Sunday, 22 February 2015

Gluten Free Girl in Madrid

Now, before I throw myself into the culinary highs and lows of Madrid, I feel the need to explain something. Since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease nearly 3 years ago I have been left with a few little foodie quirks! As if being GF and nut free wasn't bad enough eh?! I won't bore you with my eating habits now however, it is worth bearing in mind that I need to eat regularly otherwise I feel icky and I can't eat late guessed it.... I feel icky!! So, having explained that......on with the show!

After landing in Madrid in the early morning I was pretty ravenous by lunchtime! The good ol' Golden Arches of Maccy D's has never really floated my boat, even in my gluten eating days! However, it was pretty tempting after a long journey and a growling stomach! Seeing a cross grain symbol on the  door got me a little bit excited and then by the time I had explained my needs (using the Coelaic UK translation!) I was thrilled to discover that a GF bun was an option! 

I must confess to being a little nervous and I just couldn't face risking the fries as I know they are contraversial! I was impressed by the clear labelling on the ticket and was thrilled there was more GF choice here.....begging the question why can't we have GF buns in the UK? Nevertheless, I wasn't bowled over by the burger, it was every bit as uninspiring as I remember BUT it served a purpose and  no ickiness was felt!

Rather frustratingly the land of the Siesta and MaƱana don't believe in early eating! The Spaniards clearly don't suffer indigestion / reflux etc and hurrah to them for that! Therefore, we found ourself eating in places we wouldn't necessarily have chosen just because they were open and catered for GF......don't judge! We just need to avoid the ickiness!!

After doing a bit of reading and getting some recommendations from celiaquitos ( online we tried Tommy Mels diner style restaurant (

A reassuring menu and great labelling of food. As you can see, not a particularly exciting chicken burger was safe and filled me up! Job done!

The VIPS chain is another safe bet (, they are dotted about the city and have a shop with a restaurant attached. The shop is useful for selling Tyrrell's crisps and Metcalfes Skinny popcorn so great for "on the go" snacks.

The menu is FACE approved which makes you feel  confident with the GF choices

I ordered the bbq chicken flatbread

It was ok, a bit artificial but made a change from burger! I just wished I had left room for pudding as the GF pancakes sounded fab!

Now, another little quirk of mine is I'm not good with too much GF bread.........oooops, a very bread heavy diet so far! Anyway, I was thrilled to try the Steak Burger Bar (

Dale was more than happy to partake in a burger again but I was thrilled to have the option of of steak! I was even more excited to be met by a waiter who was also Coeliac and could advise me on the best options on the menu. Apparently, they have a separate fryer for the fries which is handy to know. My steak was amazing, cooked perfectly and well worth the visit.....the first place I can truly reccomend!

My second recommendation for dinner is El Arozzal ( I had read online that this was THE place for Coeliacs to visit. After two failed attempts (it was closed both times!) we finally caught it open at lunchtime. The owners don't have a great deal of English but I dredged about in the dark recesses of my brain for my fail safe GCSE Spanish phrases! Mr Smith (my Spanish teacher) would have been proud! I managed to establish that I was a Coeliac, that we really would love a GF bread roll, that they have GF beer on offer and we would like a paella con carne para dos! Fab! 

Delicious paella in an authentic setting. Not cheap (€39 for paella, roll and water para dos!) but well worth it!!

New York Burger (Yep, burger again...Dale was thrilled!!) ( are quite active on Twitter and somehow made it into my little Twitter world! Seeing they catered for GF and were based in Madrid I was intrigued! Admittedly, I'd eaten more burgers (and bread!!!!) than I normally eat in months but I was keen to give them a go! Also, as we were eating there on our last day I wanted something filling to keep the ickiness away while travelling ('s all about the ickiness!)

I'm liking the little GF flags that seem to be making a regular appearance on my food! The burger was good. The roll was quite small, which wasn't a problem for me (the breadaphobe) but for some it may have been disappointing, especially if a larger burger was ordered! Nevertheless, I was stuffed soooo job done!

General snacking and supermarkets were not that amazing. I found a limited selection of GF bread and biscuits in different supermarkets but none were that great or that easy to find. I generally ate big lunches and relied on GF cake / churros as a late afternoon snack! Yep, you heard me right cake and on my friends.....

If you have a big old sweet tooth like me then these two places are a MUST for your trip to Madrid!

Celicioso ( wow.....WOW!! I can't say more than that!!!! A gluten free bakery with sweet and savoury on offer.....needless to say I sampled a few items throughout the week! 

Banoffee cake- soft, moist, toffee, banana mmmmmm!

My all time velvet cake with thick, thick, hot chocolate

A white chocolate palmier- so sweet and sickly I was nearly beaten....but I did it! Hurrah!

Turkey roll....more bread argh!! Best GF crusty roll I've tasted though! Worth the bloating!!!

If you do manage to go, check out what else is on offer. It seemed there was more in the chilled cabinet than was on the menu and there were also secret churros that I couldn't see listed anywhere but many were happily tucking into them! Whatever, you have, you'll enjoy it, I promise!!

Finally...churros!! Gluten free churros and chocolate...oh yes!! Maestro Churrero, Plaza Jancinto Benavente 2, 28012 (just off Plaza Mayor).

I might look a little stunned but trust me, it's excitement!! GF churros are things I thought I could only dream about! The chocolate is amazing too......not for the savoury fans of the world but right up my street! I had read online that they use a separate fryer and this is clear when you order as they are prepared separately to the regular versions. The chocolate is GF too and you can even bring a packet of chocolate home (if you have room in your hand luggage....which I didn't #sadtimes)

So if you are off to Madrid you won't starve! If you like a burger, you will be super happy! If you don't need to eat at set times you will probably discover some more hidden gems I didn't have the chance to  find! But to conclude.....there is cake.....gooooooood cake (and churros!) and that can't be bad....can it?!

Have a great fortnight everyone xx (@lizprice79)

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Wherefore Art Thou?

Ok, a predictable blog title this week but it just had to be done! Apart from the obvious link (coming up in a mo!) I will dedicate this weeks blog to the little GF joys that I have discovered during the past couple of weeks......begging the question "Where have you been all my GF life?!"

Soooo here we go, let me have me have my moment......"Romeo, Romeo.....wherefore art thou......Oh Romeo's GF bakery on Upper Street Islington!?!!" (

I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I stumbled upon Romeo's GF bakery during a recent day trip out! Yes, I'd heard rumblings about this bakery and yes I'd read good things on Twitter I headed off for a civilised Saturday morning jewellery making with my friend, I must admit I hadn't given the bakery a second thought (shocker...I know!!).

After waiting some time to be seated, my polite request to sit down, was met with an abrupt nod by a rather surly waitress. Sadly, she didn't get any more enthusiastic or helpful as the experience progressed! Nevertheless, it was going to take more than that to put me off the array of GF baked goodies on offer!! My non GF friend and I both opted for the eggs benedict and were particularly impressed with the quality of the bread

Unfortunately, it was with a very heavy heart, that I had to admit "fullness" and forgo the amazing cake selection. I did, however take Dale a slice of chocolate cake back (I know, what a good wife eh?!)

I did, of course sample a bite and it was very good! I also brought home a small, garlic loaf which I quickly sliced and £4.99 for a small size I didn't want to run the risk of it going stale! It's fab and toasts well....particularly when smothered in cheese!

I will, most definitely be visiting Romeo's again! The food was excellent and it was reassuring to know the whole bakery is GF! However, I hope to be served by the charming guy behind the counter next time!

Dale and I returned to La Polenteria in Soho last Friday! ( After contacting me on Twitter and encouraging me to come back, I had to smile when we were asked if we had booked a table! The restaurant was empty!!! Nevertheless, they managed to squeeze us in and all was well!

It seemed a much slicker set up than our last visit. The menus were clear and there was more choice. I was reassured everything was GF including all the polenta dishes, pasta dishes and gnocchi! Suddenly, it became much more tricky to choose! It was a freezing cold night so we both went for the wild boar on top of a bed of polenta

You can see the steam! It was quite peppery which aids the whole warming situation! It was delicious but, to be honest, I could have done with a little bit more! However, the plus point was it left room for pudding! Loads of choice but I finally decided on the polenta with mascarapone and jam!

Now, I can understand that this flavour / texture combo might not be up everyone's street but it was certainly up mine! Creamy and very filling! Maybe larger portions for the main course and smaller for the pudding might be the way forward! Either way we had a great night! It's perhaps a little on the pricey side (approx £50 for 2 courses and 2 soft drinks each) but certainly worth it to have something a bit different!

Ok, now I'm aware that I'm running the risk of becoming boring but hear me out! I know I've blogged about Cookies and Scream ( in Camden before but they truly are AH-MAZE-ING!! (and vegan too!) Dale took a little trip out on Thursday and proudly presented me with 2 cookies - 1 brand new one and 1 of my all time faves! Firstly, the brand new ginger biscuit

As you can see, I had already dismantled it before I remembered to take a picture! Woweeeeee! This will blow your socks off! It's certainly ginger alright! It was great but I had to tackle it in stages! My mouth was on fire but I couldn't stop eating! It was like one of those American food challenges! Surprise, surprise I made it to the end in one piece! Amazing! Go and get one now and enjoy the ride!

Dale also brought me a choc chip pic cos I ate it too quickly! This truly is my all time favourite choc chip cookie.....including the cookies I used to eat in my gluten eating days!!! It's the only product I have found that I enjoy more than the gluten filled equivalent! High praise indeed eh?! Go ahead and buy my friends......but leave me some or there'll be trouble!!!

Yesterday, I was reluctantly dragged along to another micro brewery (@BeavertownBeer) Dale to emerse myself in a little bit of brewing heaven! However, things started to look up! No......there wasn't anything more exciting for me to drink than a carton of tropical juice BUT there was something pretty exciting to eat! The Colombian St Kitchen ( (@colombiakitchen) had a pop up at the brewery- yay! Better still, I had tweeted them the night before and they informed me all their items would be GF...Double Yey! It was lovely to meet the Colombia St Kitchen crew and even more lovely to tuck into a tasty beef and onion empanada!

Can you see how happy I am?! Suddenly, being on an industrial estate, on a cold February afternoon, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by beer I can't didn't seem so bad!!! Thank you Colombia St Kitchen for brightening up my afternoon! Keep up the good work and I hope to track you down at another pop up event very soon!

Finally, on the "where have you been all my life" theme, I just want to give a  shout out to these little beauties!

My goodness, these should come with a warning.....dangerously morish! The Food Doctor ( roasted bean mix is fab! As you know, I have a nut allergy so this kinda snack is usually out of bounds for me! It does come with a "may contain traces....." nut warning so I'll leave that with you! But to be able to munch on something with this kind of texture was truly exciting! I bought them in my last Freego ( order but am keeping my eyes open to see if I can pick them up in other places too!

Well, on that note I will sign off! We are off to Madrid for half term! Excited to see what GF loveliness might be on offer there! I've heard rumours of GF churros eeeeek!!! I might not come back! Look forward to telling you all about it! Have a happy fortnight! Xx (@lizprice79)