Apples are Gluten-Free: Visiting the Big Apple
Recently, David and I made a trip to New York, and I must admit, I took advantage of every opportunity to enjoy this city that’s a gluten-free diner’s delight. There were many places I wanted to try and sadly, I wasn’t able to get to all of them. Not for a lack of trying though! We walked all over the city, exploring neighborhoods, checking out the sites and enjoying some delicious meals. In fact, we did so much that I’ve got to split this trip into three different posts because I don’t want to overload you with information. I don’t think I could ever live in NYC, but I plan on visiting more frequently than I have in the past, once every five years!
On Friday afternoon we arrived in NYC, checked into our hotel and immediately set out to explore, before meeting up for drinks at Extra Virgin Restaurant with our friend, CJ. We wandered around the West Village, looking at shops and enjoying the people watching. After a great visit with CJ, who mapped out the whole city for us, we set out for our first Big Apple dining experience. We had reservations at Perilla, owned by Top Chef’s Season 1 winner, Harold Dieterle. While I didn’t have any Harold sightings, I thoroughly enjoyed his restaurant. Located in Greenwich Village, Perilla opened in 2007, and describes its cuisine as “Seasonal American.” There are only eighteen tables in the entire restaurant and ten bar stools so you definitely want to make reservations.
We sat at our cozy table and devoured every bite of our meals. For an appetizer, I ordered the slow poached chicken egg that came on a very springy bamboo rice with arugula. The bright green of the rice looked beautiful with the fresh yolk on top. (They served mine without the mustard crumble on top, as it contains gluten.) For my entrée I chose the lamb chop that normally is served with orzo. Instead, the chef substituted some of the meatiest, most flavorful mushrooms I’ve ever eaten. Those veggies could have been a meal in themselves. The lamb chop was huge, amazing and perfectly tasty. I definitely “out ordered” David. Luckily, there was plenty to share. Even though Perilla’s service was not the best I’ve ever had, we still left Perilla happy that we’d made the selection because of the food and the atmosphere. (I thought the sub par service might just be an NYC thing, but all of our other dining experiences in NYC were accompanied with great service.)
On Saturday morning, David and I woke up with no plans until dinner that evening. We decided to follow Elaney’s suggestion and head to Chelsea Market, in the Meatpacking District, which originally housed the National Biscuit Company in the late 19th century. This industrial building now houses many shops, eateries and other cool spots. Being that “sleeping in” for David and me is 8:00, we were some of the first people on the street that morning. When we arrived at Chelsea Market, we enjoyed having the place to ourselves, and wandering about, peeking in the windows of the not yet opened stores. We enjoyed some Ninth Street Espresso coffee and the rare opportunity to just be together, with nothing else going on. (Our lives have been a tad bit busy recently!)
We sipped our coffee and waited for Friedman’s Lunch to open at 10:00. I had spotted this restaurant’s menu online and noticed that they star the items on their menu that can be made gluten free, and according to their menu, almost all items, including pancakes and cheddar waffles (wow!), can be created to accommodate a gluten-free diner. So I had to check Friedman’s out for myself. Of course we were some of the first customers in the door at 10:05. (We’re obviously not trendy New York diners that eat brunch at 2:00 in the afternoon. I was proud of myself for waiting until ten!) Our server was very friendly, accommodating and willing to answer all of our questions. She tries to eat gluten free too, so she had many recommendation and I felt comfortable that I was getting a carefully made gluten-free meal.
I ordered the gluten-free pancakes and David sweetly ordered his pork flautas to be gluten free, so we could share. We enjoyed more coffee and eagerly waited for our meal. My pancakes were some of the most delicious pancakes I’ve eaten since going gluten free. They were perfectly cakey and fluffy and they looked different enough from the gluten pancakes the diner next to me was enjoying, so I didn’t live in fear that I had eaten the wrong ones! The berries on top were a fun touch that made me feel like I was dining out, and not eating pancakes in my house.
David’s pork flautas, a Mexican dish, that’s basically shredded pork, wrapped in corn tortillas and fried (in a GF fryer, of course), were amazing. They were accompanied with a beautiful egg on top and what seemed like an entire avocado. A very hearty brunch dish that was perfectly savory while my pancakes were wonderfully sweet.
Friedman’s is a definite recommendation, whether you’re gluten free or not. They have gluten-free bread, so all of their sandwiches can be made gluten free. It was so good, we really thought about going back to Friedman’s on Sunday but decided to try other spots instead.
After a truly indulgent brunch, and now completely wired on caffeine, we set out for a walk along the Highline, on Manhattan’s Westside. Originally designed in the 1930s, to keep freight trains off the streets of New York, it’s now a public park. This beautiful walk above the city, will ultimately be a mile and a half, upon completion. The Highline truly is a breath of fresh air in the middle of the city. I was amazed by the greenery planted between the railroad tracks, the beautiful benches, and that it was open to everyone. You have to see the photos to understand this unique “park.” This walk was the perfect way to get a different perspective of the city, and move around after our yummy breakfast.
For the remainder of our Saturday, we walked endless miles around the city, going in and out of shops, checking out the neighborhoods and learning to navigate our way around the city. We were just biding our time until our next meal…