Saturday, April 25, 2009

New York City Gluten Free

We just got back from a 5 day stay in New York City -- it truly is a great place to travel if you are eating gluten free. In fact, our "restaruants to visit" list was longer than the number of meals on our trip. (Oh well, I guess we have to go back.) Some of the highlights were as follows:

Friedman's Lunch -- In the Chelsea Market. Their gluten free menu includes sandwiches on gluten free bread, bagels and pancakes on Sundays, hamburgers on gluten free buns, fresh french fries and homemade potato chips (they have a separate fryer for the gluten free food).

Risotteria -- we shared an order of risotto and a gluten free pizza. We ordered a pizza with olive tapenade instead of tomato sauce, topped with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. Delish. Every meal is prefaced by gluten free breadsticks, the nice soft kind. They also sell wrapped gluten free baked goods to take home, include black and white cookies.

Just Salad -- a salad chain, we went to the one at 30 Rock (Rockefeller Center). The gf salad dressings are clearly labeled. According to the owner, the grilled chicken is gluten free, as are many of the toppings (other than the obvious ones, such as croutons). Ask to have your salad mixed and chopped in a clean bowl on a clean board; the staff were happy to accomodate.

S'mac -- a small restaurant in the East Village, specializing in macaroni and cheese. They have gluten free pasta available, and all the breadcrumbs that are used to top the mac and cheeses are gluten free. You can have traditional American style mac and cheese, or go for a more exotic version, with different kinds of cheeses and mix ins.

Petit Cafe -- this cozy cafe in the West Village was a real find. The owner's mother has celiac, and he has been increasing his gluten free offereings over the past couple of years. Options now include gluten free french toast (served all day), grilled paninis and other sandwiches on gluten free bread, gluten free brownie and gluten free soups. The cafe is small and friendly -- the owner seemed to know many of the customers, and even went to his car in a rainstorm to loan one of his customers his umbrella!

Tuttoriso -- a homey cafe on Staten Island, right next to the ferry stop. This makes a great stopover if you are planning to take the Staten Island ferry (recommended for a great view of the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline, and it's free!) Tuttoiso has a full range of gluten free pastas, sandwiches, soups and baked goods.

Cafe 82 -- a typical NYC diner on the upper west side of Manhattan (82d St. and Broadway). They have a gluten free menu, including gf toast for the traditional eggs and hash browns, as well as other diner foods. Very reasonably priced. (no web site)

Whole Foods -- there is now an enormous Whole Foods on East Houston Street. Not surprisingly, this being New York, they have a huge prepared foods section. One night, we didn't feel like eating out, so we picked up take out sushi as well as fresh french fries from the Pommes Frites station within Whole Foods. Pommes Frites is a french frie restaurant in the East Village -- they have an ecclectic selection of sauces (we didn't investigate, just stuck with the ketchup.) This Whole Foods also sells gelato from local gelato makers Il Laboratorio del Gelato, in the Lower East Side.

Another treat was home made buttercrunch chocolate candy from Roni-Sue's Chocolates in the Essex Market (Lower East Side).

What was particularly nice about traveling in New York, is that there were gluten free options in every part of town. The only place that was a bit challenging was Spa Castle -- an incredible Korean spa in the heart of Queesns (you can take the number 7 subway to the last stop, and get a free shuttle bus from there to the spa.) Spa Castle is a five story experience, complete with saunas, and a variety of whirlpools. (I can't really describe it, take a look at the website.) Apparently there is a salad bar there on the weekends, but during the week the main food option is a Korean restaurant. We hadn't brought restaurant cards with us, but in the end were happy to order a couple of bowls of plain white rice (rather cleansing after our other food extravengences). There is also Haagen Daaz and Edy's available, if you want something more decadent!

A teen and her family's experiences living gluten-free.