Friedman’s Lunch (REVIEW)

If you are in NYC and are either gluten-free or not….you really need to try Friedman’s Lunch!!  In my many searches for gluten-free dining options in NYC this place always comes up as having gluten-free options, however today was the first time we tried it.  It’s located inside of Chelsea Market, cute little place with a great atmosphere!  I walked in thinking “this is my kind of place”.  The staff was very friendly and extremely helpful, and the menu-wow!  Talk about options – anything on the menu with an * can be made gluten free…which is almost the entire menu!

Bryan, his friend Mike and myself spent the day in the City yesterday just wandering around with no real plans and ended up making a complete day of it.  Went to Ground Zero, which is an extremely humbling place.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to have seen the towers while they were still standing but so badly wish I could have.  Then it was off to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty at a distance because, little did I know tickets were sold out months in advance. I also got to experience Canal Street for the first time yesterday, no I didn’t buy anything.  It was way to hot to be on a street that crowded so we finally starting making out way to get some food. By the time we arrived at Friedman’s the three of us were starving.

Some times it can be a bit uncomfortable searching for a place to eat online and then convince who ever you are with to come and try it with you, especially if you have never been there before AND they are gluten-free.  It’s along the lines of telling someone how amazing a movie or book is and they go and watch it and end up hating it. But, I love trying new places with Bryan because he gets to try the non gluten-free items (if available) and give me his opinion on them.  He has gotten really good at this and offers up some great opinions especially if he is trying the gluten-free version of something. Bryan is really great about trying all these new places and new products with me.

I was so hungry I could have eaten the entire menu and it was nice to see that I had options other than salad. Bryan and I ended up getting the same thing, a B.L.A.T – Bacon.Lettuce.Avocado.Tomato sandwich, his on normal bread, mine on Udi’s gluten-free bread with a side of gluten-free french fries.  Mike ended up ordering the Southwestern Turkey Burger that came with french fries and also ordered a side of their mac-n-cheese (which looked AMAZING).  Both of our B.L.A.T.’s were very good.  The bacon was thick cut (who doesn’t love that?!), the avocado was nice and creamy, not over ripe and again the Udi’s bread held up amazingly.  It was placed in a panini and never got soggy even with the herbed aioli.  Just like Tu-Lu’s each sandwich came with a side of mixed greens that were lightly dressed and a half of a pickle.  The French Fries were perfect.  Thickly cut and crunch but still soft in the middle.  There was no ketchup needed for these.  They were tossed with a little bit of sea salt and some crushed rosemary and sage.  Mike really enjoyed his Southwest Turkey Burger and said the mac-n-cheese was great (sadly couldn’t have tried either).  The staff was so careful there about gluten-free that they originally made his burger with a gluten-free bun (they changed it out for him before even bringing it to the table) but that was very impressive to see.

When our delicious meal was over I went up to the register to ask them a few questions and the answers and help were beyond what I was expecting.  The staff there is kind and extremely knowledgeable. I asked which bread they used for my sandwich (so I could get it right on here) and the proceeded to tell me what gluten-free bread products they use for all of their meals (see list below).  They also have a print out of where all of their gluten-free products come from. They suggested I come back for breakfast at some point because not only do they offer sandwiches with gluten-free bread (I should note that for gluten-free bread, bagels etc.  they do charge an additional $2.25 but it is well worth it) they also offer bagels, baguettes and pancakes!!

Here is some information from their website:

The inviting open kitchen, dark wood tabletops, exposed filament bulbs; chalkboard menus, large mirrors and vintage wallpaper create a rustic setting and a welcoming atmosphere at Friedman’s Lunch. Tryg offers exciting daily specials such as a fresh squeezed juice of the day and an assortment of market sides. Some other menu favorites includes the pastrami reuben, two bean turkey chili, spicy mac n’ jack and 100% ground beef brisket burger.

Most of the items on the menu are also available gluten-free, an element that was particularly important to Vanessa when establishing Friedman’s Lunch. Having been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance as a teenager, an ailment that requires the elimination of all gluten products from one’s diet, Vanessa needs to be on a life-long gluten-free diet. When Vanessa and Tryg met, they began to experiment with ways of eliminating gluten from various dishes. Tryg discovered that he was able to re-create many classic dishes into delicious gluten-free options. Now they are very excited to offer these gluten-free creations to the community.

Friedman’s Lunch is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Take-out, dine-in and full service catering are available.

List of Products

Everybody Eats Inc – NYC – Baguetts

Katz Gluten Free – Challah Rolls (used as burger buns)

Joan’s – Bagels

Udi’s – Bread for sandwiches

Next time you are in NYC head on over to Chelsea Market and give Friedman’s a try, I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed.  I hope when you try it you enjoy it as much as we did.  Thank you to their staff for all of their help and information.

Cupcakes – what’s not to love??

So last week I made two different brands of brownie mix and this week, you guessed it…cupcakes! Technically it’s cake mix that I am comparing this week just made into cupcake form. In my mind cupcakes are way better than cake🙂 Little individual cups of yummy goodness.  Again, its Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix compared to Arrowhead Mill’s Vanilla Cake Mix. I’ve made the Betty Crocker ones before and loved them and I’ll be making the Arrowhead Mill’s ones for the first time.  The Arrowhead Mill’s mix was in the batch of mixes one of my co-workers brought me a few weeks ago.

I love cupcakes, and I seek them out.  Over the Christmas I went to New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts to visit Bryan and our families.  On one of our little adventures to NYC we got the chance to go to BabyCakes!  Now those are some tasty cupcakes!! Wow.  I think I spent almost $40.00 on cupcakes, why?? Not because of the price (well sort of) but because I couldn’t decide which ones to buy.  Sooo Bryan and I picked a few and got two of each so we could both try them, because I don’t share cupcakes very well.  I think we ended up with the Vanilla, Chocolate and Brownie cupcakes.  All of which were AMAZING but I think the brownie ones were our favorite. – I can’t wait to go back there again!

When Bryan came to visit me in February we took a weekend trip up to San Francisco.  We kept seeing this van that says “Kara’s Cupcakes” on the side and I obviously kept trying to figure out where they were located.  On our last night there, we are heading to go pick up the car at our hotel and he saw there store and Bryan, being the amazing boyfriend that he is, went in just to see if they offered gluten free cupcakes.  To both of our surprise they did!  But, sadly they were sold out.  I was a little crushed until he told me that they had another store, and if I knew what flavor I wanted they would call over to see if they could hold two for us.  Thankfully the other store had some left, we got there right before they closed and the best part was, they were two blocks from out hotel! ha ha.  While at the store I started chatting with the girl behind the counter and to my surprise they started with Erin from BabyCakes NYC’s recipe and adapted it to make it their own…no wonder why they were so good and we loved them so much. We were patient enough to not eat them until we got home (about 2.5 hours) before digging into our little gems.  Again, the cupcakes were AMAZING!!

This summer when I move I am hoping to try some cupcakes from Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery (also in NYC).  If anyone has tried them, I would love to hear your thoughts🙂

So here are the results of this weeks battle of the cupcakes (both sets of cupcakes will have the same frosting-yes its gluten free!!):

Betty Crocker Chocolate Cupcakes with Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Rainbow Chip Frosting


Arrowhead Mills Vanilla Cupcakes with Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Rainbow Chip Frosting

Betty Crocker – I followed the directions on the back of the package and cooked it according to the time given.

Moist, tasty, chocolaty.  Taste and texture of a “real” cupcake.  As with the brownie mix from Betty Crocker you can’t tell the difference from the gluten containing cupcakes.

Arrowhead Mills – I followed the directions on the back of the package and cooked it according to the time given.

Moist, tasty vanillay.  The taste was pretty good, however the texture was a bit different.  They were a little grainy, almost like it has a little bit of a crunchy texture, more like cornmeal-ish texture to it.  Over all they were still very good, I really enjoyed them.

Now I have a little more than two dozen cupcakes and I am only one person so as with the majority of things I bake these will be coming to work with me tomorrow.  My co-workers have become my “test kitchen” over the past two years.

And the winner is….

I have to say that the winner of this one has got to be the Betty Crocker mix, but probably only because of the texture of the Arrowhead Mills.  You really can’t tell that these and the frosting are gluten free.  Betty Crocker has done very well with these mixes, I am highly impressed.

Now to wash these down with a nice big glass of soy milk!!

A Very Merry Christmas

This year I saved up my vacation time the best I could so I could spend almost three weeks with my boyfriend and our families back east.  We don’t get to see each other very often and its really hard.   We get to see each other every few months, its really taught us not to take each other for granted. We met over five years ago now but we’ve learned a lot about each other over the past ten months.  For example I learned that he is lactose intolerant and allergic to onions, raw apples and a few other things.  So, not only will our house be Gluten Free, it will be Onion Free and mostly Dairy Free.

I got my first experience cooking both GF and DF while he was here for Thanksgiving.  I made a complete dinner for us.  GF stuffing, a turkey, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes and to top it all off a GF Apple Pie!  He and I both loved it.  And have to admit looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

This year we sent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family back in Mass.  Christmas Eve is spent with my mom’s side of the family each year.  Lots of food and plenty of family to share the holiday with.  Its never a dull moment, trust me!  Christmas day is spent with my dad and step mom.  I had filled my parents in on Bryan’s allergies and my step mom made one amazing meal.  Completely GF, DF and OF!  Prime Rib with DF scalloped potatoes, green beans with pancetta.  The only part that wasn’t 100% GF, DF was the cheese cake.  My step mom makes the best cheese cakes, I swear!!  She even made me own special one with no crust.  Oh man I can still taste it.

They also wanted to take us out to dinner one night at the 111 Chophouse in Worcester.  I’ve been there once or twice before, but this was before finding out about having Celiac.  I made sure to bring my little Triumph Dining card with me, however I didn’t need them.  The Chophouse has a gluten free menu.  Not just a few things either, it was a very complete menu.  It had apps, salads, main dishes, and deserts.  I was highly impressed with their selection for GF guests.  I ended up going with the Wagyu Flat Iron Steak. (Thanks again Dad and Sue for another amazing meal!)

After about a week in Mass we headed back down to New Jersey to spend some more time with Bryan’s family and our friends.  We went to The City a few times, ate at Risotteria twice.  Shared the goodness of that place with our friends and Bryan’s Dad. (I have to say they were good sports to go to a GF place just for me! – Thanks guys).  On our first trip to the City we also went to MoMA to see the Tim Burton Exhibit, which is AMAZING.  I highly recommend going if you are there.  He is an extremely talented man, that is for sure.  Next stop was the Empire State Building!!  My dream finally came true.  (I know a self proclaimed dork, but I’ve always wanted to go since seeing An Affair To Remember).  Not only was it almost empty – no lines believe it or not, but we got to go to both the 86th floor and the 102 floor!  Both of which are amazingly beautiful.  It was night time and the city looked like it had a million Christmas lights all lit up.

Our next trip was with Bryan’s Dad to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex, NYC (which sadly closed on 1/3/10). They had some amazing things on display.  When you first got in they show you a “movie” of different artists who have been inducted.  It made me sad that I’ve missed some pretty amazing artists growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I grew up listening to great music, but sadly didn’t get to see any of these artists.  I realized that we have lost amazing talent over the years and most musicians now a days just don’t measure up.

On our  way home we stopped at BabyCakes!! Its a small little place, but the cupcakes are unbelievable.  I walked out of there with six cupcakes and two brownie cupcakes.  Don’t worry I didn’t eat them all myself, I shared ;-)  I even love whats printed on the back of the box “Saving your behind one cupcake at a time”.  My friend Adina gave me their cookbook for my birthday, and now I can’t wait to try some of their recipes.

For photos from my trip back home visit my Flickr page!