Posted by: GlutenFreeGypsy | October 16, 2009

New York City

Before Matt and I moved out east for our stay-cation we made a list of places and things to see.  Big, giant, important one?  NYC.  Why not?  From Portsmouth, it’s about 5 1/2 hours to drive (if you want to venture by car.)  And by public transport, you save the hassle of traffic, parking, etc.  We chose to drive down to Newburyport and catch the commuter rail to Boston.  From there, we took the T to South Station, found the Fung-Wah terminal, bought really inexpensive tickets ($15 a piece) and boarded the bus to Chinatown.  Less than five hours later we were submerged in the bustle and flow of “The City.”

Now I’m not a huge big-city girl, but it is exciting to be amidst all the sights, sounds, and people.  Invigorating almost.  A large part of my travel enjoyment is in the planning.  Not the ‘we must take this tour at this time and see this museum this day type,’ but the ‘there’s an amazing gluten free restaurant I’ve been reading about for years and you have no choice but to accompany me there’ type.  Luckily, Matt is a superb gluten free traveling companion.

Our first stop, the lovely hostel on 24th St, in the Flatiron District.  At the American Dream Hostel we were privy to a nice bunk bed and our own sink, just living the dream.  From there we headed south again, stopping to photograph the famous Flatiron Building.

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We continued south, going through Washington Square Park into Greenwich Village.  Our destination?  270 Bleeker St, home to the infamous Risotteria.  As they state on their website, “this is one of the best known gluten free restaurants in America.”  And they’ve managed to pinpoint the wants of millions of celiacs.  We want breadsticks, and pizza, and beer, and dessert!

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And we want to order it off the regular menu and not ask questions when it comes to us!  So that is what we did, and it was good, so good.  I had visited Risotteria two years ago with my dad, and to this day have not stopped thinking about the chocolate chip cookie I had.  Not your average gluten free baked good, but soft, actually chewy on the inside, with the ability to stay together without crumble.  Nothing short of a miracle.

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Moving on, the evening took us north to Times Square.  We were basically on a wandering mission with no destination.  Rockefeller Center, coffee at Dean and Deluca’s, drinks from a couple of Irish pubs.  The late night brought the insatiable urge for Matt to have hot dogs, so we found another famous NY staple, Gray’s Papaya.  I savored the papaya juice while he downed the “recession special.”

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The next morning, our goal was to locate the often discussed Babycakes bakery.  It’s fairly early when we begin our walk towards Chinatown, and we nearly walk right by this tiny space on Broome St.  Lucky for us, the bakery was just opening for the day.  Though we’re the first customers, there was still a plethora of goods to drool over.  I’d been intent on having the gluten free donuts.  One cinnamon sugar, one with frosting and sprinkles.  Wonderful doughnut bliss!  In the half hour or so, we watched plenty of people wander into the tiny shop, from those abstaining from gluten to those needing their morning java.  It was a happening place.  The staff was friendly, the decor adorable.  One could not ask for a better glutinous morning.

IMG_1862DSC03186The rest of the day took us to Wall Street, Ground Zero, and Battery Park.  We decided to hit one last restaurant before leaving the city, and discovered Chelsea Market.  I had never been to the market before, but it was pretty impressive!  So many options from ethnic to the gourmet dessert pastry.  Friedmans Lunch was our last pick.  It was amazing!  We sat at a tiny little table among the lunch crowd and split the roasted turkey and pastrami sandwich.  Yes there was coleslaw and potato chips.  In the sandwich!  Beyond clever.  Friedmans offers a menu with many items denoted as being available gluten free, from salads to the flourless brownie.  Our server asked us to sign the gluten free guest book, and I couldn’t help but feel the joy of all the fellow celiacs of being able to eat out without caution. Cheers to the celiac awareness in NYC!

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