The Stand: Gluten-Free Tacos and Burgers (Rejoice!)

Judy Nichols
The tacos at The Stand: burgers and tacos are gluten-free and delicious.
A taco is the no-brainer choice for gluten-freers. In fact, almost any Mexican food option usually will work because corn is the go-to grain south of the border. But you have to be careful, because some restaurants use corn tortillas that include wheat flour. I've had it happen more often than you'd think.

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Jamburritos, Short Leash: Gluten-Free on Wheels

Judy Nichols
Jamburritos offers a gluten-free veggie bowl that doesn't leave out cajun spices. And the hush puppies are gluten-free, too.

I'm a longtime food truck fan, from way before food trucks were cool. During college in Hawaii, I regularly ate out of trucks parked on the Manoa campus. I ordered what Hawaiians call "plate lunches": an entrée served with two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad. It sounds starch-crazy to non-Islanders, but to me, it's perfect. If you've never had a plate lunch, get in line at the Aloha Kitchen booth at the March 8 and 9 Arizona Aloha Festival at Tempe Beach Park. You won't be sorry.

In Hawaii (before I was diagnosed with celiac disease), I would order a breaded pork cutlet or breaded fried shrimp and sit on the grass with my friends and munch away before heading to class. Breaded, deep-fried choices were the food-truck staple at the time, so once gluten-free, I figured I was aced out of that form of food delivery.

But recently, I have had a couple of food-truck gluten-free success stories.

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Urban Cookies Serves Up Gluten-Free Doughnuts and Cupcakes

Judy Nichols
Sweet: Gluten-free donuts at Urban Cookies Bakeshop.
A delicious surprise appeared in front of me last month when a friend brought me some gluten-free doughnuts from Urban Cookies Bakeshop at 4711 North Seventh Street.

Gluten-free doughnuts don't have the springy lift of traditional glazed doughnuts. They have a consistency more like a cake doughnut, which is really my favorite -- although Krispy Kremes, fresh from their icing waterfall are pretty amazing.

But they're dead to me now.

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24 Carrots Makes the Move to Tempe, Serves Healthy Fare (Including Gluten-Free)

Judy Nichols
The gluten-free zucchini pasta at 24 Carrots is drenched in tasty pesto sauce.

When you're gluten-free, your friends and family are always looking out for new places to go out for a meal together. It's a great gift to get a phone call or e-mail suggesting a new place to eat, sit, and share the day's events.

Recently, as I switched jobs, many friends invited me to congratulatory lunches. One friend, a foodie who manages events and regularly seeks out great food experiences, was excited to introduce me to 24 Carrots, Natural Café & Juice Bar.

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Jewel's Bakery and Café: The Savory Side of Gluten-Free Dining

Judy Nichols
The gluten-free Loaded Baked Potato Flatbread at Jewel's Bakery and Cafe, where everything is gluten-free, will make you happy all over.

Okay, if you read my previous post on Jewel's Bakery and Café, you already know I'm in love with this place. Jewel's has so many beautiful gluten-free pastries that you could just drown yourself in sugar.

But I also was excited to taste the bakery's savory offerings. So my work compatriots and I headed over for lunch last week.

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California Pizza Kitchen Reintroduces Gluten-Free Pizza

Judy Nichols
The reintroduced gluten-free pizza at California Pizza Kitchen includes pepperoni.

In 2011, my mother took us all to California Pizza Kitchen to celebrate Veterans Day. She spoke at a Scottsdale celebration, telling the audience about her service as a nurse in Desert Storm. Her unit's mobile hospital set up on the Kuwait/Iraq border and treated more than 100 wounded people.

She was excited to learn the CPK was discounting veterans' meals for the day, and that they had gluten-free pizza that I could eat. So off we went, our mouths watering.

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Jewel's Bakery & Café Delights the Gluten-Free and Friends

Judy Nichols
"The Lola," at Jewel's Bakery & Cafe, is a carnival of flavors, with its pancake or waffle base drizzled with housemade salted caramel and topped with chocolate chips, peanuts, peanut butter cheesecake mousse, and bacon dipped in chocolate ganache.

I'm so excited that I'm doing the gluten-free happy dance.

Jewel's Bakery & Café, where everything is gluten-free -- and I mean everything -- has opened at 4041 East Thomas Road, so very, very close to my house.

I've been waiting, and not very patiently. A couple of times, I actually stopped and pressed my nose against the window, peering in to try to assess how close it was to opening.

Well, it opened just before Christmas and it was almost as if Santa knew I needed a little something extra under the tree.

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Fill Your Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Plate

Judy Nichols
My perfectionist Martha Stewart gluten-free Christmas cookies.

Last year, I didn't eat any of my Christmas cookies because I used the Martha Stewart recipe for sugar cookies that I always use, with loads of butter, sugar and gluten-laden flour. I didn't want to alter the recipe because, like many of Martha's creations, it is perfect, and one of the many reasons I have forgiven her for any of the things for which she was sent to prison. I'm sure she's learned her lesson, and she probably made her prison roomies some damn good cookies.

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New Gluten-Free Treats at Green and La Grande Orange

Judy Nichols
The Almond Poppyseed Cake at La Grande Orange is going on my list of new gluten-free favorites.

'Tis the season to check in with old friends, and even thought you're always looking for the newest delectable morsel, sometimes you just want to go where you know everybody's name.

So while I was out and about doing my holiday elf duties, I rolled by a couple of old standbys, where I found not only my favorite things, but some new stuff, too.

At La Grande Orange Pizzeria, picking up my old love, Roasted Corn pizza on a gluten-free crust, I spied in the pastry case, a lovely new little gluten-free Almond Poppyseed Cake. The delicious chewy cake was topped with a dab of sweetness and crunchy almonds.

The individual serving was just the right cup of kindness.

Oh, and grab a gluten-free chocolate walnut cookie for later. When you've wandered many a weary foot, you might need some sustenance.

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21 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Week Four and Beyond

Judy Nichols
The black bean tostada in Week Three of the Fresh Start 21-Day Cleanse from has tomatoes, black beans, avocato and quinoa on a homemade corn tortilla.

I wrapped up my Fresh Start: 21 (28) Day Cleanse from just in time to tumble into a long weekend of eating and making merry at a reunion of old friends at a beach house in Oregon.

I imagine my detoxified insides recoiling in horror at the gluten-free beer and M&Ms I downed while playing hearts, the apple cobbler made with mounds of brown sugar and Gluten Free Bisquick, and the 16-ounce Americano from the local coffee shop.

See also:
- 21 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Week Three
- 21-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Week Two
- 21-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Week One

But I survived, and came back to my daily life and the question of how to fit the green-smoothie lifestyle into my eating pattern.

First, rewind to Week Three on the cleanse, actually my Week Four because I repeated Week One.

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