I spent last week in New York City. The bright lights of the fastest and most energetic city in the world misled me once again.
There I was, in the middle of Times Square, fighting tourists, commuters and disgruntled students, going up and down the stairs of many subway lines. What were the chances that with all these exercise I could gain an ounce? The answer was simple – high.
Though I lived in this city of dreams (and nightmares) for almost 5 years, this was my first trip going back bearing the gluten-free stamp. To be honest, I had no expectations. In Miami, gluten is confused for potatoes, and you are never too sure whether or not you are eating the right thing.
In New York, the waiters have been trained by gods. They guide you immediately through their menu, recommend suggestions to their chef, and accommodate all kinds of other crazies, such as garlic, and onion intolerances…and, why not, skim cappuccinos. Needles to say, I was in love. And for seven days straight I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. My typically healthy lean chicken breast with a side of tomatoes (safe, easy), was soon replaced by macaroons, gluten-free pasta in Alfredo sauce, and much more.
So yes, I gained 4 pounds. But I think I’m ok with it. Back to Miami, with breaded croquetes and other non-friendly delicacies, the pounds will come off as fast as they came in.
In the meantime, these were some of my favorite gluten-free stops. Note: I’m gluten intolerant, not celiac, so I have a little bit more “freedom.” Always be careful and ask the right questions for yourself when ordering at restaurants that are new to you.
Best Dinner: Red Farm
Photo credit NY Daily News. CRAIG RUTTLE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Self-labeled innovative and inspired Chinese cuisine, this cozy yet impressive 1,200 square feet culinary heaven is located on 529 Hudson Street, in the heart of the West Village. Dim Sum is quite the challenge in non-gluten free groups, but our waiter kept the dishes coming pointing out which ones I could eat and which ones I couldn’t. He even replaced all soy sauces for gluten-free ones, to my delight, and surprise. Recommended: Pac Man dumplings, yuzu wasabi shrimp, sculptural chicken salad and much more. Don’t miss out on a trip to their restroom – their toilet is over $4,000, but you have to find out for yourself.
Read more about Red Farm here.
Best Awesomeness with Coffee: Bouchon Bakery
I was in a hurry around Columbus Circle, and stepped into this bakery almost by chance. Little did I know they were the talk of the town, and even with a very sought-after recipe book (I bought it!). Bouchon Bakery specializes in macaroons, mini merengue treats with all sorts of amazing fillings. They are made with almond flour, making them a great on-the go treat. I couldn’t resist their chocolate-dipped larger macaroons (pictured above) – I had two the first day, and then came back for more every other day after that. The challenge? Trying to replicate the macaroons at home!
Read more about Bouchon Bakery recipe book here (Eater.com).
Best for Silly Drinks and Light Eats: Gramercy Park Hotel
Located on 2 Lexington Avenue, just a few steps from the park, the hotel offers what I call “fancy casual” ambiance and a hot (hot!) bartender named Patrick preparing all kinds of shot concoctions and my new favorite cocktail: The Greyhound (grapefruit juice + Grey Goose). Dinner was well spent at Mailaino, known for their fresh and seasonal ingredients, a roast suckling pig, authentic pastas and more. I love when menues cite *gluten free available* and this just the case. Don’t forget: flourless chocolate cake for dessert.
Read more about Mailaino here.