Monday, August 31, 2015

The Foundry - Chicken Scratch

The Foundry = Drinks

Chicken Scratch = Food

Food & Drink

They share an Austin-esque outdoor area with tons of seating and a stage for live music. My CrossFit friends and I met for a Happy Hour Friday night. We got there at 6pm so there were plenty of seats. We nabbed a double sized table for the group which was great because it definitely got more crowded as the night progressed.

There was a waitress attending the tables. BFF ordered a cab (I think there was only one option) and I had a Bourbon & soda. I wasn't slayed by the drinks, but they were good enough. I didn't try their listed cocktails.

Fried chicken is definitely the big thing at Chicken Scratch and I do have to say that it looked good. But alas, it is not gluten free, so BFF & both scanned the menu a little further. BFF had the Half Bird which was half a rotisserie chicken and I had the Spicy Tacos. We shared a side of french fries.

I was a little worried about cross contamination for BFF, but it didn't seem to be an issue. We both loved our food!

Non-food Related

BFF & I Ubered from downtown, so I can't comment on parking or valet service. Have I said lately how much I love Uber??

I mentioned the outdoor seating area above. It is a highlight. It didn't feel overly crowded. There is a lot of seating. The waitstaff seemed available, meaning I never felt like we were constantly looking around to find them.

The food came out relatively quickly as did the drinks. They had a cooler of ice water handy so you could fill your own cups and pitchers. As much as I drink (especially when it is hot!), this is something I really appreciated.

Later in the evening, a DJ came out. I didn't stay long enough to get a good opinion. I would really like to go back when there is a band. I think it would be a great location for that.

Food: 4.5 stars
Atmosphere: 5 stars
Service: 4.5 stars
Gluten Free Options: 4.5 stars

Overall a great choice!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Paleo Stew

This week's weekend prep started with this recipe for Paleo Stew. I made it a few weeks ago, but tried it again with a little bit of variation. I'm absolutely loving my pressure cooker!

I started by sauteing some onions and garlic in coconut oil in a skillet. (I have to admit that I started out being scared of coconut oil. I can't explain why, but I was. Once I started using it, I realized it was great! Now it and nut oils are my go to's. I hardly use olive oil anymore.) I know you can do it right in the pressure cooker, but I prefer more room that the skillet provides. Once the onions were translucent, I added 3 pounds (recipe calls for 2 but I had 3 so 3 it was) of boneless skinless chicken thighs and browned them ever so slightly. I didn't bother to chop up the chicken, but you totally can.

I dumped the skillet contents into the pressure cooker along with some chopped tomato, a bag of frozen peppers & onions (I actually prefer the sliced ones if you can find them so they make the sauce a little chunkier), 1 jar of Sharwood's Indian Cooking sauce - Tikka Masala flavor, & 1 jar's worth of water. I put the pressure cooker timer on 25 minutes just like the recipe says and let it do the work.

Indian food is not in my comfort zone. I have tried it a few times, but have no idea what I really like and what I don't. The recipe author said that he like the Butter Chicken sauce so I tried that the first time and it tore up my stomach. It tasted good, but something in it just didn't agree with me. So this time I tried the Tikka Masala. Not only did I think it was tastier, my stomach stayed happy!! It really is a taste issue, but if you are hesitant to try Indian food, both sauces seem like good started foods. This recipe works perfectly and the chicken comes out spectacularly!

The dish is fantastic with some rice (for non-paleo folks) if you want to add it. It tastes even better leftover! I liked this dish so much that I feel like it will be a part of my regular rotation.

My remaining food prep was easy this week. Boiled some eggs and boned a rotisserie chicken for daily breakfast. I got a bit of ribbing this week on my "lunch like" breakfasts. Whatever, haters gonna hate. It is filling, healthy and REAL FOOD, so I win. :-) I also picked up some mixed veggies at Whole Foods along with a couple chicken burgers in case I need any quick meals later in the week. Some mixed fruit for afternoon snacks rounds out the menu.

Yesterday I had a work lunch at Saltgrass Steakhouse. That was easy with a lot of choices. I picked the chicken and sausage plate with a baked sweet potato. I ate half and have the rest for lunch another day.

Today our company catered lunch. I had a little bit of salad with grilled chicken, a pickle and a baked potato. Even though potatoes are not considered paleo friendly, it isn't the best of choices for weight loss which is my goal at the moment. However, free and convenient won out today and it was still clean and REAL food which is the overall goal.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Company Cafe

Another one of my favorites! I had been to the old Greenville location a few times, but we were semi-regulars at the Routh location. When it shut down, we were sad. We decided to check out the new(er) Greenville location this weekend.

Food & Drink

I stuck with my bourbon & soda, so I can't comment too much on the cocktails. But I did feel like it was a generous pour, so I give it a thumbs up.

The menu is almost entirely gluten free or can be made that way. It is nice to go to a place with many options and no concern about BFF and cross-contamination issues. Honestly, she doesn't usually worry about it, but from time to time, it bites her. This is a safe place!!

We shared an appetizer of the spinach & artichoke dip. I hadn't had that before and I have to say that it is probably my favorite of the appetizers. There was plenty to share, but not overwhelmingly so. We did have a lot of chips left when we were done. Tasted great!

BFF had the hamburger as she typically does. Since she can get a gluten free bun, she likes to take advantage. She also had the sweet potato fries which are awesome. Overall, for a GF person, it is one of her favorite places for a hamburger and fries.

I had The Deep Bowl which I guess is really more breakfast, but they serve it all day and I prefer it for lunch or dinner. It is a bowl with hamburger (grass-fed, of course), sweet potato hash with bacon, avocado, two eggs (served your way, I ordered over easy) and salsa. This is a dish I could easily have once a week. They have several different bowl options, but this one is put together perfectly for me. I had enough (especially with the appetizer) to take some home for lunch the next day.

As for other good items on the menu, many times I have ordered 1/2 a harvest or cobb salad with chicken and a 1/2 order of loaded sweet potato fries. Those things are no joke. I highly recommend them. I didn't mention the loaded fries as my favorite appetizer, honestly, because I usually get it for a meal! But it is a perfect appetizer for the table.

As far as food is concerned, I don't think you can go wrong.

Non-food Related

The service is a little laid back, but still good and attentive. While it wasn't busy when we arrived, it got that way by the time we left and we never felt unattended. When they didn't have any of my typical bourbon choices, the bartender gave me a taste of one he suggested which was nice.

The atmosphere is also laid back. Hipster vibe. Very chill, I think. Prices seem reasonable especially for the area and for healthy dining.

We made reservations for 7pm, but we got there at 6:30pm and had no trouble being seated. It probably would have been at least a bit of a wait as the night progressed, so plan accordingly.

Like HG Sply Co, it is on Greenville Ave. which is the biggest con for me. It is a cool area, but traffic and parking is a nightmare during peak times. We took an Uber though which was totally worth it. I do love Uber!

The location is right across the street from Trader Joe's which was perfect. We ducked inside TJ after dinner to by treats before heading home.

I do find it interesting that our 2 favorite restaurants in Dallas are about a block from each other.

Food: 5 stars
Atmosphere: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Gluten Free Options: 5 stars

Another perfect score, but then again it is a GF paradise.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pressure Cooker Sausage & Peppers

I cannot remember the last weekend where I didn't have at least one meal out. As a single person with no kids, that is almost unheard of...

(Okay, I didn't even finish typing that sentence before I remembered that I had Chipotle for lunch on Saturday, but that doesn't really count. I have Chipotle every Saturday for lunch. No rice, no beans, veggies, chicken, pico, salsa, little bit of sour cream, little bit of cheese, guacamole.)

Every weekend, I cook. Sometimes BFF comes over on Saturday and we eat and watch HBO shows. Or I just cook for the next week's meals. Either way, there is almost always some cooking happening. Saturday night after church, I made sausage with peppers and Parmesan cheese potato chips. I have never been able to get the right consistency with potato chips and these were no different. Bleh. Not good.

For the sausage and peppers, I used this recipe as my starter. I rarely 100% follow a recipe but this time I wasn't too far off. It is hatch chili season in Texas (yay!) and they are all over the place at Central Market. In addition to some mild Italian sausage links, I picked up some hatch chili sausage as well.

For peppers, I used one green bell, one red bell, one orange bell and four hatch chilies. I sliced them in big chunks and threw them into my pressure cooker. (I was so scared of pressure cookers for so long, now I'm in love!) Then I diced up three good sized tomatoes and added them to the pot. I know hard core paleo folks would make their own sauce...I did not. I just made sure it was gluten free so I didn't poison BFF and put that in there too. I added some water, 2 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic, some oregano, some lemon pepper and dried basil.

I put the sausage on top and let her rip! It was delicious. If you are gluten free as opposed to paleo, I would highly recommend serving it over rice. While the flavor is on point, it does seem to be missing something without it. But, such is life.

 Even though the potatoes were a bust, we enjoyed the sausage and peppers while we caught up on Veep and watched a little gymnastics.

My new favorite snack is Honey Cinnamon Nut Thins. OMG. I have to be careful or I will eat too many, but they are perfect to quell my sweet tooth without going off the rails.

For my weekly prep, I bought a rotisserie chicken from Kroger and took it off the bone. I will have some of it each morning along with a boiled egg. I have some pepper jack cheese slices if I feel like I need a little fat.

For my open lunches and dinners, I have the leftover sausage and peppers. Additionally, I bought some hatch chili pork burgers. I cooked those up yesterday so they are easily reheated during the week.

Friday, August 14, 2015

HG Sply Co

My favorite "go to" restaurant in Dallas is HG Sply Co. Yes, the name makes it sound like you could walk out with fertilizer and chicken feed, but pay no mind. You are in for a treat! This place is a mecca for gluten free and/or paleo diners.

Food & Drink

The drinks are fantastical! They infuse their own liquors, like beet-infused tequila. I also seem to recall that they have a vanilla infused bourbon in the fall. Yum!

 Then there is the food. The dinner menu is a little more extensive than the lunch menu, but they are similar. BFF & I almost always share the hummus. It comes with bacon, people! You dip the crispy bacon INTO the hummus. **drooling** The hummus itself is delicious as well and it comes with a variety of veggies instead of just the old standbys like carrots and celery.

Almost everything on the menu is gluten free or can be made that way. They have gluten free buns for the burgers and BFF gets them a lot. I got the bratwurst once and while it was good, it wasn't something I would probably get again. A rare "eh" for me here. The burgers and club are way better in my opinion.

To me, however, their specialties are their bowls. They have a lot of choices, but you can always build your own. I used to get the brisket, but I'm not even sure they serve it anymore.

My "go to" bowl is the duck confit with sweet potato hash. I alternate between broccoli with bacon and lemon & garlic roasted brussels sprouts. I usually skip the topper but spring for an egg (over easy, of course) on top. Seriously one of my favorite things on the planet.

I have been to HG many times and have taken a variety of people. Healthy and non-healthy eaters alike always sing its praises.

Non-food Related

The service is always top-notch. The waitstaff can help with drink or food ideas. I've never been let down with their service.

The atmosphere is great as well! There is a small patio and a roof top, plus there is a large roll-up window at the front that they will open during nice weather. Lower Greenville has a great vibe and is good for people watching.

Eating out in Dallas can be expensive. Eating healthy can be expensive. HG Sply Co is totally reasonable, although if you do start drinking (as with anywhere) it can add up.

The biggest con about HG Sply Co is the wait. Unless you plan way ahead of time, it is hard to get reservations. It is not at all uncommon for there to be a two hour wait during peak times. BFF & I often go early, before the crowd (we can fit in with the blue hairs sometimes, for sure) or make a random reservation way in advance. In fact, I just did that this week. I have a GNO coming up in October and we put dinner at HG on the books already.

The only other con is the traffic. While Lower Greenville is fun, the traffic is terrible. Parking is sparse. You can be stuck in an Uber 2 blocks away for 10 minutes. That is just the nature of the area though. To me, this is one place that makes the trouble worth it.

Food:  5 stars

Atmosphere:  5 stars
Service:  5 stars
Gluten Free Options:  5 stars

Perfect score! (I told you it was my favorite.)


Hi! I'm Beth Ann and I am a foodie. I was embarrassed about that for a very long time because I was overweight from the time I was a young girl and I was embarrassed to talk about food. But five years ago, I had weight loss surgery, discovered my inner workout beast and learned to love myself.

My BFF used to get sick often. She thought she had a bad stomach due to overwhelming anxiety, but over time realized that her stomach hurt beyond when she was anxious. A friend mentioned the results of her gluten free eating and BFF gave it a try. Almost instantly, she was transformed! She had felt that her world was so dictated because of being sick, but now she had the control!

We are both single with no children, so we hang out a lot. I'm typically the planner and the foodie, so I often find myself picking out the restaurants or cooking. Since I like to eat healthy (most of the time) and BFF eats gluten free, I'm always trying to find good restaurants and or good recipes that satisfy us both. One of the best ways to find great GF restaurants is through blogs.

I decided to contribute to the cause! This blog will contain restaurant reviews, some recipes and details about our adventures in general. My hope is that people and their gluten free (GF) friends can find some useful information.