After much ummming and ahhhhing about how best to present this blog post, I have decided to sort the info into "lunch", "dinner" and the all important "snacks"! It's gonna be a loooong post but at least knowing the sub headings means you can scroll through the bits that interest you! Gold star to anyone who reads it all! Where possible I will put a photo of the outside of the restaurant (making it easier for those who are trying to find it), a photo of the food I ate (so you know what you're gonna eat there or for those who just enjoy food porn!) and a website (so you can find the place!!) That's the plan.....so let's get started!
If you're GF and heading off to The Big Apple, don't panic, you will be able to eat more than it's name suggests! There is good GF food out there, you won't miss out! You too, will be able to enjoy cake, burgers, hot dogs and cheese cake with your fellow gluten eating pals! However, don't be under any illusion that it will be easy. I had wrongly assumed that New York would be a GF haven that was geared up for "faddy diets"! WRONG!!! I had my fair share of blank looks, "what's gluten?" and "I think all our food contains gluten"! Argh! My favourite one, not wanting to name names was "This cake is mainly gluten free but not entirely"!!! (Oh, ok, it was the famous Magnolia Bakery! Good job those Sex and the City Girls didn't have a gluten intolerance!). My advice......do your research before you go. Google will be your friend! Read blogs such as http://glutenfreetraveller.com/ or www.glutenfreeglobetrotter.com and then relax and enjoy!
We flew with BA and I must say I was a little apprehensive! I had read mixed things, so my expectations were low and my hand luggage was full of snacks! Well, I had nothing to worry about! No sooner had I sat down than the steward came to find me to say he had my GF meals sorted! Main meal was tilapia with veg, chickpea salad, GF bread and butter and fruit salad.
I nearly squealed with delight when they announced a light snack would be served! A chicken sandwich on GF bread! I was thrilled!! However, we did have a little chuckle at the pack of 5 grapes ha ha! 5 grapes?! But there was a small pack of raisins too!
The journey home was also pretty good. I had chicken and cauliflower mash with fruit salad...fine but personally not a huge cauliflower fan. I was a tad disappointed when everyone got a croissant and I got fruit salad again BUT I was pleased to get something! Nevertheless, there are so many great GF brands out there now doing pastries / meals / puddings etc maybe it won't be long until we see them on the airline menu?!
Whole Foods will be your other friend! Great supermarket for GF snacks, fruit / yogurt for breakfast and hot buffet counters for dinner. I found it to be more reasonably priced than in the UK and great value for money! They are everywhere and will definitely be an important resource while you are in NY!
Hale and Hearty
Another life saver...and they are everywhere too! Couldn't get the American website to work otherwise I'd have posted link! Not entirely GF but lots of soups and salads are. You have to ask the servers what is GF as (with most places it seems) they like to keep it a secret!
Pret a Manger
Much the same as in the UK! Big GF brownie point for actually clearly labelling their food with "GF"! It's so much easier than having to ask the servers all the time!
Butterfield Express (https://www.facebook.com/BakedByButterfield)
Stumbled across Butterfield Express by complete accident! If you squint you can just see it says "Gluten Free" in the window?! Yey! Only fellow GF's will understand that excited feeling of unexpectantly stumbling across a GF establishment!! Anyway, it's a great little place for sandwiches and cake, perfect for lunches on the run!
Friedmans at Chelsea Market (http://www.chelseamarket.com)
They actually advertise GF options in the window. They do regular sandwiches too but I asked about cross contamination and they were fairly reassuring! I went for a Reuben Sandwich.....which is apparently "a must" when in NY! As you can see it was huge! Probably why it was quite pricey! I enjoyed it but would rather have had half the amount for half the cost!
Grand Central Station
The Food Hall has plenty to offer but sadly I could only find 2 openly GF places. Others may have been accommodating but when it's busy you don't really want to be faffing about queuing and asking only to be potentially met with a blank look! Therefore, I was faced with chilli or curry...I opted for chilli!
Can't remember the name of the place (bad blogger!!) but they were the only chilli place in the food hall at Grand Central Station!
Woodbury Common Outlet
Ohhhhhhh did I shop?!! Ok, ok, not a shopping blog either.....but you must go! If you have chance and you like shopping...GO! Not amazing food options for the GF or the "gluten eaters" to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised to find the garish Mexican offered GF options!
I went for a rice bowl...
Pros....it was GF and the tortilla chips were GF too!
Cons....didn't taste great, poor quality chewy meat, pretty bland for Mexican......better than going hungry but would rave about it!
Smorgasburg Food Market (http://www.smorgasburg.com)
Oh, I have saved the best til last! If you are a foodie and happen to be around Brooklyn on a Saturday then you HAVE to go here! Sooooo much choice! Not all GF by any stretch of the imagination but you will definitely have choices which is always good right?! I opted for Mofon.Go (http://www.mofongony.com/#welcome) who stated that all their food was GF.
I had the most delicious Puerto Rican dish made of mashed plantain, garlic and pork crackling....yum!
Guy's American Kitchen and Bar (http://www.guyfieri.com/guy-fieri-restaurant_brands/guys-american-kitchen-and-bar/)
Dale was keen to try Guy Fieri's place as he is a fan of the Diners, Drive-In's and Dives programme...not really my cup of tea but marriage is about give and take right?! So...
Pros.....waitress automatically recommended the chicken dish as being "great for Coeliacs", so I opted for that.
Cons.....double checked my chicken dish was ok as it had gravy on it, waitress said yes but she would ask her manager, manager quickly swooped in to whisk dinner away saying it was not GF after all!.....thank goodness I checked!
Pros.....very apologetic......offered us a free pudding each!
Cons......no puddings were GF!!!!! (Eventually got dinner free instead!)
Food ok but it was all a bit stressful, probably would go back!
Pros....best GF pizza we found in NY! Very "gluten aware" and asked straight away if we required GF bases, all toppings GF, lots of measures taken against cross contamination (see website!)
5 Napkin Burger (http://m.5napkinburger.com)
Dale is a bit of a burger lover, whereas I can take or leave them...this is worth bearing in mind when reading the following! Dale carried out a lot of "burger research" while in NY and 5 Napkin scored best on his burger hall of fame! Me?! Well, I enjoyed it! They offer GF buns and their fries are GF too so that can only be good! The burger....?
...it was good, I enjoyed it, it tasted......well.....it tasted like burger I guess! If you like burgers.....Dale says you must GO!
Much more my style!
Pros.....nearly an entirely GF menu, GF breadsticks!!!!, delicious food, knowledgeable staff.
Cons...very small restaurant so you may need to wait, wasn't a huge fan of the cake I had for pudding BUT there was quite a big GF choice so I may have just not made a wise decision!
The Counter (http://www.thecounterburger.com)
Back to burgers!! A fairly well know chain, particularly famous for building your own burgers. You are presented with a clip board and tick sheet which you fill in to create your perfect burger! I went for bunless turkey burger with feta and red peppers.
Pros....GF menu available on request, clued up staff, GF sweet potato fries mmmmmm, GF buns are available.
Cons....not many really, typical chain food place but I actually preferred this burger to others I tried.
Pros....very helpful staff who clearly understand Coeliac Disease and GF requirements, great to be able to have GF pasta, delicious sauce, a couple of GF pudding options too and reasonably priced.
Cons...can't think of any....would definitely recommend!
GF mac n' cheese! Yep, you heard me right!
Pros....it's GF man n' cheese.....what more do you want?!! Every bit as hot, bubbly, gooey and cheesey as it should be! Felt the calories going on as I ate but it was worth every mouthful! AND it was as cheap as chips (well, as macaroni I guess?!) Dale tried his first every macaroni cheese here (whaaaaat?! I hear you cry!) and he is definitely a convert....let's hope he adds it to his repertoire at home now!
Cons....well.....no cons with the food! The place is a bit what I'd call "spit and saw dusty"...I mean the tables could do with a wipe, the server was pretty miserable, the toilets weren't the cleanest BUT.....don't let that put you off the most fabulous macaroni you're going to get in NY (and maybe even beyond!)
As all good tourists should do, we went to watch the Yankees play and I was thrilled to discover I could enjoy the hot dog eating fun with my very own GF hot dog! They even use Udi's hot dog rolls! (Udisglutenfree.com)
Pros....it's a GF hot dog baaaaby!!
Cons... Located on ground level...if you have seats at the top make sure you buy before you sit down! It's a long way down!
Ohhhhhh I have saved the best til last again.......ohhhhhh gooooooo! If you have just one night in NY....GO!
Pros....first time I have ever been asked by the waitress if there are any allergies in the party! Wow! Impressed from the onset! Good GF choices, very knowledgeable staff, good understanding of cross contamination, GF bread for your side plate, GF filled pasta (!!!!!!), large GF pudding menu! Waaaaah I could have cried!!
Cons.....went on last night so couldn't go back!!
Snacking was a little trickier than in the UK. Food labelling is not quite as clear so you really need to have your wits about you....again, Google will be your friend! Ingredients are well labelled. But there there aren't many "may contain traces..." Or "made in a factory that handles..." warnings which makes cross contamination a bit of an unknown risk.
I did discover that the Hershey Bars (milk chocolate 1.55 oz) are GF and it actually states it on the packaging! Worth bearing in mind if you need a chocolate hit!
Again, Whole Foods is a great place to pick up snacks. I particularly enjoyed these chickpea bars which are great if you can't eat nuts (however, I'm fairly sure they did have a "may contain traces" warning....can't be certain though...sorry!)
I was also really impressed with these
Apart from Whole Foods, I did manage to fit on some other snack stops.....
I saw GF pizza was on offer but obviously I chose cake....who wouldn't?!
GF red velvet cake with...wait for it.....a cheesecake layer in the middle!! Arghhhhh!! You don't count calories on holiday do you?! Lots of other GF cakes to choose from....only disappointing thing was it was artificial cream....you can't have everything I guess!
Carnegie Deli (http://www.carnegiedeli.com/mobile/)
To be honest with you. I only went for the GF cheesecake! I couldn't tell you if they do anything else that is GF but apparently it is THE place to go for cheesecake! A great little place, oooozing with atmosphere and a wall full of photographs of celebrities who have eaten there, oh and did I mention that there is cheesecake....
This was sooooo rich and creamy that the unthinkable happened.....I couldn't finish it!! Infact, I only managed about half.....catastrophe!! Worth every calorie and a must for any NY GF visitor with a sweet tooth!
The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (http://biggayicecream.com)
After tentatively asking if they had any GF ice cream, I was thrilled to discover that they also had GF cones! Opted for a milkshake but great to know a good old fashioned ice cream cone is available!
The Cold Stone Creamery (http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/?redirect=no)
No pics I'm afraid....I ate it too quickly! They offer a range of GF ice cream flavours (not all are GF though so you will need to ask). Dale was quick to spot them kneading/ mixing chosen ice cream flavours together on their work surface! However, they were happy to re scoop and not mix, in order to avoid cross contamination! It's worth asking because the ice cream was delicious!
To keep with tradition I have kept the best til last...
Baby cakes (http://www.babycakesnyc.com)
Gluten free, Vegan, soy free bakery! Apparently it has quite a cult following but it was new to me! I received a recommendation on Twitter from and I was so glad I did....I was just disappointed we went on our last day (although I think my waistline was very grateful!). Obviously, I couldn't decided between a doughnut or a cupcake soooo....obviously I went for both!
A vanilla cupcake and a salted caramel doughnut! Both were amazing.....but if I had to pick I'd say go for the doughnut! There are not many GF doughnut opportunities in life so you have to grasp them when you can! Gluten eating Dale was also impressed with his chocolate cake / doughnut combo! Therefore, go forth and enjoy cake lovers.....you don't have to be "anything free" to indulge!!
So, there you have it, my "whistle stop tour" of a fortnight of GF eating in New York! If you've read to the end....well done...give yourself a pat on the back! New York is amazing and if I can be of any help at all (food, shopping or sightseeing related!) just give me a shout on Twitter @lizprice79. Meanwhile, I'm heading off to the gym.....got to start working off some of this cake lol!