Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New York City

New York City

We love New York City. We found it to be very family friendly and we loved all of the gluten free options.

Eating gluten free while in New York City:

What to Pack and Bring Along

When we travel it is much easier and more economical to take our own breakfast food. We pack
Kinnikinnick maple dipped donuts and chocolate chip muffins, a box of our favorite cereal, some extra napkins, paper bowls and plastic spoons. There are fruit stands all over New York selling fresh fruit.

The night before, pick up some fresh fruit for breakfast. In the morning, Mom and Dad order coffee from room service with a glass or two of milk and we eat breakfast in the room. Honestly, gluten free or not, this is a really easy way to eat breakfast with kids when you are at a hotel. No one has get to dressed, we get to sip our coffee while we read the paper.

I also packed a loaf of gluten free bread and some peanut butter for lunch in case we could not find a place to eat. New York City has so many wonderful gluten free places to eat that we hardly needed it. But we bought some chips and fruit and packed a lunch the day we rode the Ferry to Staten Island.

Of course, always pack extra snacks. Purefit Nutrition Bars (
Pure Fit Nutrition Bar, Peanut Butter Crunch, 15 - 2 oz bars [30 oz (870 g)]) and Organic Food Bar Belgium Chocolate Chip travel well. We also took along Ener-g Pretzels and peanuts. It is not a road trip for us without our Candy Tree Licorice Vines (Candy Tree Organic Cherry Vines, Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free, 2.6-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)).

Family Friendly Gluten Free Restaurants

Risotteria, 270 Bleecker Street (212) 924 6664

One of our favorite restaurants in NYC. Located on Bleecker Street in the quirky community of West Village. Risotteria is quaint with great service and, most importantly, great gluten free food. It starts the moment you sit down and are served crispy gluten free bread sticks.

The excitement continues through the main course offering pizza, risotto, Panini sandwiches and straight into the GF dessert options. Menu is clearly marked and the wait staff offers outstanding service. Risotteria is small and very popular so go for a late lunch or early dinner. They happily squeezed our group of five in.

Babycakes NYC, 248 Broome Street (212) 677 5047

For dessert, head to Babycakes NYC for the best gluten free cupcakes you have ever eaten. BabyCakes offers all natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from gluten, casein and eggs. Eat some at the bakery and take some back to the hotel for later. The bakery also offers mail-order delivery.

Bloom's Delicatessen Cafe 350 Lexington Avenue (212) 922 3663

Yes, your classic New York deli that offers a gluten free menu. Great for breakfast or lunch. Menu items range from omelet’s to French fries. Burgers were served without a bun but sandwiches come on toasted gluten free bread.

Peter's Restaurant New York 1606 1st Avenue (212) 734 9600

A neighborhood diner located on the upper east side, a short walk from the Met. An extensive gluten free menu including pancakes, sandwiches on gluten free toasted bread, french fries and even chicken fingers. A nice outside seating area as well.

Ruby Foo's 2182 Broadway (212) 724 6700

Asian restaurant with lively decorations. I wondered if this was the inspiration for PF Chang's or visa versa. We enjoyed lettuce wraps in a fun environment. Make reservations in advance.

Sambuca 20 West 72nd Street (212) 787 5656

My Mom and I at our 2nd favorite restaurant called Sambuca.

Another favorite, Sambuca is a family style Italian restaurant that offers a gluten free menu with dinner rolls, pasta dishes including ravioli, main dishes such as chicken scarpariello, salads and even brownies for dessert. Make reservations in advance.

Lilli and Loo 792 Lexington Avenue (212)421-7800

Chinese cuisine and sushi bar. Pretty authentic Chinese food which the adults liked but was a little too real for our kids Americanized Chinese palate. We had chicken lettuce wraps, street noodles and Manchurian beef.
Other Gluten Free Restaurants:

Unfortunately, we did not get around to trying the following restaurants which also offer gluten free food. If you have, let us know what you think and we will add your comments.

Candle Café Third Avenue and 75th St as well as on East 79th Street, near Lexington Avenue (212) 537-7179
Vegetarian cuisine. Click on the link for their gluten free menu.

Gourmet Land 1588 2nd Avenue (82nd & 83rd)(212) 772-8700
Beijing, Sichuan and Malaysian style Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side.

Lumi’s 963 Lexington Avenue (NE corner of 70th St) (212) 570-2335
Upscale Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side featuring Mediterranean Tuscan cuisine.

Tini’s Restorante Italiano 2nd Ave and 81st Street (212)628-3131

Southern-italian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. The Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program suggests that you “ask for Enzo when requesting the gluten free menu.”

Beyond Eating:

We actually did more than just eat in New York. On our first trip with the a family of five, we only had a couple of days, but the following itinerary worked great for us. We tried to make cab rides as short as possible so our sightseeing was coordinated with our gluten free dining options. This takes a little more planning, but takes away a lot of the stress once you reach your destination.

Waldorf Astoria 301 Park Avenue

This is a great old historic hotel that is centrally located for sightseeing up and down Manhattan Island. It was just a few minutes walking distance to the American Girl Doll store. We even walked to Central Park and Times Square. During the week it was flooded with business suits, but more relaxed on the weekend. We all loved it here.

First night:

We had to try Risotteria for our first New York City gluten free dining experience and we were not disappointed. We loved this restaurant and enjoyed strolling down Bleecker Avenue after dinner. Since we were here to see the sights, we caught a cab to The Empire State Building. We reached the top just in time to see the sun set and the lights of Manhattan come on. Since we come from the land of mountains, water and pine trees, this sight had an entirely different feel of beauty to us. The kids were in awe.

Day Two:

We were traveling with an eight year old girl, so day two was Rockefeller Plaza and the
American Girl Doll Store.

Need I say more??

We dropped off the bags at the hotel and walked to
Bloom's Delicatessen Cafe for lunch.

We were heading out early to go to a Broadway Show that night so we ordered extra carry out food for dinner (some green salads and chicken salad) and keep it in the hotel refrigerator. We spent sometime in the afternoon shopping on Fifth Avenue. That night we went to
Mary Pippins on Broadway. It was absolutely fabulous. The highlight of the entire trip and we are still singing supercalifragil . ....

Day Three:

We were taking the ferry to
Staten Island and the Statute of Liberty so we decided to make some peanut butter sandwiches on gluten free bread, buy some chips and fruit and take our own lunch. It was a good idea because there was really nothing to eat for us on Staten Island and we avoided the long lines at the one food vendor. The ferry ride was wonderful. The view looking back to Manhattan Island is unmatched is its ability to inspire awe. The Statute of Liberty was equally inspiring. We planned on seeing Ellis Island, but my sightseers had seen enough, so next time.

On the way back up to the hotel, we went by Babycakes for a late afternoon snack.

Wow - truly fantastic cupcakes. That night we had dinner at Ruby Foo's.

Day Four:

After a late breakfast/early lunch on the Upper East Side at Peter's Restaurant, we took an easy cab ride across Central Park to
American Museum of Natural History.

Of course this is a NYC family classic. We really enjoyed the Cosmic Collisions Space Show. Afterwards, we walked through Central Park and down Fifth Avenue to our hotel. Dinner on our last night in NYC was at Sambuca.

Day Five:

We had a late flight, so time for one more day of sightseeing. We had to go back to Risotteria for another great gluten free meal. Then we headed to Time Square for some last minute shopping.

The M&M store has very cute lunch boxes (great for a celiac kid who has to carry lunch just about everywhere). Of course, we had to ride the giant ferris wheel at Toys R Us.
We were all sad to leave the Big Apple but decided we would definitely make this a yearly excursion.

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