Our coveted table at Blue Ribbon in Brooklyn
During my much anticipated spring break, I took a quick weekend trip with my fiance to visit friends in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. I then took a solo road trip to stay with my college room mate Amy, her husband Dan, and their one year old son, Owen. They live in beautiful, warm and breezy Huntersville, North Carolina, right outside of Charlotte. Oh how I am ready for June!
Traveling Gluten Free
Going out of town is always a challenge for me. On an emotional level, traveling gluten free causes more anxiety than just eating out at home. The repercussions of accidentally ingesting gluten while away mean I'll get sick in someone else's bathroom, or worse while I'm out sight seeing. It also means I won't be able to travel home until I recuperate which means added days to the trip.
On a practical level, traveling gluten free and GAPS friendly means looking up restaurants ahead of time, bringing suitable snacks for the trip and prebaking muffins so I have quick breakfasts and snacks available during my stay. You will also find me immersed in my loving and patient friends' pantries reading ingredient lists.
When I packed for my trips I brought my bag of clothing, my bag of shoes (love my shoes) and my bag of snacks.
Snacks for Travel:
- A bottle of Kombucha (the probiotics are essential to feeling good while eating out and it's a good soda alternative)
- A baggie of nuts and dried fruit (I brought pistachios, dried apricots, peanuts and raisins)
- A large baggie of almond or coconut flour muffins (this time I brought almond meal raisin "bran" muffins- post coming soon!)
- string cheese (to eat before it gets warm, or to refrigerate when I arrive)
- fresh fruit that won't bruise easily, like apples and oranges
I managed to eat out at some great restaurants, which are reviewed below. You can find them and others, listed in my GF Restaurants Guide.
Brooklyn, NY Travel Review:
New York ROCKS with it's gluten free friendliness, knowledge and options. We arrived late Friday night and left Sunday afternoon so we were only able to try a couple of places.
On Saturday we brunched at Juventino where I ate the Prawns and Polenta and tried the Lengua Y Papas (Beef tongue over potatoes). The polenta in my dish is not on the GAPS diet as it is a corn product, and I did feel overly full and tired later in the afternoon from eating it. But it was mighty tasty with farm cheese and fresh herbs. The beef tongue was amazingly tender and is something I'd like to try cooking at home as it's cheap and a bit of a mystery to my taste buds.
For dinner we were dined at Blue Ribbon on 5th Ave. Blue Ribbon was recommended as a great seafood restaurant and GF friendly, and it did not disappoint. My fiance and I shared the Sauteed Calamari and the Red Trout over mushrooms with a green bean, almond and sesame salad. Both were delicious but the Calamari was my favorite. The waitor was confident about certain menu items being gluten free and happy to double check with the kitchen.
Now for the grand finale, Risotteria! Only a few tables fill this little restaurant. As a group of four, we were able to be seated right away because we waited outside the door until the restaurant opened at noon. This is not GAPS friendly, the risotto, pizza, breadsticks and sandwich breads are all main with grain flours. But they're all offered GLUTEN FREE! Amazing texture, flavor and variety. My favorite is the plain cheese pizza, evoking memories of real Italian pizza. The sundried tomato salad was also delicious. Believe me when I say, "cheating" on the GAPS diet with Risotteria is completely worth it.
Charlotte, NC Travel Review:
The Charlotte Celiac Connection offers a long list of gluten free restaurants and gluten free friendly restaurants. Amy and I cooked a lot during my stay, but we did eat out at a couple of places. Our first day we ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen which offers a gluten free menu. I ate their new roasted vegetable salad with shrimp, delicioius!
For our girls' night dinner date we ate at Red Rocks at Birkdale. They also offer a gluten free menu and I had the barbeque chicken with green beans and cole slaw. I would suggest double checking when your meal comes out. Mine came out originally with mac & cheese, soo not gluten free!
My favorite meal that we cooked at home was Broiled Flounder Parmesan. The recipe called for Talapia but we went for the healthier, wild caught flounder. I can't wait to make this naturallly gluten free and GAPS friendly sauce again over chicken, broccoli, or cauliflower, the possibilities are endless!
We ended my stay with a family dinner to Jason's Deli. On top of serving organic and chemical free sandwiches, they have a gluten free menu, offer gluten free sandwich bread, and I had to give in and try to gluten free soft serve- it's been so long! What a treat. I had never heard of it, but it turns out there are two near me in northern Virginia. This is definitely my new go-to.
Here's to more breaks, and more trips!