Pies & Pints

On Tuesday, we made the lovely six hour drive to West Virginia University to bring my brother home for the summer. Man that drive is seriously long, but it’s totally worth it when it means I get to see my brother again. 🙂

So technically, I didn’t have to go all the way there—I could’ve just stayed home by myself and waited til my parents brought Ryan home to see him. But there are only two reasons why I decided to sit in the car for 12 cumulative hours over two days: I didn’t want to wait one more day to see my brother, and the food. I swear, West Virginia has the greatest gluten free food ever. I require that, when I make the trip with my parents, we go to Chaang Thai for the best GF pad thai ever, and Pies & Pints, whose pizza is definitely in the running for the best GF pizza I’ve ever had. So we went to Chaang Thai for dinner on Tuesday (thank god, because we found out it’s closed on Wednesdays and I would have died if I didn’t get my pad thai) and Pies & Pints for lunch on Wednesday before we left. Although I’m surprised we had any appetite after cleaning Ryan’s dorm room—think dirt on dirt on more layers of dirt. Boys are gross.

pies and pints gluten free appetizers

I’ve tried two of their three gluten free appetizer options: the Char-Grilled Hot Wings and the Pork & Pepper Nachos. I am crazy about their wings. They are delicious. They’re the only GF wings I’ve had that are truly as crispy as they should be. Most of the time, GF wings are baked, and can’t get quite as crispy as these do. It’s served with creamy Gorgonzola. I love the sauce, and I don’t think I even like Gorgonzola. That’s how awesome Pies & Pints is. Only complaint: after eating them I end up with a bunch of little black bits stuck on my teeth. As for the nachos, they were just as fantastic. Beware: there are jalapeños on this. I didn’t realize, took a nice piled up chip, and set my mouth on fire with a giant jalapeño. But otherwise, delicious. I loved the pork and beans and chipotle crema all together. Just amazing.

pies and pints gluten free pizza

So I’ve tried a couple of different kinds of pizza from Pies & Pints, but this time I got the Margherita pizza, which is fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, Parmesan, olive oil, fresh garlic & tomato sauce (I got roasted garlic instead of fresh). My mom also got gluten free so I could try her White pizza with spinach (and more roasted garlic…we probably had really bad breath after this). Pies & Pints makes their own crust, and has pretty much perfected the thick gluten free pizza crust. Most places I get GF pizza, it’s a thin, crispy crust, which I do enjoy, but I greatly appreciate a nice thick crust as well. Every other thicker crust I’ve tried is a slightly wrong texture, but this pizza is just how it should be. It’s perfect. I love it a lot. The toppings that we got were amazing, and I’ve also gotten the Classic, which may be my favorite.

pies and pints gluten free sandwich

This time, I really wanted to try one of their sandwiches, but wasn’t willing to give up the opportunity to eat the pizza right then. So I decided to get the Italian Hero to go. This has on it salami, pepperoni, capicola (spicy ham), provolone, Mama Lil’s Sweet Hot Peppers, red onions & house vinaigrette (I got it without the peppers or onions). I ended up eating it when we got home, and oh my goodness it was fantastic. I didn’t know a sandwich could be so amazing. I was interested to discover that the sandwich bread was actually the same as the pizza crust. Pretty cool.

I love Pies & Pints soooo much. They have nine locations across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, but unfortunately none in New Jersey. 😦 So I will just have to settle for having it one or two times a year when we make a trip to West Virginia!

Link to Pies & Pints menu

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Wild Bamboo

wild bamboo

I am a sucker for a good bowl of pad thai. It’s probably one of my favorite dishes ever. As I’ve said, I had the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten at Chaang Thai in West Virginia. But unfortunately, I can’t drive six hours to WV whenever I get a craving. So I have made it a personal mission to find the best gluten free pad thai in New Jersey. So far, Wild Bamboo is the top contender. But it’s not just the pad thai that’s good, everything else is too! They have a pretty decent sized gluten free menu, covering all the bases—appetizers, soups, salads, fried rice, curry, pad thai, “chinese classics,” and desserts. Here you can see the full menu, but you’d have to visit to see the full extent of gluten free offerings, since they aren’t all marked on the main menu. This is one of those places that I was so excited to find, and even more excited to eat at when I realized how delicious the food is! It’s in Pier Village right on the beach—what a great spot to be in! You could spend the day on the beach then pop in and get some lunch or dinner. In the warmer months, they have some outdoor seating so you can enjoy the nice weather with your meal.

lettuce wraps and chicken satay

First up is the appetizers. We ordered the Chicken Satay. So, I’m not really sure what happened, but our waiter said something was wrong or something happened and he brought us Chicken Lettuce Wraps and said the Satay was on the house. We didn’t really understand why, but hey, we got some free food so I won’t complain. The most confusing part was that the Lettuce Wraps weren’t on the gluten free menu, but he assured us that it was gluten free (which was confirmed by the fact that I didn’t feel like I was dying the next day). So the Lettuce Wraps were awesome, I loved them. I think they were even better than  P.F. Changs’ lettuce wraps, which I also love very much. The Chicken Satay was pretty good too. I liked the peanut sauce a lot, but the chicken was coated in some curry flavors, and I’m not a huge lover of curry.

mandarin salad

The first time we visited I wasn’t that hungry, so I got the Mandarin Salad and added grilled chicken. It was so yummy and really refreshing. I loved the little pops of juicy mandarin throughout the meal. The dressing was pretty tasty; it didn’t say what the dressing was in the description of the salad but I think it was the ginger dressing. There are only two things I would like to change about it. First, I wish the chicken was diced rather than sliced, because, as I’ve said before, I like to get a little of everything in each bite, and the sliced chicken makes that hard. Second, if I got this again I would get it without red onions. I’m really not a fan of red onions but I forgot to ask to omit them, and the flavor kind of took over the dish.

pad thai

Now onto the most important part. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The Chicken Pad Thai! This is some seriously awesome Pad Thai. The flavor is amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I still have to say that Chaang Thai’s pad thai is better, but this is definitely the next best thing. I think my favorite part about a pad thai (besides the flavor of the sauce of course) is the peanuts on top. It gives it a great crunch and a little contrasting texture. One of the best things about this Pad Thai is that it’s just as good left over. It reheats so well you would think it was freshly made. And I appreciate that in a meal, because that means I can eat it again and it will taste just as delicious!

I’ve also tried their Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, and my dad has gotten the Massaman Curry. I love the fried rice—pineapple in fried rice is one of the greatest ideas ever. It’s just so fantastic. My dad enjoyed the curry, but I can’t really comment on it because I was too focused on my pad thai to try it. Now, they also have some desserts, but I’ve never gotten around to trying them. Usually if I’m in the mood for dessert after my meal, we walk down a couple doors to The Corner Cafe & Bistro for some gelato. Overall, I love Wild Bamboo, and it is now my go to restaurant when I’m craving pad thai!

Have a restaurant suggestion for my next pad thai taste test? Tell me about it in the comments so I can give it a try!

(Also, make sure you like Gluten Free Deliciously on Facebook! 🙂 )

Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company is the perfect place to go when you don’t feel like making dinner and just want something that’s quick. It’s described as a “fast casual restaurant,” so it’s like a fast food restaurant but with higher quality food. And you can definitely tell that they use quality ingredients. The food is so good! I’ve told you guys how much I love pasta, so this is totally the place for me. You do pay a little extra for the gluten free fusilli ($1.50), but it’s worth it! The staff is very aware and knowledgable of gluten allergies. Not every time, but a couple of times I’ve been there the cashiers yell to the people making the food that something was ordered by someone with a gluten allergy, and they wipe down their station. Either way, whether yelling or not, the chefs are told they are making food for someone with an allergy. It’s pretty awesome, and I’ve never gotten sick after eating here. It’s also a chain; they currently have 410 locations in 31 states. It isn’t super common that big chain restaurants have gluten free options, so that’s pretty cool.

A decent amount of the noodle dishes can be made with gluten free fusilli or rice noodles. You can see a full list here on the Noodles & Company website, under the gluten free tab. However, something to be aware of is that I was told that the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese could NOT be made gluten free, but it’s possible that this has been changed. Just be sure to ask before you order it so you don’t have any problems. I also don’t think the meatballs are gluten free either, so again, ask to be sure.

I’ve tried a couple different dishes. My favorite is the Penne Rosa with GF fusilli. The spicy tomato cream sauce is just fantastic! It also has tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms in it. I get it without mushrooms just out of personal preference. You get the option of parmesan or feta on top, and as much as I love feta, the parmesan just seems right on this. The flavors are just so yummy! The only thing I would change is the size of the tomatoes and spinach. I like things cut up really small so I get a little bit of everything in each bite. The ones in this dish are pretty large. But otherwise, it’s wonderful!

noodles and company penne rosa

Another favorite of mine is the Pad Thai. This is made with rice noodles, so it’s naturally gluten free. Now, as I’ve previously established in my Chaang Thai review, Chaang Thai has the greatest pad thai ever, so I’m picky about my pad thai. But for a fast food kind of place that doesn’t specialize in Thai food, it’s pretty good. The flavor of the sauce is nice, and I like all the things in the dish. Scrambled egg, red cabbage, peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro, carrots, yum! My only issue with this is, again, the size of the carrots. They need to be skinnier, because they’re not very integrated into the dish. But on their website, it says that they have a new recipe with a “more traditional sauce” and “features green onions instead of carrots.” So I guess I’ll have to visit again soon to see if I like this new recipe better!

noodles and company pad tai

The only other thing I’ve tried from Noodles & Company is the Pesto Cavatappi with GF fusilli. To be honest, I tried it so long ago I don’t completely remember it. It features basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, parmesan, and Italian parsley. And of course, I got it without mushrooms. I do remember that I did like it. I also remember thinking the pesto sauce needed some more cream to make it a little better—it was a tiny bit dry.

According to the menu, they also offer salads that can be made gluten free, as well as tomato bisque. I’ve never tried any of these, but honestly, am I gonna go to Noodles & Company and not get noodles?? Who goes to a noodle restaurant and gets a salad and soup???

One of my favorite things about this place is that I can order online and just go skip the line and pick it up! It’s so simple. Also, it’s attached to one of my favorite malls, so if I’m hungry after a long day of shopping I can just head here (the food court doesn’t exactly have the best options for someone with celiac). In general, Noodles & Company is a delicious and easy gluten free option!

**Update 3/6/16– I went to Noodles & Company last weekend and asked about the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. It can be made gluten free now!! So of course I had to order it with the GF Fusilli. It was so good, and soo cheesy! I think I have a new favorite. I definitely recommend it! I ate it so fast I forgot to even take a picture for you guys. I’m so happy they changed it so it’s gluten free now. The Mac & Cheese is the one thing from here that everyone always said was amazing—and now I can 100% confirm that it is.

Chaang Thai

I would like to start off by saying this: Chaang Thai has the greatest thai food I have ever eaten in my life. A very bold statement, I know, but this food is fantastic. We discovered this place when we were dropping my brother off at college last year, and we had to find places that I could eat. I had pretty low expectations; I didn’t think West Virginia seemed like the kind of place where I would eat some of the best gluten free food I’ve had. I was proven very, very wrong.

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Every time we visit, the Chaang Pad Thai and Chaang Fried Rice are a must-have. We literally cannot go here without getting them. This pad thai is the best pad thai I’ve ever tasted. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it so delicious, but whatever it is, it’s amazing! Ever since I tried this, I’ve tried pad thai from many other restaurants, but there’s just nothing that can live up to how good this is. As for the fried rice, while I cannot say it is my favorite fried rice ever (it’s a very close race between this and P.F. Chang’s), it is delicious. My favorite thing about it is that they put pineapple chunks in it—the pineapple gives it such a great flavor. I absolutely love both of these dishes!

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My dad is a curry kind of guy, so he got the Chaang Coconut Massaman. I tried a bite and thought it was tasty, and my dad calls it “delicious, wonderful, and authentic.”

I love this place so much that when my parents went to visit my brother at WVU for a football game, I had them bring me back a meal from Chaang Thai. Another great thing about the food from here is that it’s just as good as a leftover. Specifically, this is nice for the pad thai, because in my experience rice noodles haven’t really held up well after being reheated.

Overall, I love this place so much. There is no question that this is one of my favorite restaurants ever.

Link to Chaang Thai menu