Papagayo

Just a short walk from South Station, Papagayo is relatively easy to get to, which makes it more convenient than some of the other restaurants on the waterfront. 
Papagayo has a great atmosphere. It is really fun, a great spot to go after work with coworkers or friends, or a girl’s night out. The space is pretty big, with high ceilings, brightly colored walls and Mexican themed décor. The bar is quite large and runs along almost the entire length of the restaurant. There is also an impressive display of their remarkable tequila selection. So, if you like tequila, definitely check out Papagayo; they have over 100 kinds of tequila available.
We went for a drink and ended up staying for two plus hours, and two plus drinks. I had the house margarita, which was delicious (and strong). It was served in a pretty big glass too. Some of the other specialty drinks are good but incredibly strong.

We were given complimentary chips and salsa. I asked him if they were corn or flour and his response to me was, “they are flour, are you gluten free? We can absolutely get you some corn chips.” He said all this before I could even say yes! Three minutes later, a waitress arrived with gluten free corn chips and my own bowl of salsa to avoid cross contamination! The chips were good, but the salsa was better, with a definite kick to it. They both seemed to be endless; when we finished a bowl of chips, it was replaced with a new one. This was great, but not so great [for the waistline].
The tableside guacamole was one of the best guacamoles I’ve. Ever. Had. It is a must! It is made fresh right at your table – or bar stool – and you can have it as hot – or mild – as you’d like it! 
We went with medium, Kristen likes it spicy but I don’t think I could have handled that. I was impressed with the amount of avocados they use, the portion was big, not what you usually expect. It was great having it made right in front of us, vastly entertaining and fun to watching. For an extra $1 you can get a side of carrots and celery for dipping, which was great because I was getting sick from too many tortilla chips.  
The gluten free menu is small, but hey it’s better than nothing! Although it’s small, there are many options; fajitas, ceviche, tacos, enchiladas and meat.
I wouldn’t say this place is authentic; it’s more of a Tex-Mex/American-Mexican style restaurant. I’ve only tried the guacamole and margaritas, and both were delicious and actually pretty authentic.
I had a great time here, and I will be back again for more guac and margaritas! On my next visit, I also want to try the tableside ceviche, this sounds good too!
Location: 283 Summer Street Boston, MA

Hops N Scotch Now Open in Coolidge Corner Brookline

Hops N Scotch is finally open in Coolidge Corner. I have not been yet but they do offer gluten free options. Gluten free – and vegetarian – items are labeled on the menu. I called earlier today about the sandwiches, I had a feeling the “can be made gluten free” meant we can but the burger on a salad and call it your meal, and I was right! They do not offer gluten free bread BUT when I spoke with the manager he said all I had to do was call a few days before I was coming in and ask for him and request gluten free bread and they will get it for me! So please do this if you go! I think the more people who request it, the more likely they will be to carry it all the time.

HNS also offers Greens Gluten Free Beer, Magners, Angry Orchard Cider and JK Scrumpy Organic Cider.

Haru Sushi

I’ve been to Haru twice now. The first time I went with friends we ordered off the Haru Hour Menu. This is great if you are trying to save money and have fresh sushi. From 3-7pm, everyday they offer discounted rolls and appetizers such as Edamame ($4), Tuna Roll ($3), Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll ($5), and a few other gluten free safe rolls. 
I had the Tuna Avocado Caviar Roll and theSalmon Jalapeño Roll ($6.75) from the regular dinner menu. It was hot. I was daring and tried it and I liked it but I needed 5 glasses of water after I ate it. Of course, Erica loved it and it didn’t affect her quite as much. 
Haru also has gluten free soy sauce served in a special container marked on the top with a white Japanese character, which, I’m going out on a limb here, but would guess it means “gluten free”. 

The second time I ate at Haru was last week with my dad and sister. Katie had a $20 Birthday Certificate, which anyone can sign up to receive and I highly recommend you doing it! Sign up here.
Yes, we ate everything!
As an appetizer we had the Ceviche ($12.75). It was delicious, made of citrus-marinated tuna, salmon and whitefish (you can have all three, you don’t have to choose one so don’t let the menu fool you), with grape tomatoes, red onion, avocado and green apples. I really enjoyed this, I loved the citrus flavor.
Strawberry Fin Special Roll ($16.75). Spicy yellowtail (hold the crunchy!), jalapeno peppers and mango topped with scallops, wasabi tobiko and fresh strawberries. This combination really peeked our curiosity.  Strawberries? Jalapenos? I would never have thought of mixing all these ingredients, but it was great. Extremely flavorful and fresh, it had a kick to it from the jalapenos.
My favorite roll, by far, is the Gramercy Park Roll ($18). Spicy super white tuna and jalapenos, wrapped with tuna, yellowtail and salmon and topped with lemon, cilantro and tobiko. Again this roll has a “crunchy” ingredient they left out, as tempura flakes are not gluten free. Our waitress also brought the yuzu miso sauce on the side, also not gluten free, and also not very good. We all tried the sauce and none of us liked it. But the roll was amazing. I couldn’t taste the jalapeno like the first roll, but I could taste the cilantro and loved how fresh it was. 
Sweet Potato roll ($6). Usually it is is fried in tempura, but the waitress offered to make it steamed instead. I’ve had it without tempura before and it was delicious, cooked nicely – soft and tender. This sweet potato roll was not so great, the sweet potato was undercooked and it was a bit hard.
At the end of our meal when our waitress gave us the bill she asked us if we were from Boston. After we said yes she handed each of us a Mystery Envelope. She explained that inside each envelope was a gift certificate to Haru worth anywhere from $5 to $500 and you can’t open it until the next time you come back, and the Manager must be the one to open it. Well of course we are coming back! Even if we only have $5, it would be worth it to get a roll or two from the Haru Hour menu or one of the more expensive rolls, because it would really be $5 off. She told us we could use two during one visit, as long as we had separate checks…um…OK!
The service was good, our waitress was very friendly and attentive. She was so knowledgeable about gluten I really liked that. It can be hard at Japanese or other ethnic restaurants (even American restaurants) to find serves who really know what gluten it is and are that knowledgeable about the menu they can answer every question. Now, if only we could teach the rest of American’s and people in the restaurant industry what gluten is and what it’s in, we would have a much easier dinning experience. 
Location: 55 Huntington Ave., Boston

Curried Cauliflower with Tomatoes

Over the summer I ate at Trade and had the best side dish, curried cauliflower. I tried to recreate it, but it came out nothing like the one at Trade. It was still good, just very different.  I searched and searched the Internet for recipes and found dozens, all different. So I combined a few and made up my own recipe. This one was a bit drier and much spicier, but made a great side dish to the chicken I made for dinner. 
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) , cut into florets
2 Tablespoons curry powder (recipe follows or use store bought spice)
1 Tablespoon ginger
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup raisins (I didn’t have any in the house)
¼ cup Greek yogurt, for dipping (optional)
Curry Powder:
2 tablespoons coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon turmeric
1.     Mix the curry powder, ginger, lemon juice and red wine vinegar in a small bowl.
2.     Sauté the cauliflower over medium heat in olive oil, for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown.
3.     Stir in the curry powder, lemon juice and red wine vinegar mixture. Mix well.
4.     Add the tomatoes.
5.     Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
6.     Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of Greek Yogurt. I used the Greek yogurt as a ‘dipping sauce’ because I found this recipe to be extremely spicy. I also added a little more lemon juice to the yogurt and the cauliflower on my plate. 

Teatro

If you are going to the theater, or movies, or just happen to be down by Tremont and Boylston Street, and are looking for a nice meal without breaking the bank (because we all know how pricy it can be down in the Theater District), I would recommend Teatro. It is great for dates or groups. It was a little on the loud side, I think because of the high ceilings and openness, but we were a group of 6 young woman and this didn’t bother us at all; we had a blast!
We celebrated my friend Sarah’s 25th birthday at Teatro last week. It was great! They offer a great variety of food with small plates to share or as starters, risottos and entrees. What I loved about the risotto is that you could choose an appetizer portion ($10) or entrée portion ($20). This is great if you like to try different things, and I tried two risottos. I wish I had also tried some of the small plates, but a girl can only eat so much!
I absolutely loved the wild mushroom and truffle oil risotto. It had great flavor and by far the best dish I tried. It was slightly cheesy, as risottos tend to be, but not overly so.
appetizer portion
I also really enjoyed the risotto with rock shrimp, tiny tomatoes and lemon butter. The shrimp dish is actually a pasta dish but they let me sub the risotto for pasta and I was thrilled! I love when restaurants do this and don’t give you a hard time or charge extra. This dish was a little heavier with the sauce but it was still very tasty and luckily it wasn’t a cream sauce (just slightly due to the cheese in the risotto) or else it definitely would have been too much. But the great thing about this was the amount of shrimp I got, so many, I was pleasantly surprised.
entree portion
Our server was great, very friendly, as was the rest of the staff. The wine list is a bit on the pricier side, but then again this is the Theater District, so what did we expect? I was not a fan of the white sangria, it was way too sweet for me. 
Gluten Free Menu Options:
Whipped ricotta w no crostini
·         Deviled Eggs
·         Marinated olives
·         Marinated mushrooms
·         Oysters
·         Tuna tartare
·         Beets
·         Octopus
·         Sausage
·         All the dry meets and cheeses with no crostini
·         Arugula salad
·         Caesar Salad no croutons
·         Carpaccio no croutons
·         Mussels no crostini
·         Tomato and mozzarella
·         Prosciutto and Melon
·         Risottos
·         Salmon
·         Rib eye
·         Scallops
Location:  177 Tremont Street, Boston (across from the Boylston T stop)

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (aka Mashed Cauliflower)

 My Aunt Cindy makes these at Thanksgiving. It started a few years ago when she was on the Atkins diet and she continued to make both regular mashed potatoes and these, because we (mostly me) liked them so much! I don’t eat mashed potatoes, I’ve never liked them, but this mashed cauliflower has so much flavor and I just absolutely love them!
In order to keep them a little chunky use a potato masher instead of a blender. If you like your mashed potatoes smooth, use the blender. 
Ingredients:
Raw Cauliflower – a medium head makes about a pound of florets
1 Tablespoon cream cheese softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese  (I use a little less)
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon, you may substitute
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon Chives, chopped
1.     Separate the florets and chop the core finely
2.     Steam until tender (or microwave to save time). It is tender once you can easily pierce it with a fork, about 12-15 minutes. You can also boil the cauliflower for 6 minutes.
3.    Drain well but do not let cool.
4.    In a food processor, pulse the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken bouillon, and pepper until almost smooth. Pulse for even less time if you like your ”potatoes” chunkier.     
5.     Garnish with chives and serve warm.
This will make about 4 servings.

Living Social Deal for Gluten Free Dinning at The Fireplace

Check out this great deal for The Fireplace in Washington Square Brookline!

The Fireplace has a great gluten free menu (brunch lunch and dinner!) and this deal is $38 for one appetizer and two entrees. I love the gluten free rolls here and can’t wait to try the lobster roll app! I think this is a great deal because all entrees start at $26.

http://www.livingsocial.com/deals/443016?rpi=77317506&ref=personalized-link-box-77317506&rui=12657519