Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Babycakes NYC

In the mood for something sweet?  Head on down to the lower east side to BabyCakes NYC.  This Vegan bakery has dozens of gluten free goodies. 
Love cupcakes?   They have vanilla, carrot, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes with a choice of 3 different types of  frosting.  They will also make you a full sized cake if that's what you want. 
Are loaves more your taste?  They have 8 different types including zucchini, banana chocolate chip and lemon poppy.  Cookies, brownies, crumb cakes, macaroons and muffins round out the rest of the gf menu.  They offer traditional refined sugar options or agave sweetened treats and many options are dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free.  Items that contain spelt ( a no-no for celiacs) are boldy identified so it's easy to make a safe choice. 
Prices are pretty much what you would expect to pay for such a specialty item. BabyCakes NYC will ship locally by messenger or nationally by FedEx or you can visit their other locations in Los Angeles and Walt Disney World. They also have 2 cookbooks available for purchase so you can make your own BabyCakes at home. 
Full disclosure:  I have only tried two items from the bakery but if what I've had is any indication I am in love!
The brownies are rich and delicious.  My brownie loving brother said they taste just like a gluten filled brownie and I agree.  At $11 for a dozen these two-bite wonders are well worth it.  I still have a dozen in my freezer that I don't have the heart to eat although I realize I could always just go get more. 
The other item I tried was a chocolate cupcake (noticing a theme here?) which was rich and dense and the perfect size for a wonderful dessert.  Can you tell I am in love with BabyCakes NYC?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rubirosa = A happy happy girl!

My second foray into the restaurant world...I admit it I was scared.  I was vetoing restaurant suggestions left and right.  I didn't want to be glutened.  I had read a review of Rubirosa on Mulberry St. in NoLita that sounded like a cheesy, saucy, too-good-to-be-true-for-an-italian-food-lover-with-celiac-disease dream.  So it had to be next on the list of safe restaurants.  And I must say it did not disappoint for one second. 
In my opinion Rubirosa has the best gf pizza I have tried so far. And the chicken parm was to die for. Pasta was great...I can not say one bad thing about this place except we couldn't get a reservation and so had to wait quite a while. However it was a beautiful night and we sat outside and waited mostly patiently...   It was worth every second of the wait.
Our food came out when it was ready not all together but everything was out within 5 minutes of each other and it was really no big deal. Try this place, you will not be disappointed. Oh and the waitress was gf too and when I declined dessert thinking they didn't have anything for me she informed me that in fact they do have a gf dessert. However, I was unable to partake in the flour less chocolate cake as the rest of my party wanted to go around the corner for rice pudding at rice to riches..(all flavors but 2 were gf).
Oh, and as we were leaving my friends asked the hostess about what they do to prevent cross-contamination and they said they have a totally separate area of the kitchen for the gf foods, totally separate utensils, chefs etc. Good to know they take proper precautions.
I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of the pizza we had as an appetizer, the slices flew off of the pizza pan way too quickly.  The only photo I did get was when I restrained myself for 5 seconds and snapped the chicken parmesan. 
Leftovers were great the next day too. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gluten free at a brewery? YES!!!!

It took a while but eventually I got over my initial depression regarding never being able to eat my favorite foods again or ever drink another beer. And what about restaurant meals?  Was I relegated to a lifetime of drooling over an empty plate while my family ate hunks of warm bread slathered with salty creamy butter? 

Fortunately, I was mistaken in all those instances.  After hours of googling and reading blogs I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It's a big city out there!  And there are options!  Even for people like me!

My first foray into the scary restaurant world of potential cross-contamination and wait staff confusion was to the Heartland Brewery on 8th Av and 41st st.  I had read that they gluten free items on their menu and yes, even gf beer!  I was not disappointed. 
The gluten free items are listed right on the regular menu and include items in each category.  GF Appetizers include Chili, nachos with the works, buffalo wings, BBQ shrimp, and mussels.  There are several types of salad as well.  Do you want a burger and fries?  You can have that too, although without the bun.  They wrap their signature HB burger in a lettuce leaf for you.  I'm sure you could bring your own gf bun if you really wanted to. 
As for entrees you have six options including PASTA!!!  Other main courses include BBQ ribs, various steaks and chicken dishes. 
We opted to share the nachos as a starter and boy were they yummy!  The nachos were piled high with two types of cheese, salsa, beef chili, guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos!  I was even able to wash it all down with gluten free beer.  Bard's Tale is a delicious alternative to those of us who love a good beer but can no longer consume gluten. 
For my main course I had the St. Louis BBQ ribs and french fries.  yes, you can have fries!  I was skeptical too but after asking my very knowledgeable waitress she informed me that french fries were fried totally separately to avoid cross contamination.  They were the best fries I have ever eaten!!
The only disappointment was no gluten free dessert options.  Luckily I was already full so I wasn't too disappointed.  It was so exciting to sit down in a restaurant and have so many options that I was actually indecisive!  So head over to this Heartland Brewery location and support their efforts to offer the gluten free community delicious options.