Gluten Free Pizza: Ribalta

IMG_1969I work near Ribalta and frankly during a football game you can’t miss it – there are Italians cheering and yelling out the door! Every time I walk by this place it makes me feel like I AM IN ITALY. The combination of attitude, music, noise, and Vespas parked out front transport you thousands of miles a way. And all of that heart is in the menu with things like truffles and other delights that are part of the unfolding of seasons that Italians count as standard.

And I guess that is the point. It feels like the owner has established an outpost here in NYC and convinced all of his friends – both new and old to join him.

So how is the Gluten Free PIzza?  Its good. Its different than my favorite place – Keste – which is odd since this is the same set of owners. But I feel that some people might like this place better for a variety of reasons.

First, the crust at this place is crisper. Its not stretchy like Keste. Second the environment. This place can be wild and probably very fun if you are looking to hang and watch football (soccer for us Americans) one afternoon. And finally if you are in Union Square..and don’t feel like heading south in to the village this place is a good pit stop. They are quick and very efficient. The service is excellent – the owner often comes by and checks on you.

And I would say that it feels really joyful in there. People are having FUN and because you are sitting there you feel yourself joining in.

Neighborhood: Union Square

Address: 48 E 12th St

Website: http://www.ribaltapizzarestaurant.com/ 

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HU Kitchen: A Gluten Free DREAM

Human Element MuffinsIf you are gluten free you have dreams about things that you miss. For me, I WISH there was a place to sit quietly over a cup of tea and slowly eat a muffin in the morning. A place where I could get an excellent coffee – not a mediocre EXCELLENT – and an delicious muffin gluten free.

It turns out THIS IS NOT A DREAM!!!

Enter Human Element.  Its rare that I am stunned living here in NYC but this morning I could not even speak as I stood there taking in that the entire place was gluten free.  Not only could I get a muffin or a breakfast sandwich (yes you are reading this correctly!!) I could order GF French Toast, GF Pancakes. I could order lunch…dinner…..maybe I will move in?

This is a gluten free breakfast dream. This is DREAMS becoming a reality.

This place is cool as well – NYC cool. Its somewhat spacious for the city, has a great vibe and seems like a great place to caffeinate, eat, and perhaps have some wine and a treat. HU calls its food “human conscious”  - clean healthy food without GMO’s, with a focus on particular oils… it is a healthy place. BUT ITS ALSO A GLUTEN FREE DREAM because its good.

Go there. Now!

Neighborhood: Union Square

Address: 78 5th Avenue 

Website: http://hukitchen.com/

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Hearth’s Gluten Free Pasta – Exciting Update

Veal and Ricotta Meatballs Gluten Free PastaEating at Hearth is an experience in itself. I consider it a “local” restaurant rather than a tourist attraction although I sense that shifted while its Chef, Marco Canora was a contestant on Iron Chef.

Why is it local? My definition of a “local restaurant” is one that offers everything New York City eaters expect but in a way we dream of having it.

New Yorkers like a wine sommelier, local food, professional waiters and the attention of a highly talented chef. At the same time, eating at a white tablecloth restaurant aiming for a Michelin gets old. Fast. It feels too stuffy and uncool.

And this is what makes Hearth a local favorite – the rare combination of being able to talk to the sommelier while Black Sabbath is quietly playing in the background creates a feeling of “having it all.”

I eat at Hearth about once a month and after doing this for about 1.5 years the people on staff know me and my gluten free needs. About 80% of the menu can be made gluten free right off the menu. I always remind them when I make my reservation on Open Table using the comment section to say that “one diner will be Gluten Free.” More about that here.

When I showed up on Saturday one of my favorite waitresses at Hearth, Laura, got really excited to tell me that “Marco has been experimenting with gluten free pasta” and would I like to try it?

I almost fell off my chair when she also let me know that their Veal and Ricotta meatballs pasta DOES NOT have breadcrumbs. I always assumed that these meatballs were out of my reach. I would have ordered them without the pasta had I known!!

I was forewarned that this pasta is made in the same pasta maker used to make regular pasta and that its not designed for someone with a very severe gluten allergy. I appreciated the warning. How did I think this through whether it was ok to proceed? I thought about my own pasta maker and washing it out between uses would be enough for me to feel confident in eating the gluten free pasta. I also do not have a highly reactive gluten allergy like others do – if that is you Hearth is not ready to offer you pasta yet.

Address: 430 E 12th Street

Neighborhood: East Village

Website: http://restauranthearth.com/ 

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Eating at Gramercy Tavern Gluten Free

gramercy tavern

Last night I sat at the bar and indulged in an extraordinary meal at the Gramercy Tavern. Hmmm…..Danny Meyer’s restaurants find a way to accommodate gluten free diners. Two of my favorite haunts are Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe (more about that later).

I love eating at the bar because there is something really intimate about the whole scene. Its an absolute that you will get great attention from the bartender. And bartenders in NYC know their stuff (and the menu). You can connect with those around you or the bartender or just read a book.

When I traveled in Germany last year a couple from Munich commented about how unusual it was at a particular bar in NYC that one could order a glass of Barolo. This is another NYC secret: because many are dining alone getting an above average wine by the glass menu is not unheard of.

First course: Mussels, Salsify, Red Beans, Chorizo and Cilantro Broth. The Cilantro broth was to die for.

Second course: Flounder, Spaghetti Squash, Walnuts and Sherry Sauce. This was the most amazing dish because of the sherry sauce and candied walnuts and MANGO that made up the sauce… The Hubs paired this with an Alberino from Spain. It was a great combo.

No pics :–( this time readers…but put Gramercy on your list. Its a must do NYC experience. The menu changes daily based on what is available locally. Get there after 9pm and eat at the bar to get the best attention.

Neighborhood: Flatiron

Address: 42 E 20th Street

Website: http://www.gramercytavern.com/ 

 

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