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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sometimes, Things Aren't As They Appear To Be

A couple of years ago, Morgan Spurlock did a series of television shows called “The 50 Documentaries To See Before You Die.”  Well, being a documentary freak, and not wanting to die without seeing these, I decided to watch all of them.  (Well…except for two.  But that’s another blog.)  Luckily, Cathy thought many of them sounded pretty good, so she decided to watch them with me.

There have been a couple of clunkers here and there, but mostly they have been interesting and entertaining.  One of the best was a film called “Catfish.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the film, it is about a young man who, through a series of circumstances, falls in love with a woman who he corresponds with on the Internet.  When he finally meets her, it turns out that she is not who she appeared to be.  The film ended up being so popular, MTV created a show around people in similar situations.

This type of thing can take place in many shapes and forms, including food.  For instance, remember the first time you saw a Big Mac on TV?  Whether or not you’ve ever tried one is not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the very first time you saw a Big Mac on TV.  It probably looked something like this:

Seriously, that looks kind of yummy to me. 

But have you ever seen one?  It actually looks like this:

Seriously, that looks un-yummy to me.

Which brings me to Katz donuts.

When I first started this blog, I wrote a piece praising the Katz donuts.  I seriously liked just about everything they had to offer, and they had the first donut that tasted like a donut.  But somewhere along the line, something went wrong.

Quite honestly, I have been off of their products for a while.  Their Challah bread is still quite good, but I think in an effort to expand their line, they have forgotten about quality.  For instance, I used to love their pizza crusts.  Not anymore.  They just don’t taste very good to me.

But a couple of weeks ago, I was really in the mood for a donut.  Now, I have to tell you, over the last few years, I have lost 40 pounds, and have kept the weight off for 16 months now.  I intend on writing about how I did this, but essentially, I eat really healthy Sunday though Friday, and then I indulge myself on Saturday.  So I figured, “What the heck, I’ll treat myself to donuts on Saturday.”  Cathy went on line and ordered some donuts from Katz.

Look, I don’t consider myself “Gluten Free Superman.”  I don’t consider myself the gluten free police.  Perhaps that’s because I am gluten sensitive rather than being Celiac.  Obviously, they have to be super careful, and I get that.  It’s just not my way.  I try to follow the Gluten Free Dougie rule:  Educate yourself as much as possible, and try to help educate others along the way.

So that being the case, I’m sure those of you reading this want me to tell you the truth.  At least, the truth as I see it.  So let me show you.  Here is the box for their gluten free chocolate frosted donuts:

Seriously, that looks yummy to me.

But here’s what I got:

That doesn’t look like what I ordered.  But it is what I got.  Their glazed donuts didn’t look much better.

Okay, whatever - what about the taste?

Dry.  In fact, so dry, I could barely get it down, even while drinking coffee.  I can almost hear Gordon Ramsey describing these just before he kicked Katz off Master Chef:  “It’s dry…my God.  The chocolate is all over the place, and it’s so dry, it’s like you forgot to add one bit of moisture to the mixture…shame.”  I shudder to think what Joe would have said.

I really hate to say anything bad about anyone who creates food for the gluten free community.  But the truth is, except for their Challah bread, I can no longer recommend Katz.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gluten Free North End Series - Benevento's

The next restaurant in the Gluten Free North End Series is Benevento’s.  I must say, this restaurant was an absolute delight.

On Yelp, they get 3 ½ stars.  Not great, but I am determined to try as many restaurants in the North End that serve gluten free Italian food as I can.  All I can tell you is, the food was delicious and the service was great.

I started off with the Mussels Marinara.  I love mussels, and in general, I love dishes like this.  The mussels were juicy, and cooked well, not rubbery at all.  But the star of the dish was the wonderful broth.  The mussels are cooked in white wine, garlic, butter, diced tomatoes, and then their wonderful robust marinara sauce.  A real winner.  And then came the first surprise.

The waitress came over and asked how it was. I told her I wished I had some bread to sop up the sauce.  She said, “Hold on.”  Five minutes later, she came out with a gluten free pizza crust that the Chef had put some butter and some herbs on and cooked.  So I was able to sop up that perfect broth.  The gluten free pizza crust/bread was served in a separate tin to prevent cross contamination.

As for my entrĂ©e, I had their Bolognese, which uses beef, pork, and veal.  This Bolognese was a little different than the others I’d tried so far in the North End, as the others had a smooth, almost velvety texture.  The sauce here was kind of chunky; similar to the way I make it at home.  The gluten free pasta they used was quite good, cooked al dente and spot on.

Finally, I ordered a gluten free pizza to go.  I ordered the Spukone, which has sweet Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, garlic, basil and extra virgin olive oil.  It was very similar to Bertucci’s Sporkie pizza, which used to be my favorite until I went gluten free.  Again, this was cooked in a tin to prevent cross contamination.

So all in all, it was a wonderful meal.  I would go back again, no doubt about it.

And now that you are in the mood for Italian food, here’s the late, great Alex Chilton singing Volare.