Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ian's Allergy Friendly Products


I loved chicken nuggets as a kid so when I was approached by a rep from Ian's about trying some of their gluten free chicken nuggets I was more than happy to say yes.  I had never had a gluten free chicken nugget and was really excited to try them. They sent me three varieties: Smokin' Sweet BBQ Chicken Nuggets, Southwest Chicken Tenders, and regular Chicken Nuggets.  I was pleasantly surprised by all three and would definitely recommend them to kids and adults alike.

Ian's specializes in natural, allergy-friendly and gluten free frozen foods.  In addition to chicken nuggets they have things such as gluten free fish sticks, onion rings, french toast sticks, pizza, and more.  There is a very helpful search filter on their site to help you find food by different allergies (peanut, tree nut, soy, egg, casein, etc.) as well as by attribute (organic, GMO free, Kosher, vegan, vegetarian, etc).  The chicken they use is free range and vegetarian fed and their fish is wild-caught Alaskan Pollock.  I think Ian's is doing some really good work and I'm very happy to recommend them to you.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Greenview Kitchen's New Gluten Free Products




Last month someone from Giovanni reached out about trying their new Greenview Kitchen Organic Pasta Sauce, Pizza Sauce, and Bruschetta.  They recently received their gluten free certification and asked if I'd help spread the word.  They sent me their Roasted Garlic pasta sauce, Spicy Tomato pasta sauce, Pizza Sauce, and Bruschetta. So far I've only tried the sauces but I really enjoyed both of them.  The Roasted Garlic is a little bit sweet (in a good way) and the Spicy is a little bit spicy (not overwhelmingly so).  They have aided in some very easy dinners these last few weeks which has been super helpful as my job is busy and I was extra busy finding a new roommate (she moves in tomorrow)!

I haven't had a chance to try the pizza sauce or bruschetta yet but I'm looking forward to both.  They suggest putting the bruschetta over grilled chicken and I think that sounds like a great idea. Certified gluten free and organic?  What's not to like.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is Gluten?


Apparently no one knows.  These people kill me.  Figuratively.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ribalta

Ribalta

One of my college roommates is in town for a work conference.  Typing the phase "in town for a work conference", combined with my 28th birthday being last week, makes me feel really old.  Anyway, she's here and I couldn't be more delighted to see her.  She told me to pick a restaurant for dinner last night and I was going to choose one of my old standbys when I saw a tweet yesterday afternoon about someone's gluten free pizza at Ribalta.

I had never heard of Ribalta.  When I looked it up on the internet I was happy to see it is conveniently located near Union Square (12th Street at Broadway).  I often meet people for dinner in Union Square so I'm happy to have another place to add to my list.  Not only do I like Ribalta's location, I also liked the food, so really it was a win all around.

Amanda and I split the brussels sprouts to start.  I love brussels sprouts.  Especially when they are covered in bacon and cheese.  I then got the gluten free vegetable pizza.  It was quite large and I thought it was pretty good.  Amanda had some gluten filled pasta and was happy with it.  They do have a gluten free almond chocolate cake for dessert but we didn't get it.  You probably should though, because, you know, dessert.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ariana Restaurant at the James Beard House

Saturday night I was fortunate enough to dine at the James Beard House.  A friend of mine had an extra seat for dinner and I agreed to go without knowing anything about the food that would be there or if I would be able to eat anything.  At the very least I thought it would be a good opportunity to experience a fun culinary event and drink a fair amount of wine.  What I experienced was such a delightful surprise I am still excited about it many days later.

Not only does the James Beard House hold some great culinary history, but the open kitchen allows guests to watch their food being prepared and talk to the chefs.  When the hors d'oeures were being passed I asked the waiter if he knew if they were gluten free.  He told me they were and that everything that night was gluten free.  I pointed to the gougeres and asked "even those?" with some serious doubt.  He said he wasn't sure but he'd go check. He came back and told me they were.  I didn't believe him.  He told me to go talk to the chef.  Well, this is the whole fun of an open kitchen so I went right in and asked Ariana herself.  When I told her I had Celiac she said her whole family has issues with gluten, herself included, and that the whole meal was in fact gluten free.  What a bit of luck.

Ariana and Andres Fernandez
The night only got better from there.  After enjoying the hors d'oeuvres at cocktail hour, my friends and I found our table only to realize we were sitting with Ariana's parents and children.  This was really special because Ariana owns Ariana Restaurant with her husband, Chef Andres Fernandez, and her parents, Glenn and Susan Asti.  We got to hang out with her three and six year old daughters, who were not only adorable, but eating caviar like it was no big deal.

Speaking of caviar, the food was amazing.  The entire meal I felt so fortunate that I could eat everything I was served without any pre-planning.  The great thing about sitting with the restaurant owners was that Susan and Glenn walked us through each course, describing where the food came from and the wines they chose to go with each.  We talked a lot about why the entire family is gluten free and how much of their restaurant is gluten free as well.

Each course was better than the next.  I'm trying to pick a few of my favorite dishes to tell you about, but I'm not even sure where to start.  I'd have to say the slow braised beef short rib with parmesan heirloom polenta was probably my favorite.  The wild Oregon salmon with black trumpet mushrooms, truffle-caviar beurre blanc, and Oregon truffles was a close second, and I don't even like salmon.  The entire menu is below.

Ariana is located in Bend, Oregon.  Based on the meal I had in New York, I highly recommend you try it.  And if you've never been to the James Beard House, I recommend you go there too.


MENU

  • Hors d'Oeuvre
    • Foie Gras Mousse–Filled Gougères with Huckleberry Jam
    • Smoked Columbia River Sturgeon with Roasted Ramp Crème Fraîche and Gold Potatoes
    • Pork Belly with Radishes, Chiles, and Lime
    • ARGYLE VINTAGE BRUT 2010
    • WESTSIDE 75 > BENDISTILLERY CRATER LAKE GIN WITH CLEAR CREEK DISTILLERY WILLIAMS PEAR BRANDY, LEMON JUICE, AND ARGYLE VINTAGE BRUT 2010
  • Dinner
    • Celery Bisque with Dungeness Crab and Lemon
    • BETHEL HEIGHTS VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2012
    • Venison Carpaccio with Horseradish, Spring Onions, and Parmesan Crackers
    • WILLAKENZIE ESTATE GAMAY NOIR 2011
    • Wild Oregon Salmon with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Truffle–Caviar Beurre Blanc, and Oregon Truffles
    • DOMAINE DROUHIN DUNDEE HILLS PINOT NOIR 2010
    • Slow-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta and Spring Garlic Gremolata
    • DOUBLEBACK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010
    • Passion Fruit Curd, Lone Pine Coffee Espuma, Raspberries, and Cocoa Nib Meringue
    • CHÂTEAU STE. MICHELLE & DR. LOOSEN EROICA RIESLING ICEWINE 2006

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Little Beet


After six months of not working full time I got a new job.  I love the lazy bum that created the name funemployment because I had an amazing six months of fun.  I did a lot of cool freelance projects, had frequent lunches with my brother, went to dance classes in the middle of the day, and did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  Quitting my job was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  Life's too short to be miserable at work.

Anyway, now I'm back to working full time.  I'm doing something completely different but the work is interesting and the people are super nice.  That's really all I can ask for.  Oh, and the point of this whole post is now I have to (get to?) find new places to eat lunch.  Lucky for me, The Little Beet just opened and it's within walking distance of my new office.  Everything at The Little Beet is gluten free.  The whole place.  Which is really kind of amazing.  It's the friendliest of Celiac friendly places.  They also have super good and healthy food. And if you need a gluten free treat they also have baked goods from Tu-Lu's.

The Little Beet is a pretty casual place which makes it a great place to grab something to go for lunch.  They don't have table service, but they do have two floors of seating if you want to sit for awhile.  I go out to eat a lot, but I'm glad there is now a place that is 100% gluten free for those folks who were still too nervous to eat outside of their own kitchens.  And I'm selfishly glad it's just a few blocks from my new office.  Everybody wins!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Ovelia


I mentioned in my last post about the diversity in Queens.  My neighborhood, Astoria, is especially known for Greek food.  Ovelia is my favorite Greek place in the neighborhood not only for the good food, but because they clearly mark all gluten free items on their menu.  I've had the opportunity to try a lot of things and haven't been disappointed.  My favorite Meze are the Gigantes Plaki (lima beans in a tomato and onion sauce) and Ovelia Loukanika (house made sausage).  My favorite main dishes are the Lamb Fig Kebab and The Mprizola Hirini (simply seasoned grilled pork chops).  The main dishes come with a side and I'm partial to the sauteed kale.  Ovelia is located in the heart of Astoria on 30th Avenue and 34th Street.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dutch Kills Centraal

Dutch Kills Centraal

Friday night I met my friend and her coworkers for dinner and drinks in Long Island City.  I've lived in Astoria for almost six years and for some reason I hardly ever go out to eat in my neighborhood.  This is ridiculous because Queens is the most ethnically diverse area in the world and with it comes some seriously diverse food.  It's true.  Google it.

We met at Dutch Kills Centraal which isn't exactly in the hippest part of town but the restaurant has a really great vibe, and I never say vibe.  The interior is rustic, cozy, and very inviting.  According to their site, their concept is local, organic, and delicious cuisine at affordable prices.  Concept accomplished.

My friend and her coworkers picked the place and I just assumed I'd make the whole gluten thing work.  The waitstaff made it incredibly easy for me.  I asked if they had hard cider and the waitress said they had two and described them for me.  I asked if they were gluten free and she said she thought so but would double check.  I had never heard of either but decided to go with the Crispen.  When she brought the Crispen over she pointed to the Certified GF label on the bottle and was just as excited as I was.  I really liked the Crispen.  So much that I might even say it is my new favorite cider.  I love Woodchuck, mostly because they are from Vermont like me, but they can get a bit heavy. Crispen is light, and as the name implies, refreshingly crisp.

For dinner I got a burger sans bun and a side of brussel sprouts.  My friend Kristen got a burger with a side of kale. When I told the waitress I didn't want a bun she asked if it was a preference or if I have Celiac so she could let the kitchen know.  One million bonus points for her.  Not only did I feel safe in her hands, but the food was really good.  The burger was well seasoned and I really love brussel sprouts, especially when they are topped with bacon. Kristen's kale was also really good.  I will definitely be back to Dutch Kills soon.

Just a note that there is no gluten free menu here and they don't claim to be gluten free friendly.  However, I found the waitstaff extremely helpful and ate safely.  As with everything, eat at your own risk.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

By The Way Bakery

ByTheWay Bakery
I like to balance exercise with baked goods.  Or, I guess if we are trying to be healthy about the whole thing, I like to balance my baked good consumption with exercise.  I really enjoy taking long walks, and I really enjoy muffins, so twice now I have made the 6.5 mile walk from my apartment to New York's newest gluten free bakery in the Upper West Side.  Six and a half miles for a muffin sounds like a fair trade off, right?  Even if you answered no to that question, these muffins are worth it.

By The Way Bakery is a gluten and dairy free bakery that recently opened on Broadway and 90th Street in Manhattan.  This makes it New York's 7th gluten free bakery.  Seven!  We sure are spoiled here in NYC. I'm going to go ahead and make a big statement here: By The Way Bakery just might be my favorite of them all.  The store is super cute, they have a great selection of baked goods, and the owner and staff are really friendly.  I've been able to sample a few things, but the reason I'll keep going back are the muffins.  My favorites are the Blueberry Corn and the Pear Cranberry.

By The Way Bakery's original location is in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.  If you are in NYC or Hastings-on-Hudson I highly recommend you give this bakery a try.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bar Taco


This weekend I went to visit my dear friend Susannah in Stamford, CT.  She's the kind of friend that I can go months or years without seeing and as soon as we are together again it's like we were never apart.  I took the Metro North up Saturday night and within an hour of leaving Grand Central we were sitting in Bar Taco already immersed in what would be hours of nonstop chatting.

Bar Taco is our go to place when I visit not only because of their good food, but because almost the entire menu is gluten free.  In fact, instead of noting the gluten free items on their menu, they mark the few items that are NOT gluten free.  Bar Taco has three other locations, all of them with the same gluten free friendly menu.