Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gluten Free in Tel Aviv

I can't believe it's been four years since took a trip to Israel - it seems like just yesterday hiking Masada to watch the sun rise over the Dead Sea.  Time flies!  Perhaps more importantly, it's 7 years since I was first diagnosed with Celiac.  I can't believe the time has gone by so quickly and easily.  At first it was a struggle; back in 2005 the market was not nearly as saturated with gluten free products and knowledge as it is today.  Now that eating gluten free has become popular (and, some would say, has jumped the shark) it is much easier to find gluten free products and connect with restaurants which are knowledgeable on serving gluten free diners.

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I saw that my college friend, Jessica Hochstadt, posted an article in The Jersualem Post about the Top 5 restaurants serving gluten free food in Tel Aviv.  Jessica is what we at Tufts call a "Double Jumbo," having gone to Tufts for her B.A. and then her M.S. at the university's Friedman School of Nutrition.  I was happy to see a fellow Tufts alum diving into the gluten free pool and immediately sent her a message asking her if I could link to the article and thankfully she obliged.  You can read the full article here - hopefully I'll get to Tel Aviv again soon so I can check out some of these restaurants and report back! 

Do you love it or do you love it?
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"Top 5: Gluten-free options in Tel Aviv"
by Jessica Hochstadt
The Jersualem Post

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ninety Nine Restaurant

I recently visited my hometown and, while there, indulged in a visit to a chain restaurant.  I'm normally a bit opposed to chain restaurants, primarily because it feels strange to me to be able to order something in New York and California and have it taste the same way.  But hey, when you're gluten free, chains are a great places to go because many of them are now offering gluten free menus.

When I was looking through Ninety Nine's gluten free menu I was initially torn: do I get something that is often gluten free like Salmon or do I go for something that is more unique, like a burger with the restaurant's gluten free bun?

I opted for the latter and was not disappointed.  My waitress was talking about the restaurant's gluten free bun as if it were a godsend so I knew I had to try it out.  I'm sorry that I didn't take a picture of the bun because it was great and didn't crumble at first touch.  I realize that is a common complaint of mine, but after having my share of terrible gluten free buns I feel qualified to say that a bun that stays composed instead of falling apart on first touch is worth acknowledging and complimenting.

Overall, eating gluten free at Ninety Nine was an easy experience and one that I wouldn't be against doing again.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Citifield Does Gluten Free

In some last minute Friday night planning my friend Eliza invited me to a Mets game.  I hadn't been out to the new Citifield Stadium and, having no pressing Friday night plans, thought it would be a fun way to spend a Friday night.  An added perk, of course, is that Citifield has a gluten free stand that I would be able to check out and report back about.

The stand is a bit out of the way - I believe it was behind section 126 but don't take my word for it; instead, make sure you ask an employee or check out the map here.  I think Eliza and I got a little turned around on our walk to the stand but were very happy once we did find it.  It is by The Marketplace, so you can also ask employees where that is if you need help searching this out.  I also didn't see this on any maps of the stadium even though other places are designated on the Citifield maps.  

Anyway, Eliza and I went for the gluten free burgers with cheese and we were both very satisfied with our purchase.  The stand also sells Kozy Shack pudding, Redbridge beer, brownies, sausages, and hot dogs.  The burger cost somewhere around $7.50 which, in my opinion, isn't that bad for a gluten free burger at a ball park.  At events like this I'm used to overpriced food and, coming from Manhattan, $7.50 for a burger is a steal.

Even better, however, is that the burdger was good!  The bun didn't fall apart and crumble as so many gluten free buns are prone to doing; instead it remained composed as Eliza and I devoured our dinners.  I haven't been to Yankees Stadium yet so I can't compare the two, although I have done a post about the gluten free options there.  Hopefully I'll make it up to the Bronx and be able to report back on how the Yankees and Mets compare in the gluten free realm.  The game was really fun despite the Mets losing to the Cincinnati Reds.  Who doesn't love a baseball game on a beautiful summer night, right?

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Iveta Scones

I truly enjoy hearing about new products, restaurants, bakeries, or places I should visit as a gluten free person from my family, friends, readers, Twitter followers, etc.  I was excited when my friend Hilary told me that her mother, Jeanne, had found a gluten free product called Ivéta and wanted to send me some to try it out.  I never turn down an opportunity to try some gluten free snacks so I said send it along.

Hilary had told me before sending them that the Ivéta mixes her mother was sending were for scones, so I decided to hold off on making them until I went home so I could have a large kitchen and my mother's baking skills at my disposal before attempting to bake scones.  Little did I know that Ivéta's gluten free scones are practically foolproof: place the mix in a bowl, add some heavy cream, mix, and pop in the oven.  That's it!  Even I could make these scones on my own which is definitely saying something.  After mixing in the heavy cream you flatten it until it looks like a large pizza crust. After that divide it up into triangles, pop it in the oven, and your scones will be ready soon!  I can't say I've ever been a big fan of scones, almost never having had them in my pre-GF days.  However, I can definitely say that these scones were more moist and light than the often crunchy and over-baked scones I do remember having pre-GF.  I'm definitely a fan of Ivéta's scones and have already ordered three more packages.  Being so easy to bake makes Ivéta a great choice for a quick brunch snack or a nice baked good to bring over to a friend's place.

Jeanne sent me two flavors: Chocolate Chip and Cranberry.  I'm a chocaholic so I much preferred the chocolate chip scones, but on my next round I'm going to venture and try some other fruit flavors.

I haven't seen these in stores yet so I'm not sure where they are available other than through Ivéta's website, but I'll keep my eyes peeled and update this post if I do happen upon them.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Domino's Gluten Free Review

I was home in upstate New York this past weekend and finally had the opportunity to check out Domino's gluten free pizza.  I was really excited when I first heard about the chain offering gluten free pizza back in early May because it meant that I would be able to order gluten free pizza in large swaths of the country. 

However I was disappointed over the resulting furor over when it was revealed that the pizza crust was not recommended for people with Celiac Disease as it is not prepared in a gluten free environment.  It is up to you whether to try Domino's gluten free pizza or not; everybody is aware of his/her own sensitivity and as such it is each individual's decision.  I went ahead and tried it because, while I'm generally very sensitive, I decided that it was okay to try it one time. 

I have very fond memories of Domino's pizza from when I was a kid and it was consistently my Friday night order.  I ordered my first Domion's gluten free pizza plain because I wanted to get a better sense of the crust and not be overwhelmed by toppings.  The pizza arrived very quickly and is only available in a 10-inch size costing $14.  The pizza was piping hot when I opened up the box and I could barely wait to dig in... so I didn't!

The pizza was great and definitely reminded me of my childhood favorite, albeit with a much thinner crust.  However it wasn't thin to the point of being crunchy; it had great flavor to it and none of the gritty texture that is so often indicative of a gluten free crust.

I know that many Celiacs and gluten free people are wary of ordering the gluten free crust from Domino's and I understand that decision.  For me, it didn't present a problem as I felt no lingering side effects.  I'll definitely order Domino's gluten free pizza again.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Spring Natural Kitchen

I've been wanting to check out Spring Natural Kitchen for a few months now and finally had the opportunity the other night.  I first noticed Spring as I was headed to a nearby restaurant, Blossom.  I still haven't made it to Blossom either but have heard great things about the restaurant's gluten free options.

Anyway, Traivor and I recently checked out Spring Natural Kitchen.  While I had walked by the restaurant before I didn't take into account how large it was; the restaurant is spacious and sizeable, not what I normally expect from a restaurant in New York City.

I was famished when we went so made sure to order a lot.  It wasn't a difficult task because the menu is marked with a (gf) for everything that is or can be prepared gluten free.  We split an order of the Seafood Risotto, the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, and a salad (which one I am now forgetting).  It's been a few weeks since I visited so the details are a bit hazy but I can say definitively that Spring Natural Kitchen is amazing.  We loved all of the food, the atmosphere, and the helpful waitstaff.

I would definitely visit Spring Natural Kitchen again and, when I do, will do a much better job of remembering what I ordered and ate to provide better descriptions.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Spring Natural Kitchen
474 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024 (Map)
(646) 596-7434