Category: Chicago

Ema: Chicago Restaurant Review

Located in River North, Ema is the hot new spot for Mediterranean food and one of the newest editions to the Lettuce Entertain You Group.

No matter what, when I walk in the door of a Lettuce restaurant, I feel entirely safe. With eggs newly on my strict cannot-have list, I’ve been a bit more anxious dining out than usual, but all concerns were easily diminished with a kind waitress last week at Ema.

Though we could not get a reservation between 5:30 and 7:30 on a Wednesday night (hot spot, I told you!) there is an area of tables for walk-ins and between that space, the rain, and a major Cubs game (Go Cubbies!), we were seated immediately upon walking in at about 6pm.

This restaurant is tapas-style but with the standard Mediterranean offerings–they suggested 2-3 plates per person at each table to share.

We ordered the spicy hummus (which came with gluten free, vegan house-made crackers!), cauliflower romanesco (with yogurt and honey), the lamb-beef kebab, and the salmon kebab.

The star of the show was absolutely the cauliflower, which is typically the most underrated veggie of them all. This beauty was gorgeous on the plate and filled with bold flavors and a variety of textures.


Next visit, I’ll opt to order more from the vegetable plates over the standard kebab plates–sadly, they were only 1 kebab per order and the plate was mainly rice (which would throw my BG for a rollercoaster).

Will absolutely return, and soon.

Take it easy, but take it.


Piccolo Sogno: Chicago Restaurant Review

Though I’d been a long time ago, this past weekend I returned to Piccolo Sogno to celebrate my mom’s birthday–with a lengthier allergy list to care for.

From the moment our waiter came to our table, we were treated with kindness and simple assurance that everything would be perfectly handled, and he was absolutely right.

I ordered a delicious salmon dish {see photo!} with a side of cauliflower mash {I’m loving the cauliflower trend–low carb replacement for high carb things!}.

It was absolutely beautiful to look at and I ate every last bite.



Our waiter even ensured that I could partake in dessert with the most adorable birthday berries I’ve ever seen.


If you’re looking for something special in the city of Chicago, ensure you get a reservation and try to be seated on the patio this summer {can only guarantee when you’ve arrived for your reservation}–the ambiance is not to be missed, and neither is their perfect attention to food allergy needs.

Take it easy, but take it.


Mity Nice: Chicago Restaurant Review

I had the pleasure of dining at Mity Nice, located on the mezzanine level of Water Tower Place on Michigan Ave., for lunch with my grandparents last week. As always, I placed a quick call prior to dining and the staff assured me that my dietary needs would be easily met.

The manager on duty spent excessive time with my table, as well as our waiter who was very well trained in allergy protocol. For my first time dining at any restaurant, I always order something simple enough that I can decipher every ingredient on my plate when it arrives. My request for salmon with EVOO+S/P cooked on foil and steamed vegetables was executed flawlessly (including an extra precaution of making the veggies in the microwave to avoid using pots that had the potential for cross contamination–which embarrassed the manager but I was thrilled to have safe, steamed veggies!)


I will definitely return in the near future, and am happy to add to my growing list of celiac-safe spots to eat in Chicago.

Take it easy, but take it.


Burger Bar Chicago: Restaurant Review

I’ll admit it: I got really excited when I saw an email from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center inviting me to the first-ever Chicago meet-up for people with celiac–like might have jumped out of my chair excited.

Okay, now you may be asking what I asked myself–how the heck does a big city like Chicago not already have a celiac meet-up?! Well, who knows.

Nonetheless, I’d never been to the meeting spot {Burger Bar Chicago} and even glancing at their website/menu had me a bit weary of whether they were celiac safe, or gluten free fad safe. The menu simply has a gluten free bun option, without indication of precautions taken/not taken, etc. I had to stretch outside of my comfort zone and put my trust in the fact that my own celiac center picked the darn place but I still called to ensure other allergens could be taken care of.

They were able to give me anything other than the french fries (made in soybean oil, but 100% gluten free for others who are curious!), so I customized my hamburger {see that stack below!} and had a side salad. I requested my hamburger be made on foil, out of an abundance of caution for my hyper-sensitive celiac stomach, and the request was easily accommodated.


It was a tasty, fun time and over FIFTY PEOPLE showed up!

Celiac people+family/friends/kids all chowing down on some delicious, safe hamburgers is my kinda night.

I’ll definitely be returning.

Take it easy, but take it.


Summer House Santa Monica Chicago: Restaurant Review

Moving back to my hometown of Chicago at the start of this month meant it was time to take on the task of finding 100% safe places to eat [especially after 4 years in Ann Arbor, with a total of a whopping 3 safe places].

As most of you know, I am practically the most sensitive celiac that exists, according to my physician and world renown celiac specialist at least. Cross-contamination takes on a whole new meaning in my life, as even as molecule of gluten and I’m down and out for a week. On top of my strict gluten free eating, I’m anaphylactic allergic to shellfish and severely intolerant/allergic to soybean oil, peanuts, pistachios, and cashews.

I called Summer House Santa Monica, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, after seeing they’d be serving food at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease benefit, and  I was assured they could safely prepare a meal for every single one of my food needs. They mentioned that I would speak to a manager, chef, and my  waiter upon arriving for a full allergy protocol to take place. I’m usually quite anxious when it comes to dining out, but after arriving at Summer House, I knew I was in good hands.

Upon being seated with a personal friend as a waiter (which is so much fun!), I spoke to a manager who explained that all soy sauce used in marinades was wheat free tamari and that no soybean oil was ever used in the kitchen. Additionally, shellfish was never placed on the grill and the grill was kept 100% gluten free. I couldn’t believe my ears! He simply explained that the investment in the small changes was worthwhile to be able to serve individuals with allergies more simply and effectively. Amazing!

I ordered from their extensive gluten free dinner menu (they have gluten free brunch and lunch too!) and chose the Ahi Tuna Toastadas and Roasted Jalapeno Cauliflower to share with my family for appetizers and the Ancho-Marinated Amish Chicken Taco Platter for dinner. All dishes were stunning in presentation and flavor.

Ahi Tuna Toastadas
Roasted Jalapeno Cauliflower









Ancho-Marinated Chicken Taco Platter


Of course, I waited a full week to write this review to ensure I was feeling 100% well. Summer House took utmost care of me and my needs–there’s nothing better than delicious food that leaves you feeling absolutely perfectly. I cannot wait to return.

What’s your favorite celiac-safe/food allergy friendly restaurant in Chicago? I’d love to review.

Take it easy, but take it.