Friday, February 25, 2011

Gluten Free Cooperstown!

Well, folks, I braved that which lies beyond Westchester and Rockland County.  I went UPSTATE (gasp).  During the WINTER (horror).  And I lived to tell the tale... without so much as even getting cross contaminated. 

Granted, I'm sure this is horribly ethnocentric of me, but I fear eating outside of NYC.  In a place where waiters have seen it all and heard it all, many are well versed in food allergies and willing to mess around with the menu to get me something good. 

My awesome, awesome boyfriend and I ventured up north to Cooperstown, home of the baseball hall of fame, for a romantic long weekend between his birthday and Valentine's Day.  The weekend was great.  And surprisingly, so was the food! I definitely did my fair share of planning, reading menus mostly, and ended up finding many a gluten free treat in this quaint little town.

Strolling down Main Street, we saw Danny's Main Street Italian Market, which had a sign in the window boasting that they now served gluten free baked goods and muffins.  Too bad they were closed for the weekend... But all the same, I report to you all that it exists and has good reviews on Google.

Lucky for us celiacs, Cooperstown is a breakfast town, and breakfast is the easiest meal to do gluten free (unless you go to IHOP where those fascists put pancake mix in their omelettes for some strange reason) thanks to the incredible, edible egg.  Both cafes we chose for breakfast/brunch (Doubleday Cafe and the super tiny Cooperstown Diner) kept the toast off the plate and my tummy happy with their awesome omelettes. All I had to say was no toast - I have a severe wheat allergy, and I was good to go.

For dinner, I highly recommend Alex and Ika. Their menu boasted "continental cuisine" which normally makes me think about a bad buffet at a wedding, but that is not what you'll find here.  The steamed clams and scallop appetizers were fantastic, as was my steak entree.  And all were gluten free without any modifications necessary!  Their menu changes seasonally, but based on the attitude of the wait staff, you should have no problem finding something that works easily (and tastily) for you here.

For the inbetween meals and snacks, I was dying to try some of Cooperstown's famous chili.  We stumbled into The Pit, beneath the Tunnicliff Inn and sampled some of the town's finest, also naturally gluten free.

Happy Hall of Faming!

((Psssst! Anyone looking for a hotel recommendation? I wanted privacy - no B&Bs for this girl.  And Gateway Inn & Suites really delivered.  We got a free upgrade.  Room was clean, cozy and warm.  Perfect for unwinding after a long day of touristy fun.  I know the website is a wee bit ghetto, but the Inn is not at all.))

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Risotteria aka Gluten Free risotto heaven

Sorry it has been so long! You can tell how much cooking I've been doing lately...

After a weekend adventure in Cooperstown, where I discovered that yes, Virginia, the suburbs DO have gluten free surprises in store (more on that in a post to come), I was back on a restaurant kick which motivated me to venture below 14th Street (something I rarely do) and hit up Risotteria which will be known henceforth as Gluten Free heaven.

Risotteria is a casual, bustling Italian bistro in the village, quickly serving up tasty treats for Celiacs and their companions.  They have gluten free beer and beverages, gluten free breadsticks to start (seen below, accompanying the ridiculously tasty gluten free meatball appetizer I split with my honey) and a whole menu of gluten free goodness.  They also boast an in store frozen section, which is under the cash register and a bakery counter.  I walked away with 4 loaves of Ciabatta bread for the hefty price of 18 dollars.  It is gooooood, though.

Even more exciting were the cupcakes.  So exciting in fact that I forgot to take pictures before I practically swallowed them whole.  You'll have to forgive me for that.  A combination of hormones and 6 months GF actually brought tears to my eyes during Valentines Day dinner when the bread basket was placed on our table.  So cupcakes were in order that week and Risotteria's more than satisified.  Red Velvet was the star of the show.  I'm hoping to get back to Babycakes in the next few weeks for a comparison review, but we'll see.

The startling thing about Risotteria is that it seats maybe 20 people.  And the food comes out FAST.  So fast in fact that I nervously sighed when my risotto came out no more than 10 minutes after ordering, figuring that this would be nowhere near as authentic and perfect as I had hoped.  But I was wrong.  I don't know how they do it, but oh do they do it up good.  I chose the arugula, parma ham and fontina cheese risotto and was not disappointed.  Frank's sauseeeeej and mushroom risotto was tasty too.

Our meatball appetizer.  Two meatballs, bolognese sauce and the perfect breadsticks...

My risotto.  Hellllllloooooooo.

I tend to operate as though I can find something I can eat anywhere I go.  This has ALMOST (fuck you Brooklyn Diner) always been true. 

But sometimes, I don't want to be barely accomodated when I go out to eat.  I want to be indulged and catered to.  And I don't want to cry when the bread basket appears.  For those days where accomodation just won't do, and the tears are bubbling up, there is Risotteria.