Recently I had the pleasure of meeting up in New York with four of my closest friends from college to celebrate one of them for her soon-to-be-mommy status. Our weekend was mostly centered around food. Food and friends. I was a little nervous about eating my way through New York without getting glutened, but it was a cinch. I did do a little research before my trip and suggested restaurants that looked promising. My lovely friends obliged, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t just humoring me when they raved about their own meals. I am documenting here all of the restaurants we visited and the food that I ate mostly for my own future reference. But if someone else out there benefits from this, all the better!
Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery. This was our first stop immediately upon my arrival. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices! Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, pumpkin bread, coffee cake, brownies, bread, paninis, they had it all. I approached the counter, threw my hands up, and said, “I need help.” The nice young gentleman told me what his personal favorites were as well as the customer favorites. I ordered the following: cheddar jalapeno corn muffin, mini red velvet cupcake, chocolate chip cookie, coffee cake, and pumpkin bread. I ate the muffin and mini cupcake in the store with a cup of coffee, as did my friends. They assured me that it was just as good as the gluten stuff (sometimes I think GF things taste better to me because I forget what the “real” stuff tastes like). I ate the coffee cake the following morning for breakfast, the cookie that night, and the pumpkin bread on the train home Sunday. My favorite was the pumpkin bread (even 2 days old), followed closely by everything else. It was all wonderful, moist, and delicious. I can’t say enough good things about this place. There’s not a lot of seating, but there are some counter-style seats around one wall and the windows, where we sat comfortably with our coffee and treats. And you can see right into the kitchen and watch the cake masters at work. We watched them construct a beautiful red velvet cake just in the 30 minutes or so that we sat there drinking our coffee and eating our treats.
Pala. Click here and tell me your mouth isn’t watering. I dare you. Pala prepares their gluten free pizza in a separate area from the regular pizza with it’s own toppings, wooden boards, ovens, everything. I’m always a little nervous about eating pizza in a place that makes regular pizza too, but they clearly understand cross contamination and take all of the necessary steps to avoid it. We had risotto balls to start (fried in a dedicated fryer), and then we ordered three pizzas to share, all gluten free. I tried to insist that my dining companions get regular pizza because the GF wouldn’t be as good, but our waiter assured me it would be, and they insisted we get all GF so we could share. One of them even said this was the best pizza she ever had! It was that good. We had the Zucca, the Bufala Cruda, and a special that had arugula, prosciutto, and some other wonderful things that are escaping me. It was all incredibly good. I want to make it my mission to go back enough times to try every single pizza on the menu. I could hardly decide what to order they all looked so good. Best. Pizza. Ever.
Cornelia Street Cafe. If you try to go to Risotteria, the very well known GF restaurant in NY, but you can’t get a table because it’s extremely small and crowded and there is a two hour wait, then hop on over to Cornelia Street Cafe. It’s just around the corner, and I’m willing to bet it’s just as good or better (I can’t say for sure since I’ve never been to Risotteria). They also take reservations which is a plus over Risotteria. They have a fairly extensive GF menu, and the butternut squash risotto is to die for. I also had the spinach and pear salad, which was predictable but very good. I especially liked the dried cranberry vinaigrette dressing. All in all a very lovely dining experience.
Pequena. This one is in Brooklyn in the Fort Greene neighborhood, near where we were staying. We got take out from here on Sunday morning before we all had to sadly leave New York for our scattered homes. Pequena is a casual, tiny little place. But the food was authentic and top notch. I had the huevos rancheros which were superb. This is a favorite spot of our friend who lives in Brooklyn, and I can see why. While they don’t specifically advertise anything as being gluten free, it turns out there is very little on their menu that does contain gluten, so it’s pretty safe. When I asked, they knew just what I was talking about and instead of telling me what I can have, they told me what I couldn’t have (just two things). That was nice change!