Smoked meat lovers, rejoice! Caplansky’s now have two locations in Toronto; one recent addition in Yorkville as well as their original location on College Street. I visited their beautiful little Yorkville deli last week for lunch and was seriously impressed.
Upon entering, I asked the server (who was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘I’m kind of a big dill’ on it – amazing) if they had any gluten free options. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that I had tons of choice because they offer gluten free bread, meaning that any of their sandwiches can be made gluten free!
Their fries are also gluten free, but sadly for me they are fried in the same fryer as glutenous items, so they aren’t suitable for coeliacs. However, they had multiple non-boring salad options that I could eat instead, including a house salad, greek salad, Caesar salad and coleslaw. I went for the classic smoked meat sandwich with a side of greek salad and it was DELICIOUS.
Piggy rating: 4/5
The smoked meat is truly incredible and 100% worth visiting Caplansky’s for, and the venue’s decor is adorable and fun, with a running theme of dill pickles and mustard everywhere! They also have an unlimited mustard and pickle bar which is a very cool addition. Caplansky’s loses a piggy point for their choice of gluten free bread – it’s a little bit stodgy – but it still works because the meat to bread ratio is perfect.
One of the saddest parts of being a coeliac, for me, has been mourning the loss of fried chicken in my diet. Of course, I’ve tried those optimistic recipes of ‘homemade gluten free fried chicken’ but always ended up with dry, powdery chicken strips that tasted absolutely nothing like KFC.
Yesterday, I stumbled across the gem that is Dirty Bird.
Located in the centre of Kensington Market in Toronto, Dirty Bird specializes in fried chicken and waffles. All of their chicken is gluten free, and for $2 extra you can get a gluten free waffle, made on a separate gluten free waffle maker so there’s no issue of cross-contamination. 3 out of 4 of their sides, including the fries, are also completely gluten free.
My boyfriend went for the ODB – a boneless quarter leg on a waffle, served with buttered maple and their signature ‘Dirty Sauce’.
I went for the 3 piece combo (2 legs and 1 breast piece) with fries (pictured).
PIGGY RATING: 4/5
Verdict: The fries were yummy and seasoned perfectly, the portion was huge and the chicken was hot and crispy… but somehow still fell ever so slightly short of the traditional fried chicken flavour that I was hoping for. Regardless, it’s definitely a seriously good alternative for a coeliac who misses fried chicken!
Bannock describes its cuisine as ‘Canadian Comfort Food’, and as a lover of any kind of comfort food, I had to check it out. Accompanied by my dairy-free boyfriend (yes, we are the worst dinner guests ever), we arrived at the restaurant on Saturday night.
After being seated and ordering their summerlicious special cocktail, a mix of gin, strawberry lemonade and juniper, I asked our lovely server what I was able to eat. Because of summerlicious, they were offering a slightly reduced a la carte menu, and I have to admit that there weren’t a huge amount of options available for ceoliacs.
Here’s a list of what I was told I could eat:
- Broccoli & Bacon salad
- Caesar salad without the croutons (snore)
- Peppered Flat Iron Steak with duck fat potatoes, mustard greens and salsa verde
- Turkey burger without the bun or the fries (again, snore)
Obviously, I went for the Peppered Flat Iron Steak. I was instantly impressed when the meal arrived because of the large portion. I hate leaving a restaurant hungry! I was also put at ease by the server confirming that the whole dish was ceoliac friendly, without me having to ask.
The steak was delicious, perfectly cooked and well-seasoned, but the main winner of the dish was the potatoes – I could have eaten 1000 more. If you’re a roast dinner lover, you would love this.
Overall, I had a delicious meal at Bannock and left with a very happy tummy. However, because they use the same fryer for gluten and non-gluten free items, there are minimal options for coeliacs. I would totally recommend the cocktails though, so it’s a good spot to go for a drink!