gluten free flour

Gluten Free Vienna

Ristorante Pizzeria Scarabocchio

Florianigasse 3, 1080 Wien, Austria

A charming Italian restaurant in the center of the city, Ristorante Pizzera Scarabocchio is a real gemstone.  Step into an Italian bistro style pizzeria where the staff who wait on you are full blown Italian.  Of course there are non-gluten free pizza and pastas on the menu, but nearly everything can be made gluten free.  They claim to make their own gluten free pizza crust, which we were really excited to try. 

We ordered the gluten free focaccia bread to share as a starter and the gluten free penne pasta and pizza as our mains.  We thought that the focaccia bread would be fluffier like a traditional focaccia bread, but they actually use the same crust that they use for the gluten free pizza and top it with rosemary and olive oil.  We enjoyed it but we likely would not have ordered it had we known that it was going to be made from the same crust as the pizza.

The gluten free pizza was the same size as the regular pizza and there was no surcharge for gluten free.  We ordered the fresh buffalo mozzarella pizza with garlic.  The pasta was a gluten free penne with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella and ricotta cheese.  We were so full by the end of the meal, but we had to save room for the gluten free tiramisu! The tiramisu was really delicious and beautifully presented on the plate.  You would never known that you were eating a gluten free dessert.  We sat next to a couple from Ireland who came to the restaurant because the husband had celiac and he was so excited to have a piece of gluten free tiramisu!  They told us that Ireland has one of the highest rates of celiac in the world and is a very gluten free conscience country.  I guess we'll have to plan a trip to Ireland to check out the gluten free restaurant scene!     

Allergiker Café

Wiedner Hauptstraße 35, 1040 Wien, Austria

Here is a little cafe in Vienna that is 100% gluten free.  Open for breakfast and lunch, they serve coffee and tea and a variety of gluten free cakes and cookies.  Some of the cakes are signature to Vienna, including the famous Sachertorte.  The cake consists of a dense and slightly dry chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with whipped cream.  Earlier in the day, we sought out the most famous place to get Sachertorte for me at the Hotel Sacher.  To be honest, I could not tell the difference between that slice of cake and this gluten free version.  That is to say that the Sachertorte is meant to have a dry consistency and we all know that gluten free is too often infamous for being dry and slightly crumbly.  

 

As you can note on the menu in the photo below, many of the cafes and restaurants in Vienna have symbols to indicate the allergens in their menu offerings.  The most common allergens noted are gluten free, lactose free and nut free.  We very quickly learned that Vienna is a very easy place for individuals with food allergies to navigate because restaurants are legally obliged to note the major allergens on their menus.  

Blue Orange

Margaretenstraße 9, 1040 Wien, Austria

Blue Orange is a cafe that is open for lunch and offers all different types of bagel sandwiches.  With it's origins in NYC and eventual growth across the US, the bagel trend is growing internationally, especially in major cities.  We've discovered at least one trendy bagel shop in every city throughout Europe, and Australia that we've traveled to.  Blue Orange can make any of the bagel sandwiches on the menu gluten free.  They don't make their own bagels in house and purchase them from a gluten free wholesale bakery.  We ordered the caprese style sandwich with fresh mozzarella, tomato, pesto and basil.  The gluten free bagel tasted more like white bread in the shape of a bagel. It definitely didn't possess the chewy texture and crunchy exterior that you would expect from a traditional bagel  I guess you could say it tasted more like a lender's bagel.  There was a slight surcharge for the gluten free bagel.  The sandwich itself was tasty and it was fun to be able to stop for an afternoon gluten free bagel snack in Vienna!  The cafe is also a cute place to sit with lots of space and tables.  Many customers were sitting and working with their computers and a cup of coffee.  

Café Landtmann

Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien, Austria

Cafe Landtmann is an old famous cafe in the heart of Vienna.  It is one of Vienna's tourist attractions, as it was opened in 1873. Walk into the cafe and enter a charming old-world European bistro-cafe with elegant finishings and servers dressed in formal attire.  Your eyes will be immediately drawn to the bakery counter.  Filled with three shelves of beautiful colorful cakes, each is more mouth watering than the next.  The most impressive part is that there are about 10 desserts that were labeled with a yellow gluten free sticker.  In addition, cakes that are lactose free and nut free are labeled too, each allergen with a different color code.    

The cakes were reasonably priced too.  Each cake was about 5.50 euros for take out and 6.50 euros to eat in.  I had to stop Josh from buying one of each cake to try.  We bought three cakes to try- the chocolate cake, strawberry shortcake, and chocolate mousse.  The cakes looked better than they tasted, but we eat with our eyes so that was most of the fun! 

Gasthaus Zum Wohl

Stumpergasse 61, 1060 Wien, Austria

The entire menu is gluten and lactose free.  To clarify, this doesn't mean that the restaurant is dairy free.  They offer dishes with lactose free cheese and coffees with lactose free milk and almond milk.  There is a really pretty courtyard with tables outside, but it was a bit chilly so we sat inside.  The entrance of the restaurant has a huge bar with a coffee machine and alcoholic beverages including gluten free beer.  The restaurant is really spacious and clean with a modern and sleek design.  Our server was very friendly and knowledgeable.  He taught us a fun new fact- cheese that has been aged for more than 6 months becomes lactose free.  So if you are lactose intolerant and love parmesan cheese, you're in luck!

We started with a vegan yellow lentils curry soup with carrots and coconut cream and enjoyed three spreads with homemade bread.  We moved on to a delicious Asparagus quiche with salad and herb dip.  The crust had a lemon zest flavoring in it, which was sensational.  We also shared spinach dumplings with tomato sauce and nut pesto. The dumplings tasted sort of like gnocchi.   The dish was very pretty and the tomato sauce was excellent, but the dumplings were a little too gummy and chewy, a bit slimy in fact.  For dessert we had a version of the famous Viennese crepes with powdered sugar.  The presentation was very appetizing, but the crepes were also gummy and chewy.  I would recommend steering clear from anything that resembles a dumpling or a pancake on the menu, especially since there are so many other options.  All in all, I would definitely recommend trying Zum Wohl because its a very pretty place to enjoy a hardy 100% gluten free meal with excellent service.  

Mr. and Mrs. Feel Good

Paniglgasse 22, 1040 Wien, Austria

This little cafe has delicious, home-made food every day, with many dishes that are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan. They have an english menus and label all allergens and multiple GF choices.   They also have delicious cakes and they serve coffee, tea and smoothies. We loved the curry, especially sweet potato. You can sit inside or outside under large umbrellas. A quick on the go option for lunch.

Waldherr

Naschmarkt

One of my favorite activities in European cities is to explore the food markets and taste the fresh handmade local cuisine.  Naschmarkt is Vienna's famous outdoor food market with over 100 food stalls and restaurants.  We stumbled upon a small "bio" bakery called Waldherr in the middle of the market.  The bakery serves an array of fresh organic and whole wheat breads and pastries.  They also have a dedicated selection of gluten free pastries that are wrapped in plastic.  We tasted something that looked similar to a croissant.  It was very dry and crumbly.  The excitement factor of eating gluten free versions of some of Vienna's pastry delicacies was a redeeming quality.  Maybe they would have been better fresh out of the oven.  

Merkur Market

Hoher Markt 12, 1010 Wien, Austria

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Markur Market is a really gorgeous and upscale supermarket in the city center close to the Hilton Hotel where we stayed.  There are three floors.  The bottom has fresh produce, the middle floor has gourmet groceries and the top floor has a bakery, wine bar, and coffee bar.  Near the bakery section, we found a table filled with gluten free baked goods from a company called Weizen Frei, which means Wheat Free in German.  The muffins didn't look like anything special, but the breads looked fantastic and there were a few different types.  We bought a few different breads to try and enjoy with our canapes at the hotel club lounge that evening.  The Hilton Hotel offered GF bread with breakfast from the same company.

Here is an excellent recipe for traditional Viennese gluten free poppyseed noodles. 

Gluten Free Vietnam

The Asian population in general has a very low rate of gluten intolerance.  This is likely because the majority their diet is based on naturally gluten free grains, namely rice.  They don’t eat a lot of bread like we do in Western societies, where gluten intolerance is all too common. 

The gluten free industry in Vietnam exists because of tourism.  At all of the hotels we stayed at in Vietnam, the staff aimed to please.  Especially the 5 star hotels and international hotel chains like Hyatt and Accor attract travelers from the US, Australia and Europe, with a high rate of gluten free guests.  The good news is that Vietnamese food is naturally gluten free friendly.  Two of the most well known Vietnamese dishes are Pho, which is a soup made with rice noodles, and Vietnamese spring rolls, which have an outer wrap, made of rice paper.   

Vietnamese food is naturally gluten free friendly, but it is not vegetarian friendly.  Most of the Vietnamese cuisine is very heavy in pork and shellfish, so having a vegetarian section on every menu at the hotels we stayed at was also extremely helpful.  

Hyatt Regency, Da Nang

At the Hyatt Regency, the Food and Beverage manager told us that they have increased their gluten free offerings since they have been progressively getting more and more gluten free customers.  They have especially seen increases in the number of children with gluten intolerance.  They have started to educate their staff about gluten free awareness. 

The property has three restaurants.    All menus items are marked with common allergens including gluten free, vegetarian and contains nuts.  On the evening we arrived, we ate at The Beach House restaurant.  We were exhausted after flying in from Ho Chi Minh.  The extraordinary food at this restaurant awakened our taste buds!  There was so much on the menu that we wanted to order and so many delicious items marked gluten free or vegetarian!

Every morning an international hot breakfast is served at The Green House restaurant, which is also open for lunch and dinner as an Italian restaurant.   The hotel staff prepared gluten free "pumpkin bread" for us. Thick pieces of gluten free sliced bread that are yellow in color and smell like sourdough bread, the bread likely had only a teeny bit of pumpkin in the dough to add color.  The texture was dry and fluffy, almost like sponge cake, and the bread didn’t taste like pumpkin at all.  The taste was quite bland compared to the delicious sourdough smell, but definitely does the trick when eaten toasted with an omelet or dipped in olive oil.  The Green House offers gluten free spaghetti at lunch and dinner as a substitute to all pasta dishes on the menu.  In fact, the box of gluten free pasta is on display with the other regular pastas, which is pretty cool!

Vin Pearl, Da Nang

We ate breakfast at the Vin Pearl buffet one morning during our trip.  We were gracious that they have a gluten free bread alternative for gluten free guests.  However, the bread was almost inedible.  It was crumbly and tasted like cardboard- would bring you back to gluten free bread in the pre-historic era (like 1990s!). 

The highlight of this meal was that we got to try salmon Pho for the first time! Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped white rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken.  Pho is traditionally served at breakfast time and is staple of the Vietnamese diet.  Most pho, even salmon pho, is prepared with a chicken or meat stock.  The salmon pho at the Vin Pearl was made with a vegetarian stock, so we got to taste this traditional dish that everyone raves about!  

Angsana Lang Co

During breakfast on the first day of our stay, Josh requested gluten free bread from the kitchen staff.  The issue is that no one seemed to speak English well enough to understand him.  The thing about the Vietnamese people is that they have a very friendly and pleasant manner, but their English is generally very poor.  There were other naturally gluten free items on the buffet including eggs made to order, vegetables and potatoes.  My favorite items on the buffet were the different flavored yogurts.  I especially loved the bircher muesli, the passion fruit yogurt and the aloe vera yogurt!  Of course, every Vietnamese hotel offers traditional Vietnamese breakfast items that are naturally gluten free including congee, pho, shrimp spring rolls, Vietnamese soups and banh chung- a sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaf and packed with fatty pork and mung bean.  Side Note: We had ordered a vegetarian version of Bahn Chung from room service the first night that we arrived to try to get a sense of this popular Vietnamese dish.  I usually love a dish with sticky rice, but the center filling tasted very weird and reminded me too much of animal fat.   Let’s just say I wouldn’t order it again. 

That afternoon, we met a woman at Yoga who told us that the hotel had been preparing gluten free bread for her every morning at breakfast and that we had to speak with the head chef who spoke English.  The staff was so apologetic about not understanding our request the day before that the next morning, they prepared a special plate of gluten free breads and muffins for Josh.  Josh enjoyed the mini gluten free rolls and said they tasted just like bread sticks.  The sliced bread was not very enjoyable, as it was had a gummy and cakey texture, even after being toasted.   The muffins were dry and crumbly.  But they definitely got an A for effort! 

There is an Italian restaurant on the neighboring Banyan Tree Hotel property that is open for lunch.  On the first day, we brought our own gluten free pasta and asked them to prepare it for us.   They did so happily.  The next day, they prepared a gluten free pizza for us.  Although they don’t normally do this, the hotel is clearly eager to please guests.  The chef used a gluten free bread mix for the base and explained to us that the dough was too soft and kept falling apart.  When she baked it longer, it held together better, but she still struggled with the consistency.  It actually looked AMAZING, which is half the battle!  The pizza had a very funny flavor and chewy texture.  We requested a side of pizza sauce and dipped it in the sauce to mask the flavor.  But since it looked so pretty, we continued to eat every last morsel.  

The Nam Hai, Hoi An

The Nam Hai was not only the most beautiful resort I have ever stayed at but the most accommodating to dietary restrictions too.  Upon check in, reception asks if you have any dietary restrictions and make a note on your room account so that the kitchen and wait staff is aware when they serve you.  

Breakfast is served every morning at a beautiful space overlooking the hotel property, the expansive pool and the quiet beach.  Sitting at breakfast was absolute serenity and I never wanted to leave!  The quality of the food at the breakfast buffet was exceptional and all of the food was laid out so beautifully that it made me want to try everything! 

The hotel had delicious gluten free English muffin style bread prepared for us every morning.  They also prepared gluten free crepes made to order for us that were so incredibly delicious. They tasted exactly like the regular crepes on the buffet.  Other items that they offer made to order for us were omelets any style and Indian Dahl (lentils).  They had an impressive array of cereals, yogurts and fresh fruits.  There was an incredible mix of toasted and caramelized coconut, almonds, cashews, pecans and seeds that paired perfectly with the fresh yogurt.

 

There are two dinner restaurants on property.   One is an Indian restaurant and the other is Vietnamese.   Both are very expensive but the quality of the food and the elegant ambiance at each restaurant helped to justify the bill.  The fish at both restaurants was extremely fresh and sensationally prepared with fresh spices and herbs grown on the property’s garden.  The staff prepared special gluten free bread rolls for Josh at the Indian restaurant.  At the Vietnamese restaurant, all tables are served rice crackers to start.  They actually looked and tasted very similar to Passover matzah and like matzah, they were pretty addicting!  

The gluten free highlight of the Indian restaurant was the gluten free dessert that they prepared for Josh.  It was a gluten free passion fruit soufflé served with coconut ice cream and a crème Anglaise.   Other gluten free dessert items on the menu were crème brulee and home made ice cream, but it was great fun for Josh to be able to eat a soufflé!   

The pool side service at Nam Hai was also exceptional.  As we sipped our delicious cocktails while reading the lunch menu, Josh exclaimed "I wish I could have some gluten free pasta or pizza right now."  We asked the server if the kitchen would be able to prepare gluten free pasta or pizza for us.  Typically for these last minute requests, the hotels respond that they need 24 hours notice to prepare ingredients.  On the contrary, the server informed us that the kitchen would be happy to prepare gluten free pasta to our liking straight away.  If we wanted gluten free pizza, we would have to wait two hours to allow them to make the dough from scratch and let it rise!  Hunger trumped patience and so Josh ordered some gluten free pasta with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.  He finished the bowl before I could blink and said it was some of the best gluten free pasta he had ever tasted.  He said it tasted like they made the pasta from scratch.  Then he ordered another bowl! 

My Teaching Gig

My Teaching Gig

I like to help people out by sharing what I've learned.  I was asked to present to a college class in Small Business and walk the students through some challenges they may face as entrepreneurs. As I am a natural performer and love public speaking, it was a blast! Here are some excerpts of some of the topics we discussed in the classroom.

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