Restaurants


This weekend I was lucky enough to have my Dad fly into town all the way from Virginia to come visit me! So when he asked me to take him to one of my favorite spots for food, I had to make it a good one.

My choice?

Sweet Republic.

Sweet Republic in Scottsdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Republic is an artisan ice cream shop in Scottsdale, Arizona, that uses all natural ingredients to make some of the most interesting yet delicious ice cream/sorbet flavors I’ve ever had. From “Honey Blue Cheese” to “Early Grey Tea,” Sweet Republic offers unique tastes I’ve seen nowhere else.

I chose a combination of Peanut Butter Chip and Espresso that definitely left my taste buds satisfied.

Peanut Butter Chip and Espresso flavors

The great part? Almost every single flavor is gluten-free!

(Although ice cream itself is naturally gluten-free, most commercial creameries warn of baked inclusions that may contain gluten and/or of cross contamination. Nonetheless, several fast-food chains and popular ice cream brands offer gluten-free choices!)

Not only that, but they hand make all their own cookies, toppings, sauces and waffle cones. They even sell homemade marshmallows!

Living in a gluten-free world with nothing but gluten-filled food, it’s refreshing to know that if you look hard enough, you can find a little bit of everything g-free. Although I’ve been more than frustrated trying to find my favorite foods sans-gluten (as I’m sure most everyone has), it’s little discoveries like these that make the gluten-free journey worth it–and dare I say it–kind of fun.

The best advice I can give on trying to find little gems like this is to simply ask around. I had no idea Sweet Republic existed until I began talking with a gluten-free eater from the Phoenix area I met in one of my classes. Specialty places that cater to the g-free crowd are usually aware of the surrounding gluten-free options as well.

So if anyone else has any great, local places ANYWHERE that serve gluten-free food, feel free to share them!

According to a study by the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans spend about 50% of their food expenditures on meals away from home. For people that need to stay gluten-free, however, dining out can be an extremely taxing event.

So instead of just listing restaurants in Phoenix that serve gluten-free food, I thought it’d be more helpful to actually teach you the art of finding them.

The first step to finding gluten-free restaurants wherever you’re located is research, reasearch, research. Although googling “gluten-free resutrants in (insert your location here)” can give you adequate results, not all restaurants advertise being gluten-friendly on their websites, nor are all cities large enough for the search engine to find substantial information.

If I don’t know where I want to eat or am just looking for the gluten-free options around me, I go to the Gluten Free Registry website. This website allows you to search for gluten-free restaurants, bakeries and even caterers by state AND city.

It also provides you with personal reviews of each resturant, along with a small description of what each menu features that is gluten-free.

The thing I like about this website is that the database contains many local restaurants that do not come up on other larger search engines. Instead of providing me with the same six chain resturants I already knew about, the Gluten Free Registery found me some of the best kept gluten-free secerts in Phoenix. In fact, I found what is now my favorite pizza place, Picazzo’s, thanks to this website. (If you ever want phenomemnal gluten-free pizza–and let’s face it, who doesn’t–GO THERE!)

The Gluten Free Registery has an interactive map that can be accessed from your iPhone too–perfect if you’re lost or don’t have access to a computer.

The Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program is also another website that provides a gluten-free restaurant search. I’m not a big fan of this one because it’s less in-depth and usually just refers me to chain resturants. It is another resource I’ve used though, and because it’s supported by The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, its results are pretty accurate.

If I know what restaurant I’m going to ahead of time, I always look on its website before I get there.

Many smaller resturants mention their gluten-free features directly on their website, like my favorite fro-yo stop Yogurtini. Larger resturants generally have a seperate gluten-free menu that is within its menu tab, like both P.F. Chang’s and Z’Tejas.

If you end up at a restaurant you’ve never been before and didn’t have time to research it, don’t be afraid to speak up! I had no idea Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen had a gluten-free menu until my server mentioned it after I ordered nothing but a “naked” chicken that had to be cooked in a separate, clean pan.

If the restaurant doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, don’t stress! Be specific when ordering your food, and use phrases like “I have celiac disease” or “I have a severe allergy to gluten” in order to gain the server’s attention. Don’t forget that you deserve a meal and service just like anyone else!