Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meeting for Happy Hour in Downtown Seattle - Tango

Ever wish you could meet your girlfriends downtown for Happy Hour like a "normal" person? One of my great discoveries over the past years of eating gluten-free are the South American, Cuban, and Spanish cuisines, often naturally wheat-less. One of my favorite places to eat in Napa Valley while I lived there was a Venezuelan restaurant called "Pica Pica," a completely gluten-free place, filled with delicious options and no wrong choices - corn-based grilled-cheese sandwiches called the "maizewich" and arepas, soups and salads. (If you're ever in Napa, be sure to stop by - they have an outpost in San Francisco, now, too.)

Anyway, one of my favorite Happy Hours in downtown Seattle even before I went gluten-free was Tango, a restaurant with a melange of Cuban, Argentian, and Spanish menu items. Parking is a bit tough (valet parking at a nearby hotel is your best option)and the location, between downtown and Capital Hill, is a bit further out, but check out this gluten-free menu:
The desserts are often gluten free, though they're not all listed here - and the appetizers, particularly the carnitas, are so tasty! I've never tried their paellas - it's hard to get past the appetizers - but I'm really looking for it. This is for when you're up for eating spices and a bit more adventurously, but the service has always been lovely and, like I said, a special gluten-free menu! The drinks are terrific as well, especially the variations on the mojito, which makes it ideal for a get-together right after work.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wheatless in Seattle...A gluten-free bakery I can't try...Plus the best gluten-free Banana Bread

Dear readers,
Well, sometimes there are gluten-free places that sound fantastic, but for whatever reason, I'm not going to be able to taste the food for you. (In this case, it's because the baked goods all include tapioca flour, which I'm mildly allergic to.) But just because I can't doesn't mean you should deprive yourself! If you're in Seattle and you're looking for a gluten-free fix on the run, be sure to check out Wheatless in Seattle. Their rep for good-tasting gluten-free treats is pretty great, the owner seems really friendly, and their web site even includes helpful links for other gluten-free stuff going on in Seattle.
So, this is a cannot-taste-but-sounds-great affirmation from me. Go and visit and tell me what you think!

Because I can't leave you hanging, here's my tried-and-tested recipe for gluten-free banana bread (no xantham gum, no tapioca flour - just rice and potato flour and banana! It's pretty simple!) People who can eat wheat ate it and liked it,, more than once! Always a good sign for a recipe.

Gluten free banana bread that even people who can eat wheat will like!

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup oil (We used canola.)
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses (for color - the bread stays very light colored without it)
1 and 1/3 cups ripe banana, smashed
3/4 Cup potato starch
2 Tablespoon potato flour
1 Cup brown rice flour
1/2 Cup white rice flour
3 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and put butter/put cooking spray on a loaf pan.
Beat eggs and sugar until frothy, and then add oil, water and molasses. Add the well-mashed banana and beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the two rice flours, potato starch, potato flour, baking powder and salt.
Gently mix the dry ingredients into the banana and egg liquid until just combined (do not over mix).
Spread the batter evenly into the pan, and bake for about 60 minutes, or until middle is firm and the top has turned a golden brown. Let set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tastes great grilled and served with ice cream, yogurt, or cream cheese. Also good with coffee and brunch.

You may notice many of my gluten-free recipes are sweets. Because many of the things I miss with wheat are dessert-oriented. (And pizza. And brunch options.) But I promise I'll do some savory recipes soon!