Friday, January 9, 2015

Gluten Free Fridays: National Pizza Week #GFF

This post is part of a series I am doing. Each Friday, I explore gluten free options at various types of establishments. I'll be reviewing local, regional, and national eateries as well as offering some tips on surviving various gluten-y situations. Welcome to Gluten Free Fridays!

Thanks to the internet, I was made aware that this week is officially National Pizza Week here in the US of A. Beautiful, right? Dedicating an entire week to the celebration of one food group. Because pizza IS a food group. Ask my dad. He is a bonafied Pizza Master. He has told me on a number of occasions that if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life, it would be pizza.

It is a family tradition that has gone on for two generations now that Sunday night is Homemade Pizza Night at my parent's house. Heck yes, it needs to be capitalized! It's pretty dang important!! I mean, it's not every Sunday, but it's pretty frequent. We even do homemade pizza for birthday parties with my mom's side of the family. So you can imagine my level of distress when I was diagnosed with Celiac.

"But. Homemade pizza...."

I may have actually said that after getting off the phone with my doctor. I'm sorry I'm not sorry. I love pizza.

If you are newly diagnosed with Celiac or are new to a gluten free life, I'm guessing you know that feeling. That pit of your stomach panic that you will never enjoy pizza in any form again. I tell you, I've been there. And I'm here to tell you, my friend, there is hope.

There are tons of at-home methods for making yourself some yum-o pizza crust that wont make your guts try and kill you. But today (as much as I enjoy homemade pizza) I want to talk about the possibility of being able to dine in or carry out some awesome GF pizza. Shall we explore some regional options?

Most people from the greater Rockford, IL area know about Lino's. It has been a Rockford for over 40 years. They have the most amazing "Special Salad" which is gluten free if you order it sans croutons. They do also have GF pizza crust (for an extra couple bucks) and most of their toppings are GF. I have never gotten and cross-contamination sickness from Lino's, but they do make their pizzas in a shared kitchen. This place is my dad's fave carry out pizza. In case you were wondering.

Here's a fun find from our time out in Salt Lake City: The Pie Pizzeria. This place has several locations throughout the Salt Lake valley and is absolutely amazing as far as their cross contamination prevention practices go. They have a whole separate kitchen for cooking their GF pies in!! Though there were a couple times their homemade crust got a little too crispy for my liking (it's very very thin) I was never disappointed with The Pie. My fave? The "Mini MEat". Bacon, pepperoni, and ham. YUM. You just really can't beat that peace of mind though, knowing all your food is prepped in a self-contained GF kitchen.
 And to round out the "local pizza places from regions of the country in which I have lived", I have to include this Minnesota place: Pizza Luce. I first went the Pizza Luce in Duluth years ago before I was diagnosed. More recently, I've been to a couple of their Twin Cities locations. I love that they not only have GF pizza, but also GF hot wings (another love of mine). Their food has always been quite safe for me too. Never had an episode from Luce.

So, there you have it friends! Three great gluten free pizza locations at which you can celebrate National Pizza week with joy and peace of mind!!

Do you have a fave local pizza place that caters to gluten free needs?

Disclaimer: Though I have Celiac disease and may have not had reactions at any of these restaurants, cross contamination practices may not be up to par at every single restaurant you visit. Please proceed with caution and use your best judgement. If you see blatant gluten dangers, don't just trust that because I was okay you will be too.

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