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Gluten Free in Toledo

Cocina De Carlos: Gluten-Free Mexican in Toledo

By January 23, 2014 Gluten Free in Toledo, Gluten-Free Restaurants

I recently visited Cocina De Carlos in Perrysburg, Ohio for dinner. My family was excited to try this restaurant due to the large menu we saw online and the noted GF icons next to several dishes, identifying them as gluten-free options.

It was nice to see the labels on the menu, making us feel safe about the food we were going to order.

Gluten-Free Menu Options

We arrived to the restaurant on a Saturday night at around 6 p.m. – it seemed to be quite busy which was a good sign that the food would be good.

We were seated at a booth and our server asked for our drink orders. Being the dedicated blogger that I am, I just had to try the margarita so I could give you all a proper review. I ordered my usual – raspberry margarita on the rocks, no salt. We also ordered appetizers. Being that nachos are my favorite dish basically ever, we got a platter of the Gluten-Free Nachos with Ground Beef, decently priced at $5.00. As we waited for the nachos, we were of course digging into the chips and salsa on the table. One of the things I enjoyed is that Cocina De Carlos serves their basket of tortilla chips with separate bowls of salsa so you don’t have to worry about bumping knuckles or double-dipping!

Gluten-Free Chips and Salsa

Once the nachos arrived, it was game time. They ended up tasting pretty good, but not the best I have had. We must remember though, I’m well-versed in the art of nacho eating so I have pretty high standards.

Gluten-Free Nachos with Ground Beef

After waiting what seemed like an eternity, our margaritas were delivered to the table. I wouldn’t say it was fabulous and I wouldn’t say it was bad, just so-so. Maybe if I return I’ll take it up a notch and have their Top Shelf Patron Margarita, you know, for research purposes.

When it came time to place my meal order, I was a bit overwhelmed. The menu at Cocina De Carlos is rather large with a lot of gluten-free options, making it hard to decide! I ended up getting the Pork-Jalapeno Fajitas. All of Cocina De Carlos fajitas are notes as GF when requesting the gluten-free corn tortilla and they are also served with Spanish rice, beans, and a guacamole garnish. I was expecting a sizzling plate full of fresh meat, peppers, and gluten-free tortillas. What I got was a bit different…

My pork-jalapeno fajitas had a heavy cheese/creamy sauce on them that I was not expecting from the description on the website – Gluten-Free Pork-Jalapeno Fajitas: Tender grilled pork carnitas with sliced fresh jalapeno, onions and tomatoes. I was also given flour tortillas with my meal after requesting gluten-free corn tortillas. It made me wonder if our server (who wasn’t the most pleasant person in the world) even understood what the gluten-free request meant. When I was waiting for the corn tortillas to be delivered to the table, my mom lent me one of hers so I could begin eating with the rest of the family.

Gluten-Free Pork-Jalapeno Fajitas

Since I’m not the biggest cream-sauce lover, I didn’t dig my meal very much.

My mom ordered the Gluten-Free Don Charly: Half of a ripe pineapple grilled and filled with chicken, grilled mushrooms, onions, pineapple chunks and melted cheese on top. Served with Spanish rice, beans, and a guacamole garnish. The Don Charly is noted gluten-free on the menu when ordered with gluten-free corn tortillas. I ended up eating some of this meal since I wasn’t that thrilled with my order and the portion was insanely large.

Gluten-Free Don Charly

 

My gluten-eating step-dad and step-brother seemed to enjoy their meals.

All in all, it was nice to visit a Mexican restaurant with noted gluten-free options on the menu, but the experience wasn’t the greatest. Our service was less than what you would expect and we had some troubles with our drink orders. While I don’t see myself returning to Cocina De Carlos in the near future, it is good to share the experience with you.

Having the option to eat at a new restaurant is always nice, not to mention several options at the restaurant itself. Hopefully our less-than favorable experience was an exception to the rule at Cocina De Carlos.

If you are interested in seeing the gluten-free options available at Cocina De Carlos, check out their online menu.

Have you ever visited Cocina De Carlos? If so, share your experience in the comments below!

 

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The Best Flavored Gluten-Free Popcorn

By October 18, 2013 Gluten Free in Toledo, Gluten-Free Products

There’s a new popcorn sheriff in town and she goes by the name of Rachel Michael.

Rachel Michael’s Gourmet Popcorn is the latest and greatest thing to hit the Toledo streets. My co-worker (and awesome foodie), Paula brought in a treat to work one day in the form of Buckeye popcorn…you know, the wonderful peanut butter and chocolate treat us Ohioans go crazy for whenever it’s available. So after sharing this delicious popcorn with the team, I was hooked and HAD to go check it out for myself.

I visited Rachel’s shop last Saturday. It is located on Monroe Street in Toledo, right next to our local Hobby Lobby (so I frequent the area quite often). When I walked in, I smelled the aroma of all things Holy – popcorn, melted chocolate on top of popcorn, pumpkin & caramel all up on popcorn…it was absolutely glorious. Yes, I am a popcorn lover…borderline kernel-obsessed, don’t judge me.  

Gourmet Popcorn Sampler

I already knew I loved the gourmet Buckeye flavored popcorn, so I requested a bag of it to take home (a large bag of course). Then, being the magnificent daughter that I am, I purchased a bag of pumpkin popcorn for my mother (so she keeps doing my laundry for me when I drop it off at home).

Pumpkin Popcorn

If I could have bought every flavor of the popcorn, I would have. Flavored popcorn is a great gluten-free treat because it’s safe, it can be healthy, and it’s fun. Everyone loves popcorn, even the gluten-eaters!

If you’re one of my local readers, I urge you to stop at Rachel’s shop as soon as possible. This weekend is full of Grand Opening festivities, starting Friday, October 18th with a live broadcast from 92.5 KissFM and a ribbon cutting with Toledo Mayor Mike Bell! I am going to stop by on Saturday afternoon for some fun, so maybe we can get a chance to chat!

Rachel Michael's Gourmet Popcorn

Remember, the entire weekend all of Rachel Michael’s Gourmet Popcorn is 10% off! And parents, kids get FREE popcorn balls all day long. What’s not to love about that?

Don’t forget to follow Rachel Michael’s Gourmet Popcorn on Facebook so you can stay up-to-date with the latest popcorn flavors that are being cooked up! And if any of my admirers are reading this, feel free to buy me buckets and buckets of the Buckeye popcorn!

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Gluten-Free at Grumpy’s

By June 6, 2012 Gluten Free in Toledo, Gluten-Free Restaurants
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It’s pretty much common knowledge that local, home-town restaurants always beat the stuff of chains. For being a native of the Toledo, OH area since the age of 6, I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not experiencing the gloriousness of local lunch-time hot spot, Grumpy’s, until just recently.

Having heard about the restaurant from a few people here and there, then realizing they had gluten-free selections after visiting Gluten-Free Glass City, the time had come for me to schedule myself a lunch date.Being that my mom works in downtown Toledo, would appreciate the gluten-free options, AND would foot the bill, she was obviously the perfect candidate.

[[Disclaimer: If you choose to dine at Grumpy’s, which I highly recommend, they are only open Monday – Friday between the hours of 8am-2pm.]]

The first thing that rubbed me the right way about Grumpy’s was the abundant parking [if there before the lunch rush]. There is a parking lot alongside the building, making the stress and anxiety I get from having to park on the streets nonexistent. Once my mom and I arrived, we walked in and were immediately seated at a table for two. I told the server that we were gluten-free and she then explained to us that they had a selection of gluten-free bread, buns, and pizza crusts that are all homemade each morning. We were instantly ecstatic.

There were many things I was thankful for as we geared up to order our lunch – the gluten-free selections, the handmade bread, the friendly staff, my mom eventually paying for my meal…BUT the number one thing I was thankful for – the fact that I am NOT on a diet. HOLY MOLY we ended up ordering a lot of food!!!!

My mom and I started off by sharing the soup of the day [chicken & rice] as we tried to strategize the rest of our meal. Wanting to have a little taste of everything, we decided to alternate selections and share bites with one another. Being that Grumpy’s is known for their Garbage Salad, my mom decided to order the size small, telling me I would be able to try a bite. This was kind of “whatever” to me since you all know I am not a salad kind of gal. BUT, when the plate came out containing the mixed greens, grilled chicken, onions, raisins, four cheeses, and homemade poppy-seed dressing, I kinda-sorta decided I had to at least try it. After one bite I immediately alerted the media [by tweeting and instagramming] that I officially like salad now!!! The poppy-seed dressing Grumpy’s makes is to DIE for!

After being impressed by a salad [which is very rare for me], I couldn’t wait to experience the rest of the meal. For maximum gluten-free meal optimization, I ordered a hamburger [because I wanted a big yummy gluten-free bun], and my mom ordered the Jennifer’s Special sandwich. Once the plates came out, I was awestruck. There was NO way that the bun on that hamburger was gluten-free, because I had never seen a gluten-free bun that looked so light, puffy, warm, and inviting [to my taste buds]!!!! I was honestly telling my mom that I was afraid they mixed up my order with a regular person’s because the bun tasted too good to be true!

My mom’s Jennifer’s Special sandwich was just that – SPECIAL. Made with Grumpy’s Veggie gluten-free bread, it was unlike anything I have ever tasted. You could tell by looking at it that it would taste amazing…not to mention the yumminess that was between the slices of bread! We started cutting off portions of our sandwiches for one another, with countless “oh my gosh this is good” and “I can’t believe this” comments coming from our table.

After cleaning my plate, and helping my mom to clean hers, we were greeted by our server. Seeing that the words “self-control” do not exist in my vocabulary, I promptly asked what gluten-free desserts they had. We were then happily informed that the chocolate cheesecake along with the chocolate chip cookies were gluten free, so of course we ordered both.

When the cheesecake was set on the table, we were speechless. Had I not been in public, I would have unbuttoned my pants right then & there to make room for my food baby. After taking one bite the only words coming out of my mouth were “Oh my gosh, this is amazing“. I also devoured my gluten-free chocolate chip cookie as well. Part of me is not proud of this moment, but the other part of me is perfectly fine with the way I behaved, because this was honestly the best gluten-free lunch I have ever had.

I fully plan on returning to Grumpy’s to report my findings on their gluten-free pizza, as well as a variety of other sandwiches on the menu. I will do so for the sake of this blog, not for my taste buds. I am a selfless human being as you can see.

For those of you that may be in awe of the sounds and sights of these gluten-free bread products, Grumpy’s does sell by the 1/2 loaf [$5], as well as by the bun [$2]. The pizza crusts, which will be reviewed after my next visit, are sold in packs of 3 [$9]. Visit the Grumpy’s website, or call (419) 241-6728 for more information.

Now go plan your lunch date at Grumpy’s so you can give your taste buds the gluten-free ride of their life.

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