Tag Archives: michigan

Michigan gluten free finds: Biga Pizza and Commonwealth

I wouldn’t have expected this in a million years, but I had possibly the best gluten free pizza I’ve tried in Michigan a couple weeks ago. In an unassuming restaurant called Biga Pizza I ordered a wood-grilled pizza. I had pretty low expectations, considering some of my other experiences with gluten free pizza in Michigan, but I was truly blown away.

I got the farmer’s egg pizza with zucchini and ricotta. The thin crust and wood-grilled crispness made this pizza something special. My friend tried a slice and said that she really couldn’t tell the difference between the gluten free crust and the regular one. Next time I’ll make sure to stay for the Lemon-Raspberry Parfait (gluten free sponge cake, layered with lemon curd, raspberries and rum marscapone mousse). Mmm.

Another find in Michigan was Commonwealth in Birmingham. I got a ratatouille omelet and sweet potato hash for breakfast. I have to figure out how to make that hash at home – it has roasted peppers, green onions, and red onions, all caramelized and a great savory/sweet mixture.

Commonwealth also has a quinoa tabouli, which you don’t see every day. The hunt for good gluten free food in Michigan continues, but this trip really impressed me!

Sweet Seasons Orchard gluten free bread – Lansing, MI

I love that more and more gluten free products and specialty shops are making their way to my home state of Michigan. When I was home for Christmas, in addition to finding a new gluten free beer at Horrock’s, I found a freezer full of gluten free baked goods at City Market in Lansing.

I nabbed up a loaf of this Amish made gluten free bread from Sweet Season’s Orchard. They also had pies, cinnamon rolls, pizza crusts, etc.

The bread was sweet and eggy, with a beautiful golden brown crust. I think that the potato flakes in this bread made it extra dense and helped it stay moist.

It was used to make french toast for breakfast.


With strawberry syrup and pecans.

And a grilled cheese.

Since I don’t travel with my bread maker, it’s awesome to be able to find quality gluten free baked goods at home! Plus, at $6.50 a loaf it’s actually less expensive than buying a mix.

 

Mudgie’s Deli and a Detroit Wedding

My favorite meal when I was in Michigan hands down was the triple decker tuna sandwich I got from Mudgie’s Deli in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit (where the cool kids live). It was love at first site for Mudgies and me – they only serve Faygo pop, they use local ingredients, and they have Udi’s bread to substitute in any of their amazing sandwiches. Too bad they can’t find a Michigan-based gluten free bread provider – I may have to suggest one to them.

Do you want to know the last time I had a sandwich in a restaurant?

Couldn’t tell you. A year ago? Two? Never?

Enter the Sorry Charlie: tuna salad with capers, Dill Havarti cheese, cucumber, tomato and mixed greens, served with a side of honey mustard dressing. And a McClure’s dill pickle (love).

Then I got a side of coleslaw to add to my sandwich. You know, since it obviously wasn’t big enough.

Yum – I love coleslaw when it’s like this, nice and crunchy. They also have some interesting soups every day, which they update and let you know if they are gluten free on their Twitter feed.

Runner up for my favorite meal was the reception dinner at the wedding of my friend. I waited patiently as the rest of the table enjoyed the bread basket, and was excited to see an interesting salad as the first course (no ice burg and ranch dressing for this girl!). This one had roasted pears, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, and endive.

My special gluten free meal was a salmon pinwheel with risotto and asparagus, in some kind of delicious cream sauce. The wedding coordinator had come around before dinner and made sure she knew who I was, so I didn’t have to worry about a thing…besides how I was going to eat all of this food and not pop the zipper open on my dress that is.

It was also great to have such a filling meal. Usually you’ll end up with a plain piece of fish and vegetables, but I couldn’t even finish my plate, which is saying something since I’m usually the chairman of the “Clean Plate Club”.

Mudgie’s Deli
1300 Porter St
Detroit MI 48226
Map

Greengos

I had so many places I wanted to try in Michigan when I went home last weekend that I had to prioritize. We’ll start with the most important meal of the day! On Saturday I decided to grab breakfast at Greengos in Grosse Pointe Park, even though their lunch menu looks so yummy. Especially the polenta souffle.

Greengos Menu

I’m actually kind of proud that a place like Greengos exists in my hometown. Detroit isn’t exactly known for its health food (as the 7th unhealthiest city in the nation, ahem), but Greengos makes everything in house and uses local, organic ingredients. They also have a ton of gluten free options.

All labeled and covered to prevent cross contamination. High five!

I picked up a pear currant muffin, and a cherry energy bar made with sunflower seeds.

But the real highlight of the trip was the latte that I got made from their homemade almond milk.


This was the frothiest dang latte I have ever had!

It was super rich and creamy, and the guy who made it for me took such care with it. I drink almond milk all the time, but this was in a class of its own. They have both raw almond milk and raw almond vanilla milk that they make in house – and just like that I have a new coffee obsession.

Additional things that I love about my hometown? That someone has this sign up in earnest as an advertisement for his law firm. Am I on the set of Gilmore Girls?

And that there are genius window displays like this one. Yes, that is a bald woman and her mannequin friend barbequeing a banana. Makes perfect sense…

I also still love the Pancake House, where I went for breakfast on Sunday. Even though I can’t eat the pancakes or crepes there that I used to love with an unsurpassed devotion, I’ve made do. Bananas with a side of whipped cream? That seems like a great idea.

More Michigan gluten free to come. I did a lot of eating last weekend…

Suburban garden lust: pesto

There aren’t very many things that I like about the suburbs, but I am green with envy over people who have gardens in the summer. Unless of course that person is my dad and I can reap the benefits of said garden in the form of pesto and fresh tomatoes!

We chopped down two whole basil plants to make traditional and purple pesto (made with purple basil). Saveur magazine was devoted to pesto this month, and featured tons of variations, but we used the classic pesto Genovese recipe.

The only thing really unique about this recipe is that it calls for you to blanch the basil to take some of the bitterness out before putting it in the food processor.

Pecorino, parmesan, roasted garlic, pine nuts – can’t go wrong with that. Pesto pizza is one of my favorites, but I can also settle for just eating it right off of the spoon.

We taste tested with a little quinoa spaghetti and fresh tomatoes in fig balsamic; I felt like Mario Batali.

More on my other Michigan eats later!

Good Things Friday

Even though Friday is a good thing itself, there are always at least a few gluten free good things in my week that I have to share.

1. Rita’s Frozen Custard

Rita’s custard with hot fudge is so good. I don’t really get the whole “ice” thing that they have there – I tried some samples and it just tastes like watery ice cream to me. But I can get on board with the custard. I snagged this one from Rita’s in Chinatown.

2. One pan dinners

Sometimes you just have to throw a bunch of ingredients in a pan and hope for the best. This one pan dinner included: half a package of tempeh, a can of diced tomatoes, a big handful of frozen spinach, sauteed onion, and some chili spices.

And  I may have eaten this straight out of the pan while talking on the phone. Don’t judge.

3. Tomato Season

If I took a shot every time I saw the word “heirloom” on a menu this month, I would be incredibly inebriated. Last night at Lincoln I ordered the Heirloom Tomato Risotto with roasted garlic, ricotta, and capers. Our waitress, Gabby, has Celiac’s as well, so she was super helpful. If you go there ask for her, and tip her well 🙂

This risotto was tomato-tastic. I was expecting a plain risotto with some tomatoes sprinkled in, but this stuff was about equal parts tomato to rice. Even though it was a small plate it left me totally satisfied.

Additional good things coming up this weekend are all happening in Michigan!

I’m planning on getting in as many gluten free meals out as possible. Definitely on the list are Mudgies and Greengos, possibly a stop at Arts Beats and Eats, and a late night pizza from Cottage Inn might have to happen as well. Plus the kickoff of Michigan football season, the wedding of a dear friend, and a night in a fancy shmancy hotel. My cup runneth over.

More Michigan Gluten Free

I was so encouraged by the reader responses I got to my best gluten free in Detroit post, that I had to share!

But first, another Michigan favorite of mine: Urban Attic!  How perfectly fun is this?

I will take one of everything. I may even be more prone to gluten free baking if I had these fancy measuring spoons.

Just the sweetest place 🙂

Urban Attic at Ardmore Park Place
26717 Little Mack Avenue – Suite 4
St. Clair Shores, MI 48081

And now for the reader suggestions on more gluten free in the Detroit area!  Mostly of the pizza variety 🙂  For a review of a few gluten free pizza places in Michigan check out this article in the New Baltimore-Chesterfield Patch.

Vince and Joe’s Gourmet Market

My friend says that they have “a ton of prepared gluten free food such as pasta sauce, baked goods including bumpy cake and other heat and serve meals.”

Locations in Shelby and Clinton Township

Dan Good Pizza

Seven locations across southeast Michigan.

Amici’s Pizza

This got the best reviews in the New Baltimore article, “The crust had crispy edges and a soft doughy texture in the middle. It tasted like a whole-grain, thin-crust pizza that soaked up the flavors of the toppings. By far, this was our local favorite, and worth the steep price.”

Birmingham and Berkely locations.

Can’t wait to get home to the mitten to try some of these myself 🙂

The best gluten free in Detroit

Whenever I go home, it’s always an adventure trying to find something to eat.  Luckily my family is amazing and always has something special for me at family gatherings, like gluten free rice krispy treats, brownies, or fresh fruits and veggies.  They’ve also managed to rework some of our old family recipes to eliminate the gluten in them: like swapping out the cream of chicken soup in Party Potatoes for a can of gluten free cream of mushroom.  Some family recipes happen to be gluten free already too – like this winner from my grandma’s cookbook for NACHO PIE!

Doesn’t that sound healthy, fresh, and light?  Well, not at all.  But I’m sure it’s dang delicious.

Now of course you’d need gf versions of all of the ingredients (usually I substitute slow cooker chili seasoning for the taco seasoning, since gf packets are hard to find).

Back to the point of this post though.  Even though Detroit is still behind the pack as far as gluten free restaurants, there are some that are emerging and some great non-gf restaurants that are very accommodating.

I’m trying to keep this list to Detroit proper, with a couple additions in outlying areas.  And also not including Buddy’s Pizza, because their gf pizza should not be promoted.

Atlas Global Bistro (Menu) $$$$

3111 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

Great reviews on this place, and their menu has a ton of fresh seafood, salads, and fancy words.  The paella and Jamaican jerk grilled shrimp sound right up my alley.

Cottage Inn Pizza  (Menu) $$

19222 Mack Ave (this location has gf pizza)
Grosse Pointe, MI 48236

Cottage Inn thin crust pizza used to be my favorite pizza ever.  We would eat it backstage at dance recitals, and some people may have even eaten half of one savagely in the car while driving.  They carry gf pizza at some of their locations – check this map to find out where.

Greengos

Last time I was home I tried to go to Greengos, but they are closed on Mondays (?) 😦  Oh, Grosse Pointe.  There is basically no information on their website, but the menu in the window looked really fresh and they have some great yelp reviews.

Mudgie’s Deli (Menu)

1300 Porter St
Detroit MI 48226

For 75 cents extra you can have gluten free bread substituted on your sandwich.  Most of the ingredients are homemade, plus they have Better-Made potato chips, ice cream from Calder’s Dairy, Sander’s hot fudge, Michigan berries, and lots of other local ingredients, which I <3.  If I went there I would totally get the Sorry Charlie – Mudgie-made albacore tuna salad, Dill Havarti cheese, cucumber, tomato and mixed greens, served with a side of honey mustard dressing.

Rumi’s Passion

41120 5 Mile Rd
Plymouth, MI 48170

Even though this bakery is in Plymouth, I must include it because they have gluten free bumpy cake cupcakes.  Say WHAT?  If you don’t know what bumpy cake is, it’s a Sander’s delicacy.

There also are, like, NO recipes online for a gluten free version.  So I may have to work on that 😉

Other than that, I sometimes get the nachos at Shore’s Inn, thai food at Sy Thai, soup at the Sprout House, and omelettes and bananas and cream at the Original Pancake House.

This post is making me home sick 🙂

In conclusion, Detroit hustles harder.

Do you know of any other Detroit gluten free hot spots? Suggestions and additions are welcome.   I know it’s difficult to find information on anything gluten free in Michigan 🙂

Buddy’s Pizza – Detroit

I figured while I’m home would be a good time to post about Buddy’s gluten free pizza in Detroit (the location I went to is the one in Grosse Pointe on Moross and Mack Ave).

Buddy’s used to be my favorite pizza as a kid.  Their square crust pizza was a must at birthdays and had this amazing slightly-sweet tomato sauce and chewy crust with little pieces of almost-burnt cheese on it.  Ah to wax nostalgic on my gluten-filled and fancy-free days.

So when I heard that Buddy’s started making gluten free pizza, I was stoked.  I figured that they would try to make it as close to their regular version as possible, and couldn’t wait to try it. Plus I haven’t heard of anywhere else making gf pizza in Michigan.

So my friend and I arrive and order our pizza with green peppers and mushrooms, and sit down to wait the 15 minutes they say it will take to make special.  Fifteen minutes later, they come to tell us that the crust stuck to the aluminum foil that it was baking on (?) …and they used the wrong kind of cheese (?)…so they are going to have to remake it.  Obviously gluten free pizzas aren’t requested very often.  They were very sweet and offered us free drinks and a Greek salad while we waited for Pizza #2, so we sat back and waited some more.

Eventually the much-anticipated Pizza #2 made its debut.

This picture actually looks better than it looked in real life, if that’s possible.  It was pretty small, with thin crust, and had the look of those little pizzas they used to put in school lunches.

And it kind of tasted that way too…

It’s not that it was totally inedible.  But not something that I would order again, and definitely not as good as I can make at home.

Now I will defend Detroit until the day I die for a thousand reasons, but gluten free pizza is not yet one of them.

Maybe next time!

Take me home – Michigan gluten-free

I don’t usually think that I’m going to be able to find any specialty gluten free items in Michigan that I wouldn’t be able to find in New York.  There were a few highlights this time that were a pleasant surprise over my Christmas break.  Next time I will definitely have to do some more research before heading home so I can try all that the mitten has to offer!

1. Little Tree Sushi in Royal Oak

They had tamari soy sauce!  I had been there before, but figured that they wouldn’t have anything but Kikkoman, so I never asked.  This time I was a bit more bold, and it worked out in my favor.  Quality sushi that I can eat, without toting around a bottle of soy sauce all night = win!

2.  Gluten Free Pizza at Buddy’s and Cottage Inn!

Now, this was something that I discovered after I had returned to NYC, but it totally shocked me!  Buddy’s used to be one of my go-to places for pizza because they have that great Michigan crust like Jet’s pizza, but they have a really great sweet tomato sauce.  And Cottage Inn…I used to be able to eat half of a pizza in the time it took to drive it back to my apartment.  I’m going to have to go to both places when I go home next and share it with my family.

3.  Kroger (!)

I’ve been getting updates throughout the year on the construction of a new Kroger by my house, and I finally got to go and see what all the hubbub was about.  Basically, it’s a normal 21st century grocery store – which is great for me because they had a lot more gluten free options!  They even have a list on their website of the gluten free Kroger-brand products on their website, and labels on the gf products on their shelves.  Plus, they have Redbridge gluten free beer (wayyyy up on the top shelf), so I don’t have to go on a wild goose chase every time I go home (they do have it at Oxford Beverage in Grosse Pointe as well).

I was able to get all of the ingredients to make gluten free Chex mix!  It was a huge hit with my family, and I missed the snack-ability of this yummy treat!

Gluten-free Chex Mix

4.5 cups corn Chex

4.5 cups rice Chex

1 cup gluten free Cheerios

1 cup gluten free pretzel twists (I used Glutino)

1 cup mixed nuts

6 T. butter

2 T. Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is gluten free, so don’t bother buying the specialty stuff)

1 1/2 t. seasoned salt

3/4 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. onion powder

Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.