Well I have to thank my daughter Alyssa for inspiring me to search for gluten free goodies in the Calgary area. When I travel I am always looking for great gluten free food, and am not afraid to try new and exciting flavors. Plus when travelling I am not familiar with the local restaurants, and often find hidden gems. What surprised me, was that I had not done this in the city I live in. Calgary is a great place to live and am ashamed that I have not taken advantage of all it has to offer. So I am now on a mission to find these hidden gems, and also to share them with you.
What I have found in the last couple of weeks, is Calgary has great food and most of it is found in small individually owned businesses. So think outside of the box as I have now started to do. Forget those bigger chain restaurants and grocery stores, support your local steakhouse, breakfast diner, Turkish grocery store. You will be pleasantly surprised with the great tasting, safe to eat, gluten free food.
So my journey began in Okotoks, just outside of Calgary when I was meeting my good friend Denise for lunch. I am not familiar with Okotoks dining, so we parked on Elizabeth St and started walking. I can spot a gluten free sign anywhere and one caught my eye at “Gourmet on the Go”, we went in and as always was thankful I did. The owner is well aware of gluten free and offers a full dine in, take out, catering gluten free experience. There was a large assortment of baked goods so I purchased quite a few and took them home.
The variety of baked goods is quite extensive and all the goodies I sampled were very tasty.
We then went to “Divine” for lunch, their menu does not say gluten free, but when I asked what they had, the server informed me that I could basically have almost anything on the menu. This restaurant uses as much local ingredients as possible and because they do that, they know what is in all their food. I was impressed with my taco salad and especially loved their blackcurrant ginger soda. Even that was made locally.
My next stop was 17 Ave SW for a couple of lunch dates. I had a gluten free pizza at “Una Pizza and Wine”.
My girlfriend had a regular crust pizza (bottom) and mine was on the top. Again the server was very familiar with gluten issues and also knew where all there ingredients came from. My only issue with the restaurant was that the menu does not list a gluten free pizza option, the server informed me that they don’t list it for they often run out of it. My solution would be to carry more gluten free crusts if it is so popular.
I had lunch with my son, Cam at “The Big Cheese”.
This is a poutine restaurant and is now our favorite for great gluten free fries. The vegetarian gravy offered is gluten free and is so tasty. Cam, who is also gluten free had a regular poutine and I tried the pulled pork. Again, delicious.
Also in the downtown area on 11 St, there is a hidden gem called Kalamata Grocery Store.
This store makes me so very happy and is part of my weekly shopping. It is small store with shelves full of olive oils, greek honey, balsamic vinegar, jams and jellies, beans and lentils, varieties of nutella, Turkish delight (gluten free treat), European candies, baklava (not gluten free), giant pita breads (not gluten free), grape leaves, and this incredible assortment of olives and feta cheeses. I love feta cheese but now know, that I had never had good feta cheese until I had theirs. The feta was so creamy I could hardly believe it. And the olives, oh my!
Also on 11th is a chocolate shop called “Epiphanie”. It is small store but the chocolate was very good. The flavors they had (saffron, balsamic, mango, mint, bacon, earl grey tea) and also the photos on the chocolates was worth the stop. They also had homemade, gluten free dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and coconut covered marshmallows. Yum!
I spent the afternoon with my daughter on 9th Ave in the Inglewood area. This is an area I have not been for awhile, and again regret not enjoying this area more. We stopped at Starbucks and started our Inglewood adventure. There are so many shops and restaurants to try. The “Silk Road Spice Merchant” is a must stop and shop for anyone who cooks. I was in heaven with the scents and variety of spices available. Stop at the Tea Trader for a large selection of teas. I purchased Eight Bells, and Continental Café which are earl grey blends. Stop in at “Cookie Mama” for a crazy assortment of gluten free cookies, cupcakes and more. Gluten free eaters, like myself, now have a great cupcake bakery to shop at.
Lunch was at “Without Papers Pizza” for some gluten free pizza. They do not make the dough themselves, but use a local Calgary company. Let me just say, the pizza was delicious! We ordered 2 pizzas to share and try. The Hawaiian(back bacon, grilled pineapple, aged cheddar and jalapenos) and the Baby Doll (roasted free-ranch chicken, eggplant, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese).
Even better, was that the pizza passed the hold test-no fork or knife required!
We stopped at “Bite Groceteria and Café” and what a gem this store is. It has shelves full of Italian, Mexican, and European goodies. Shelves full of spices, condiments, jams, fresh meats and cheeses.
These were only a few of the choices in Inglewood, it is definitely an area to spend the day shopping and eating.
Last on my list today was the food truck revolution day Alyssa and I attended. Calgary does not have food trucks, but our new mayor is trying to change that, and after sampling what will be available, I sure hope it happens soon!
The food trucks that were there were Fries and Dolls (gluten free fries), Pimentos mobile pizzeria, Fiasco Gelato, Los comprades MX, Alley burger, Perogy Boyz and Jojo;s BBQ. Blam!wich was unable to get there truck together, but I hear they offer gluten free food. The food that we tried was incredible and I hope if you are in Calgary downtown, and you see a food truck, stop, and enjoy some great tasting food.
I want to give a big shout out and thank you to my son, Cam, who is the designer of my blog. He patiently inserts photos, edits my badly written words at times, changes and expands the design, and works hours to help out his Mom. I greatly appreciate all the hard work and time he puts into helping me spread great gluten free food! Thanks Cam!
One of the treats I tried at Gourmet on the Go was a haystack. I enjoyed it, but also realized that I could share a gluten free cookie recipe with you that did not have to be baked.
Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
2 cups white sugar
¾ cup cocoa
3 cups Only Oats (non contaminated rolled oats)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Put butter, milk, sugar and cocoa in a large saucepan. Heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Remove from heat and stir in oats and coconut. Stir well to combine.
Drop by ice cream scoop onto parchment paper.
This made 20 large cookies, enjoy!