My Eager Return to WordPress and Some Other Tasty Bits

New year, new me…

Well, sort of. After taking what I consider a stay-at-home-sabbatical, meaning a month and a half period of REAL rest, complete with sleep (more than 5 or 6 hours a night!), a whole lot of Netflix in bed, several good books, pancake breakfasts in the afternoon after arising from twelve hour sleep-marathons, attempting to tackle a still-unmanageable pile of things to do and lots of delicious red wine, I’m back at it.

I don’t make resolutions, per se, as I admit several years back I made a ‘change my diet’ resolution (which included giving gluten the axe) and that probably lasted, oh, about two weeks ending in unhealthy tortilla binges. However, I do ‘resolve’ to visit new places I’ve never been every year. And to try things I’ve never done before. So, let me refine my statement a little bit: I make resolutions and fully support those of others that entail new adventures and foster mental, physical and spiritual growth and betterment. I do not make resolutions and advise others against those that involve numbers, self-imposed denial of anything, or any sort of masochistic restrictions that have the inevitable end result of a) being broken or b) breaking you.

My journey to gluten-freedom was an adventure that is ongoing yet; removing all foods, drinks and other products with gluten was a slow and conscious process during which I honored my body, my desires and my weaknesses. Complete dietary and lifestyle change and the benefits that it bestows upon me have been a blessing, but ‘change’ is really just an umbrella term for an evolving set of processes that in coordination represent the abstract ‘change’ paradigm. Change for me is conscious effort and thought in daily choices: to go to bed early instead of staying up late watching tv, drinking herbal tea instead of alcohol, going to yoga instead of sleeping in. Trust me, I don’t always make the healthier choice, because this would be somewhat masochistic/obsessive-compulsive/make-life-a-living-hell. In fact, ALWAYS making the ‘right’ choice would be akin to making resolutions. What seems to be overall a healthier and more sustainable intention: vowing to go to the gym every morning for two hours or attempting to go to the gym several times per week during times when you would otherwise be doing something less inclined to healthy development?

I think I’ve hammered the point in by now. I should admit at this point that I do in fact have a resolution (one of the good kinds of resolutions, of course). Updating this blog. On a regular, biweekly schedule. I’ve returned to wordpress and am very excited to share the things I’ve discovered, mixed, concocted and read about as of late. And I think this resolution will set me up for many more adventures, which will be condensed, organized into words, pictures, and more rants, and eventually be shared with y’all.

So, my friends, this spiel about resolutions and eating gluten-free (especially for us non-celiac gluten-freers) is really my mind’s inconclusive effort to come to terms with an article I read back in December in Creative Loafing, one of my absolute favorite reviews for all things food and fun in Atlanta. “Trends to be banished in 2013,” posted by Cliff Bostock on December 27th predicted the end of several gourmet trends that did truly set some frivolous, if not outright aggravating, standards on our plates during the past year. A little playful sarcasm without any truly hardball cynicism, his prescient musing takes current foodie peeves such as the overuse of white truffle oil (which IS fake), the omnipresence of fried eggs on top of everything, and the “gentrification of ‘nose-to-tail dining” (cleverly worded and SO true), among many others. Yet, one of his final thoughts struck a different chord: “I know that many people are allergic to gluten. At its worst, it’s called celiac disease. Milder cases are called gluten sensitivity. I’m sorry. But please stop making a scene at the table if you can’t find gluten-free dishes or the server has no idea what you’re talking about. Why not call ahead and ask?”

As a gluten-freer by choice (guided by professional opinion on managing autoimmune disease) and not by restriction, my gluten-free ego is torn in half by this statement. Yes, I am somewhat offended; in part, because I don’t make a scene when this scenario arises. I just don’t eat. And then my friends at the table get annoyed and self-conscious that they’re gorging themselves in front of a ‘sick person’ that can’t eat. Sigh. Mostly, though, because I know people that do get violently ill from cross-contamination from anything that has even touched wheat. If something says ‘gluten-free’ on the menu, yes, in fact, they have a right to ‘make a scene’ in the instance that a restaurant’s chose to implement a health safety guarantee on its own volition and did not live up to its self-imposed standard.

On second thought, I support Bostock’s appeal in a sort of twisted turn of logic. I have ranted extensively about my feelings on the ‘gluten-free trend,’ and from this perspective, I commend his plea to end the obnoxious behavior of said patrons. Those that have mini-meltdowns tableside are more likely to be the trend-followers, seeking attention via the ‘I’m healthier and more disciplined than you’ route. When you are forced or even choose to commit to a gluten-free diet, your approach to food and the way you structure your daily diet is changed fundamentally; I wouldn’t show up at a pizza restaurant and be completely blown away that there is not a single thing on the menu that I could eat, subsequently throwing a fit out of genuine disappointment. It’s not an amateur move…a scenario like that (a pizza restaurant representing one extreme to prove my point) just wouldn’t really happen in the life of a dedicated gluten-freer.

But, before you take offense, remember, I am still completely conflicted about the statement. The world isn’t black and white, and in more instances than not, I find myself going to dinner at a new restaurant right after work, my only opportunity to look at the menu was on my iPhone in miniscule print while driving to the restaurant, and, in reality, I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE whether I will be able to eat or not. I don’t blame the restaurant, but my growling stomach and that overly-concerned friend that wants to rain on everyone else’s parade and go to another restaurant just to accomodate me don’t make those situations any easier.

In conclusion, gluten-freers, keep on gluten-freein’. And thank you, Mr. Bostock, for making me think. Take it day by day; don’t make unreasonable resolutions that you know you can’t keep; be polite and understanding to waiters but never be afraid to grill them about cooking methods and cross-contamination prevention procedures; look at menus beforehand when possible, and if not possible, remember wine IS indeed gluten-free, and I highly suggest it when there is nothing else to consume on the menu. It makes dealing with the “oh great he can’t eat anything here” situation just a little bit easier to deal with.

Good to be back. And friends, check out these other great reads I’ve come across lately:

“Removing ‘Sacrifice’ from ‘Gluten-Free” in the New York Times

and Atlanta dining suggestions in “Great Gluten-Free Nights Out” from our good friend, Scoutmob

Pancakes are good any time of day….or morning or night or middle of the night…

Is it the coming of fall? Increased running mileage (I’m getting closer and closer to an upcoming half-marathon in the fall and full marathon in the winter)? Craving for something other than the mundane oatmeal in the mornings? Need for something sweet late at night?

Whatever it was, I really NEEDED pancakes. Really. I’ve tried some very good gluten-free mixes in my day, but I’ve had my eye on the blue corn flour that I picked up at the farmer’s market a couple of weekends ago. Time for something new. Growing up in New Mexico, I had my fair share of very delicious, authentic blue corn dishes: everything from blue corn enchiladas to blue corn bread with pine nuts. So here’s my best shot to honor my heritage, my gluten-free diet, and, above all, my early autumn longing for some delicious flapjacks.

My best advice? When making pancakes, use less measuring cups and more tasting spoons. Less worry about ratios and more happiness during the process and carefree satisfaction for whatever the outcome may be. Enjoy y’all:

Blue Corn Berry Pancakes

Berries, blue corn, cinnamon….mmm, fall is here.

  • 1 cup blue corn flour
  • 1 cup soy/amaranth/gluten-free mix flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 ¼-1 1/2 c. milk (dairy/soy/almond)
  • 1/4 c. agave syrup (if desired, use 2 TBS. sugar instead and increase milk to 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup greek or non-dairy yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons canola/olive/coconut oil or 2 tablespoons melted butter +extra for pan or skillet
  • 1 very-ripe banana
  • 2 big handfuls berries, well-rinsed
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped (optional)
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Apple chuncks (optional)
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
  2. Mash banana well to mushy consistency. Add to dry ingredients along with milk, eggs, agave, oil/butter and yogurt. Whisk well to create homogeneous mixture; it should be smooth enough to flow slowly with few lumps when poured (you should NOT have to spoon the mixture into the pan like cookie dough) but still remain somewhat thick and not runny. Take note here y’all: for those of you that have worked with different types of gluten-free flours, you know they all have slightly different outcomes. For those of you that haven’t or are trying a different kind for the first time, be patient. Have some extra milk and some extra flour on the side to add if the batter is too lumpy or, conversely, if pancakes run and do not hold shape when poured. Add nuts, apples and/or orange zest if desired.
  3. Set skillet to 375 degrees F or skillet pan to medium-high heat on stove. Melt a little butter or oil on hot surface, pour batter to form pancake, and drop in the berries. Cook a couple minutes per side MAX (pancakes will not bubble as much or at all like regular pancakes with unbleached all-purposed flour do when they cook). Pour as large, if you’re like me and want a plate-sized pancake, or as small as you like. Be CAREFUL to ensure pancakes are not burning (yogurt and agave are the prime suspects). Pancakes should be slightly fluffy and golden brown on each side (and blue in the middle, of course).
  4. Go to town with more greek yogurt, honey, maple syrup, berries, more cinnamon, fruit, and/or whatever else you feel like. If you want to go full-throttle with the almond theme, like I have for the past couple weeks, buy a jar of almond paste and put a spoonful on top. Breakfast, brunch, snack, dinner or midnight snack…you deserve this.

Almonds, almonds and more almonds

Pleasing your Hedonist Tendancies in Sophisticated Gluten-Free Style

Bacchanalia, [bak-uh-ney-lee-uh] noun. 1 a festival in honor of Bacchus. 2 a drunken feast; orgy. {Merriam-Webster} 3 the current and former number one restaurant in Atlanta in the Zagat Guide, featuring a five-course contemporary American meal, each of which is carefully crafted with local and organic ingredients and paired prudently with wines that compliment and highlight each of the unique, delicate conceptions. Note: Almost any combination of the five-course prix fixe dinner can be prepared completely gluten-free. {yours truly}

Yes, this takes the prize for most elegant and well-catered to gluten-free indulgence I’ve ever made. Though, let me put a disclaimer on this before I continue: it was not cheap. Or for that matter, neither was it even payable within my week-to-week food budget. I waited for the right time, and after several months of having to suffice with fantasizing about how every morsel on the ever-rotating menu would taste, the occasion finally came for me to sit on my throne as gluten-free king in the dimly-lit atmostphere of this Westside gem.

Take a look at the Star Provisions Group site and then find your way to Bacchanalia’s current 5-Course Prix Fixe Menu. I dare you.

And while you gaze at all the wonders that await you such as the Hawaiian Blue Prawns with Gazpacho, the North Georgia Rainbow Trout, or the Lamb prepared six ways, here’s some more food for thought: your gluten-free experience at Bacchanalia is not going to be the run-of-the-mill, ask which plates are gluten-free and then choose between the two or three on the menu that make the cut. At Bacchanalia, mention that you are gluten-free from the onset of your dining experience and, voila, the first four courses will all be catered accordingly. Meaning, gluten-freers, you can have anything you want here. I know this doesn’t happen very often, and you may feel confused, shocked and/or in utter disbelief. But take my word, fellow gluten-free ATLiens, the chef will prepare every dish as you need it to be, even bringing out gluten-free mid-course surprises in place of the breads and pastries that are otherwise presented.

For dessert, I was notified that the fig soufflé was the only dish that could be prepared gluten-free (go ahead and look back in the archives if you are unsure or want to learn more in regards to why creating delicious desserts are the toughest challenge in the gluten-free kitchen). But if I were to complain or even indirectly hint that my lack of options in the fifth course was an unsatisfactory aspect of my dining experience, I should hope the gluten-free gods would whack me over the head. The Celeste Fig Soufflé with Georgia Pecan Ice Cream may have just been the most memorable course. To revel in a dessert that has perfectly light texture, distinct and contrasting fig, nut and butter flavors and is, on top of all of that, gluten-free…this is one of the true sybaritic delights in life.

Image courtesy of Lindsay at http://www.thequickanddirtydirty.com, a guide to everything exciting, delicious and fun in ATL

So for all of the epicures and the lovers, the hedonists and, of course, the gluten-freers, if you do only one thing to treat yourself in Atlanta this year, do this. Maybe you have a special event coming up, but there need be no rhyme or reason. Let your gormandizing instincts go wild, and indulge yourself at Bacchanalia. Oh, and to start, may I suggest the Kumamoto Oysters and Sea Urchins with Prawn Consommé Gelee?

Discoveries Amidst the Clutter of Moving: Gluten-Free Wisdom and Lima Bean Flatbread

Moving twice within a month during Atlanta’s hottest summer on record has had its fair share of frustrations, headaches and inevitable episodes of delicate things slipping from my grasp, all the while trying not to pass out in the 100 degree+ weather. Yes, this could technically be the worst time ever throughout the span of Atlanta’s meterologically-recorded history to be exerting oneself outside for extended periods of time.

Despite the sweat, dehydration and broken lamps and dishes, this “transition” period has not been without some very sweet, gluten-free fruits.

The first find came about while lightly browsing a recent Men’s Journal that had surfaced in my never-ending pile of things to move/recycle/pray-to-disappear. And by that I mean no disrespect by any means to Men’s Journal. It is far superior to the other fitness, nutrition and sex bi-monthlies promising every red-blooded male biceps as thick as tree trunks and mind-blowing sex all the time, all the while maintaining or even increasing his steady consumption of beer and hamburgers (‘5 minutes a day to perfect abs!’ ‘7 things you’re not doing that will GUARANTEE you get her in your bed tonight!’ ‘the 8 things that are making you fat, and your favorite I.P.A. isn’t one of them!’). Really. Men’s Journal presents well-written pieces on varying subjects that are sure to intrigue both men and even some women seeking travel, nutrition, and fitness guidance. The reason I am resigned to ‘lightly browsing’ when I flip open Men’s Journal is that I’m not in a place in my life to spend $600 on a camelback for a month-long kayak trip through Norway’s fjords followed by a sojourn in Spain to recuperate and nurse myself back to real life with organic wine and fine cheese.

Despite the fantastic reality of most of the reads and uber-sweet outdoorsy products offered, a recent article did catch my attention. “Frank Lipman: Alternative Medicine Man” in the August 2012 issue is a concise and matter-of-fact short read highlighting Dr. Lipman’s emphasis on holistic approaches, alternative medicines and preventative lifestyle changes in light of the autoimmune, obesity, heart disease and cancer epidemics at large. “Gluten and sugar are the devil,” Dr. Lipman bluntly states. Yes, he has my full attention. Many of the recent discoveries within my focus on the complicated interconnected relationships between diet, environment and autoimmune disease are reflected and/or highlighted by Dr. Lipman’s assertion that our lifestyle choices restrict most of us to living at “half capacity.” That is living only somewhat-fulfilling lives, constantly hampered down by aches and diseases.

I know more readers than not will be skeptics. They will justifiably refute Dr. Lipman’s holistic approach with the large body of evidence that upholds both gluten’s status as a neutral agent as well as the unbelievable success rate of modern medicine within the past decade to treat cancers and quiet down autoimmune diseases. Take a minute to consider what he is really saying though. Do you down several Advil every day to mask your back pain or have you attempted to introduce a regimen of alignment-focused yoga in your life to treat its possible underlying cause? Do you tolerate the side effects of cholesterol-reducing or blood pressure-lowering drugs just so you can have your cake and eat it too, literally? Has it become easier to ignore the plethora of scientifically backed evidence and advice, akin to that of Dr. Lipman’s, that demonstrate clear benefits of lifestyle changes at the physiological level, all because our methods of treating disease, only once it has manifested itself, have become so successful?

For both skeptics and supporters, read this article. Take this as a start. One thing I say with full confidence is that the majority of us are NOT living at 100% capacity. Headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, joint pain, depression, allergies. They bear down on us, and the gravity of these maladies that we simply accept as inevitable reaches absurd magnitudes. The don’t-worry now, deal-with-it-when-it-strikes mentality, pervasive in our modern healthcare system, can literally create an alternate reality in which ‘healthy’ becomes an adjective to describe the physical condition of anyone that is not confined to a hospital bed. To drive this point home, I can offer a personal anecdote of my own experience with integrative and preventative medicine. Throughout my experience with Crohn’s Disease, I have never, NOT ONCE, had a gastrointestinal doctor tell me that diet influences the course of the disease. Never. The wonder drugs that I have taken have definitely been nothing short of, well, wonder drugs. Yet, biological medicines, while extraordinarily successful in controlling overactivity of the immune system in autoimmune diseases, are accompanied by a dreadful black hole of adverse side effects and health risks. Despite my persistent inquiries into alternative therapies, to the irksome annoyance of my caregivers, I have been assured by every one of them time and again that the biological infusion treatment (known as Remicade) is the only solution to maintaining remission for me. Since making the decision to paddle against the current, aka consulting a nutritionist to explore alternative and preventative dietary changes, I have had dramatic improvements in many aspects of my everyday life. Gluten-free has become the conduit to living every day closer to 100% capacity for me. Moral of the story? You will never know what capacity at which you are sailing through life until you challenge your own assumptions, think critically about your own choices and try something new.

‘Nuff about that.

A second discovery during my move, which I promise to be more exciting to my hungry readers than the first, was the box of lima bean flour that I had relinquished to the back of the pantry in an effort to start moving and packing. I finally got to the Zocalo Gourmet Judia de lima that I had eagerly set my eyes and hunger upon two months ago. Simple, easy, and deliciously multidimensional flavor. With the few things remaining in my refrigerator the nights before moving out, I was able to make an exquisite dinner with this stuff. Check out Zocalo’s blog for nine incredible and versatile recipes using lima bean flour. I made the flatbread (though I was forced in my unorganized and displaced state to use red chile powder instead of pimenton) trying each piece with different combinations of the goat cheese, arugula, honey, tomatoes, and various bits of other things that were the last survivors in my kitchen. Definitely try this out, my fellow gluten-freers.

I’ve never had anything quite like it, and it packs a surprising amount of unique flavor that holds definite potential for many new concoctions in my kitchen. Well, potential once I’m finally settled in that new kitchen.

Mashed Potatoes…the Purple and Spicy Kind

Purple, Peruvian, All-Blue, Congo, Purple Viking, Purple Majesty. What do all these regal and slightly exotic names have in common?

All at once, spud-afficionados: they are all varieties of purple fingerling potatoes. Curious, delicious, and very nutritious. My new obsession.

Mashed purple potatoes with sage and red chile.

Depending on the variety, the skin ranges from light blue to dark purple, and once cut open, the inside reveals anything from violet to deep purple, marbled to opaque. Unlike their white and yellow counterparts, purple potatoes are rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. And akin to their purple and blue cousins (blueberries, blackberries and grapes), they contain flavonoids, which are a proven immune-boosting and cancer-preventing plant metabolites. Preliminary research has also suggested that flavonoids are positive biological response modifiers, meaning (and autoimmune and allergy sufferers, listen up!) that plants containing flavonoids may be a powerful anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory tool. To my paleo readers, if by the small chance you have made it two paragraphs into a blog about potatoes, the debate is still out as to whether purple and sweet potatoes (when consumed in moderation, just like everything else) can be part of a strict paleo diet. Due to different chemcial structures, amino acids and plant toxicity levels, the bright and colorful varieties of tubers may be a highly nutritious and very satisfying addition to the paleo diet. What’s not to like about these things?!?

Yes, they are nutritious and anti-inflammatory, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part. The flavor. Purple potatoes (though again, there is a range of intensity depending on the variety) have a rich earthy and nutty taste. Regular baked white potatoes cry out for butter, bacon, chives, cheese, etc. etc. etc. because plain they taste like, well, pretty much just bland texture. Purple potatoes have an amazingly complex taste for such a small, simple tuber.

With all of this in mind, I’ve created a recipe for simple mashed purple potatoes that highlights the rich nutty flavor and adds on a little more (flavor and nutrition!)

Buy the purple potatoes next time you’re at the market ogling at them. You won’t regret it, I promise!

  • Approx. 10 purple potatoes, any variety you find or like, leaving skin intact
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • a couple stems of sage, leaves pulled off and chopped coarsely
  • appox. 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder to be added by the pinchful at your discretion!
  • pinchful of sea salt

1. Get a pot of water boiling on the stove.

2. Clean the potatoes (with skin intact unless you really, really don’t like the idea of the texture of the skin in the final product) and boil them about 8-14 minutes (less for smaller varities, more for the larger ones).

3. While the potatoes are boiling, pour  half of the olive oil into a pan and heat on medium (NEVER heat olive oil at a higher temperature than this; once it hits ‘smoke point’ at which point the oil becomes very viscous and starts smoking, you have created a saucepan of carcinogens) and add diced garlic and sage (save some fresh garlic and sage to add at the very end if desired). Saute at a low temp about 5-7 minutes, at least long enough to ensure the flavors have infused into the oil, but not too long, at which point the garlic and sage turn black and crispy.

4. Strain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

5. Strain the infused olive oil into a glass bowl or cup. Discard the sauteed sage and garlic if you don’t like bits and pieces in your mashed potatoes. If you’re okay with the bits and pieces, add some of the sauteed goodies for added flavor and texture.

6. Begin the mashing. With a large fork, mash up the purple potatoes gradually adding almond milk, sage-garlic oil, salt and chili powder (and sauteed and/or fresh garlic and sage, if you’re feelin’ it!). Make it personal, make it delicious. And keep it gluten-free.

The final product.

Happy eating y’all.

Front Porch Libations: Beer and Cider to Survive the Summer

Several weeks ago, my facebook inbox and twitter account decided for me that I would be going to the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest this year. The beer tasting celebration has become somewhat of a hallmark event since its inception in 2009, drawing Atlantans together for an afternoon of beer sipping and music when the weather has just become near-to-unbearable. This year, the event’s website featured a gluten-free list. This caught the eye of several prominent ATLiens (mainly foodies and gluten-freers) in the twitter arena, and I was delighted to be the recipient of many good vibes as my tweeting comrades related this information to me.

My relationship with cider and beer (especially beer) in my post-gluten era can pretty accurately be described as one of a tragic breakup followed by gradual disinterest and a open-armed embrace of wine to fill the void. Gluten-free beers and ciders have made a welcome appearance to Atlanta bars and restaurants recently, but more often than not, us gluten-freers that do imbibe are left to choose between wine or certain spirits but no other gluten-free alternatives (and PLEASE be very careful when treading among what you think are gluten-free liquors; most brown liquors and even some clear ones that we all assume to be have added wheat or other grains).

Come summertime and the nearly 110 degree weather that it brought to Atlanta this past weekend, and a glass of merlot has all of a sudden lost its appeal. I want beer! (And lots and lots and lots of ice water…) Unfortunately, the Beer Fest did not live up to its or my expectations, if not somewhat misplaced, and I didn’t have a single gluten-free beer. Lots of cider, and some, especially Jack’s, were quite refreshing and worth hunting down for a future Saturday night. Boasting the only gluten-free sign that I saw the whole time, Jack’s booth pretty much became my homebase for the entire evening.

But no cold, gluten-free beer. Maybe next time.

For this Fourth of July, I’ll be picking up some Redbridge. Anheuser-Busch’s gluten-free baby is one of the more ubiquitous GF beers in bars and supermarkets alike. Now that Atlanta’s weather has taken a turn for hellishly unbearable, I’m back on the beer train and very eager to hear suggestions from y’all!

Happy Fourth to everyone and fireworks, family, barbecue and ice cold beer for all! Be back soon with some new restaurant suggestions and recipes I’ll be exploring in the coming week.

Soy Sauce, the Great Menace

Reasonbly priced, Asian and delicious are a trio that usually coalesce in either hole in the wall, family-run joints in large cities or authentic Dim Sum houses that feature menus offering endless possibilities…just not in English. This holy trinity, when it can be found unites foodies, young urbanites (you say SAKE, I say BOMB!), and both Asians as well as non-Asian lovers of truly incredible cuisine.

One noticably absent demographic among seekers of delicious Asian cuisine is the gluten-freer. One of the shared wonders of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese food is soy sauce (and, respectively, they all deserve their own independent recognition…each one is incredibly different and delicious in its own way). Soy sauce is the phantom menace of the gluten-free world. Which types don’t have wheat listed as an ingredient? Do these types still have gluten? Due to the extensive hydrolosis of proteins (during the fermentation process), does soy sauce with wheat actually contain gluten? If so, is the amount negligible?

The best scientific and nutritional analyses to date have shown overall that gluten-freers should opt for gluten-free soy sauce (obvious), but also that small to moderate amounts of the stuff might actually have no effect on those with a gluten intolerance (interesting). To read a little more about gluten and soy sauce, take a look at fellow wordpresser ‘Gluten Free Gobsmacked’s great post on the raging debate: http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/is-soy-sauce-safe-for-people-with-celiac/

Anywho. Like most of y’all, I’m guessing, I pretty much avoid the stuff when eating out. There are many great brands of certified gluten-free soy sauce (www.glutenfree.com offers several), but the ambiguity of information out there has thus far kept me quite cautious when eating Hibachi or sushi. And this can really be quite a bummer.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon a small, tasty surprise the other day. Tin Drum, with 3 locations in metro Atlanta, features a gluten-free menu.

Gluten-Free Menu at Tin Drum!

No this isn’t one of those necessary-to-bring-Chinese-speaking-friend authentic places as mentioned above, but it is delicious, very reasonably priced Asian food. Check, check, check. And I was extremely impressed by the layout of the menu, offering nutritional allergy information dish by dish. Hats off, Tin Drum. Had the Thai Green Curry, and it was excellent. I’ll be back.

Thai Green Curry

For now, I’m headed back to the kitchen. Fig season is upon us, and I’ll be taking this fruitful occasion very seriously this year.

FIGS FIGS FIGS!!!