Sunday, December 11, 2011

High Level Diner

After the couple hours spent at the Butterdome Craft Fair ~ we decided to go for lunch at a nearby Diner -
The Highlevel Diner ~ We have been to this diner in the past and the experience eating there always leaves us with a great experience and a desire to come back. 

The Highlevel Diner is always a full and busy place, usually when going in there is a line up - but it moves along and you are not waiting for long.  The owner is a friendly guy who always touches base with you, finds out how many are in your party and I find we are usually seated within 10-15 mins at the most.  The atmosphere is not new or modern, but it is clean, warm and cozy filled with antique furnishings ~ and  just as they "take pride in serving fresh, wholesome food from local producers, they also take pride in presenting original art works created by talented local artists."  Always great works to view from paintings to stained glass hangings.

They are very celiac friendly ~ have truly undertaken the "art" of accommodating those who require eating gluten free.  They have not only separate a separate "Celiac Breakfast & Brunch" Menu but also a "Celiac Lunch and Diner" Menu  - as well as being accommodating for their special "Turkey Tuesdays", "Thursday Ukrainian Diner" and the "Sunday Prime Rib Diner".

We decided to choose from the Lunch and Diner menu today - and I spied that they had "Home cut Fries" (made in a dedicated gluten free fryer) so I choose their "Gluten Free Diners Clubhouse" ~ (Locally raised chicken breast, bacon, tomato, lettuce & mayonnaise on toasted gluten free bread. Choice of fries, green salad or steamed veggies.) with the side of the Home cut Fries.  It was very good, they brought me heinz ketchup (as their locally made brand is not gluten free) and I enjoyed my clubhouse and fries.  Tasty.  The fries were really great, not greasy perfectly fried and just a little crunch to them.  Delicious.  Kevin had the "Jambalaya" ~ A Cajun Classic! A spicy combination of sausage, chicken, rice, tomato and shrimp slowly simmered.  They served it with crispy corn tortillas ~ he said it had a nice kick to it and enjoyed his meal.

And though they do not have a dedicated "wheat free" kitchen - they use dedicated gluten free fryers and toasters and take the care and attention needed as I have not felt ill after eating at the Diner.  I recommend if you like the artsy, antique, bistro feel of a great place to eat - High Level Diner would be a good stop.  :)

Butterdome Craft Fair

Yesterday we took some time out to go to the Butterdome Craft Fair - It was my first time at this event so I do not have a comparison to other years, I went with my guy and his mom and she said it seems to have more variety this year and one thing she noticed was the GLUTEN FREE signs on so many more of the vendors.  It really was nice to see - hard to find items like rubs, spice mixtures, dressings, sauces, marinades - if it hadn't been so crowded it would have been nicer to really take a good look at more than the few we stopped at.  All in all it is quite the place - the craft fair - definitely on the whole a lot of very talented people and so many different and quite unique items, mostly pricey but you could also find a surprising find or two. 

Two of the gluten free vendors we purchased from:  First the "Daksha Gourmet Spices" - in which all their spices and spice mixes are gluten free.  We bought 4 different spice mixtures to try: Tandoori, Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, and Chicken Curry.  As we use them in different dishes I shall write up a piece on each, looking forward to incorporating some Indian tastes into our meals.  Daksha Narsing also has written a cookbook "Tastefully Indian"  while I didn't get this one at the craft fair I am going to order it online, she was explaining to us that she also even has included a few bread recipes, gluten free ones, that she found with testing worked very well with Indian foods.  As I would like to incorporate more Indian Food tastes into our menu - Celiacs long for variety :)  I think this cookbook will be a good add. 

The other company we bought from was the Blue Kettle Specialty Foods. From this company we bought some Vegetarian Antipasto, and a few marinades/vinaigrette - the Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Greek Dressing and Herb Vinaigrette ~ looking forward to seeing the how these tastes change up the routine of cooking. :)  They have a number of products that are now Gluten Free but not all are ~ so definitely have to check with the manufacturer, bottle label, online information before you buy these products.

Next year I hope there are even more vendors and I will come even better prepared to buy and take home some more great gluten free products to change up the taste and routine of cooking meals.  So hope the great trend continues at other craft fairs and farmers markets - I do believe there is a huge market out there for them, and from talking to a few of the vendors they can feel this growing as well.  Cool. :)