Hey guys! Happy 2016. It’s certainly been a whirlwind already, dudes. Amiright? Between losing Bowie and Snape and snarking on the Golden Globes and super white Oscars, the world has gone CRAZY. Or maybe it’s just me.
Unlike most of my typical January’s, I’ve been in three states and on 5 different airplanes so far this year. Most recently I found myself in Raleigh, North Carolina speaking to a group of chefs from all over the country who run a variety of hotel kitchens. It was GREAT, you guys. Turns out it’s a lot of fun to talk to people who aren’t already sold on gluten-free bizness. While there’s not much better than being on a book tour and having people agreeing with you all the time, there’s something really cool about a real discussion with people who aren’t sure if they want you in their restaurant. GREAT talks, great chefs, great people. So!
Going backwards a little bit, I started the year in New York City, which is always my happy place. It’s also pretty exciting to try new gluten-free friendly joints every time I visit (which is a lot). It’s like I can’t keep up with gf progress in the big city. And that is an amazing thing.
Something that was reinforced on this trip was the fact that when you travel with other people, you can’t choose every restaurant based on it’s awesome gluten-freeness. There’s the time when you’re at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and everyone is DYING FROM HUNGER. And for some reason the UWS Risotteria is closed. What’s up with that?
That’s when you need to pull out that Locate Special Diet, or Find Me Gluten Free app. FMGF lead me directly to Shake Shack, which was crowded, but I still managed to dine there before I left the city. Thank you, cheese covered Jesus. Lettuce wrap it up, and dive in. I LOVE THAT BURGER.
You can’t go to NYC without eating pizza, and being sad about not being able to eat pizza. It’s also hard when you’re with other people who want real life pizza, which is why it’s exciting to find both in one place, that’s also safe. I’d heard about Mozzarelli’s gluten-free pizza and walked by it in the Flatiron District five million times, but this time I made everyone stop and dig in. Yes, I did order three pieces, and yes I ate them all. Leaving no room for all of their amazing looking gluten-free desserts. Next time, Mozzarelli’s. Next time.
Here’s a tip. Maybe don’t try to go to Rockefeller Center for a little ice skating during the holiday break when everyone else in the entire world is also there. Another tip, don’t go during the freezing rain when you get stuck in a crowd and can’t move and are drenched and cold and hungry. Or maybe, do and then find your way to Capital Grille and order major comfort food from their gluten-free menu, but whoops! While this location didn’t actually have a gluten-free menu (other locations do), they were well-versed and my super cold and hungry self decided I must get the lobster roll without the roll with a side of Sam’s Bliss Mashed Potatoes. YUM. I warmed up, and enjoyed the hell out of that weird lunch.
Another time we were out and about and suddenly hungry with no plan I stumbled upon Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine. Dang, I miss the Cuban food that’s (mostly) naturally gluten-free. So I zipped on in for some beans and rice and was super duper happy to be there. There is not much allergy information at Sophie’s—okay, there’s zero information—so I just stuck with two things I knew were safe and would not come into contact with the bread for those amazing Cuban sandwiches. I don’t recommend this for those of you who want to be 100% sure. I did not get sick, and I feel like these two food items are cool, but buyer beware, yo.
Another place that posts no information, is totally insane and difficult to dine in, and is one of my all-time favorites from when I used to live in NYC is Panna II in the East Village. From the time you shoo away the other two Indian restaurants vying for your business, until you get the mango ice cream for dessert, Panna II is a heckuva good time. The food, well, it’s good. But it’s not the main reason you’re there. You’re there to see if an electrical fire will break out on your watch. As far as gluten-free goes, no one will be able to tell you what’s up. So I went safe and ordered the chicken tikka marsala and the chana saag, and enjoyed the papadum (chickpea cracker-like free app). I also brought my own wine, so if all else failed you know. But it didn’t fail! I had a great time introducing the kids to the madness –
and I did not get sick. I know. Not exactly a rousing endorsement. Still. FUN.
The dining hall at Grand Central is filled with deliciousness, but a classic choice is the Grand Central Oyster Bar. This is my second foray into the seafood staple and the waiter was helpful, informed, and kept me safe. I ate all the seafood salad and washed it down with a gimlet. I felt so old school New York, which is EXACTLY how you want to feel at some point during your NYC adventures.
Whenever we’re in NYC, we try to make it up to Beacon, NY where we have amazoids friends. Even though our friends had strep and pneumonia, we forced ourselves on them anyway and were justly rewarded. After taking a spin around the roller rink in Hyde Park, we chowed down at the Eveready Diner next door. They toasted up my gluten-free bread separately and made me a toasty sandwich that didn’t seem that much sadder than everyone else’s.
Yes, this is a delicious root beer float. Which is naturally gluten-free, so therefore I had to order it too.
Here’s where I let you guys know Murray’s Bagels does have a gluten-free option. While having gluten-free bagels is always an exercise in frustration, comparing your gf one to Murray’s will make you very, very sad. I still ate them, tho.
And this is why I’m going to have to go back to Cross-Fit, you guys. I love to eat, and it shows. Eat well in the new year, everybody!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo