Taste of Tampa Bay – Gluten Free Can Be Delicious

In recent years, I have developed a sensativity to gluten. Sometimes I am able to eat an item made with wheat with little to no effect; other times there are painful consequences. I keep a mental list of what causes problems. I spend a lot of time seeking out gluten free options, especially when traveling since being sick when traveling no fun.

I was thrilled to discover a gluten free eatery close to my house called Grill Fresh. It was not lost on me that the restaurant’s initials are GF. All their ingredients and sauces are gluten free and they tout true organic healthy eating from farm to fresh. They even grow their own herbs in a garden next to the restaurant.

The place is a simple building located off US 19 North in Palm Harbor across from Sprouts Market. There is ample parkling. Enter into a spare modern sparking clean space. Consult the menu board for options based on size and number of bases, proteins and veggies. There are options for vegetarians and vegans as well as meat lovers. (My husband is a flexitarian with vegetarian leaning, so he is happy to eat here.) If you like eating healthy, this is the place for you.

Orders are made at the counter, where you can watch as they assemble your bowl. You order drinks at the register when you pay and then serve yourself at the drink bar. Seating is first come first served inside and out on the covered porch. More tables are high tops which are a problem for short people like me.

My choice is the small bowl with 2 Bases, 1 Veggie, 1 Protein – good for a smaller appetite. There are cold and warm bases to choose from. I have tried Forbidden Rice, a black rice for one of my bases. Surprised I liked it as I am not normally a fan of rice. On other trips, I have fallen in love with their Asian noodles which are crazy additive; so good that I could eat just noodles with one of their many tasty sauces and be satified. My second base is roasted sweet potatoes.

There are several proteins to choose from. Warm proteins are grilled chicken, Citrus cilantro chicken, BBQ chicken, Teriyaki chicken, grilled steak, Chia Teriyaki tofu, Vegan meatballs, Cuban Roast pork. Cold protein choices are Sesame Ahi Tuna Poke or Spicy Ahi Tuna. I have tried the grilled chicken and the Ahi Tuna poke at different times, both of which are delicious. My fav vegetable is the grilled garlic mushrooms.

The sauces are the highlight here. So nice to know they are gluten free – even the teriyaki. I have tried the Thai Peanut on grilled chicken and Creamy Ginger on the tuna poke. Both have amazing taste and compliment the ingredients of the bowls so well.

Drinks are probably the only part that are not what I would consider healthy. They have Stubborn craft sodas on tap and China Mist fresh brewed teas as well as bottled water and Kombucha. I am in love with the China Mist watermelon tea even though it is heavily sweetened. Would be nice if they would offer it unsweetened so those who prefer unsweetened to one’s own choice of sugar free sweetener like Stevia.

I love this place and will be eating here every chance I get.

About J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies

Jeanette's wanderlust started as an Air Force brat crisscrossing the US visiting almost every state. Writing has always been a part of her life. While earning a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida, Jeanette found photography was the perfect compliment to writing. She is always on the outlook for what she calls "Right Time, Right Place" photographs that capture a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Her adult travels have taken her to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland and all over the US and she continues to crave going to places to experience adventure, great food and lifestyles. She has written travel journals for the web site IGOUGO.com to share her experiences to guide and encourage other travelers. Her descriptive writing style makes one feel as if they are there sharing the experience. Her love of writing is based on this simple truth: "When I am writing, I know that I am doing the thing I was born to do." (Anne Sexton).
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