The Great Chicago Gluten Free Challenge

There are a few facts I know about my dearest friend Jon Beebe when I’m cooking for him.

  1. No beef or pork.  Side note: Not a fan of cutting meat off the bone.
  2. Allergies to bananas, mushrooms, and shellfish.
  3. Dairy sensitivity

Late last year he had to add this to the list.

4. Gluten Free

Knowing very little about this diet I found myself roaming the Whole Foods Gluten Free aisle.  I gave him a bag worth of random products over the holidays with the message…

Merry Christmas my dear friend.

Now eat something.

Cooking for Jon has always been a healthy challenge, but Gluten Free? This felt out of my comfort zone. So when he visited me this month, I wanted to commit to making some meals at home.  I bought a cookbook called “Cooking For Isaiah” to help me through the weekend.


What a culinary savor.


I made some of the easiest recipes to play it as safe as possible.  Here is the quick overview:

Cinnamon-Toasted Belgian Waffles

“I wouldn’t haven known it was gluten free.” – Jon

 I doubled the recipe, and in my massive Kitchen Aid waffle maker, it only made 5. But it was enough. I like my waffles a tad bit crispy, so I would up the cooking by 45 seconds.

Puffy Peach Pancake Pie with Caramel Maple Syrup

“Peaches compliment this perfectly.” – Jon

I was worried that these would be too sugary, but they weren’t.

Penny’s Apple-Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

“I loved them all, but this this one is my favorite.” – Jon

I kept thinking that there wasn’t enough batter, but it turned out beautifully. It came together in a snap.

Asparagus Risotto Casserole

“MmmMmm!” – My hubby who’s not even Gluten Free

I marinated and grilled some chicken to compliment this recipe. It was filling and full of flavor. Next time I would cut the asparagus smaller or work different veggies in the mix.

We also went out to a few new places:


Jon raved it’s the best gluten free pizza crust he’s had so far– even more than Buddy’s GF version. Which caught my husband’s attention: he likes Buddy’s GF crust as much as their regular crust.

Mity Nice:

Gluten Free Cheese Puffs? OMGeeeeeee! We loved these. Jon also happily consumed these with his club sandwich.

Tank Noodle:

Tank Noodle doesn’t have a Gluten Free menu like the others, but Jon was dreaming about dish number V154 from his last trip.

Rice noodle curry tofu with taro, onion, cilantro, coconut milk. Nom! Instead of the noodles he ordered it with rice. Just as magical for the taste buds as he hoped it would be.

Bistro 110:

Gluten Free Squash Soup? Yum. Gluten Free drinking options? Yes, you have our attention. Just when this feast was looking up, Jon bit into his trout dish and had to send it back. He ended up getting the ½ of chicken and he was pleased with that.  I also would like to note that our non-gluten free dishes were delicious.  I haven’t found a bolognese that matched my grandmothers so closely.

With that, it looks like Bistro 110 is undergoing some changes. Hope their new chapter continues to show love for the Gluten Free folks.

Mia Francecsa

Jon had the Linguine Aglio Olio… The Quinoa gluten-free linguine was much different in texture than he expected, but he did enjoy it.

Until Jon visits again, I’ll have to keep my eye out for the next must-eat places.

I know The Peninsula will be on our list. Look at that view!


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