Cupcakes, Cozy Dinners & Chris Rock: Another Day in NYC
David and I continued our trip through New York City on Saturday afternoon with a stop at Tu-Lu’s Bakery. I’ve written about Tu-Lu’s before, when she first opened, a year and a half ago. What began as a bakery with a few cookies and brownies, has exploded into panninis, coffee cakes, muffins, cakes, croutons, cookies, and other treats. Tu-Lu’s bakery offers vegan and dairy free options as well, but everything is gluten free. Owner, Tully Lewis, is gluten free herself and she understands the need for delicious gluten-free products.
Over the course of our weekend, we managed to stop by Tu-Lu’s twice. Yes, twice! I showed no restraint while in the Big Apple. On my first trip, David enjoyed a chocolate chip cookie, and I bought one of their special cupcake flavors: chocolate chip. It combined two of my favorite things: cake and chocolate chips! Tu-Lu’s mix of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour makes for a great base, but each of her goodies has been perfected and tweaked for the best flavor. There are no funky after tastes with these treats and I would absolutely recommend Tu-Lu’s if you’re visiting New York City. If you live in New York, consider ordering one of her beautiful cakes for a special, gluten-free occasion. And of course, I purchased some treats to go, as well.
Since we enjoyed a late breakfast at Friedman’s and an afternoon snack at Tu-Lu’s, we skipped lunch on Saturday. We also knew that we would be eating dinner on the early side because we were going to see a show that night. (I love all things plays and musicals, so I couldn’t fathom being in New York and not buying tickets to a Broadway show. David nicely complied.)
On Saturday night, we went to Il Buco for dinner. This Mediterranean inspired restaurant feels warm and cozy on the inside, with pots and pans hanging from the ceiling. I love the combination of rustic, yet elegant and I immediately fell in love with Il Buco when we stepped inside. As I mentioned, we were early diners because we were seeing a play at 8:00 so we got to see the restaurant transform from a quiet hidden gem, to a bustling restaurant, full of good people watching.
Even during Il Buco’s transformation from quiet to hectic, over the next two hours, we were the recipients of amazing service the entire time. I was so impressed by the attention we got and how much our server communicated with the chef about our orders.
While a significant amount of Il Buco’s menu involves some form of pasta, there were plenty of appealing options for me. We started with the olives marinated in lemon zest, basil and rosemary that were meaty and delicious. This mix of three different types of olives, was a perfect commencement to the meal, especially since I can’t enjoy the typical bread served at the beginning.
For an appetizer, David and I shared the beef carpaccio which I had never tried before but every bite was lovely. This dish included Niman Ranch grass fed beef fillet, marinated artichokes, and salmoriglio (whatever that is!).
As an entrée I branched out and tried the wreckfish with a tapenade and grilled artichokes, that came highly recommended by our server. I tend to be a little nervous about ordering fish that I’ve never tried before, but I wanted to be a little more adventurous, and had enjoyed a fairly meat-heavy dinner the previous night at Perilla.
Il Buco was such a lovely dining experience and I will absolutely go back here the next time I’m in New York. Even though it’s not a restaurant that advertises “gluten-free,” they were so hospitable and accommodating, that it’s definitely worth the trip. You should make reservations, as it’s a very popular restaurant and not a large space.
After our dinner, we hopped back into a cab, and back to Broadway to see a production of The Mother F**ker with the Hat. (Yes, you read that correctly. That’s the name of the play.) This intense, 90 minute show, stars Chris Rock and four other actors. Recently nominated for a Tony for Best Play, “The Mother F-er with the Hat” is not the comedy you’d expect from Chris Rock. It’s dark, emotional and quite depressing but David and I would both agree that we’re glad we saw it and it was very moving. I grew up watching Chris Rock in Saturday Night Live and it was fun to see him on stage. The other actors were gripping in their roles and I was definitely entertained. (Note: While I loved the play, I would not bring children to this show or my in-laws, who I love dearly, but don’t think think it’s a great fit. So, decide for yourself if it’s right for you.) Get your tickets now because it’s only showing on Broadway for a limited time.
After the play finished, I made David wait outside the theater’s side entrance so we could watch the actors leave. Nicely, David complied. (David’s compliance is a theme, in case you can’t tell.) For 45 minutes, we watched the actors leave one-by-one, and interact with the fans as they departed. I’m not a big autograph person, but they signed autographs and thanked everyone for coming to the show. I was quite star struck.
We then went out for a drink at a swanky hotel bar and called it a night. Such a great (gluten-free) day for us in this fun city! Stay tuned for our final 24 hours in NYC.
Tu-Lu’s Bakery – 338 East 11th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenue) – New York, NY 10003
Il Buco – 47 Bond St # 1 – New York, NY 10012-2450 – (212) 533-1932
Mother F**ker with the Hat – Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre – 236 West 45th Street (Between Broadway and 8th Avenue)- New York NY 10036