Taylor's Top 5
Going out to eat always has (and always will be) a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s not just about the food itself - but the atmopsphere, the company, and the experience. It’s my favorite way to socialize - who doesn’t like conversation and cuisine?! Growing up, my sisters and I had always been the type to try new places to eat and look for ways to expand our palettes. It started to become a hobby and a dedication for us. Once Sam, my oldest sister, became gluten-free, it was really “game on” in terms of finding places to accommodate her new diet. Fortunately, she got her foot in the door before I did, and once I became gluten-free, she had a good amount of recommendations and knowledge for me. Then, I met one of my best friends, Jordyn, (who is also GF) at my school, and really found out all the super trendy places the Monmouth area has to offer. Luckily, the places down there are within a 15-minute radius of my school. The not so lucky part is that my home area has a lot less to offer. Either way, I would be willing to drive to either area just for a meal, because the food is THAT good. One thing I know for sure: I NEVER want to know the total amount of money I have spend on food.
Here are my top picks in New Jersey:
1. Earth Pizza in Red Bank
I discovered this wonderful pizza place while on my lunch break at my internship in Red Bank! (FYI - Red Bank has some AMAZING food options.) They make gluten-free, organic specialty pizza - as well as other gluten-free appetizers. I recently tried the gluten-free chicken tenders, which were freakin’ to-die-for. They also weren’t super greasy, so I honestly may have liked them better than traditional chicken tenders. The pizza pictured above was half eggplant (with fresh mozzarella, parsley, roasted red onions, and tomato sauce), and the other half was pear gorgonzola (a cheese blend with gorgonzola, olive oil, pears, and walnuts). I was thoroughly impressed and felt that it was worth the $12 or so dollars I had spent.
2. My Kitchen Witch in Monmouth Beach
Jordyn showed me this precious little joint, and I immediately fell in love. Their menu is very gluten-free friendly, and most of the things that are not, you can substitute GF options in. I ordered the GF french toast, as well as a blueberry/vanilla soymilk/banana smoothie and was 100% satisfied. You could really taste the freshness and lightness of the ingredients. They really aim to use more nutritional ingredients in order to make “comfort food” healthier. With tip, I would say it came out to be $15, give or take, for my meal.
3. Broad Street Dough Co. in Oakhurst
If you’re from the Monmouth area, you will automatically understand the joy that is associated with hearing the words “Broad Street donuts”. Not only are their gourmet donuts phenomenal, their social media presence is awesome. They really take the time to appreciate and interact with their customers, and it truly amazes me how many topping combinations they are able to come up with! I follow them on instagram, and my mouth waters every time a picture comes up on my feed. They offer gluten-free and vegan donuts, which are incredibly delicious. They are a little more cake-like than donut-like, but I still think they hit the spot. You can custom-design your toppings, and most of the toppings you can pick from are GF. The one above has nutella, caramel, and coconut on top - *heart-eyes emoji*. I usually spend around $4 dollars or so per donut and have zero rAgrets doing so (please tell me you understand the reference here).
4. Lovin' Oven in Frenchtown
My sisters, stepmom, and I discovered this cute little place a few years ago. While I do wish they offered more gluten-free options (their breakfast menu only has about 4 or so), the quality and quantity of their food is incredible. I ordered the huevos rancheros yesterday, and was more than content with my decision. The blend of ingredients hit just about every spot on the taste-scale, and it was enough to keep me full for a good majority of the day. The fresh-pressed carrot-apple juice was AMAZING. I wish I could take a jug of that home! Their ingredients are also healthier, so you don’t feel as glutinous when you indulge here. I think my meal came out to be $20 or so, which wasn’t terrible for the amount of food i got.
5. The Fine Diner in Clinton
I don’t know a single person who has had anything but great things to say about this place. While their omelets just so happen to be gluten-free, it is not a gluten-free friendly restaurant. This being said, the omelets are entirely worth it, and I still consider this to be one of my absolute favorite restaurants. It’s about ten minutes from my house, and one of the most endearing places clinton has to offer. There is never a time that you go in and it isn’t busy - and that is a very good thing. The service is great, and their portions are very generous. This place will always have my heart. I believe I usually spend around $10 or so whenever I eat here.
I hope this post will enhance your eating experience or that it will least inspire you to venture out and try someplace new! Feel free to recommend any suggestions or ask any questions.