This time in New York I spent the weekend, which coincided with Labor Day in the United States, and most citizens had left the city for three days. I was surprised that many restaurants, cafes, bakeries and shops were closed for the holiday, and some even the day before, despite the fact that many tourists came to the city.
If you remember, in the first part of “Gluten-free guide to New York City” my main recommendation was to contact with the restaurant you want to visit by telephone or e-mail so that you can book a seat in advance. This time, I would like to add that even in those places where a reservation is not expected (like shops, cafes, bakeries) I would highly recommend you to call or write with the intention to know whether it is going to be opened on the day you plan to visit it.
During my previous trip to New York I didn’t have enough time to visit a specialized gluten-free supermarket “G-Free NYC” (the address: 77A West 85th Street, New York, NY 10024), which I have already mentioned in the first part of the guide. And imagine my disappointment when I came this time and saw that the store was closed in its ordinary work schedule due to the eve of Labor Day. So the photos that you are seeing were made by me only from the outside. And for those who are interested in the range of products, please, click here.
But holidays may be not the only reason why you won’t be able to get in such a place. When I arrived to a gluten-free cafe “Noglu” (address: 266 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10128) and I didn’t call them in advance, I stumbled to the locked door with the announcement that they were looking for a new cook. And according to the comments addressed to me passing by New Yorkers, the cafe is often closed because of different circumstances. Based on the information on the website here in “Noglu” you can find French pastries (including vegan versions), as well as sandwiches and salads in the menu. So, if you are lucky to get to this place in New York and it will be opened, you will be able to eat very delicious things there.
So now keeping in mind my experience with “Noglu” and “G-Free NYC”, the next place, which I planned to visit – a gluten-free and dairy-free bakery “By the Way Bakery” (it has two locations: 1236 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10028 and 2442 Broadway, New York, NY 10024) – I called this time in advance. To my delight, the bakery was opened. But as soon as I arrived I learned that all the products were cooked using the eggs. And as you know I have the intolerance to them. So I just licked my lips and walked away. But I am really happy for those who do not consume only gluten and dairy. You can look at the bakery menu here.
One of my stops for lunch in Manhattan was a gluten-free network cafe “The Little Beet”. You can find all of its addresses here. This place is a more democratic version of the paleo cafe “Hu Kitchen”. All the food and drinks are given to you in disposable containers. The portions are small. There are many vegan options. But from my point of view, the taste of the dishes were so so.
And now let me tell you again about “Hu Kitchen”. As you know I’ve already written about it in the first part of “Gluten-free guide to New York City”. In December I visited it by the following address: Union Square, 78 5th Avenue (14th Street), New York, NY 10011. This time I called for the one that is located in Upper East Side, 1536 Third Avenue (86th Street), New York, NY 10028. Nothing really has changed in the menu during the last nine months. And, of course, I was not already so excited as I was when visited “Hu Kitchen” for the first time.
During this trip my favorite place became the gluten free restaurant – risotteria – “Risotteria Melotti” (the address: 309 E 5th Street, New York, NY 10003). My taste receptors ascended to a heaven. Every served dish from appetizer to dessert was a culinary masterpiece. Here on the restaurant’s website a beautiful video of Melotti rice vegetation in Verona is presented. No more comments, just enjoy watching!
I’ve already mentioned about another one Italian gluten-free restaurant in Midtown Manhattan – “Senza Gluten” (address: 206 Sullivan Street, New York) – mostly positively in an early publication. This time I was very disappointed. The only things I liked were vegan bread, sorbet and romantic atmosphere. Meals were cooked unsavory.
Maybe I’ll destroy now the belief I created by my article “America is a gluten-free heaven”. Those who got used to travel in Europe know that most hotels don’t even have to be warned concerning your specific diet. In Finland at breakfast, for instance, you are always able to get not only gluten-free cereals, muesli, ham and other meals, but also a wide range of non-dairy products such as yogurts, soy or nut milk. In Italy for customers with celiac disease there is always a separate table within a buffet. But here in the heart of New York City, in a boutique hotel where the room costs more than 400$ per day, I got nothing at breakfast during several days except for seasonal fruits. Although comments about my food intolerances were left in advance at the time of booking via Internet. And as well when I arrived the staff of the restaurant in the hotel got a request about gluten-, dairy- and eggs-free breakfast. If you find this question fundamentally important, I recommend you to choose hotels in New York City according to their gluten-free capabilities. As for me I was ready for such circumstances and in the morning I came to the restaurant for tea with the biscuits I had bought in advance at a supermarket. And no one will not let you to do the same, if you would like to.
But pharmacies are definitely much better in New York, and throughout the USA, than in Europe. If you happen to have any sickness from the common cold to something a little more serious, you will easily find a huge selection of medicines with the labels “gluten free”, dairy free”, “lactose free” and etc. And on the website of “CVS Pharmacy”, for example, through a search engine you can select gluten-free drugs and review them online in advance.
There are still a lot of unexplored by me gluten-free places in New York City. Enjoy your travelling!