Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WOW Baking Company and more decandence

One of my recent gluten-free discoveries are the wonderful cookies from WOW Baking Co. They are a company out of Kent, WA that creates their delicious cookies in small batches. Whatever they do, they have captured the essence of a gluten-laden cookie in a gluten-free form. Their Snickerdoodle cookie is an extremely decadent treat that makes me crave more and more of them. They are a nice big flat, crumbly cookies here. This is a cookie you can wrap your hand around and get into! The Oregon Oatmeal is pure genius. It has dried cranberries and dried apricots encased in a marvelous and satisfying oatmeal cookie that in a healthy kind of way does remind you of Oregon......moist and chewy....yum! The peanut butter cookie is above reproach and that is saying a lot. They have other flavors; lemon, chocolate chip, and molasses ginger. And I have heard their brownies are astonishingly good. You can find these treats in the frozen food section of the Health Mart at Hy-Vee Stores. They sell them individually and they also have mini cookies in little plastic tubs to purchase. I am quite certain that if I bought the tubs of cookies I would eat them all in one sitting.....consequently I only buy one cookie at a time for a special treat!

Another recent astonishment has been the local finding of Graeter's Ice Cream at my Bakers Store on 132nd and Maple. Now I have a friend back east who used to describe in glorious detail the creamy, custardy flavors of this ice cream. She told me people ordered it from all over the world and had it shipped to them........I was somewhat skeptical, because I consider myself somewhat of an ice cream snob. I search out gourmet ice cream like some people look for a good book........hard to find but so worth the time and effort. The Graeter family has been making this ice cream in Cincinnati since 1870......I think they have it down pat. They make their ice cream in small batches as well.......are we seeing a trend here? They make it by what they call a French Pot Process. And in many cases (depending on the flavor) they drizzle their own homemade dark chocolate slowly into the ice cream.......the result is hard to describe.....but not hard to eat. Most flavors are gluten-free. The most inspiring flavor I have found is the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. I have been known to serve this elegant ice cream for dessert for dinner guests and they always say the same thing...."this is the best ice cream I have ever eaten". I saw Graeters participate in an ice cream showdown with another family owned company on the Food Network, and Graeters won, hands down! I would recommend that the next time you need to have an ice cream fix that you run to Bakers and try Graeters....this stuff isn't cheap...about $4.99 a pint. But imagine how much it would cost if you had to have it shipped to you:)

Another nod to Ron Popp of Wheatfields. I stopped by the other day to see what was new and they had gluten-free kolaches! I had a blueberry one and it was just heaven! Who would ever think in a million years that I would eat a kolache again....I have said it before and I will say it again.....Ron Popp you are my hero.

Wave Bistro - I must give Kudos to this new discovery........Wave Bistro. I probably have driven by the place a hundred times and never even gave it a glance. A friend suggested we have dinner there and I went with some misgivings since they didn't have a gluten-free menu. But not to worry, when we arrived I informed our waiter of my celiac issues and he was completely knowledgeable and was able to point out many dishes on the menu that would be kidding, he knew what he was talking about! I tried the Lemon Creamy Almon Shrimp not knowing what to expect. I couldn't believe the wonderment of the dish. It was indeed creamy and crispy and flavorful and delicate and heavenly all at the same time. I have never had a dish quite like this but I will definitely be having it again. It surpassed my expectations and was just fabulous. I also tried the Miso Chilean Sea Bass....oh my again words are hard to choose to describe this dish. I try not to order Chilean Sea Bass often because it is after all an endangered fish, but damn my conscience I could not help myself. And boy was I glad that I had no conscience that night. This fish was delicate, refined, melted in your mouth, and was probably the best Chilean Sea Bass I have ever experienced. They had other entrees that I did not try that were safe for me; Medallion of Pork Tenderloin.....the mind boggles, Salmon Roulade and actual desserts I could eat. I had a chocolate mousse torte that made me swoon. It was a layer of milk chocolate, a layer of white chocolate, and a layer of darke chocolate that was all married together in the most decadent of ways. It was silky and heavenly and very much the special ending to a very special meal. I highly recommend this Bistro to everyone......celiac or not.

Will Spring ever arrive.........hope "springs" eternal......get it?????

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wheatfields Did It Again & Other Notables

Well, Wheatfields hit a homerun again! With my curiosity peaked over the excellent gluten-free offerings I have tried so far, I of course had to try more. I chose the chocolate layer cake and let me tell you it was divine! Each moist and creamy layer oozed a rich chocolate texture and taste that had me swooning from the get-go! The richness of the fudgy chocolate cake and the gooey wonderment that was the buttercream frosting was a completely love rendering experience that I strongly recommend. Four layers of cake...........that is non-existent for the gluten-free bunch! And that amazing filling between each layer and chocolate frosting that beautifully finishes the cake............can you say cake love? I certainly can and will again very soon. Ron Popp, you are my hero and I am guessing that you will soon be a hero to many other cake deprived celiacs in Omaha.......hip, hip, hooray!

Cantina Laredo

Now this perky cantina in hip Midtown Crossing is one of my new favorites for Mexican fare. They have a very interesting and eclectic menu that features items that are marked with an icon if they are indeed gluten-free. I am going to start backwards with the dessert because I am a flan/custard/creme brulee freak. The flan is a velvety version of the standard with a little twist........suffice to say if you like orange liqueur, you will love this.......or even if you don't, you will love this! Each bite is inspiring.......inspiring you to take another spoonful!

Next let's talk about the guacamole. Can we talk?? They come to your table and make it in front of you. Now there has always been something charming to me about people making food in front of you.....maybe it is the fact that you know exactly what is in it......or maybe it just seems more personable and I do love live entertainment! But, whatever it is, it works here. The stuff makes you want to dance on your sombreo and sing romantic Spanish love songs....(to the guacamole of course)and all the while trying to figure out how to stop eating it so you have room for the infamous flan at the end of your evening.

Several of their gluten-free menu items have been tried and were both hits with me. The Camaron Pablano Asado is so richly rewarding and full of surprises. It teases the tastebuds with just the right combination of spices and layers of flavor that definitely shines from beginning to end. I asked the waiter what his favorite dish was on the menu and this was his recommendation. He was is a winner and not the typical fare. The Brisket Tacos are amazing and alas, I order them way too often. They are presented on little delicate looking corn tortillas and loaded with the most tender, slow-cooked brisket and paired with sweet red onions that are still a little crisp. The combination is just short of awe inspiring. As far as gluten-free sides go their mango jicama slaw is a fresh and crisp sensation that is not to be missed. Ditto on the Barracho Beans. These guys seem to have their act together and know that great, fresh food and some flashy presentation thrown in for good measure are crowd pleasers.