Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Safe Places to Eat in Reno ~

Whenever I find another safe and enjoyable restaurant I tend to write about it on this blog - I always feel so grateful to discover new or old favorites that have updated their menu to include delicious gluten-free items and mostly to meet staff members who "have a clue" about what it truly means to eat safely in a restaurant. I can see all of your heads nodding in I right?

In the past month I've had the pleasure of rediscovering a few lovely restaurants in Reno who are very hip now to gluten-free dining...and what a joy eating at all locations truly was.

The first stop was, 4th Street Bistro, owned by Chef Natalie Sellers and partner, General Manager Carol Wilson (who recently went gluten-free), and have been in operation since June of 2000. They serve contemporary cuisine and feature fresh, sustainable and local organically grown food on their menu. In addition, the restaurant is quaint and comfortable with a hint of European decor and a nice view of the Truckee River.

The brunch that we recently enjoyed at 4th Street Bistro was really delicious and when I looked over the menu to find nearly ten items marked gluten-free (GF) I almost started crying...not kidding...because this is such a rarity and honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed for a few minutes! After speaking extensively with Carol, the co-owner who now eats sans gluten, I was really delighted to see the effort that she has put towards bringing a complete dining experience to those who don't eat wheat.

Upon noticing that they offered a fresh basket of gluten-free breads I looked up in awe at the server asking, "can this be true...are you sure, really?"....It was true and the goodies you see blow are proof. The sweet rolls, fresh banana bread and scones were so yummy that my dad ordered a second basket for me to take home! How sweet. When the appetizer arrived, I was handed my own side plate of rice crackers in three different varieties, Glutino, Blue Diamond and Mary's Gone Crackers. Delightful.

Being totally perplexed as to what I would order, since I was now being offered legitimate choices, I went for this amazing poached egg dish served over a bed of wilted spinach with a pork-potato con-fit...Heaven. Then I easily convinced my father to order the Tortilla Espanola (a family favorite) so that we could share!

Sneaky, huh? As I've always noted on this blog, my family and friends are amazingly supportive of my diet and much so that most everyone I know and love now eats rice crackers and many other gluten-free food items! The true power of positive influence.

Love it.

The brunch was delicious and everyone raved about their meal, the freshness, taste and quality. I am pretty sure that I was the happiest person in the entire restaurant and can't wait to go back!

My mom's birthday was this month and we decided to take her to La Famiglia Ristorante for some delicious Italian food and wanted to check out their beautiful new downtown location, as well. I hadn't eaten there in a few years, not for any other reason that the downturn in the economy and the fact that I've been cooking so much more at my home, so it was at treat to go back and discover that in a few years La Famiglia and its staff have embraced serving more gluten-free items safely and deliciously.

To start, I ordered their Insalata di Frutta - a delightful bed of greens, fresh pear, Gorgonzola and candied walnuts with a balsamic drizzle of dressing. Very tasty.

My entree choice was fresh halibut prepared with a lemon butter glaze, pine nuts and olives, and substituted the pasta with some fresh polenta and vegetables. I spoke with the waiter extensively about this meal and he was very confident about how they would prepare it for me separately, in a new pan, and served with fresh polenta that was certain to not contain any gluten. I have to admit that I was a little nervous, but I asked as many questions as possible and was very assertive with exactly HOW my meal needed to be prepared. Trusting my intuition and the fact that our server did seem very versed with gluten-free, I chose to trust and enjoy.

Not wanting to miss out on the birthday celebration at the end of our meal, I was able to eat their flan-like-custard dessert. It was very good and served with fresh whipped cream.

Overall, the meal experience was very good and the new location inside an industrial-type beautiful brick building, just across from the Pioneer Theater was very nice and I'll definitely go back again. Buon appetito!

My last recommendation is Cafe de Thai, located in south Reno. I've written about them before but have been back several times lately and I can honestly say this...I'm in love with their gluten-free Pad Thai and fresh Spring Rolls! Could eat 'em every day.

They also offer gluten-free dipping sauces that are wonderful and some of the best and most fun drink concoctions in town. You will NOT be disappointed.

This weekend, give one of these lovely restaurants and try and tell them that Gluten Free Bowl of Soul sent you.

Enjoy safe food~

4th Street Bistro
3065 West 4th Street
Reno, NV 89523-8808
(775) 323-3200

La Famiglia Ristorante

180 East 1st Street
Reno, NV 89501-1602
(775) 324-1414

Cafe De Thai
7499 Longley Lane
Reno, NV 89511-1208
(775) 829-8424


Kelly said...

I've been following the GF/CF (I have to avoid casien too) diet for about 6 months, and I appreciate your post. I live in Sparks, and on Prater is this tiny, hole in the wall, needs a womans touch restaraunt that a guys owns with his dad. It's called "Off the Hook". Have you heard of it, or eaten there? I have about 3 or 4 times. They serve fish and chips and it is totally GF, and pretty delish if I do say so myself. I am really hoping they stay in business (they've been terribly slow since they've opened) and if you haven't tried it yet, maybe you can give it a shot. Call them first, as their hours seem to be werid... 358-1225

HaLo said...

HI, So glad to see these rec's on GF restaurants. I am coming into Reno this Friday for a week and am going to need to find breakfast and dinner everyday --- any other recommendations of good restaurants to try? I am staying at the silver legacy (which I think is near downtown) and at a conference at the U of reno.....happy to take a cab too. Any help appreciated - thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

I kind of stumbled upon this information, and I don't think many people know about it. Thai Lotus in the Home Depot shopping center on South Virginia can do gluten-free. A family informed them of a GF soy sauce, and now you can order your food and specify that you want it GF, and they can accommodate it with most foods. They're family-owned, so you don't have to worry about a lot of new waiters who don't know what GF means.

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