Friday, August 29, 2008

Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group

I recently stumbled across the Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group. I have been looking for a local Raleigh support group for the last few weeks when I finally found a calendar posting for this group on

I emailed the calendar poster and she quickly got back to me with the following information about the support group.

Pat Berger convenes the Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group, which usually meets at 7pm on the 3rd Thursday of each month (with time off in June and August) at Rex Hospital. There are no membership or admission fees, but we do chip in to defray Pat's costs in copying articles for us. We may hear a guest speaker, have a gluten-free tasting, or just take time to check in and share information. The group has helped to start a local program for children with celiac disease, Cel-Kids. Several individuals have participated actively for 10 years or so, but there are always new faces also, and it's a very friendly group. Pat can be reached at I'm sure she'll be glad to add you to her mailing list.

I understand this is an established group which has been meeting for some time. I have received a few emails from Pat (since I have been added to her mailing list) and there appears to be about 100 emails on the list). I greatly anticipate going to the next meeting on September 18th.

Should you be interested in the support group meetings, please contact Pat Berger at prior to attending.

Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group
Meetings - Third Thursday of each Month @ 7pm
Rex Hospital Cafeteria
4420 Lake Boone Trail

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

UPDATE - Useful Resources

I have added 2 items the Useful Resources section on the sidebar to the right.

First - I have added a listing of Food Ingredients that details which are safe and which are not safe. I have used this list in grocery shopping and have provided the list to most of my family members who might cook for me at some point to assist them. It has come in very handy over the last few months.

Second - I have also added my custom made Gluten Free Dining Card which was posted in a previous Useful Resources post. It contains English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese versions of the dining card. I printed mine in the size of a business card, laminated it and then placed it in my wallet. Lamination is a good idea because I usually give the card to the chef and if they take it back to the kitchen it wont be ruined when they set it down on a wet counter top.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

**PREVIEW** Restaurant Review - Rosie's Plate

I will be ordering again on Thursday from Rosie's Plate. This will be my third experience with them. Rosie's opened in May 2008 and is a completely allergy free (Gluten Free) Kitchen. Technically, they are not a restaurant, but more of a food preparation business catering to folks with food allergies.

A more detailed review will be posted in the next few days but just to wet your whistle, here is what I ordered for tomorrow's dinner...

-Terrific Chicken Bites w/Honey Mustard sauce
-Macaroni & Cheese
-Cuban Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Vegetable Salsa
-Spring rolls - Veggie filled with Spicy "Peanut" sauce
-6 pack of Sugar Cookies

Rosie's Plate
701 N Person Street
Downtown Raleigh
Phone 833-0505

Restaurant Review - The Cheesecake Factory - Crabtree Valley Mall

On 8-27-08, I visited the Raleigh Cheesecake Factory located at Crabtree Valley Mall for lunch. They did NOT have an exclusive GF Menu.

As I previously mentioned in an earlier post, I had already emailed the folks at their corporate office to prepare for the visit. As I entered, I spoke with our server and she recommended that I talk to the Chef. I spoke for several minutes to a Chef named Douglas about my options. I showed him the email response from Guest Relations and he quickly had a plan of attack for me. He said he had other GF requests before and knew just how to handle my issue.

I was able to order the following...
-Broiled Mahi Mahi seasoned with butter, garlic, salt & pepper
-Steamed Broccoli, Asparagas & Green Beens (all fresh veggies o' the day)
-Desert included a massive scoop of Edy's Chocolate Ice Cream (none of their cheesecakes are gluten free).

I was a bit worried that when you took away all the marinades and other flavorings that are not GF that the food would be boring but this was not the case. The natural flavor of the fish and veggies was very tasty.

Other items of note
  • I had the option of picking any protein for my main dish (steak, chicken or other types of fish). None of it is marinated ahead of time and can be cooked plain with the flavorings I mentioned above.
  • The chef recommended that I made sure to let my waitress know about my issue and for her to alert the kitchen staff so they could use clean utensils and follow my food more closely through the preparation and cooking process.
  • The cooking method (as to avoid cross-contamination) recommended by the Chef was to oven broil the fish on it's own clean separate pan. The veggies were steamed in fresh water/pan as well.
  • The Chef made sure that I understood that this oven broiling method would take approximately 25-30 minutes to prepare. He suggested I mention this to my waitress and have her put in my order just before all the other members in my party were ready to order. This way it would come out at the same time as the rest of my group.

All in all, a great experience at the Cheesecake Factory. Their staff was excellent and took the time to make me feel comfortable that my food would be safe.

I would recommend this place to any other Celiacs.

The Cheesecake Factory
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Avenue
Phone 781-0050
Web -

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Mr. Silly approves

GF Items at North Hills Farmer's Market

Good news - each Saturday there is a Farmer's Market at North Hills in Midtown Raleigh.

Better news - the farmer's market includes Gluten Free bakery items from Twin Cakes Bakery.

Background - A few weeks ago, I discovered there were GF bakery items at the Downtown Raleigh Farmer's Market at Moore's Square Park. I met the Twins Kitchen Chefs (both Celiacs) there and tried a few of the GF bakery items. I'm talking about cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc... The good stuff. I have tried several of their products over the last few weeks and I can personally vouch for them. They are 100% GF and 100% yummy.

I was saddened to see the Moore's Square Farmer's Market only ran through August, but I then discovered that they were also showcasing their products at the North Hills Farmer's Market.

If you happen to be in North Hills/Midtown Raleigh (whatever the latest buzz word is for that area) on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12 pm, stop in and say hello to the Twin Chefs and try some of their food - you will not be disappointed. I will be reviewing them in more detail in the near future (in addition to the bakery, they also are GF personal chefs).

Here is the Farmer's Market website for more information

Monday, August 25, 2008

Useful Resources

I have added a new section to the sidebar of this blog entitled Useful Resources. I will continually update this section with things I learn as I go through life as a Celiac here in Raleigh, NC.

For now, the list includes my Doctor, where I went for my small bowel endoscopy, my Nutritionist, where I went for my bone density scan and the website My doctor recommends this website as your first reference. There can be a lot of misleading information out there so beware.

In addition, see below for my homemade restaurant card. I combined text from several examples I have seen and made a card that I felt had the best information on it. Feel free to use this and also to copy it into Word and then translate it into other languages as I did. I have Spanish, Chinese and Japanese for when I go to those type restaurants and the Chef's may not speak English.

I have Celiac Disease and cannot tolerate gluten.

It is imperative that persons with this hereditary disorder avoid eating wheat, rye, oats, barley and all derivatives of these grains to avoid intestinal damage. Other sources include bread, flour, flour thickeners, coating, mixes, sauces, soy sauce, marinades, malt, malt flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein, modified food starch, pasta, breadcrumbs, semolina, croutons, stuffing, orzo, some herbal teas, broth, self-basting poultry and imitation bacon or seafood and soup base.

If I eat any food, product, chemical additive, or stabilizer containing even a trace of wheat, rye, oats, barley, triticale, spelt, kamut, malt, or any derivatives of these grains, I will become ill.

It is also important that my food (prepared without the above ingredients) does not come into contact with other food or cooking surfaces which may contain the above ingredients. Cross contamination will occur if bowls, utensils, cutting boards, frying pans, deep fryers, boiling water, toasters, etc... are used to prepare my foods after gluten containing foods have been prepared.

I am able to eat foods containing corn and rice.

If necessary, please check with the chef to make sure my food does not contain (or come into contact with) any of the ingredients listed above and help me order a meal I can safely enjoy.

Thank you very much

Sunday, August 24, 2008

**PREVIEW** Restaurant Review - The Cheesecake Factory - Crabtree Valley Mall

I will be visiting The Cheesecake Factory at Crabtree Valley Mall on 8/27/08.

In preparation (since they do NOT have a gluten free menu), I have contacted them via email. Below is the response I received.

A more detailed review of my experience to follow - wish me luck!

Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 11:06:05 -0400
Subject: Greetings! 157975

Thank you for your interest in The Cheesecake Factory. Our goal is to provide our guests the best information possible.

In the preparation of dishes we do not add wheat, oats, rye or barley, however our concern is that some sub-ingredients may contain trace amounts of gluten. In addition, we do not have separate cooking equipment to prepare flour and non-flour based items.

We understand that sensitivities can vary. Our managers will be happy to help you select dishes that do not add wheat, oats, rye or barley however, because your health is our primary concern, we recommend non-marinated vegetables, chicken, steak, shrimp or fish pan cooked as opposed to grilled. For other dietary concerns, consider the following:

·Any Salad can be modified and you can get Oil and Vinegar on the salad
· Any Fresh Fish
· Any Steak (Pure Protein)- with no Potatoes, no Steak Butter or Onion Strings!

The only cheesecake that does not contain wheat flour is our Godiva Cheesecake; however, the pan release product we use on the pan does contain flour. I also must caution you that all of our cheesecakes are produced in the same facility and we therefore cannot guarantee against cross contamination.

We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write us and hope that you will be able to join us for a wonderful meal. Have a wonderful day!

Whitney Dunn
Guest Services Coordinator

Friday, August 22, 2008

Beer Update - Taz's - Downtown Raleigh

For those of you who work/live in Downtown Raleigh, a new Convenience & Sundry Shop/Grocery Store opened up a few weeks ago.

When Taz first opened the store at S Wilmington St/Hargett St, I stopped in to see if he carried Red Bridge Beer (it's Gluten Free and yummy). Of course he did not - bummer. However, I asked him about it and he said he would begin carrying it.

Low and behold, it's now stocked on the shelves! Thanks for keeping your word Taz.

It is a hefty $9.99 per sixer (normally $7.99) but hey it's there and convenient to those downtown.

***UPDATE - 9/11/2008 @ 11:00 AM ***
I just dropped in at Taz's this morning. They did have RedBridge still (a case) but it was located in a back cooler. In the future, if you don't see it by the other Budweiser products simply ask and they can go get it for you.

Taz also mentioned that he will soon be opening his 4th location Downtown that will feature fresh meats and produce along with a ready-to-eat grill to order option.

Taz's 207
S Wilmington St/Hargett St
Downtown Raleigh
Phone 856-1962

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Restaurant Review - The Duck & Dumpling - Downtown Raleigh

On 8-19-08, I visited an Asian restaurant in Downtown Raleigh called The Duck & Dumpling. They did NOT have an exclusive GF Menu.

When I entered, I immediately asked the Hostess if I could speak to a Manager and/or Chef about a food allergy. This is my typical plan of attack and most places are pretty good about it. This time the Hostess directed me to my Waitress. Not sure if there is not a Manager type around and I got the impression that the Chef would be hard to talk to due to his thick accent. This is usually NOT a good sign.

After a lengthy discussion with my waitress and her running back and forth to the kitchen several times, I finally got down to the only things I felt safe ordering. See below.

-Cool SUMMER ROLLS Appetizer
-Water to drink

The waitress wasn't exactly sure of the ingredients in all cases and did not bring out ingredient containers for me to look over. I was a little concerned with a few of the recommendations she gave me because of this fact so that is why I was stuck eating 2 appetizers. I paid $12 plus tip and left hungry.

I would not recommend this place to other Celiacs unless you're willing to go through the above hassles.

The Duck & Dumpling
222 S Blount St (Moore's Square)
Downtown Raleigh
Phone 838-0085
Web -

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Mr. Yak wuz here

Restaurant Review - The Pit - Downtown Raleigh

On 8-14-08, I visited a relatively new restaurant in Downtown Raleigh called The Pit. They did NOT have an exclusive GF Menu.

I usually do not try to eat at "new" places because I don't expect them to know how to cook everything "normal" yet let alone Gluten Free. But there was a work outing and I cannot usually turn down BBQ so I gave it a shot.

When I entered, I immediately asked the Hostess if I could speak to a Manager and/or Chef about a food allergy. This is my typical plan of attack and most places are pretty good about it. The Manager could not have been nicer about the whole GF thing and even brought out bottles for me to look at the ingredients. She spoke with the Chef and directed me that I would be safe ordering the following from the lunch menu.

-Chopped Whole Hog Plate
-Sides included Cole Slaw & Fruit Salad.
-Water to drink

She either explained to me or showed me the contents of each part of the above meal and I felt 99% confident that I would not get glutened (you can never be 100% unless you are making it yourself). We also discussed how the food was prepared (cross-contamination) and she again made me feel safe.

The meal was great, cost about $10 after tip and I did not feel any after effects.

I would recommend this place to any other Celiacs.

The Pit
328 W. Davie Street
Downtown Raleigh
Phone 890-4500
Web -

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Mr. Silly approves

First Post

Ok here goes nothing... This is my first attempt at blogging so bare with me. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in June this year and have since been on a quest to find all things GF in Raleigh, NC. There are some folks in this town already established in this realm and new folks coming on all the time. I would like to use this blog to highlight these people and to drum up exposure for them and hopefully draw others into the game. Most GF blogs are mainly recipe blogs so I will not be going that direction (I'm not the best cook anyway). This blog will focus on letting the Celiac's of Raleigh know where they can find GF products and my personal experiences with restaurants around town. My goal is to provide a service of sorts so that other GF folks can have a little easier life.

Thanks for listening!