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Eating on a restrictive diet doesn’t have to be painful or boring. In fact, you can find a delicious alternative to almost any restriction in an array of Downtown eateries and cafes. Don’t believe me? Just check out these suggestions from Downtown community members suffering from various dietary afflictions:
Forbidden Rice Veggie Bowl, $10 – Kaleidoscope Juice – vegan and gluten free – Brandi Porter
This recently opened juice bar and eatery caters to those on a healthy diet, offering various gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. With more than just smoothies and juices, the eatery also has pre-made salads and snacks, like the Forbidden Rice Bowl, which features black forbidden rice topped with red bell peppers, carrots, jicama and more. Pour on top of that a creamy dressing and you have a tasty alternative to cheese-smothered salads served with (what I’m sure are delicious) glutenous dressings.
Curry Coconut Soup, $3 for a cup, $6 for a bowl – Phoenix Public Market Cafe – vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free – Lisa Saper-Bloom
Being a person with 29 (yes, 29!) food sensitivities, eating right for women’s wellness, and having my own food ethics, this soup is one of the few dishes where every ingredient works for me! I am grateful to the Phoenix Public Market Café for making me feel like a “normal” person in a restaurant! No special orders or guilt here!
“Naked” Dog, $6 – Short Leash Hot Dogs – low carb and gluten free – Kenny Barrett
I love getting Short Leash’s dogs “naked.” They ditch the pita bread and throw in an extra dog, so you leave feeling full and satisfied. As an added bonus, you can get as many toppings as you want for the same price, so slather on the tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, red peppers or any of your favorite veggies for a carb-friendly meal.
Pizzas free from Cow’s Milk – Anna Consie
Before you ask, no, I’m not lactose-intolerant. I’m allergic to cow’s milk. This means that any dairy from a cow is off the table, but goat, sheep and water buffalo products are all safe.
About 10 years ago, this was a meaningless fact. Now, it’s what allows me to eat pizza once a week. Below are my favorites:
Bufala Verace (S.T.G), $16.95 – Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana
Made with imported Mozarella di Bufala in a hand-built oven of pressed bricks and volcanic sand from Southern Italy, this is my go-to pizza. The cheese melts beautifully, the crust has a crispness without being a cracker and the sauce isn’t sweet. Bonus – Pomo will substitute Bufala (water buffalo cheese) for other cheeses on almost any pizza.
Regina Margherita D.O.C. – La Pizza Locale, $14, Burrata, $12, Salsiccia e Friarielle, $15 – La Piazza Locale
No joke, La Piazza Locale has three types of Mozzarella di Bufala pizzas. They make the Bufala cheeses in house daily, making them perfectly fresh. If you haven’t had burrata (mozzarella di bufala with a creamy center), you should just run there now. Seriously.
Goat Cheese – Pizza Studio
The brand-new make your own pizza concept in CityScape offers crumbled goat cheese on their expansive menu, meaning that I can create a veggie-filled, fennel sausage masterpiece WITH cheese. This is what dreams are made of, guys.
Spring Salad & Hurricane, $8 – Welcome Diner – Locatarian – Keith Mulvin
As a localtarian living in downtown Phoenix, the only challenge I have is choosing where to eat. Fortunately, I live in an area that offers a smorgasbord of options to fit my lifestyle. One of my favorite places sources from local producers and are locally grown themselves. Their familiar faces are as welcoming as the classic nine-stool Valentine Diner that was built in 1945.
Now that we have summer around the corner, there is nothing that satisfies your soul more than their locally sourced spring herbed greens, spring veggies, roasted walnuts, goat cheese tossed in maple miso vinaigrette paired with one of their signature Hurricanes, with a little extra splash of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Dairy-Free menu – Aside of Heart – vegan – Tammy Schoch
There’s a vegan restaurant in Roosevelt Row called Aside of Heart; I love it there. I’m not vegan. If anything I follow a caveman diet with a lot of eggs, bacon, pork, fruits and veggies, because too much bread doesn’t settle with me, which might be due to the whey and milk powder found in so many foods. After a bad reaction to a pizza crust that contained whey, I realized my mistake. Vegan is my guarantee that there’s no hidden dairy. I’ve enjoyed several items at Aside of Heart knowing it’s safe for me to eat.
Cheese Maker, $13 – Martson’s & Icon at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel – gluten-free and vegetarian – Samantha Jackson
A true gluten-free menu includes real gluten-free options ala bread, cookie/pastry and noodle replacements. I hate it when a restaurant says, “we have gluten-free options,” and it’s a salad. Martson’s and Icon inside the Renaissance Hotel will switch out your bread for gluten-free bread. Win! I like to go to Icon and order the Cheese Maker, a range of cheeses and jams that is ideal for sharing. Just ask for the gluten-free bread!
Photos (from top to bottom): from the Kaleidoscope Juice Facebook, by Brandi Porter, from the Welcome Diner Facebook