GF Water Cooler


GF WATER COOLER is a page designated for my discoveries on Gluten-Free Buzz around and in the neighboring areas of New York City, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island (Nassau, Suffolk and The Hamptons).  You will also find these posts in my blog under the tab GF Water Cooler on my side bar.  My point is, is if I hear something, you will be notified in this section.  It's all about being "In the Know" with your disease or intolerance.  I want to make living gluten-free as enjoyable as possible for you, and the only way to figure that out is to be "In The Know".
So tell me...are you IN THE KNOW?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012-Bella Blue Italian Restaurant-NYC-Last minute I met my friend Jamie for dinner at her favorite Upper East Side restaurant Bella Blue.  She had mentioned it a few times as her "go to" spot for great Italian food.  So when I finally got there I was really excited to order.  I remember the first time she mentioned it, I looked online to see the dinner menu and if it was gluten-free friendly.  Yay it was.  They advertised on their website/menu that they serve gluten-free pasta and to inquire about it.  So in my mind I knew their waitstaff would be gluten-free friendly.  

This restaurant is an authentic Italian eatery with long time loyal customers coming back for more.  I'd say the crowd is a bit Waspy and older, so any person above the age of 33-85 would love this spot.  If you are looking to meet an older man, this might be your place.  If you are looking, like me for fabulous food prepared in a gluten-free way, with no cross contamination, then this is your place.  The ambiance was lots of salmon pants, Tory Burch prints and white hair.  I am serious.  This is an older and more wealthy crowd.  But not snotty in any way.

The wine was fantastic!  A much older gentleman who is a regular recommended this white wine from Italy that was to die for.  If you go there, get it!  It's delicious.  Not to acidic, very smooth, light with a great taste.

A Bella Blue Regular Loyal Customer

recommended this AMAZING White Wine

As explained they have 3 types of gluten-free pasta: Fusilli pasta (the squiggly kind), Penne and Spaghetti.  I am not sure if it is Rice or Corn pasta, but it had a harder consistency then rice.  The pasta was fantastic!  They have a huge pasta selection and can prepare any of their pasta dishes gluten-free.  I had the Fusilli Pasta with Porcini mushrooms, a light white cream sauce (hold the flour) with butter, garlic and olive oil.  I'm just going to say it now.  DIVINE.  Pure DIVINITY.  Delicious, amazing, tasty and fantastic.  My friend's friend stopped by and when I offered him GF pasta, he said, "Oh my doctor tells me I need to be gluten-free".  And even he, who doesn't choose to follow the gluten-free lifestyle even mentioned how amazing the pasta was.

Also recommended this gluten-free dish.  Superb!!

Prior to the pasta I had this amazing Burrata Cheese with red peppers and prosciutto.  Also fantastic, then followed by the Carconfini (artichoke) Mache (type of greens) salad with Parmesan cheese.  It was a warmed salad. The artichoke was shredded and in the middle melted with the hard Parmesan cheese.  Barely any dressing, maybe even nothing at all, but you didn't need it.  You had the divine taste of mother nature's pure artichokes and Mache greens.

I would come here again, maybe with my parents.  I'd take any friend here.  But I am 35.  Since it was an older crowd, I do not recommend this for anyone under the age of 32.  

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012-Bed Bath and Beyond, Beyond For A GF Reason-You know what I love about going to Bed Bath and Beyond the most?  Their gluten-free section.  This weekend I needed a few things for my bathroom, things I dread to pick up, that I don't want to waste my day doing like buying a toilet brush and a plunger.  I mean really, do I need to take time out of my day for this?  Ugh.  Chores.  So I went to the 18th and 6th avenue location, because I also needed to go to the Container Store.  Just a word of advise, never go there on a weekend!  It's mobbed!  So mobbed you'd think Justin Bieber was giving autographs or something.  (I just love that song he sings "Boyfriend".

So upon my arrival I was already dreading it.  Ugh.  My  Bummer.  Then I remembered the 18th Street and 6th avenue location has a huge food section, and not just any food, but food fit for all allergies and a huge gluten-free section.  Heaven!  I could browse around the store eating sugar cookies from Enjoy Life, which is exactly what I did but first I compared calorie intake from their entire cookie section, I mean I have to be smart if I plan on eating the whole box.  At Bed Bath and Beyond the diet was off. Yummy cookies for me.  I am ashamed to say there are only 2 left in the box.  Oh what's one day of sin?.  Nothing in comparison to a lifetime.  A guilty pleasure I suppose.

So I ended up being at Bed Bath and Beyond for a longer amount of time then expected.  I bought Glutino Chicken BBQ frozen Pizza, Glutino Feta and Spinach Pizza both well under 400 calories, Enjoy Life Sugar Cookies, Lentil Crackers (not so good on those, yuck), Lentil Baked Chips,  Think Thin Bars, Larabars, every nut butter and peanut butter gf imaginable and let me tell you they had EVERY bar under the sun, and every single flavor possible.  I don't usually eat a ton of bars, but they are great for traveling, and since I will be on a bus to East Hampton this weekend in July 4th traffic I felt some bars were going to be needed.  And I didn't even mention the chocolate aisle.  I didn't even go down that aisle because let's be honest, chocolate is candy, and candy is junk and a cookie is far better then a lot of candy, but the chocolate aisle was huge.  Every bar possible when it comes to gourmet chocolate, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free the list goes on.  I really think you can make Bed Bath and Beyond your "go-to" grocery store.  I'm so serious!  Whether you are a Vegan, a Vegetarian, a Celiac, a Sugar-free or a Dairy-Free you will find something there, and that is saying a lot.  There is more at Bed Bath and Beyond, hence the word Beyond then there is at my regular grocery.  Backwards or what?!.  The good news is that at least I have somewhere to go besides Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Fairway that can grant me all of my gluten-free dreams and wishes, and I didn't even need to consult with Cinderella's Fairy God-Mother or a Genie in a Bottle.

Off the top of my head they had tons of GF pastas like Bio Nature, DeBoles and so many more brands, they had Tates GF CookiesGlutino gf wafers, oreos, sandwich cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, pretzels, Blue Diamond crackers,  kate chips, bars, frozen gf meals, gf pizza, Dr. Praeger's gf veggie burgers, gf ice cream, yogurt, Ian's chicken fingers for kids GF, I mean this list goes on and on.

I could have gotten a LOT more stuff, but I didn't really need it. 

I can honestly say if you live near this Bed Bath and Beyond location, you'll get more from this store then you would at Whole Foods (Whole Foods is great for baking needs, which Bed Bath and Beyond does not carry).  I am so serious.  But please note that only the 18th and 6th Avenue location has this gluten-free market inside.  The 60th Street location does not carry ANY GF.  And I once made the mistake of going there looking for Gluten-Free.  I was so bummed out when the sales lady mentioned it was only the Chelsea location.  

Another perk is if you go online to Bed Bath and Beyond and type in gluten-free food, you will get 3 awesome gluten-free cookbooks in your search, so if you are searching for cookbooks you will find the Gluten-Free Bible, The Allergy Free Cookbook and Babycakes Cookbook (which is a bakery in NYC), in addition if you type into the Bed Bath and Beyond search just Gluten-Free with or without the dash you will find gluten-free shampoos and cosmetics for kids and gluten-free snow cone syrups.  Cool or what?!

So now you don't need to dread this chore because there is a reward at the end, and no it's not getting Justin Beber's autograph, it's better!!  Gluten-Free better!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012-Tate's GF Brownies-So OMG! I am totally psyched!! One of my favorite bakery brands Tate's now has GF brownies!!  I have been loving the Tate's GF chocolate chip cookies which are sold almost everywhere in NYC, like Food Emporium in Murray hill and various places in Long Island as well as other locations, and especially their actual bakery in South Hampton, Long Island.  So I just went to their website and it turns out they have GF brownies!! They must be good if those cookies are so good!  A non-GF friend of mine shared those GF cookies with his friends and they couldn't believe that the cookies were gluten-free!  So I must assume that the brownies are to die for!! Can't wait to try those babies!! Yay!! For all of you chocolate lovers out there this brownie might be your dream brownie!

Saturday, May 19th, 2012-Chance Meetings, GF Restaurants and a Lil Tale About Red Lobster-So another local chain has hit the jackpot!  Red Lobster finally serving meals that do not contain gluten.  But not just gluten, other allergens that many others have issues with.  Red Lobster has joined the ban wagon of chains supporting a gluten-free lifestyle.  Woo hoo.!!

And to think I didn't even know about this till last night!  I was out for dinner with friends and met a fantastic spunky girl whose sister has Celiac Disease and was diagnosed after college, after years and years of mis-diagnosis (sound familiar?).  

It was a random chance meeting, as a friend of mine felt our next table was being a bit too rowdy.  (We are so old!).  I live in a college neighborhood and therefore a loud table would obviously be expected.  Our next table was a group of loud girls and guys enjoying their Friday night out with shots and beer.  Due to my friend's complaint the girl (who wasn't drinking) immediately went over to our waiter and asked to buy us a round of shots.  She then came over to apologize to us, which was very nice and so un New York City.  ( I am a true New Yorker, but what I can admit is that we are not the warmest bunch).  When we passed on shots, an appetizer and anything else she tried to offer, she went to the waiter and inquired again about dessert and the waiter mentioned I was Celiac.  This restaurant knows me well and are great with the gluten-free lifestyle and knowing about Celiac Disease.  It is called Nana Sushi.  

So delighted to hear this she immediately came over to our table again and we started chatting about Celiac Disease, gluten-free, gluten-free blogs and getting her sister diagnosed.  In her family her Aunt (Mother's sister) also has the disease, and her family is always looking for new spots for her to dine at gluten-free when she visits NYC.  Of course I told her to come and visit my blog, how could I not advertise my own blog? ha ha.  But I also mentioned and gave shout-outs to a few great spots in the city that her sister can enjoy worry-free!!: Bistango an Italian eatery in Murray Hill, NYC, Tu-Lu's Bakery on East 11th Street, in the East Village (this bakery has dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and other allergies and is all made in a gluten-free facility), Lili's 57 a Asian eatery on W. 57th Street, its sister restaurant also an asian eatery (that actually has gluten-free spring rolls!!) Lilli and Loo on Lexington/60's,  a great pizza/Italian little divvy joint that is known for their pizza, pasta, breadsticks, desserts, panini's, gf beer and more!! in the West Village called Risotteria and another fabulous Italian spot that is family style on the Upper West Side in the 70's called Sambuca.  These were the few off the top of my head.

So we traded gluten-free knowledge in our chance meeting, and I said "Isn't it funny how this turned out!?"  I love meeting other people who have friends or family or are themselves gluten-free.  It is a lovely community no matter where you are and where you come from, we had a commonality and that brought us together.  She wasn't a New Yorker, actually from Boston or just outside which is why she mentioned Red Lobster after I mentionedOutback Steakhouse, which has a HUGE gluten-free menu including TWO gluten-free brownie sundaes!!! So she gave a shout-out to Red Lobster and this info was news to me as I had no clue!! I had once went to Red Lobster back in the day in Palm Beach, Florida and it was great, but this was prior to my diagnosis.  Glad to hear things have changed around that chain!!  And glad to hear that the Boston Red Lobster is fantastic too, since they are known for their seafood!!  She also gave a shout-out to PF Changs another Asian chain that apparently has some real good lettuce wraps!  ( I have been there and I can attest to their great gluten-free menu too).

While we are at it, in Murray Hill Bare Burger also has a fabulous gluten-free menu!! Great burgers and fries.  Yes you heard me fries!.  And GF buns! Or if you don't like that you can get it in a lettuce wrap like I do.

Have a great super fabulous day!  It's GORGEOUS outside!!

Monday, May 7th, 2012-Domino's Pizza Crust-GF With A Catch-I have been noticing a LOT of posting through Facebook and other social media websites that Domino's Pizza has come out with a gf crust.  I was super excited to see this!! Because Domino's is a major chain nationwide. I thought Great!!!  But there is a catch!  A big catch.  Domino's is saying that this pizza is made in the same ovens as their gluten pizzas, and are ONLY suitable for those with a gluten-sensitivity!! And therefore NOT suitable for people with Celiac Disease.

What is that?  Half-ass GF pizza?  Yes, I agree it is a start, but a half-ass start.  So those that really suffer from the actual disease can't even enjoy this pizza.  I am not sure what the point of that is.  So I think this pizza should be called Gluten-Sensitive Pizza rather then Gluten-Free Pizza.  Let's not get those two confused!! We are too smart for that by now, with all of the research done on Celiac Disease in this decade.  Let's not take a step backwards and make mistakes we may have made before knowing so much.  I mean really.

The gluten-free crust is made in a facility where there is gluten present, like the ovens.  There is a lot of cross contamination.  So I say, Celiac's, newbies, people that think it might be ok, please steer clear because you WILL get sick, and that is NOT worth your precious time!!.

Please click here for article and video from The Huffington Post.

The article fights for those with a gluten-sensitivity, as mentioned there are at least 18 million Americans who are gluten-sensitive.  But this is a huge gray area.  How can you determine how sensitive you are when ordering this gf crust?  Are you a little sensitive?  A lot sensitive? Medium sensitive?
The National Foundation For Celiac Awareness does NOT recommend this for people who suffer from Celiac Disease.

The Domino's video states that there is a small trace of gluten in their crust.  They say it's almost "0" percent, but there are still traces.  So even though Domino's is stating that there crust is gluten-free, I think gluten-free should be and mean 100 percent.  Not almost 100 percent.

Please also note that not EVERY location carries this gluten-sensitive pizza crust.  Please check with your location.

See Domino's Facebook Page for FAQ on the difference between Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Sensitivity.  Please do NOT disregard the disclaimer!!!!

**I am using "kid friendly" labels for this post because I want all parents to see this post and know that a child with Celiac Disease cannot have this pizza.

Saturday, May 5th, 2012-Red Mango Signage-There is nothing better then having something completely spelled out for you.  That way there is no misinterpretation of any kind.  Certified gluten-free means certified gluten-free.  Well said Red Mango/Wheatley Plaza location in Greenvale, Long Island!!  Well said.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012-Asia De Cuba NYC CLOSED-Sad to hear a great restaurant with a fabulous gluten-free menu has closed.  Asia De Cuba located in NYC/Midtown East is no longer with us.  (Other locations in various states still exist).

Total bummer.

Monday, April 16th, 2012-Duo Restaurant-Not So GF Friendly-Duo. A new-comer to Madison Avenue is located between 27th and 28th Streets and lately buzzing for their gorgeous presentation on their brunches and dinners.  I have gone twice.  And the second time was to give a second chance.  Unfortunately this staff is not Gluten-Free friendly at all!  I have reacted twice, and will now spend the next few days itchy.  Total bummer.  I was really rooting for this spot.

Their motto, a quote from the infamous Virginia Wolfe "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well".  I wish this were true.  In this day of allergies, it is imperative that in order for a new comer to withstand any test of time, their staff must be 'in the know' when it comes to a gluten allergy or any other allergy for that matter.

This spot had so much potential.  A very 'she-she' staff, gorgeous paintings of fairies and ladies on the wall, beautiful decor with leather and nail head studded chairs and fantastic presentation when it came to the food.

Too bad Gluten-free is not on their list of importance.  I would NOT recommend this spot for anyone with an allergy.

However if you are not gluten-free, you will enjoy this spot.

Monday, April 16th, 2012-Bar Brenton-CLOSED! Welcome La Quenelle-So sad!  I just went to make a reservation at Bar Brenton; a French eatery that had a huge gluten-free menu and was known for their Buckwheat crepes-has closed!!

To be honest I had gone only once and didn't love it, but everyone I know did, and I am shocked to hear that this restaurant couldn't stand the test of time.

However in replace of Bar Brenton stands a new restaurant called La Quenelle that opened in March 2012 with the same chef and staff, but a different menu.  I called to find out if their menu was gluten-free...and sadly it is not, but they do have plenty of gluten-free options and the waitstaff is very gf friendly.  I also looked at their website and it looks scrumptious!  

I think this new spot deserves a try.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2012-Co op-Hot Spot NYC Restaurant-Another fabulous spot that caters to those whom are gluten-free!  This by no means is a gluten-free restaurant, but the chef (John Keller) and wait-staff and even the owner are very savvy!  I attended my sister's bday party last year at this fine Lower East Side dig and uber popular lounge.  We sat down and I immediately noticed the menu was asian fusion and sharing.  Sh*t I thought.  But then when I mentioned this to the waitress she went to ask the chef and she came back with a list written on a piece of paper that I actually still have and had taped it to my desk.  I will share it with you.  (see below, the list).

This restaurant is located on 107 Rivington between Ludlow and Essex, right in the Rivington Hotel.

A post long overdue, and a fabulous restaurant that needs recognition!

Here is the NO GLUTEN list from the chef on the Dinner Menu

Fluke Crude
Tuna Salad
Kale Caeser
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Baby Octopus
Chopped Salad
Paper Cut Salad
Lobster Cappuccino
Uni Risotto
Shisito Peppers
Chicken Lollipops
Shrimp Tacos
Grilled Asparagus and other grilled veggies
Fried Oysters-though I'm pretty sure this one is a mistake-or maybe they batter these babies in a gluten-free flour.
In addition to this list, they also have a "Simply Grilled" menu-meaning a list of fishes they prepare by grilling and not using sauces. 
Steak (no sauces)

I had the Shisito Peppers, Simply Grilled Salmon, Grilled Asparagus and the Tuna Salad.  Everything was delicious and for a tapas style sharing menu, these plates were quite large.  I had ordered too much!  About two plates too much.

                                 *all sauces used are gluten-free with the exception of the sauce
                                   used with the Salmon.  That one I did NOT use.

Their brunch menu looks delicious too!  But total bummer between the zillion pancake, waffle, biscuits and french toast there doesn't look like there is much for the Gluten-Free with the exception of the omelette, so I will not even post the brunch menu.  At least they have the dinner down pat with gluten-free options.  Win some, loose some.

Saturday, March 10th, 2012-Lilli and Loo Asian GF Restaurant-Just wanted to share some fabulous pics of these delicious dishes I ate at Lilli and Loo (sister restaurant is Lili 57 located on 57th st. and 7th avenue (To-Go Menu).  Lili and Loo is located near bloomingdales on the Upper East Side on Lexington Ave between 61st and 62nd street.  This location has the largest Asian GF menu I have ever seen!  Here is a link to their to-go menu, but the actual menu at the restaurant is so much larger.  Pictures of the menu would not even do it justice.  And it's soooo good.  I have to be honest it's better then its sister restaurant.  Both locations deliver, and both locations are on

                                      GF Spring Roll-I have never had a GF one before-Sooo Good
                                                                                   GF Beef Pad Thai
                                                                  GF Sesame Tofu w/ Mixed Veggies

Saturday, March 10th, 2012-Gilligan's Island Chic Retreat-The Hurricane Club Restaurant-NYC-I just posted a great review on YELP for this restaurant.  And my post below is more detailed with pics.  First off it's very gluten-free friendly-there is no gluten-free menu but the waiter and chef will tell you exactly what they can do for you and how.  Phew!  A while back I posted a fabulous naturally gluten-free recipe from this fine NYC trendy restaurant menu...GF Chickpea Lettuce Wraps and now I am going to post the review from Yelp.

                                  **picture taken in 2011-that's me on the far right

The Hurricane Club is a transporting experience!  You walk in to what appears to look like a business and you are instantly transported into high ceilings, chandeliers and exclusivity.  It's Tiki Glam!  Drinking out of coconuts and lots of other fabulous concoctions.  You feel important when you dine there.  This is not your average restaurant, this is NYC...Gotta make it glam!  Written up many times in many magazines including Time Out Magazine, InStyle and many more it reminds me of Tao, but TIKI.  How cool is that?  It's easy to get to and the space inside is huge!  You feel like a million bucks without a million bucks leaving your wallet.

The food is meant to be shared, but I am gluten-free and therefore do not share (the portions are small enough that you can share or not or you can just order their larger entree's and not do any tapas).  It makes me so glad that I can go to such a trendy NYC spot and every waiter there knows and understands what a gluten-allergy or Celiac Disease is!!  This is major for me!! The chef and waitstaff are aware and on call, and can tell you exactly what can be prepared for you. Comfort for the gluten-free...  It rocks!  I cannot tell you how many people who are gluten-free are afraid to venture because of a gluten worry or a cross-contamination worry.  Fear not.  Mark my words gluten-free peeps! Venture.  It's well worth your time and tummy!  The menu is huge and the drink menu is super fun!  Think Gilligan's Island (a t.v. show aired from 1964-1967) meets glam and gluten-free friendly!  I don't think Ginger, Mary-Ann or the Professor had that luxury!  Can't top that.  A friend of mine even gets reserved seating!  He feels so special every time he goes.  And when there is a long wait?  They greet you with delicious glasses of champagne to thank you for your patience.  It's royal treatment when you dine at the hurricane club.

 I have been many times and I have never had a problem, whether its the chicken kebab or the Ceviche or even the veggies!  The entire space is gorgeous, and is well worth your time and efforts to go, especially if you are not from NYC-it's a great spot to report home about.  Try it.  Dine out and have fun!  To those that write negative reviews, you must be demented.  And I say this because the only downfall to this super fine dig, is that you may have slow service when its super busy-but when this happens? They compliment you with more food and drinks on the house!  You really can't go wrong here.

I didn't post this on Yelp, but I would even go the extra mile to say it is teen-friendly-if and only if your children are above the ages of 10.  If your family is posh or you are dining out on a special occasion I would say without fail you can bring your teens.

For those of you over 21? Well there is also a super cool night club/lounge below the restaurant, so eat well and get your dance moves on!

Check out their Menus and know your Gilligan's Island Chic retreat is only on 26th Street and Park Avenue South.  So close!  You don't need a boat to get yourselves to this trendy Tiki spot!

Friday, March 9th, 2012-Beauty & Essex Restaurant-NYC-GF Desserts-A fabulous dessert from Beauty & Essex Restaurant!  Chris Santos who is the chef at both Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex has not only a gluten-free menu but a GREAT one with fabulous desserts.  Below is what I had one night...Pot of Creme-Yum!

Friday, March 9th, 2012-Goat Town Restaurant-NYC-GF-A restaurant that celebrity Jennifer Esposito frequents, I went based on her recommendation.  A small cozy spot that is very neighborhood friendly in the village.  A more meat and potatoes kind of place where the owner makes his own gluten-free ice-creams and sorbets.  GF pancakes and waffles for brunch too!

Friday, March 9th, 2012-Murray Hill Food Emporium-My Food Emporium seems to be the only location that carries the LEAST amount of gluten-free.  But I think that is changing.  I am noticing more and more.  The Upper East Side location seems to have sooo much including GF Pizza, potato tots, veggie burgers and more.  

Here is what I have found so far!  In addition to the below pictures I also found all flavors of Mary's Gone Crackers, Lara Bars, GF Gummies, Vans GF Waffles, GF Peanut Butters, Almond Butter, Rice Milk, Soy Milk, GF yogurts, Laughing Cow Cheese and Skinny Cow Popsicles.  There is a lot that is naturally gluten free as well!  And the Betty Crocker GF frostings are available too.

What I love about Food Emporium is the labeling.  Labeling is important and it is nice to see that the products themselves have great labeling and the markets carrying them.  These are not all in one section, so you will have to rummage and sort through.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012-Trader Joe's GF List-Need a printable version of their gluten-free list?

Trader Joe's GF Market List

handy and ready to print!

Sunday Feb, 5th, this while researching other gf products on google and this fantastic website came up called  This is a website that gives you gluten-free products all over the spectrum and advises where you can get those products and allows you to purchase them on this website.  I'm talking breads, rolls, hoagie rolls, beverages, grains, gift baskets, allergy free foods, breads, bread machines, bagels, protein bars, pizza, pasta, baking ingredients, crackers, snacks, candy, gf matzoh etc...and the list goes on.  Whatever product they carry they do advise all nutrition facts such as Soy Free, Dairy Free, Kosher (and at what level), Potato Free, Sugar Free, Soy free etc...

In addition to products (and all kinds), this website also offers recipes, testimonials, health tips, sales and promotions, gf diet info and more.  This is the ultimate source for everything gluten-free. 

This website considers itself "the dynasty in gluten-free".  Sounds good to me!  I usually frequent, but hey another one on the roster will not hurt.

It's definitely a very cool website.  Very handy for those who want to do a 1-stop-shop of pure gluten-free.

Check it out!

Sunday Feb, 5th, 2012-GF Long Island-Sergio's Pizzeria-Formally known as Vogue Pizza, Serigo's has a fabulous menu.  And what's even better? The pizza (all pies), pasta and entrees (all) can be prepared gluten-free.  At first they just started with gf pasta (which most restaurants carry, so no surprise there), and then one day I called for some gf pasta, and they told me they had gf pizza and could do the entrees too!  Say what? I'm um super psyched?  Whenever I visit my parents out in Long Island, I always need a go-to take-out spot that I can order from without worrying that a mistake was made or that the person on the other end of the phone understands what gluten-free means.  I never have to worry with this place.  I even spoke to the manager the first go round and he assured me.  And I have NEVER been disappointed.  Right on!

Now I should have blogged about Sergio's at least a year ago, because it has been that long that I have been eating from this restaurant.  And for those of you who live in Long Island near the Old Brookville area-this is for you!  They deliver (though it takes forever, so order in advance).

And another great thing about Sergio's?? They cater!  Half and full portions, and they will do gluten-free.

Sergio's is located at 3-7 Waldbaums Shopping Center, Old Brookville, NY (Long Island).  (516) 674-9480/fax: (516) 759-1128.

My typical order usually consists of Chicken Gabriella (chicken sauteed in a white wine sauce topped with fresh broccoli and mozzarella cheese, a gluten-free pizza usually Margarita or the Salad Pizza (pictured below) and a side of gf pasta.

I don't know about you, but all of these dishes are making me really hungry!!!  Seriously, I'm talking good food here.  So good my 16 year old brother couldn't even taste the difference!

Monday, October 31st, 2011-5 Top Mexican Restaurants In NYC-Top  Favorite Gluten-Free Friendly Mexican Restaurants in NYC

Monday, October 31st, 2011-Diablo Royale Saloon and Restaurant-I do not suggest anyone that is gluten-free go to this restaurant!  

There are not many restaurants these days that I can't get a gluten-free dish or worry about major cross contamination but this spot really does take the cake.  Or shall I say non-Gluten-Free corn chip...Oh no wait!  It's not corn, it's flour! AHHHHH!

I had a birthday party on sunday at Diablo Royale, a tiny Mexican Saloon in the heart of the West Village. My friend Felicia always chooses these spectacular divvy spots (like Fish,Garage and others), so I didn't think twice when my friend told me that she had notified the Manager that I had Celiac and couldn't have gluten.  No problem.  She said they were going to change anything on our shared menu that had a flour taco/chip with 100% Corn.  I was psyched!, because this spot was family style.  So I sent my friend a list of questions to ask the chef:

Are the corn chips 100% corn?

Are the corn chips made in house or outside of the restaurant, if so what are the exact ingredients and what does the labeling say?

I cannot eat: flour, wheat, bread, thickeners, Sauces with gluten, fried and breaded foods...

Are the taco's 100% corn?

Do they dust anything with flour?

How big is the kitchen, and is there an area where they can cook my dishes separately?

Do the sauces have flour? wheat? bread crumbs? thickeners?

Are the potatoes dusted with flour?

Those were the basics.  I got confirmation on everything from my friend and was ready to go.

I arrive and there are cinnamon dusted chips on the table.  I ask the waiter to ask the manager to see if these are gluten-free.  I actually see him speaking to the manager.  I got the go-ahead!  Yeah! I downed 3.  Super psyched, Score!  ...

"Wait what?  these are not gluten-free?? Your waiter said you confirmed!! I just ate 2!  I'm going to get really sick!! Why would he confirm!!?? Ahhhhh!.  Crap.  I was able to spit 1/2 of one out...But down that gluten went, and it was definitely more then 1/8" of a teaspoon.  Great!.  Ugh.  The waiter was not apologetic and instead he said "well I hope you don't get sick".

Honestly, it was the last thing I needed.  Do I really want to feel horrible for what could be up to a few weeks?  And break out, stomach issues, hives/rashes, all over body itch and the whole nine yards?.  I can tell you I was so beyond annoyed.  He followed by saying " I know, I know...we were informed of the gluten thing".  Obviously they didn't even take it seriously.  

Everytime thereafter a dish came out I had to ask the waiter if they could confirm everything that was served was 100% corn.  Their waitstaff got really annoyed with me and one host in particular was very short.  I said " I have an allergy, I need to speak to the manager".  It was only once out of the few times I had questions that the Manager even came over to me.  That's poor manners in my book.

And I didn't eat the potatoes either, I didn't want to risk if there truly was flour dusted on them.  My Spanish language card fromTriumph Dining would have come in handy!! 

There was also another dish on the table...French Toast with fruit.  The waiter mentioned, "well you can have the fruit just push the french toast to the side".  I was like um! I don't think so!! That's contaminated!

So, I do not recommend this spot.  And what a shame I love blogging good things about the restaurants I eat at, but as much as I love to spread the great gluten free word, I also like to advise my fellow readers of the shady non gluten-free spots you should NOT frequent!

For other GF Friendly Mexican Restaurants check out:

Thursday, October 20th, 2011-Goat Town NYC-Well this is the restaurant that Jennifer Esposito wrote about in her blog.  What where her words? That they understood what gluten was and that she had this amazing chicken dish and the sorbet was dairy free and gluten-free.  I had to check out this menu and it has occurred to me after reading the mouth watering options that I MUST make a ressie here.  I don't know how this restaurant slipped on by, because I did not know about it, but now I am intrigued.  I also saw a quick mention on buckwheat pancakes.  I cannot even remember the last time I sat down at a trendy spot in NYC eating pancakes.

Check out Goat Town located at 511 E. 5th Street, NYC (212) 687-3641

Saturday, October 8th 2011-Beauty And Essex How I Love Thee-It's no secret that Beauty and Essex is one of my all time favorite restaurants in NYC.  Located in lower Manhattan a trendy, artsy dig behind an old vintage pawn shop lay another fantastic Chris Santos Restaurant.  Famous for its champagne bar in the ladies bathroom and all time great sharring dishes, this lovely dig also has an amazing GF menu including salty fries!  A place, where yes the fries are gluten-free and not cross-contaminated.  I have sent so many people to this restaurant!  My previous POST on this fine restaurant was last year when I took a friend of mine out for her birthday.  I wrote in detail the decor, the friendly and gf savvy wait staff, drinks and menu pics and I was there yet again and took some great pics of the GF dishes we had and I wanted to share them.

                                 Yellowtail Crudo Avocado-MOUTH WATERING

                                 Salt and Vinegar Fries-AMAZING!

                                 Rosemary Fillet-Sliced

Sashimi of Tuna-Tonnato Style

                                    Pressed Chicken with Polenta

If you are in New York City make it there!!  It's one of my favorites!! xo!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011-Red Mango Steps It Up Once Again-I have done quite a few posts thus far on Red Mango, one of my favorite frozen yogurt spots that has signs all over their parlors on being gluten-free.  I love this spot.  I'm always stopping at my nearest location when I am visiting the rents in Long Island.  My favorite location is in Wheatley Plaza, Roslyn.

Last time I was there I was so happy to see oodles of flavors like Coconut, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Original, Coffee and others and always with a plethora of toppings.

Nix the toppings right?  Because they are probably not gluten-free, but actually some are.  But not the good stuff right?  Not the cookies or the sprinkes.  Wait, hold up!  What's that you say?? The cookies are gluten-free? Say what?

Word on the street and with the Manager of that location (not all locations carry this), that there is a young lady that started a gluten-free cookie and bakery company with her mom, both of which were diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  An Italian family that knows how to cook and bake gluten-free, these cookies MUST be good.  And boy are they!  Sooo good!  I bought the cookies while I was there along with their gingerbread and pumpkin loaf, yum!

So there you have it.  You can eat your frozen yogurt and cookies too!

Monday, October 3rd, 2011-Lavo Restaurant-Hot and Trendy-Just because you are gluten-free and/or have CD does not mean you cannot enjoy your life.  This is my mantra, and something I always tell others when dining out.  Most restuarants in NYC especially the more upscale ones will cater to your needs even if that means preparing a tuna tartare without the soy sauce or tamari.  And the restaurant will also not use the flour you are so deathly allergic too.

Do not be afraid to eat out.  I have CD and I eat out all the time.  I will not stop my life.  Now, will I get to enjoy all the saucy sauces and the marinades? No, not always, but that's okay.  I love NYC for their nightlife and restaurant scene, and if my plate has to be a bit blander so be it.  I love people watching and chatting and that is really what dinner is about. 

A few months ago I went to Lavo in NYC.  This is an Upper East Side hot and trendy spot.  An anamzing Italian Eatery and Steakhouse if you will with fabulous side dishes and great apps.  I have been there twice.  They are so nice there, they totally understand the Gluten allergy and are always looking to please their patrons.  Their waitstaff is very familiar with CD and gluten, and they always alert the chef.  Sometimes their waitstaff will come back to me after I have ordered and tell me if they can do what I want them to do, or if something I did order does have gluten.  For the most part I am pretty savvy about knowing what to eat and what not to eat, but every now and again I will make a mistake, and lucky for me this restaurant catches them.  Thank you Lavo.

This restaurant is known for their steak.  It is sooo delicious I cannot even describe.  They also have an amazing Tuna Tartare that is to die for and they just prepare it a bit differently then they would for someone else.  However, at this eatery at least what I ate, the sauces were gluten-free...naturally.  Nice right?!

This restaruant is always crowded, and buzzing with a great scene.  There is a bar in the front and a nightclub downstairs.  Their dinners are reasonable, but their brunch will leave a dent in your wallet.

     Tuna Tartare with an avocado bottom and a black olive sauce

As you can see, there is no soy sauce or any gluten dressings on this appetizer.  And it was still AMAZING.  When you go gluten-free you start to realize you never needed that sauce to begin with.

I then shared the scallops with my gal Dina.  At first I was worried, because usually most restaurants flour their scallops before they hit the pan, but lucky me Lavo does not.

The sauce was nothing but fava beans and a vegetable puree with scallions.  Oh they were so good, I had one, and I would order them again in a heartbeat.  No flour thank god!

Save the best for last?  The steak.  I find if you go to a great restaurant, a great steak will be made.  I like mine so overly cooked no one else would enjoy it, but I do and well, that is what is important.  Somehow I have lost that picture, but we all know what a good steak looks like so I will leave that to your imagination.

So if you live in NYC or are ever visiting, I would recommend this spot in a heartbeat.  Why not enjoy life?  You do only live once!

Wednesday, October 5th-Le Pain Quotedien-Guess who has GF Macaroons?  Le Pain Quotedien!  It's a French chain restaurant that is usually found in work areas around Manahattan and other neighboring states and even across the US in California.

But be careful!  There is definitely cross-contamination!

Click HERE for various locations in New York, California, Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011-Not So Friendly After All-The Palm Restaurant NYC-Eh is all I can say.  I was not very happy with the waitstaff at this old school famous NYC restaurant located in the theater district.  The Palm is a steakhouse known obviously for steak, and other dishes like their seafood and anti-pasta dishes, oh and their Tuna Sashimi.  Upon ordering with the waiter, I asked him if he could check with the chef on what ingredients were in their "blackened" seasonings.  He mentioned that he would not ask the chef, and that the chef would have no idea.  I again mentioned my allergy and he still would not ask.  Long story short, I did not have my Ahi Tuna Blackened, but I found it very disappointing that he couldn't even ask.  I say thumbs down toThe Palm.  The Palm is has several locations.  I went to the one on 50th and 8th, and unless I am forced to go with my parents, I will not be visiting that restaurant again.  In this day and age there are plenty of gorgeous restaurants willing to cater to the allergy folk.

Sunday, June 5th, 2011-New York Times Newspaper Mentions GF!-In today's issue of the New York Times Newspaper under the Sunday Styles going G-Free is mentioned.  Well not only mentioned, but there is a pretty larger article.  Yeah!  More and more people are speaking of going G-Free aka gluten-free.  This is the new lingo.  The article is called Looking for a Plan B? Make it Gluten-Free by Hilary Stout.  The article is about opening gluten-free bakeries.  The first picture I see upon reading the article is a woman viewing from the outside 5 mouth watering gluten-free cakes.  Way to reel me in!.  How can I resist and not read more?

The article talks about many people who decided to quit their jobs and open gluten-free bakeries.  The article also discusses people who decided to embark on gluten-free bakeries for health reasons, or economic reasons, starting a second career...after a terrible and/or during a recession.  It is interesting to hear why others decided to lead their gluten-free fantasy.  As the article states, everyone wants to quit their jobs and make their business fantasies come true.  "As long as their have been jobs, there have been fantasies about leaving them"(Hilary Stout)...and starting a gluten-free bakery!

The stories start with: So and so, a Manhattan Lawyer, resolved to temper her workaholic ways, and set out on a second career", or So and So from Los Angeles, after a graphic-design business faltered in the recession, husband and wife embark on a second career, opening a gluten-free bakery...The stories go on.  The people opening these bakeries didn't have previous careers in baking.  It is even more interesting to what these people were doing before they embarked on this new venture.  This goes to show you, that you don't have to have a path.  Sometimes the path finds you.

What I like about these types of articles, is that they are inspiring.  How nice to see people all over the world spreading the gluten-free word.  It makes you want to join in on the fun!

Here are some links to these bakeries that were given shout outs in today's Sunday Times:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011-BareBurger Surprisingly Hangs w/ GF!
Well I am just kvelling right now.  I have found yet another spot that offers gluten-free in a big way.  When I say big way, I mean more then just carrying gf pasta.

A few weeks ago I was strolling in my neighborhood when I passed by a new restaurant chain.  All burgers.  It honestly looked mouthwatering, but I surely figured there would be no gluten free options.  I started thinking fillers and bread crumbs and fried.  No def not.  But on the off-chance, I grabbed a menu anyways.  Which then was thrown into my pile of umpteen random menus, never to be looked at again...

Until tonight.  

I decided to order in.  I broke the menu's out and started to search for something to "feed" my craving.  Half of them were gluten-free, but didn't deliver.  Bummer.  This always happens.  I passed through Lili's 57 GF Chinese, Bistango Italian, Nizza (didn't deliver in my direction), Candle 79, Slice-way too out of the way...Mozzarelli's-not in the mood for pizza...and then to this wonderful, amazing, mouth watering menu appeared in the mess of menus.  The needle in the haystack, the diamond in the rubble.  BareBurger.  Burgers.  But not just your standard burger run of the mill burger, your everything you dreamed of in a burger, burger!  Earth shattering some might say.  I almost ruled out BareBurger, because I just gave myself every excuse in the book as to why this burger joint would not be gluten free.  But on the tiny glimpse of hope I had...I went online.  

As it turns out all of their meat and poultry is gluten-free.  No thickeners, no fillers.  In addition, their salads, sauces and FRENCH FRIES are gluten-free and NO cross contamination!!  The fries are fried in 100% Peanut Oil and fried separately from the non-gluten-free items like the fried onions and onion rings.  Phew!  I called to find out that tid-bit and got a lengthly answer to my gluten-free questions. Their burger buns are NOT gluten-free, but in replace (and I know not ideal), Lettuce wraps!  So you! Yes you, mr/mrs/ms Gluten-Free can have your burger in a lettuce wrap.  According to their website, their are a number of cider beers for customers looking for a gf adult beverage with their meal.  Right on partna!  Right on.

In addition, and what they are known for is ORGANIC.  I have honestly never seen such a "healthy" website before.  Everything is delicately explained in detail.  I was blown away by the options of meat choices like Bison vs. Ostrich or Elk vs. Lamb.  There are many other options like beef and chicken and alternative options suited for vegetarians and vegans.

Tonight I was tempted to order the Swiss Turkey Bacon Burger: baby swiss, sauteed mushrooms, turkey bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing (hold the fried onions, because those are not gf).  Omg, I was so tempted to order this magical creation.  Even more tempting were the milkshake options and the array of cola's like root beer and ginger beer.  Can we say dream menu?

Other amazing options that rocked my world were the Maui Wowie Burger, Bacon Cheese BareBurger and Big Blue Bacon Burger.  The two sauces I fell for were the Spicy Ranch and Horseradish Mayo.  I think the Curry Ketchup would be an interesting palate experience...The ingredients are divine.  I won't spoil the fun, go take a look at the menu on their website.  You'll thank me later.

Definitely make a stop near one of their locations.  Coming soon to Brooklyn...

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011-Gregory's Coffee-New GF Dessert 

OMG!  I can't even tell you how psyched I was when I walked into Gregory's Coffee and saw a Gluten-Free dessert.!!!!  I have been meaning to blog about this, but all I got was as far as a Tweet.  So I am here now to finally blog this fantastic news!  Yeah!  Rice Chex Marshmallow Treat.  Soooo good!  Completely DIVINE.  I'm sure between the butter and marshmallow, that these babies are not less then 250 calories, but don't quote me, I am guesstimating.  

Gregory's Coffee, is a new upscale Coffee chain around New York City.  From what I hear, they are opening more doors.  And from personal experience, far better then Starbucks could ever be.  I used to be a Starby's junkie.  Yes, a Latte everyday or even twice.  Now I taste it, and I think it's gross.  Now Gregory's, is just amazing, so that's my new place.  Every morning.  And now their locations are starting with gluten-free.  According to the manager at the 39th & 7th location insists they are gluten-free friendly.  They get it.  And they try.  I can say whoever is making those Chex treats back in their kitchen rocks beyond!  I am so happy that FINALLY, someone back there is considering gluten-free.  Thank you!

For those of you who are not familiar with Gregory's you are missing out.  Great strong coffee, amazing blends, shakes, smoothies and cappuccino's.  And from what I hear from co-workers amazing pastries.  

So indulge! Eat well and enjoy life.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011-Hale and Hearty EEK! MAJOR CALORIES!

Did you know that a large Tomato Cheddar Soup from Hale and Hearty is a whopping 740 calories?
I was running around today and figured to save time I'd grab a soup from Hale and Hearty.  I already knew this soup was gluten-free.  When I approached the lady at the counter I asked if she knew the calories for a large.  She said yes, because they are all written on the soup covers.  She mentioned 740.  And I screamed!  Totally aghast that it could be sooo much!  I said, don't you dare fill that soup cup! I'm going to get a salad!

When you are on a diet and calorie counting a soup option like this is a waste!

I'm blogging this because I actually always thought it was wayyy less!  Guess I was wrong!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2011-Pret-A-Manger's GF Options-

One of my favorite lunch spots to go during work hours is Pret A Manger.  I always know that some of their salads are gluten-free, but I am never sure with their dressings.  According to Pret's website 3out of 5 dressings are gluten-free, wheat free and suitable for vegetarians.  And only two salads at Pret are not gluten-free.  Go Pret!

Pret has various locations all over and a plethora in NYC alone.

Pret's Wildberry Salad Dressing is gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free and suitable for vegetarians and Vegans.  The sad part?  Just one serving is 160 Calories!  And the dressings come with 2 servings, so be careful if you are watching your weight!

Pret's Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette Dressing is gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free and suitable for vegetarians.  The sad part?  Just one serving is 100 Calories!  And the dressings come with 2 servings, so be careful if you are watching your weight!  (This is my favorite dressing)!

Pret's Classic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing is gluten-free, Wheat-Free (tho it is not listed), suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.  The sad part? Just one serving is 180 Calories!  And the dressings come with 2 servings, so be careful if you are watching your weight!

On another note...other items that are gluten-free at Pret?  I always thought nothing else would be, but since we are on the topic...

Pret's Yoga Bunny Yogurt Pot is gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.  (This contains nuts).  The sad part? Just one serving is 280 Calories!

Overall, a salad is a salad.  It's natural and fresh.  All except the salad with the Cous Cous and the Caeser Salad is gluten-free.

Enjoy! xoxo Julie

Click here for LOCATIONS

Monday, March 14th, 2011-Luxe Dining-GF Beauty and Essex

*Store front of Beauty and Essex

 Entrance to lobby of restaurant.  Past the door and enter an elegant presence...

I just went to one of the most amazing brunches EVER!  Not your traditional brunch, but amazing Brunch Tapas!!  I had heard such good things about Beauty and Essex.  I heard it was glam, a hotspot, trendy, a scene and fun.  I had to try!  My friend Nicole came into the city to take me out for my belated birthday.  I immediately thought of Beauty and Essex.  This new dig is another one of Chef Chris Santos's creations.  Overall? It was fantastic! And NOT what I was expecting.  The space is an old pawn shop which starts off looking like a store front where you can actually buy pawned outdated electronics like mint condition guitars, boom boxes and Walkman headsets! Upon walking inside you are introduced to a more plush dining experience with crystal chandeliers, checkerboard floors and spiralling staircases.  Walking through the restaurant it is as if you are in a Jazz lounge with mood music and plush couches during the Prohibition Era.  It's quite a wild experience.  Further inside is a huge dining room filled with open sunlit skylights and woven twine.  There are two bars and a lounge in this 10,000 square foot space that can seat up to 300! Though you will never feel on top of your neighbors or overcrowded.  I was so glad I didn't bail on my friend and opt for the neighborhood Josie's Restaurant.

The lobby after the Pawn Shop Store Front
The Lounge
The Dining Space

I loved their menu.  Their side dishes had titles like "Accessories", their sweet items like Ricotta Pancakes were listed under "Sweet Things and Starters" and anything on bread was called "Jewels On Toast".  The headers/catergories on the menu are listed in elegant script.  The actual menu feels like leather and it is tinted red.  And lucky for me there was a gluten-free menu.

I knew the gist of the menu because Stanton Social is similar.  It is Tapas, but I always order my own dishes.  I do not share.  I mostly can't because of my gluten sensitivity.  To my surprise Beauty and Essex had a GLUTEN FREE menu!  I was so happy!  And shocked! But I should have known because Stanton Social also owned by the same owner has a gluten free menu.  And it's a fancy gluten-free menu.  Their menu's are written in curly script writing and are so elegant you'll be glad to order off this menu.

The above menu pics are from their dinner GF menu.  But I went their for Brunch.  I didn't actually get to order from the GF Menu, as their brunch menu is interchangeable with their regular gluten menu.  Their wait-staff is extremely educated in the gluten allergy and your server will advise you upon your arrival.  There were great options.  And everything looked so good!  It tasted good too!  It was divine.  Heaven.

*For the life of me I have forgotten the name of my dish.  It was
from the brunch menu, and I believe it was called Chicken Chilhuae 
(or something like that).  It had tortilla chips, a sunny side up egg,
pulled chicken, greens and pickled onions.  Sounds odd right? It 
was truly divine.

  I decided to try Kale for the first time, a leaf simular to Spinach.  
This salad was amazing.  This salad had the perfect balance of
leaf and fruit.

The food was fantastic.  There was so much to choose from.  The cocktails were inventive.  The ambiance was luxe.  It's a downtown scene. It's a scene you want to be a part of yet you can show up in jeans and Converse.  It's a hipster casual scene with an elegant ambiance.  Overall my dining experience on a scale from 1-10 was a 100+++!  I cannot wait to go there again!  I have already told so many friends via email, text and BBM that they must try this place!

Beauty and Essex is located on Essex Street between Stanton and Rivington in the Lower East Side, NYC.  Try calling for a ressie (212) 614-0146, and if you need easy and are not near a phone make sure you book a ressie online at

The one thing I do recommend is to only order 1 dish and share the second with a friend.  The dishes are a lot bigger then those at Stanton Social.  I believe the portions are of bigger large tapas plates.  My friend and I were so full as we both ordered two dishes.  Wow, we left drunk and utterly stuffed!

My friend Nicole and I.  Nicole just got engaged! Congrats Nic!!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011-Bread Restaurant NYC-Hello, 

hello!  It's been a while hasn't it?  This weekend was a lovely weekend in NYC.  It was actually on the warmer side, so I was out and about.  Yesterday I took a stroll to Soho to visit my friend at the The Young Designers Market on Prince Street (an indoor venue where you can buy one of a kind pieces from local designers like my friend Dina Yoel founder of City Jewelz).  While I was there I ran into a co-worker who wanted to go to her favorite restaurant in Nolita, called Bread.  Bread is a hidden gem.  It's super small and homey and has amazing wine and cocktails right in the heart of Nolita on Spring St. near Mulberry St..  The moment we walked in I assumed there would be no gluten-free.  I wasn't that hungry anyways, and figured I would just have a salad.  To my surprise their menu stated that they had gluten-free pasta AND GF Pizza.  Wow, yippity do da! Jackpot! 

GF Pizza with Proscuitto  

I'd like to say great find Rachel!! I have been going to SoHo and Nolita for years, and never knew of this hidden gem great eats!  For those of you shopping in the Nolita area, this is a great spot!

Written up by NY Magazine with a whopping 21 reviews this is a place where I will return!

**Just know that their menu states that they cannot guarantee no cross contamination!  So use your judgement.

Sunday, March 13th, 2011-Retraction! Tu Lu's 400 Calorie Cupcake

My friend Carmen at my Bday party

Hello my fellow readers!  Recently I posted an article on Tu Lu's Bakery, formally known as Tully's Bakery.  You see...It was my birthday last week.  My co-workers and friends ordered Tu Lu's cupcakes for my celebration (xoxo so sweet)!.  Since I am on a diet, I called the bakery and inquired about the calories in a Tu Lu's cupcake.  The employee who answered the phone said she was not sure, and put me on hold.  She then came back and said that they were around 400 calories, and to round up.  So I posted this tid bit.

As it turns out 400 calories is not the case.  Tully herself contacted me to find out where I had gotten my info from.  When I told her, she was surprised, because there has never been official testing on their cupcakes.  She mentioned that her employee should never have guesstimated the nutritional value, and would like everyone to know that her cupcakes are around the same amount of calories that a standard gluten cupcake would be. 

Since there has been no official testing, she could not quote an exact number.

My apologies to those that read my previous post and swore off to Tu Lu's cupcakes and baked goods! 

Enjoy!  And again, my apologies!

Sunday Feb. 13th, 2011-Fig and Olive Restaurant NYC-

Last weekend I went to brunch at Fig and Olive in NYC.  It is a great wine and cheese tasting lounge with great meals that has 4 locations each in different areas of wonderful NYC.  Their best location is in the Meat Packing District, while the other locations are more towards the Upper East Side and one other location in the 50's on the west side.  This restaruant even participated in Restaurant Week with great deals!

What Fig and Olive is not so great about is the gluten free allergy or at least its understanding.  I guess it depends on the waiter you get, and if that is the case I suggest talking to the manager at this hot spot.  I used to eat here all the time, but I would always get their famous cheese platter (which I know is naturally gluten-free) and their wine.  On the occasion I would get a piece of grilled fish.  However it was restaurant week, so the menu was different and limited.

Upon ordering I asked the waitress if she was familiar with the gluten-free allergy/lifestyle.  She enthusiastically said YES, we know all about it, don't worry. 

I was relieved.  There is nothing like going to a fancy trendy spot and not having to worry about gluten being added or in my meal.


This woman knew nothing!

I showed her a few selections off the menu that I was interested in.  She then points out that there is dairy and cream in the selection.  I look up at her and I say that is irrelevant.  Then she says that she thought I was gluten free.  OMG!  I mentioned that dairy was not the issue.  So she blankly looks up at me and said isn't dairy gluten?  Oh Jesus.  I said no.  I then had to go into massive detail to get her to understand.  No wheat, no breadcrumbs, no flour (i knew they didn't use gf flours), no oats, rye or barley, no thickeners etc.  She just looked at me and sad "oh".

I should have known the chocolate mousse from the price fix menu was not gluten-free, but as she put this chocolatey surprise in front of me, I dreamed she honestly knew the allergy.  She said you don't have to worry about this one, this is gluten free!  I ate it.  And slightly in the back of my mind I sort of knew it wasn't.

Well I can only tell you what you already know.  I got sick.  And fast.  My friend asked me if I wanted to go shopping at Bergdorf's after lunch and I knew I just needed to go home.

I am not sure if it was just the mousse, as I have a feeling some of the other dishes I had , had some suspect gluten in them as well.

I am writitng this post, because I believe that this restaurant is not as gluten-free friendly as I had once thought.  I personally will never go here again, unless I am only eating the cheese and wine.

Thursday, Feb. 3rd 2011-What's GF at Boston Market-

What's gluten-free and wheat free at Boston Market you ask?...Mediterranean Green Beans, Garlicky Spinach and now their Gravy!!  Other grand foods too like Rotisserie Chicken, Roasted Turkey Breast, Butternut Squash, Cinnamon Apples, Coleslaw, Creamed Spinach, Fresh Steamed Veggies, Garlic New Dill Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Southwest Santa Fe Salad, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Franks Sweet Heat Sauce, Honey Habanero Sauce, Island Mojo Sauce,

Check out this post from Triumph Dining and check out Boston Market's Allergen List

Feb. 3rd, 2011-Tu Lu's NYC Bakery Now Caters Birthday Cakes-My mom stopped by Tu Lu's Bakery a few weeks ago and informed me that Tu Lu's is now doing Birthday Cakes.  All you have to do is order ahead!

Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 2011-GF Adventure.  Serafina Restaurant-L

ast month I blogged about Serefina's Restaurant.  Serafina, a fine Italian eatery with 5 locations alone in NYC has now spread it's wings and landed itself in East Hampton, NY, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and coming soon Philadelphia.  When I mentioned Serefina in my previous post, I was posting about the Dream Hotel location on West 55th Street and Broadway.    

After posting I received a post from a fellow reader asking if the GF pasta was made with the same water as the gluten pasta.  Erin was concerned there would be cross-contamination.  I have to be honest, when I ordered the pasta from the Serafina location Dream Hotel, I just assumed it would be made separately.  And after Erin posted this concern it got me thinking.  It got me thinking, do all Serafina locations carry GF pasta? and if so, how does each location treat the gluten allergy, and how does the chef prepare the foods, and/or use the same utensils and cooking area and further more, is the staff knowledgeable?!  So I called each location.  I was able to get an answer from 5 of the 7 locations.  I could not get in touch with the E. Hampton location, and obviously being here in NY I cannot call Brazil.  So I emailed the contact person on the website asking my questions, I even asked about the Philly location that is not even open yet.  I hope to hear from those locations soon, and when I do, I will post the response.

Here are the locations I was able to get in touch with...

Serafina-(Dream Hotel) 210 W. 55th Street at Broadway(212) 315-1700
Manager and chef confirms that they 
DO have gluten-free pasta. GF pasta is cooked with different/fresh utensils, cooking pans, water and in fact has a separate cooking area all together for gluten-free.  (This is the location I had gone to.  It's sooo worth it!  Click above on Serafina Restaurant for some GF tasty pics)!

58th St and Madison (212) 832-8888
Manager confirms that they 
DO NOT have/carry gluten-free pasta. They have a completely different menu then all other locations. The staff was very short with me on the phone. It did not appear that they would be carrying GF anytime soon.

61st between Madison and Park (212) 702-9898
This location 
DOES HAVE GF Pasta. Manager and Chef confirm that cooking GF is a "made to order" basis, therefore chef confirms that they use separate water, utensils, cooking pans and a separate space to make these meals.

(Time Hotel)-224 West 49th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave (212) 315-1700
Manager and chef both confirm that the brand of pasta they use for all pasta dishes 
IS gluten-free. Their choice of pasta just happens to be a gluten-free pasta (it is fusilli shape). I asked the manager to check and confirm with the chef, and the chef showed her the bag of pasta. Their pasta's are labeled gluten free. However, their home-made pasta is not gluten-free so do not get confused, and yes gluten free pasta is made separately from home-made pasta, in separate utensils, pans, water etc, but know that because it is made separately the manager mentioned it will take longer to cook. (because it will take longer to boil new water)

1022 Madison Avenue at 79th St. 2nd Floor (212) 734-2676
Manager confirms that they do 
NOT carry gluten free pasta. I then asked if they would be getting it soon. The Manager said that they don't foresee carrying gluten-free anytime soon. This manager was short, to the point and didn't seem to have any interest in the subject matter.

I hope everyone enjoys this post and finds it helpful!

Friday, January 14th, 2011-Serafina Restaurant NYC-

Hooray for Serafina's!  This great Italian eatery which has many locations (UES, Midtown West, UWS, East Hampton and Brazil), known for their amazing pastas and great drinks now serves up Gluten-Free Pasta!!  Woo hoo!  I'm so excited because prior to being gf I would always eat there, but then when I was diagnosed I concluded that it would be Chicken Paillard going forward.

Last week I was there for a post holiday party with my co-workers and we went to Serafina.  I was about to order the Chicken when I suddenly noticed that the menu mentioned GF pasta.  I was so shocked and excited that I took a picture of the menu!  Under the pasta section of the menu in bold lettering it says "We Have Whole Wheat Pasta and Gluten-Free Pasta".  WOW.

In NYC alone, this eatery has three locations.  One is located on in the 50's on Broadway, another is located on the Upper East Side and the last on 49th Street near Barney's on the west side.  And it's latest baby? Opening in East Hampton Long Island.  Fantastic!

GF Pasta with Marinara Sauce and Ricotta Cheese/Basil

For those of you who have not tried Serafina's GF pasta, you are definitely missing out!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010-MARKT NYC Restaurant-I'll Never Go There Again!-

This is a restaurant that used to be on my favorites list.  It is now on the Do Not Go If You Are Celiac List.  This restaurant, that although wants to cater to their customers, does not cater easily to the gluten-free.  I find that their wait staff is extremely non-understanding of the disease or the intolerance.  It is a shame.  

The last time I was there was a few weeks ago.  Our waiter was horrid.  I left the restaurant appalled, with a vow of never to return.  It is belgium food.  And most of the foods there are fish, stews, chicken and mussels with various sauces.  I usually get White Wine Mussels and a salad when I go, because for the most part, the menu is not gluten free friendly, but I always know I'm safe with this meal.  Regardless of being safe, I always alert my waiter that I have a gluten-allergy.  I explain it very clearly, and I always ask the waiter to alert the chef, even if I always order the same thing.  I want my waiter to know the severity, and I need my waiter to understand cross-contamination.  Because at a restaurant is the most likely place that one would experience cross-contamination.

My waiter was rude.  So above and beyond rude that his speech to me on gluten free, led my mouth to remain open the whole time.  He mocked me.  He mocked my words.  He said "yada, yada, yada" to me, as I explained the allergy.  He was testy, and told me he knew of the allergy and started listing in slow motion (as if i were mentally challenged) the ingredients.  I briefly looked at my friends faces.  They were aghast too.  I looked back up at him, and nicely mentioned, that although he understood the GF allergy, it would make me feel better if he checked with the chef.  He said that he didn't need to because he knew of the allergy.  I said again, that i was not undermining his knowledge , but merely explained I could get very sick.  As I was asking more questions, he walked off, in mid conversation!  I turned to my friends and i said "Am I crazy? or what that waiter just the biggest As*hole"?  My friends both looked at each other and said, no.  He was really obnoxious.  I said I would not tolerate this type of behavior and I complained to the manager.

I am NEVER one to complain to a manager about anything, but I felt that I did not deserve being spoken to in that manner.  I have CD and i'm not ashamed, and If I am going to spend money for a good meal, I expect the wait staff at the restaurant to be understanding and do everything in their power to alert the staff and prepare correctly my meal.

My friends thought that maybe he was studying to be an actor and that might have been his way, but I do not accept that at all.  If you are a waiter or a waitress at a fine restaurant, it is your duty to serve your customers regardless of their allergy, and it would be nice if kindness went along with it!

If you are gluten-free do not bother with this restaurant.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010-QDOBA-Not Gluten-Free-
Everyone always thinks that Mexican food is gluten-free.  What a general statement.  Everyone knows that the flour tortillas are a no go, but we all tend to think that if it is corn based it must be gluten-free.  This is not the case.  Qdoba fast food Mexicana chain is not gluten-free.  In fact the only product you can have there is go figure there cheese sauce and their guacamole.  That's it!  No taco, no burrito, no corn tortilla...ZIP, ZILCH...NOTHING.

Qdoba is very clear about gluten on their website and in their ingredients list.  So to all of my Gluten-free peeps, steer clear of this chain!

Friday, November 19th, 2010-Friedman's Lunch Thanksgiving Catering-
November 18th's online web article from Daily Candy featured ...drum roll please...

Friedman's Lunch located in Chelsea, NYC.  If you happen to be in town on Thanksgiving and are in need of a scrumptious catered Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner pre-order at Friedman's Lunch!  Friedman's Lunch is located in the Chelsea Market on 75 9th Ave. at 16th St. 

For those serving tables of 8, 12 and 22, Vanessa Tayler Phillips and Tryg Siverson's holiday feast is guaranteed to hit the gluten-free spot!

Why: Peach-Glazed whole turkey with sage and rosemary, gravy, cranberry-and apple-flecked stuffing, pumpkin cheesecake and more.

When: Order by Monday; pick-up or delivery, Nov. 24th from 4pm-6pm.

Contact: Email: for menu, pricing and delivery options.  To order by phone: (212)-929-7100

Thursday, October 14th, 2010-PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA NYC STYLE-

Lately I have been craving pizza.  


It's all about Pizza, no need for a rhyme.  

I don't need to convince you 

it's pizza all the time!

Now a days there are many restaurants and pizza spots across nyc that serve gluten free pizza.  I haven't been to all of them, but the ones I have been to have been treating me pretty well the past 5 years.  I recommend all of the places I write about, and If you my reader has comments or suggestions pls feel free and write a comment. 

1.  MOZZARELLI'S-One of my favorites by the way!  Has the best sicilian sliced pizza ever!  I even once called the chef asking him to explain to me all the ingredients, because it was too good to be gluten-free.  This lucky lady has delivery, is located on 38 E. 23rd St. in NYC.  They even deliver.  And they have seriously rockin good cakes and cookies.  They carry several brands including their own.  You can even walk in and not just order a pie!  There are at least 3 different options of pizza if not more upon your walk into the restaurant.  It's heaven.  And heaven is not just the pizza.  Everything here is fantastic.  This is a great pizzaria to stop by at during your travels to NYC. Delivery available.  Restaurant closes at 6:30pm. Kid-Friendly.  Casual.  Walk-In.  No Reservations.

2. RISOTTERIA-Another gem for fine gluten-free pizza, located in the heart of the West Village.  This place is amazing, and not just gluten-free pizza.  This place is now celebrating it's 10 year as New York City's Pinoeer Gluten-Free restaurant.  They make gluten-free risotto, Gluten-Free Panini's, GF Pasta, GF cakes, cookies, pies and breads.   Their BREADS are to die for and you can even purchase the rolls, the breadsticks and their baking mixes.  Sometimes they have specials like all day gf pasta or all day gf pizza.  And for the adults at the table they offer a Gluten-Free beer selection.  I advise if you come to NYC to visit you make sure you stop by and try something amazing at Risotteria.  And for all of you out of towners or locals out there who love everything Risotteria-now you can shop ONLINE and they will ship their goods out to you mail order!! Risotteria also supports The GF Awareness Program.  Delivery available.  Kid-Friendly.  Casual.  No Reservations under 6 people.  Walk-In.  

3.  PALA-I am dying to try this one!  I have heard such rave reviews around town about this restaurant and the friends that informed we were not even gluten-free.  You know it's a gem when that's the case.  Pala is located in the Lower East Side on Allen St.  A great dig that serves up one fantastic MENU that can be prepared Gluten-Free and is dedicated to it's own fryer and cookery.  

4.  BISTANGO-A nice and cozy neighborhood Italian Eatery located in Murray Hill, NYC.  Perfect for a date and dinner with friends.  The waitstaff will always remember a returning face.  Almost the entire menu can be prepared gluten free, and so are all of their yummy desserts.  I eat here all the time.  It's a neighborhood fav.  Their pizza is more gourmet then pizza at Mozzarelli's.  But it's still yummy. (212) 725 8484  415 Third Avenue at 29th Street  **Their menu changes seasonally.

5. SLICE-This is not one of my favorite places, but I will eat there if there is nothing else around.  They have a few locations in nyc one on the Upper East side and one in the West Village on Hudson St.  Their pizza doesn't taste like pizza. It tastes "pizza-like".  But there are those who love it, so I say if you haven't tried it, it's worth a shot.  Everyone has a different palate.  Slice is located on 1413 Second Avenue between 73rd and 74th St.  (212)-249-4353 and 535 Hudson St. between Perry and Charles St.  (212) 929-2920

6. Keste Pizza and Vino-located in the West Village on Manhattan on 271 Bleeker St. (212) 243-1500

7. Pizza by Cer Te located in Midtown East on 132 E. 56th Street  (212) 813-2020

8. Cafe Viva Natural Pizza located in the East Village on 179 Second Ave (2120 420-8801

9. L'asso-located in Little Italy on 192 Mott St.  (212) 219-2352

10. ZPizza-located in the West Village on 289 Bleeker St.  (212) 206-7433

11. Pie-located in the Union Square, East Village and West Village neighborhoods. One location is on 124 4th Avenue  (212) 475-4977

12. Pie By The Pound-Located on the Upper East Side on 1542 Second Avenue (212) 517-5017

13. Sambuca-located on the Upper West Side on location is on 20 W. 72nd St.  (212) 787-5656

14. Luigi's-Located on the Upper East Side on 1701 First Avenue  (212) 410-1910

15. Pizza Bolla-located in Battery Park on 102 N. End Avenue  (212) 786-3300

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010-Health Smart Market Murray Hill NYC-GF Silver Platter

Another hidden gem!  A great find about a year ago, I was walking home from work and I came across Healthsmart.  Intrigued by any store that could possibly carry gluten-free items, I stumbled in.  Into heaven that is!  Health Smart is NYC's local organic store and gourmet deli.  In my brain hardly a deli.  I mean they have one, but when I think of this market I don't think deli.  I think amazing!  I think huge gluten-free section! Biggest ever! And I get excited to go there.  I know that when I go, I will find everything I need to suit my GF kitchen.  I know that If I ask them to carry a particular product (GF), they will order it for their store.

I honestly think they have a better selection then Whole Foods.  And what's so great, is that it is like your Corner Store.  It's not a huge supermarket.  It's easy to navigate, and all of the gluten free products are in one section of the store.  But when I say Corner Store, don't let the idea of small fool you.  Packed inside this market are aisles of gluten free galore.  There is even Vegan, Raw,dairy-free, lactose-free, casein-free, Macrobiotic and more.  If you have an allergy and need something "-free".  This is a great market to shop at.  It's number 1 on my list.  

An entire wall of Orgran!  This store has it all!  All of my favorite brands like Bob's Red Mill, Candy Tree, Glutino, Mi-Del, Brad's Raw, Choc Alive, Bio Nature, Enjoy Life, Schar, Kinnikinnick, Foods By George, Nana's, Blue Diamond, Mary's Gone,  and more!  It's fantastic.

Not to mention the plethora of options this market has!  GF Licorice, donuts, bagels, breads, cookies, crackers, pasta's (all shapes), bread crumbs, cake mixes to cookie to muffin mixes, pretzels, chips, breakfast bars, diet bars, fiber toasts, crisps, popcorn, oatmeal, granola, candy, chocolate, Biscotti, animal crackers, pancakes mixes, gravy mixes, grains, ice cream, and more!  They even have a great frozen section of breads, muffins, donuts, bagels and frozen dinners! And GF throat lozenges!  Now that is hard to find! And when you are sick with the flu, those will come in handy.  The brand is called Zand.

...and tomato sauces too!

In addition to gluten-free this organic market serves up organic groceries, Macrobiotic food, fresh organic produce, gourmet deli, Vitamins, kosher vitamins, natural cosmetics, fresh juice bar, organic health food and health books and related materials.

This market has a HUGE section of vitamins.  Many symptoms for Celiacs or those with a gluten-Intolerance will notice a drastic change in their vitamin levels.  As a patient of CD you loose nutrients and vitamins prior to your diagnosis.  Especially Vitamin D and Calcium.  HealthSmart carries many brands and higher dosages then those that you can get at your local drug store.  Taking higher dosage vitamin suplements (with the supervision of your doctor-Of course!) will increase your vitamin levels and prevent vitamin deficiency symptoms.  **Newly diagnosed? This is a great topic to speak to your doctor about.  Growth of vitamin D and Calcium levels will positively change your mood swings, depression states, it will give you higher energy levels, clear acne, prevent horrid PMS!.  There are many perks to these two vitamins.

 These aren't even all of the aisles.  

This is a market that likes to take chances.  Try new products.  Every time I go back, there is always something new on the horizon.  One time I bought vegan, dairy-free, raw and gluten-free truffles by Choc Alive. (6 pieces come in a box for roughly around $7.99).  There are a few flavors.  They are rich, decadent and downright good.  Yum!

Another time I discovered Orgran's Gluten-Free super grains Crispibread with Quinoa.  41 calories for 2 slices and only .03 grams of fat.  They are a great snack and they are good for you.  I also LOVE the Buckwheat Crispibreads.   I eat them as a snack or for breakfast.  The Fiber Toast version is also great, because there is a good amount of dietary fiber.

And on a different occasion I found Orgran's GF Chocolate Moose Mix.  I didn't love this one.  I felt there was a strange after taste.  However, I seemed to eat the whole bowl anyways.  (LOL).  So after eating it, I had decided that it would be a great filling for a cake or piped inside a cupcake.  This was really easy to make.  I added in some chocolate extract for extra flavor.   

For those of you new to the GF diet, this is a great place to get your groceries.  You can practice reading labels, seeing your options and navigating a store that carries GF in one section rather then the entire store.  It might make it easier to have everything at your fingertips the first few times.  On the other hand for those of you who have been leading the gluten-free lifestyle and you know your brands, then this store my friends, would be heaven.  Pure heaven.  GF on a silver platter.

Another delicious discovery were Brad's Raw Chips.  Organic.  Gluten-free.  Not fried.  The chips are made out of veggies!  Oh and they are Vegan.  I have tried the Indian chips.  They come a few different ways.

During my last trip to HealthSmart, I discovered that this market has a knack for bars.  Breakfast bars, Protein bars, gf bars, fruit bars, wafer bars, nut bars and more like LaraBar's, Think Thin Bars, Breakfast Bars, KIND bars and more.  Bars, bars, bars.  Now I'm not the biggest "bar" fan, but out of all the bars I have ever tried I find Think Thin bars to have the winning taste.  Upon checking out, I asked the manager if he had tried them and what the response was from customers.  He said he liked them, and so did his customers.  When I went to take a few, most of the boxes were empty!  So I bought three, and took a bite of each.  Not bad.  I personally do not find bars filling, but to those bar lovers out there? This is a good gluten-free choice.  With flavors like Lemon Cream Pie, Tangerine Creamsicle, Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Covered Strawberry who could go wrong?

They also carry amazing health smoothies, Flu Defense natural medicines, wheatgrass shots, foot repair and more homeopathic products.  What a market!

HealthSmart is located at 550 Third Avenue between 36th and 37th Street.  (212)-532-9300

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010-Murray Hill Food Emporium NYC-

Natures Valley Gluten Free crunch bars are now sold at the Third Ave and 32nd St. Food Emporium location.

This supermarket is starting to open it's horizons and share some gluten-free love.  They carry Glutino Cherrios cereal, Gluten Free Chex cereals (all versions), rice crackers and organic corn chips and muli-grain chips.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010-Bistango Italian Restaurant, Murray Hill, NYC-I C

annot tell you how many times I have eaten at Bistango and have never blogged about my experience.  Bistango is one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants and I think the amazing staff deserves a shout out!

Their manager and wait staff whether you dine in or dine out are extremely understanding of the gluten allergy.  Their entire menu can be catered gluten-free with the exception a two or three dishes (and their staff will tell you either way).  All pasta's can be made gluten-free as well as their Calamari dish and even their chocolate cake or apple tart!  Can we say yum?!

I have had the pleasure of trying almost everything on their menu that I would desire gluten-free.  I have eaten their pastas-Penne ala Vodka is my fav, but you have to ask for it, because it's not even on the menu! Their gluten free raviolis are fantastic.  I can never decide between the mushroom ricotta and their spinach ricotta and their cheese tortellini is so good, you forget they are all gluten-free!  Their GF pizza with prosciutto, (which tastes like a gourmet pizza, not a slice from a city joint) to their variety of salads and veggies are always unforgettable.  I love their Grilled Salmon sauteed in white wine with capers and lemon.  It's amazing.  I am also a continuous customer for their Pollo Aromatic-sauteed chicken with grilled peppers, artichokes, sun-dried tomato with white wine.  And don't forget to try their Ceasare salad!! Their MENU changes seasonally, so there is always a new palate to try at Bistango.

I LOVE how they serve gluten-free bread too.  I am a big fan of take-out from Bistango but on the occasion I eat there.  When you walk in, it is home like.  It has a wonderful neighborhood feel and everyone says hello.  Smiles fill the room as you sit down.  You are immediately offered bread.  For those who are gluten-free, they have amazing gluten-free bread.  It is served with olive oil.  

Whenever I call for take-out their staff recognizes my address and then they say Hi how are you! or Hello again.  It's so nice.

Although the restaurant does in fact serve gluten they are very careful of cross contamination and use separate cooking utensils and pots.  Their kitchen staff is well aware of gluten and what it can do to a customer to Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy.

Some of their desserts are made in-house and some are brought in by other gluten-free bakers like their chocolate tart which is superb.  Even their ice cream is free of thickening agents you would find in most ice cream and Gelato.

Don't forget to take a look at their reviews!  There is even a section on reviews from other gluten free rescources like Everybody Eats, GF Guidebook and The Celiac Cite

Bistango is located in the heart of Murray Hill NYC on 415 Third Avenue at 29th Street.  Be sure to stop on by and have a bite!  (212) 725-8484.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010-Stanton Social-A Lower East Side Eatery-

There is nothing more that I love then seeing a fabulous trendy restaurant with an excellent Chef cater to me, one of the members of the gluten-free community.  Stanton Social has been recognized for it's amazing tapas created and designed by Chef Chris Santos.  Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan this sexy bistro serves multi-ethnic shared dishes like Red Snapper Tacos, Lobster Salad Lettuce Sliders and Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi.  The best part is the gluten-free menu is amazing!  I have dined there at least three times since going gluten-free and I am satisfied everytime.

Upon my diagnosis I thought this bistro would be ruled out forever.  I figured with CD how could I eat here.  Then I heard a while back, Chef Chris Santos felt the need to add in a gluten-free menu.  Well bravo.  More restaurants should be doing this.

Now this doesn't mean that cross contamination is ruled out, but according to the wait-staff and Chef, they do their best to eliminate the gluten in the gluten-free.

I happen to have on hand their gluten-free menu and it is superb!  When it comes to dinner they have a printed out menu.  When it comes to Lunch, the waiter is there to guide you with their regular menu and what they can do gluten-free.  For brunch I had the Eggs Brushetta minus the bread (mouth watering)!, The Red Snapper Tacos and the Lobster Roll minus the bread.  The tapas dished are served with three on the plate, and if you are not sharing I'd advise you to order 3 dishes just for yourself.  Although this bistro promotes sharing, I find that if you share you should order at least 2 dishes of the same thing.  The dishes are small.  Choose from an array of desired dishes and indulge gourmet style.

                                                                                           GF Eggs Brushetta

                                                          GF Red Snapper Tacos

                                            GF Lobster Lettuce Sliders

This restaurant is trendy and has a great scene/ambiance.  I look forward to dining there as the experience is one of those amazing scenes you will want to be a part of.  Stanton Social has an amazing buzz.  Located on 99 Stanton Street between Ludlow and Orchard Streets, New York, NY 10002.  (212) 995-0099.

I am also loving that you can make a reservation for this sexy spot directly from their website, who is partnered with, the best place to get your restaurant ressie without the hassel of a phone call.

Sunday, September 19th, 2010-Christina's Market-Long Island, NY-

For those of my readers that are Jewish, I hope you all had an easy fast!  I was home this weekend for Yom Kippur and upon arrival it had occurred to me that I had forgotten to bring my frozen gluten-free bagels with me for Break-Fast.  I was annoyed.  I thought, where was I going to get GF Bagels in Muttontown, Long Island, and on Yom Kippur.  Arrgh.

My sister and I were out picking up bakery platters when I phoned my step-mom.  She's not so up on the gluten-free lifestyle, but I remembered her mentioning a market nearby that has a gluten-free section.  She reminded me that it was calledChristina's.  This is a gourmet market in East Norwich, Long Island.  It is a supermarket that has a bit of everything with that WholeFoods ambiance.  It's gourmet.

Chocolate Covered Coconut in divine Milk, Dark or Vanilla Chocolate

Upon walking in I thought for sure that the gf section would never be as big as Whole Foods or Westerly Market.  I was proven wrong.  I have never seen such an amazing section and selection!  I was in awe.  I whipped out my Blackberry and started snapping pics in the freezer section.  They had everything from gf burritos to gf pizza pies, an array of gluten-free bagels like Udi'sGlutino and Rudi's.  They had gf cakes, cupcakes, sweets and donuts, frozen gf dinners and muffins.  Tons of brands, and all the good ones.  I was so shocked.  My five minute run-in with my sister in the car ended up being a 20 minute "to do".  Poor Jen, sitting in the car waiting, fasting, not having a clue what i'm doing in the market.  I turn around to their cracker/cookie/pasta aisle and I am blown away.  Tons of pasta brands, shells, spagetti, rigatoni and more.  Crackers galore, gf ice cream cones, ice creams, cookies like Mary Gone Crackersand Glutino; chocolate chip, wafers and more.  This is seriously gluten-free heaven.

Ice cream cones, cake mixes, bread sticks, cookies all gluten free!

Pasta, bread crumbs, cookies and breakfast bars, all gluten free!

Brands like Mary Gone Crackers, Glutino, Josef's, Cherry Brook Farms, 
Udi's, Rudi's, Against The Grain and MORE!

And for the first time I am seeing in a supermarket gf Pound Cake!  

I was so excited to see 4 different types of Udi's bread, that I stocked up!  It is so hard to get Udi's breads in NYC.  Sometimes the stores have them, and sometimes it's sold out.  They are kept freshest in the freezer, so why not stock up...less trips to the market for me. 

The biggest bread selection I have ever seen at a Market!

I came home to tell my step-mom that Christina's was amazing.  She said I told you so.  When she originally told me I really didn't believe that the section could be so great.  For that reason I never went to check it out.  Now that I have I can surely say that I would go there over Whole Foods any day!  The section is more condensed.  It's 2 aisles filled from floor to ceiling gluten free products.  It's not spread out like Whole foods and other markets.  

Sunday, September 19th, 2010-Giants Stadium-

or those of you who don't know, guess who's stadium has a gluten-free stand??  This time it's Giants Stadium joining the list.  Woo hoo!! Right on.  Spread the word!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010-Mozzarelli's Pizza-NYC-A Taste Of Heaven-

In the past I have posted about Mozzarelli's, but I don't think my posts have given this amazing Italian Pizza joint enough applause.  This is one of the only two restaurants in NYC where you can go in and order a slice.  In most pizza spots around town you have to order a whole pie like at Slice or Bistango.

I am always stopping at Mozzarelli's for a slice.  It is located in the heart of Chelsea on 38 E. 28th Street near Park Avenue South.  (212) 475-6777

The pizza is cripsy and square shaped topped with oodles of veggies or pepperoni and anything other topping you might desire.  They can even do a white pizza gluten-free.  When ordering "to go" you can order a slice or design your own pie, or choose from one of their great "mobster" pies.  These are pies already made that represent the characters from the hit T.V. show The Soprano's; like Paulie's Pesto Pie- Pesto with sun dried tomato's, Mozzarella and Ricotta or Charmaine's Chicken Pie.  Every creation, every pie is worth the calories.  It tastes amazing.

So amazing that when I first tried their Pizza I called the restaurant back to speak with the chef to make sure it was indeed gluten-free.  It tasted too good, I got nervous.  He told me a tale on how he started making gluten-free pizza.  Someone in his family was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and so the chef began to make gf pizza's in hope that his niece who was at such a young age could enjoy what she used to love so much; pizza, pasta and cake.

Mozzarelli's also knows that their customer might want to indulge in gluten-free dessert.  They make their own baked goods like chocolate layer cake and NYC style gf cheesecake, chocolate biscotti and chocolate chip cookies.  And they sell by the piece as well.  They are made fresh.  Most recently Mozzarelli's took in under their wing another brand of baked goods called My Dad's Cookies.  I have tried a few samplings of these cookies and prefer Mozzarelli's home made brand.

Besides pizza and baked goods, pies and cakes, Mozzarelli's makes amazing gluten-free pasta!  From GF Fettucini alfredo to penne ala vodka.  It's so good, I guarantee you and your family will be licking your plates.

This pizza joint has both gluten-free and gluten pizza, pasta and baked goods.  It is kid-friendly, casual and not expensive.  They do delivery but close at 6:30 on week nights, so order in advance and on the earlier side.

Sunday, September 12th, 2010-Hampton Chutney-GF Dosa-NYC/LI-

know I have blogged briefly about Hampton Chutney's naturally gluten-free Dosa's...but it was brief.  And I had to write a more detailed post about this cafe.  I was first introduced to their naturally gf dosa's when my mom took me to their Amagansett, NY location.  This is on the far tip of Long Island; the place where celebs and trendsetters vacation for the summer.

I was there last summer, and that started my love affair for Hampton Chutney.  They have a large variety of dosas which are made from lentil flour and filled with eggwhites or chicken and goat cheese.  The possibilities are endless and the dosa's are huge.  There are 13 different dosa variations to choose from and 5 different chutney's.

A Dosa is a light, crispy, sour-dough crepe made from rice and lentils.  

My favorite is the Breakfast Dosa which has eggwhites, spinach, avocado, sundried tomatoes and your choice of either jack cheese or goat cheese.  It comes with your choice of Chutney and I like Mango.  I keep going back for breakfast and it is a ritual when I am out in the Hamptons.  Lucky for me they have two locations in NYC.  One on the Upper West Side and the other in Soho, NYC.

Each crepe though different in it's fillings are all hits at the various 3 locations in NYC and the Hampton's.  Some of the dosa options are the classic masala dosa with spiced indian potato filling or grilled portobello mushrooms, spinach and balsamic roasted onions with goat cheese, seasonal grilled corn, roasted peppers, roasted onions, arugula and jack cheese or curry chutney chicken, spinach and balsamic roasted onions.  Those are just a few to mention as there are so many other great dosa's on this list.

Be careful!  The only location with a bathroom is the Upper West Side location.  It's their nicest one.  The location in Soho, NYC is right around the corner from the 6 subway train.  Yee Haw!

Lately the press and buzz about Hampton Chutney is that they are now promoting the fact that they are gluten-free.  It's been in the paper and it's on their website.

For all you non-dosa lovers out there, Hampton Chutney also serves sandwiches, rice, yogurt and brownies-all of which are NOT gluten free.

I highly recommend this hidden gem for breakfast or brunch any day or every day!  This is one of my FAVORITE places to eat gluten-free.  I take everyone I know here, and most of my friends eat gluten.  They are blown away by the dosa's.  You will be blown away too.  You will crave it.  They are so good!

Upper West Side Location-468 Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets.  (212) 362-5050.  This location is open late and also delivers till 10pm.
Soho Location-68 Prince Street between Broadway and Lafayette Streets.  (212) 226-9996.  This location is open late and also delivers till 5pm.

Amagansett-Flagship location does not delivery.  Located in the Amagansett Square on Main Street.  

All locations are open 7 days a week.

Sunday, September 12th, 2010-GF Fruit Smoothies and Juices-38th St. and Seventh Avenue, NYC-One of my favorite places to stop by during my lunch break is Health King.  It's a hidden gem on Seventh Avenue and 38th Street, NYC.  I have worked in this neighborhood for the last ten years and have never walked into this fantastic juicer until this year.  

The juice joint is small and there is no place to sit.  You order your fruit juice, vegetable juice, smoothie, frozen yogurt or parfait and you scurry out.  The fruit and veggies are fresh as can be and they make your selections right in front of your very eyes.

Over the Summer I had read in a magazine that Watermelon juice is a healthy option to an ice pop.  Just add ice.  That is called a Fruit  Icy.  Watermelon juice over crushed iced.  It's the best treat I have had all summer.  I also recently tried Cantaloupe juice over ice and also delicious.  It is a blander juice then the watermelon but it is so refreshing.

You can make your own juice medley or choose from Health King's variety of lists.  

This gem is up on health, vitamins and what fruits or veggies will work to fix your ailments.

Not just juices, but soft serve frozen yogurt, GF Lara Bars (all flavors), GF Kind Granola bars (all flavors), GF Sesame bars and GF organic chips.  (always check the ingredients)

Sunday, September 12th, 2010-Nature Valley GF at Food Emporium 31st and 3rd Ave, NYC-Today I took a trip to Food Emporium on 31st St. and 3rd Avenue to do my weekly grocery shopping.  I usually go down all the aisles to check if anything gluten-free has hit my grocer's shelves and today I almost toppled into my shopping cart when I saw Natures's Valley Roasted Granola Bars GLUTEN-FREE in my cereal isle.  

They come in two flavors Peanut Butter Crunch and Almond Crunch.  I bought the Peanut Butter Crunch and I was surprised by the wonderfully sweet and salty taste.  They were extra crispy and crunchy and delightful against my palate.  This bar is a great snack.  Not only were there nuts but the bar was binded with sunflower seeds and sugary coating so it didn't crumble in my hands.  

These bars are also made from corn flour.

The only catch is that these bars are high in fat! 13 grams of fat, 190 calories and 180 grams of sodium.

Sunday, September 12th, 2010-D'Agostino's GF Section on 38th St. and 3rd Avenue, NYC-Loving that D'Agostino's on 38th Street and 3rd Ave has a small gluten-free section! That's good news.  Well, not all D'Agostino locations has a gluten-free section.  The section was not huge but it was big enough to hold a variety of gluten-free products like bars,  pastas, cookies, wafers, breadcrumbs and more.  D'Agostino's is now carrying Schar, Lara Bars and Glutino.

The items I grabbed were Schar Bread Crumbs, Schar Chocolate Wafters, Schar Shortbread with Chocolate and Glutino Pretzels.

So if you are in the Murray Hill NYC neighborhood don't forget to stop by their 38th and 3rd avenue location.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010-Guy and Gallard Cafe-GF Service-Are you looking to cater a work event or a party gluten-free? Guess what! Guy and Gallard take special request orders for those who sport a Gluten-Free lifestyle. Orders have to be placed in advance. Guy and Gallard have done many GF functions and they now pride themselves on being able to acommodate those in need.

Guy and Gallard is a cafe chain around NYC with many locations. Just google it or click HERE

Friday, August 27th, 2010-TAO NYC Hotstpot Serves up GF-Well, well.  I just can't believe it.  In a good way of course!  I was dining at Tao the other night in NYC for a friends birthday party and I knew I would not be able to eat anything.  It's Asian Fusion.  I knew ahead that I would have to eat sushi and only sushi.  (sad face) but I am a trooper and it was for a good friends birthday.  I had even forgotten my gf soy sauce.  Bummer.

As the waiter approaches I am already prepared to explain my allergy.  He stops me in my tracks and says "don't worry, I am very familiar with the allergy (so not an allergy, but i'll let that slide), and he hands me a gluten-free menu.  I was like "shut up! You have a GF Menu? This is new! Can I keep it? I'll blog about it" Which is exaclty what I am doing.  This was exciting!  So exciting I would have screamed it from the roof top, had I been able to get to the roof!

Tao is the last place I would figure to have a gluten free menu.  The last time I was there in 2007, the waitstaff didn't even understand or comprehend what I was talking about. 

Tao was a hotspot quite a bit ago and has remained a strong restaurant close to the theater district.  It draws in a work crowd with their fancy drinks and buddha interior.  It's a huge space and great for drinks, a dinner or a party.  It still remains to this day hard to get a table, and in New York City that is a plus.  That means it's still booming with a buzz of a hipster crowd.

Tao's gluten-free menu was small, but fantastic.  Even from their regular menu they can make you any of the tar tare's without the sauce.  I had the sashimi yellowtail with jalepeno's hold the sauce.  It was really good and fresh!  Then for my entree I chose from the GF menu.  I enjoyed the Filet Mignon Pepper Steak with Bell Peppers, Onions and Asparagus.  It was delicious!  So good I must say that I am letting you know.

Other entree's that appeared on their GF menu were Singapore Mei Fun (Thin Rice Noodles with Shrimp, Chicken, Snow Peas, Carrots and Shiitake Mushrooms in a Light Yellow Curry Sauce), Grilled Red Snapper (Red Snapper with Steamed Bok Choy and Giner, with a Lime Vinigrette), General Tso's Chicken (Stir-Fried Chicken, Broccoli and Water Chestnuts in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce), Buddha's Vegetarian Pad Thai (Pad Thai Noodles with an Assortment of Vegetables in a Coconut-Chili Sauce), and last but not least Vegetarian Brown Rice (Stir Fried Brown Rice with Fresh Vegetables with Stir Fry Chicken or Grilled Shrimp).

All Gluten-Free and two other dishes that are Gluten-Free and Vegetarian.

Three cheers for TAO!

TAO is located on 42 E. 58th Street between Park and Madison Avenue.  Phone: 212-888-2288 open Monday-Sunday with a Price Fix during the weekdays M-F for just $25.00

And Tao also has a Las Vegas location along with a Gluten-free menu there as well.  So if you are out and about in Vegas gambling and you need a gluten-free bite, don't forget about the fabulous and GF Tao.

Enjoy! and spread the goodie good news!

Sunday, August 1st, 2010-Chelsea Clinton=GF Wedding Cake?  Hello my fellow readers!  I hope you had a blissful weekend!  It's beautiful out, it's summertime...who could ask for anything more?  How about some juicy gossip to go with that Sunday Post of yours?  For those of you who haven't heard Chelsea Clinton's wedding cake was gluten-free!  The Sunday Post outlined a description of the Clinton wedding along with a great selection of pictures, courtesy of the Clinton family only after the wedding had taken place.

Chelsea has been a vegan since her mid-teens and is known to have a gluten-allergy.  Her amazing wedding cake was vegan and gluten-free made and designed by La Tulipe Desserts
It's wonderful to know that your special day can be filled with gluten-free goodness.  Have your Gluten-Free cake and eat it too!  Now you can, and it doesn't have to be bland and your guests will not even notice the lack of wheat!  There are tons of bakers and chefs out there willing and ready to cook and bake gluten-free for just for you!

Other bakers that will create spectacular GF wedding cakes for your special day are:

Lulu's Bakery located in Scarsdale, NY

Macaron Cafe Wedding located in NYC

Baby Cakes located in NYC and L.A.

Pink Cake Box Bakery located in N.J. but serves many states with their gorgeous cakes!

She Takes The Cake located in Central NY and serves the Syracuse, Hamilton and surrounding Central NY areas.

Wild Earth Cafe and Bakery located in Canada (Toronto)

Black Hound Bakery located in NY

July 19th, 2010-Retraction! Pastis French Fries NOT GF-A while ago I did a post on Gluten-Free Friendly restaurants and I mentioned PASTIS.  A New York City French Brasserie in the heart of the Meatpacking District.  This popular venue is noticed for its celeb sitings, their amazing bar steak and their french fries...not to mention good wine. 

This Brasserie has been a favorite of mine since before being diagnosed gluten-free.  Upon frequenting there many times after my diagnosis their waitstaff was very gf savvy.  Last time I was there I was told that their french fries were now gluten-free because they used a seperate fryer for the fries.  I was so happy.  Finally a place I can have me some fries!

Quite the contrary!  Sadly, whomever told me that was mistaken.  Yes, their fries do use a seperate fryer, HOWEVER, they are dipped in the same oils that their fried/breaded calamari is dipped in.  SAY WHAT?! You heard me!! For all you french fry lovers out there steer clear of Pastis!!

I was so sad when the manager told me this yesterday.  I explained what the waiter told me last time, and she was appologetic. 

So even thought their fries are not made with gluten ingredients, there is a severe amount of cross-contamination.

My apologies for anyone that tried the fries at Pastis because of my review.

July 6th, 2010-The Chowder House-Montauk Long island
Gotta love a real deal fish house on the water.  There is nothing like going to the beach for the weekend and eating fresh lobster, clam chowder, fresh sushi and mussels without having to worry about gluten.  Granted this lovely and very popular spot located on the edge of Long Island's Hampton scene in Montauk does serve gluten, they are however VERY gluten-free friendly!!

It's a neighborhood restaurant located on a marina in Montauk that even does shark fishing shows right on the dock where the restaurant sits atop.  It's beautiful.  There is also a outdoor bar scene, and it's super casual and kid friendly.  Just grab your sundress or a pair of shorts and flip flops and head over there after your surf in the salty ocean.  Any more decked out and you will look like an outsider rather then a regular.

Make sure you tell your server you have a gluten allergy and cannot have flour, bread, bread crumbs, rye or barley upon arrival.

Their White clam chowder does have flour, but their red does not.
There are no bread crumbs in their mussels or sauce
Their lobster and fries are completely gluten free and avoid all cross-contamination, because their fries are fried seperately.  : ) !!
Their sushi is gluten-free (well the kind without the crunchy)
and more!
They can grill any kind of fish for you gluten-free.

I highly recommend this restaurant for casual and fantastic seafood located on 352 West Lake Drive, Montauk NY 11954.  (631) 668-6252
June 13th, 2010-GF Water Cooler-Sad News About Starbucks

Oh my, oh my!  I just read an article in Gluten-Free Living magazine that Starbucks has confirmed that there is a lot of cross-contamination in the process of their coffee and specialty drinks.  This saddens me, as getting coffee is at Starbucks is part of my daily ritual.

Only about 1 1/2 years ago did I discover that Starbucks flavored syrups were NOT gluten-free.  I had to say goodbye to the vanilla syrup, gingerbread syrup, egg nog syrup, pumpkin spice syrup and all those other fancy syrups.  These syrups have Caramel Coloring coloring in them, and caramel coloring has gluten.  The FDA says it is considered gluten-free because caramel coloring has under 20ppm, but that 20ppm is still gluten.  Therefore you have to gauge your sensitivity.  

It took me so long to figure out why my hair was thinning and falling out.  About 1 month after I stopped all the Starbucks syrups and stuck with a plain latte, my hair slowly but surely began to restore itself.  Thank God!  I had gotten worried.  

Now I get my Gluten-Free Living magazine in the mail and I read an article on Cross Contamination at Starbucks and then find out further that Starbucks now adds gluten to their Frappuccino Light! (But the regular Frappuccino mixes do not have gluten).

But the company is saying that all drinks are to be considered having gluten because of the contamination process.

Questions or concerns? 1-800-23-LATTE

Friday, June 11th 2010-Nicks-Garment Center's Best Kept Secret

I work in the garment district of NYC, and what I find so hard is lunch time.  What is gluten-free in the plethora of "take-out" restaurants so to speak that have sandwiches on the go, soup on the go and salad on the go...of course you cannot go wrong with those tossed salads if you steer clear of croutons and dressings but I honestly don't want to eat lettuce every day.  It gets boring after a while. 

I found out about this amazing small eatery right on 39th street (inside the Donna Karen buliding) that has fantastic veggie burgers that are gluten-free.  They are bound together with brown rice, and there are no gluten fillers.  Wonderful news!

I usually get two veggie burgers atop a garden salad which is called the Veggie Burger Platter minus the bread and call it a day.  So much more filling then a salad and oddly cheaper!!

I suggest you call ahead about 1/2 hour to place your order, as this hidden gem gets super busy!!

Nicks is located exactly at 550 Seventh Avenue at 39th Street.  Be careful, you could miss it!  It's behind the industrial door with a very small sign.

If you do get the chance to swing by, you will see it is so worth it!

Friday, June 11th, 2010-Hale and Hearty-Soups Go Gluten-Free

Since I am on the topic of lunch time I will let you all know that Hale & Hearty  now also carries gluten-free soups!  Their soups behind the counter each have their own card that will identify the soups ingredients and if it is dairy free and/or gluten-free.  It will provide all ingredients to each of their soups.

When approaching the counter on a particular soup as if the soup is gluten-free.  If their waitstaff looks at you funny which sometimes happens (not everyone will understand your allergy), politely ask if you can see the back of that soups card to verify if it is gluten-free.  If it doesn't say in caps gluten-free do not eat it.  But if it does, it's a winner.

You also have to understand that although these places do serve gluten-free soups, know that cross-contamination is going to occur.  Hale & Hearty confirms that they do not make their soups in seperate utensils and that contamination could occur.

Now always know that anything with barely is NOT gluten-free, so always steer clear of that one.

Hale & Hearty also carries rice krispie treats that say on their ingredients label "may contain wheat".  Do not eat this!  Rice Krispies are NOT gluten-free, even though there is Rice in it.  So that "may contain wheat" label should really say "contains wheat" "contains gluten".  Just in case you were unsure, I am now clarifying it for you.  Steer clear.

Wednesday, June 9th 2010-Carmines Restaurant-NYC

Well, well, well, look what we have here...Top restaurants finally joining the Gluten-Free circle by providing GF dishes upon request as well as GF Pasta.  This is a long time favorite of my family.  This fantastic Italian eatery that focuses on homemade dishes served family style.  Carmines is the epitomy of authentic Southern Italian cooking and every meal is unmistakenly delicious.  Known for their fresh sauces and fresh ingredients and known for their pasta.

A few years back, we had a family dinner at Carmines and the waitress informed me that everything including their grilled chicken will have some form of flour in it due to coating the chicken or plain ole cross-contamination (which is truely a killer)!.  I didn't eat there that night.  I drank wine.  It was the only item on the menu I was sure did not contain flour or gluten of some sort.  This news of course is a Celiac's worst nightmare and heartbreak all at the same time.  That was a sad day.

Another one bites the dust I thought.  I wondered then why restaurants didn't take a look at Celiac Disease with a magnifying glass.  I just choked it up to yet another restaurant I could not dine at.  This is and was not a way to live, but what could I do...

Last year for Chanukah, I decided to buy my mom the Carmines cookbook and individually read through it and convert if for her by adding sticky notes where the ingredients needed to be changed.  I read this entire cookbook-well over 200 colorful pages of fantastic photographs and detailed recipes.  First I must say, that reading this menu made me salivate.  I was dreaming Carmines.  What I did notice was that everything they make is purely with fresh ingredients all the way down to their chicken and beef stock which is by the way naturally gluten-free!  There were quite a few dishes from this book that were completely gluten-free like the Chicken Scarpilleo, Salmon Pomodoro, Seafood Pasta (request GF Pasta-they even have all different shaped GF pasta) (Carmines you have come a LONG way baby)!!, Seafood Pasta over Spinach, veggies and more.  I noticed that many of their dishes were naturally gluten-free (of course there were MANY dishes that were loaded with flour, but at least there were some for us with CD).  I handed this to her, late of course, because that cook book is filled with so much detail, it took a bit more time to complete.  But when I did, I was happy.  Had I not read this cookbook top to bottom I never would have learned that EVERYTHING they make is only made with the upmost freshest ingredients possible.  That is a huge plus for this wonderful eatery.  The owners take pride in their kitchen staff and what they make and present to their customer base.  Even some of their desserts were gluten-free!

My mom was there recently and was happy to find out that not only do they now carry GF pasta's (3 to be exact), but their waitstaff is very GF Savvy!  Their waitstaff understands that CD is a major disease and that many people suffer from a Gluten-Intolerance and/or CD.  Great news.  Carmines watches out for cross-contamination and can even make GF dishes upon request.  All I can say is You have come a LONG way since that time I was there a few years back and was told that everything had flour. 

So we can now add Carmines to the list of great NY restaurants that are VERY GF Friendly.

For those of you who don't know, Carmines famous Italian eaterly has two locations.  It's first location in on the Upper West Side of NYC on 2450 Broadway (212) 362-2200 and has been established since the early 90's.  Soon after, opened the second location in the heart of NYC's theater district on 200 W. 44th St.  (212) 221-3800.

And don't forget to pick up a copy of Carmines Family Style Cookbook at Barnes and Noble, Borders or at (Both and Barnes and Noble are selling this book at $18.95-and worth every scrumptious penny)!.

Luckily for me, CD is the word on the streets and now I can visit this lovely restaurant again with my family.

May 6th, 2010-GF Water Cooler-Soho Gardens Deli NYC

Hi all!  I found yet another gluten-free discovery a few weeks back, while working the Young Designers Market in Nolita, NYC.  I had little inclination to prepare lunch for myself, since I was working from 9am-7pm.  What was I to do when I got hungry?  Working a craft show in an area you are not familiar with tends to have its downfalls for gluten-free people like myself.  My friend sent me to the deli for sandwiches, which is clearly something I cannot have.  I can't have the bread, and then I have to worry if the deli slicer is contaminated. So that eliminates that choice.  Arrgh!  I do admit my Celiac sometimes gets in my way.  So I wandered into the deli/market called Soho Gardens in Soho, NYC.  This market appears to be a small and it from the outside looks like a run down deli.  But it's actually the opposite!  Upon walking in, I saw over 5 aisles of food, fresh and packaged.  This place was loaded with yummy treats, fruits, groceries and more!  So i went through the isles, never thinking I would find gluten-free products in a commercial deli, yet I was wrong again.  To my surprise they had an array of gluten-free products including crackers, chips, candy, yogurt and more!  I was even more shocked to see Mary's Gone Gone Crackers, Rice Crackers, Asian GF crackers, GF cereals and more.  Dream come true I swear!

This is a great place for travelers passing by, shoppers or even a great place to do your grocery shopping!

So if you are ever in the Nolita/Soho, NYC area, stop on by to Soho Gardens located on the corner of Mulberry and Prince Street. (212) 941-5973

April 24th, 2010-GF Water Cooler-Morimoto NYC Restaurant

Another great restaurant joins the bandwagon and now caters to those who are Gluten-Free.!! Yeah!  This restaurant is a fancy Japanese eatery-move over Nobu!  The ambiance is fantastic and has great seafood and sushi.  Don't worry about bringing your own wheat-free soy sauce, they already have it!  Just tell the hostess when you make a reservation that you are gluten-free.  The wait staff is super gluten-free friendly and will be able to guide you through their menu.

Check it out online!  Morimoto NYC

Morimoto is located in New York City on 10th Avenue between 15th and 16th Street (10011)
(212) 989-9983

April 23rd, 2010 GF Water cooler-BlueFin Restaurant

Hello ladies and gents! Good news from sunny New York City. It's a beautiful day outside, and I come bearing great gluten-free news! As you all should know in case you don't, BRGuest restaurants do a fantastic job with gluten-free friendly foods. BRGuest restaurants include Dos Caminos, Atlantic Grill, Ruby Foo's and now BlueFin (and more).

BlueFin has a great ambiance, and luckily for us the chef is super gluten-free friendly! He can create almost anything on his menu's gluten-free. He can even switch the sauces and create them to be gluten-free. Or, if you are a gluten-free eater and a picky eater he can take the gluten-free sauce from one dish and make it with a different dish!! Fantastic right? And, drumroll please, wheat-free soy sauce is the icing on the cake! At this restaurant the entire waitstaff is super gluten-free friendly. All you have to do is say the word, and they alert the chef immediately, and on top of that can offer you on the spot an array of dishes that can be catered to your gluten-free diet! I know, you are cavelling! Just like I was.

Now. Some might worry that it's a stroke of luck that Bluefin can cater gluten-free with a small dinner party or a party of 2. But even if you have a large party event there, they will be sure to cater to you!

I was just at BlueFin last night for a date and I had no worries what-so-ever with their menu. In fact it's such a huge menu of wonderful seafood and sushi, that I was able to choose from so much. So for those of you who are still afraid to date and be gluten-free, FEAR NOT! I also went to a bridal shower there, and with a large party of over 100-they were still able to cater to me and were very up and up with Celiac disease. Bravo!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010-GF Mets Stadium

Just heard some wonderful news!  For all you baseball fans and especially Mets fans, you are in for a treat!  A gluten-free treat that is!  Word has it, that the Mets Stadium has a gluten-free concession stand and gluten-free beer!  Yeah baby!  So now, when trotting off to a baseball game and rooting for your team, you don't have to feel left out!  You too, yes you! my gluten-free reader can enjoy in not only the festivities, but the goodies as well!

Where did I hear this news?  Gotta love FACEBOOK!  I guess it's good to have about 500 friends who constantly see my updates about my gluten-free life!  My friend Ann, an old co-worker sent me an email today with this fantastic news!  I did some research and yes it is confirmed!

I'd say this is beyond good news and definitely blog worthy!  So thanks Ann!  You rock for spreading the gluten-free goddness across the world!

March 29th, 2010-Balaboosta Restaurant-NYC

While scoping out New York Magazine today I came across an article on the up and coming mediterranean restaurant that goes by the name of Balaboosta.  Balaboosta is now serving gluten-free pasta!  Balaboosta is located in the heart of Nolita on 214 Mulberry street.  (212)-966-7366.

March 21st, 2010-Friedmans Lunch-Chelsea Market

Today in NYC the weather was yummy!  The air was warm and crisp and I didn't even need a jacket.  What a lovely day for brunch.  Luckily my brother and I already had plans.  He, who is not gluten-free suggests we go to  Friedmans Lunch located in the heart of the Chelsea Market on 9th Ave. between 15th and 16th Street.  I was really glad he chose this place because I have read in so many other gluten-free blogs that they have a great gluten-free menu.  Perfect choice brother!

What's strange I think, is that I have never been to Chelsea Market in all of the ten years I have lived in NYC.  Shame on me!  The market looks less like a market and more of a long path of indoor bakeries, food spots, wine spots, Flower markets and grocery markets.  It's actually really cool!  The inside is rustic and wooden and I almost felt like I was in a ride at Epcot Center in Disney World.  When I walked in, I was overwhelmed.  There were so many people and a long maze/path of unknown road.  I asked the security guard where the restaurant was and he said all the way down to your right. I did not think I would be walking for a long time. Little did I know I'd be walking a path to the 'rabbit hole' in a complete confused daze.  That place is huge!  Not easy to find if you are a newbie.  Which I was.

It was casual when I walked in, almost like I didn't expect to see it here in NYC, maybe somewhere south.  Friedmans had a relaxed and homey atmosphere.  The wait staff was super friendly and inviting, and the food was fantastic. The menu isn't huge I have to admit, but there are great gluten free choices on the menu.  Everything on the menu with a asterisk/dot is gluten-free.  This is the first restaurant I have seen or been to besides Rissoteria that has gluten-free sandwiches.  I had the Blackened CatFish Sandwich with Collared Greens/Pickles and mixed greens.  Yum!  My brother had (also gluten-free) the Corn Grits with 2 eggs over easy and grilled shrimp, along with GF Sausage.  Double yum!  

GF Blackened Catfish Sandwich with Collared Greens and Pickles

Open faced Catfish Sandwich

GF Corn Grits with 2 Eggs over Easy and Grilled Shrimp

GF Sausage

Would I come back here? Absolutely!  I have already told my entire family about Friedmans Lunch, and I am considering taking my book club here.  It's a perfect spot.

Check out the Delivery Menu, the Brunch Menu and the Dinner Menu  They even do specials like GF French Toast!  It's amazing there!  I highly recommend this place for fantastic food!

March 20th, 2010-Village Pourhouse UWS and E. Village NYC

Out of all of my friends, I am the only one who is gluten-free.  My friends have cousins and other relatives who are Celiac, but not my group of girl-friends.  With that said, I am always talking gluten-free to the girls about my lifestyle and my gluten-free finds.   I'm sure they find me very annoying because Celiac Disease is something they cannot relate to, but on the flip side they are learning something from me.  So my friend Meredith bbm's me yesterday to tell me that her hubby was at a bar in NYC watching college football, and that bar had 3 types of gluten-free beer!

I was super psyched!  I quickly bbm'd her back and asked her to ask her husband what types they were and what bar it was.  I told her I would blog about it in my GF BUZZ section.  Lately I am starting to realize that my friends get just as excited as I do, when we find, Gluten-free FINDS!

                                                                           **pic is from

The Village Pourhouse located in New York City has two locations, one on 982 Amsterdam Avenue. between 102nd and 103rd street, and the other on the downtown side of Manhattan  64 3rd Avenue at 11th Street.  (212) 979-2337.  Known for being a Beer Bar, as well as being a favorite sports bar around town, the Village Pourhouse likes to serve Organic beers and gluten-free beers, so they can be attracted to a wide variety of people.  This way no one gets left out. 

Their website is pretty cool, with a variety of events such as Beer Tastings and Beer Classes and Flight Programs to a very tasty menu if you need some chow (not gluten-free, but easily convertible).  And they have great Specials!  And you know they are a good bar from all of the awards they receive like: Time Out NY 2007 Eat Out Awards-Best New Beer Bar or Crain's 2008 Best Places to Work Award, or 2008's Best of Citysearch College Bar and 2008 Best Of Citysearch College Bar, last but not least Best Beer Bar From Blackbook.  That's pretty rad to have all those "bestee's" under their belt.

And last but not least their Gluten-Free beer selection.  For anyone that loves beer and is Gluten-Free this is fantastic news.  I don't know many bars that have a gluten-free beer selection and in a pub in NYC for that matter!  Yee Haw!
The following are located at both of their NYC locations.  They may have more, but these are the ones that were reported to me through the amazing technology of the Blackberry.  What would I do without my Berry!?

Green's-Amber Ale and other varieties from Greens
PEAK Organic Brewing Company.  Peak I have never heard of, but I hear it's amazing and its a brewing company in Maine. 

Stop on by for a nice cold glass of beer...OF GLUTEN FREE BEER.

 March 15th, 2010-Gristedes 34th Street, NYC
So I finally found Betty Crocker's gluten-free frosting in my regular supermarket!  It happened today, I went to check out what my neighboring markets had for a gluten free passover gal, and I wandered into the baking section of Gristedes on 34th Street and 3rd Ave.  I not only saw the frostings but Gristedes also had the Betty Crocker Mixes!  This is the first time I am seeing this in NYC, not to mention Murray Hill.  I am so glad to see this is becoming a widespread!  Yeah!!

I mentioned Betty Crocker mixes in a previous post about Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Baking Mixes.

Check out these wonderful recipes submitted to Betty Crocker.

There are two types of Betty Crocker frosting that are gluten-free; Whipped and Rich and Creamy.

March 8th, 2010-Tu Lu's Bakery (otherwise known as Tully's Bakery), NYC
Here is what my dessert looked like from last night.  A vegan gluten free brownie from Tu Lu's Gluten Free Bakery.  Yum!  We celebrated with chocolaty goodness.


March 7th, 2010
Just headed down to Tu-Lu's Gluten Free bakery (formally known as Tully's Bakery) today, and I have to say that it was super packed!  I have never been there when it's been like that, line out the door and all.  People were sitting at the breakfast bar chatting with their friends.  There was so much positive energy it was delightful.  I on the other hand was picking up 12 of their amazing Vegan Gluten Free Brownies for a party I am having this evening.

Loving that Tully herself remembers me each time I come in.  Her bakery creates such a warm family like feeling-the kind of bakeries you see in a small town.  It's quite nice.  

While I was waiting in line I was anticipating what daily specials there would be today.  Sadly, I didn't feel like taking a picture-it was too busy.  But when It was my turn I saw a Cheddar Jalapeno GF Corn Muffin, and a Ginger cookie and a few cookie bars that I hadn't seen before.  All gluten free!  I recommended my favorites to the on coming customers, and everyone was soooo friendly!

It excites me to know there is a bakery that I can call home.  Where anyone gluten free can rest assure that their is a place for them to indulge.

And this weekend is a beautiful weekend to frequent that neighborhood.  There are tons of small clothing shops, consignment shops and great restaurants.  So if you are in the neighborhood, make a pit stop.  

Tu Lu's Gluten Free Bakery
338 E. 11th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2227
xoxo Julie

Feb. 26th, 2010-Starbucks-NYC and nationwide

The 1 month I decide to fall of the coffee planet...I happened to be in Starbucks today after a very long halt.  I'm trying to save money and Starbucks tends to be pricey on their coffee.  But I do love my decaf latte's!!  So I had gotten a gift card for Valentines day from Starbucks and as you could imagine I have been there twice in a row.  While on line to pay, I noticed 4 gluten free cookie options.  I was so flaberggasted!  For one, I am usually so in the know with these things!  I thought to myself when did this birdie land?  I whipped out my blackberry and started taking pictures of two of the products, made by Dr. Lucy.  They are packaged cookies that come in four flavors: Cinnamon Thin, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal and Sugar Cookie.  

(**Person's diagnosed with CD or a GI that cannot digest GF Oats should not consume the Oatmeal Cookie by Dr. Lucy)

I'm quite sure that the people in line were starring at me strangely, probably wondering in this winter wonderland snow storm why some dripping wet girl was taking pictures of cookie packages with her blackberry.

I was so happy about this venture that Starbucks finally got back in the groove with the "GF" after their short and sweet stint with the Orange Valencia Cake.

 The packages are just the right size.  They each hold a few cookies inside.  Now I did not taste these babies, but I have to assume if Starbucks is willing to take a chance on these cookies all over the  U.S. then they must be good.  These cookies are also peanut free, egg free, Vegan and tree nut free.  From what I hear around the GF Water cooler, is that these GF newbies are being carried in all New York City, LI, NY, AK, CO, NE, OR, WA, CA and Canada locations.  Some more great news is that Starbucks is trying to make these cookies and snacks available at every Starbucks nationwide.  Little by little these cookies are trickling in to your nearest Starbucks!! Woo hoo!

After some research on Dr. Lucy and her cookie products I found out that there are also dried fruits options, blueberry Granola options and BBQ Almond options all from Dr. Lucy.  Great! Finally!  Now I too can enjoy something other then just my latte.  I know Starbucks was selling those KIND bars, but I have to say for 17 grams of fat I would rather have something a bit tastier then a fruit/nut bar.  But hey, that's just me.

See how cute the packaging is?  And they were presented in a big woven wicker basket, right in front for the world to see.  Now.  That's more like it.

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You can find Dr. Lucy's cookies in over 7,000 retailers across the U.S. and Canada.  Click HERE for a Location list