Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy 10th Anniversary, Babycakes - And Happy 10th Anniversary to you, Celiac!

It's been approximately 74,239 years since I posted, and for that I apologize.  Life in New York has become unbelievably busy - it's tough maintaining a personal and a professional life!  One of my New Year's resolutions for 2015 was to kickstart this blog and begin posting again, and I've done a poor job.  Here's hoping I can pick up the pace through December 31, 2015.

Today provided the perfect beginning to my renewed commitment to posting.  It's been a perfect weekend; I spent Saturday running the loop in Central Park, followed by running down from the mid-60s on the west side of Manhattan down to Battery Park and then back up the east side towards the Williamsburg Bridge.  In total it was a fifteen mile run; I'm fairly deep into my training for the 2015 New York Marathon and am trying to keep the pace.

It's been a bit tough recently to keep myself motivated, so today I went out for a 20 mile bike ride.  I rode from my apartment in Brooklyn (that's right - I'm a Brooklyn boy now!) up to Queens and then over the Queensboro Bridge into the city and up into Central Park.  There I met up with some friends for a birthday party and lawn games (along with the mandatory rosé in a can, obviously).  After a few hours I continued on my bike ride through the Central Park loop and ultimately wound my way over to Second Avenue on the east side.

As I biked down Second Avenue I was having a major internal struggle: did I want ice cream, frozen yogurt, or a sweet?  After the fifteen mile run on Saturday and the bike rude on Sunday I knew I wanted to treat myself but didn't know quite how.  I ultimately decided to go with a sweet and continued down Second Avenue towards my long lost friend, Babycakes.  Anybody who has spent five or more minutes reading the blog knows about my obsession with Babycakes; I've been going there since 2005.  I've visited both shops in Los Angeles (and played lots of Babycakes Bingo during law school), made a stop in Orlando at their Downtown Disney location, and basically stalked Erin McKenna around the country.

When I walked into Babycakes, I saw a "Happy Birthday" banner hung up across the bakery and some party platters set out.  I hoped I wasn't crashing and asked the cashiers; they told me it was the ten year anniversary of Babycakes!  I then turned around and saw Erin in the shop and was so pleased that I had chosen to stop in for a treat.  Erin is always great to see and the smattering of free treats sweetened the deal.

Yes -  realize the top picture is from Babycakes' previous Los Angeles outpost - so sue me?!  No, don't, I'm a lawyer.
It was really nice and reminded me how much I love Babycakes and the amazing sweets they serve.  Just as importantly, it reminded me that it has been ten years since I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I remember very clearly when I was diagnosed; it was mid-June 2005 and my family and I had just come back from a trip through southern Europe.  I devoured as much pasta as possible on that trip, as the doctor had advised me that a Celiac diagnosis was a possibility upon my return to the U.S.  A few days after my return and diagnosis, I move into dormitory housing in Boston and was stuck eating dorm food for the summer.  I lost about twenty pounds from an already thin frame; I was scared to eat for fear of getting sick.

On a visit to New York that same summer of 2005 I was introduced to Babycakes.  Walking into Babycakes was like entering paradise, particularly after the difficult summer I had living in Boston.  I still remember my eyes widening at the sight of all of the items they had: cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and my personal favorite, cookie 'wich.  While I had experimented with some of Whole Foods' gluten free options, the experience of walking into an entirely gluten free oasis was unparalleled.  I've been hooked ever since.

Over the ten years since Babycakes opened they have opened two shops in Los Angeles and an outpost in Disney World (at the request of Disney).  They have served tens of thousands of people like me who sought a place to eat treats free of gluten and animal products.  In the ten years since I first went to Babycakes I've graduated college and law school, moved back-and-forth from the east to west coasts four (4!) times, passed two state bars, and started this little blog.

Since beginning this blog I've had the opportunity to meet amazing restaurant and bakery owners, entrepreneurs looking to break into the gluten free market, and other Celiac and gluten-free people who have created amazing products, apps and apps after their diagnoses.  I've been impressed and inspired by all of the stories along the way and continue to be astounded by the growth in the gluten free market since 2005.

Visiting Babycakes on the bakery's 10th Anniversary reminded me how lucky I am to have met so many amazing people along the way.  As I restart my commitment to this blog, I have to say a big thank you to anybody reading this - to the people on Twitter, Instagram, or surfing to this page through random Google searches.  Your time reading this blog means the most to me and keeps me wanting to write.

Looking forward to meeting more incredible people along the way!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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248 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002 (Map)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fields Good Chicken

I'm always looking for a new lunch spot by my office.  My team recently had a team meeting and ordered in from Fields Good Chicken.  Although I had walked by many times before I had never ventured in... and I'm now regretting the lost opportunities I had to enjoy Fields Good Chicken's awesomeness.

Fields Good Chicken is dedicated to healthy roast chicken.  After the owner began traveling cross-country for a professional cycling career, he realized how difficult it was to find fast, healthy food.  He decided to change that and Fields Good Chicken was born.

Fields Good Chicken is a great alternative to Chipotle, my normal lunch stalwart.  Fields Good Chicken is just as delicious as Fields Good Chicken and a bit lighter than Chipotle.  The chicken at Fields Good Chicken also tastes fresher and a bit more "whole."  The guacamole is also terrific and Fields Good Chicken has the option to add quinoa instead of brown rice so basically Fields Good Chicken wins all around.

Best of all, the menu very clearly marks the gluten free options with a big "GF."  Can't beat that.

Fields Good Chicken is a great lunch and dinner spot in the Financial District.  The hours are a bit limited on the weekends which is understandable given the location.  I can definitely see the place becoming a New York chain competing with Chipotle.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a Bueno Bowl the next time you're in the neighborhood.  You won't be disappointed.

Do you love it or do you love it?

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Fields Good Chicken
101 Maiden Lane
New York, NY

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Moved (Back) to New York!

This post is very overdue... but life has been crazy in the past two months as I've returned to my native east coast!  I am so happy to be back in New York City.  With my family nearby in upstate and Philadelphia I definitely feel like I belong on the east coast.  It also worked out that I got my dream job, so how could I say no?  It's been about six weeks now that I've been back in New York and I appreciate every single day.

As always, keep the tips coming.  I'm looking forward to posting more regularly now that I'm rocking a new Macbook Pro (after five solid years with my old MacBook) and would love to hear about any New York gluten free places!

Do you love it or do you love it?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

I am super delinquent in my blog posting and I am making a vow today to get back on the blogging horse.

With that proclamation I have to do a quick post about Living Without's Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest this weekend here in San Diego.  Exhibitors include Lucy's, Daiya, Green's Gluten Free, Enjoy Life, Udi's, and local favorite 2Good2B among others.  A list of presenters is here.

Tickets are $15 for one day for adults aged 13+ and $5 for one day for children below 13.  You can buy your tickets here.

I'll be there!  Will you?

Do you love it or do you love it?

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Living Without's Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest
The Town and Country Resort and Convention Center
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108 (Map)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


It has been about three years since I was last in Colorado but I never forget about the amazing gluten free eating I did there.  With terrific places like Larkburger, Snooze, and Fruition, I have fond memories of my adventures in CO.  I recently went back to Colorado for a week of skiing in Beaver Creek and Vail with my family and checked out a few new spots while there.

The first restaurant I visited was Larkspur.  Back in 2009 I went to the restaurant's affiliated burger restaurant, Larkburger, and absolutely loved it.  I made my way over to Vail from Beaver Creek and was pleasantly surprised to be able to sneak in without a reservation.  Making me even happier was seeing that the restaurant marked all of its gluten free options as such thus making my choices much easier.  I opted for the Chilean Salmon with quinoa risotto, fennel confit, and red pepper vinaigrette.  It was paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon which, while unlikely, was delicious.  The entire meal was terrific, with attentive service and helpful staff.

The only odd thing about Larkspur was the entrance to the restaurant.  It's nestled within a larger building but it wasn't clear what the building houses during the day.  To enter the restaurant one walks up a flight of stairs then enters the building and walks through a dark lobby to arrive at Larkspur.  Perhaps during the day it is buzzing with activity but at 730pm on a Friday evening it was positively dead.  Just a note for those who are seeking the restaurant out not to be turned away by the somewhat odd entrance.

Anyway, I would definitely head back to Larkspur during my next visit to the Vail valley (hopefully soon!).

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Larkspur Restaurant
458 Vail Valley Drive
Vail, CO 81657 (Map)
Tel: 970-754-8050

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Girl Scouts Test a Gluten Free Cookie

My friend Tina sent me an article the other day about the Girl Scouts testing out a new gluten free cookie.  The cookie will only be available in select markets and is described as a "chocolate chip shortbread cookie" and is made of rice and tapioca flours.  The cookies contain "no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no high fructose corn syrup, no palm oil, and no hydrogenated oils" according to the Girl Scouts' website.

Want to see if you live in a test market?  Click here to check out the list of testing places.  Sadly neither San Diego or Los Angeles is included in the list but Orange County is... so perhaps a road trip is in order?

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Girl Scouts Gluten Free

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Il Fornaio

Last night I dined at Il Fornaio in Del Mar with some family friends.  I'm not often up that way but was excited when I checked out the restaurant's website and saw an entire gluten free menu.

It isn't often that I go out to Italian food but I was definitely in the mood for it after a tough few days of work outs.  The restaurant is large and was a great option to be able to catch up with friends and not battle a loud atmosphere.  The gluten free menu was impressively large and not limiting by any means.  I ultimately chose the Caprese salad to begin and the Bolognese for my entrée.  Our waiter warned us that the restaurant now serves its Caprese up warm but we instead opted for the traditional cold salad.  When it was brought over to us the waiter lightly sprinkled on some balsamic vinegar to give the dish some added flavor, even though I'm not sure if it was needed.  The Caprese was excellent and served with large, fresh tomatoes.  The Bolognese was likewise excellent and served with gluten free fusili pasta.  I ended the meal with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.  Yes, I know I cheated from my clean eating diet, but you have to live every now and again, right?

I would definitely visit Il Fornaio again.  Between the inviting atmosphere and the enormous gluten free menu, this is a great find for gluten free eaters in San Diego.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Il Fornaio
1555 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014 (Map)