For a Brit, visiting our 'cousins across the pond' would on the face of it seem one of the easier trips to make if looking for gluten free food. However, in a strange place it is often hard to find somewhere but rest assured, someone will have been there before.
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Strictly Gluten Free
, Long Island, NY View On Map
In November of last year I wrote about a local entrepreneur seeking to open an entirely gluten free supermarket. Steve and his wife Angela have been tirelessly working on making their dream a reality. Well, their work has paid off and they've finally opened! With their final location confirmed in East Northport, and all sales racks and products purchased they had their grand opening earlier this month from December 16th-18th. The hope is that in several weeks their ECommerce site will be open for business, allowing for the purchasing of items online!
While many places like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Wild By Nature, and Stop and Shop now offer gluten free products which are clearly labeled and often separate we know sometimes these products are not actually gluten free even though they say so on the front. Therefore, we gluten avoiders still spend much time reading labels. At Strictly Gluten Free, Steve makes the effort of having companies confirm their gluten free certifications, even when items say they are gluten free. He holds items in the back and will not put them out for sale until he receives a confirmation, so you know that a product is 100% gluten free when you are buying it here. It is a relief to walk into a store and KNOW you can come out with a delicious product.
Steven has done a great job at networking with food distributors, organizations, and companies to offer a wide variety of products. Many unique products are being offered here that I have not seen in other stores.
Pane e Vino
Pane e Vino, Italian for "bread and wine" welcomes you the minute you walk through the entrance doors of the handsome historic building. From the hostess' greeting to the warm amber interior lighting, Pane e Vino is filled with charm.
Pane e Vino opened its doors in 2002, with a vision of serving "fresh, simple and honest" comfort food, similar to the food he grew up eating with his mother and grandmother. The separate gluten-free menu was introduced a short 6 months ago, which consists of a vast selection of gluten-free offerings.
The GF menu noted many of the items on the regular menu could also be modified to be gluten-free and "though the kitchen is not 100% gluten-free, the chef will take precautions to avoid cross contamination by preparing the meal on cleaned surfaces". Our server was accommodating and knowledgeable about the gluten-free menu and I was immediately at ease.
Though Pane e Vino is well suited for a romantic dinner for two, it accommodates families and larger groups as well. The restaurant offers a fixed price gluten-free Trattoria menu ($19.95 per person, which includes antipasti, entree, dessert and coffee/tea) which is available Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and all day Sunday.
Knowing that we were going to order a variety of dishes - most are served tapas-style that foster sharing - we passed on the guacamole and stuck to the entry-level tortilla chips and a pico de gallo salsa. Complimentary spicy peanuts also ready the palate.
Everyone ordered tacos of their choosing; for three of us, it was a trio of flat-iron steak tacos seasoned in a tomato-horseradish marinade with truffle potatoes. Our younger son played it safe with chicken. We also rounded out our protein quotient with a large chicken-and-chihuahua cheese enchilada and roasted pork tamales.
We just couldn't pass up dessert. Notwithstanding the name, the four of us shared the "El Fuerte for Two." The sinful flourless chocolate cake was served a la mode with espresso ice cream drizzled with vanilla mousseline.
The Ginger Exchange
With lots of gluten free options for me, and good sushi, dumplings, and never ending beer for my friends, The Ginger Exchange turned out to be a great place to go. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by restaurants you know nothing about.
Upon our arrival we were promptly seated at a tiny table. I'm still adjusting to the size of many restaurants here in New York after the spacious life in Los Angeles! The restaurant only has three options on its gluten free menu: Mast Nicola, Marinara, and Margherita. I was starving when we sat down and quickly placed an order of the Margherita pizza.
We caught up over wine and were surprised when, after a short time, our pizzas were served at our tables. I immediately dug in because I was too hungry to resist. What immediately jumped out to me was the crust; it wasn't crunchy and flavorless like many gluten free crusts but was instead soft and spongy. It was very chewy and definitely had a consistency which more closely resembled gluten-filled crusts like Domino's. Had I known how large the pizza was going to be, I would have suggested that we split one. Instead we both left with leftovers.
I would definitely visit Kesté again but do have to mention that the meal was a bit expensive, totaling about $25 on my end. While I left with some food for the next day, Kesté may have to remain an infrequent treat.
I had the Spaghetti con Pancetta e Ricotta salata. It was GF spaghetti, smoked Italian bacon and ricotta cheese in a light tomato sauce. It was quite yummy. They use the Trader Joe's brand rice flour pasta. To finish off the meal, they made me a small portion of their Panna Cotta. This naturally GF dessert had a wonderful chocolate drizzle and was surrounded by a strawberry sauce. I don't know how we got anything done after eating the amount that we did.
When it came time to order food, I had questions. See, they have a vegetarian menu, a vegan menu and a gluten-free menu. But the gluten-free menu does not include a vegetarian entree. No need to fret, our server said she would ask the chef what could be done to make the vegetable plate on the regular menu gluten-free. That's right, the server knew she could ask the chef for help adjusting a menu item to fit my needs. She came back and told me he would make a gluten-free vegetable entree for me. YES! My dinner was absolutely delicious. Roasted squash, a plentiful serving of asparagus, savory mushrooms, a large beautiful plate of vegetables...It was an incredible meal.
The Bald Strawberry
I purchased several items. A loaf of bread, some gooey chocolate bars, chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodle cookies. The bread was moist and very tasty.... and it had been quite some time since I had enjoyed a slice of delicious soft bread with butter so I was in heaven. It was perfect to enjoy with dinner that night and for sandwiches during the week.
Linda and Joseph serve delicious sandwiches and pizza....and even a breakfast pizza. You can choose from several bread types as well as try one of their 3 sandwiches: The Joe Cool, The V Club, or the Rockin Rueben, or build your own. I chose to have a turkey with avocado, red onion, spinach, fresh basil and provolone cheese.
The front room of The Bald Strawberry is set up with a few tables and bar stools for you to sit and enjoy some coffee and sweets. Linda has also decorated 3 separate rooms with comfy seats and different themes for you to sit and enjoy some coffee, tea and sweets or wait there while your sandwich or pizza is being made/cooked for you.
So whether you live in the Central Florida area or are visiting the theme parks or taking a cruise....and gluten free....The Bald Strawberry is a delicious, warm and fuzzy, 100% gluten free bakery with awesome ambiance and wonderful owners. ?You will want to come back again and again.
Matanzas Innlet Restaurant
Mitchell's Fish Market
Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen
Looking forward to dining in the next time, we headed over to their location on Highway 89A. Both Picazzo's upscale casual dining room and cozy bar area, were packed with diners of all ages. In addition to a variety of organic gluten-free pizza, there is also a large assortment of gluten-free appetizers, entrees, and sweet endings to choose from! Gluten-Free pasta options included organic Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta, brown rice spaghetti, spirals, or penne and most anything on the menu could be modified to be gluten-free. Owner Rick Freedman, a Sedona resident, started the restaurant in 2002, but in 2010, decided to go all organic. Picazzo's menu now consists of fresh, organic and local ingredients, nitrate-free meats, and non-GMO oils to create even healthier meals.
Picazzo's servers were helpful and very knowledgeable about Celiac and gluten-free. In fact, our server's mother had coeliac and she mentioned several of the servers at Picazzo's either had coeliac or were gluten-sensitive. Picazzo's is a delightful gem for the gluten-intolerant, and though this was probably far from reality, in my own mind, I imagined every table had a least one gluten-intolerant diner! While cross contamination is always a possibility, I felt unusually safe dining here. Whether gluten-intolerant or not, Picazzo's is an enjoyable dining experience.
Overall, we enjoyed dinner. Angelica Kitchen is not an upscale restaurant but the food is still pretty good and it's not expensive. I've been here a couple of times and will probably go back again. Angelica Kitchen only takes cash and they don't accept reservations. Angelica Kitchen tells you which of the Daily Specials are gluten-free so for example "Occupy Wild Rice" and "Thursday's Noimaki" as well as the "Thursday's Salad" were all gluten-free as was the black-bean soup. On it's regular menu, Angelica Kitchen doesn't list which items are safe for celiacs. You have to request the gluten-free menu which they'll bring you in a binder.
Native Foods Cafe
I vaguely remember ordering a couple different items when I first ate at Bunky's before I discovered the magic that is the pesto pizza and I have to admit that it's now the only thing I get there. It's been so long since I've had anything else except for their desserts that I can't honestly comment on anything else on their menu. They do have GF pasta available with most of their pasta dishes and can do any of their pizzas on the GF crust which is made by Silly Yak Bakery. This past Tuesday I was there with a friend and as always ordered the pesto pizza which has pesto as the sauce with spinach, basil, cheese and artichokes on top. I always get the large size so that I have some to take home for the next day. As always, it did not disappoint. Silly Yak also carries Bunky's pizzas frozen for preparation at home and I have gotten these in a pinch, but I really prefer getting them made at the restaurant.
As I alluded to above, Bunky's also makes amazing gluten free desserts - the difficult part is saving room for them when the entrees are so delicious, but I always seem to find room. They always have several GF options and this time I had the chocolate mouse pie which was light, fluffy and heavenly. I've had several of their desserts and they have all been excellent! If you're in the market for great gluten free food in a cozy, quirky atmosphere, Bunky's is the place to be! Enjoy.
We entered the tiny cafe and Christophe, the owner, warmly greeted us. Christophe is not just the owner - he's the waiter, the chef, the busy boy, and the cashier. He welcomed us as if we were guests in his home. When I told him of my dietary restrictions, he smiled and said he could absolutely take care of me - that I could have any of the vegetarian or meat platters, but that he would switch the pita bread with some warmed corn tortillas and the tabouleh with a spinach salad. How nice to have someone who immediately understands and also has thought ahead about substitutions so you can still enjoy a full meal! I chose the garlic chicken based on the Yelp reviews and my word, I was not disappointed.
The staff is incredibly welcoming to those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. We've been here several times and while the menu is extensive even with my dietary restrictions, I always order this traditional masala dosa. From first bite they hooked me, and I find myself craving this at odd hours of the day.
Delicious Pizza Restaurant
Legal Sea Foods
I was bound and determined to get the mac and cheese, and seeing as it was only a side dish, I got the Thai Cobb Salad to go along with it. The macaroni and cheese, unfortunately, wasn't as good as I was hoping for. It consisted of globby gluten free pasta with some cheese on it. I was expecting more of a bechamel cheese sauce, but I guess I was just hoping for my mom's mac and cheese and that's not really fair. For dessert I got some amazing cheesecake to go from Moondance Desserts.
Despite not loving the mac and cheese, there are so many other things at Relish I want to try: blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict, asian pear salad, fresh grilled chicken wrap, southern pulled pork sandwich, pizza, mini potato pancakes, crab cakes, mozzarella sticks, tropical tilapia, pork chops, gluten free ravioli, and pretty much everything else. I can't wait until my next meeting in the Allentown area. I'll definitely be stopping by Relish again.
I have been to Henrietta's Table several times and have always found the staff to be accommodating and helpful with my food allergy. This trip was no different. The staff is always willing to go back and check on various items. Many of their menu items are naturally gluten-free. When I informed my waiter of my allergy and he immediately knew what I was talking about and said to order away, that almost everything on the menu was ok (except the lamb) and if it wasn't, the dish could be modified to make it suitable. It's so nice to look at a menu and see options rather than restrictions. I found it hard to make my choice with so many great options, but I eventually decided on a special: grilled swordfish with butternut squash puree and parsnip chips.
For gluten-free diners, your options at dessert are more limited than dinner, but that is to be expected. The good news is that they do have a nice range of dessert wines and ice creams and sorbets to offer. It was a fantastic meal. I would really recommend Henrietta's Table to any gluten-free diner.