Category Archives: Cambridge

Gluten Free [Friendly] Food Trucks?

Food trucks are all the rage right now in Boston. Everywhere I look there seems to be a new food truck popping up. I see them parked on street corners everywhere – Kendall Square, Copley, Cleveland Circle, Sowa Market, etc.

Everyday during my lunch break I pass by at least a half a dozen food trucks offering all different types of cuisine – Mexican, BBQ, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, American, Korean. Everything looks, and smells delicious, but I have been very hesitant about trying anything. You all know how worrisome, scary, stressful, terrifying, anxious it can be to be put in a situation and not know what is safe to eat. Did I capture all the emotions? I for one have definitely felt all of that a few too many times.

No truck is 100% safe; the cooking space is small and cross contamination is inevitable. But there are many gluten free friendly options for those of us lucky enough not to have such a severe allergy or intolerance. With that said, it can still be quite scary ordering from a truck. Do they know what gluten is? Do they know every ingredient in their food? Are they aware of how every single item is prepared and handled? I mean, this list of questions and concerns is endless, no matter where we eat. But don’t fear, I have eaten at a few different trucks and have been just fine. I have an intolerance and can eat foods prepared and fried in the same surfaces as gluten. So, PLEASE always use caution and let the servers know you have a gluten allergy. Many of the trucks use the same fryers for everything so keep this in mind too. I was pleasantly surprised how much more knowledgeable the food truck staff is than servers at restaurants.

My favorite truck is Bon Me (check out my review here), which offers gluten free rice noodle bowls and rice bowls, and the truck is always stocked with gluten free soy sauce! 

I have also tried a salad from Clover and I’ve eaten from The Taco Truck. I really enjoyed the tacos, they were so flavorful, and it was easy to tell all the ingredients were fresh. But, it was a little too spicy for me to be #1 on my list. But I do love their commitment to sustainability; all the meets are hormone and antibiotic-free, and all the to-go packaging is biodegradable and compostable.


BBQ Smith There is gluten in the sauces and rolls. Everything else is safe. They can do any of the food without sauce so meats are safe.

Bon Me Foods
Rice noodle salad with Vietnamese vinaigrette dressing, and rice bowls are gluten free.  If you order the rice bowl, make sure you specify gluten free because they typically put a soy drizzle on it.  They have a bottle of soy drizzle made with tamari to use instead.  Of the standard fillings, only the chicken is gluten free (the tofu and pork have soy sauce in the marinades).  Some of the rotating specials including edamame,  three-alarm chicken and cilantro-peppercorn chicken are gluten free. 


Boston Speed Dog hot dogs are gluten free and you are welcome to bring your own bun.

Clover menu changes daily; sometimes there are gluten free options

Go Fish
The Caesar Salmon as a salad rather than a wrap without the onion crisps is gluten free. The Catfish Taco is on a corn tortilla and 100% gluten free. They have two fryers but use them interchangeably. 


Kickass Cupcakes Gluten free cupcakes are available on the truck. Always a good idea to tweet first to see what flavor(s) they have (and if any are left!)
 

Lefty’s Silver Cart Base menu is not gluten free. Everything is on Iggy’s bread but can offer most of the sandwich fillings on a bed of mixed greens. They also try to make weekly specials gluten free. In the past they’ve had: Watermelon Gazpacho, Corn Cakes with Roasted Corn and Tomato Salsa, Chipotle Maple Syrup, and Vegetarian Chili

Mei Mei Street Kitchen  Menu changes but kale salad, torched corn and peach tomato soup are current gluten free options. Always feel free to tweet ahead to ask!

Momo Goose
Fresh rolls and viet pho soup are the only two gluten free options currently. They hope to offer gluten free rice and salad bowls soon. 

Paris Creperie Usually have gluten free buckwheat flour for crepes  

Pennypackers all sandwiches are available as salads or lettuce wraps

Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Fries are gluten free, but cooked on same grill as wheat/gluten.

Silk Road BBQ  Grilled meats and salads are gluten-free. All sandwiches we can make as a salad. Homemade sauces are gluten-free. The white bean chili has gluten-free cornmeal in it, and the short rib has corn starch in the gravy.

Staff Meal Taco tortillas are 100% corn. All of the fillings except the Chinese sausage are gluten free. A couple of the crispy garnishes (fried garlic, French’s onions and Fritos) contain flour. If you order food from at the truck, make sure to let the staff know that you have an intolerance and they’ll let you know all of this and prepare your food accordingly.


The Cupcakory has Gluten free cupcakes available on the truck, but they don’t always have them. They use twitter and facebook to post the daily flavors and will let people know if gluten-free is also available. They offer both vegan and gluten-free options upon request for pick-up on the truck, request at least 48 hours in advance. <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;}

 The Dining Car The crispy cauliflower is gluten free. The Mediterranean, Honey Truffle Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken, and Caprese sandwiches can be offered as salads.

The Taco Truck
All of tacos except the pescado and aquacate are gluten free. All tacos are 100% corn.

I know my list is not 100% complete, there are over 20 trucks in Boston and I was not able to get responses from the ones not listed – or they do not have anything gluten free to offer and are therefore excluded from this list. If you have any tips or information to add please e-mail me at jessica.dennis2@gmail.com.

Legal Sea Foods

I have eaten at several Legal Sea Foods locations in and around Boston – Copley Place, The Prudential Center, Kendall Square, Legal Test Kitchen, Braintree, Long Warf, Chestnut Hill– and they all get my high praises when it comes to serving guests with food allergies. They offer a gluten free menu, their staff is well trained, they have a separate fryer kept gluten free, and all gluten free dishes are brought out by the manager, never nearing the other entrees and potential gluten.
All locations offer Gillian’s Foods rolls. I love these buns! They have a nice texture with a slight crunch on the outside and nice and soft on the inside, and topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and I think a little garlic and onion too. 
Four years ago was the first time I was able to order calamari in a restaurant. Legal makes theirs with a chick pea flour, which has since been changed to a brown rice flour and cornmeal mixture. You can also order the Shrimp, Scallops and Haddock – on the Wood Grilled Menu – Crispy Fried instead of grilled. This is next on my list to try! 
One of my favorite dishes is the Shrimp and Garlic with sautéed tomatoes, scallions and mushrooms served with your choice of jasmine or brown rice. I always ask for light on the garlic and it is perfect!
Cousins dinner at Copley
Another dish I have tried is the Wood Grilled Assortment, which comes with the Chef’s selection of three fish, shrimp and scallops and the choice of two sides. This is a great way to sample a little bit of [almost] everything. 
This past winter I tried the Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew (on the lunch menu), served with cornmeal crusted scrod stewed with mussels, clams, and chorizo sausage in a saffron tomato broth. For those ordering on the regular menu it also comes with toasted bread. So make sure to save one – or two! – of the gluten free dinner rolls to dip in the sauce. The Stew is loaded with fish and had great flavors, this is my new favorite dish for the wintertime!
Fisherman’s Stew
A few weeks ago my co-worker and I had lunch at the Kendall Square location to celebrate our birthdays. This time I tried the house salad topped with grilled calamari. You can add chicken, crabmeat, shrimp, salmon or lobster salad to any salad. They do not list grilled calamari on the menu anymore, but you can still get it. Some of the pieces were a bit chewy, I think it could have been grilled a little longer, but overall I enjoyed it. Every time I eat there with Liz she orders this and I had been dying to try it.
The seafood here is so fresh, and I highly recommend ordering oysters or something else off the raw bar menu. They offer a great gluten free menu and can accommodate for other food allergies and dietary restrictions – Garlic, Dairy, and Kosher for example.
Wellfleet Oysters
The gluten free dessert menu is limited with only three options, Belgian Chocolate Mousse Parfait, Sorbet and Seasonal Fruit. I haven’t tried the Mousse, I am usually way too full by the end of my meal, but it sure does sound good!

Locations: 18 locations in Massachusetts
website: http://www.legalseafoods.com/

Midwest Grill

 
Midwest Grill is a Brazilian BBQ, Churrascaria Rodizio restaurant, and the only one in the Boston/Cambridge area.
Churrascaria is a cooking style, which translates roughly into Barbeque, and describes a restaurant that serves mostly grilled/BBQ meats.
Rodizio is a style of restaurant service in Brazil where one pays a fixed price and waiters come around to the tables with food – usually meat – several times until you’ve had enough.
Midwest grill was my first Rodizio experience. Piece of advice, go VERY hungry! There is also a buffet, included in the fixed price, which has white rice, yellow rice, beans, stews, vegetables, fried plantains, meatballs, lasagna, and it goes on. I wouldn’t fill up on a lot of this. I did sample the two stews, both pork, one with chicken, and surprisingly I really liked the pork stew. When you are seated, you are given a card to indicate to the waiters whether or not you wanted food or you where done/needed a break.
 

Brazilian BBQ Pricing

Lunch    Monday – Friday       $13.95
Lunch    Saturday – Sunday    $14.95
Dinner   Sunday – Thursday   $21.95
Dinner   Friday – Saturday      $24.95
  
The service here wasn’t that great. It was pretty slow, as it was 8pm on a Sunday night, and I was shocked. We had to ask for water three times before my boyfriend got up and poured it himself. I was also surprised at the length of time between each ’round’ of meat.
The quality of the food was very good! I enjoyed most of the meats – sirloin, pork loin, sausage, lamb, chicken hearts, ribs, kielbasa and grilled pineapple. The only seasoning used on the meat is salt, so they are 100% safe and free of gluten.  
We also ordered Guarana, a popular, you guessed it, guarana-flavored soda in Brazil. It tasted like a more sweetened version of ginger ale.

Location: 1124 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139 
second location in Saugus, MA

Elephant Walk

LOVE LOVE LOVE this place!
Elephant Walk is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. I have been here 6 times in the past 18 months (once at the Cambridge location.) I absolutely love their gluten free menu. This most recent visit, I noticed the menu was slightly different from the last time I was there in October 2011.
The décor is amazing and very authentic. Walking into the restaurant you feel like you are in a whole different world, somewhere foreign and captivating, almost like time traveling. The restaurant is inviting and full of warmth, contrasting colors and lighting. The two rooms are quite big and open and really nicely light with candles once it get dark.
The French-Cambodian menu is dynamic. It does not combine the two into one, rather separates the menu into sections; traditional Cambodian, Original Cambodian and Original French. Cambodian food is a combination of strong and vibrant spices and flavors, while the French is , well typical French food.  The menu is great for the adventurous foodies and the more conservative eaters. The best part for us, there is an extensive gluten free [and vegan/vegetarian] menu.
The food is fabulous.  During my most recent visit I had the Tofu Curry – pan seared organic tofu topped with grilled zucchini, butternut squash, asparagus, portabella mushrooms and eggplant in a lightly spiced green ginger curry sauce, with white rice. It was amazing. I’m glad my meal wasn’t drenched in the sauce but I do wish there was a little more of it. If I was at home, I would have licked my plate clean jut to get every last drop of it. And it wasn’t too spicy, this is one of the less spicy curry dishes on the menu (I made sure of this before ordering).
My favorite appetizer (which I’ve ordered 4 times) is the mouth watering Avocat Kanthhor – raw tuna, avocado, lemongrass and fresh mint tossed in an Asian dressing. I always order this without the peanuts.  The tuna just melted in my mouth and the avocado was ripened to perfection. The combination of flavors- galangal, garlic, fish sauce, shallot and rice vinegar -in the dressing blended so well.
 
The one and only time I ordered off the French menu I was a little disappointed. Not to say I didn’t enjoy my meal, the Grilled Flat Iron Steak was cooked exactly how I wanted it. What I did not like about it was the Roquefort sauce, which, thank god, I ordered on the side. I was never a fan of cheese sauces anyways and this one was just not good, even my boyfriend didn’t like it. The side of brown rice and edamame, was simple yet delicious, and what a great idea, I never thought of combining the two – definitely one going into the recipe book.
(**note, I didn’t take a picture of my dish but found this one of the dish on 
the non-gluten free menu. The fries are not gluten free.**)
For dessert we had the flourless chocolate cake. It was good but not homemade, I have seen this exact cake at many other restaurants  (we even ordered this pre-made frozen dessert where I worked during college).  I’m not saying it’s not worth trying, but it is it very rich. I also loved the raspberry coulis that came on the side.

 I’ve also had the Shrimp Curry, which is served inside a red bell pepper and is EXTREMELY spicy, and the S’gnao Mouan, which is a Cambodian chicken soup with chicken breast, lime juice and lemongrass garnished with scallion and Asian basil with gluten-free crispy rice for dipping. The crispy rice was like a bad rice cake. The soup was so light and refreshing. 
No longer on the menu, but so delicious I just have to mention was the a chicken dish infused with fresh basil leaves, Asian mint served with asparagus, pea pods and red peppers light curry sauce (I can’t remember what else was in the sauce, as this was my first dish I ever had here and that was over 1.5 years ago). But I do remember it was delicious, with the fine balance of firey hot and savory. I just loved it.
They also have an extensive wine list, with great wines from all over the world. I highly recommend the Elephant Walk. I prefer the one in Fenway over Cambridge, the atmosphere is much more inviting, maybe that has to do with the light colors and openness in Fenway, or maybe it’s just my personal preference.
It’s great if you are in the mood to try something new and different, like one of their exotic assortments of authentic soups or salads or if you are daring enough, which I hope you are, one of the entrees.  I can’t say enough about the food here. The only this they are missing is gluten free bread!
 
Location: 900 Beacon Street Boston, MA. 02215 (C Green Line – St. Mary’s t stop)
       Other locations: 2067 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge
                                   66 Main Street Waltham, MA.

Cuchi Cuchi Gluten Free Menu

I can not wait to try Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge (Area IV)!!

I have heard nothing but rave reviews about the cocktail list and signiture drinks, the food and the Moulin Rouge inspired atmosphere. It sounds unique and fun and I can not wait to go with my girl friends! They do have a gluten free menu (although not advertised on their website) here it is:

GLUTEN-FREE MENU

Seafood-filled Avocado  (Guatemala)  – 18
   ½ grilled lobster tail, shrimp, scallops,
   octopus, crabmeat;  salsa
Sizzling Garlic Shrimp  (Spain)  –  10
Scallop Ceviche Shot  (Panama) –  7
   (portion is for 1 person)marinated
   scallops in tomato, onion, jalapeño, lime,
   mango & banana salsa
Baby Back Ribs   –  12
   (no fritters/fresh apples) 
Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale  (Italy) – 12
   grilled pork rolls filled w/pecorino        
   cheese, pancetta, sautéed garlic
Grilled Indian Lamb  –  18
   w/beet & grilled fennel salad;  yogurt  
   & mint dip
Grilled Skirt Steak  (Argentina)  –  15
   Gaucho style w/Chimichurri – a classic
   thick parsley, garlic & herb sauce
Gratin Dauphinois  (France)  –  10
   baked thin-sliced potatoes,
   onions, cheese & cream
Chicken Liver Paté  (France)    10
   adorned w/cornichons, dried fruits 
   & port wine glaze
(no crackers) 
Warm Baby Beets & French
Sheep Cheese Salad  –  10
Grilled Eggplant Napoleon  –  13
   w/roasted tomato & pepper
   ragout;  basil & herb goat cheese
Insalata del Liquria  (Italy)  –  9
   endive, romaine, black Sicilian
   olives;  Gorgonzola, drizzled
   w/ fragrant chestnut honey
             
      Fresh Fruit w/ Cherry Sauce &
             Chantilly Cream –  8

The Friendly Toast

I went to the Friendly Toast in Kendall Square (Cambridge) last week for my co-workers birthday. 
She is also gluten free and I am so glad she introduced me to this place!! Before this, I hadn’t ordered pancakes in a restaurant since 2008!
I was really happy seeing that they offer gluten free pancakes. They have all kinds of delectable gluten free pancakes – blueberry, chocolate chip, M&M, toffee crumble, coconut with cashews, chocolate chips and drizzled with coconut sauce (My mouth is drooling just typing that!).
I ordered one pancake, and it was HUGE; it was the size of my plate! It was so fluffy and delicious! I didn’t want to stop eating because it was just that good, but I was so stuffed and I only got ¾ through the entire thing.
Breakfast is served all day, which means you can have pancakes for lunch or dinner! Most of the egg dishes are gluten free, as are many of the sides; we had homefries. Homefries are one of my favorite breakfast items but I did not like these, a little too spicy for me and served more like boiled sliced potatoes.
There are salads on the menu too, and I was told that they have corn tortillas so it would be possible to get a sandwich on a corn tortilla.
The Friendly Toast is quirky, but in a good way, with bizarre décor and a 1930’s-1940’s vibe.
Just a heads up, the Friendly Toast is CASH ONLY. They have an atm inside you can use but just be prepared. 
Location: One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.

Veggie Planet

I got together with my friend Alex, who recommended Veggie Planet. She actually raved about the food and was so excited when I said yes. Tucked away in an alley, downstairs, in Harvard Square near Border Café, and easy to find. Even though there is no gluten free menu, they are VERY gluten free friendly. Everything is made to order and they allow for substitutions.
How is works is you choose your base – pizza dough (not for us), brown rice or coconut rice. Then you choose one of the delicious entrees to go on top.  And you have the choice or a small or large. The smalls were plenty big; I didn’t even finish my whole meal.
The menu and entrée combinations are so creative; it was hard to decide what to order. I ended up ordering the Roasted Vegetables – roasted butternut squash, Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes and spinach topped with olive oil and fried garlic.  It was pretty tasty and worked so well with the coconut rice. I did not like the Portobello mushrooms, not sure why, but the other vegetables were delicious, I especially enjoyed the butternut squash. It took 10 minutes at most for our meals to be made and delivered to us.
Everything on the menu is healthy but by no means does it lack any flavor. Alex also enjoyed her meal, the peanut curry with broccoli and a Thai peanut curry sauce topped with fried tofu ‘croutons’ and peanuts. The tofu looked so good and I am definitely trying that the next time I go back.
I wouldn’t say the food was over the top or blew me out of the water but it was a tasty snd inexpensive healthy GLUTEN FREE mean in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. The feel is very hip and gives off a retro diner vibe.
They also serve salads, smaller bites, soups, sandwiches and desserts; only the ice cream is gluten free (sometimes the dessert of the day is too). I was surprised to see they also had a very small beer and wine selection, $4 for  glass of and $5 for a glass of wine. Entrée prices range from $6.85-$7.15 for a small and $10.75- $11.35 for a large.
There are concerts in the main dining room after 5PM so the restaurant becomes incredibly small, and you can only eat in the dining room if you have a ticket. We arrived on the early side and didn’t have a problem getting a seat in the ‘public’ dining room.
Our server was very friendly and I loved that the restaurant’s mission is to use local and organic ingredients, and they also donate a small percentage of its profits to charity.
If you are looking for a quick, affordable, healthy and tasty meal I recommend checking out Veggie Planet. 
Location: 47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA (Harvard Square)