Do you ever find that you can end up becoming more familiar with shops, diners & such while in your vacationing city than you do in the town in which you reside? That is not to say I don’t have my favorite spots I frequent here in So Cal (oh….I have many!), yet, some things, as I discovered while in New York City last October, I have way more knowledge of there than I do here.
I, overall, am gluten-free. Meaning, I do not eat food containing wheat as pretty much all of it has a protein paste in it called gluten. I have learned the hard way my tummy just does not like it (I have been checked for Celiac & the results were negative, yet the Dr. suspected an intolerance to keep an eye on). While its pretty easy to maintain this lifestyle at home, eating out can propose a problem every now & then. Lots of omelettes & mexican food for Mary! I can’t eat ‘regular’ pizza (BJ’s Brewhouse has the best GF crust), no all-you-can-eat $4 pancakes at Denny’s for me (I have yet to find a cafe in CA that has GF pancakes or waffles….boo), pasta (although at The Farmers Market in LA at 3rd & Fairfax. Deanos does do GF pasta!) & I even am careful with some seafood; 9 times out of 10 sushi (a true love of mine…le sigh) sneakily has gluten & even fish filets are iffy since chefs often prepare it with flour (But just let them know at Buca Di Pepo, or most restaurants, & they are cool with making an exception for an allergy).
This brings me to where I CAN find gluten-free pancakes, sushi, pizza & even a grilled cheese….New York City.
Little did I know when I arrived in The Big Apple for a 10 day birthday vacation last fall, that I was falling into a GF-gasm of options!
It even happened by accident, I took a walk through Central Park Upper East with the conclusion being CP Upper West, where I stumbled upon an adorable little GF shop of food. I chatted with the owner, who suffers from Celiac Disease, & she gave me a print out of GF friendly eateries in the city….one was just a few blocks from the store & called Cafe Eighty Two. She pointed to their name as if she were about to tell me the greatest secret ever….which she sort of did, “They make gluten-free pancakes” she said as her eyes got wider (I am sure mine did at that time, too). I headed right over…followed by three or four more visits while on the trip! They seriously had the best variety of GF food I have seen yet; pancakes, wheat-free bun hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pasta. I had the pancakes on every visit. Not only were they excellent, but so was the entire staff, who even knew my order by the 3rd visit, haha!
Next up….GF sushi. My lovely friend I stayed with is vegan, which is also an option at Souen, a microbiotic & organic sushi bar. She introduced me to Souen (near Union Square) when she treated me to a birthday dinner & yes…I did return before I left for home! They have fish or veggie options sushi as well as mouth-watering GF desserts like cornbread & cheesecakes…I am getting hungry as I write. I am also a huge Sake lover, which they also offer. But get there early for that, esp. on a Friday; they were out of the kind I had wanted, but the alternative I went with was just as great. (In-case you do not know what exactly Sake is, it is a rice-based japanese wine usually served warm).
Then next up, we spent a beautiful Sunday in Brooklyn & at a vegan bar (I still really don’t know what that means), they featured many bakers hosting vending booths with all their sinfully yummy goodies. I bought…alot. So much, I do not even recall what all they were…I know there was cornbread (again) & a pumpkin pie slice with a great crust;-)
And, of course, there was pizza. On my previous trek in the Spring of 2010, I had an excellent pie in a jewish district that I could not find last time. It was called Milk & Honey. Unlike a lot of GF pizza that is very thin & chewy, theirs tasted like the ‘real’ thing. Unlike Slice Pizza, also in Union Square. The staff couldn’t have been nicer, even upgrading my plain cheese order to a more elaborate with veggies. The Red Bridge beer was great, too. But, the pizza? Very bland, & (you guessed it) that dreaded overly thin crust.
In my next post, I plan to mention where here in CA that I have found yummy GF offerings, stay tuned! xo
(The best Gluten Free diner I have found, Cafe 82! *Photograph not taken by me*)