Gluten Free: Chicago Edition

I’ve just returned from a wonderful (and whirlwind) weekend in Chicago for the Create and Cultivate conference. While most of the weekend was filled with the happy hour and then the conference, we were able to sneak in a couple of restaurants. Jenn‘s favorite Chicago restaurant is RPM Italian because of the meatballs (I can’t attest to that and if you’re reading this, you likely can’t either) and luckily they provide a separate gluten free menu for those of us who wish to enjoy Italian food. 

We ordered the Burrata and Pancetta to start and it made me think there are few things in life as enjoyable as delicious cheese and cured meats. Anyone else?

It was a hard decision for which gluten free pasta dish to order but the waitress said the risotto was the best option as it is already gluten free. Better to not have to worry with substitutes. I think she’s on to something as the Summer Vegetable Risotto was so delicious! I just wish it hadn’t had so many mushrooms (missed the memo on that summer vegetable) as they were gritty and took away from the overall taste (read: I don’t like mushrooms). 

Risotto from RPM Italian
Summer Vegetable Risotto from RPM Italian in Chicago

On Saturday, we headed directly to the conference for breakfast that was sponsored by Health Ade Kombucha and included Purely Elizabeth oatmeal cups and bars with fruit and Oui by Yoplait. It needs to be said here that I’m SO, SO very grateful for a totally gluten free breakfast bar at a conference. Who can say that they felt 100% safe eating breakfast, lunch, and all snacks from an event? I’m betting it doesn’t happen often. Lunch was provided by sweetgreen and featured four gluten free salad and bowl options. The Harvest Bowl was an option and that’s my absolutely favorite of the sweetgreen options but I decided to go out on a limb and try the Kale Caesar and it was worth it! So good. There were gluten free snacks available all day from Yoplait, RX Bar, Luna Bar, etc. I had no trouble eating! 🙂 THANK YOU to the organizers of Create and Cultivate! It’s not easy feat to feel so comfortable eating at an event. 

After the conference, despite being quite exhausted, overstimulated, and weighed down by pounds of swag, we headed to dinner at The Little Beet Table. This restaurant has been on my radar for a couple of years now. We actually contacted them about hosting our rehearsal dinner before our wedding in NYC, but went a different direction. I’ve wanted to try it for so long and was excited to finally do that in Chicago. 

It’s a cute little restaurant with a great ambiance and a plethora of outdoor seating (though too humid after a day spent outside to consider). Since it’s 100% gluten free, Jenn and I both participated in the gluten free dining and you’ll see both of our meals and thoughts. 

We ordered the Dip Trio and Veggie Crudite to start (a hard choice because the carrots, soup, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower hummus all sounded amazing). What a presume to be the walnut muhammara was SO spicy, neither of us could eat it. Not just a spice that came at the end but an immediate spice. Our server came to get the plate the dips were on and had to check if we were done because we ate so little of it. We shared that it was too spicy to eat! The others were delicious. I just wish we had more cucumbers and carrots to use to enjoy them. I’m not really a pepper loving person so my dip options were limited. Ha. 

I ordered the Grass Fed Burger and Jenn had the Beet Chickpea Burger both substituted Brussel sprouts for the sweet potato. Both burgers came on gluten free buns with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and sauce.

I’m still not sure what made the burger special or worth $18. The “special sauce” was a cross between thousand island dressing and aioli. In my honest opinion, there was nothing really special about it and it was just a basic cheeseburger. They also didn’t ask me how I wanted my burger cooked so it was a little bit too pink for me (and shame on me for not double checking their cook temps like I usually do). Jenn said her veggie burger was good but that the look of it was unappetizing. The beets gave it the color of uncooked meat! 

Dessert is one of my love languages (HA!) and I’m thankful to have friends who also love dessert after every meal and are always game to check out the menu after dinner. It is SO hard to pick a dessert in a dedicated gluten free restaurant. I want one of each, thanks. Jenn loves cookies (who doesn’t?) so we have decided on the warm chocolate chip cookies when a bowl of raspberry sorbet magically appeared at our table. I sent it away while offering to eat it (because we didn’t order it) when our server returned with it to let us know it was on the house since the dip was too spicy to eat. That’s what great service is all about! 

IMG_6071

My final thoughts on The Little Beet Table: nothing to write home about. I’m glad to have been there but probably won’t go back. 

That’s all for this gluten free travel edition! Stay tuned for upcoming dining adventures in other cities!!! 

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