The Taco Project

After talking about it for a long time, my friends and I finally decided to give The Taco Project a try.  Our group went to the location in Pleasantville, NY, but there are also locations in Yonkers, Tarrytown, Bronxville, and Stamford, CT.  We went on a Wednesday night, because tacos deserve love every night of the week.  

Upon entering the restaurant, we learned that you order at a counter and seat yourself.  Since it was a nice summer night, we elected to sit in their outdoor dining area.  The cute back area had a variety of small tables and larger picnic tables, and was decorated with greenery, flowers, and string lights.  

When ordering our food at the counter, the staff was very knowledgeable about the menu and allergy concerns.  I was obviously concerned with gluten-free options, while one my friends has dairy and soy allergies.  They restaurant was more than accommodating of all of our dietary restrictions.  In terms of gluten-free, I was able to have all of my tacos prepared on soft-shelled corn tortillas.  There were a few tacos I was unable to order due to cross contamination concerns in a mutual fryer, which the staff was very quick to alert me to.  

The Taco Project Menu

Each order of tacos comes with 2, 6-inch tacos, so my friends and I decided to split a couple of different options for variety.  We shared the BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos, Chicken Tacos, and Shrimp Tacos (substituting grilled shrimp in place of the battered version on the menu).  All of the tacos were delicious!  My personal favorite was the chicken taco.  The shrimp taco was a little spicy for my taste, but if you’re someone who enjoys some heat, the flavor was really good.  

To accompany my meal, my table shared the Rice and Beans. I also had the Mexican corn and a mojito.  Both were great, and perfect compliments to the whole meal.  

If you’re looking for good tacos in a casual setting, check out The Taco Project.  

The Taco Project: https://thetacoproject.com/

The Taco Project: 465 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville, NY10570

Chef Wanda’s Greek Feast

Last week, I attended a Bachelorette weekend in the Yankee Lake area of New York.  As one of the main events, Chef Wanda came to our rental and cooked us one of the most incredible Greek feasts.  Along with her niece, Chef Destinee, the two spoiled us with an amazing meal that we are all still talking about a week later.

We began our dining experience with a Meze consisting of Spanakopita and Courgettes, and a Salad course of Orzo Salad and Greek Salad. Everything was absolutely delicious, but my personal favorite was the courgettes.  Chefs Wanda and Destinee also prepared special pitas, shaped at hearts to honor the occasion.  

For our main course, we were served Beef and Spanakorizo Stuffed Peppers, Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Skewers, and Grilled Lamb Keftedes Skewers.  In addition to the mains were sides of Lemon Potatoes and Tzatziki Dip.  All I can saw is wow!  Everything was so good, with the Chicken Souvlaki Skewers being some of the best chicken I’ve tasted.  

Our meal was finished with Amygdalota Cookies for dessert.  These were absolutely fantastic, and I ate more than my fair share throughout the night.  

One of the best parts of the experience was how accommodating Chef Wanda and Chef Destinee were to all of our dining restrictions.  We were a group consisting of both gluten free and dairy free diners.  Everything (that’s right, everything!) prepared was gluten free. In addition to the gluten free creations, dairy free versions were prepared so that everyone at the bachelorette was able to eat every single menu item. 

This meal was seriously amazing!  Chef Wanda and Chef Destinee were super accommodating to our needs, incredibly professional in their preparation, and extremely talented in their craft.  They were also lovely to work with, and interacted with the group.  If you’re looking for a private chef in the Yankee Lake area, I highly recommend checking out Chef Wanda!

 IG: whatscookingwithwanda

Salsa Picante

A few weeks ago, I finally got to try Salsa Picante in White Plains, NY.  I had been seeing the instagram pictures of the amazing food, impressive drinks, and super cool environment for quite some time, and was very excited about finally getting to check it out for myself. 

Upon arrival, my group and I were met with a really unique ambiance.  The restaurant is a lot of fun, and has several “instagrammable” features.  We were lucky enough to score a reservation in one of the rooftop igloos.  It had snowed earlier in the day, which added to the fun of eating in a unique setting.  It was definitely a little cold in our igloo, despite the space heater, but the chill was well worth the fun dining experience.  

To start, I ordered a giant margarita (it was huge!) and our table ordered guacamole and chips.  We selected both a Traditional Guacamole and a Tropical Guacamole.  Both were delicious, but the Tropical Guacamole was truly unique.  The pineapple and mango really added a great flavor, and the presentation in a halved pineapple made it even more special.

For my main course, I ordered the Carne Asada Tampiquena (skirt steak served with cheese mole enchilada, rice, beans, and guacamole). My meal was absolutely delicious, and the portion was huge! The friends I was with also really enjoyed their dinners.  Of course, I spoke with the wait staff prior to ordering, and was ensured that everything was gluten-free.  They were super knowledgeable about the menu, and very helpful in assisting me to select the perfect meal.  

I was really impressed with my dinner at Salsa Picante, and will definitely be returning for another visit.  

Giant Margarita
Gluten-Free Chips
Traditional Guacamole
Tropical Guacamole
Carne Asada Tampiquena
My friends and I on the igloo filled rooftop

Check out their website: http://www.salsapicantemex.com/menu-2

Salsa Picante

359 Mamaroneck Ave.

White Plains, NY 10605

The Rye Roadhouse

            I had been wanting to try Rye Roadhouse for a long time.  Several of my friends are regulars and frequently rave about the food.  I finally got around checking it out a few weeks ago and I can see what all the hype was about. 

            The restaurant is casual and has a fun vibe.  When I asked about gluten-free options, I was presented with a full gluten-free menu.  When I say full, I mean full.  I had looked at the regular menu before receiving the gluten-free version, and the menus were almost comparable in size. 

            To start, I ordered the ‘Gator Nuggets, described as “blackened or fried, served with Cajun remoulade.”  Now I’ll be honest, gator is not something I would have naturally been drawn to, but my friends who regularly eat at Rye Roadhouse told me I had to try it.  I ordered the nuggets blackened, because per my friends, “when given an option, order everything blackened.” My friends were right, the ‘Gator Nuggets were delicious and a must have.  

‘Gator Nuggets

            For my main course I ordered the Shrimp Skewer.  The skewer had the option of being marinated and grilled or blackened.  Following the advice of my friends, I again selected the blackened option.  Most of the entrees are served with two sides of your choice so I selected the Baked Sweet Potato and Collard Greens.  The shrimp skewers were cooked to perfection and the sides were so good!  I especially loved the Collard Greens.  

Blackened Shrimp Skewer with Sweet Potato and Collard Greens

            I really enjoyed my first visit to Rye Roadhouse, and completely understand what all the hype is about.  I look forward to returning soon and trying additional menu items.  

For more information on The Rye Roadhouse, check out their website: https://www.ryeroadhouse.com

The Rye Roadhouse

12 High Street

Rye, NY 10580

(914) 925-2668

Peter Chang Restaurant

If you were to ask me what I’ve missed most since becoming gluten-free, the answer would be simple, Chinese food.  That’s right, it’s not some of the obvious choices like bread, pasta, cakes, etc.  I have a serious love for Chinese food, and have been on the hunt for a replacement for my favorite cuisine. I’m not alone in my love.  My entire family has spent many a meal either ordering take out or eating at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, but stopped doing so due to the limited number of options available for me.  When my dad reported on a great Chinese food restaurant he had been to that had a lot of gluten-free options, we had to give it a try. 

On our first visit to Peter Chang Restaurant located in Stamford, CT, the large menu shocked me.  Not only were there pages upon pages of dishes, there were a large amount gluten-free options.  Out of curiosity, I started counting the gluten-free dishes, but stopped at 20, distracted by the gorgeous pictures on the menu, and delicious smells coming from the kitchen. 

My family and I ordered several dishes; they shared some of my gluten-free items, while ordering some gluten-full ones for themselves.  The gluten-free items we ordered were the Chicken with Lettuce Wraps, Mongolian Beef, and Vegetable Egg & Scallion Fried Rice.  The food arrived, and I couldn’t believe how good it was.  Seriously, it was amazing!  Everything I ordered was packed with flavor, and it was difficult to stop eating even after I was very full.  I had the leftovers packed up, and finished them the next day.  My family also enjoyed their meal, raving about the gluten-free (and gluten-full) dishes they had eaten. 

As a family, we first ate at Peter Chang Restaurant about a month ago, and have already returned for an equally delicious visit.  The restaurant has become a new staple, and I can’t wait to continue sampling the menu. 

Chicken with Lettuce Wraps
Mongolian Beef
Vegetable Egg & Scallion Fried Rice

Peter Chang Restaurant- 230 Tresser Blvd. H004, Stamford, CT 06901 https://www.peterchangct.com/

The Cookery

A few weeks ago, some friends and I went out for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.  I’ve always liked to take advantage of the event by going to a restaurant I’ve heard about, but haven’t tried.  When my friends suggested The Cookery, I immediately previewed the Restaurant Week menu, and agreed with the choice.  There were so many options, and all of them looked fantastic!

I assumed there would be a few items on the menu I could eat, but was surprised by the large number of items that were deemed safe for me.  While several offerings were already gluten-free in preparation, my super friendly and knowledgeable server shared that many items on the menu could be modified to be gluten-free, making the majority of the menu available to me.  There were so many options; I had to ask for more time to make my decision. 

Following the format of Restaurant Week, I selected the items for my three courses: Kale for my appetizer, Pork Osso Bucco for my main course, and Chocolate Polenta for my dessert.  The Kale was prepared with beluga lentils, crispy capers, currants, mint, parmigiano, and lemon vinaigrette.  This light and flavorful appetizer was the perfect starter for my meal.  The first item that caught my attention when I pre-screened the menu was the Pork Osso Bucco.  Initially, my server told me this was not gluten-free due to it being cooked in a way that presented the risk of cross-contamination.  This was the one item I specifically asked about before asking what I could order from the menu.  After ordering something else, my server came back from the kitchen, and let me know that if I was still interested in the Pork Osso Bucco, the chef said it could be cooked using a different cooking method that would not present a risk of cross-contamination.  I immediately changed my order, and I am so glad I did.  While I’m sure the other main course I had ordered would have been delicious, the pork was amazing!  The dish was described as crisp, creamy white poltenta, seasonal mostarda, vincotto.  Despite being prepared in a different manner, the meat was cooked to perfection, practically falling off the bone with just a fork.  The flavor was incredible, and despite the large portion, I finished my whole plate.  I completed my meal with the Chocolate Polenta.  On the menu, the dessert was described as coming with graham cracker and toasted marshmallow.  Mine was prepared without the graham cracker, making it the perfect gluten-free finish to my meal. 

Kale
Pork Osso Bucco
Chocolate Polenta

I was beyond impressed with my meal at The Cookery.  Not only was the food incredible, the service and the care given to my dietary needs was exceptional.  Despite it being a few weeks since eating here, I am still raving about my meal, and can’t wait to return to The Cookery.   

The Cookery- 39 Chestnut St., Dobbs Ferry, NY 15022

For more information on the The Cookery, check out their website: https://thecookeryrestaurant.com

Graziella’s

Over the years, my friends and I have visited Graziella’s in White Plains, NY several times. Our visits started as girls’ night dinners, and have since transformed into special occasions and celebrations. Most recently, a large group and I went out for a good friend’s birthday. As always, our meal was great, with everyone enjoying their dinner.

To begin, one of my friends (who eats gluten) and I decided to split the Buratta and Plum Tomato. The Starter is described as being prepared with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, pink sea salt and garlic toast. Prior to placing the order, I asked the waiter if the dish could be modified to be gluten-free. I was informed that the toast comes out on the side, and everything else was safe for me to eat. Once the order arrived, the waiter placed the dish between my friend and I, followed by a separate plate with the garlic toast. He informed us that he had placed the toast on a separate plate to ensure the part I was eating was completely gluten-free. We divided the buratta, and it was fantastic! All of the flavors were perfect, and the dish was a great start to my meal.

Graziella’s Buratta and Plum Tomato

For my main course, I ordered the Linguine & Clams. While there were several gluten-free main course options available, when the waiter informed me that they had gluten-free pasta, I couldn’t resist! The dish is offered with choice of red or white clam sauce, and I opted for white. While the dish is listed as being linguine, my order was made with penne, which is the gluten-free pasta they had available. I love penne, and was more than happy with the substitution. It was so good! The portion was huge, and despite the large amount of food, I finished the whole plate.

Graziella’s Linguine & Clams (gluten-free penne substituted for the linguine)

I absolutely loved my gluten-free meal at Graziella’s!

For more information, visit the restaurant’s website at: http://www.graziellasrestaurant.com

Graziella’s – 99 Church St., White Plains, NY 10601

Asiana Cafe

I love Chinese food. For years, whenever the topic of takeout would come up, my brother and I would immediately argue. He was always inclined to vote for Italian, while I was set on Chinese. Unfortunately, once the gluten-free life found me, I was forced to give up my favorite food.

In my pre-gluten-free life, Asiana Cafe in Greenwich, CT used to be one of my favorite go-to restaurants for Chinese, Thai, and Japanese cuisine. Last year, I was overjoyed to discover that they have a gluten-free menu. While I always knew there were sushi items I could have, I was unaware that there is a full 4 page gluten-free menu featuring a variety of Appetizers, Greens, Soups, Kitchen Entrees, Contempt Rolls, Sushi/Sashimi, Classic Rolls, and Veggie Rolls.

Last night, I ordered the Velvet Corn Soup (cream corn & egg drops) and Broccoli in White Wine Sauce with Chicken. Both were delicious! While I have eaten in the restaurant in the past, last night I ordered take out and ate at home. My meal traveled well, and was just as good as if I had eaten it in the restaurant.

For a delicious gluten-free meal, check out Asiana Cafe: http://www.asianacafe.com

Asiana Cafe- 68 East Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT 06830

Parker & Quinn

I love when I find a restaurant that is gluten-free friendly, and has great food.  Parker and Quinn is one of the restaurants that fall into this category.  Not only were they very accommodating of my dietary needs, the food was great!  

The positive experience at Parker & Quinn started with the reservation.  My friend made a reservation using Open Table, and was contacted after doing so by the restaurant (I believe this occurred through the Open Table app).  She was asked about special dietary restrictions, and being very aware of my need to eat a gluten-free meal, she selected that as an option.  As always, I went to work to prepare for my dining experience.  I went to the website hoping to find pre-select some menu items that looked gluten-free, which I could ask the wait staff about once I got there.  What I found instead was a separate tab for Allergy Menus.  Clicking on the tab took me the full menu, with each item marked to indicate possible allergens or restrictions, including: gluten, garlic, nuts, dairy, shellfish, pork, and soy.  

Having done my preliminary screening, I walked into the restaurant with my game plan set.  Two of my favorite foods are scallops and mashed potatoes, both items that were found on the menu.  For the sake of caution, I did tell the waiter of my need to have a gluten-free meal, and confirmed that the Seared Sea Scallops (sunchokes, green apple & brussels slaw, crispy pancetta) and Mashed Potatoes (truffle butter) that I wanted to order were in fact gluten-free.  They were!  When the food came out, my meal was brought out separately, and I was informed that my allergy had been noted, and everything that was prepared for me was in fact gluten-free and safe to eat.  While I expected the meal to be gluten-free, the verbal assurance provided an extra level of comfort and confidence in my meal.  As for the food, there is one word the perfectly describes it, delicious!  

Parker & Quinn Seared Sea Scallops
Parker & Quinn Mashed Potatoes

I was very happy with my dining experience at Parker & Quinn, and will definitely be going back.  

For more information, check out the restaurant’s website: https://ingoodcompany.com/restaurants/parkerandquinn/

Parker & Quinn64 W. 39th St., New York, NY 10018

The Smith Restaurant & Bar

There is one rule I’ve always followed; special occasions call for special meals. Every birthday, holiday, milestone, and other celebration must be accompanied with a special dining experience. Recently, a good friend and I were celebrating one of these special occasions, which we accompanied with a very special meal at The Smith Restaurant and Bar. The Smith has several locations in New York City and DC, and on this occasion we dined at the Midtown, Manhattan restaurant.

Part of the reason why my friend and I selected The Smith was because we were looking to have brunch, and they have a fantastic brunch menu. As I do every time I eat a meal out, I pre-screened the menu prior to making a reservation. While the menu did not indicate which items are gluten-free, they had enough items that looked like they should be gluten-free, so I was comfortable with the choice. Once we got to the restaurant, I entered my usual routine of explaining my limited diet to the waitress, and asked for some advisement when it came to ordering. Instead of being given a few items to pick from, I was asked what I wanted, and was informed that almost anything on the menu could be modified so that I could safely eat it (In many cases this included removing a bread item, since they did not have any gluten-free breads available).

My friend had eaten at the restaurant several times before with her boyfriend, and told me that her favorite item was the Avocado Toast (which was one of the few items I couldn’t make work for me), and her boyfriend always raved about the Short Rib Hash. Knowing my friend and her boyfriend are foodies, I decided to go with the Short Rib Hash, and nervously asked by waitress if that was something I’d be able to safely eat. She assured me that they could do it, so I excitedly placed my order.

What happened next was awesome! A few minutes after ordering, the manager came over asking which of us had the gluten-free order. I nervously identified myself, expecting to be told that there was some mistake, and I would have to select another menu item. Instead, I was informed that they just wanted to ensure me that my meal would be prepared safely for me, and let me know about their allergy protocol. All items that are ordered with an indicated allergy or other restriction have a red flag placed into them. They wanted to make me aware of this so I knew to look for the flag in my food. If for some reason my food arrived without the flag, I should let them know immediately, and they would take care of it.

The last part of the manager’s message was unnecessary. My meal arrived with a red flag prominently displayed. Not only did The Smith provide me with a safe meal, they provided me with a delicious one! The portion was huge, and while I don’t normally eat a lot during the mornings/early afternoons, I finished the entire thing! The Smith has definitely made it onto my list (which it really more of a note in my phone) of go-to brunch spots in the city.

My meal arrived with a red flag clearly indicating that it was prepared with care for an allergy/restriction.

For more information on The Smith check out their website: https://thesmithrestaurant.com