LONDON 6/17

If you are looking for gluten free, grain free, paleo -ish options in London, you are in for a treat!!

What a pleasant surprise when a girlfriend planned an outing for us at Craft London (near O2 events center/ East London), informed them of my diet restrictions, and they prepared an incredible multi course “Test Kitchen Tuesday” dining experience for two!! Everything was delicious, fun, inventive, novel, and gorgeously presented!! I give Craft London 5 stars!! (My friend Cheryl Anne who booked the place also gets 5 stars!ūüíď) in addition, they planned the entire menu with no input from me other than it be gluten free. It was so fun to try such a wide variety of small plates without the stress of trying to decide what to order. I felt great afterwards, and had no negative reaction to the meal. (See fotos for Tasting menu and tomato nasturtium salad from Craft London). If possible, I recommend riding the Emirates sky car ride across the Thames on your way to or from Craft London/O2 events center for fantastic three sixty views from the City to Greenwich Village!

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Tomato and nasturtium salad….as delicious as it was beautiful! A feast for the eyes as well as the palate!
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View of City from the Emirates sky car ride across the Thames
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Sardine, cucumber salmon course of the test kitchen menu at Craft London
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Test Kitchen menu, entirely gluten free! (Craft London)

My latest, greatest, and currently most favorite London eatery is the Hemsley & Hemsley cafe inside Selfridges. The entire place is dedicated gluten free and grain free. Dairy free available by request. I ate there twice, my first meal was a lunch of salmon burger with salad and a “cream tea” (scone, clotted cream, jam & tea). While I was there for the first time, the girls at the table beside me ordered an “afternoon tea”, which was a 3 tiered traditional tea serving of goodies…sandwiches on the bottom, desserts in the middle, and scones on top! Fabulous!! I just had to go back on a different day and order an afternoon tea for myself! No regrets!! The beetroot chocolate cake was neck and neck with the scones for my top favorite…there aren’t words to describe how much I LOVED everything!!!! Just wish Hemsley & Hemsley would open up a cafe in SoCal! (See fotos for afternoon tea menu and treats).

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Cream tea = scone, cream, and jam +tea

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Afternoon tea at Hemsley and Hemsley
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Close up of afternoon tea
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Hemsley and Hemsley tea menu

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I also like a convenient “go to” Italian chain called Carluccios, with several London locations (Iv’e been to the one near Natural History Museum on several occasions/ South Kensington tube station). They have an ample and tasty gluten free menu. For take-away, I recommend Leon. There is one right outside Liberty of London in the shopping district.

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Entrance, Liberty of London

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Liberty of London

Over the course of several trips to London, my “safest” gluten free stand-by has been Cotto’s Italian restaurant, near Lambeth North tube station. The owner is a Celiac, and Italian. He makes fabulous gluten free bread, pizza, and pasta from scratch in a dedicated kitchen space, not paleo, just gluten free. I could go on about places to eat in London, but I recommend that all GF travellers download the “Find me GF” app and use it to discover the wide variety of gluten free dining options in a city where almost everyone seems to know what “gluten” and “celiac” means, takes you seriously, and will attempt to accommodate you. That being said, I don’t recommend the cafe on the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery for High Tea if you have gluten and dairy sensitivity. The view is lovely, and they honestly tried, but just too much cheese and very little else, nuff said! Also, if you should find yourself in Chiswick, run, do not walk, to Chateau Dessert, a lovely little tea shop that makes divine gluten free tarts and cakes…yum!! My favorite place for tea in Chiswick (other than my friend Ruth’s house!!)

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Flower stall on Chiswick High Street
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shop on Chiswick High Street
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Tea at Chateau Dessert, Chiswick

I must mention our London hotel, the Radisson Edwardian Blu near Gloucester road tube stop. Location was fantastic, breakfast were amazing, rooms a bit cramped, but that’s what you get in London. Actually our 2nd stay there was better as we got a sitting room with office desk off the bedroom. Just loved the breakfast, which consisted of all the usual hot full English breakfast items in a self serve area, beautiful fruit and charcuterie boards, almond and soy milk for tea, and a fresh juice bar which included a green juice (cucumber citrus), coconut water, grapefruit, and orange with fresh diced fruits and veggies to add in. I was able to order gluten free omelettes and eggs Benedict off the menu as well. Location on west side of London was also ideal for getting to and from Heathrow. Short walk to Victoria & Albert /Natural History Museum and Hyde Park / Kensington Palace, great neighborhood walks near hotel for getting over jet lag! Would definitely stay there again!

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Breakfast at Radisson Blue Edwardian
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Breakfast/ Radisson Blue Edwardian
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fresh juice bar!
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Scene along Gloucester Road
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Lovely interiors of the hotel
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Breakfast/Radisson Blu Edwardian

If you go a short ways out of London to visit Hampton Court Palace or Kew Gardens (HIGHLY recommend both), on-site cafes will either have labels indicating gluten free options or you can ask to speak to a chef who will help you make a safe selection!

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Fleet Street…as seen from Red tour bus!
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Hyde Park
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Queen Elizabeth/ National Portrait Gallery
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Natural History Museum
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My son and I near Tower Bridge
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Neighborhood near our hotel

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Natural History Museum
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Hyde Park

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London Eye
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Fleet Street
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Queen Elizabeth/ National Portrait Gallery
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Kew Gardens
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English country pub/ inn near Cambridge

 

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Gluten Free Dining Adventures in Budapest and Prague

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Ahoi! Hello!

Welcome to my Travel and Food blog for people seeking gluten free/grain free/ paleo /AIP dining options while travelling or cooking at home.

We visited Prague and Budapest in June 2017, and highly recommend both cities for gluten free/paleo/AIP travellers.

Budapest

We were pleasantly surprised upon arrival at the Budapest Marriott, to be told that we were being upgraded to the Executive floor/9th, just steps from the Executive lounge, with free access to said lounge as Marriott members. Nothing however, prepared us for the incredible drop jaw view from the dining balcony of the Exec lounge of the Danube and all of Budapest’s illustrious historic landmarks along it’s shore.¬† Free food and drinks (coffee, water, tea, and soda) were provided within the lounge, but the gluten free options were slim…salad, veggie sticks and fruit.¬† One evening there were shrimp appetizers that a hotel employee told me were gluten free.¬† The view was so gorgeous however, one forgot about eating!¬† The breakfast at the Marriott also deserves mention.¬† I was able to choose from eggs, bacon, veggies such as mushrooms, beautiful seasonal fruit and berries, and gluten free bread, which was the wonder bread variety, untoasted, and not worth it in my opinion.

I managed to drag my husband away from the free food and spectacular view at the Marriott to sight see and dine at one dedicated gluten free restaurant in Budapest.¬† It was called “Drop Gluten Free” .¬† I ordered a traditional Hungarian meal of duck leg, sweet potato mash, and purple cabbage, with a side of salad.¬† The drink I ordered was a house-made sparkling elderberry lemonade, delicious! as was the duck.¬† My husband ordered a hamburger and fries.¬† He wasn’t as impressed with his meal, but he was just eating there to accommodate me, not out of necessity.¬† It was wonderful and relaxing to find a dedicated gluten free restaurant in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language.¬† The waiters also spoke English, as waiters in touristy places in Europe tend to do, but one never knows in a non-dedicated facility whether they really understand the meaning of “gluten free” or whether someone back in the kitchen will mess up, etc.¬† Those of you with Celiac will understand how nice it was to relax the hyper vigilance.¬† I also did grocery shopping in both Budapest and Prague, which turned out to be much trickier than ordering in a restaurant as no one in the grocery stores seemed to speak English.¬† I mostly relied on my phone to translate, and also did a bit of pantomime/ sign language/stand up comedy to get my message across!

 

Prague

It’s no exaggeration that Prague is the most charming capitol in Europe.¬† I was prepared to like Prague but didn’t know by how far it would exceed my expectations until we arrived there. Prague is simply oozing charm and cuteness.¬† It’s also clean, and the old city is very walkable, not too huge.¬† It’s called “The city of¬† one thousand spires” and I don’t doubt it’s true!¬† My favorite¬† restaurant in Prague was called “Alriso Risotteria Italiana”, a dedicated gluten free restaurant where they make everything in house.¬† They served hot delicious gluten free bread with the meal.¬† I ordered chicken, risotto (not paleo/AIP) and asparagus with tiramisu for dessert.¬† Everything was excellent, and although perhaps more expensive than some Prague restaurants, the total was much less expensive than dining in a western European city such as London.¬† Ditto for accomodations.¬† ¬†I should mention I found both Drop in Budapest, and Alriso in Prague on the “Find Me Gluten Free” App , as well as other restaurants we visited on the trip. Gotta love modern technology and smart phones!!¬† While in Prague, we also dined at the following restaurants whichhappily¬† accomodate gluten free requests:¬† ¬†Svejk Restaurant U Karla, and the Restaurace U Maliru 1543.¬† The Restaurace U Maliru was founded in 1543, and is a fine dining establishment located across from the Old Royal Post Aparthotel.

We rented a car and drove from Prague to Budapest and back.¬† En route to visit friends, we stopped in Policka, a little town in the Czech countryside, and were pleasantly surprised to find a charming “Medieval Tavern” restaurant where one waitress spoke English, and the menu included a numerical denotation below each entree and corresponding allergy guide to help diners determine which allergens the entrees contained.¬† The allergy guide was in Czech, but the waitress translated in for us, and I was easily able to order a gluten free meal.¬† The name of the restaurant is Heresova Krcma, don’t ask me how to say it!!

The Aparthotel where we stayed in Old Town Prague was called the Old Royal Post, and it was super clean, modern, reasonably priced, and seemed to be recently updated.¬† An economy sized kitchenette fit into one recess of a wall of the apartment, sort of like a large closet, with a door if you wanted to shut the kitchen out of view.¬† The apartment also contained full sized washer and dryer and was within walking distance of the Charles Bridge.¬† I also should mention a small Organic Market less the than a block from the Charles bridge, on the side of our apartment.¬† It has a sign out front advertising “Bio/Organic” products.¬† I found fantastic goat’s milk yogurt there, nothing like I’ve ever had in the US.¬† It didn’t bother my gut in the least as regular cows milk yogurt does.