Kitchen as it is simple, delicious and gluten-free. It is also fun to follow recipes from Thug Kitchen as the blog is serious about food but doesn’t take it self too seriously and we can all use some laughs while cooking.

You can find the recipe from Thug Kitchen here. This recipe is vegan as it but I made a few adjustments. At the end I added a pat of butter and a little parmesan and it served it with a side of shrimp sautéed in butter, garlic, chives and lemon with breadcrumbs. Risotto is a “naturally” gluten-free food but make sure your broth is gluten-free. I use Campbell’s Vegetable Broth that is certified gluten-free and has great flavour. (Watch out because their organic veggie broth is not gluten-free!).

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