Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
Since my last NYC Trip (in May 2015), there have been new openings, new restaurants and of course new Menus in the Big Apple. So happy that I have a great choice of restaurants when I visit, this is my experience of some of the meals whilst in NYC in November 2015:
JOE’S CRAB SHACK: (Elmhurst, NY. NY): A great lively eatery which has a separate GLUTEN FRIENDLY MENU available and half-priced cocktails on Thursday evenings! It is quite a loud place and strangely enough, as many of the dishes are eaten with your hands, there is a sink in the restaurant so you can wash without visiting the restrooms. Whilst a quick review of the Gluten Friendly Menu confirms that there is a limited choice, all but one of the Steampots are able to be made GLUTEN FREE and many of the buckets (of Shrimps or Crabs) are also on offer, which as the name suggests is what you ought to have!
So I selected (from the Gluten Friendly Menu) the “The Orleans” for $21.99 which included “1 pound of crawfish, a dozen shrimp and smoked sausage all spiced up“. I did request the non-spicy version, which I think went over someones head as it was quite spicy and hot but I still managed to eat it (or maybe that was washed down with half-price cocktails).
The shellfish is not a usual dish for me, as I dont like to get messy with my food, and there was plenty of skins and fish bits to remove, but helpfully they have a bucket on the table and a roll of kitchen paper so you can try and keep clean. It is served with potatoes and a corn-on-the-cob, and our waitress did advise that due to cross-contamination, I couldnt have any fries, but it was a substantial meal and a great GLUTEN FREE seafood treat.
FRIEDMANS: (132 West 31st Street, NY, NY): Located quite close to Penn Station, in the heart of mid-town in Herald Square, this unassuming diner/restaurant has an old fashioned feel and states “Almost our entire menu can be made or is intrinsically gluten free” which was an amazing statement to read. So breakfast in downtown Manhattan it was.
Strange that when I arrived, it was quite with free seats at the bar area /tables and booths, but when I left, there was a queue out of the door: so a popular place for morning workers. The Menu states “Friedman’s specialise in Gluten Free dining” and as you can see, most of the Menu can be made GLUTEN FREE so I was spoilt for choice. With a good refillable coffee and water (no apple juice although I was offered Orange!), I opted for the “Egg White Scramble” which suited me (as I avoid Egg Yolks) and it states it is served with “market veggies and avocado” the later, I don’t like, so I asked for that to be removed ($14). In addition, I requested a side of “Applewood Smoked Bacon” as I love American Bacon, usually so crispy and so salty, I thought it would be a great compliment to my breakfast.
I was not disappointed by the portion of my Breakfast. Reassuringly, the “GLUTEN FREE” flag in my toast was a clear sign that I was accommodated and the side of Hash Browns was a good salty, crunch side to the Egg White Scramble. At first, I thought they had included Avocado but actually it was really market veggies including zucchini, mushrooms and onions among others. The side of Bacon was probably a little excessive, along with the toast but I still manage to eat most of it as it was a great filling Breakfast: all GLUTEN FREE.
PANERA BREAD: Rego Park, NY NY: As a Coeliac, it seems rather strange to have breakfast in a chain restaurant that has “bread” in it’s title and indeed, most of the items on the Menu include some sort of baked item, but I had read on a Facebook group that Panera Bread were looking at introducing a new GLUTEN FREE bread. I had also read, rather shockingly, that due to cross-contamination, they were not able to maintain it as GLUTEN FREE which seems such a mess and a shame. Anyhow, they do have some breakfast items, which are made with NO GLUTEN CONTAINING INGREDIENTS.
So after some debate with the Server, I had a Turkey Sausage Egg White Sandwich (without the Bread and served in a bowl). This was “Turkey sausage cooked into egg whites, a thick slice of Vermont white cheddar, fresh spinach and tomato” And actually, it was really nice although not as substantial as my Friedman’s breakfast (as above). This bowl did the job in providing me with a morning boost (along with a good strong decaf coffee) and there was a slice of tomato, a few pieces of spinach and of course a slice of cheese on top of the Egg White omlette with the sausage. Those who are rather sensitive may not have managed this as most customers were eating bread or baked products and of course, it was made in a kitchen with bread around but I enjoyed this GLUTEN FREE breakfast bowl.
KING YUM, Jamaica NY. NY: I found this Chinese restaurant whilst online and was excited that it had an extensive GLUTEN FREE Menu and by the fact that it’s GLUTEN FREE dishes were served on their own “red plates”. That suggested to me: they would cater for me and of course, it would be a great experience. Upon arrival, it is a strange restaurant with no external windows and then walking in, you feel you are transported not to Ancient China but some Polynesian-style tiki setting. Perhaps, this has a history of a time before it was a Chinese eatery but my GLUTEN FREE Menu distracted me.
Several pages of Chinese delight, and the waiter came over with regular Chinese crisps for my friends and a special bowl with GLUTEN FREE sticks for me. This was a welcomed surprise although they were very crunchy and I am partial to the UK usual, of Prawn crackers (which are made usually with Tapioca flour and a really small amount of prawns!). It kept me busy and entertained whilst I tried to choose a dish!
For a starter, I had an “Egg Drop Soup” which was a chicken soup broth with sweetcorn and egg. It was served very hot, and despite being surprised by the size of the bowl, I managed to consume most of it as it was delicious and light. The probably was egg yolk in it, but I managed to enjoy it and slurp my way through it. My main course, I choose “Shrimp Chow Fun” which is the large fat rice noodles with shrimps, and some vegetables. This was served on the customary RED PLATE so we all knew I was GLUTEN FREE and it was a very large portion. But having had a large bowl of soup and my “crisps”, I did manage to eat most of it. I have to say, it lacked a tasty sauce but they were very good in providing two sachets of GLUTEN FREE Soya sauce. This was a welcomed addition and helped me eat some more before I gave it up. Of course, being in America, I was offered to take it home, but being British, not sure cold noodles would have been my thing!
MAX BRENNER: Union Square, NY, NY: A famous Chocolatier with a Chocolate Bar, Shop and Restaurant, just off Union Square. I love my Chocolate, and had done my research on Max Brenner and knew that most (if not all) of his Chocolate was NOT GLUTEN FREE, which was a disappointment but my wider party still wanted to experience the Menu (with many dishes including Chocolate!) so it would be an experience, if nothing else. On the website, they state “Our chocolates are produced in a manufacturing facility that also produces items containing peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, sesame, eggs, wheat and/or gluten. We recommend that individuals with sensitivities to any of these allergens do not consume our products.”
I selected the Quinoe Salad with chicken: “Quinoa and Chickpea Salad: seasoned quinoa, chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, arugula & honey dijon vinaigrette with Chicken” which I requested to be GLUTEN FREE. The waitress was helpful, up to a point: and even offered a burger (without the bun to make it GLUTEN FREE although I recognise that makes it a patty and not a GF dish!). When my meal arrived, it was in a silver circular tube and on the plate was a crepe. The Server proceeded to pull up the silver tube and let the salad fall onto the crepe. I asked whether it was GLUTEN FREE and he sheepishly disappeared with my plate. Of course, my fellow diners (with GLUTEN) had their meals and started to eat their hot food. When my second salad came back, unfortunately it now contained Avocado (but at least no crepe with GLUTEN) so I ate it (reluctantly). The salad was tasty with plenty of chicken pieces and helpfully, the dressing was held on the side. A healthy and good choice but shame I missed out on the “good service” given I was GLUTEN FREE.
My fellow guests enjoyed their luxurious GLUTEN FILLED Chocolate Crepes which looked and smelt devine, just with the GLUTEN, I wasn’t tempted. Indeed, there were no desserts on offer without GLUTEN (or Chocolate).
So a few new choices from my latest NYC trip.
On Previous visits, I have eaten GLUTEN FREE at:
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