Grain-Free Grazing Goes Global

Disclaimer – Apologies for the poor quality photos

Hu Kitchen

Location – Manhattan, NYC
Type of Establishment – Deli/Cafe
Serving – Breakfast/Lunch/Everything in Between
Level of Paleo – Predominantly Paleo
Price – ££

So. We made it to NYC without a gluten attack from aeroplane food, or dying of hunger, due to careful snack planning. I used to look forward to holidays in America that were beer-centric. I was a huge beer fanatic, and the US blew the UK away in craft beer and micro-brew. Then psoriasis happened. And I grew up. Throughout the planning of this city hopping trip, food has been at the forefront, for where better to get Paleo products than the land of the free-range? And Hu Kitchen was top of the list from the get go. To say I was overwhelmed may be an understatement. From a liquid bar serving on tap kombucha and paleo banana bread and blueberry muffins to go, to pre-prepared sugar free, dairy free, wheat free treats, to breakfast burritos made from almond flour, and organic eggs on grain free Paleo bread, I did not want to leave. The prices are reasonable for meals, but kinda pricey for snacks, although keep in mind they are in dollars so it isn’t as expensive as it first seems when you look at the menu. A Paleo haven if ever there was one. Anyone who’s anyone, Paleo or not, should give this place a visit on a trip to NYC. However, tread with caution – you may not want to eat anywhere else!

Wheat-free at Heathrow

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Leon

Location – Heathrow Terminal 3 (also Heathrow Terminal 2, and non-airport locations all over London)
Type of Establishment – Fast food outlet
Serving – Breakfast, lunch
Level of Paleo – Wheat-free, gluten-free
Price – £

Remember not that long ago when the combination of eating and air travel was a terrifying concept, and the only thing to do was to either load up on food before getting there, or compromising your food choices with less than perfect options? Well, while airline food is still miles off the mark for most of us, and nothing more than a packed lunch is the only possibility, (beware that they’ll confiscate jars of almond butter – I learned the hard way, spooning it into my mouth before they’d release my hand luggage) the airports have at least stepped up their game to cater for the food conscious traveller. Arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3 3.5 hours before our flight, and desperately seeking breakfast that wouldn’t see us consume our packed plane food before even boarding, we came across Leon. Although no stranger to this chain, we hadn’t been here for breakfast before, and as it was pre-11am, we had the choice of a poached egg pot or ‘magic’ porridge. Foregoing the latter, we chose the poached egg, gruyerre and ham hock pot with extra poached egg. For £2.95, you cannot grumble. Surely even the biggest advocate of the Egg McMuffin can’t turn their nose up at a pot of protein for under £3.

Junk-free chorizo Unearthed

I don’t normally write posts about individual products, but I was so excited to hear about this, and then actually find it, I had to put it down in words. I can’t remember the exact source of where I first heard about this, even though it was only this week! I performed the obligatory google search, and was pleased to see their range stocked by Waitrose. At the first opportunity we drove 9 miles to our nearest, expecting them not to sell it due to it’s size. Imagine my joy when I found a fairly extensive range of Unearthed products. The beauty of their chorizo ring is that it contains only pork, salt, garlic and paprika, and their Jamón Ibérico only pork and salt. I did examine all of their products, and these were the only 2 to not contain sulphites, nitrates or other preservatives. But I’ll take that any day to find delicious, melt in the mouth cured meats that can be labelled somewhat Paleo/Primal. And to top it off they were on a 2 for £5 deal. Which, having bought more than my fair share of cured meats in the past, is a very good deal indeed.

Food on the Whole

Whole Foods Market

Location – London – Piccadilly Circus (also Camden, Clapham, Kensington, Cheltenham and others)

First visited – August 2014
Type of Establishment – Grocery Store/Market Hall
Serving – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Price – ££
Level of Paleo – Paleo sympathetic

I’m sure some of you reading this are no strangers to Whole Foods Market, whether that be US or UK based. Known primarily for it’s supermarket based business, you could almost be forgiven for wondering why this deserves a blog post of it’s own, and not just a place on the Where to Buy page of this blog. Almost. That’s because, when in Central London, and you’re looking for somewhere to grab a reasonably priced, decent sized lunch or dinner, Whole Foods Piccadilly is the ideal choice. Slap bang in the middle of SoHo, sandwiched between ten-a-penny tourist-trap Angus Steakhouses, and the trendy but not-quite-Paleo-friendly pop-ups of Carnaby Street, you have an around-the-world selection of street-food stalls masquerading as a grocery store. From hot vegetables, soups and Mexican to go, to junk-free made-on-site guacamole, truly fresh celery and carrot sticks, and some prepared fruit for dessert, you won’t go far wrong if you decide on this place for dinner. Although nowhere near fine dining (you may not want to go for your anniversary!), if you want to feel satisfied you’ve eaten enough, and eaten real food you’ve chosen specifically, then stop by Whole Foods Piccadilly. Take your food upstairs and enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere, or outside into the hustle and bustle. You can rest assured you won’t be made sick by traces of gluten lurking in your gluten-free choice. You can even grab some groceries on your way out, including grinding your own nut butters, and finding an elusive spaghetti squash (see below), which is the only place I’ve been able to find it in the UK!

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Feed Your Inner Caveman

Feed Me Primal

Location – London – Camden Lock Market, St. Giles in the Field, Urban Food Fest (check twitter for up to date days and times)

First Visited – July 2014
Type of establishment – Market Stall
Serving – Street Food for lunch and dinner
Price – £
Level of Paleo – Primarily Paleo

Cue a gorgeous sunny day in London, showing two friends visiting from the States the highlights of one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Camden Lock Market was always on the list of where to take them, for the huge variety of street food alone, and the ease in which four people who eat rather differently can all find something awesome in the same place. Not knowing what I was going to be able to eat, I stumbled completely by chance on Feed Me Primal, a primal/paleo food stall run by Gemma Callandar, serving handmade meatballs on a bed of the most delicious cauli-rice I’ve ever had, in a grain-free flat bread made from cassava, ground almonds and coconut milk, all for the ridiculously reasonable £7, which left me full for about 6 hours. Since then I’ve been back twice, making the well worth it tube ride on the Northern Line to Camden Town, to get some more of the most guilt-free meatballs in London! Since we visited, Feed Me Primal now features at Devonshire Square and St. Giles in the Field, and seems to be looking to expand quite quickly so I would imagine/cross my fingers hopefully that Gemma’s stall will be popping up in some more locations as the London summer fast approaches!

Handmade Burger Anyone?

Handmade Burger Co.

Location – UK wide including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Hull, Edinburgh and Glasgow

First visited – March 2015
Type of establishment – Restaurant
Serving – Lunch and Dinner
Price – ££
Level of Paleo – Gluten free/paleo sympathetic

When some friends of ours suggested Handmade Burger Co. for lunch in Birmingham, with our eating habits in mind, we figured we’d at least be able to get the option without the bun, and maybe add a grain-free friendly side or two to beef up the plate that would be sadly lacking. We were pleasantly surprised however, to find quite the extensive gluten free menu, with more than enough choices to create a sustaining lunch that wouldn’t leave us hungry straight afterward. With 20+ different burger options that can all be made gluten free (you have to specifically ask for it when you go up to order because the normal patties have gluten-containing Worcestershire sauce), and a ‘naked’ option without the bun (and they give you a side salad instead, which was an added bonus!) there’s bound to be something for everyone. As the name suggests, they are handmade to order, and their beef is 100% grass fed, something which I rarely find advertised in the UK. I opted for the bacon and avocado burger without mayo or relish to avoid unnecessary sugars, with sweet potato fries, and wasn’t disappointed with the generous serving size, which was more than sufficient. The only thing that won’t be paleo are the seed oils they probably cook with, which, depending on your sway, may be an acceptable compromise to be able to enjoy a casual, affordable meal with non grain-free friends.

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT to be confused with Gourmet Burger Kitchen (or GBK) which also offers a gluten free menu and bun-less burgers, but unfortunately left me feeling what can only be described as drunk (light headed, brain fog, stomach ache, nauseous, and downright miserable for about 2 hours until I was suddenly starving again for some real food and nutrients!)

A Little Piece of Amsterdam

Little Amsterdam

Location – Banbury
First visited – February 2015
Type of establishment – Cafe/Deli
Serving – Breakfast, lunch, early dinner
Price – ££
Level of Paleo – Paleo Catered

My husband and I stumbled across this little gem of a pancake house somewhat accidentally whilst out walking through Banbury one Sunday morning. Opened in December, it was the first time we had been passed it, and as we tend to do, we stopped to check out all the things on the menu we couldn’t eat. Imagine our delight when we saw they cater to special diets, with grain-free pancakes using tapioca and almond flour! Needless to say, we had to try it! Sipping a Nespresso coffee and a Teapigs, we mulled over the vast array of sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes, omelettes, soups, salads, extras, sides, and specials (meatballs!). We knew we had to try a grain free pancake though, so I opted for plain with raspberries, and my husband apple and bacon. The very friendly waiter politely asked if we were sure, as they could be a bit different to normal pancakes, but we said yes, we’re Paleo, so we won’t be surprised! The pancakes were very large, and quite thin which made them less dry than thicker almond flour pancakes, and were absolutely delicious. The owner, who just happens to follow Paleo, stopped by to chat to us, and assured us she could make most items on the menu to suit us, down to the all important oil used to cook with. And so we found our new favourite haunt. A dead cert for Sunday Breakfast, we’ll be sure to take anyone who comes to visit there for a look. Paleo or not, it’s a fantastic little place with the added bonus of grain-free choices, and is just waiting to be visited.