Gluten-Free Restaurants NYC – L’asso Pizza in SoHo

Opus Pizza web

I first heard news of L’asso Pizza adding a gluten-free option to their menu via the NYC Celiac Meetup Group.  I hadn’t looked at their menu, when my friend Andy also trumpeted the news last week.  Apparently the gluten-gluttons in his family had been constantly raving about the incredible pizza at L’asso.  His wife’s description of their portabello tartufo pizza was all that I needed to hear.

So this week when I was thwarted in my attempt to go to The Moth Story Slam, I made the most of it by suggesting L’asso as our alternate plans.  I was so excited to indulge in some cheesy-mushroom-truffle-pizza goodness my previous plans were quickly a distant memory.  As we were seated I saw “gluten-free pizza” and “gluten-free beer” touted on their specials.  Happy that the rumors were true (I somehow always worry that new gluten-free offerings are a myth until I see them with my own eyes), I started debating which toppings to get.  When I asked the server about the gluten-free pizza, he explained that I could only order the “Margherita” or “Bufalina” style pizzas with gluten-free crust.  What?? My heart sank. While I am glad to have more places serving gluten-free pizza, most of the fun with L’asso is the wide variety of toppings and flavor combinations available. Margherita is the classic Italian-style pizza with tomato sauce, cooked buffalo mozzarella, oregano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.  The Bufalina replaces cooked buffalo mozzarella with raw buffalo mozzarella. Both are simple and delicious but not at all what I was craving.

He explained that they had to keep the toppings, dough, etc. for the gluten-free pizzas separate from the rest of their pizza-making operations.  It’s good to hear that they are taking care to prevent cross-contamination, but it didn’t lessen my disappointment.  Hopefully the gluten-free demand will be so high that they will expand their gluten-free options soon.  But really I can’t complain too much – when you can get gluten-free pizza and beer in SoHo, life isn’t so bad for the gluten-challenged.

You can check out L’asso for yourself this week with the NY Celiac Meetup Group.  They are hosting a Meetup at L’asso this Thursday, August 27th from 12-7pm. L’asso is offering as special for the event – the gluten-free pizza Margherita and house salad for $15.  While I didn’t have their house salad, I really enjoyed their arugula salad – served with pear, pancetta, ricotta salata, candied walnuts and a white wine vinegar and honey drizzle.  It was so good, it almost made up for the truffles I missed on my pizza….

L’asso is using gluten-free crust from Still Riding gluten-free bakery.  I enjoyed that crust most recently at Pizza Fusion in Atlanta.  I had more fun options for toppings, but the crust is great either way.

web Gluten Free Restaurants ATL Pizza Fusion (12)

Restaurant Address:

L’asso Pizza

192 Mott Street at Kenmare

NY, NY 10012

Phone: 212-219-2353

For more gluten-free pizza options in NYC, you can visit Sambuca, Bistango, Opus, Risotteria, Pala, PizzaBolla, Slice and Mozzarelli’s.  For those outside of NYC, there are Uno’s locations nation-wide and Pizza Fusion is expanding their number of locations as well.  I wonder when Pizza Hut and Dominoes will get on the gluten-free bandwagon…

Where is your favorite place for gluten-free pizza?  Or do you make your own?

Gluten-Free Cupcakes go Mobile in NYC

web The Best Gluten Free Yellow Cupcakes Recipe (6)

So I have been feeling a little left out of the mobile food truck trend, but no more! Starting today – Gluten-Free Cupcakes from EveryBody Eats will be available from the mobile cupcake truck – CupCakeStop.com every Tuesday.

I received this email from EveryBody Eats:

“Everybody Eats is proud to announce that on Tuesdays only for now, CupCakeStop.com will be selling Everybody Eats’ gluten-free cupcakes from their truck.  We’re starting with very standard yellow cake topped with vanilla and chocolate frosting, and we’re hoping to move into move exotic “designer cupcakes” such as chocolate mocha, pina colada, and creamsicle. “

I love Everybody Eats gluten-free ravioli and gluten-free baguettes.  I can’t wait to try their gluten-free cupcakes.   Check CupCakeStop.com to see where in NYC the truck will be each day and go buy a gluten-free cupcake.  The higher the demand, they will have to expand to add more days and more gluten-free flavors!

Sweet Sins of Summer at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

LulasSweetApothecary Gluten Free Ice Cream

My college roommate Alexis was in town this weekend. She calls me her “restaurant wind-up toy – just wind her up and follow her for great food.” With these high expectations, I knew I had to deliver something tasty.  I picked a spot for dinner weeks ago, but I wasn’t sure about dessert.

Last week another friend sent me a link to the web site of Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – a sweets shop seemingly from yesteryear operating today in Manhattan’s East Village.  Their web site advertises gluten-free options but doesn’t give much more info. Since I trust my friend’s recommendations, I knew that it was worth a visit.  Fast forward 10 days, and I have been to Lula’s twice and can’t wait for my next excuse to go back.

LulasSweetApothecary Vegan and Gluten Free Ice Cream

Not only does Lula’s boast a wide-array of gluten-free ice cream flavors, they also have gluten-free ice cream cones! Gluten-free frozen yogurt options abound in NYC, and I have seen gluten-free flavors designated at places like Grom, but this was my first time, outside of Italy, that I was able to order dessert in a gluten-free cone.

LulasSweetApothecary Gluten Free Ice Cream Sundae NYC

Actually, since I like my ice cream melty and didn’t want to feel rushed, I asked for my double scoop to be served in a bowl with a gluten-free cone on top. They gladly obliged, satisfying my sweet whim with no extra charge.

LulasSweetApothecary Gluten Free Brownie Sundae NYC

On my first visit (without my camera) they had tempting gluten-free brownies.  The effectiveness of their brownie sundae sign was proven yesterday as there were no brownies left by the time we went to indulge our sweet tooth.  Luckily, we had some chocolate toffee candy my friend brought back for me from his recent trip to San Francisco. The three of us squeezed into the stools in this darling shop savoring our sweet delights.

Recchiuti Bacon Maple Toffee Chocolate Gluten Free

Thanks to Lula’s my reputation as a superb culinary tourguide remains intact. Finding a restaurant worthy of recommendation is always a pleasure, and this particular neighborhood makes it almost too easy – Mercadito Cantina, Knife + Fork, Prune, Terroir, S’mac and Back 40 are just a few of the options.  I can’t wait for Alexis’s next trip. Options for her next food-filled itinerary are already swirling around – I’m warming up to the idea of being a ‘wind-up toy’ for deliciousness.

Lula’s Sweet Apothecary
Address: 516 East 6th Street, btw Avenues A & B NY, NY 10009

Have you found gluten-free ice cream cones in any ice cream shops near you?

Food Crush and Giveaway – Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread

the best pre-made gluten-free bread udis
Really good toast.  That’s it.  That’s what I am soooo excited about.  You may be thinking, “but most gluten-free breads taste fine once they’re toasted.”  You’re right, they do, they ’taste fine’   - but do they taste light and crispy and provide the perfect balance to your melting butter or soft scrambled eggs?  No, they are just ‘good enough’ in a world without gluten.  

My latest food crush is something simple – gluten-free toast, and I have Udi’s Gluten-Free bread to thank for it.  I tried a couple of Udi’s Gluten-Free products at the Fancy Food Show this year, but it was such a blur I hardly remembered.  When I received a sampler pack in the mail last week, I was excited to try them.  Allergic Girl had given the bread a big thumbs up and I remember Gluten-Free Steve was all hot and bothered over their products. 

the softest gluten free bread - udis

The gluten-free White Sandwich Bread is so soft I could hardly believe it.  I could squish it down just like the gluten-y bread I grew up on.  I liked it without heating it up or putting anything on it.  This was amazing.  The gluten-free Whole Grain Bread is just as soft.  I didn’t like the flavor as much as the gluten-free White Bread but I also lurved white Home Pride bread growing up rather than any of that ‘whole wheat’ stuff, so who am I to say? 

But here’s where the amazing thing happened.  I was in the mood for something warm and buttery, so I decided to make some toast.  Not to cover up the flavor/texture (which is why I usually toast gluten-free bread) but just because toast was what I was craving.  Once I tried it, I realized I hadn’t had really good toast in the five years since I started eating gluten-free.  I’ve had some great gluten-free breads and rolls and baked goods, but I hadn’t had that light toast with the pockets and crunch and…can you tell I’m getting hungry just writing about it? 

I started to wonder if it was just in my mind, maybe I just liked it that much because it had been a while since I’d had ANY toast or that I was just REALLY in the mood for toast.  So I decided to do a side by side comparison with the Whole Foods Gluten-Free Prairie Bread, my previous favorite. 

Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bread

But the Whole Foods toast didn’t begin to compare – the texture is heavy and more like an artisanal bread which is fine in its own right but not what I crave with my breakfast. 

With all of the controversy lately about bloggers being paid to post about products, I will clarify that I have never been paid to write about a product and I only write about items that I feel are worthy of sharing – and I will warn you if something tastes like cardboard.  I just love the toast that much.  Right now it’s only available through a few distributors so I took that info directly to my local health food store to request that they start carrying it.  Fingers crossed I can get my hands on some more soon.  I’m not sure how long the shelf life is since I finished it off before it had a chance to go bad….

Well now that I’ve built it up so much I am sure it can’t possibly live up to your expectations, but Udi’s has offered to give a sampler pack to one lucky ready of A Gluten-Free Guide, so you can be the judge. 

Udi’s sampler pack also includes gluten-free Lemon Streusel and gluten-free Blueberry muffins.
Udis Gluten Free Muffins

They are tasty, soft, moist and you would never know they are gluten-free.  Udi’s makes gluten-free cinnamon rolls and gluten-free pizza crusts but I haven’t tried those yet.  The really exciting thing is that Udi’s is looking to expand their gluten-free product offerings.  So to be eligible to win the sampler pack, leave a comment with your request for their next gluten-free products.  What are you interested in seeing more gluten-free versions of? Bagels? What flavors? Pretzels? What kind? Granola? Cake Rounds?  Different varieties of muffins or breads?  What should they focus on next? 

Udis gluten free bread and muffin sampler

US residents only, deadline to enter is 11pm EDT on Monday August 24, 2009. 

 

Food Crush – Gluten-Free Grahams

Gluten Free Cookies and Gluten Free Granola

I recently received a sample of products from Made to Crave, a small company based in Arizona that specializes in gluten-free granolas and other snacks made with gluten-free oats.  While I was excited about the granolas, I didn’t realize that the owner was also including gluten-free animal crackers.  They totally caught me off guard – they were soooooo good they are my latest food crush.  They are crispy and sweet – that perfect crunch you expect from a little cookie.  They are full of graham flavor and totally crush-worth; I would never guess they are gluten-free.

The granolas are delicious in their own right. The maple pecan flavor is a little bit sweeter and the apple cinnamon is a little bit tart (in a good way) – they both taste outstanding.  The owner, Pam has graciously agreed to offer a sampler pack of the gluten-free granolas and the gluten-free animal grahams to a reader of A Gluten-Free Guide.

To enter the contest, just leave a comment with suggestions for flavors of granolas and granola bars you would like to see Made to Crave make next.  To be eligible you must comment by 8pm on Sunday August 16, 2009.

Spicy Gluten-Free Soba Noodle and Lamb Recipe

Pure Buckwheat Gluten Free Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are such a tease.  The traditional Japanese version of soba noodles is made with buckwheat flour and is naturally gluten-free.  Unfortunately for those of us who can’t eat gluten, most versions of soba found in the U.S. are made with wheat flour.

When trying to figure out what to make for a small dinner at my place last Sunday, the first recipe suggested was a Soba Noodle Salad.  I knew that gluten-free soba exists, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to find them in time for our dinner.  However, I was up for a challenge and curious about this noodle.  I was lucky enough to find a pure buckwheat noodle on only my second try!  At $5 for eight ounces, it was a bit pricey and I was a little worried that they might not turn out.  So as backup I also purchased some Tinkyada gluten-free pad thai noodles – much less expensive and I knew that they would be good.

Gluten Free Soba Noodles Pure Buckwheat

The recipe turned out great.  Notice I said recipe rather than noodles.  On their own, the noodles didn’t have much flavor.  They definitely aren’t something I would seek out to dress simply and eat plain, but as part of the flavors in this asian sauce, they were perfect and I would totally splurge again for them next time. While the recipe looks long, it was really easy to put together and tasted absolutely fantastic.

Gluten Free Appetizer Recipe Edamame with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce

We started by making this Edamame with Ginger-Chile Dipping Sauce recipe (using gluten-free tamari).  That sauce was soooooo good we couldn’t get enough of it.  I ended up using it the next day on scallops and then again on more edamame.  I usually try not to cook all new recipes in case one doesn’t turn out – but these both worked so well, I may get more adventurous from now on!

Gluten Free Soba Noodles with Lamb and Sweet Soy Marinade

Spicy Gluten-Free Soba Noodle and Lamb Recipe (adapted from Bobby Flay)

Ingredients
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lamb tenderloin
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium gluten-free soy sauce (I used San-J Wheat Free Tamari which wasn’t low-sodium and it was fine)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 red jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt
1/2 pound gluten-free soba noodles
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions
Mix together 1/4 cup of the oil, five-spice powder and garlic in a large Ziploc bag, add the lamb and turn to coat in the mixture. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Whisk together the vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, jalapeno, honey and remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large bowl and let sit while you prepare the noodles.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gluten-free soba noodles and cook until just tender, approximately 5-8 minutes. Gluten-free noodles go quickly from al dente to mushy so watch carefully.  Stir gently as they are cooking to keep them from sticking together. The pure buckwheat noodles tend to stick together more than the soba noodles made with wheat flour. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well and place immediately in the bowl with the dressing – if they are sticking together the oil in the mixture should help them come apart. Add the green onions and cilantro and mix until combined. Let sit at room temperature while you cook the lamb. Can be made 8 hours in advance and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Heat the grill to high.

Remove the lamb from the marinade and season with salt. Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling for 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the grill, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch thick slices. Transfer noodles to a large platter and top with the sliced lamb.

This recipe would be great with pan-seared black cod if you don’t eat red meat.  And if you are looking for other ways to put your gluten-free soy sauce to work – try these Gluten-Free Tamari Roasted Almonds or this Gluten-Free Spicy Fish in Parchment and for the vegetarians try this Oven-Roasted Tofu recipe.

Gluten-Free Review of the GF Brownies and Chocolate Cake Mix from Betty Crocker

Gluten-Free Brownies Mix from Betty Crocker

Round three of my Becky Crocker Gluten-Free Mix reviews includes a winner and a loser.  The gluten-free brownie mix gets a BIG thumbs up. The gluten-free Devils Food Cake Mix, um, not so much.

So after purchasing six-packs from Amazon.com for the Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix and the Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix from Betty Crocker, I received a sample pack from MyBlogSpark with all of the varieties.  I had an invite to a dinner party last week and used that opportunity to get a broader group of gluten-gluttons to taste the brownies and chocolate cupcakes.

Better Crocker Gluten-Free Devils Food Cake Mix

Just from my tasting before the dinner party, I knew the Devil’s Food cupcake were not up to muster.  I tried smothering them in frosting (since at its best a cupcake is merely a frosting delivery device), but it wasn’t sufficient.  I would expect a Devil’s Food Cake to be extra chocolate-y but I might have mistaken this for a banana muffin if you didn’t tell me it was chocolate beforehand.

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownies Mix Review

The brownies on the other hand – I had a difficult time restraining myself to ensure there would be enough for everyone at the dinner party.  My tastes proved to be a harbinger of the broader response.  The gluten-free brownies were eagerly devoured, leaving only crumbs next to the hardly-touched Devils Food cupcakes.  Luckily it seems that Kerrie at GF Shaolin has found a way to make the gluten-free Devils Food mix more palatable – since I know the Yellow Cake Mix can be salvaged, I may have to give the chocolate mix another chance.  Though, anyone looking for gluten-free chocolate overload really needs to try my Flourless Chocolate Lust Cake.

Now comes the good part – the giveaway – one lucky reader will receive a Betty Crocker “Sweet Moments” prize pack that includes all four gluten-free mixes, and two free coupons for any of the varieties.

Since Betty Crocker seems to be listening to the gluten-free blogs, let’s give them an idea of what we want to see next.  To be eligible for the gluten-free prize pack, leave a comment with your wish-list of gluten-free mixes/products.  What else would you like to see Betty Crocker make for the gluten-free community?  You must be a U.S. resident to be eligible, so post your comment before 9pm Eastern on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 to be part of the drawing.

Extra good news – even if you don’t win this prize pack – Betty Crocker is giving away free coupons for the gluten-free mixes – just call 1-800-446-1898 to request yours (one coupon per household).

Healthy and Tasty Gluten-Free Pizza (plus bacon) at Pizza Fusion

web Gluten Free Restaurants ATL Pizza Fusion (14)

UPDATE – The Pizza Fusion in Atlanta has closed. 

Have you heard of Pizza Fusion ?– even if you don’t eat gluten-free it’s worth a visit; it champions the lovely idea of fresh, healthy ingredients in the comforting, cheesy form of pizza.  Not only does Pizza Fusion promote organic and eco-friendly offerings, they also have gluten-free crust from Still Riding gluten-free bakery.

This was actually my first experience with Still Riding gluten-free crust.  I found it crispy and delicious, but the true test was my friend Matt’s  head to head comparison of the regular vs the gluten-free pizza.

Gluten Free Pizza Showdown

He’s thoughtful, pensively considering the two versions.  The verdict?  Both tasty in their own right.  “You’d never miss the gluten if you didn’t know,” he declared.

web Gluten Free Restaurants ATL Pizza Fusion (19)

The really winner though was the gluten-free brownie.  Matt claimed it tasted just like a ‘passover brownie’ and as you can see, we made short work of it.

gluten free brownie aftermath at pizza fusion

While I went to the Pizza Fusion in Atlanta, there are locations in CA, AZ, TX, KS, IL, PA, NJ, NC and FL

Pizza Fusion
Address: 2233 Peachtree Rd.
Suite M
Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone: 404-351-9334

Their lunch special was a steal – $10.99 for a drink, salad and personal pizza.  Now if they would just open one in NYC, I would be set.  Have you been to a Pizza Fusion yet?  What did you think?

UPDATE – The Pizza Fusion in Atlanta has closed.  

A Spoonful of Summer in the City

Fresh Figs web
It’s finally starting to feel like summer in NYC.  While I’m not excited about standing on a sweltering subway platform, the sun seems to be giving the city an extra vibrancy.  But the best part about summer’s long awaited arrival ….. FIGS!  I just spied a box of figs at my local fruit stand.
Prosciutto Wrapped Figs Gluten-Free web

That means I will be making this recipe for Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with Pecans and Goat Cheese and my all time favorite salsa recipe made with avocado and figs.

Fig Avocado Salsa

What is your favorite summer produce? How do you put it to good use?

The Verdict Is In – Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Review 4
After trying the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix with mixed results, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.  I was especially curious about this mix because I never made cookies from a mix even before going gluten-free – it was always from scratch. [aside: or from pre-made dough – didn’t you love it when they made the cookie dough that you didn’t even have to slice? You know the ones that are already broken up into individual cookie squares – I know, I go to the two extremes….]

The verdict? They are pretty good.  They are light and crispy, more towards a meringue or French almond macaroon than a chewy chocolate chip cookie.  The flavor is great though they could use more chocolate chips.

But I wasn’t content to leave well enough alone so I tried a second batch of cookies and added 3/4 cup of gluten-free oatmeal.  I didn’t change any of the other ingredients/directions.  They turned out slightly chewier and much more to my personal cookie preference.  And while I like oatmeal cookies, that wasn’t the goal here so the oatmeal was a small enough proportion that I wouldn’t label it an ‘oatmeal’ cookie.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Recipe 2

For pure flavor and texture, I would still pick my Gluten-Free Orange Vanilla Dream cookies or my Gluten-Free Cranberry Oatmeal Delights, However, the new mix from Betty Crocker is a great option for a last minute, easy dessert.

Have you tried them yet?

Here are the ingredients of each of the mixes:

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix Ingredients: Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sugar, Potato Starch, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Xanthan Gum, Salt.

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Devils Food Cake Mix Ingredients: Sugar, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Cocoa Processed wtih Alkali, Tapioca Starch, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Salt, Guar Gum.

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies Mix Ingredients: Sugar, Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), Cocoa Processed wtih Alkali, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Salt.

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Mix Ingredients: Rice Flour, Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), Brown Sugar, Sugar, Potato Starch, Potato Flour, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate) Salt.