It’s becoming much easier to find gluten-free dining options, but knowing where to get the best of them can take a little research. And now, thanks to Jen Fitzpatrick from @thenomadicfitz, the decision on where to go is clear. Her instagram is fully packed with resources for gluten-free living. With tips on how to order, what to do when traveling, and tons of recipes, Fitzpatrick’s website and social media prove that a gluten-free lifestyle is not only attainable, but can be delicious too! Read on for her favorites in the Boston area, plus some pretty cool resources everyone can learn from.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I was born on Long Island, New York before moving to Florida for my high school and college years. My husband and I moved to the North Shore of Boston in 2012 after college. Over the last ten years of living in the Boston area, I’ve made it my mission to find the most delicious gluten-free foods & restaurants!
Since my celiac diagnosis in 2009, I taught myself how to eat, cook, and travel safely on a gluten-free diet. I started my website and social media accounts to help other gluten-free folks realize a dietary restriction isn’t the end of their adventures, or eating delicious food. Just this past fall, I resigned my position as a high school Spanish teacher to pursue my gluten-free business full time.
My days consist of gluten-free recipe development for my website (there are over 100 right now!), coaching clients to overcome their challenges with gluten-free living, and creating gluten-free resources for my audience. Traveling is my love language, and I’m a big bookworm and plant lady too.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston gluten-free food bucket list.
- Northshore Sandwich from Crave. It’s a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but so much more. It’s got candied bacon and maple aioli, all wrapped up in their gluten-free herb and cheese bread. Droolworthy.
- Chilaquiles Divorciados from Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar. Almost everything on the menu at Loco in Southie is gluten-free anyway, but the Chilaquiles are top notch with two different salsas (red and green). Filling for any meal and with a spicy kick!
- Gluten-Free Jelly Donut from Kane’s Donuts. I worked with Kane’s in 2019 to share their gluten-free line of 12 donut flavors with the gluten-free community. They are still my all-time favorite treat in Boston, and the jelly donuts are bursting with sweetness and jelly inside. Plus they are gluten, dairy, and nut free, and produced in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen.
- Pasta Bolognese from La Famiglia Giorgio’s. A visit to the North End wouldn’t be complete without a visit to an Italian restaurant, and the pasta bolognese from La Famiglia Giorgio’s is done right. Perfectly cooked gluten-free pasta, along with a hearty and creamy bolognese sauce. Delicious.
- Parmesan Truffle Fries from Tempo Kitchen & Cocktails. One of the most beautiful words to anyone with celiac disease is “dedicated fryer”, and Tempo does not disappoint. Their parmesan truffle fries have real, fresh herbs on top of crispy fries and come with an aioli on the side. Yum.
What do you think is on the horizon for restaurants?
Gluten-free & allergen protocols. Having a separate allergy or gluten-free menu, using allergen toothpicks or different colored plates to designate gluten-free meals, and having better awareness among restaurant staff is something that’s seriously needed in more Boston restaurants. I’m ServSafe & Food Allergy certified to help my clients dine out safely, and to help restaurants safely serve their guests.
It’s time for more restaurants to recognize that customers are dining out with serious dietary restrictions, like celiac disease. They aren’t fad dieters. There are a few places that do a great job of this, but not nearly enough.
Which chefs are your favorite to follow on Instagram and why?
- Tyler Florence: Tyler’s dishes are full of simple, classic ingredients that combine to make something unique. I’ve never been disappointed in one of his recipes.
- Thomas Keller: He’s one of the co-creators of my favorite gluten-free pastry flour, Cup4Cup. I enjoy seeing what Chef Keller creates.
- Gaby Dalkin: All of Gaby’s recipes are so fresh and inviting, and I love her California spin on everything!
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
- @beckyexcell: Becky is one of the most innovative gluten-free food accounts online. She released 2 gluten-free cookbooks that don’t make you jump through hoops to make delicious gluten-free meals!
- @cookieandkate: Kate’s recipes and food styling are gorgeous. I’ve been making her recipes for years and love how easy they are to modify for gluten-free needs.
- @thatnursecancook: Helena is a NICU nurse and food blogger. Her recipes are outside my comfort zone and include dishes I normally wouldn’t cook or eat. I like expanding my food horizons to new ideas, cultures, and ingredients, and her account helps me do that.
Describe Boston’s food scene in three words.
Variety. Traditional. Exciting.
Which restaurants haven’t you been to but you’re eager to try?
It’s on my list to visit Grainmaker to try their Southeast Asian bowls. Plus, Grainmaker is 100% Gluten-free! I spent 6 months backpacking abroad in 2019 with celiac, and Southeast Asia was one of my favorite places to visit. Any food that can trigger a memory or travel experience is a must-try for me.
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos?
I don’t think I actually have a philosophy for food photography. It’s just been years of practice and trial/error to get it right! But these are my go-to tips:
- Lighting. Natural light is best, but you don’t want bright sunlight. Overcast days are awesome days for shooting food photography.
- Create a moment. We eat with our eyes first, and you want to create a moment in time that people can really connect to. If you have a really big cheese pull on a taco, capture that, rather than just a picture of the taco by itself!
- Kitchen towels are great props for recipe photos. I have many in different colors and textures I’ve bought at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s over the years. They make great props and backgrounds.
- Don’t just take one photo – take a ton! And take a video too. My husband knows that when I ask him to take a picture of me with food, I really mean take 25. That way you have a bunch of photos to pick from. Have fun with it and laugh – those are usually the best photos of all!
Favorite brunch spot: Twist Bakery & Cafe(100% Gluten-Free)
Favorite place for outdoor dining: Tempo Kitchen & Cocktails
Favorite pizza joint: Danvers Pizza & Subs
Favorite neighborhood for food: North End
Favorite new restaurant: Citrus & Salt
Favorite pandemic takeout: Tacos from La Victoria
Favorite new restaurant innovation: Allergy Toothpicks!
Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.