Sunday, June 21, 2009

Update: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Mixes

I found the new Betty Crocker gluten free mixes in Chapel Hill today! The cookie, brownie, and devil's food cake mixes are at Food Lion across from Eastgate. The address is 1720 N. Fordham Blvd. At that location the mixes are $4.29 each.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Restaurant Review: Carmine's - Resolved

EDIT: See post for July 7, 2009. Carmine's has made a lot of positive changes and I highly recommend them.

In February, I wrote about Carmine's in Eastgate Shopping Center and had a great experience. However, I can't say the same tonight. I was told there were two types of gluten free pasta: spaghetti and penne. So, like last time I ordered Baked Ziti with gluten free penne. The waiter did not know the difference between "gluten free" and "whole wheat" pasta and I was given the wrong one. When I got the pasta I thought that it was darker than last time, but I thought it was all in my head. I often worry more than I should when ordering gluten free at restaurants.

Everyone apologized profusely, but as you know there is nothing else to be done. They were truly sorry and handled it the best that they could. The looks on everyone's faces said a lot about how sorry they were. We had a party of 5 and were not charged for our meals.

Right now, I am drinking lots of water hoping I won't feel too sick later tonight. I have not been sick in over two years and am not happy (to be as nice as possible).

In the future, I was told I could see the box of gluten free pasta and speak with the chef beforehand. If you ever decide to take the risk I would go as far as possible to ensure that everyone understands what it means to be gluten free. I feel bad for everyone there because I know how hard they try to accommodate special dietary needs. However, Carmine's would have to assure me that all employees are properly trained to the upmost degree before I'd ever go back.

I suggest that Carmine's uses different plates (different color, shape, etc.) as a sign that the dish is gluten free. Bella Monica and PF Changs have different plates. It eases customers' concerns and helps employees know that the meal needs special attention.

EDIT @ 9:15 pm (about 3 hours later): Definitely sick as of a few minutes ago, but doing alright, considering.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Mixes

I finally was able to find some of the Betty Crocker gluten free mixes! I found the cookie mix and brownie mix last night at Harris Teeter in Durham. The address is: 1125 W NC Highway 54. It's pretty close to the Chapel Hill border. The brownies are great! :-) That Harris Teeter didn't have the Strawberry or Chocolate Chex, but I'll check again soon. I've looked all over Chapel Hill and haven't found the mixes, Strawberry Chex, or Chocolate Chex. If you find them, let me know!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cafe Carolina

In the past I have contacted Cafe Carolina regarding gluten free options. I was told that they were aware of the needs of celiacs, but no menu items had been evaluated.

Cafe Carolina kept the addresses of people asking about gluten free on file. Today, I received an e-mail saying that the in-house nutrition consultant recommends certain items.

A quote from the e-mail is below:

Please note that we do not position any menu products as recommended for gluten-free diets and ingredients can change based on availability from the distributor, etc. Our General Managers will do their best to accommodate any special request, but they are not trained in the limitations of a gluten-free diet and will rely on you to instruct them on how to accommodate your request. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, please make sure that you are very specific with them about how to avoid cross-contamination.

As you can see, be careful giving instructions when you are requesting a meal. And if you have any doubt, don't take the risk. Hopefully, managers will become better trained on the details of the gluten free diet with time.

For now, here is the recommendation:

Listed below are salad items and a few other side items that can be prepared GLUTEN FREE. My suggestion is that a guest specifically orders a salad prepared GLUTEN FREE and that clean gloves, clean tongs and a clean mixing bowl be used to assemble the salad. This method should reduce the potential of cross contamination from other salads (mixing bowls), gloves used to handle breads and croutons and tongs. Gluten sensitivity does not produce the serious anaphylaxis complications that other allergens produce (such as peanuts). However, those suffering from GLUTEN INTOLERANCE or CELIAC DISEASE need to avoid all wheat, rye and barley and potential cross contamination with foods make from those common food ingredients.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad *
Caesar Salad *
Signature Salad *
House Salad *
Cobb Salad *
Turkey Berry Salad *
Tuna Salad Plate
Café Salad Sampler Plate
Chicken Salad Plate


Fruit Cup
Cole Slaw
All meats (Roast Beef, Turkey, Salami, Chicken Breasts, Chunk Chicken (White and Dark), Pork BBQ, Sausage Patties, Bacon Slices, Bacon Bits)
All Cheeses

Other Salads not listed above
All Breads (Sandwiches, Flatbreads)
All Bakery (Sweets, Breakfast Breads, Breads, Treats)
All Brunch
Egg Rounds (on breakfast sandwiches)
Potato Casserole

Cafe Carolina in Chapel Hill is located at 601 Meadowmont Village Circle. If you go soon, let me know about your experience there!

Gluten Free Raleigh Special Event: GF Cooking Demo w/ Jules Shepard

Click here for more information about an upcoming Gluten Free cooking demonstration with famous Celiac author Jules Shepard. The event will be held at the Earth Fare in Raleigh on July 12, 2009 @ 10am. Please sign up soon as only 40 spaces are available.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Custom Choice Cereal, LLC

I recently came across an interesting blog that talks about the creation of a local gluten free cereal company, Custom Choice Cereal. The company was founded in April by two students who graduated this year from the MBA program at the University of North Carolina.

Here is a piece of an e-mail that I received from the founders that helps explain the concept of their business:

Custom Choice Cereal will allow celiacs and people suffering from gluten intolerance to create their own favorite cereal from a wide variety of entirely gluten-free ingredients. Through our online platform (, celiacs can pick a base mix, add dried fruit, nuts, and seeds as they please and give their cereal an individual name. We create the cereal mix in our entirely gluten-free facility and ship it conveniently to their doorstep. Custom Choice Cereal provides safe, healthy cereal specifically tailored to the needs of celiacs.

The website will go live soon and the company plans to be fully operational in July.

Updates to come!

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Treatment Could Give Hope to Celiac Patients

Go here to watch a video and read an article that talks about a potential treatment for celiacs aside from the GF diet. As discussed in the video, there are ongoing studies to create a pill that can be taken before a meal so that people with celiac disease can eat foods that are not gluten free. Would you consider taking a pill like this?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cinnamon Chex Cereal

The new Cinnamon Chex cereal is now at the Harris Teeter in Meadowmont. Just like the other cereals, "gluten free" is in huge letters on the box. Be sure to check the label because some of the old cereals may still be on the shelves. I have to say that the cinnamon is my new favorite. I'll probably go tonight to see if the cake mixes are available since they are supposed to be in stores starting this month. If you happen to try the cake mixes first, let me know how they compare in taste as well as cost to other mixes you've tried!