Snacking has never really been an option for Debbie Wood, due to two health issues.
"So restricted because of my Type 1 diabetes as well as my celiac disease and I needed to find a way to bring back the enjoyment of food," she said.
So she created her own company, No Denial Foods. Her first product, Original Honey Mix, is low in sugar and gluten free, containing raw nuts and seeds, coconut flakes and raisins, lightly coated in coconut oil, honey, sea salt and vanilla. It's delicious.
"And it creates that salty-sweet type of indulgent treat," Wood said.
Just down the street from Wood's production kitchen in Lake View, the Wheat's End Cafe is completely gluten free, with a range of cookies, doughnuts and muffins. They even bake bread, some of which is used on the menu at the brand new Little Beet Table in the Gold Coast, where a veggie-focused menu is also completely gluten-free.
"You can usually only have one or two dishes, and to be able to walk into a restaurant and have the entire menu is a pretty special experience," said Jenifer Cerio, the restaurant's Marketing Director.
Indeed. Roasted cauliflower hummus contains seeds and onions plus fresh dill; those toast wedges make fine scooping vessels. The double bacon cheeseburger is decadent, arriving on toasted gluten free buns and the cavatelli-yes, gluten free-is tossed with pomodoro tomatoes and Japanese eggplant, finished with some sheep's milk ricotta.
"We just like to put forth a really wholesome menu that just happens to be gluten free," she said.
In this week's "Extra Course", Steve tries two desserts at Little Beet Table: a fruit cobbler and a tres leches cake that you'll never believe are gluten free.
Extra Course: Desserts at Little Beet Table
No Denial Foods
Predominantly sold through website (www.nodenialfoods.com) but can also be found at the following Chicago locations.
-Morgan Street Cafe, 111 S. Morgan Street
-Delicious Cafe, 3827 N. Lincoln Avenue
-Lakeview Kitchen and Market, 3109 N. Broadway
-Elli's Cafe, 10701 S. Hale Street
-Lil's Dietary Specialty Shop, 2738 W. 111th Street
Wheat's End Cafe
2873 N. Broadway
The Little Beet Table
845 N. State St.