Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Melting Pot

Last night I went to The Melting Pot. I heard of it years ago and have been wanting to go, but for some reason I never went until now. And I had so much fun! And I didn't leave hungry!

I did not go anticipating a blog post, so there are no pictures. You should just go and see for yourself.

We went for happy hour to celebrate Missy's birthday, and sat in the bar area for fondue. She, being awesome, had checked it out beforehand and said there was a GF menu. (It's right on the website)

Right after we ordered, I inquired about the gluten content. Our waiter said he could make both the cheese and chocolate fondue gluten free. I was happy that he even knew what I was talking about.

They made the fondue right at our table, and starting by pouring in a type of (my guess) cornstarch slurry and beer. Um, beer? (slightly panicked) Excuse me, was that beer? The waiter just laughed and said it was cool; he wasn't going to poison me. It was some kind of gluten free beer. AWESOME!

By the way, the waiters there were really friendly and personable, not like some places where they dryly ask you what you want to eat and that's about it.

Then they brought out plates of dippings; vegetables and fruits and breads and chips. He handed me a tray of fruits and veggies before they got contaminated. We had two pots and were originally going to keep one gluten free and the other one glutened, but I ended up taking a small bowl of fondue for myself and letting everyone gluten to their hearts desire. Next time I will try to bring some Udi's bread or crackers to dip.

And THEN. The dessert. We ordered the disarrono chocolate fondue. It came with an assortment of fruits and brownies, cheesecake, pound cake, and marshmallows. We were given two plates- one gluten and one gluten free. I love how conscious they were of cross contamination.

Let me tell you about this particular chocolate fondue. It's brought out and flambeed, which was really cool. The first bite I chose was a marshmallow dipped in heaven. Now, I generally don't exaggerate just for the sake of exaggeration, but I literally said, "Oh my God" out loud. It was amazing.  At one point Akhtar looked at me, ready to dip a marshmallow, and said excitedly, "This is going to be so awesome!!" It was that good. I just can't begin to tell you how good it was.

Overall a great experience and good company. I'm definitely going back.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is a super easy dish that ends up tasting like you spent hours cooking it.

It's kind of like a spaghetti sauce with chicken. Kind of. At least this version is.

I love to use my crock pot for this dish, and I either use chicken breasts or a cornish hen, because a real chicken is too big to fit in my little crock pot. I don't brown the chicken before tossing it into the crock pot, because I hate doing extra dishes. It tastes great without it, but feel free to add this step.

Also. This does not make a large amount of food, since I'm just cooking for one person.


1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh basil leaves, picked fresh from your herb garden. Don't have one? Start one. It will change your life life.
1 tsp dried (or fresh!) oregano (My oregano didn't grow so I used dried)
2 chicken breasts or 1 frozen cornish hen
salt and pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes
Most chicken cacciatore recipes call for mushrooms, but I don't like them so I don't use them. I love being able to do that.

My crock pot directions are all the same: Toss everything into the crock pot the night before, put it in the fridge overnight, and set it on low when you leave for work in the morning. I can't stress this enough: Don't forget to plug it in and turn it on!

When you come home hungry, it will be ready. If you've cooked a whole bird, fish it out and remove the bones.

Serve over rice or pasta, or not.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Around town

So I recently discovered that I do not have to go hungry in Galveston!

Tried a couple new places this weekend.

I will start at the beginning.

About a month ago, my friend who lives in north Houston happened to drive by Mary's Gluten Free Bakery and told me about it. So, like everything else, I made a mental bookmark until I was in that part of town. BTW, my friends are kickass for noticing stuff like that.

I was at the airport Friday picking up my Marine on pre-deployment leave [had to put that in there- so proud!] when I realized that Mary's was close by. So Mr. Awesome found it on his smartphone and we found our way over to the bakery. Deliciousness followed.

Talk about every single thing being absolutely wonderful. The carrot cake was BY FAR the best I'd ever tasted. The lemon squares were tart and smooth. The cookies were amazing. I left with a large bag of goodies and a satisfied sweet tooth. I should note they don't have fresh-baked bread, which would be just heaven. Maybe one day...

Also, in anticipation of being hungry at some point in Galveston, I researched on the internet and called a few places that were deemed "gluten friendly." I ended up finding 4 and was overjoyed.

Joe's Crab Shack- have a gluten free menu

Olympia Grill- have a gluten free menu

Courtyard Cafe- don't have a gluten free menu because their menu changes, but she assured me that they have something gluten free every day. You pretty much just walk in and say, "What have you got?" and they feed you. I really want to try this place.

Mario's- We ended up eating here. They offer gluten free pizza and pasta. When I got there, I noticed that on the menu there is a little area that advertises gluten free pasta and pizza. So, I asked the waiter how I go about ordering something gluten free- do you just order a regular pasta dish and ask to substitute gf past or what?

He had no idea. Uh, okay.

So he went to go ask and came back with a half-assed explanation and said he really didn't know and shrugged. Uh, okay. I figured at that point I'd just order plain pasta and sauce, and hope the kitchen knew what he was talking about.

Then Mr. Awesome jumped in and told him to go find out exactly how to order it. And he did. And you pretty much just order any pasta dish (besides stuff that's pre-made like lasagna or ravioli) and you get gf penne instead. I could handle that.

So my order came and I was slightly nervous about whether or not it was gluten free. (Un?) fortunately, I could tell right away, just by the way the pasta looked. It was slightly overcooked, as it's easy to do with gf pasta, but it tasted fine and the rest of the dish (some kind of shrimp tomato thing) was really tasty. I was happy to have something besides salad in a restaurant.