Friday, April 25, 2014

A Gluten Free One-Two Punch: Lasagne and Macarons!

Gluten Free Lasagne from Cibo e Beve restaurant in North Atlanta area.  Bolognese, ricotta.  Pretty good.  I'd order it again.

The frozen mini-macarons I buy at Trader Joe's.  Chocolate & vanilla, so yum!

Macaron Queen at kiosk in Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead area of Atlanta.  Excellent and made with almond flour!  
Once a month, my Marine gets home early (6PM).  And, like tonight, he promptly fell asleep as soon as he sat down to pet the cat.   I "accidentally" woke him up 15 minutes later and we went out to dinner at a place I've been wanting to try.  I found it on the "Find Me Gluten Free" app.  I review LOTS of restaurants on this app, which is the reason I rarely do restaurant reviews on my blog anymore.

Anyway, we did not have a reservation but were easily seated outside on the patio near the parking lot. Buckhead is full of parking lots and garages, so not so shocking.  Anyway, the service was friendly and knowledgeable.  There was no gluten free menu, but the server and hostess (as well as the app) recommended the lasagne, and so my arm was twisted.  I had an aperitif of Moscow Mule (Oprah's favorite drink) made with ginger beer and vodka, obviously of the gluten free varieties, and served in a chilled copper mug.  The drink had a slush inside and was not full very full for $10, in my opinion, but it was good.  The best one I ever had was in a posh sports bar in Chicago, but alas, Oprah probably goes there.
Moscow Mule in chilled copper mug just like Oprah makes.

The lasagne was tasty.  The sauce was very tomato-y and I could taste a meaty, bolognese flavor.  The cheese noodles, however, were the texture of tofu.  All in all, it was good and I'll go back again.  I forgot to bring along a piece of bread (Against the Grain baguette, anyone?), but next time I shall.

Afterwards, I wanted to hop over to Lenox Square Mall to test out the real French Macarons at Macaron Queen (a chain?) in a kiosk there.  It seemed a bit disorganized, with an abundance of flavors randomly mixed in bags of 3, 5, and 8.  I bought a bag of 8 but had no idea which 8 flavors would be in there.  After taking a bite of each one (classy, I know), there was a red one with a white and red cherry filling, a mango or fruity something that had a swirl of red on the orange color, a brown sugar or burnt caramel flavor, a white super-sweet one, a pink, and a yellow lemony one and...
My 3 faves were:  a green one (pistachio?) with lemon filling, a red one with white filling (red velvet?), and a beige one (caramel?) with crystal sugar sprinkles on top.
The most exquisite French Macaron I've ever was at Epcot's French Cafe in  Disney.

Did you know real French macarons are made with almond flour (not wheat flour) so they are naturally gluten free as long as nobody cross-contaminates them?  Same with real chocolate mousse, creme brulee, real hot water corn bread, etc.  Like many French confections, they are difficult to make.  I've tried.  The pastry chef on YouTube said it took her a few tries to get macarons right.  The trick is to get the "feet" on the bottom (it looks like dried foam) and have them be slightly puffy and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a small amount of cream in between, Oreo style.  The Macaron Queens passed the test.  However, my all-time favorite French Macaron is from Epcot at Disney.  Ahhh-mazing!  Exquisite!

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