Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Article in NY Post on Gluten

Posted in media on October 5th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Check out this article in the NY Post, entitled, “The City’s New Psychosis: Gluten!” It raises some interesting points about the gluten-free diet and how many folks are adopting this diet, even without a celiac or allergy diagnosis.  The article even mentions my favorite GF bakery, Tu-Lu’s Bakery.

After you read the article, let me know what you think.  Is it bad for GF to be trendy like Tom’s?  Or does the expansion of the GF world help promote awareness?

PS: Have you seen, New Girl, the new show in Fox’s Tuesday night line up?  Well, David and I think it’s pretty hysterical so you should check it out.  AND, this article mentions that the show’s star, Zooey Deschanel, is gluten free.  Another GF celeb…Is it getting too trendy?

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Our Last Day in NYC

Posted in bakery, dessert, GF product, meals, Restaurants, travel, vegetarian on June 1st, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

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On our last day in New York, David and I yet again, woke up before the rest of the city, and headed out for a bit of culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (We’re both former history teachers so we had to get a little history squeezed into this trip.)  I have to eat within about 30 minutes of waking up so we stopped at Dean & Deluca for some much needed coffee and breakfast.  Being the planner that I am, I had purchased a mini-coffee cake at Tu-Lu’s Bakery the previous day.  I have no shame so I broke out my coffee cake at Dean & Deluca and it was oh so wonderfully perfect with my cup of coffee.

GF Coffee Cake + D & D Coffee = Perfect

GF Coffee Cake + D & D Coffee = Perfect

I also bought a fancy yogurt to give me a little more nutrients and protein to get me ready for a day full of walking. I had never tried Siggi’s yogurt before but it said “Certified Gluten Free” on the container so I felt very safe.  (I love it when companies get their products tested and labeled.  Little things like that make travel so much easier.)

Siggi's Yogurt: Certified GF

Siggi's Yogurt: Certified GF

After our morning meal, we started walking toward Central Park to enjoy another day of nearly perfect weather in NYC.  We strolled through the park, watching more ambitious people running and biking.  (There was a big race raising money for Japan so it was fun to watch everyone in action.)  We meandered through the park, and ended our walk at the Met.

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We had purchased tickets ahead of time so didn’t have to wait in any lines.  We unintentionally ended up at the Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty” first, which proved to be a smart decision since it was already pretty crowded and the museum had only been open for about twenty minutes.  This temporary exhibit (it ends July 31st) walks its audience through the short career of McQueen, who died last year.  Even if you’re not a fashionista (I’m definitely not, nor is David), you should still check out this exhibit.  It’s intense, provocative, and very educational.  The unique and inventive displays give you a whole new perspective on fashion and a designer’s vision.  It made me a believer that fashion is art.  (Who knew a group of dresses with “rape” in the title could be a reflection of the history of England and Scotland’s relationship?)

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We continued through the Met, checking out the Impressionists, photography, armor and other exhibits, ending our tour with a cold drink in the American Wing Café, which is bright with natural light and a perfect place to rest your feet after a toursity morning.

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Following our trek to Central Park and the Met, we splurged on a cab back to the hotel, took quick naps, and headed to the Lower East Side, for a late lunch at Pala Pizza.  I had heard rave reviews about Pala from the gluten-free community and it exceeded my expectations.  All of their pizzas can be made gluten free and they are very careful about cross contamination.  We had trouble deciding what we wanted to order but ultimately went with the fried calamari as a starter.  Pala uses separate gluten-free fryers and corn meal for the breading of the calamari.  It was delicious and so fun to get an item that I can rarely enjoy and would never make for myself at home.  (We all need a little something fried every now and then.)

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David and I shared the lamb sausage pizza with pesto for our lunch.  Every bite of this pizza was delicious.  The light,crispy crust, the pesto and the lamb went perfectly together.  (Maybe I think that because lamb and pesto are two of my favorite foods!)  I dominated that pizza.  For the first time in our marriage, I ate more than David.  He offered me the last two pieces and I didn’t even hesitate.  Delicious!

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After our meal, we walked across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn, in our Sunday best because we were going to a late afternoon wedding on a Brooklyn pier.  Walking across the bridge was a very cool way to get to Brooklyn, but I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit.  There are bike and walking paths, so the bridge is completely safe, but trip across felt much longer on foot than I thought it was going to be.  The Brooklyn wedding was beautiful, unique and a fun way to celebrate a couple.  We felt honored to be included in the festivities.

View of the Williamsburg Bridge

View of the Williamsburg Bridge

As I can’t normally enjoy wedding reception cuisine (except for the wine), we ended up at Caracas Arepa Bar for a late night dinner.  This Venezuelan restaurant makes arepas from scratch daily.

Wondering what an arepa is?  Well, it’s described on their website as, “”dense yet spongy corn-flour rounds, pitalike pockets, corn muffins, cake-swaddled mélange, white corn cakes, Latin sloppy Joe, sandwiches of a flat cornmeal patty, soft and smooth within, golden crispiness, tasty treats, burrito-killer, panini-killer, wheat-free, gluten-free crisp on the outside, steamy-soft in the middle…”  Sounds pretty good to me, right?

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We ordered four arepas to go, including grilled chicken with caramelized onions and cheese, roasted pork shoulder with spicy mango sauce, and shredded beef, with black beans, plantains and cheese.  It was a lot of flavor combinations but I enjoyed sampling the different varieties.  My favorite was the grilled chicken arepa.

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While we waited for our to-go order, I decided I wanted to go back to Tu-Lu’s Bakery one more time.  (And of course, David nicely complied.)  I partly wanted to return to the bakery so I could see for myself that Tu-Lu’s really stays open as late as it says it does (9:00 p.m. on Sunday nights and 10:30 on Friday and Saturday!).  I bought another cupcake (chocolate this time) and a cookie to take back to Georgia with me.

David and I finished up our amazing New York weekend eating arepas and cupcakes in our hotel room, watching the NBA playoffs…perfect.

Recap:

Pala Pizza – 198 Allen Street – NY, NY 10012

Caracas Arepa Bar – 93 ½ East 7th Street – NY, NY 10009

Apples are Gluten-Free: Visiting the Big Apple

Posted in Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on May 18th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

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.

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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.)

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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!)

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

View from the Highline

View from the Highline

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.

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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…

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Delicious Mexican Food in Atlanta & DC

Posted in Atlanta, Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants, Washington DC on May 14th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

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I love Mexican food, in fact it’s one of my favorite genres of food.  It can be tricky to find good, Mexican cuisine that is safely gluten-free, as there are often language barriers and risks of contamination.  When we lived near Washington, D.C., I was lucky enough to find two Mexican places I loved: Tortilla Coast and Rosa Mexicano.  Much to my excitement, when we moved to Atlanta, I discovered that there’s a Rosa Mexicano in Atlantic Station, just a few miles from us.  David and I went to the Atlanta Rosa Mexicano last weekend and were just as pleased with our meal here as back in the District.

rosa_mexicano A word of warning: Rosa Mexicano is not your cheap, order by number, Mexican food.  Rosa Mexicano’s food is high-quality, with fresh, natural ingredients.  Not only does Rosa Mexicano serve great food, but they are gluten-free friendly, as they use corn tortillas and they fry their tortilla chips in a fryer that’s free from gluten.  If you check out Rosa Mexicano’s website, they even have a gluten-free menu.  The Atlantic Station restaurant didn’t actually have copies of the GF menu, but having perused the online version earlier, I had an idea of my GF options and what I wanted to order.  When going to Rosa Mexicano, or any restaurant, make sure that you double check with the chef about what’s gluten-free, even if they have a gluten-free menu.  Our waiter was very friendly and willing to run back and forth to the kitchen for us.  He double checked everything for us.

IMG_0841 If you go to Rosa Mexicano, you must get the guacamole that they prepare table side.  It’s so good, I want to lick the bowl.  Every last bit of guac gets scraped out of the dish’s crevices.  Their guacamole’s amazing, fresh, and you know exactly what’s in it because you see them make it.  (A celiac’s dream!)  As I mentioned before, the chips are gluten-free as are the tortillas so I can dip away!  David’s a competitive eater when it comes to guac, so I just have to make sure I eat quickly and/or hoard some of the avocado-goodness on my plate.  Normally I take my time when I eat, but it’s hard to maintain any manners when the guacamole is put on the table.  Every man (and woman) is left to fend for himself (herself).

IMG_0840 For my entrée, I usually go with one of the versions of the Tacos al asador: pork, steak or chicken.  These are actually more like fajitas than what I think of as tacos, and I love ‘building my own’ from the platter of meat, veggies, beans and rice.  On our most recent visit, David and I each got one order of tacos and shared.  I love being able to share at a restaurant!  David ordered the pork and I chose the chicken.  I don’t usually order chicken at restaurants, but Rosa Mexicano’s chicken tacos are delicious and I particularly look forward to the cheese, onions and peppers that are cooked with the chicken.  These dishes come with unlimited corn tortillas, and the black beans are speckled with cheese.  David and I splurged that night by ordering two entrees, but in the past we’ve just ordered the guacamole and one order of tacos, and it was plenty of food for the two of us.

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If you’re craving Mexican food and want a restaurant safe from gluten, you should definitely check out one of Rosa Mexicano’s locations in Atlanta, DC, Miami, L.A., or New York.  While the food’s a little pricier than most Mexican establishments, it’s worth the splurge.