Gluten-Free in New York City

Gluten-Free Sushi

Gluten-Free Sushi

I get very very excited about gluten-free eating in NYC. Little makes me happier than a delicious and safe gluten-free meal and NYC has sooooo many options. As usual I ate way too much and had a bit of an italian food binge. And it’s always even better when my travel partner, this time my boyfriend, is game to run around finding the perfect gluten-free meal. It was lovely. A gluten-free dream really.

I didn’t take pics of all my meals as I wanted to enjoy some romantic meals with my guy without a cell phone on the table but I have made a quick list of some of the places I loved below.

Gato

Delicious Brussel Sprouts with pomegranate

Delicious Brussels Sprouts with pomegranate

Bobby Flay’s new restaurant was good but the sides were actually the best part for us. There are lots of gluten-free options on menu. They aren’t marked but our waiter was very helpful.

http://gatonyc.com/

Freidman’s Lunch (Chelsea Market)

BELT- Bacon Egg Lettuce and Tomato

BELT- Bacon Egg Lettuce and Tomato

For brunch we went all out and ate way too much. I would highly recommend this place if you are craving a gluten-free sandwich or something bread based. Almost the entire menu can be made gluten-free. It was expensive for brunch but we had cocktails and sides. Located in the charming Chelsea market it’s a great way to spend a Sunday. We ate to our hearts content and then walked the High Line which is a block away.

http://www.friedmanslunch.com/

Cocktails with brunch

Cocktails with brunch

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

The High Line

The High Line

Felidia

Lunch at Felidia was the best lunch I have had since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. For $32.50 you get a 3 course lunch including a starter, entrée and dessert.  I had fresh made pear ravioli, salmon and split a apple and berry tart and tiramisu for dessert. ALL GLUTEN-FREE! The ravioli was life changing! I will definitely be going back next time I am in New York. The lunch option makes it so that you can experience this amazing restaurant at a price that won’t completely break the bank.

http://www.felidia-nyc.com/

Bistango

Gluten-Free Calamari

Gluten-Free Calamari

The stuffed pasta and calamari were delicious. I was incredibly excited as this was the first time I had had either in about 10 years. There is something very exciting about being able to order pretty much anything on an italian menu. I definitely had an “is this real life?” moment and there is little I love more than a good “is this real life?” moment.

http://www.bistangonyc.com/

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Galli

If you are shopping in Soho and looking for a solid lunch or dinner option Galli is great. I had a kale salad and gluten-free pasta carbonara. Almost everything on the menu can be made gluten-free. My boyfriend loved the polpette. From a gluten-free perspective I slightly preferred Bistango but my boyfriend liked this restaurant a little more.

http://www.gallirestaurant.com/

Babycakes

I always need to stop by Babycakes for vegan/gluten-free donuts, my favourite gluten-free NYC breakfast.

http://www.erinmckennasbakery.com/new-york-city/

Lili’s 57

Gluten-Free Sushi

Gluten-Free Sushi

I had eaten here years ago and loved the fact that they have a huge gluten-free menu. It wasn’t far from our hotel so one night we picked up some sushi as a snack before our late dinner reservation. We also went for lunch one afternoon and had some delicious sushi and shrimp tempura.

http://www.lilis57.com/

Gluten-Free General Tso's Chicken

Gluten-Free General Tso’s Chicken

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Gluten-Free Cider & The Perfect Fall Day

Gluten-Free Cider

A recent perfect fall day was the best combination of one of the last warm days of fall, great friends and a visit to an apple orchard and the Michel Jodoin Ciderie. Cider has been my go to drink instead of beer since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I prefer mine less sweet and most of the Michel Jodoin ciders are less sweet than some others on the market. They are located not too far from Montreal in Rougemont and you can also find their products at most SAQs and some fancier grocery stores and Deps,

http://www.micheljodoin.ca/en/

If you’re like me and have a million apples and you don’t know what to do with them try this recipe from my old blog Gluten-Free Montreal. My mom has been making me this since I was little and no matter how hard I try mine never tastes as good as hers. She made a few adjustments to her recipe to make sure her apple crisp is gluten-free and still just as delicious.

http://krisgf.tumblr.com/post/33660940887/fall-for-apple-crisp

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Gluten-Free in Montreal: La Fabrique for Brunch

Gluten-Free Breakfast at La Fabrique

I have a new person in my life and they love going out for brunch. I used to love going out for brunch. Pre-celiac disease crepes with raspberry sauce was my go to and brunch with my friends was always a great experience. Post celiac disease brunch became a little scary. Brunch spots can be so busy, have so much bread and so many opportunities for contamination. While on the other hand breakfast at home is pretty easy to make and I make a pretty decent brunch in bed. I have missed plenty of friend brunches eating my eggs and potatoes at home but this new person may have convinced me to attempt brunch out again once in a while. I have always felt comfortable at Aux Vivres which has a gluten-free items marked on their menu but it would be nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

This week we tried La Fabrique on St-Denis, near Sherbrooke Metro. While nothing on the changing menu is marked gluten-free they are very familiar with gluten-free and told me to look at the menu and they would make me something around what I liked.  I chose the Gravlax and they served it on a potato base with a yogurt sauce and they added an egg. I would definitely recommend La Fabrique for brunch if you are in the area but wouldn’t say you should go far out of your way. I also tried it once for dinner and it was great but there weren’t a bunch of gluten-free options since I don’t eat red meat. I ended up having two starters as my meal.

I will keep you posted about my future gluten-free brunch experiences.

La Fabrique 

3609 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L6

http://bistrotlafabrique.com/

Accommodates gluten-free: Ok

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No

gluten-free

To all those new to the gluten-free world: You can do it!

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Taking on a strict gluten-free diet can be scary and this fear can keep us from our ultimate health. For the first few years of my diagnosis while I was in my early 20s I was overwhelmed by the idea of being 100% gluten-free. It was too hard. Too time consuming. Too confusing. Too isolating. Too restricting. Too much missing out on good stuff! It wasn’t until I continued to be sick and learn more that I realized enough was enough. My illness was real, I was slowly seriously damaging my body and I needed to take care of my self because no one else would.

Talking to a friend of a friend today and motivating her to take the steps to start a gluten-free diet to treat her health problems and get tested for celiac disease reminded me of all those fears from years ago. Fear is normal but focusing on your health and little steps will get you through it.

My tips on how to start a gluten-free diet  and deal with the fear of the unknown (for those who need to be strict in their diet and exposure to gluten):

  1. Read and learn as much as you can. Many doctors and even gastroenterologists don’t know a lot about celiac disease or the effects of gluten on inflammation and auto immune diseases. It was through my own research I learned that my terrible canker sores were a sign of celiac disease. There are lots of website about celiac disease and healthy eating. A few of my faves are Gluten Is my Bitch, My New Roots and Oh She Glows. I have also found my local library has a lot of gluten-free cookbooks. Before buying I like to check them out to make sure they are worth the purchase. I love this cookbook “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow because it’s a “secret” gluten-free cookbook filled with healthy and pretty simple recipes that happen to be gluten-free. It features lots of clean recipes and ideas for flavourful and good for you food.
  2. You will make mistakes and it’s ok. One thing that was hard for my mom and I who are perfectionists: not realizing the hidden sources of gluten. We often felt defeated but it’s a learning process. Don’t feel bad about making mistakes just learn from them and keep moving towards a gluten-free life! My friend tried to make me a gluten-free feast this past weekend and then realized the cooking spray he used had flour in it!?!? He felt so bad but it happens and that’s how you learn what to avoid. We just whipped up something else for me to eat and it was no biggie at all!
  3. Take this as an opportunity to make positive changes.  A gluten-free diet done right is healthier and I now follow a much much healthier diet than I did when I was a 20 year old student living off of bagels and diet cokes.  The limited choices available for eating out of the house has forced me to learn how prepare meals and be organized about packing lunches and snacks.
  4. RELAX. Let’s not forget about stress and how it can worsen digestive symptoms and your overall health. Exercising, meditating, journaling  etc. are good ways to reduce stress. When I have been gluten poisoned but not in my I can hardly get out of bed stage, I find a light run sometimes helps my symptoms and helps lessen the pain. Stressing about gluten only complicates things for your digestive system.
  5. If you don’t know how to cook it is never too late to slowly learn the basics. If you don’t already cook start with learning how to make an easy salad dressing, stir fry, omelette, soup and pasta dish. You don’t need to become an amazing cook but being healthy and gluten-free is a lot easier if you can make a few things at home in your safe kitchen and pack some lunches for work. And speaking about safe kitchens I am currently lucky to live alone but if you share yours with someone who eats a lot of bread they need to slowly learn how to keep the kitchen gluten-free friendly for you. Also- don’t go kissing people who have just eaten a huge sandwich or chugged a pint! Sounds ridiculous but if your aren’t using the same toaster as one that has had bread in it you shouldn’t be kissing someone who just ate a bunch of it.
  6. Focus on the foods you love that are already gluten-free. Mine are: potatoes, rice, seafood, goat cheese, eggs, greens, chocolate and wine. Focus on all the good stuff and things you can make to replace the stuff you are missing. Nachos, home made french fries, most meat dishes have always been gluten-free. This is helpful when eating out, which is where most of my panic still comes from. I try to avoid eating at restaurants that have no clue what gluten-free is or think it’s in normal rice and potatoes. My friends have gotten great at accommodating my diet and those few times I have to go somewhere I am not sure about, for example for a birthday, I will call in advance, check the menu and talk to the manager and if I’m still not sure I will just have a glass of wine. You aren’t being picky you are making sure you are not made seriously ill for the next few days/weeks.
  7. Tell the haters to shut-up, in a nice way. There will still be a few people that don’t get it and will tell you to just eat bread or it’s all in your head and just ignore them. People who love you will slowly learn with you and help you out with your new lifestyle. My friends pick me up new products and love trying new gluten-free recipes but this didn’t happen over night. The important people in your life will learn not to double dip in the shared containers. Peanut butter, butter, jam, mayo, cheese etc. And you will learn to always serve yourself first at a group meal before bread gets into and all over everything. When I go away for the weekend with friends and or people I don’t live with I will write my name in bold marker on the top of containers I want to keep gluten-free and tell everyone that they can use them but cannot double dip any utensils that have been used on or near bread products.
  8. Now is the best time ever to be gluten-free! There has never been more certified gluten-free products. They are almost everywhere. Always read your labels and when you are uncertain check online and or call the company.

Yes it can be overwhelming to drastically change your diet but feeling healthy feeds so good. More specifically not feeling like I was being slowly poisoned to death was the biggest push to continue following a strict diet. Not spending my life lying in a ball, running to the bathroom or staying home having a date with the washroom is to this day the reason I will never ever ever eat gluten again on purpose!

You can do it! Good luck and feel free to send me questions!

🙂

Gluten-Free Bisquick: Easy Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Gluten-Free Garlic Cheese Biscuit

I have seen many recipes on Pinterest that use Gluten-Free Bisquick but had never seen it in Quebec until this past week and I had to try it out for myself. I found it in the gluten-free section of this IGA (to note this is one fancy IGA that plays jazz music and has lots of gluten-free products throughout the aisles). So far I have just tried these biscuits and they were pretty darn good for a first try. I didn’t used the recipe on the box but kinda followed this recipe online.

These biscuits are yummy and so far I would recommend this mix. But at $6 for just over 2 cups the mix isn’t cheap so I would be more likely to buy it on sale. Forgetting the price, this mix does make a very easy biscuit that tastes a little bit like the biscuits back in the day at Red Lobster which I was obsessed with as a child. I would eat those babies until I was sick and probably gluten poisoned. These easy gluten-free copies make a great side with a soup. Who doesn’t love fresh biscuits with a little cheese and garlic when it gets cold. Did I mention it’s easy. Impress people with oven fresh gluten-free “bread” with the littlest of effort!

Gluten-Free Garlic and Cheese Biscuits

  • 2 cups Bisquick Gluten-Free Mix
  • 1-2 cloves grated fresh garlic (you can use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh on hand, about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (I used aged cheddar)
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • Optional: Poppy seeds to mix into batter and place on top of the biscuits. You can also sprinkle extra cheese and fleur de sel on the tops. Extra melted butter can also be brushed on top of the finished biscuits.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Using a fork or your hands combine the flour mix with the butter and garlic until it becomes crumbly. Mix in the butter, cheese, milk and eggs until dough forms. Add in poppy seeds if using. Place dough onto an ungreased baking sheet in 10 biscuit sized rolls.

Bake for 9-13 minutes until they start to get slightly golden but not overcooked. If you wish brush them with extra melted butter once out of the oven go wild!

Serve warm or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. They also freeze well!

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Softest Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

You need to try this chocolate chip cookie recipe! They are a great vegan option and no one will know they are gluten-free and vegan. I under bake mine and everyone I know loves a soft cookie. These were a big hit at a recent pot luck BBQ in my backyard. Bonus- the dough is vegan so you don’t have to feel bad about eating it raw!

The recipe from Yammie’s Gluten-Freedom, one of my favourite gluten-free blogs, is perfect as is.

http://www.yammiesglutenfreedom.com/2014/05/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

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Gluten-free in Italy: Cinque Terre Region & Liguria

Pizza at Netuno in Rapallo

Pizza at Netuno in Rapallo

Sailing for almost two weeks in Italy with my best friend and her friend sounded too good to be true but I was worried about my diet. Thankfully Italy in general is accommodating to gluten-free diets and my travel partners were amazing in adapting to my diet on the boat and were happy to share gluten-free meals with me at restaurants. As I mentioned in my previous post about Rome, I tried my best to be prepared which included stocking the boat with gluten-free crackers, breadsticks, cookies and pasta. Most of the products in Italy are individually wrapped in portions which was great for eating on the boat. We ate breakfast, lunch and a few dinners on the boat. Pesto pasta was our go to dinner and to simplify things in our mini kitchen we would make gluten-free pasta for everyone or make mine first. My friends were careful and I just had to explain how I couldn’t use the same utensils as were used on bread etc. Gluten-free is difficult in any kitchen, never mind a mini-mini one but keeping things simple made it easier. Luckily my travel partners were up to the task of being amazing GFBFFs and made it a lot easier for me, they even scouted out gluten-free products and found me gluten-free gelato in random places.

As we were moving from port to port each day and had limited access to the internet I wasn’t able to research gluten-free friendly restaurants in advance but found great places to eat in most of the towns we were in. I always say it’s important to try and be easy going and positive when traveling gluten-free. It’s a challenge but with a positive attitude it’s a lot easier to navigate a gluten-filled world.

Overall, Italy was amazing as always and being able to eat and have people understand celiac disease everywhere I went made for a great travel experience.

Delicious pesto pasta made by my GFBFF Andrea

Delicious pesto pasta made by my GFBFF Andrea

Lots of products like this prosciutto were labeled gluten-free

Lots of products like this prosciutto were labeled gluten-free

Even the yogurt was labeled gluten-free

Even the yogurt was labeled gluten-free

Nettuno, Rapallo

We ate at Nettuno twice as the food was great, it was full of locals and they had great gluten-free options including all the pizzas on the menu and most of the pastas. The pizza is made on its own tray to keep it celiac friendly. Both my pizzas were amazing and my travel partners had great meals as well. I couldn’t contain my excitement when we decided to dock here a second night. We got margherita pizzas to go to eat on the boat the next day as it’s an easy meal while sailing.

Pizza at Nettuno

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The non-gluten-free 1 meter pizza for my friends

The non-gluten-free 1 meter pizza for my friends

Margherita Pizza on the boat the next day

Margherita Pizza on the boat the next day

La Prua, Lavagna

La Prua didn’t have a million options but I had a great seafood risotto and there were a few other options as well.

http://www.paginegialle.it/lavagna-ge/bar/prua

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Portofino

The restaurant we chose on the Main street on the water had gluten free penne. It’s good to ask if they have gluten-free pasta when you are walking around looking for a place to eat.

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Manarola (Cinque Terre)

In this small town there were two places I saw that had gluten-free faranita. Il Discovolo had an entire gluten-free section and a lot of gluten-free products for purchase. The owner was super helpful and stepped out to explain what what was gluten-free in store and explain how things were kept separate. My friend was super excited by the “gluten-free limit zone” in the display case. I ordered a delicious panini with tomatoes and mozzarella. Riomaggiore also had gluten-free farinita.

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Delicious Farinita

Delicious Farinita

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Happy waiting for the train with my gluten-free panini from Il Discovolo

Happy waiting for the train with my gluten-free panini from Il Discovolo