Thursday, April 28, 2011

3 Vines - Sleepy Hollow

While at home last week, my mom and I went out for lunch. The city is great - if you walk into a restaurant and they can't cater to your special dietary needs, you can walk to a similar (but welcoming) restaurant only a few blocks away. That luxury doesn't exist in the suburbs. Changing restaurant requires getting back in the car and driving past a number of chain restaurants. I have nothing against chain restaurants - some of them are really specific and thorough with declaring allergens - but the available options are always limited. The secret to dining out is to go some place where you can sit down and planning ahead. Gone are the days of grabbing a burger or sub for lunch. Hello casual or fancy dining!

Earlier in the week, I did some Internet research and found 3 Vines Cafe in Sleepy Hollow, IL. They boast being foodies and that they "live, breath and dream about wonderful, natural ingredients". Translation - safe dining! I sent a message to them on their website to see if they would be able to have options for me since I was gluten free and cow's milk free. I quickly received a reply that they could make gluten free bread for me if I gave them 30 minutes notice. I was sold.

There were a number of menu options that were naturally gluten free. Most of the food with cow's milk or cheese could easily be substituted, I was told. In the end, I chose Baked Goat Cheese (fresh goat cheese, roasted red pepper coulis, fresh basil) and Roasted Asparagus (olive oil, rosemary, sea salt, pepper). The baked goat cheese came out with my gluten free bread. It was still warm. I picked it up and felt it. Gluten free bread has a different texture than wheat bread does. It had that slightly gooey, soft feel that I love.

I inhaled the bread.

It was the best gluten free bread I have ever had! I used it to scoop up some of the baked goat cheese on top of its tomato soup-like mixture. I did my best to savor every bite. The chef came out and asked how the bread was. This was an experience I would only expect in a larger city with a larger number of people who need to follow a gluten free diet.

This was truly a foodie lunch. Everything from the decor of wine bottles, to menu with small plates, to the tapas-style feel of the restaurant, to the fancy plating, to the explosion of flavors with each bite. It is easy to tell when fresh ingredients are used to their full potential.

If you are visiting the northwest suburbs of Chicago, be sure to stop at 3 Vines - and be sure to get the gluten free bread!

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