Wheat-free indulgences at Sinfully Gluten Free
A few years ago, my doctor suggested I stop eating wheat products. This is the same guy who recommended that I stop drinking whiskey and smoking, so I can’t really take all of his advice at face value. I did a little research to find out that wheat gluten was in a lot of the things I love and had come to consider not only tasty, but healthy. How can you cook without wheat? No flour, no pasta, no baked goodies? Even if it fixed my elusive health maladies, did I really want any part of this? I tried a few gluten-free baking mixes and pastas and it turned out that I may have a more severe allergy to nasty than to gluten.
After a couple years of experimentation with new foods, I found myself eating a lot more whole foods and making healthier choices by default, because of what was available to me. While healthy and whole are great things, sometimes you just want comfort food. Pizza. Sandwiches. Cupcakes. If you have a hangover, the last thing you want is to sit down to some avocado and eggs in the morning. You want biscuits and gravy. I may not have found a savior in guiltless Southern cooking at Sinfully Gluten Free, but I did find some good eats free of the wheat gluten that so many people have come to find impedes their general well-being. I took a friend who has a far more severe allergy than my own (there are different grades of gluten allergies – and full-on Celiac Disease), so she could indulge in some of her favorite forgotten comforts.
We started off by choosing our entrées – a large Hawaiian pizza and one of the day’s specials, chicken pot pie. Then, we drifted over to the bakery case to discover red velvet cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, mini carrot cakes and lemon bars, and something called devil dogs, among other amazing treats. The ladies at the counter informed us that they also had fresh shortbreads and cinnamon rolls on their way out. It was a tough call, but we decided on a devil dog – two chocolate cakes stuffed with cream cheese frosting – for me and a red velvet cupcake – topped with the same frosting – for her. I won’t make excuses – we ate dessert first to make sure we didn’t run out of room for it. The cakes themselves were just as good, if not even more sticky and fudgy, than you’d find in any non-gluten-free bakery. There was no shortage of moisture, no mealy texture and the frosting and filling were sweet without being cloying.
It was my lunch date’s genius idea to order pizza so we could start on that while the pot pie baked – it was noted to take 20 minutes or so, made-to-order. If you didn’t know the pizza was gluten-free, I’m willing to bet you couldn’t tell. It may have been a different style crust than you’d expect from delivery – just a bit more cracker-like on the edges and bottom, but still just enough chew on the inside. I think if any region is going to be more comfortable with a thinner crust, square-cut pie, it’s going to be Dayton. And I’d eat this over Cassano’s any day, allergies or not. The toppings and cheese were nothing short of what you’d expect if you ordered a Hawaiian pizza anywhere else. The pot pie was delicious, but the crust did have a slightly different texture, with just the slightest bit of a mealy feel to it. I’ll admit, though, it had been a good year since I’d had a pot pie of any sort, so there’s a chance that the dumbed-down biscuit-type crust that all pot pies are made with exhibit the same quality and I’ve just forgotten. I could have stood more veggies, but was glad the chicken was just breast meat and no mystery stuff. Plus, the gravy element was just right.
Our large pizza, pot pie, two sweets and two sodas rang in around $35, which would be considered pricey by most circumstances – but bear in mind, this is specialty food. Most of the folks eating here – of which there were plenty – probably can’t go just anywhere and order a pizza. The aspect of service isn’t a strong point with counter service, but the workers were all friendly and happy to help you pick out items to your liking if you’d never been in. I was very surprised how ample the seating was – a pretty large room with at least half a dozen tables that seated four, and even a smaller empty area with a few toys that you could let your kids wander off to. It’s a pretty no-frills dining environment, though. With all the food we ordered, the best we could do was grab a load of napkins and plastic cutlery – no plates (paper or otherwise) were available.
People that can go just anywhere and order a pizza, sandwich or cupcake probably don’t see the appeal in travelling to Centerville and paying $30 for lunch – but then again, those folks aren’t really Sinfully Gluten-Free’s target market. If you’re considering going gluten-free (but not grain-free), this is a good place to explore some options. They even have a sign-up sheet at the register for a gluten-free and Celiac support group that is held regularly. For a great lot of their regular customers, it’s about a necessary lifestyle change, so these ladies have at least taken the worry out of finding a decent pizza.
Sinfully Gluten Free is located at 9146 Dayton-Lebanon Pike in Centerville. For more information, call 937.433.1044 or visit sinfullygf.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Brandy King at BrandyKing@daytoncitypaper.com and visit her blog, foodvsface.com. Caricature by Jay King.