Last night, I threw together another quinoa salad. I needed some comforting, and I knew a quinoa salad would do it. This time, I roasted an eggplant and a couple of tomatoes, tossed in some basil and diced spring onions, and served it up with a creamy lemon dressing. It was good, both warm and cold, but especially warm, I think the cold version could have used some baby spinach tossed in for good measure. It was comforting, but I did still resort to ice cream and hot fudge later in the evening… and then nachos and a hard cider even later… not really the way to look good in a bathing suit this summer.

The quinoa salad I made had lots of flavor, which was not true, sadly, of the Lucky Green Tea Quinoa bowl that I had at R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill the other day. A friend and I decided to check out R. Thomas’ because they have a fairly extensive range of gluten-free options and their chef really pays attention to his ingredients. The first thing I noticed about R. Thomas’ is that this is not the typical Buckhead restaurant. The side of the building is lined with birds in cages, happily singing away, and the whole restaurant seems to have been beamed in from a different planet, or maybe just Berkeley in the seventies. The menu is vegetarian and vegan friendly, but there are also plenty of free-range meat options. I immediately zeroed in on the quinoa bowls (hello, my name is Lynn, and I’m a quinoa-holic).

I had heard that the Thai Quinoa bowl was amazing, but since they let the local paper print that recipe, I plan on making it soon and wanted something different. I decided on the Lucky Green Tea bowl because it sounded interesting and flavorful. The vegetables were fresh and tasty, the quinoa was good, but I couldn’t taste the green tea or the miso. There was also supposedly some wasabi in the bowl, but I couldn’t taste even a hint of it. I mixed in a purple relish that was hanging out on the side of the plate, and that kicked up the flavor a bit, but at almost $12, I was disappointed. Still, I bet there are some real winners on their menu. My friend’s burger was very good, and so was her Raw Spicy Gingerade. Next time, I’m trying the Down Home.

R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill
1812 Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.872.2942
eat@rthomasdeluxegrill.com

For a gluten free menu, look here. This menu is not available in the restaurant, so print it out and take it with you. I forgot to do this, but my server was quite comfortable helping me figure out what I could eat (it helps that 70% of their menu is okay… even the chicken piccatta)

Recipe after the jump

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One of the reasons that I started this blog was because, while there are many other great gluten-free blogs out there, there are not any that are Atlanta based. When you first get a diagnosis, or decide you need to eat gluten-free, the learning curve is steep. It takes awhile to learn what you can eat, what products you like, where to shop, and even longer to learn where you can eat out. So, in addition to sharing my own gluten-free cooking with you, I also want to highlight some good options for gluten-free eating in Atlanta.

Last month I schlepped out to to the suburbs for a gluten-free meetup at Lavender’s Asian Bistro in Lawrenceville, GA. Lavender’s serves Thai and Chinese food and they are able to offer almost all of their non-fried food to the gluten-free customer. The secret is, they keep wheat-free Tamari on hand. If you go with a large enough group, they might also be willing to dedicate a fryer for you, opening up even more of their menu. When the gluten-free meetup group met, we had 18 people, so we got a fryer, and we were in heaven. Most of us hadn’t been able to have real Chinese food since our diagnosis, let alone calamari, and sesame chicken (which is what I ordered…or at least what I consumed…somebody else actually ordered the calamari).

One thing you have to be careful not to do, is accidentally order something not on the gluten-free menu. Even though our whole table was gluten-free, the woman sitting next to me asked if they had a vegetarian spring roll. What she expected, was a fresh spring roll, what she got was a fried Chinese spring roll that was not gluten-free. It was an honest mistake on the waiter’s part, and he did realize and come take it away, but not before the woman had eaten a few bites. So, do make sure that as you order you reinforce the fact that you are ordering gluten-free. You might also want to chat with the owner about your dietary restriction and concerns, as he was very friendly and helpful. Some members of the group eat their weekly with great success, so the owner, at least, is very knowledgeable about what is allowed and what is not.

Overall, I had a great experience, and will probably make the trip back out to Lawrenceville again. The food was good, maybe not the most amazing Chinese food I’ve ever had, but definitely far above average. It was a little far away for the traffic on a weeknight though, and if I go back it will probably be on a Saturday or Sunday night. Even though next time I go, I probably will have to forego the calamari (which was particularly fantastic), the menu offers such a wealth of choices that I’m sure I will find a new favorite.

Lavender’s Asian Bistro
1195 Scenic Hwy. Suite C8
Lawrenceville, GA 30045
770-982-3887

http://www.lavenderasianbistro.net/

menu after the jump