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?

{wish it were} Friday Photos

Welcome to Friday Photos, a weekly feature here on Celiac in the City — you can read how it all started by clicking HERE.

Anyone else tried beets for breakfast? People usually either love beets or hate ’em. I’m in the “I heart beets” camp. Before you join the other group, try doing a beet and potato hash or adding them to a spring greens salad with goat cheese, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Trust me.

I found this new-to-me tea from Trader Joe’s this week — unsweetened with just a hint of mint. Right up my alley.

My “other sister Laura” was in town this weekend and we were on the go from the moment her plane touched down on Thursday night — and crazy long days require a good start to them. We finished off the last bit of granola from Ginger Lemon Girl’s recipe and introduced Laura to Jessica’s Natural Foods Gluten-Free Granola. (she is a fan!)

They’re sending some granola for our next GF Get Together THIS Thursday at VIA Downer — care to join us?

We ended up in the 3rd Ward on Saturday evening, wandering around, checking out the shops that closed sooner than we had planned… so we were spontaneous.

And popped into Hinterland for a beverage — two brandy Old Fashioneds please.

Happy Earth Day!

Did you stop and smell the flowers today?

We sure did.

Hope your weekend was filled with whole-hearted living too. Did you get out and take in some sunshine, hug a tree maybe? Or did you relax and spend time with the fam? 

A Gluten Free Frenzy in Brookfield, WI

If there is one thing I have gotten better at in the last two and a half years, it’s label reading.

Isn’t it funny how we can quickly scan a label with words like Monosodium Glutmate, Lactic Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and many other quite-the-mouthful ingredients and not bat an eye? But a word like WHEAT, BARLEY, MALT will cause us to put that item right back on the shelf with a *sigh*. (those in italics are ingredients in Cheetos…no, not the healthiest, but I dig ’em every once in a while)

Wouldn’t you just love to go into a store and NOT have to read labels?

Just stroll through the aisles without a worry.

Stopping at little tables to try the samples they have out that day.

Grab those hard to find items from amazing bakeries across the country.

Then you could grab a deli sandwich and a Diet Coke and be on your way.

Or kick back with a cup of java before you head out.

Now you can.

A Gluten Free Frenzy is THE new place to find gluten free products. Owners Martha and Greg were thrilled to open their doors just a couple of weeks ago. (we’re thrilled too)

Everything in their store is gluten free. NO label reading.

Ok, you might have to label read if you have other allergies too, but a list of “other allergens” is in the works. In the near future you’ll be able to get your hands on the list to see what items are not only gluten free, but also soy free, dairy free, etc.

Their goal is to provide the best variety of gluten free products. I would say they are well on their way.

And it gets better. There are ready-made food options too.

You can grab some bakery items from the front case that are made with mixes they have in the store. The perfect way to try out the mixes before you buy them to make at home. Plus there are samples all over the store for you to try.

Pizza by the slice? Done. They have that too. And they are using crusts they carry in the store. Try. Then buy.


Deli Sandwiches in the cooler? Check.

Mainstream products like Betty Crocker, Chex, and Thai Kitchen?  Double check.

Plans for their Grand Opening are underway for August. And there is talk of pancake/Belgian waffle Saturday’s. Sign me up.

If you find a product you love that they aren’t carrying yet? Just let them know, they would be happy to order it. (No worries, I have already put in a request for Crispin Cider )

We have been chatting about it all week on the Celiac in the City Facebook page. We are crazy excited to have this new store in our community. We are even making a stop there for our Gluten Free Get Together VI on Monday, July 26th.

Want to join us? Check our the invite on Facebook.

Kudos to Martha and Greg!

Gluten Free Get-Together III

This Thursday, April 8th, is our next GF Get-Together. We’ll be hanging out at Stack’d Burger Bar in Milwaukee.

You should come. If you missed my post on Stack’d, you can read it here. There are some burger places out there, but with a bun? It’s rare. Throw in beer and fries? Done deal. See you there.

You can view the invite on Facebook , RSVP here in the comments section, or just shoot me an email under the “Who is Celiac in the City?” tab.

It will be a good time had by all.

Last month, we met up at P.F. Chang’s for our GF Get-Together. They had recently launched their new gf  menu, and we wanted to be part of it. Here is what you missed:

Lettuce wraps

Chang’s Spicy Chicken

Hong Kong Beef with Snow Peas

Flourless Chocolate Dome

Have a suggestion for a future GF Get-Together restaurant or event? Leave a comment and let me know!

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!

Gluten Free Get-Together

Come join us for a night out with gluten free friends!

Thursday, February 18, 2010
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Pizzeria Piccola 7606 W State Street  Wauwatosa, WI

Enjoy yummy pizza or pasta from Pizzeria Piccola, meet new gf folks, and be part of the conversation about a new gluten free group I am starting up!

Big fun!

* View the invite on Facebook to RSVP or send me an email with number of attendees.
* Please RSVP at your earliest convenience so I can get a head count and let them know. (we want to make sure they have enough gf dough ready!)
* If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly here on my site. Just click on the “Who is Celiac in the City?” tab above, then click the email link.

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.