A very good friend of mine has been helping expand my food palate, by introducing me to the world of gluten-free foods. Don’t worry, my glutinous urges remain and will be met appropriately, but I find it interesting to explore different ways of eating, in addition to trying new foods.
I’ve heard that gluten-free pizza was quite delicious and decided to give it a go. A lover of vegetables, you’ll see that my pizza choices tend to fall on including lots of them! First up was the gluten-free vegetable pizza at Lost Dogs in Arlington (amazing sandwiches and pizza), which used chickpeas in the dough. The pizza crust was puffier, similar to a traditional pizza crust and along with the veggies and cheese combination on top, tasted quite scrumptious.
Next up was a gluten-free vegetable pizza at one of my favorite spots in Shirlington, Busboy and Poets (the menu also has a scrumptious gluten-free meat pizza). The dough was made using rice flour and the result was a thin, crispier pizza. We opted for garlic and olive oil instead of tomato sauce for the pizza. Topped with goat cheese, asparagus roasted red peppers, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes, I could honestly not tell the difference between it and a glutinous thin crust pizza. It was gobbled up quickly!
And then most daring of the gluten-free tasting yet happened at the food trucks during a work lunch hour. As my eyes wandered the vast array of food trucks, my heart stopped as I spotted a crepe truck! And then to even more my surprise, I approached the truck to find two lovely gentlemen making traditional French crepes, wearing white dress shirts, bow ties and aprons. The inside of the vehicle replicated more of a French kitchen on wheels than that of a food truck. The owners explained that all of the crepe fillings, in addition to the batter, were made fresh daily from scratch.
I smiled with glee at the savory and sweet crepe selections, as my mind wandered back to my study-abroad days in Paris. My favorite of the creperie stands in Paris was set up across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens, a block away from my boarding on the Boulevard Saint-Michel. The thin and light, pancake-like taste of a freshly made crepe with fresh fruit and a drizzle of chocolate, or a savory one with spinach, onions and cheese was always delightful.
At the food truck, the owner’s eyes lit up as I told him I wanted to try the gluten-free chicken crepe. He said that the batter, a combination including buckwheat, took him nearly 4 months to figure out.
You could definitely tell the difference with the gluten-free crepe right away. The crepe fell apart a bit more easily than a regular crepe and the taste of the buckwheat, while not horrible to the palate was just not as appetizing. Now as for the filling, that was the star of the show. The chicken crepe filling had a quarter pound of herb roasted chicken breast with oven dried tomatoes, onion marmalade and mozzarella cheese. The flavors together were so delightful that I found myself tearing away at the crepe to get to the filling alone.
While a crepe newbie may not be as turned off by first trying a gluten-free crepe, they just are not my cup of tea. But since the flavors of the chicken filling were so amazing, and the smell of the regular crepes cooking so intoxicating, I’ll be coming back to the crepe truck to try something else on the menu.
So, pizza a success. Crepes not so much, but still a tasty experiment. Next up on the gluten-free adventure…pasta…