Sunday, February 22, 2009

Restaurant Review: Hardee's

Hardee’s has two locations in Chapel Hill: 1800 Fordham Blvd and 6116 Farrington Rd. The Farrington Rd. location is off of Highway 54 at the light right before you merge onto I-40 East at Exit 273. I remembered I heard that Hardee’s had a 1/3 Low Carb Thickburger, so I thought it was time I tried it. The low carb burger is made from 100% Black Angus beef and has everything that a “regular” burger does minus the bun.

I had not tried fast-food except for a few times since I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost three years ago. I could not believe how good the Low Carb Thickburger was! One burger is around $3.50 which is more than most fast-food burgers but is definitely worth it.

You can view the PDF concerning allergen information here. It was updated January 26, 2009.

I did not think to see if the French fries were cooked in a dedicated fryer, but I will have to ask next time I go. After I got home I realized that the allergen menu indicates that the ice cream minus cookie dough and cookies and cream is gluten free. That’s another thing I will have to look into soon. If you happen to gain any insight into either of those things, let me know!

The 1/3 Low Carb Thickburger is a great alternative to the usually pricey gluten free food!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Restaurant Review: Carmine's - Valentine's Day

Carmine's Ristorante and Pizzeria is located at 1800 E. Franklin Street in Eastgate Plaza to the right of Stein Mart. I saw on their website that they can accommodate gluten free diets, so I went to check it out. It says to ask about vegetarian and vegan diets as well. I decided to go to Carmine's at lunch today because I knew they'd be less busy and I wanted to make sure they'd have all the time I needed to talk about gluten free options.

The waiter was very informative and told me that I was able to choose from gluten free ziti and spaghetti. If you ask, the waiter can also advise you on what chicken dishes to order. I was told that several of the dishes are dusted with flour before they're cooked, but that I could request no flour. I was told that Redbridge beer is also available. I decided to order the baked ziti without meat sauce and a glass of water. I was impressed that bread wasn't mentioned and that the waiter didn't bring any wheat bread to our table. Usually, in a restaurant if I ask for gluten free they'll still bring a basket of bread. The waiter apologized that my order took a little longer, but I didn't mind because I know it was because my meal needed more attention. I was just glad that gluten free pasta was an option!

When I got my receipt, I looked twice because it indicated that I was charged an extra dollar for whole grain pasta. The waiter assured me that the marker was only a substitute because there isn't a gluten free button on the register. Only one more dollar for gluten free pasta is a great deal! Two gluten free entrees and two glasses of water was only $30 including tip!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Restaurant Review: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill located at 301 W. Franklin St. has a variety of gluten free options. They also provide a list that indicates how to avoid any of the top eight allergens. You can view the menu here:

Everything is gluten free except for the obvious wheat burrito tortillas and soft wheat taco tortillas.

In addition, under the FAQ section there is information on how Chipotle can help accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet.

From their website (

I am a vegan. What can I eat?
You should avoid our pinto beans (they are cooked with a small amount of bacon), meats (duh, I know), cheese, sour cream, and chipotle-honey vinaigrette.

I am a vegetarian. What can I eat?
You should avoid our pinto beans (they are cooked with a small amount of bacon) and our meats. Our cheese is made with a vegetable-based rennet, and our sour cream is 100% cultured cream. If your own personal vegetarian guidelines therefore allow you to eat these dairy items, then that's terrific. If not, then you should avoid them. Please note this information is different for those who choose a vegan diet.

The gluten free options include crispy tacos, salads, and bowls. To go with those three options you can pick from chicken, steak, barbacoa, rice, pinto beans, fajita veggies, black beans, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, four types of salsa, etc. The plain tortilla chips are also gluten free.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Chipotle and ordered the crispy chicken tacos with pinto beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, and sour cream along with chips and fresh tomato salsa. I didn’t have any problems. Chipotle advises that you ask the employees to change gloves when preparing your meal to be sure that you avoid any cross-contamination.

I decided to use Chipotle’s online ordering system the first time I went so I would have all the time I needed to look at the gluten free options. Just make sure that you call the restaurant after placing your order online as indicated on the website.

I will definitely be going back to Chipotle again soon!

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New Guest Chapel Hill Blogger - Lauren Rouse

Allow me to introduce Lauren Rouse who will become a guest blogger for Gluten Free Chapel Hill.

See my post over at Gluten Free Raleigh about Lauren.

More to come from Lauren and her Chapel Hill experiences very soon!

Stay tuned.