Ahhh, summer in the city. Where no matter how naked you are, you will still be sweaty and disgusting. You’re just going to have to trust me on that one. But I was missing NYC so much I almost didn’t mind the heat. That is, until after a full week of subways and running, and bad hair—then I kind of lost it. Still, wow I heart New York!
As usual, there are some amazing finds on the culinary scene in NYC, gluten-free and otherwise. I always eat well and have yet (knock on wood) to get sick. I went back to my favorites: Habana Outpost, Risotteria, Eataly, Artisanal, and discovered some new joints as well. And for the first time in New York, I had to leave a restaurant because it wasn’t safe. Don’t be afraid to do that, people. Unless it’s the only place in town and you are really thirsty, move on to another safe locale rather than risk your gut. If I can walk out there, you can walk out anywhere.
So here’s what was delicious, and what was 100% a pain in the ass.
It may have been the spicy watermelon margarita talking, but Rosie’s was one of my favorite meals in New York. This East Village Mexican place was very clear on what I could, and could not, eat and had really inventive menu items that were super delish. My gal pals and I shared the chicharron de queso (cheese crisps with pumpkin seed salsa) and the guacamole that had radishes, which was RAD. Ha. See what I did there? I went full carne asada, as I do and I was so full and happy. Great company helped make this meal super duper duper.
After stuffing ourselves at Risotteria we thought an ice cold dessert seemed in order. That’s what happens when it’s 500 degrees and you’re walking around NYC. Right around the corner on Carmine Street is a gelato bar that is all popsicles, all the time. 99% of them are gluten-free, and 100% super delicious. Gelato. On a popsicle. What will they think up next? The kiddos liked them too–
Wow, do I dig the Natural History Museum. And I really loved taking my little dude for the very first time on this trip. It blew his 6-year-old mind. Because there IS so much to see and do, naturally we had lunch on-site. Or rather, he had lunch. I had this—
Yeah, so plan ahead and don’t wind up in the Natural History Museum cafeteria. Risotteria’s new UWS location is right around the corner. Do that instead. Still, I want to go back again and again and again. On a full stomach.
I mentioned Eataly before for lunch (it was also restaurant week, so wheeeee!) but I was meeting with my agent and got distracted and didn’t take pictures when we enjoyed an amazing gluten-free (mine was, anyway) lunch at Manzo, the most restaurant-y eating place in Eataly. I’m sure she’s like, “Umm, it’s your JOB to take pictures of your food,” but alas, I’m a dumbutt. I did, however, take pictures when I found this scrumptious gluten-free beef jerky at one of the markets inside the expanse that it Eataly. YUM.
Yep, that was good. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention a seriously disappointing experience at the rooftop beer garden, La Birreria. I don’t know if something had just happened, like say, everyone was given their two-week notice, but the afternoon I met some friends atop the bar everyone from the dude downstairs, to the hostess, to the waitress were rude as hell. Even BEFORE I mentioned the gluten thing (which I felt was not at all taken seriously). It was cranky time up on the roof so we did not stay very long. I’m going to stick with Manzo from now on.
So here’s something kind of horrible with a happy gluten-free ending (I mean, for me, not everyone involved). When we arrived in New York my husband was all, “I don’t feel so hot.” Fast forward a few days in and I’m pretty sure he’s dying and send him to an urgent care joint near our hotel in Times Square. Dude’s got pneumonia. In the summer. With no warning, just, BAM—pneumonia. After sleeping for days in the hotel he asked if we could please go out to a restaurant within walking distance so he could be around us while conscious. I found Ceci on Find Me Gluten Free and I was so happy to chow down on ravioli!! My little guy just wanted gnocchi with a “plain” sauce so he also got the gluten-free version—
It was so good you guys, and they told me they make the gluten-free fresh pasta on a different FLOOR than they even make the regular. They cook it separately and all is right in the world. So that was a fab find that we would not have had if not for my husband’s debilitating short-term illness. Thanks, hubs!
Ever since my last visit to the new Whitney I’ve been obsessed with this amazoids museum. When I used to live in NYC I did venture into the Whitney at its old location but it never struck me like this feat of art and architecture now does. The best part about this trip was two-fold. One, my kids also LOVED the Whitney and wanted to see, and discuss, every piece of art ever. Yes, I was bursting with mom-pride. And two, I got the world-famous amazing chocolate chip cookie at the Whitney cafe, Untitled—
That’s gluten-free with a shot of milk, ya’ll! And it’s made with Cup4Cup. LOVE IT. Unfortunately Untitled was closed for lunch (we got there at almost 3pm, being on West Coast time) so we went across the street to Bubby’s after having dessert first. Go get this cookie, you guys. GET IT.
I also used to hang out at Bubby’s in Tribeca and DUMBO a bit when I lived in NYC, and this location was basically exactly the same. Which meant, I was a little wary of what gluten-free offerings may be available. The server assured me I could go nacho, so naturally I did. My kids and I shared a plate of (probably) gluten-free nachos and I, of course, was stuck with the salad on top of the nachos. Because my children are geniuses and know that SALAD SHOULD NEVER BE ON NACHOS. Still, it was a kid-friendly environment if not 100% celiac safe. Or safe for nacho critics, because, SMH.
It’s warning time, people. After having to leave one restaurant due to its lack of safety for gluten-free me, I almost had a two exit night. So while I recommend MY meal at Yunnan Kitchen, I hate to say this but I don’t think you’ll be safe. Which is disappointing because this is a really interesting fusion/Chinese place that also has a gluten-free menu—
Which is why I’m assuming it was recommended for us gluten haters. But when I explained to the waitress my celiac sitch and ordered, the owner came over after overhearing me (how lucky was that????) and explained that everything is cooked together so there will be gluten up on my duck egg fried rice and caramelized chicken. Boo. We were about to try a third restaurant when the owner came back and said they had a clean, extra fryer they were not using and they would prepare my entire meal safely using that basket and other safe ingredients. This was great, as my meal was saved (kept the chicken, added crispy, spicy prawns) and I really miss Chinese food and the like. It was delicious, but honestly, be careful out there people. Even when there’s a gluten-free menu, still go through your celiac/allergic/intolerant spiel.
And speaking of learning the lesson again and again, I have the perfect example for those of us with compromised immune systems who want/need to dine out. Across the street from my hotel was this cute lil’ coffee shop. I poked my head in the first day and saw that billboard above touting this amazing sounding AvoSmash and also Porridge, which seems pretty gluten-free (I’ll admit never asking about the porridge, as I was obsessed with the ‘Smash). It’s the world’s simplest idea, but one I’d never thought of, but now wanted with all of my being: avocado smashed with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes served atop toast. When I saw the gluten-free bread option underneath I got stoked. This is my gluten-free saga with the AvoSmash.
Day 1: I ask for the gluten-free AvoSmash. The very nice employee tells me they’re all out of gluten-free bread. I say, oh no, I’m celiac so I can’t have it otherwise. He is instantly sympathetic explaining how his best friend is celiac and is always pissed at the non-celiac gluten-free people who steal all the gluten-free options. I high-five him (in my mind) and vow to come back.
Day 2: I come back. I again ask for the AvoSmash on gluten-free bread and explain I’m celiac. It is available. I begin to watch the process of the toasting and the smearing and the wrapping and stop the prep line and say, “Hi, mine is gluten-free and I have an allergy (I know, but it’s easily understood) I’m wondering if there is a different prep area for safety?” The prep line looks at me like I have two heads, but luckily the manager on duty hears me and comes over. She stops them and says, “She has celiac, it’s very serious. We have to redo hers in the other oven.” She turns to me to explain it’s going to take awhile when the lady next to me says, “Mine is gluten-free too but I don’t need all that.” Now I know where all the gluten-free bread is going. To that lady, who doesn’t care about gluten. Anyhoo! My bread is saved, and the manger oversees the doing of the toasting. While I’m waiting she gives me a coupon for a free coffee “for my wait.” NICEST WOMAN EVER. I get my toast, I’m hella’ happy and I leave.
Day 3: I skip into Bluestone Lane happy as a gal about to eat AvoSmash for breakfast. I go through the spiel, explain how they prepared it the day before, acknowledge that I’m going to have to wait for it. THIS time the manager on duty said, “We can’t do that. You’re just going to have it untoasted.” I explain they did it yesterday, while feeling guilty about it because, come on, that was a very nice lady that day. The gal is unmoved. “Sorry, the oven isn’t on.” I get just plain bread with AvoSmash. Only eat AvoSmash.
Day 4: Repeat. But this time I add Feta to make up for the soft bread.
So, yeah, long story short. It’s all about the people serving your food. You cannot assume anything, and always have to speak up. And now I make AvoSmash every chance I get. I LOVE THIS BREAKFAST.
And finally, the gluten-free treat that I don’t have a picture of, but do have this pic of all of our kids sitting underneath the table that is holding the sausages and accoutrements. That’s because I was busy pulling together a birthday party at my friend’s house for the hubs. He was well enough to get out of bed and come have some amazing sausages (chicken habanero and cheddar brat were the faves) with delicious sides of German baked beans (omg, delish) and German potato salad. Now, THAT’S a party.
These guys were super nice when I called about catering. They wrapped up some warm gluten-free buns so I could enjoy the sausage party and recommended gluten-free options for me as well. This Williamsburg joint was also very cool and if I were hanging out in the ‘burg, I would 100% stop in and grab a brat. Nice people, great food, great party.
And that was New York City!!! Holy good time had by all (except sadly, my husband with the pneumonia).