Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Legal Sea Foods

I've been trying to write this post for the last week and a half, but these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.  I've finally rejoined society and it's time to let you know that Legal Sea Foods has a great gluten free menu.  The truth is, I'm still too exhausted to really tell you about it, but with so many gluten free options and locations all along the east coast, I wanted to make sure you at least know about it.

When I went to Lea Sea Foods a few weeks ago in Boston I was impressed with their large gluten free menu.  I was even more impressed when they brought me two warm gluten free rolls.  I was further impressed when the kitchen manager personally brought out my gluten free lobster and side dishes.  You can tell they take their gluten free menu seriously, which I really appreciate.

Lea Sea Foods is a bit pricy, but fresh quality sea food often is.  They have locations in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virgina, and Washington DC.

I also went to Legal Sea Foods in the Philly Airport.  Read about it here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bistango Restaurant

I've been to Bistango a few times now.  In fact, it was one of the very first restaurants I tried after going gluten free.  They are very aware of food allergies and ask upon seating if anyone in your party has any food allergies.  While the menu isn't huge, they specialize in Italian food and have plenty of dishes to choose from.  Just about everything on the menu can be modified to be gluten free, including the pasta dishes.

I went last night and when I told them I had a gluten allergy they promptly brought me some toasted gluten free bread with my own garlic and olive oil.  My man friend's fresh gluten filled bread looked much better, but that's ok.  On Monday nights they have a slightly different menu that is a little bit cheaper.  I like this because while their food is good, it is a little bit above my average night out's price range.  I got the Baked Lasagna with Short Rib Bolognese.  To make it gluten free they modified it by serving the same ingredients over gluten free penne.  It was really good.  My man friend had the Grilled Salmon and enjoyed his as well.  They also have fresh gluten free pasta which I think would be interesting to try.

Overall, Bistango is a pretty good choice for gluten free Italian food in the city.  They do charge $2 more for gluten free penne, but a lot of places do that.  I also just noticed they have gluten free pancakes during brunch, so I will definitely be back to try them at some point.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Progresso Soup

We were a Progresso soup family growing up.  That Campbell's soup always looked a little funny straight from the can.  Progresso was perfect for a cold winter day, an afternoon snack, or lunch when there wasn't much else around.  Canned soup remains a good staple to have around for those days when you don't feel like cooking (or haven't been to the grocery store in weeks).

I'm very happy that Progresso has 17 different gluten free soups, including my favorite - lentil.  A list of their gluten free soups is here.  The gluten free soups are marked gluten free, so be sure to check the label.

Pie By The Pound

Friday after work I went to Pie By The Pound for some gluten free pizza.  I had never been there before but it was on my list of restaurants to try.  I'm glad I did.  Pie is a casual pizza place that was full of locals and school children getting slices and free cookies (I'm not sure why they had free cookies, but yay for them).  Their regular pizza is already prepared and you choose how much of each kind you want.  I saw many people mixing and matching.  They make their gluten free pizza to order, so I chose the zucchini and red onion and sat down to wait.  They told me it would be about 10 minutes.

I got wrapped up in my book, but approximately 10 minutes later they brought my pizza over to me.  I got up to get some napkins and overheard a man asking the counter lady who the gluten free pizza was for.  I pipped up that it was for me and a few minutes later he came over with his own gluten free pizza and joined me.  Turns out he is the owner and has been gluten free for six years.  He was very friendly, gave me a slice of his custom order gluten free pizza, and even gave me a free gluten free beer.  His neighbor from uptown also stopped by and the three of us sat and chatted.  It turned out to be a great first experience.  With such a convenient location near Union Square, gluten free pizza that actually tastes good (really good), and such a friendly staff, I will definitely be back to Pie again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pop Chips

I like these.  Pop chips are an all natural snack without a lot fat and they actually taste good.  At 100 calories a bag and gluten free, they make for a perfect afternoon snack, like the one I just had.  That's about all I have to say about these bad boys.

5 Napkin Burger

One of my brothers loves 5 Napkin Burger.  He used to live near the one in Hell's Kitchen and we would go every so often.  As the name implies, they specialize in burgers.  I'm kind of salivating now thinking of the burger I ate there last night.  They have two locations on Manhattan's west side, one in my Astoria Queens neighborhood, as well as one in Boston, Miami, and Atlanta.  Fortunately for me, they have gluten free buns.

5 Napkin has 8 different burger varieties, but I'm not sure I've ever strayed from the traditional 5 Napkin Burger (with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, and rosmary aioli) or the Bacon-Cheddar Burger (served with the classic lettuce, tomato, and onion).  A side of fries is a must.  When I ordered the fries this time the server informed me there was a slight chance of cross contamination because they are prepared near a station that deals with wheat.  I took my chances and was fine, but I appreciated that he let me know.

They also have other appetizers, entres, and desserts, but who goes to a burger place and gets anything else?  My only qualm with this place is that it's pretty expensive for a burger (although they did not charge me extra for the gluten free bun, which was a plus).  Because of this, and the fact that I always leave feeling a bit sluggish, it's more of an every 6 months to a year kind of restaurant.  But those times I do go, it's always a nice treat.

I know they have gluten free buns at the Hell's Kitchen and Astoria locations because I've been there, but I suggest calling first to check at the other locations.  The buns are rice based and pretty good for a gluten free burger bun.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy French Toast

I don't know how to take pictures.  It's really unfortunate.
 I didn't think I needed to write this post, but I'm a little worried you don't know how to make french toast.  I just got back from Labor Day weekend at home in Vermont to an empty fridge.  I had two plain chobani yogurts and some eggs.  Bread in the freezer.  Random things in the cabinets.  I didn't want eggs for dinner so I whipped up some french toast.  Fortunately, I always have real Vermont maple syrup in my fridge.  This recipe serves one, feel free to double, triple, or quadruple it.

2 slices (gf) bread
1 egg
several shakes of cinnamon
maple syrup

In a flat dish combine the egg and cinnamon.  Coat the bread on both sides with the egg mixture.  Cook on both sides over medium heat until golden brown.  Enjoy with maple syrup.  Done.  Phew, easy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hale and Hearty

I used to love Hale and Hearty soup for lunch.  Warm and comforting, it is a great lunch choice for fall, winter, spring, and even some summer days when the air conditioning in your office makes it feel like winter.  Once I went gluten free I was too scared to eat at Hale and Hearty because I wasn't sure if their soups were gluten free or not.   A few weeks ago, though, I really wanted soup for lunch so I emailed them to see.  I wasn't sure I'd hear back, but low and behold, I had an answer within the hour.  Turns out, the vast majority of their soups are perfectly safe to eat.  This information is on their website, but it's a bit difficult to find.  A full list of their gluten free soups is here.

Hale and Hearty has locations all over the city and each day they have multiple soup options.  I've never had one I didn't like and I'm happy to know I can add them to my lunchtime restaurant choices.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New York City Wine & Food Festival

If you read my blog maybe you like food.  And wine.  I like both.  Maybe you also like supporting organizations dedicated to fighting hunger.  I know I do.  Maybe you would like to attend a food and wine festival that also helps fight hunger.  You can do this by either buying a ticket to an event at this year's Wine & Food Festival, or if you aren't quite on that financial level, you can volunteer at an event and eat and drink for free (this is my personal choice).

I have volunteered at this festival for the last two years.  If I can, I plan on doing it again this year.  It is a weekend full of really fun events, lots of good food, and plenty of opportunities to see famous chefs.  Best of all, the proceeds of this festival go to the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength, both of which are organizations dedicated to ending food poverty.

Check out the different events here.
You can buy tickets here.
If you are interested in volunteering, fill out this survey or email my friend Brian Pham at the Food Bank.

For my gluten free friends: I cannot guarantee you gluten free food at any of these events, but I can guarantee you'll have fun while doing something good for society.