Gluten Free Denver: The Insider’s Guide

Gluten Free Denver: The Insider’s Guide

Photo Credit: Wallpaper Studio 10 

Dining out can always be a struggle when you have a dietary restriction. Moving to (or just visiting!) a new city tends to lend itself to a growing anxiety about what you can or can’t eat, where you can go to eat safely, and where restaurants and staff are considerate and accommodating of restrictions. Here’s my rundown of my all-time favorite GF-friendly spots in Denver, Colorado! Feel free leave a note in the comments section if you have any other favorites that you think should be included!

Olive & Finch:

Olive & Finch is a totally underrated breakfast and lunch spot located in Cherry Creek, Denver (a great spot for a post-shopping refuel)! With cozy decor and a casual-but-friendly approach to service, Olive & Finch has some amazing selections for breakfast or brunch. They also have amazing gluten free pastries — I would highly recommend the Cinnamon Cream Coffee Cake. It is absolutely to die for, but it often sells out early, so make sure you get in early if you want to snag a sweet treat!

My go-to meal is always the Henhouse Scramble, which comes with two scrambled eggs, black forest ham, sautéed mushrooms, red onions, parsley and cheddar cheese, served with a green salad, roasted potatoes and toast (gluten free on demand). O&F offers many vegetarian and dairy free options, too, so be sure to put it on the list for lunch!

Snooze Eatery:

Oh, Snooze. The lines at Snooze are unfailingly long once you hit about 9:30 — 10:00 AM, but this spot is worth the wait. Snooze has a lot of delicious breakfast options, but I wont lie to you: I’m really, really in it for the pancakes. They do pancakes by the stack or by the single pancake, and I’m a particular fan of the cinnamon roll pancake and the peanut putter and chocolate pancake. I have a major sweet tooth, so this is probably no surprise, but there are tons of other GF-friendly items here. Be sure to ask for it gluten free, but don’t be surprised if it comes out looking fluffier than you expected! These pancakes will be so good you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

Postino

I have only three words for Postino: Bottles. And. Bruschetta. And a great bargain if you head over there on a Monday or Tuesday evening after 8:00 PM. Postino has killer gluten free bruschetta boards (you get to pick four different types of bruschetta), and during their Monday/Tuesday evening specials, you get a whole bottle of exceptional wine and a bruschetta board for $20. A total steal, I HIGHLY recommend Postino to anyone who loves wine and great eats. This is easily one of my top spots in town, and this deal is totally unmissable.

Acorn

Acorn holds a special place in my heart when it comes to eating well in Denver. I had the immense pleasure of working here for a while while living in Denver, and boy can I tell you, the food here is hands down some of the best you will ever eat. Staff are given an incredibly thorough allergen training, and while Acorn does not offer gluten free bread/toast, they make up for it with high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes.

Many dishes can be altered to be made gluten free, and although their menu changes seasonally, at the time of writing a few must-orders are: the Waygu beef tartare, the chicken (without the bread pudding), the 24 ounce ribeye, the kale and apple salad, the barbecue baby carrots.

Root Down

Root Down is one of the original restaurants of the Edible Beats restaurant group, founded by chef Justin Cucci. There are tons of gluten free items here, and there is a designated GF, unshared fryer. Root Down is especially cognizant of dietary restrictions and allergies, and uses allergen markers to designate gluten, nut and dairy allergies, and also additional restrictions, such as vegetarian/vegan.

I have a personal love affair with the Lamb Sliders, which are also available during happy hour!

El Five

Another of Justin Cucci’s masterpieces, El Five is a great spot for some Mediterranean delights with an unbelievable view of the city. Not to be missed here is the housemade soft cheese and the charred baba ghanoush. GF items are marked clearly on the menu!

Williams & Graham

With the quirky backdrop of modern-day speakeasy and amazing craft cocktails, Williams & Graham is a hugely attractive spot for beverages and bites in Denver. While W&G doesn’t have a huge number of gluten free options, they deserve an honorable mention for their gluten free burger and buns. Be sure to order without the gastrique on the fries, as there’s malt vinegar in that particular sauce, but the garlic aioli is absolutely not to be missed.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Beer Review: New Planet Raspberry Ale

Image Courtesy of Instacart

Seasonal beers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve exhaled a sad sigh while passing a fruity blueberry or raspberry beer in summer, and more painfully pumpkin beers in autumn. Seasonal beers are one of the great joys in this cold, hard world, and I thought I was going to be without them for a long, long time.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Although I’ve yet to find a gluten free pumpkin beer (if any of my amazing readers know of one, PLEASE leave suggestions in the comments!), I have managed to find a 100% gluten free (read: celiac-friendly) raspberry ale just in time for summer. Denver weather has been fickle for the last few weeks, but today it was a balmy 71 degrees fahrenheit and perfect weather to crack open a brew with dinner. I bought a six pack of the New Planet Raspberry Ale a few days back and finally have had the chance to pop one open!

The New Planet Raspberry Ale is brewed from brown rice extract and sorghum, but it doesn’t have the off-ish taste that many sorghum beers have. It’s also surprisingly dry for a fruited beer, with the first mouthful is very lightly hoppy and the malty flavors being fairly prominent. Raspberry and a hint of orange follow almost as an aftertaste, which might be offputting to some looking for a sweeter, fruit-forward beer. That said, this definitely drinks well, with a great balance of hops and a soft, fruity maltiness that leaves this ale neither too bitter nor too sweet on the palate.

The verdict? This is a great summer brew, but having gotten through a few of them now I think they would be fairly difficult to drink more than one of in one sitting. The New Planet Raspberry Ale is rich and filling, and although it’s generally refreshing, there’s also a quality of heaviness to it that makes it delightfully drinkable, but not exactly as crushable as other beers out there. This beer is a great post-work, pre-dinner, summer-y treat, but if you’re looking for a beer that you could drink (responsibly) multiple of, you may want to keep looking.

Pros:

Cons:

  • A little heavy and so rich that its hard to drink more than one (but maybe I just need to up my game!).
  • Not as well rounded as other beers, like the Daura or the Omission lager.
  • Some of the strong flavors compete for attention in this beer rather than working together.

Overall rating: ★★★

Beer Review: Omission Gluten Free Lager

Beer Review: Omission Gluten Free Lager

I recently wrote a post on gluten reduced vs gluten free beers, and have since started exploring more gluten free beer options! While I’m still planning on making a trip out to the totally gluten free Holidaily Brewery, I managed to find a few great starting options at my local liquor store. I already had some foundation with the Daura Damm Lager, and wanted to branch out and see how the other gluten reduced lagers out there stacked up.

Omission’s lager was the first one I managed to find, and I was very excited to crack one open on one of my few days off this week. The weather was definitely lager weather, too; it was in the high sixties today, with a heady golden sunset that seemed to scream out for a nice, refreshing beer. So did Omission live up to my expectations?

In summary, yes. Omission’s lager is a malty, vaguely velvety beer, low on carbonation and very rich. Served cold from the fridge, my Omission was great from the first sip, with a flavor profile that I love in a lager. Flavor-wise I’d say it drinks similarly to the Daura, but there was a little more flatness and a much fuller body. I drank my Omission from a wine glass (shh, don’t tell) and it was a vibrant golden color that almost matched the sunset I enjoyed while indulging.

So what was really great about this beer? Definitely the richness. It had an almost creamy quality to it, in spite of the fact that it’s very far from a milk stout, and was definitely soft and incredibly smooth on the palette. In terms of drinkability, I think this beer was right about at a ten out of ten; it wouldn’t be hard to put back a few of them in an evening without even realizing it. There’s absolutely no bitterness to this brew, and there’s a slightly sweet aftertaste that hits the palette right at the end of each mouthful.

Was there anything I didn’t love? Yes, but not much. For starters, I think that this lager was lacking a little bit of the crispness I was really craving. Maybe it was the lack of carbonation, but this beer definitely could have had a slightly sharper edge to it. While the flavor profile of this beer was almost perfection, I really would have loved a little more bang for my beer-drinking buck in terms of crispness and refreshingness.

Overall, this is definitely a solid gluten-reduced beer choice. I look forward to finishing off the rest of the six pack in the days to come!

Pros:

  • Super rich
  • Full bodied
  • Amazing flavor profile
  • Looks great in a glass
  • Incredibly drinkable

Cons:

  • Could be a little crisper
  • Not very carbonated — this is more of a personal preference than an objective one, but I would have loved a little more fizz

Overall rating: ★★★★

Review: Katz’ Glazed Doughnuts

Review: Katz’ Glazed Doughnuts

As a person who discovered her gluten intolerance in her mid-20’s, I had definitely already fallen in love with a lot of gluten-ful products during my lifetime. Some of which I don’t miss all that much — pasta is one of those foods I surprisingly almost never crave — but others that I periodically miss a lot. Bagels, sourdough bread, great from-the-box cupcakes…I still miss them all, and haven’t found replacements for a lot of them.

On my never-ending hunt for great gluten free treats, I found the Katz line of products. I haven’t managed to try all of them as they carry a fairly steep price tag (about $6.50 per box of 6 doughnuts), but I can give a tried-and-true review of their glazed products. Watch this space for more reviews later — I would love to try their chocolate glazed doughnuts to see what they’re like!

So overall these doughnuts do what they should. If you’re looking for something Krispy Kreme-y, keep looking. These doughnuts firmly fall into the cakey category, which is great for a Sunday morning with a big cup of English Breakfast tea or a coffee. They’re satisfying, dense and delicious, and if you’ve been wanting some cakey doughnuts for a while, then look no further!

These doughnuts have the advantage of actually tasting like doughnuts are supposed to taste. They don’t have a weird aftertaste, they don’t taste strangely metallic, and they have just enough glaze on them to make them sweet and satisfying, but not cloying. Overall, I think they make for a great little treat, but they do have some downsides, too. Although the taste is spot-on, they do run a little dry (sigh), and more importantly have a weird mouth-texture to them. They leave a little bit of a thin, vaguely aspartame-y film in the mouth which, while not delightful, is definitely tolerable.

Final consensus?

Pros:

  • Taste like actual doughnuts
  • Satisfying, will curb your sweet tooth
  • A pretty good substitute for the real thing
  • Solid glaze-to-doughnut ratio

Cons:

  • Price 😦
  • Filmy texture in mouth

Overall rating: ★★★★

Would I buy this product again? Yes! I definitely want to try their other flavors, too, and will write a review ASAP once I do.