Thursday, June 9, 2011

Friedman's Lunch - Eating Gluten Free in NYC

Having a gluten and dairy intolerance can make going out to eat a little socially awkward and I always get a bit anxious before eating.  Anyone with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance knows that restaurants aren't always honest with their ingredients.  I have left several restaurants very sick because of gluten in the food that was served to me. 

On top of this, I've never been a big fan of going out to eat - it's usually not healthy, and I hate spending 5x the amount of money on a meal that I (or D) could cook even better at home. That being said, you can't always avoid restaurants, and sometimes it's just nice to have someone else cook for you.

Since my gluten and dairy intolerance diagnosis, I usually stick with chicken or steak and a baked potato (no toppings). I always call in advance to make sure the meat isn't being marinated in a sauce (usually gluten filled). I have had a large variety of reactions - and some restaurants have even refused to serve me.

I live in New York City, in the Chelsea neighborhood. Chelsea Market hosts a wide variety of stores and restaurants - and I highly recommend you check it out if you are ever in the city. Friedman's Lunch is located in Chelsea Market and offers a gluten free menu!

My boyfriend (D) and I went on a date to Friedman's Lunch this past Saturday night (6/4/11). IT WAS DELICIOUS AND GLUTEN FREE! I'm giddy just thinking about the meal and how easy it was to order. I can't even begin to tell you what a relief it is to eat dinner at a restaurant that is prepared for the gluten intolerant. (I haven't come across any dairy free restaurants, but dairy is usually easy to spot and avoid.) They already know to keep the food separate, use a separate fryer, and they don't put a delicious gluten filled bread basket right in front of you when you sit down.

We had a great experience. The service was excellent and the food was delicious! The waiter knew how to answer all my questions regarding how the food was prepared, so it was a relaxing evening.

D and I both got gluten free burgers and the herb french fries. I haven't eaten a burger with a bun in over 9 months, so I was beyond elated to eat this meal. D is not gluten intolerant, but agreed that their gluten free bread was really good. On top of that - they offer Boylan's Root beer - which is all natural and made with cane sugar! Hooray for (mostly) guilt free soda. The prices were great for NYC - my Southwestern Turkey Burger was $15.25 ($13 + $2.25 gluten free bread charge). Yes - $15 for a burger is a deal in the city. And I honestly couldn't tell that it was a turkey burger. I'd also like to note that I didn't finish my entire burger, and when I ate the leftovers 2 days later - the bread was still good and not crumbling apart! This is a miracle for gluten free bread. Thank you Friedman's Lunch!

Healthy eating is all about balance and being prepared! We all have more options now than ever to make good eating choices. Wherever you go out to eat - check out the menu and plan in advance what you will order, so you don't make a unhealthy last minute decision that you'll regret later that night.

- Stephanie

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