Tags: Restaurant Review
Tags: Restaurant Review
I have watched Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill transform their 40+ locations into a gluten free haven for those of us who have Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Starting with ‘gluten what’, to offering one meat and chips, to now all meats and even corn tortillas made fresh every day.
Corn tortillas are made fresh first, before wheat flour is pulled out. Most corn tortillas are made small and round, so they will use two for the burritos and often leave them open (making them not really burritos, but still good). Some locations are making large corn tortillas too. Maybe they all do, but when the large runs out, they substitute with small ones. If they run out, the will not have more until the next day. I have never seen them run out in our locations.
When you ask for gluten free options, the server will change their gloves and the same person will follow your meal through.
You will find all options available to you, as they have changed all their formulas to be gluten free. Smart. Smart.
Cross Contact is an issue in any eating establishment that uses both gluten and non-gluten ingredients. The only thing that has gluten at Costa Vida are the flour tortillas. We have found that tortillas do not leave as much traces of gluten as its bread counterpart. So luckily, to start off with, there are less chances of cross contact.
The rice is always put down first on the tortillas and if there was to be cross contact with gluten, that would be the first place I watch for it. Sometimes they will have extra rice in the back. We used to request they get that for us, or we would call as they open asking them to save rice and beans out for us, but we have gotten lazy and luckily, we haven’t gotten sick! It may be restaurant practice to not touch the spoons to the tortilla, but that is a hard one to monitor. But, we haven’t gotten sick and we always get sick if there is any gluten.
The first group of people touch the wheat tortillas and reach into the condiments on the first section so we don’t trust those condiments. BUT, the second set of condiments (the one to top the burritos) are put on with people that don’t normally touch the tortillas so those are much more safe. You can ask for condiments from the back and they have always been willing to get them for us.
Ok, the taste. YUM!!! To have their sweet port again is heaven! love, Love, LOVE that one! But their chicken, steak and beef are yummy too. Just love sweet things. We normally have the sweet pork burrito which sometimes ends up being more like an open faced burrito since they are using small tortillas, but still so very tasty and very filling.
And get this, YOU ARE NOT charged extra simply because it is gluten free. How is that for a nice break. For a community that is so used to being charged extra because either the ingredients or the time was more, it is nice to not see a difference. Let’s face it, we are ok with a little difference, but some places will charge $3-5 extra a plate, even though it is the same food. Seriously? Daily specials are $5.99 which includes drink. Big burritos are 7 or 8. They have salads and enchiladas and such too.
Costa Vida is a casual restaurant. You order your food. They make it while you follow it through and let them know what you would like. We always get away from there for 2 full dinners under $20.
Ok, so there you have it. I could put shorter posts, but today I feel like telling it all. Maybe shorter is better. What do you think?
Do you have a Costa Vida by you?
Tags: Restaurant Review
If you want a good, real, homemade, chocolate chip cookies, give my recipe a try. You must watch it while cooking, since the gluten free cookies cook different. If you get it right, you are in for a treat. We can’t get enough of these! Enjoy! –roxanne
GLUTEN FREE CHIP COOKIES
Heat oven to 370 degrees
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
ADD BLENDED FLOUR MIXTURE:
2 cups gluten free oatmeal flour
1 1/8 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/8 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (most have corn, can use 1/2 teaspoon of tarter and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda as a substitute)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon gluten free dough enhancer
Can add 1-2 Tablespoons water if dough is too dry.
ADD Chips. Guittard are made in gluten and peanut free facility (I add Guittard milk and dark and white chocolate chip, butterscotch all in same cookies, etc)
Place on cookie tray in teaspoon size balls and place tray in 370 degree oven.
Cook for about 11 minutes. Cookies will look undone when you pull them out, but as soon as they cool for 30 seconds to minute, they will look perfect! Take them off the pan and put on cooling rack or tinfoil immediately. Once the pans are hot, you may want to watch cooking time even more. Sometimes I will bump it up to 375, but only for part of the cooking time and I turn it back down because at 375 it will get too hot if cooked for the duration.
I am in the valleys of Utah at 4,000 feet right next to the majestic mountains. Elevation always has to be taken into account when baking.
I was feeling a little homesick and wanted to make something to warm me up on this cold winter day. This is my gluten free cornbread recipe and it was perfect! Moist. Sweet. Tasty. Enjoy.
GLUTEN FREE CORNBREAD
2/3 cup Cornmeal
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Starch
1/4 cup Flax Seed Meal
2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Oil
3 tablespoons melted Butter
2 tablespoons Agave
1 cup Milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients and mix together.
3. Add wet ingredients and mix.
4. Pour into a greased 8 in square pan.
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let me know how yours turns out!
I love to make pies and when I make my gluten free versions, I am forced to make the pie crust rather than use a pre-made pie crust. I just don’t like rolling out the bottom crust, so I needed something easy. Here is one I use and love it! The crust is crisp, sweet and perfect for that bottom crust. I bake this first and use this for my chocolate cream pies as well as using it for my pumpkin and walnut pie recipes where I cook it with the rest of the pie. And, no rolling required!
Gluten Free Pie Crust – no rolling required
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup certified gluten free oatmeal flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons milk
1. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl
2. Add wet ingredients and mix with fork
3. Press dough into pie pan and flute the edge
4. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes until golden brown or
use can uncooked when making pumpkin or other pies.
My son and husband were diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. We decided that we they would eat 100% gluten free with no cross contact of gluten. It took me a year to ‘figure it out,’ but finally they weren’t hungry all the time and actually had good food to eat. Back then, store bought brands were a joke. We spent too much money on bad tasting gluten free food and we gave up on bread and buying most commercial gluten free products.
After 5 years gluten free, I ran into the founders of New Grains Gluten Free Bakery and fell in love with the products and the owners. I blogged a little for them, did things on facebook and twitter, had my daughter work in their bakery and then jumped on board more full time 10 short months after it all began. All online campaigns, amazon, special projects and more are my specialty.
So after I searched all over for great tasting products, I aligned myself with the best product with the best team. You will find us soaring to the top and dominating the gluten free market. If you haven’t had a chance yet, order is online and we will ship it right to your doorstep. Let me know what you think.
100% dedicated gluten free bakery
Celiac Sprue Association Certified at below 5ppm (most strict certification)
Largest number of gluten free products available from one source
In 150 stores, over 9 states and shipping across the nation in less than 2 years
Only naturally aged gluten free sourdough known
and the BEST tasting gluten free products on the planet!!
If you would like to be a part of have them in your store, let me know and I will see what I can do.
I was answering an email on line and got very long winded. But since I basically spilled out so much of our story with Celiac Disease, I thought I would post it. The original question is on the bottom of this post. Here you go….
It sounds like the pain was related to gluten, but I am not doctor. Sharp pain like that in the intestinal track is very common. Having it radiate to other positions like your back or other side is also common from those I know with Celiac Disease or maybe even a gluten intolerance although that line is getting more grey as time goes on. They feel like gluten intolerance is only a precursor to celiac disease.
I know when going gluten free, we could tell an immediate change. After three days, we felt so much better. After two weeks, it was amazing. It wasn’t’ that we were SO sick, it was that we never felt real good. My husband and son got diagnosed at the same time.
My son was 17 and his acne was awful! We could get it clear, but if he did anything wrong like touch his face or sneeze it seemed (not sneeze, but you know what I mean) it would flair up again. I took him into the doctor for that, and when we were there, we mentioned that he was also choking on his food on occasion. I thought it was only every other month, but he told the doctor that he would choke on his food every week at school. The doctor sent him for a scope, was told that he probably had Celiac Disease but we would wait for the biopsy. As we read the info on Celiacs, I realized that my husband had more typical symptoms than my son. His best friends were Ammonium and Pepcid to help with diarrhea and heart burn. Always really gassy. Looking back, my son was sometimes so fatigued, he couldn’t even get off the couch. He is really active usually, so I just figured he had worn himself out. They both went for the blood test and it came back positive.
We went 100% gluten free (I am pretty anal about it) and like I said, I remember the bench marks of 3 days and 2 weeks and we knew we would never put them on gluten again.
Now when they get gluten or barley it effects them different. I think in the last 7 years, they have only had true gluten twice each at different times. It put my husband completely out for 4 days and bad effects for a full 2 or 3 weeks.
If my husband gets a crumb of wheat through cross contact, after 20 minutes he gets sharp pains. He says it is like a small dough ball with needles poking out of it. It hits his small intestine and he can feel it as it makes the first 3 turns. Many times he is in cold sweat and curled up on the floor in a ball. After 20 minutes, the harsh pain is gone and he is fatigued. He may or may not need to go to the bathroom and then goes to bed. So tired. Can’t move. The next day he usually wakes up and is better.
Barley is different. His stomach gets kind of bubbley after eating it. After 20 minutes he has to get to a bathroom right now. No sharp pains there, just uncomfortable.
he has never had cross contact with rye.
His sisters said they didn’t want to go on a gluten free diet because once you do, you are so much more sensitive to wheat and they didn’t want to become more sensitive. So what, you would rather be sick all the time?! Well, they finally repented and are now on their gluten free diet and sticking to it. I don’t know if they are as anal as me about it, but they don’t’ have kids with it yet. I think when your kids get it, you are more cautious.
So, my son never chokes, his face is clear except when he gets cross contact with wheat it will break out two days later, and he goes so much I can barely keep up.
That was 6 or 7 years ago. We figure my son’s celiac disease was triggered when he had a really bad viral infection that lasted about 2 weeks. Missed tons of school, so sick. He had it for about 2 years before he was diagnosed.
My husband, we aren’t sure. At least 8 years from when he lost his job, but as we look back, he wasn’t well for a long time, over a decade.
So once you go gluten free, you cannot do the blood test for Celiac with any accuracy. Even if you do a scope, sometimes the damage is repaired.
Celiac Disease just means you have to eat gluten free the rest of your life. It is genetic. Your kids or grandkids can come up with it at any time in their life if they have that gene after a traumatic experience or a viral infection.
Doctors don’t’ really know what they are doing because there are over 250 symptoms. Well, they know what they are doing, but will miss this many times.
Three months ago, my cousin (not related to my husband’s celiac family) has two daughters she has been trying to find out what is wrong forever. The 15 year old twin was in the hospital and she was calling me because the doctor wanted to take out her Collin NOW. She asked my opinion and I told her to get out of there and get a second opinion , but after talking some more and after my suggestions of how many things in her family are related to celiac, she put her on a gluten free diet. Within 3 days, her body was back to normal functions, she no longer needed an enima every day to do her business and she was out of pain. After a month of needing one and almost getting her collin out?! Her twin sister has asperger’s. They put her on the diet and her mood swings are much better. So many other symptoms that are different in each one of her siblings but they are all benefiting from the diet. Crazy. Doctors thought she was crazy too. After 8 years of taking her girls in and out of the hospital, she was the one that made the diagnosis and they are all better. Overnight, re-enrolled in public school (they had to be pulled out 3 years ago), socially able to be in a crowd and more.
So there you have it. You aren’t crazy. They were probably related. Doctors don’t know everything. But there are good ones out there. If you mention Celiac, they probably won’t want to spend the $$ to test you. Even if you have insurance. If you already went on the diet, there isnt’ really a need to….except for other members of your family. Your kids, sisters, parents. Because if they have symptoms that are completely different than yours and you can see it being caused by Celiac, they may not believe you and ever go on the diet because it is completely different than yours. And you weren’t really diagnosed with it by a doctor, you just changed yoru diet and they think how in the world could something as ‘simple’ as a diet change really change those things. I have a brother in law that is dying because of a heart problem, a nephew that is so small in stature that is 2 year old brother was bigger than him (he was 5), a neice that is so small and skinny if you blew on her she would fall over, a sister in law that could never have babies because she was infertile. Yep. It is rampant in our family.
So, my biggest friend has been a local support group. I found the Gluten Intolerant Group had a meeting near by. Went. Joined. Got into Leadership. I wanted to eat out, so I started working with Restaurants in the area and their gluten free outlook and options been improved dramatically. Starting a new Celiac Sprue Association Support group in the area and am not on the Regional Board of Directors. Found a local gluten free bakery that is amazing and became partners (www.newgrains.com) to take us national. Reach other to others like you from my twitter account @roxlive.
Why? Because someone did it for me. Because there are too many people hurting. Because there are too many doctors that don’t know what to do or whatever.
Ok, now I am on my soapbox. So, the answer is yep! It was probably related. You could find out by going back on gluten, but I wouldn’t. Not that you are feeling better.
Oh, you can do a gene test to see if you have the gene. That way if you do, than you will know that your celiac disease is active and that you should never eat gluten again and you would have proof for your family. Gene test costs about $300 and insurance won’t pay for it. Go figure. Undiagnosed Celiac Disease is the cause and #1 expense in emergency rooms across America…I heard that somewhere or it was something like that.
Ok. Now that you know way too much about me, I hope that it helps. You are not alone. Not crazy. Right on track. Keep up the good work.
Hi Ms. Roxanne,
I hope you are well. Thank you for getting back to me. I am dreadfully sorry that I have taken so long to return your note especially since you were kind enough to offer some advice.
I decided to go gluten free about three months ago. I am in pretty good heath, I just noticed some people that have done the same have lost weight and seem to be pretty healthy, excepting those with serious celiac disease.
Here is my question: Could gluten have caused a pain in my right side?
Now, if you will indulge me, I will elaborate. About 14 years ago I suffered a sharp, stabbing pain just under my right ribcage. It was short but hurt like the dickens. I went to see my doctor and he allowed that since I was 40 the pain was most probably my gall bladder having its way with me. He sent me to be examined with a sonogram. This proved nothing as my faithful gallbladder appeared to be just dandy. He allowed that it might need to be removed just the same. I’d have none of that. But as time crept along I would learn to endure more visits from the pain in my side. Eventually, it became more constant and less sharp and more like the feeling of someone pressing their thumb under my ribs. It may or may not be related but I started getting a pain in the right side of my back as well as if it radiated from the pain in my side.
Over the course of the years, I asked many doctors about the nagging affliction. I had myself a colonoscopy, and two cat scans, all showing a healthy fellow. One doctor friend suggested it might be muscular another an ulcer. Anyway, I got nothing definitive from these learned gents. Then, it was becoming unbearable and the pain was constant. I am a bit of a worrier and I self-diagnosed myself with every disease known to mankind.
Then, I went gluten free. I felt better almost right away and after about three weeks the pain was gone. Now, I occasionally get a glimpse of the pain but it is nothing like before.
Could I have an intolerance to gluten and could it have caused this pain? What do you reckon?
Thank you again for your help. I wish you all the best.
Friend From Twitter……
Whenever you are making a diet change, it can be frustrating. Mostly, I find it is because I must change my way of thinking. Here are some basic gluten free food ideas for those newly diagnosed. Enjoy!
Basic Gluten Free Food Ideas
Breakfast: Fresh Fruit, Yogurt, cottage cheese & fruit, Omelet w/cheese & vegi’s, eggs & hashbrowns, gluten free cereal, gluten free oatmeal
Snack: boiled eggs, cheese stick, fruit, vegi w/dip, tortilla chips w/refried beans
Lunch: left overs from dinner, gluten free soups, chili over beef hotdog, salad w/meat & cheese, taquitos, tamalies
Dinner: meat w/potatoes, chicken w/rice, roast w/vegi’s, bbq chicken & corn on cob & beans, taco’s on corn tortillas,
Treats: Ice cream, fruity pebble marshmellow treats, fudge
Some of my favorite popular brands with gluten free products. Remember, always check the current ingredients. General Mills Chex Cereals, Post Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles, Delimix taquitos, Stag’s Chili, Progresso GF Soups, Hidden Valley Ranch, Bush Baked Beans, Van de Kamp Pork N Beans, Kirkland beef hot dogs.
My favorite gluten free fresh products, mixes and flours come from New Grains Gluten Free Bakery. When you find a gluten free source you love, you can have your favorites grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, pizza, brownies, cookies and more all over again! Or, you can just use mine and have it shipped from http://newgrains.com.
I just sent these ideas to my cousin. Thought I would share them here as well. If you need a sugar fix quick, here are some ideas…..
Marshmellow treats with fruity pebbles. Most fruity pebbles are gluten free, even the generic brand. I believe that cocoa pebbles are too (the name brand, not the generic brand are usually gluten free).
Bag of small marshmellows (16 oz)
1 stick (could do 2/3 stick) butter
Cut butter into squares and put in big plastic or glass bowl and put in microwave for 20 seconds
Add marshmellows into bowl and put in microwave for 1 minute
Stir for 30 seconds
Put in microwave for another 30 seconds
Stir for 30 seconds and it should be good enough if not put in micro again for 30.
Stir in 16-10 cups of fruity pebbles, depending on how much marshmellow you like in it. I never measure, so that is why I can’t tell you how much. Maybe 8 cups.
Package of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
2/3 can of sweetened condensed milk
Put chips in GLASS bowl in microwave for 1 minute
Stir well (30 seconds – minute)
Can put in micro again for 30 seconds and stir so no chuncks are left.
Add sweetened condensed milk, usually 2/3 can.
Put in pan
Let harden in fridge
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
bag of chocolate chips
Melt chocolate chips in glass bowl for 1 minute in microwave. Stir. Melt again for 30 seconds. Stir. Dip in Pretzels. Let cool on Wax wrap or plastic. Enjoy.
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies get gluten free brownies from Betty Crocker. They are usually in the normal betty crocker section.
Microwave Brownies when you can’t wait
I like the betty crocker brownies, but if you have to have them NOW, then this one works in the microwave. Best if eatten that night with ice cream and fudge and whipped cream.
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup melted butter or 1/2 cup canola oil
• 3/4 cup sifted rice flour
• 1/2 cup sifted cocoa
• (i never sift them, fyi)
*Beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt for one minute.
*Add melted butter or canola oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon (not mixer) so that the sugar is well mixed with the butter or oil. Stir in the sifted flour, cocoa and walnuts Lightly spray or grease a glass 10 by 10 inch baking pan
*Microwave on High for 5- 6 minutes
*When done the top looks dry but will spring back.
*In a 1000 watt microwave I recommend baking on medium high for 5- 6 minutes.
Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/gluten-free-chocolate-mint-brownies-microwave-recipe-gf-86139#ixzz1wkS88Ivy