Gluten Free Boston: Wink and Nod & Freshii

Last night, I did something I usually never do! I went to a healthy vegan restaurant in BOSTON and I forgot to take a single picture I was so caught up talking to my friends Lucie and Jenn. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it that our dinner at True Bistro in Medford was delicious. Finding healthy places locally is tough. Vegetarian restaurants are every where in California and NYC but in Boston, they remain rare. The city has been doing a better job at making menus more allergy friendly.

Last week, I visited Wink and Nod in the South End for a gluten free tasting. Wink and Nod is located at the corner of Appleton and Tremont. They feature different chefs every few months who curate the menu and completely change it up. This summer, they are featuring a pop up menu from Chef Patrick Enage’s Akinto which features many gluten free, vegetarian and pescatarian options! 

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The menu features items inspired by Thailand, Japan, China, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

I ordered a virgin Akinto because I could only stay for an hour before leaving to go teach my 7:15pm class at Burn Fitness Studios. I’ve taught after 2 glasses of wine before, and it is not fun. I’m not sure how the bartender made it but the combination of the lemon, Thai basil and soda water was super refreshing and something I am going to try making at home this summer.

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Since I had to eat quick, I only got to try a few of the dishes but all were flavorful, delicious and filling without feeling heavy.

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The chilled cucumber salad might have been one of my favorites and so simple. They tasted like Asian pickles and I easily could have eaten the entire bowl myself. While the soy sauce technically means it is not gluten free, I’m curious if the chef used tamari instead. I did not ask though. I personally try to eat a naturally gluten free diet so I’m picky about something like soy sauce where it is naturally occurring. I do buy tamari to use with my sushi at home however. 

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The pork hash with qual egg and calamari tasted like a hipster brunch menu item I could eat all day but the shrimp were my favorite seafood dish. They were not on the menu but a special the chef prepared for us. They tasted slightly like a more Indian/Philippines version of garlicky shrimp that you order at Spanish tapas restaurants. If this is a special you should order it!

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I’m not a huge pork belly person but these pork bellies had more meat than most i’ve tried. The flavorful layer of fat on top was smaller than usual making me feel like guilty about eating them. 

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I loved the pineapple fried rice with the whole fried egg! This is a must order in my opinion. It was really flavorful and didn’t feel greasy like this dish often does. 

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The last dish I took a picture of but did not try was the kabachi glazed swordfish belly. I had to dash out to teach my Power Burn class sadly. It looked similar to the pork belly, but I doubt they tasted similar.

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I cannot wait to go back and actually enjoy eating slowly and not have to keep looking my watch and making I wasn’t eating to much to go teach a bootcamp class.

I love how Boston is changing to have a more health conscious restaurant scene. If you are a gluten free guy or gal, definitely check out the new menu at Akinto while it is still available! Not everything is gluten free but many of the menu items, naturally are. You can check out the full menu here. 

Also new on the scene in my neck of the foods is Freshii on Stuart Street (between Clarendon and Dartmouth). Yes, it’s been around for awhile in other neighborhoods in Boston, the new location means I’ll actually visit the “light and lean” lunch scene. 

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The menu consists of salads, sandwiches, wraps, bowls, burritos, fro yo, juices and more. I ordered the same salad twice because I’m adventurous like that. The Metaboost comes with field greens and spinach, kale, mangoes, carrots, edamame, almonds, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and I added chicken. They scoop up the ingredients into a big plastic bag and then shake it up real good to make sure it’s all evenly dressed and then empty it out into a bowl or wrap.  

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I will admit I like Sweetgreen better BUT that line is obnoxious and sometimes you do not have 30 minutes to wait in it so Freshii is another alternative if you want a big salad or other healthy lunch. You can also order to go and avoid any wait at all. I didn’t try the juices so I cannot say if they are good or bad. One Instagrammer said she was not a fan but apparently, the staff offered her another flavor that she might like better. 

What is your favorite “healthy” places to grab a bite to eat in Boston? 

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