Saturday, June 26, 2010

OMG, What a treat!

I've mentioned OMG It's Gluten Free Café in earlier posts, but I don't think I've ever really told you anything about this great place. They're located at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Vollmer Road in the Harlem Crossing plaza in Frankfort, IL, at 19810 S. Harlem Avenue.

They opened for business back in March, but just had an official Grand Opening Celebration today. The owner, Julie Scianna, like a lot of Celiac patients, diagnosed herself after lots of problems, several false diagnoses, and plenty of unnecessary worry. After starting up a gluten free cooking club with some friends, she and the chef, Andrew (A.J.) Hebda, started creating quality, flavorful food that people actually would enjoy eating, and a local restaurateur encouraged them to start up a business.

This place is amazing. It's a small store front café with a handful of tables for dining in. Besides bakery items such as cookies, brownies, scones, muffins, and cupcakes, they have several enticing lunch and dinner options. The pizza is crisp, lasagna perfectly layered, chicken parmigiana crusted in their own breadcrumbs and for the kids (of those of us who like to eat like kids), chicken fingers and grilled cheese are sure to please.

When my Celiac Support Group met here a month or so ago, one member made the comment that it was so strange to just know that all your food was safe. She had to remind herself that that the salad she ordered, which arrived at her table with croutons made from their baked in store bread, was not a danger to her health. The delicious food is just that much better for the knowledge that nothing in the whole café has ever come anywhere near a cross contaminant. No wheat flour has ever been measured with their measuring cups, mixed with their mixer, baked in their oven or even passed through the doors.

My mother joined me at the Grand Opening where she enjoyed samples of a blueberry muffin, white chocolate chip cookie and brownie. She prefers cake brownies, so the mouthwatering fudgy brownie was not to her taste, but the cookie and muffin made a great impression. An prize wheel was set up outside the store for prizes such as product discounts. I won a BOGO on pizza, and Mom won a date with the chef! Of course, they hadn't told A.J. they were using that particular prize, so I'm not sure how that would even work out.

All told, Mom and I left with a 1lb. bag of granola, a dozen assorted cookies, two 14 inch cheese pizza (frozen), a lemon poppyseed scone, a vanilla cupcake and a pecan roll. The last three were fresh from the bakery case, one of each of us, Mom, Dad and me. I shared a little of my cupcake with each of them, and Dad, one my toughest food critics, raved about it. Mom fell in love with the pecan roll, which she generously shared with Dad, and even gave me a taste. She wants to go back to OMG for more, and she doesn't even follow a GF diet! The scone rests in its box, awaiting our first taste, which I'm sure will not disappoint.

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