Friday, January 31, 2014


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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dancing Deer Gluten Free Brownies

Last night around 7:30 my apartment buzzer went off with a delivery from UPS.  I thought it must be a package for my roommate but it turned out to be brownie samples for me!  I had just finished dinner and this was basically the best surprise delivery ever.

It wasn't a total surprise because a rep from Dancing Deer Baking Co. had reached out to me last week to see if I would like some samples of their new gluten free brownies and I provided him with my address, so, you know, they were going to come sometime.  Dancing Deer has been selling their baked goods at specialty stores and online for years.  They are now introducing a gluten free brownie and asked for my feedback and to let you good people know about them (provided I liked them of course).

Well, I did like them.  So much that I ate three within an hour of them being delivered.  I am not proud of this fact, although Dancing Deer should be.  When my roommate got home I told her she had to bring the rest to her office today so I wouldn't eat ALL of them myself.  She agreed, after eating one herself and also realizing they were too good to have around our apartment.

The gluten free brownies are made in a dedicated gluten and nut free facility so you can rest assured they are safe to eat.  They come in packages of four and are currently being introduced at retailers mostly in the Northeastern US, but can also be purchased online at the Dancing Deer website.  Not convinced quite yet? Well, not only are these brownies pretty damn good, but Dancing Deer donates a portion of their profits to charity, making them a really awesome company to support as well.

Ok, I'm off to the gym now.  Does one Shred class cancel out three gluten free brownies?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

KuKu Canteen

KuKu Canteen

I love the New York City Celiac community.  Last Friday I found myself on my way to a bar near NYU to meet a friend for drinks.  I realized I was starving and remembered there was a place in the area people had recently been talking about as having a gluten free menu.  I couldn't remember the name of the place so I took to Twitter and had an answer within minutes: KuKu Canteen.

KuKu Canteen offers "fresh Asian fare using signature Korean ingredients."  They have a separate gluten free menu and I tried the Bibimbop.  Their bibimbop sauce isn't gluten free so they let you substitute any sauce you'd like.  This is a very casual restaurant with reasonable prices.  I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to go back, but if you are in the neighborhood and need a quick bite to eat definitely give it a try.