Gluten-free in NYC Part I

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Check out gluten-free in NYC part II here.

I’ve already eaten at some of the best gluten-free friendly restaurants that New York City has to offer and after this post today, I’ll still have at least 3 more restaurants to share with you.

To anyone living with allergies and traveling to New York in the future – don’t worry… NYC has your back.

Let’s go through a couple of my favorite finds, shall we?

Raw vegan goodness: Pure Food and Wine

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Pure Food and Wine is one of three raw food eating spots in New York that are owned by One Lucky Duck founder, Sarma Melngailis. What I love about Sarma is that she’s created a company with the intention of inspiring a shift. She’s said that she wants to make things better – for people, animals, and the earth – not just in small ways, but in big ways too. Now that’s a restaurant and vision I can get behind.

The restaurant was easy to get to from the Subway, just a 3 minute walk from the train once you figure out what direction to walk in. That’s always the hardest part, isn’t it? I was very surprised to see how clean and polished the space was. I imaged that I would be visiting a restaurant that looked like a granola-eating, trail hiking, raw looking place. But it was so very opposite. Clean lines, nice details, well dressed staff, it was a nice treat!

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I was having a hard time deciding what to order from the menu – there’s just so many amazing things to choose from. So, I asked the waiter what his favorite was. He recommended the brazil nut sea vegetable croquettes with tartare sauce, local honey sweet chili sauce, wild arugula and pink pepper. Something I would never, ever order for myself; I don’t care for arugula, but I decided to go for it.

What a great suggestion it was. Lunch was absolutely unreal. The tartare sauce was a thing of dreams, the arugula was tossed in a delicious, light dressing… I wouldn’t even know how to recreate this.

If I had more time on my trip, this is a restaurant I was go back to again and again. It puts all other raw food restaurants I’ve ever visited to absolute shame. Such a great experience.

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I ordered the most expensive item on the menu so lunch came to around $20. The folks beside me both ordered ginormous salads that were around the $14 mark so there are definitely lots of options to choose from based on your taste and budget.

I had to talk myself down from ordering dessert from Pure Food and Wine, get out of my seat and head down to the next stop on my culinary adventures…

Pure Food and Wine on Urbanspoon

Unreal vegan ice cream: Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

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Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is a vegan ice cream shop off the beaten path. I couldn’t even tell you how I got there if I tried. I got lost for 45 minutes, walking aimlessly through the streets until I spotted a street name that matched my map.

Oh, did I mention it was absolutely freezing cold that day? Like, chilling winds, at least -15C… I bit too cold, even for this Canadian girl. But nothing was going to get in the way of me enjoying a bowl of ice cream.

Note: Lula’s is currently closed.

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Once I did find it, I hustled into the little shop to try to get warm and was immediately greeted by a smiling Blythe (the owner of the shop) ready to scoop me up anything my little heart desired.

So here’s the deal… she makes her own creamy cashew milk that she then naturally flavors, adds to an ice cream machine and can then make into a sundae, banana split, regular cone, dish of ice cream, malts, shakes… anything. I nearly cried in excitement as she was explaining all of my options.

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It wasn’t hard to land on a couple of favorites after I taste tested a couple of them. Carob, maple walnut and cinnamon were my absolute favorites.

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I was really surprised when she told me that my dessert was only $5.50. I would have paid $10 for this in a heart beat. It’s been at least a decade since I ordered ice cream from an ice cream shop. The whole experience was just mind blowing.

So I sat down with my little bowl of ice cream; my big fluffy mittens in the background and my hands still numb from the cold, and I savored each and every scoop.

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It was so creamy, so naturally flavorful and surprisingly light. I could have ordered another… but I didn’t.

Lula's Sweet Apothecary on Urbanspoon

Ethiopian at it’s finest: Awash

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It’s no secret that I love Indian food. The spices, intense flavors, eating with my hands, it’s where it’s at. Knowing this, many of my friends have urged me to try Ethiopian food, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. The cool thing about Ethiopian is that their breads are made from teff, an ancient North African cereal grass and nutritional powerhouse that just happens to be gluten-free.

Awash; one of NYC’s best Ethiopian restaurants just happened to be a couple of blocks from the hostel so I took it as a sign to finally jump into Ethiopian cuisine.

Duuuude. Words don’t even describe how fantastic my meal was. The service was a bit slow, but very helpful and understanding of my allergies. Awash makes their bread from a combination of wheat flour and teff flour; I believe to save on cost, but at a price of $4 I could convert the bread to 100% teff, a small price to pay for a delicious meal.

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I decided to get the meat & veggie platter for $12.95. It came with my choice of 2 meat and 3 veggie sauces. I’m not sure if they’re called sauces… do you know? Anyways, I chose: tibs wat (beef), doro wat (chicken), key sir alicha (red beets, carrots and potatoes), shio (chickpeas), yemisir kik wat (red lentil). The beet one was my favorite, wow. Everything was super spicy and rocked my world. It will definitely not be the last time I go for Ethiopian.

Awash on Urbanspoon

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In between all of the eating and photography lessons, I’ve managed to do a bit of sightseeing, too. One of the must-see things during my trip was to visit Liberty Island. They aren’t allowing anyone on the island for the time being due to the damages from the hurricane, so I booked a trip with GrayLine, met them at Battery Park and went on a little 1 hour cruise to learn more about the city and see the lady of liberty from a distance.

Here are some of the pictures that I took along the way…

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Such a great city. If you haven’t yet, you have to visit, too!

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