Gluten Free Korean Food at Don’s Bogam // Koreatown, NYC


Don’s Bogam blends the exquisite tastes of authentic Korean cuisine with a modern and intimately chic atmosphere that’s both fun and stylish. Floor level seating, tabletop grills and a menu full of Korean staples are just a few of the accommodations that make Don’s Bogam a truly unique experience. The open kitchen, where you can see Master Chef Woo Kim at work, and the tableside grilling allows guests to see exactly what you are eating and how it is prepared. 

If you’ve never been to a traditional Korean BBQ restaurant you must try it at least once in your lifetime! Not only is it a unique dining experience where you cook at your table, but the quality of meat and fish, the portion sizes, and the flavor combinations are outstanding. 

shrimp grilling on the bbq; brisket and sides.

Don’s Bogam is the only (non-vegetarian) Korean restaurant in NYC that has a gluten free menu. If there are others, please do let me know! 

The Gluten Free Menu is below:

  • Japchae: Rice noodle with vegetables
  • Yukhoe: Steak Tartar with Pear
  • Haemul-sundubu: Soft tofu and seafood stew
  • Kimchi-jjigae: Kimchi and pork stew
  • Yukgaejang: Spicy beef and vegetable soup
  • Galbitang: Beef ribs soup with Daikon radish
  • Daegutang: Codfish soup with Shrimp, Clam and Vegetables
  • Prime Deungsim: Prime Whole Rib Eye Steak
  • Samgyeopsal: Pork Belly marinated in Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Saeng Galbi: Unseasoned, De-boned Thinly-sliced Beef Short Ribs
  • Deungsim: Whole Rib Eye Steak
  • Anchangsal: Sliced Skirt Steak
  • Chadolbagi: Thinly-sliced Beef Brisket
  • Saeu-gui: Jumbo Shrimp in Special Sauce
  • Sogogi-yachae-dolsot: Beef with assorted vegetables
  • Dak-gui-yachae-dolsot: Chicken with assorted vegetables
  • Tofu-yachae-dolsot: Tofu with assorted vegetables
  • Kimchi/Haemul-bokkeum-bab: Kimchi or Seafood Fried rice

Chadolbagi: Thinly-sliced Beef Brisket

Gluten Free sides
Gluten Free sides

Seafood Fried Rice with a fried egg on top
Seafood Fried Rice with a fried egg on top


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Celiac Awareness Month Day 27: WORLDFOODS Asian Fusion Sauces


It’s the 27th day of Celiac Awareness Month and I am celebrating with some delicious flavors and Asian recipes that can replace take out any night of the week! 

WORLDFOODS is a pioneer in the Fusion and Asian food industry with a range of easy and convenient sauces that are 100% natural, gluten free, trans fat free and allergen free.   


Each WORLDFOODS product is developed from local blends using 100% natural ingredients, traditional herbs and spices. They offer a range of fusion flavors whether you are a Chef or a busy homemaker; with a range of Asian sauces from Thailand, Malaysia, China and India. 

WORLDFOODS brings the comfort home with tasty, healthy and authentic home cooked meals, and helps reduce the amount of time you need to spend in the kitchen. Made with 100% natural ingredients and manufactured using hi-tech production methods guarantees the freshest quality in every bottle. A complete range of easy to use yet economical priced sauces carefully blended to give to you to experiment culinary creativity without the hassle of understanding and putting together an endless list of oriental herbs and spices.

WORLDFOODS produces a range of seven ready-made sauces totaling 51 variations in all, including; dipping sauces, pastes, noodle sauces, stir-fry, cooking sauces, marinades, chutneys and salad dressings. They never use preservatives or artificial flavorings, and ALL products are allergen free, trans fat free and GLUTEN FREE. WORLDFOODS range of “clean” products are suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and celiacs, and will tantalize your taste buds. 

I recently had the chance to try a few of their products and I was blown away with the freshness and flavor of each one. Jeremy said both meals I made tasted like take out. (I’m patting myself on the back.) I do have to say, he is right; the food tasted just how you would expect a curry dish to taste when ordering at an Asian restaurant. 


Thai Green Curry Paste

A mild spicy paste with green chillies, authentic Thai coriander, lemon grass and other authentic spices. Perfect for preparing a quick and authentic Thai Green Curry with chicken and vegetables.


Green Curry Chicken and Vegetables
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  2. 1/2 small onion, chopped
  3. 1 can Lite Coconut Milk
  4. 3 Tablespoons vegetable or chicken stock
  5. 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  6. 1 jar WORLDFOODS Green Curry Paste
  7. 2 cups chopped vegetables, such as white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and green beans
  8. 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  9. salt and pepper, to taste
  10. Jasmine Rice
  1. Heat oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat and saute onion 3-5 minutes.
  2. Mix in coconut milk, stock, soy sauce and green curry paste and brown sugar in medium. Bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add in vegetables and chicken; simmer 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
  4. SERVE over cooked Jasmine Rice.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond


Thai Masaman Curry Cooking Sauce

A mild heat Thai-Muslim influenced curry with the sweetness of coconut milk and tangy notes of tamarind. Its unique taste and mild spice renders this curry a favorite among many.

What’s so great about the cooking sauces is all you have to do is simply add meat, seafood or vegetables to the sauce for a complete meal in minutes!

Chicken Masaman Curry
Serves 3
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  1. 1 jar (340g) of WORLDFOODS Thai Masaman Curry Sauce
  2. 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  3. 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or frying pan and sauté boneless chicken breast for 4 - 5 minutes or until cooked.
  2. Add WORLDFOODS Thai Masaman Curry Sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low to medium heat for 15 -20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve with Thai fragrant rice or noodles.
  1. I also added carrots and green beans to this dish in step two.
Gluten Free Boston and Beyond


Both products I tried are mild. This is indicated on each bottle with a red pepper. One pepper = mild, Three peppers = HOT. I also received two HOT sauces, but I found the mild to be a little spicy so I am staying away from those! 


You can purchase WORLDFOODS products at major grocery chains across the country. Click here for a list of retail locations. You can also purchase all products online

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.


Boston Restaurant Review: Wagamama’s Gluten Free Menu Options

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 9.24.14 AMWagamama, the Japanese-inspired casual dining restaurant, known for its famed noodle dishes, as well as flavorful rice dishes, and fresh fruit juices, offers a variety of gluten free and healthy menu options. Wagamama combines fresh and nutritious food with friendly service and value for your money.

I recently had lunch at the Faneuil Hall location with my friend Becca. (The 3 other locations are Prudential Center, Harvard Square, and Lynnfield.)

The servers are trained to help with any dietary questions you may have. While many of the dishes use ingredients that contain gluten, they can modify some recipes to remove or replace those ingredients.  Each restaurant location offers a nutritional and dietary guide, listing the ingredients and allergens of each dish, including eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, shellfish, etc.

Gluten Free Menu Options include:

Raw Salad
Seaweed Salad
Itame Curry (rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup topped with chicken or tofu, vegetables, and garnished with cilantro and lime)
Yasai Cha Han (stir-fried brown rice with tofu, squash, egg, snow peas, sweet corn, mushrooms, and scallions and served with a side portion of miso soup)
Yaki Soba (teppan-fried rice noodles with chicken, shrimp, egg, beansprouts, peppers, red onions, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and sesame seeds)
Yasai Yaki Soba (with rice noodles)
Chili men (stir-fried chicken or tofu, zucchini, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and snow peas in a spicy tomato chili men sauce served over rice noodles)
Chicken Ramen (ramen noodles replaced with rice noodles)
Moyashi Soba (rice noodles in a vegetable soup topped with tofu and vegetables)

Wagamama prides itself on the quality and speed of its service and dishes are prepared immediately, ensuring they arrive at the table freshly cooked. Although this means dishes may be delivered at different time, the Wagamama philosophy is: don’t wait—just dig in and share!

And that is exactly what we did. Becca and I started with the edamame appetizer, served with your choice of either salt or chili and garlic salt. We chose the later, which was a bit spicy but delicious nonetheless.IMG_5980

We also shared the seaweed salad with a ‘special’ gluten free sauce. I will say that their seaweed salad is by far the best I’ve ever had and the first seaweed salad I’ve had in a long long time.


For my entrée I ordered the Chicken Ramen. The gluten free version is completely different from the menu description. The description says “Noodles in a chicken and pork soup topped with grilled chicken breast and baby spinach, garnished with menma and scallions.” The dish is made gluten free by replacing the ramen with rice noodles. Our server informed me that the chicken would be bland (Even though she was right, I don’t think servers should ever use the word “bland”).  I ordered it anyways because I wanted soup. It was fine, but she was right, it was bland. The chicken had no flavor, but the broth did, and the ample portion size was filling! IMG_5982

Besides the “bland” chicken, I am still a fan of Wagamama with its reasonably prices, great portions, and gluten free selections.  They are very willing to customize dishes for all allergens and it’s very reassuring that the manager brings out the gluten free— and all other allergen— items. Wagamama is the perfect place to grab a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.

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Send Me Gluten Free: Gluten Free Subscription Box

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

GF General Tso's Chicken

Gluten Free Chinese Take Out from Lili’s 57 // Midtown West, NYC

It is incredibly rare to find a Chinese restaurant that can cater to gluten free needs. In Boston, there was only one Chinese restaurant that offered “gluten free” options, and all that actually was is steamed vegetables and plain proteins.

GF General Tso's Chicken
GF General Tso’s Chicken

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered not one, but two Chinese restaurants that have gluten free menus!

Lili’s 57 is located in the heart of New York City (57th and 7th Ave), it’s sister restaurant Lili and Loo is located on the Upper East Side.

They offer a full gluten free menu and it is fantastic! They have everything from lettuce wraps and satay to teriyaki chicken, fried rice, and sushi.

Rock Shrimp Tempura
Rock Shrimp Tempura

Gluten free appetizers include: Satay chicken and beef, BBQ boneless ribs, Thai chicken lettuce wraps, and pork dumplings to name a few. We tried the Rock Shrimp Tempura ($11) with a spicy citrus mayo. I loved it, but next time I would order it with the sauce on the side. It was a bit soggy when it arrived.


The Beef Satay ($8) was beyond delicious. The Asian spiced skewers with a spicy peanut sauce were not too salty or oily. It wasn’t overloaded with marinade either.


When was the last time you had General Tso’s Chicken ($15)? For me it was around 2008. Made with big pieces of all white meat chicken and lightly battered, it is both tender and crunchy. It is served with a perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce that combines just the right amount of sweet and heat. The portion is relatively large and can easily make two meals. Jeremy agreed that it was one of the best General Tso Chicken’s he’s eaten, and would be fine eating the GF version from now on.


Three fried rice and two noodle dishes are also available on the gluten free menu. The Classic Fried Rice ($11) was also delicious. It was light and not very greasy as opposed to its gluten counterpart.


The Chicken Pad Thai ($13) is also available with shrimp. This traditional dish is servdd with tamarind lime sauce, eggs, crushed peanuts, which I had omitted. It had a slightly sweeter taste than I am used to, and the noodles were a little bigger than the thin rice noodles usually used in this dish, but I still loved it and ate leftovers for days.


Jeremy’s favorite dish, and my least favorite dish, was the Masaman Curry ($15). Thai sweet & spicy coconut curry with peanuts, potato, bell peppers is different than the Indian Curry I am used to. This is probably why I didn’t enjoy it so much; I was expecting Indian spices and flavors.


Lili’s 57 will deliver for free if you live within 15 blocks, and if you don’t they charge just $5. Each container is marked with a GF, and the receipt also indicates GF.


You can also dine in their restaurant, which we plan on doing soon!

Everything we tried was great and Lili’s has become our go to Chinese restaurant. It’s great to finally be able to eat Chinese food again after all these years.

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Lili's 57 on Urbanspoon


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Product Review: Boyajian Infused Oils, Vinegars and so much more.

Olive oil is a staple ingredient in my kitchen. It some how ends up making its way into almost everything I cook. When I was offered to review Boyajian’s products, including some of their infused olive oils I was thrilled.Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 3.17.56 PMDrawing on his Armenian heritage and family traditions, John Boyajian developed a line of infused olive oils using the finest quality olive oils from Italy and Spain. For more than 25 years, Boyajian has been making gourmet all-natural infused olive oils, vinegars, vinaigrette, Asian oils, citrus oils, natural flavorings and extracts. Although the oils are imported, the infusing and bottling processes happen in Boyajian’s Canton, Massachusetts manufacturing facility.IMG_5255

Boyajian slowly infuses 100% pure olive oil with fresh herbs and spices for an incomparable aroma and flavor. Boyajian oils are wonderful for sautéing, dressing salads and pasta, dipping focaccia into, making vinaigrettes and marinades, or simply for drizzling on your favorite dish. The oils have a shelf life of 2 years when kept away from sunlight. Flavors include:  Basil, Oregano, Chili, Scallion, Jalapeño, Chipotle, Rosemary, Garlic, and Habanero. I tried three:

Basil Oil

Drizzle this aromatic oil, made with fresh basil, on pizza; add it to your favorite tomato sauce, pasta, or soup; or use it as a dipping oil with crusty bread. Last night I used the basil oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and thyme to make a marinade for chicken. I was worried it would be too ‘’oily,’’ but that was not the case at all. The chicken was flavorful and tender.IMG_5259

Garlic Oil

An excellent alternative to fresh garlic, this oil has a consistent aroma and flavor in any application. Sadly, we used the entire bottle in less than one month. (that’s how much we loved it.)IMG_5256

Chipotle Oil

The mild warmth of the smoked peppers enhances all Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 3.37.26 PM

Boyajian’s line of fine imported vinegars, pure fruit juices, fresh herbs and spices include:  Raspberry, Maple, Balsamic, Pomegranate, and Sweet Cider Vinegar, as well as Balsamic Vinegar Cocoa, Cherry, Coffee, and Fig.  Shelf life is indefinite when kept in a cool, dry place.Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 3.57.20 PM

Balsamic Cherry Vinegar

Premium quality cherry juice is added to Boyajian’s signature Balsamic Vinegar. Rich in flavor, long in finish, it’s a classic with duck or venison and it tastes really good over vanilla ice cream!

Boyajian also features a line of Asian inspired oils: Toasted Sesame, Peanut, Hot Chili, Wasabi, Wasabi Sesame, and Plum vinegar.  These are ideal for sautéing; making dressings, sauces, and marinades; or as a finishing touch on your favorite Asian dish.  These cold pressed oils have a deep nutty flavor and aroma.

Sweet Plum Vinegar

Made from ripe, sweet plums, this vinegar creates a great flavor combination with toasted sesame oil for an Asian-style marinade/dressing, or mixes well with garlic oil for a Mediterranean flair.

Boyajian’s line of dipping oils are packed with colorful herbs and spices that taste as good as they look and are sure to jazz up your table. The flavorful vinaigrettes transform the salad course into a main event.

Italian Herb Dipping Oil

This oil is made using only the highest quality garden oregano, rosemary, and basil along with garlic, chilies, and salt. I really enjoyed this oil and when I was eating it with some nice gluten free bread, I felt like I was dining in a North End restaurant!

Boyajian has been honored with five of Boston Magazine’s prestigious “Best of Boston” awards. Products are sold in all 50 states and in several other countries.

Boyajian products can be found in retail stores and specialty grocers nationwide and around the world. They can also be ordered directly from their website, where you can find some great recipes too!

There is nothing more exciting than finding an ingredient that is simple to use, but completely transforms a dish. What Boyajian has done with its infused oils is extraordinary. The level of taste and quality of these products is remarkable. I can’t imagine not using the oils when I cook. It has truly changed my kitchen.

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.


Gluten Free Reivew of Moksa Restaurant, Cambridge MA

Over the summer Jeremy and I attended a fundraising event and won a gift certificate to Moksa Restaurant. Two months later we finally made it there. Located in Central Square in Cambridge, serves Pan-Asian style tapas, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night drinks.Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 3.26.55 PM

Moksa is simple but chic. The long narrow dinning room has unusual lighting. The lighting shoots down in concentrated bursts, so that your table is either fully lit or left in the darkness. The front lounge, where the bar is located, is nearly as large as the dining room but there are only 3 tables near the front window. In the back there is a nightclub called Naga. Outside seating is also available during the warmer months.

The drink menu is creative and unconventional, in a good way. Uncommon and intriguing combinations such as Junmai Sake, cucumber, lavender, and silver needle tea (Silver Peony, $9) and American Harvest Organic Vodka, Boston Honey and Dry Sherry (Wilbur’s Cup, $10). I opted for the Ratonita ($10), a unique twist on the classic margarita, made with Reposado tequila, agave liqueur, and preserved lemon foam. IMG_4594

The menu is made up of unique small to medium sized dishes that are easily shared like tapas or dim sum. With an assortment of diverse Asian flavors on the menu – Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Korean, Indonesian, etc. – there is plenty to choose from. Gluten free and vegetarian dishes are clearly labeled on the menu.IMG_4590 IMG_4593

We tried a couple of the offerings and were pleasantly surprised with the flavors of each dish. Everything had a unique taste and with the exception of the scallop sushi roll, we really enjoyed all the dishes.

First we tried the tuna summer roll ($7), which is made with a soft rice wrapper, then cut into 6 pieces and finished with a cilantro-lime sauce. The roll was light and refreshing, but the sauce was a bit too heavy on the cilantro.IMG_4600

The edamame ($4) topped with Himalayan sea salt came out next. For the price, it was a very generous portion.IMG_4597

Next we tried the vegetable pakora ($5), a traditional Indian dish made with mashed up vegetables, which are dipped in chickpea flour and then deep-fried and served with tamarind chutney. These were our favorite— simple yet flavorful. The chutney was sweet and sour and a perfect compliment for the pakora.IMG_4595

We really enjoyed the Chicken Pad Thai ($12) with beansprouts, peanuts and lime. We loved the subtle flavors and freshness of this dish. I also liked that the peanuts were put on one side rather than mixed in with the dish.IMG_4596

The Spicy Scallop Roll ($9) was very fishy and had way too much spicy mayonnaise sauce dumped on top.  This was really an avocado roll topped with scallops, spicy mayonnaise, and fish roe. After taking off most of the mayo it was tolerable. Either order the sauce on the side or just skip this roll all together.IMG_4599

All in all the food was good, fresh, and flavorful.  The prices are very reasonable and the portions are perfect for sharing. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and I really appreciated that the gluten free (and vegetarian) options were distinctly marked on the menu.

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Moksa on Urbanspoon

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Wagamama opens new restaurant in Lynnfield + $25 Gift Card Giveaway

Wagamama, the Japanese-inspired casual dining restaurant is set to open its fourth restaurant in Lynnfield on October 30th. This is Wagamama’s first restaurant opening outside of the city and it’s in the newly opened Marketstreet Lynnfield outdoor shopping center.

The new restaurant will be serving up Wagamama’s famed noodle dishes, as well as its signature bowls of hot ramen, flavorful rice dishes, and fresh fruit juices. Wagamama combines fresh and nutritious food with friendly service and value for money.Tep_ginger chicken udon“We are truly excited to bring Wagamama to Lynnfield as it will be our first suburban location in the U.S., with numerous more to follow,” said Wagamama’s chef operations officer, Frank Peace. “The Market Street Center is perfect for Wagamama’s signature casual dining experience and we hope it will be a great chance for people to stop off at Wagamama, whether it be day or evening, to sample some of our Japanese-inspired cuisine. Our fast, fresh and customizable dishes, such as my personal favorite, chili chicken ramen, are sure to delight!”sd_edamame with chilli

Wagamama offers many gluten free options. While many of their dishes use ingredients that contain gluten, they can modify some recipes to remove or replace those ingredients. Each restaurant location offers a nutritional and dietary guide listing the ingredients and allergens of each dish, including eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, shellfish, etc. Rice_prawn_raisukareeWagamama prides itself on the quality and speed of its service and dishes are prepared immediately, ensuring they arrive at the table freshly cooked. Although this means dishes may be delivered at different time, the Wagamama philosophy is: don’t wait—just tuck in and share!

One lucky reader will win a $25 Wagamama gift card, valid at any of the four US locations. To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter below to get started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to U.S. Residents only. The giveaway will end on October 24, 2013 at 11:59pm.

Wagamama Marketstreet Lynnfield is located at 1200 Market Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940

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Review: Cook Simple Gluten Free Meals – Healthy Home Cooking Made Simple

cooksimpleI love cooking. But let’s face it, after a long day at work and either a quick trip to the gym or running around town doing errands, who really wants to spend the time and energy to cook a meal? One solution is Cooksimple. Cooksimple offers a line of inexpensive and budget-friendly gluten free meal kits made from all-natural, whole foods and no added sugars.

Cooksimple was founded on the principle that people will eat healthier if doing so is tasty, easy, and accessible. Cooksimple has designed a product line to do just that by removing the largest barrier for most people: the lack of time to cook at home. These meal kits are a breeze to prepare, and are flavorful, satisfying, and inexpensive, all the while delivering superior nutrition.

I recently had the opportunity to try a few products from this line. The instructions were simple, and in under 30 minutes I had a complete meal ready to feed a family of five!  What I truly appreciated about these meal kits is the back of the box. Where it shows clear pictures of the ingredients you’ll need to buy. Also listed, are suggestions for variations and substitutions. Each meal requires you to buy 2-3 extra ingredients, such as ground turkey, canned tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, sausage or tofu. Some of the ingredients (soy sauce, eggs, olive oil, and canned tomatoes) I already had in my pantry, as most people probably do too. All of the meal kits are vegan on their own, and can be prepared with tofu, beans or other vegan meat alternatives to satisfy vegetarian and vegan diets.IMG_2349

Cooksimple meals have a lower sodium content than most boxed meals. This is a huge plus for me, not only for health reasons (too much salt is not good for anyone) but I also because I tend not to like to add much salt to my meals. These meals have about 50% less sodium compared to other boxed meals, and also rank higher in nutritional value and higher in fiber.

Cooksimple is all about making life easier, not weight loss. But it’s clear that they value nutrition and healthy ingredients. Cooksimple is sold in over 3000 stores across the U.S. and the full product line is also available for purchase online for $4.99 each. To find a location near you click here.

There are nine diverse and globally-inspired kits available including Tamale Pie, Cowboy Chili, Asian Burgers, Skillet Lasagna, Cranberry Wild Rice, Punjabi Curry, Tibetan Dal, White Bean Chili, and New Orleans Jambalaya.

tibetan dalThe Tibetan Dal is classic savory Indian dish with aromas of cumin and turmeric, a hint of cilantro, and can be enjoyed as a meal or a special dip. This meal kit only required the addition of canned tomatoes and olive oil – super easy and super flavorful. IMG_2369

My favorite meal kit, by far, is the Asian Burgers. This savory recipe adds an Asian inspired twist to traditional burgers. The box suggests adding ground turkey, soy crumbles or beans. I added a mix of black beans, pinto beans, artichoke hearts and mushrooms which I chopped in a food processor before adding them to the oat and spice mixture of sesame seeds, onion, garlic, ginger, orange peel and sea salt.  The burgers were delicious and moist, and smelled heavenly while cooking. The box also includes a package of rice, which for being ordinary rice, was also exceptionally flavorful.


The white bean chili was anything but mundane. The spices – chili powder, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic – are strong. Made with pinto, navy and kidney beans, I also added shredded chicken breast. I opted for water, not milk, but I think the milk would have helped cut the intensity of the spices. For a vegetarian dish, add more beans or tofu.wbc

The classic New Orleans Jambalaya was surprisingly lacking in flavor, and I needed to add more of my own spices. I was expecting a spicy dish, but this was just lackluster. Using Andouille sausage will give it the kick it needs to kick the spice factor up a notch. If you use precooked shrimp do not add them until the very end. The shrimp only need a few minutes to cook and if you add them at the beginning, like the directions say, they will be overcooked and too dry.IMG_2364

So how do these meal kits really stack up against other boxed meals?


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Stouffers is the highest in calories fat sugar sodium but also high in protein. stouffersSimply Asia noodle bowls are also high in calories and sodium! simplyasia

It isn’t often that I find a gluten free product free of preservatives and additives that is healthy and super tasty! I definitely recommend buying a few boxes of CookSimple™ to keep on hand for those nights that you don’t feel like cooking.


Gluten Free Asian Fusion at the Red Lantern in Back Bay

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[Updated: May 21, 2014]

I’ve wanted to check out Red Lantern since my roommate went there this past winter and told me they had a gluten free menu. It is on the pricier side so it hasn’t been on the top of my “Must Try’’ list until I saw this Living Social Deal; $30 for $60 worth of food and non-alcoholic drink. (The deal is available to purchase until June 2, 2014  and doesn’t expire until September 4, 2014. )

We had a great time at Red Lantern last night, the food and drinks were delicious but the restaurant itself has a bit of an identity crisis going on. It doesn’t know if it’s a bar, a lounge, a restaurant, a sushi bar, or a chefs table. Whichever kind of experience you want to have, you can do that here. But, the design is smart, breaking up such a large open space into smaller spaces with different seating plans. I loved the decor – red lanterns, Buddhas and stone statues – and red accents throughout the restaurant. But it was LOUD. Why must restaurants make the music so loud during dinnertime?


So our initial thoughts on the restaurant were so so but once we sat down and took our first bite of food, our attitude changed quickly.  The ambiance might not be perfect, but the food is creative, delicious and flavorful. I was impressed with the number of options on the gluten free menu. The chef was also willing to make a gluten free sauce to go with the Halibut special.


We sat at the open kitchen right in front of the wok station. For an appetizer we shared the Chicken Lettuce Wrap ($14) The chicken is stir-fried is a sticky sauce (thickened with cornstarch) with chilies and vegetables and served with baby iceberg lettuce in which to wrap the filling. It also comes with a Hoisin and spicy plum sauce, heavy on the spicy!  The dish is fun to share or could easily be a meal for one.IMG_3063IMG_3064

The signature cocktail list is pricey but worth a try. Using quality ingredients they have created Asian inspired drinks from regular classics, such as the Lychee Martini ($14) and Shanghai Street Sangria ($11). I opted for the Lantern Tea with Southern Comfort, Grand Marnier, Fresh Citrus and Tea ($11) and Jeremy had the Grass-Fed Mule, their twist on a Moscow Mule, made with Lemongrass infused cross vodka, fresh lime and ginger beer ($11). Moscow Mules have always been a favorite cocktail of mine, but there is something about the lemongrass and lime that made this drink a stand out.

For dinner we shared two entrees. I ordered the Scallop Fried Rice ($15). Fresh wok fried rice, cooked to order with egg, scallion, sesame oil, bean sprouts and vegetables. There is no soy sauce and it was not missed. This was one of the best fried rice dishes I’ve had in a long time. It was both flavorful and light.


We also shared the Wood Grilled Miso Sea Bass ($33), which is served with Japanese Eggplant and Smokey Bok Choy. The fish was tasty and buttery, but the sauce was too heavy on the miso paste. It overwhelmed the fish that was otherwise cooked beautifully. The dish is also served with baby bok choy and a side of Jasmine rice.


We could see our fried rice being made right in front of us, which was really cool! Once the chef was told it was gluten free, he moved the soy sauce aside so not to accidently add it. He moves so fast with the wok and adding ingredients, so that was a great move and reassuring that they know how to handle gluten allergies. Food runners ran our food and it was reassuring when they said it was gluten free. When we received our bill it also said “Gluten Allergy”, again another assurance that from ordering to cooking to serving, every step of the way the chefs and runners knew it was a gluten free meal.

In addition to the hot dishes Red Lantern’s gluten free menu also offers plenty of creative sushi rolls, traditional maki and sashimi platters.

So Red Lantern may have an identity crisis but it’s food is top notch. It would be a great place for a girl’s night out or a fun date night. And don’t forget you can get a great deal from Living Social here.
To save even more (20%) use promo code MEMWKND14 at checkout!

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Red Lantern Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon


Gluten Free Options at Bangkok Express in Quincy Market Place at Faneuil Hall

Bangkok Express in Faneuil Hall offers a handful of gluten free menu options, all labeled ‘GF’ on the menu. Everything is made to order and doesn’t take too long to cook. It’s perfect for a quick and cheap meal on the go. The food is good, not the best Thai food in Boston, but then again this is fast food. The meals are a good size, prices range from $6.95 to $9.95 for an entrée.

This is good news for us! For those of you who haven’t been there, Quincy Market is a huge building filled with food stalls; they’ve got everything from Clam Chowder, to Thai to Gyros to mouth watering pastries and much much more. Just looking at the food displayed in the cases I used to cringe. Not only because it was screaming GLUTEN (lobster rolls, soups with god knows what kind of base, cookies, fried dough….I think you get the picture) but I also knew there was nothing I could eat that wouldn’t make me sick. That is until I noticed the menu at Bangkok Express! Although gluten free options are limited at Quincy Market, it is nice to know there is something there to eat!

Some of the menu options include:
Tom Yum Soup, a hot and sour soup with chicken or vegetables
Mango Curry
Pad Thai
Cashew Chicken Rice

Pad Thai

Cashew Chicken Rice

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Bangkok Express on Urbanspoon