friday photos: flashbacks from the phone.

While Friday Photos were on hiatus, pictures were piling up on the phone.

And then I caught up with technology with a new iPhone… causing more of a stock pile.

So this week I’m emptying photos from the old phone and a few newbies — then we’ll be good to go.

We checked out Wolf Peach (used to be Roots) for my birthday. Interesting menu. More small plates style. GF pizza was the star of the show. (they baked it on a separate pan for us) One downfall? The lights went down shortly after taking this picture — I’ll have to go back to capture the food. 🙂

Wolf Peach Restaurant Milwaukee


I’ve been working on an Italian Chili recipe — inspired by my nephew’s favorite, Johnny Carino’s. Maybe you’d like the recipe?

Johnny Carino's Chili

My mother-in-law made me some gluten-free butterhorns. OMG.

Gluten Free ButterhornsI thought they were perfect. She wasn’t completely satisfied. We’re still working on them. (they were pretty perfect — that pan didn’t last long) 😉

I’ve tried lamb about five times and never really liked it. The husband decided to buy a whole lamb and put it in the freezer, so I’m going to keep trying to like it. His Sunday afternoon burger bar was a pretty good start.

Lamb Burger Bar

So I’ve had lamb six times. And this time I liked it. 🙂

After the Packer game in December, we ended up at Graystone Ale House — the husband says it’s THE best GF pizza we’ve had.

Gluten Free Pizza at Graystone Ale House

A little deluxe. A little buffalo chicken — yes, on a pizza. My dream come true. (normally you can order things from the dedicated fryer (!!!) but unfortunately it wasn’t up and running for us that night, so I “settled for” a pizza)

Last weekend I made it to the Milwaukee Winter Farmers’ Market for the first time this season — scored some goods for breakfast.

gluten free eggs

Paired with a cafe au lait from Roast, just around the corner. Perfection.

Roast Coffee Milwaukee

Have a joyful weekend!

Gluten free in Milwaukee: The Rumpus Room

I’m having a hard time keeping up with all of the gluten-free options in Milwaukee. Can hardly believe I’m saying that, but it’s true.

My “Dining Out” list gets new additions on a regular basis (I wait to list them here until I’ve tried them out myself.) and there are emails, texts and Facebook updates of more gluten-free options popping up in Milwaukee all the time.

Plenty of Milwaukee food friends had been talking up The Rumpus Room, so it was time to get in there and see what all the chatter was about.

The Rumpus Room opened in 2011, a European-inspired gastropub, part of the Bartolotta group. (I’ve always had good gluten-free luck with their restaurants.) The decor alone is reason enough for a visit — each piece fits perfectly and was the talk of our table.

The bar area welcomes you when you arrive, with a trendy atmosphere and choice of a high top table or the bar — our bartender, Micah was outstanding. Their list of beers and cocktails was impressive, and while I stayed with a tried-and-true hard cider, my husband and our friends took advantage of the unique cocktails they had to offer.

Trendy, yet welcoming bar (with a ladder, how cool is that?)

New-to-me cider: Ace Hard Cider, the Joker

Any time there is a new cider, I feel obligated to check it out.(Yes, even if it’s not Crispin.) This one was refreshing and not too sweet, I would order it again.

We started things off with an appetizer that was easily adapted to gluten-free — no major changes, they just put the crackers and breads on a separate plate. Our sever was on the ball and assumed there would be no problem with this appetizer, but made a trip to the kitchen to double check. And he used none of that “I’m sure it’s fine” or “You should be okay with that” business.

Ploughmans Board 

The menu was a meat-lovers paradise, but there are plenty of salad options too. Again, no problem finding an option for me. (and nothing to modify – just real food, prepared fresh, with no fillers or additives needed)

Braised Pork Shoulder with Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Puree, topped with apple shavings

This was the best meal I have had at a restaurant in a long time — it was one of those moments where you take the first bite and then you let out this deep sigh of “oh, my… this is good.” Followed by “Mmm…”

The meat just fell apart, it was that tender — big fan of braised anything, especially pork.

My gluten-eating tablemates were just as happy with their selections of Pork Schnitzel, and Strauss Veal Meatloaf. To be honest, I think anything you order from The Rumpus Room would be a win. You can see their whole menu here.

I didn’t save room for dessert, but luckily my buddy Has did — so I scored a couple bites of his sorbet. (My only regret was that I didn’t get to indulge in the PB & Grape: Peanut Butter Ganache, Chocolate Cookie Crust, Concord Grape Gastrique, but I sure can try to make it at home!)

Strawberry Sorbet

Have you ventured out to The Rumpus Room yet? Or do you have other places I just have to check out for my “Dining Out” list?

Gluten-Free Get Togethers: a year in review

I have been gluten-free for three years now.


Just before my second year anniversary of being gluten-free, I put the idea out into the Universe that I wanted to start a group here in the city. That was in January of 2010. The following month, I hosted my first Gluten-Free Get Together event at Pizzeria Piccola in Wauwatosa.

That was a year ago. It feels like yesterday that I was nervous, anxious, excited, giddy to get there and meet everyone. Not sure why I was so nervous. Some pretty amazing people showed up. Several of which will be coming to our one year anniversary dinner on February 28th at Parkside 23 in Brookfield.

Care to join us? Check out the invite on Facebook to RSVP.

Here is a look at what we have been up to for the last year. Not just to make you drool over the food, or feel bummed that you weren’t around in the beginning, but to give you ideas of places in and around Milwaukee for your next date night.

GFGT I — February  2010 — Pizzeria Piccola

GFGT II — March 2010 — P.F. Chang’s

GFGT III — April 2010 — Stack’d

GFGT IV — May 2010 — Transfer Pizzeria

(well this is embarrassing… I can’t find any pictures from Transfer. At all. And I have been there numerous times since then. Trust me though, it’s great pizza)

GFGT V — June 2010 — Tess

GFGT VI — July 2010 — Jose’s Blue Sombrero

(again…no pictures. but get their guac when you go!)

GFGT VII — August 2010 — VIA Downer

GFGT VIII — September 2010 —  Beans and Barley

(this pic was from a recent visit. mmm… pesto eggs)

GFGT IX — October 2010 — Cocina De Leon

GFGT X — November 2010 — Chili Lili’s

GFGT XI — December 2010 — Holiday Cookie Exchange @ Celiac in the City’s place

GFGT XII — January 2011 — The Silly Yak bakery & Bunky’s Cafe — Madison


for joining me on this journey.

and making our little community what it is.



Gluten free in Milwaukee: Chili Lili’s chili bar

Plenty of the big chains now have gluten-free menus.

Word gets around the gluten-free community pretty fast. So when some of the biggest chains in the restaurant world started offering gluten-free options, there were some very happy people.

But, I didn’t dine at most of those places before going gluten-free, and they didn’t seem much more appealing after. The list of dining options in Milwaukee is expanding daily, plenty of local places to stop for a bite to eat.

And don’t misunderstand. I think the awareness created is fantastic. We are living in the “Golden Age of Gluten-Free” my friends. Just a few years ago, many of those restaurants weren’t even considering catering to us.

But sometimes the local guys could use some gluten-free love.

The kind of place that is willing to cater to any dietary need. Where they are making their food from scratch. Using natural, fresh ingredients. With the kind of owner who goes out of his way to make sure there are gluten-free options on his menu. (and at no extra charge, which is pretty much unheard of)

Enter Chili Lili’s Chili Bar in the Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee.

Over the past few months, I have gotten to know Jay Schiek, owner of Chili Lili’s. I can honestly say, he is one of the most kind, sincere, generous people I have ever met. He embraces the challenges of gluten-free dining with a smile. Planning our GF Get Together dinner in November with him was a breeze. Where he not only made an appearance, but spent time with our group sharing the story of his restaurant and going through the entire menu with us.

But his welcoming personality isn’t only for the gluten-free crowd. When he’s not in the kitchen helping out, he greets every single customer that walks in. And he’s happy to go through the menu with first-timers to guide them in the right direction to meet their chili loving needs.

Chili isn’t your thing? No worries. The two-sided, lengthy menu has something for everyone, including the kids. (and they eat for free every Sunday after 4pm)

Too many choices?

What I recommend:

  • Spicy Pizza chili served over garlic bread (their gf breads are from Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery)
  • Southwest Roasted Corn Chicken Chili over nachos
  • Cincinnati chili over fries
  • Fries, fries and more fries (can’t get enough of their waffle fries, and they are safe!)
  • New Grist, with any meal really

And they do a chili-of-the-month too. This month is “Chili Lasagna” made with corn tortillas, their signature Cincinnati chili with Wisconsin Cheddar, jalapeno and served with their famous garlic bread. (just ask for gf) It’s ridiculously good bread, with real butter and fresh garlic.

Don’t forget dessert. Guajillo chili flourless cake.

They like to keep you on your toes. Always coming up with new ideas. You might as well stay up to date on their Facebook page. You don’t want to miss anything.

Like these:

  • Brunch: starting January 23rd, they will be serving up brunch, with gluten-free options of course
  • Take-away boxes: try their chili lasagna to-go
  • Rewards for frequent chili eating friends: become one of their “Chilebrities”  and start earning free stuff! One of Jay’s ways to stay in touch with customers by tracking how often you stop in, and rewarding you!
  • New chili choices: two of which will be unmasked at the 2011 Milwaukee Chili Bowl (both will be gf)

Go on.

Give the locals some love.

Will travel. Gluten free in Denver.

For several years, I have been traveling to Denver at least once a year. Not only does a dear friend of mine live out there, but I have family there as well. My first trip to the fine state of Colorado was in 8th grade, for a band trip. (I was an alto sax girl)

I have loved it there ever since.

And now, being gluten free, and finding out what a gf friendly city it is? More visits are in order.

My most recent trip was a jam-packed weekend of family, friends and big fun! (Isn’t is amazing how much more you can do when you aren’t out downtown until the wee hours of the morning?) This time, Mel-Sarah Fest was a little more low key. You see, my BFF is having a baby. I could not be more happy for them!

I still had the most amazing time. She researched some new restaurants to try, ALL offering gluten free options. She’s a gem like that.

Want to see what she picked out?

First stop, within an hour of landing, Snooze. A cozy little place, packed with hungry folks, who were willing to wait in line over an hour for their turn to enjoy this goodness.

Many had raved about the pancakes, so I had to give them a try. We have done pancakes at home, but this was my first dining-out pancake experience since being gluten free.

I couldn’t decide on just one. I had to go for the Pancake Flight. (3 of your choice) Almost all of their pancakes could be done gf. I went for the Pineapple Upside Down, Reese’s and a basic Buttermilk. I think there was actually a requirement of some sort to order bacon as well.

Light. Fluffy. Just how pancakes should be. (I would be lying of I told you they were just like the regular ones… mine were a little smaller, a bit less rise to them, but this did not matter.)They were perfect.

Next up ~ Duo, in the Highland area of Denver. (they even had a separate gf menu)

Although we had a bit of a rough start, (their gf menu needed some updating to reflect new salads) I did get a tasty on-the-fly, fresh greens salad.

I am not a fan of lamb, was not feeling like fish. This steak was calling my name from the menu. It was full of flavor, tender and made the perfect breakfast for a certain someone the next morning. (you are very welcome)

With our tummies full, we thought there was no better place to sit and relax than a Mammoth Lacrosse game. Hilarious.

Day two was just as food, I mean fun, filled.

Started the day off right with some veggies at Mad Greens. I went for the Dionysos, right off the regular menu, where they tell you which dressings are gf. Added a little grilled chicken. Fresh. (except the tomatoes, which I know are not in season and were as crunchy as the cucumbers)

A quick trip to Red Rocks before dinner with the fam. I think when Little Bee arrives this summer, Mama Bee and I will have to catch a show here.

Last time, I fell in love with Beau Jo’s pizza. This time I had to try a new pizza place.

Lala’s , where the gluten free menu is just as long as the regular menu. My uncle has Celiac too, so it worked out well for both of us.

We went with the Margherita Classica and Nonna’s pizza. Both delish. The housemade, spicy Italian sausage had just the right amount off kick, the perfect balance for the sweet peppadew peppers.

Not sure whose Nonna made this pizza, but I like it.

A classic.

The leftovers made the perfect plane-ride snack.

Before taking off, an afternoon at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

My best friend. From Day 1 of college. We have been through it all, and then some. Even though there are many miles between us, we have an amazing bond. She is going to be such a great Mama.

Do you have any Denver faves?

Restaurant Shout Out: Stack’d Burger Bar

I have something to tell you guys.

I’m addicted to french fries.

There I put it out there. Try not to judge me. I can’t help myself. I have been a fan of fries since I was little and we were making potato wedge fries in the oven. These days, I don’t discriminate. I’ll take regular fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, homemade or right out of the bag from Ore Ida. (this only happens when we’re up north people, I’m not busting out the frozen fries every day) *and check the list if you do buy Ore Ida, they are not all gf *

Fries used to be a treat when we dined out. Not anymore. It is very rare that I am able to have fries at a restaurant.

Until now.

I turn your attention now to my favorite new place in Milwaukee.

Stack’d Burger Bar.

This place has been the buzz for a while. I have gotten numerous emails lately from friends who went in to check it out and found out they just so happen to have gluten free options.

And as you know from previous posts, eating is for research. I had to to this for you. (and me)

As soon as we arrived, a very energetic server approached our table asking what we would like to drink. I knew what I wanted before we got there. I heard they had Lakefront New Grist. A no-brainer.

After briefly mentioning being on a gluten free diet, Derek (awesome server) said, “Oh, perfect, I know a lot about the gluten free options, just let me know if you have any questions. And I’ll have them turn the fryer on for you.”

That was music to my Celiac ears, he gets it and… wait, did he say the FRYER?

I had to clarify.

Yep. The fryer. For gluten free fries. (this part I did not know about) And it’s not only a separate fryer, but it was in another room. On a different floor.

To put it mildly, I was thrilled. My dining partner, the same supportive-always-brings-me-treats-and-scopes-out-new-gf-goodness friend I have mentioned before, can verify my excitement. Not only was I having a beer, but my burger (on a gf bun) and fries would be arriving to our table soon.

What did I have?

I went for the Build-Your-Own Stack’d Burger

  1. Gluten free roll (soft, toasted lightly, delicious)
  2. Wisconsin grass-fed beef
  3. Wisconsin cheddar
  4. Lettuce, tomato, pickle

(with fresh cut fries)

You might be thinking it seems a little basic. Not at all.

No, I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my mouth. Not to worry. I cut it in half and made it work.

And the fries… perfect!

And word on the street is that they are going to be adding a hard cider to their lengthy beverage menu. My only suggestion would be to call ahead if know you are headed there. That way they can turn on the fryer early. My fries took a bit longer.

But worth the wait.

I think we have a new place for our next Gluten Free Get-Together on April 8th!

Restaurant Shout Out – Cafe Tarragon – Bay View

As many of you know, eating out can be a tremendous challenge to those with Celiac Disease. I’m not asking for a pity party. It’s just an “is.”

But that hasn’t stopped me from touring Milwaukee’s dining scene. I keep an eye out for new places that pop up, or old favorites that start accommodating the gluten free crowd. And I’m blessed with friends and family who are always on the lookout for new places to try out.

So, I was thrilled after receiving a text recently that said- New deli. gf. Bay view. Nice!

I put it on my list of places to check out. Last weekend I found myself out and about and very hungry. (story of my life) I took a detour to the Bay View area to check out Cafe Tarragon.

It’s a new café that opened up in the Future Green store @ 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave in the Bay View neighborhood.

98% of their menu is gluten free. (they do offer a regular Italian bread for gluten eaters) You can build your own Panini (which I did, pictured above) or go for a tasty salad. They also have other sides available in the display case. Including bakery items!

Their slogan, “Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw and Gluten Free…Unite!”

My Panini was delicious, and a little messy. Perfect. I topped mine with Portobello mushrooms, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil spread, red pepper and spinach. Served with a homemade pickle and your choice of a side, I went with the coleslaw, but they also had sweet potato salad. And chips of course. A nice mix of three different gf chips.

Cassie (chef) and Lisa (one of the owners) were open and friendly and welcomed all others on the gf diet. They are just getting started, but are on the right track!

Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery – Pewaukee, WI

What started out as a quick trek out to Pewaukee to pick up my bakery order, ended up being one of the coolest experiences of my gluten free adventure. When I placed my order over the phone, I had asked if I could take some pics and do a little feature here on my blog.  I ended up staying for over an hour… touring, tasting, meeting some of the nicest people. The perfect Christmas gift.

The unique building is tucked away on Hwy JK in Pewaukee, just off of Hwy 16.

There was already a line when the doors opened. People were anxiously waiting to pick up bags of goodies for their holiday celebrations. I had ordered the basics: sandwich bread, buns (which I use for everything from pizza burgers to “toast” in the morning and garlic bread to PB&J sandwiches on the go) cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. I knew they would have some Christmas goodies in their display case, which I took advantage of. Gingerbread men and cut outs. And I spotted their frozen pizza crusts last minute and added that to my bag.

I was lucky enough to have Mary Burgdorff, the owner, ring up my order. She is a gem. I received the warmest welcome. (and you will too when you go to visit!)

My tour guide was Adam, the baker. Master of the breads. 

He was kind enough to show me around. And by show me around I mean he let me try a little at each station.

Their Spritz cookies were amazing. So were the cute little chocolate ones dipped in powdered sugar.

And not a chance of cross contamination. NO gluten of any kind is even allowed through their doors. None of the employees have Celiac Disease, but they are extremely cautious to be sure your items are safe. (they are a nut free bakery as well and also have some dairy free options)You can find their order form here.

Mary hopes to continue expanding, adding more ovens in the future. She would also love to start shipping. (my sister would love this too) Hopefully she calls me when she needs the extra help. Although, how much trouble would I be in at Molly’s? Just a taste here. A sample there…

Adam raved about the staff and what a fun, friendly place it is to work. Although their team is small, they work together to get the orders done. And fill that tempting glass display case. And make many people very happy. Like me. And my g-free teammate, Tom. We heart Molly’s. You will too. Go see them. Visit their website.

Many thanks to Mary for letting me peek inside this wonderful place. And to Adam for showing me around. Don’t be so modest. You’ve got talent. You can brag a little. (especially if you start selling that delish “test” loaf  I tried that day)

The whole crew was warm and welcoming. And even took the time to pose for a photo.

Adam, Vic , Mary and Maureen

On Christmas Eve, the fam raved about the cute little gingerbread men. And Tom was a huge fan of the cut outs. After his first bite he said, “This is good. This is really good. There’s hope.” You guys made his day.

They fit right in with our other holiday goodies. I made sure to give kudos to Molly’s for the fancy ones on the plate.

I even got a treat for the road. These amazing little cinnamon raisin rolls. Slightly crisp on the outside and oh-so-soft-and-delicious on the inside. Like real ones.

I was tearing pieces off of it before I even started the car. My favorite sample of the day.

I wish I still had the other one.




PS~ Maureen, the sweet lady pictured above has this business called Tiered Treasures. Her website is in progress, but she makes these amazing custom pieces. They are on display right when you walk through the bakery doors. Take a look.

Contact me through the site if you are interested in learning more about them. Or just go pick one out for yourself. What better way to show off your gf goodies than one of these?

Jungle Jim’s- Silver Cliff, WI

I don’t spend all of my time up at the cottage baking and sipping beermosas in the hot tub. We allow plenty of time to hop around to our favorite bar/restaurants too. At the top of our list is Jungle Jim’s in Silver Cliff, just a few minutes from our place. Before going gluten free, we would eat there on every trip up north. The food is delish. But it’s not just typical bar food, their sandwich menu is extensive and their nacho plates are enough to feed a group! The Voo Doo was my default sandwich until I was diagnosed, check it out on the menu. We have started making it ourselves at home on gluten free bread, it’s just as good!

After finding out I have Celiac, Jungle Jim’s food was on hold for a while. I figured it was like every other bar type restaurant, full of fryers and cross contamination. (Don’t worry, we still went there for beverages with the crowd. They have several Smirnoff vodka flavors, which are made from corn,  and gf) In August, we were on our Harley trip and ended up at the cottage for a few days. We stopped in to visit one afternoon and Sharon was working. We started chatting about Celiac and the gf diet, and then next thing you know, we’re back in the kitchen reading labels to figure out what I CAN have! Prior to this day, Allan did whip me up a juicy steak and baked potato combo, but we were hoping for another option. I ended up with The Safari (minus the bread) and potato salad. I was in heaven!

And it gets better. Last month while we were up there, we stopped in for a drink. I had ordered my regular passion fruit Smirnoff with 7 and took a spot at the bar to chat it up with the locals. Guess how excited I was to look over and see a sign featuring this:

GLUTEN FREE BEER AT JUNGLE JIM’S!!! I was ecstatic! I quickly finished my drink and ordered a beer. And it started showing up just because I had asked for it. How great are they?!? Now I can go in and order a beer. Just a beer. Not a long explanation. Just a beer. In one of their tiny beer glasses. It makes the beer taste better.

Thank you to Allan and Carole for doing what you do and to Sharon for taking the time to make sure there is food for me in the kitchen. Stop in to see them when you are up in the Northwoods. Good food. Good company. Great beer.

Snow day…

means Jungle Jim’s for lunch and the Packer game.

It was The Safari with a baked potato. I was too hungry for pictures when it arrived. But it was good.

Restaurant Shout Out: The Bar- Wausau, WI

My original goal for the weekend was to eat myself silly at the WI Gluten Free Expo. Teasing emails arrived in my inbox with promises of a fish fry, beer, pizza, and pastries. And although they did deliver on all of these fabulous treats, I found a hidden treasure generically named The Bar, in Wausau, right next to the center where the expo was hosted.

After making the rounds at the expo, we decided to do “lunch” (not sure what to call that meal on Saturday after stuffing myself full of pizza samples and desserts from Life Beyond Wheat in Antigo, WI. Clearly it was after the lunch hour, but my calorie count was almost too high to call it dinner). Al and Peg joined us. Al is the moderator of THE greatest forum.  We have become expo-friends. They were giving out coupons at the expo for wings, and if you know me, you know I heart wings. Sadly I have not had them in a bar/restaurant since going gluten free. Most restaurants do not have a dedicated fryer = no wings for me. Sadly, most places drop their bar baskets of breaded goodness into the fryer with fries, wings, or anything else on that bar menu. So for those gluten free peeps in the crowd, this was a BIG deal.

Now, you won’t find The Bar gracing the pages of Food and Wine magazine, and it may not have been voted “best bar food” by the Shepherd, but they can hold their own. Visit them here: Yes, it seems like only a few items, but to eat bar food, without any explanation or my usual statements of caution, made my day.

The wings. BBQ. Delish. Mark was my partner in crime. Helped me finish off wings and fries. With a pizza to-go. (I think we all know the whole pizza did not make it back to Milwaukee.)

Their pizza crusts are from Sysco, which provides products to restaurants all over Milwaukee. If they can make this happen at their chain, in Wausau, then it should not be a problem here should it? I think I have a new project.