A Tasty Menu indeed

Added on 13 Jun, 2008 . There are .

I haven't had real fries in 10 years... until now.

As you are all aware it's just too risky to have deep fried foods when you are allergic to wheat or have coeliac disease, because if anything containing wheat has been cooked in the same oil it's going to contaminate what you're eating.

So what changed after 10 years of my fries abstinence? Well recently I had the pleasure of eating at Calgary's only 100% gluten free restaurant, A Tasty Menu.

And when I say 100% gluten free I mean it. The staff are not allowed to bring any food and drink into the restaurant, and a sign at the door tells customers not to bring anything in too. This is immensely comforting to people like me who are verging on 911 after less than a breadcrumb of wheat.

It took us a while to locate the restaurant as its exterior is plain and a little lost in the strip mall. But having not eaten at a restaurant for 2½ years because my wheat reaction has exponentially increased over that time my excitement was mounting as we finally parked.

The interior of the restaurant is plain but clean. It's not huge which gives it a cosy café type of feeling. Being owned and run by people with coeliac disease my question about whether wheat starch with the gluten removed was used was fielded competently, and left me feeling very confident that they knew what they were talking about.

So let's talk about the menu. It's not gourmet food, it's good ol' comfort food, 'a tasty menu' indeed. I was torn between so many things that although my husband pretty quickly decided on grilled chicken breast, garden salad, seasonal vegetables, garlic cheese bread and rice (all for $15), I wanted to try everything.

In the end I chose the classic burger & fries ($9). A charbroiled burger on a cheese bun with all the fixings, a huge portion of real fries with a pot of ketchup to dip them in. After 10 years of no fries I dived in. Words can't really explain how great that first one was, or the second, or the third... My husband liberating a couple of fries from my plate agreed they were good.

When it came to dessert time I was told that unfortunately the desserts were currently cooling so all they could offer were lollipops & skewers, when I said I had been looking forward to trying the chocolate brownie the answer was, "well if you don't mind warm brownie with ice cream", I was sold. Warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream... a marriage made in heaven.

The chocolate brownie was absolutely the best I have ever tasted, and coupled with fantastic tasting vanilla ice cream it was an absolute dream.

Other mouth watering items on the menu include: Chicken tenders - breaded, fried boneless chicken served with curry sauce & fries – $8 Nachos – classic nachos with sour cream & salsa - $12 (add guacamole, beef or chicken for $2 extra each) Poutine - $6 Poppyseed salad – seasonal vegetables, cranberries, apple slices & almonds with poppyseed dressing - $7 Caesar Salad – with cheese bun croutons - $7 (add chicken $2 extra) Pizza – build your own - from $11 Creamed coconut curry - $10 (add chicken $2 extra) Cheesecake lollipops with fruit skewers - $5

To sum up, A Tasty Menu offers people with a wheat allergy and coeliacs a safe haven to eat. The food is good, generous and ridiculously cheap. Check out their website for an up-to-date menu and prices. I would not hesitate to recommend A Tasty Menu to anyone. The only sad thing from my perspective is that it's 1¾ hours drive from where I live. Was the gas worth it? You bet it was.

The details: Name: A Tasty Menu Address: 105 - 4202 17th Ave SE, Calgary Tel: 403.235.0031 Website: www.atastymenu.ca Hours: Monday & Tuesday: closed Wednesday-Saturday: 11am-8pm Sunday: 11am-7pm Reservations recommended Friday & Saturday nights Menu: 100% gluten free Vegan/vegetarian/lactose free/egg free choices are also available. Kid's menu available Not licensed