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Amelia Islander

Jack & Diane's

Jul 31, 2014 10:51AM
Lisa Jones, owner and chef of Jack & Diane’s, has always been ahead of her time. Before most people knew anything about celiac disease and the benefits of a gluten-free or vegan diet, Jones was already cooking and baking that way, coming up with her own recipes and even making her own flours and baking mixtures. With a background in science, Lisa cooks with precision, enthusiasm, and love. I recently visited Jack & Diane’s for brunch with my friend, Cindy, and we were delighted to discover gluten-free and vegan items on their menu.

Lisa started us out with smoothies: for me, a Mango Smoothie, and for Cindy, a Berry Smoothie. Both were frosty and bursting with fruit and nutrients. I was eager to try Lisa’s famous gluten-free waffles, and Cindy, her gluten-free pancakes. The waffles were crispy on the outside and soft and warm within, just like regular waffles. The flavor was wonderful, with a whole-grain flavor, but they did not contain any wheat! They were served with a compote of apples and berries, which was syrupy and a perfect topping for the waffles. In addition, I had a side dish of smoked tofu with vegetables, and a serving of roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes. The tofu dish was superb, containing broccoli, carrots, celery, asparagus, edamame, zucchini, yellow squash, and of course, smoked tofu. A fine, savory pairing with the sweet waffles. The roasted potatoes were crispy and delicious, and completely fat-free, as Lisa roasts them at a high heat in a convection oven without oil.

Cindy enjoyed her gluten-free pancakes, which were moist and delicious, just like traditional pancakes. They were served with vegan butter, which Lisa created using coconut oil, along with real maple syrup. They were also served with fruit compote, this one a tropical version with strawberries and mangos. Of course, Jack & Diane’s serves many items for breakfast and brunch that are not vegan, so Cindy ordered a plate of scrambled eggs, onions, and cheese with smoked sausage. This was a remarkable and hearty dish, and Lisa brought out a little surprise, a dish of Jack & Diane’s special Hollandaise sauce. It was delicious drizzled over the egg dish. Yum!

Jack & Diane’s is celebrating their sixth year in business and one of their claims to fame is their tasting menu. For only $5 per item, you can mix and match many items on their menu. This is great if you don’t want a full-on entrée or if you want to share several dishes with friends. They make a nice plate for a child, too. And their Dessert Tasting Plate means you can have three desserts for the price of one!

Jack & Diane’s is a family-run restaurant that reflects Jones’ love for cooking, traveling, and family. Named for her grandparents’ favorite love song, Jack & Diane’s features many of her grandmother’s personal recipes, and their five-page menu keeps Jones busy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From crepes to stews and salads to appetizers, plus surf and turf, there’s something for everyone on the menu. The restaurant also provides on- and off-site catering for any occasion. For more information, call (904) 321-1444 or visit www.jackanddianescafe.com.