Despanã’s Gluten Free Delights

Despana Gluten FreeNYC is filled with specialty food shops that have gluten free delights and unfortunately many visitors don’t bother visiting them because they don’t know about them. Not only can you take home products (if you are allowed) that you can’t find elsewhere, but you can often experience amazing delicacies inside the shop at pretty decent prices.

Despana NYC Gluten Free 2Despanã is a Spanish specialty shop in SoHo. I love stopping here in the middle of a shopping trip or on my way back from Chinatown.

If you are a gluten free eater seeking a snack, this is a fun shop to pop into and sit down with whatever you select. The choices are wide. You can buy al la carte from the cases of Iberian ham, different chorizos, lobo and other selections along with some cheese.

OR you can check out the prepared foods in the case including gazpacho, tortillas (usually a few kinds), and different salads.

Depsanâ’s team understands Gluten Free, so just tell them when ordering at the counter and confirm that everything you order is gluten free. They make their gazpacho gluten free and advertise it on the door.

I like this place as a stopping point because its a little respit from the chaos of SoHo. The seating area is never very crowded and it feels like you found a secret spot. I love secret spots!! Its one of the many things New Yorkers pride themselves on.

Address: 408 Broome Street

Website: http://despananyc.com/

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Eating Gluten Free at Co Ba: Delicious Vietnamese Street Food

IF you are looking to eating gluten free in NYC, Co Ba is a GREAT spot to escape the crowds of Chelsea Market and the Highline Park AND enjoy excellent Vietnamese food. Co Ba is definitely a local restaurant off the beaten tourist path. It’s also easy to miss. Keep your eyes peeled for a small restaurant with a red awning across the street from some dreary apartment buildings on 9th avenue.

For those of us with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, Vietnamese cuisine is always a good selection because it uses a lot of rice noodles or rice as its chosen starch. The main trick to eating gluten free at Vietnamese restaurants is to ask a lot of questions about sauces.

My favorite gluten free dish at Co Ba is Bun Cha Ca Hanoi.

I am a HUGE fan of Bun Cha Ca. I have not yet been to Vietnam but from my husband’s telling, there are street vendors in some cities that line the streets selling their own version of Cha Ca.

Bun Cha Ca every day? That’s for me!

Bun Cha Ca is a turmeric marinated white fish traditionally served with dill, rice noodles and peanuts.

In other words: Gluten free without any modifications. PLUS, It’s delicious! I have tried Cha Ca at three different restaurants in NYC so far – THIS IS THE BEST. It’s fresh but filling at the same time.

Ordering a Bun, which is a noodle dish, is the easiest route to something gluten free and delicious. There are many other choices on Co Ba’s menu. Buns have rice noodles (gluten free), chicken, lettuce, carrots and mint mixed together. It’s hard to explain how delicious they are!

This place is great for small plates. BUT. Watch the sauces. This is where you can get in to gluten free trouble. Ordering Tom Cuon, rice paper wrapped shrimp, which I did the last time, can lead to problems unless the waiter knows what is in the sauce. ASK!!!

I asked for an alternative sauce after this dish arrived because it when I see a brown sauce I start asking questions to make sure its gluten free.

Usually waiters don’t know about soy sauce having gluten. Let them know when you order. They swapped out the sauce with the same mixture they serve with the Buns – a vinegar sauce – and it was great!

Co Ba means “Miss Number Three” which translates loosely to “Auntie Number Three.” This is what the purveyors of tiny restaurants in Vietnam are called because they cook for those that live right next door to them. Auntie Number Three is usually a housewife that expands her offerings to the locals and she becomes like a family member.

And that is the feeling you get in Co Ba. You suspect that someone’s mom is cooking in the back… but she is cooking up stuff that no mom I have met has mastered. Not surprisingly, this is what chef Steven Duong had in mind: A restaurant offering foods typically found on the streets of Vietnam. It’s a great place to go for small plates, clay pots and of course Bun Cha Ca. (Additional Posts on Co Ba)

Neighborhood: Chelsea

Websitehttp://www.cobarestaurant.com/

Address: 110 9TH AVENUE (BTW 17TH &18TH ST)

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Gluten Free Lobster Roll in NYC: 5 Napkin Burger

Gluten Free Lobster Roll? Really?

The last time I had a lobster roll was in 1999 on Block Island. In between moped rides and taking in the awesome views of the island I stopped by someplace and woofed down a lobster roll.

In hindsight, I totally took it for granted.

Living in New York City limits the possibilites of casually picking up a lobster roll. Its not like being in Maine where lobster rolls are on a lot of menus because, well, they have a lot of lobster there.

Here not so much. And a gluten free lobster roll? That is almost beyond hope…

So I was thrilled to find a gluten free lobster roll available at 5 Napkin Burger.

Waiter TIP: When I ordered this gluten free I had to convince the waiter that I was FINE with only having one sandwich. He kept saying “I can’t serve you three of them — you understand right?”

The lobster roll is served on tiny buns normally so the waiter was overly concerned that I expected 3 large buns (they only have large buns). Meanwhile I was thrilled to get any bun! but he had trouble understanding that.

I eat the fries at 5 Napkin Burger and do not get sick BUT check with them if you have a very severe allergy because they may be cross frying. (Read other reviews about 5 Napkin Burger)

Neighborhood: Union Square, Upper West Side

Website: 5napkinburger.com

Address: 150 E. 14th Street

 

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Eating Gluten Free at Dorado in NYC

dorado gluten freeUnion Square has become a taco haven over the last two years and I am loving it!

Dorado Taco is about 2 blocks from my house. What makes this restaurant so different from the other taco places I have written about is the menu at Dorado Taco is clearly labeled with Gluten Free symbols.

How easy! For a glimpse of what they offer check out their online menu (also with gluten free markings) here.

I eat a lot of tacos and Dorado shines in one area: fish tacos. Specifically grilled fish tacos. Usually fish tacos are breaded in NYC – its rare to get a grilled fish taco like you can on the west coast. For this, I heart Dorado Taco! Its one of the only Baja style gluten free taco’s I have run into.

The corn chips are thick here – obviously cut from the hand made corn tortillas. I prefer a thinner chip but if you like these they are good here!

Neighborhood: Union Square

Websitehttp://www.doradotacos.com/

Address: 28 East 12th Street (near University)

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