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

Rosa Mexicano

After becoming gluten-free, I gained a new appreciation for Mexican food.  Not only is the food delicious and often a crowd pleaser, it’s typically a great option for gluten-free dining.  A lot of traditional Mexican dishes, and dishes typically found on a menu are naturally gluten-free.  This has made Mexican a go to option when selecting a place to eat for a group.  

Recently, several friends and I were attending an activity in the city, and wanted to do dinner first.  We decided on Rosa Mexicano.   There are currently 4 locations in New York City, and we ate at the restaurant by Lincoln Center due to it’s proximity to our event.  Not only does Rosa Mexicano have a large menu with tons of options, they label their gluten-free items directly on their menu. 

We started with two gluten-free appetizers for the table: Guacamole En Molcajete and Queso Fundido with Chorizo.  Both were gluten-free, delicious, and great items for sharing across the table. I always order guacamole, but I don’t like really spicy food.  We ordered the guacamole mild, and the flavor was great without being too hot.  The Queso Fundido was fantastic!  It is a small skillet of melted gooey cheese served with corn tortillas.  I had never had it before, but will definitely be reordering it in the future.  

Rosa Mexicano’s Guacamole

Rosa Mexicano’s Queso Fundido

For my main course, I ordered the Suizas Enchiladas.  The enchiladas are described as roasted chicken tinga with creamy tomatillo sauce, cilantro, onion, and melted chihuahua cheese.  I really enjoyed the flavors in this dish.  I had ordered it from Rosa Mexicano before, and every time it’s been great!  

Rosa Mexicano’s Suizas Enchiladas

I will definitely be returning to Rosa Mexicano in the future.  

Rosa Mexicano’s Website: https://rosamexicano.com 

 

Bartaco

It’s “Taco Tuesday” so let’s “taco ‘bout” bartaco.  Okay, I’ve gotten that out of my system, I promise.  What I haven’t gotten out of my system is the almost constant craving for some of bartaco‘s delicious tacos and other food.  The bartaco closest to me opened several years ago, and quickly became a popular spot for dining and drinks.  There is always a crowd, and it’s not unusual to have to wait a few minutes for a table.  The vast menu contains a variety of upscale tacos, making it appealing to the masses.  My favorite part, is that so much of the menu is gluten-free, that bartaco only uses an indicator to identify the few items that contain gluten.

Bartaco is great for groups, with ordering being completed by the table filling out an order card.  The majority of the appetizers and side dishes are easy to share, and margarita pitchers are a fan favorite.  Ordering is easy, and the food comes to the table quickly.  There have been many times when my friends and I decided to go for a second round of tacos, and we were able to order, and continued enjoying our meal without disruption or major delay.  

During my most recent visit, my friends and I started with a large Guac.  The chips are actually large corn tortillas that you break apart to share and dip.  For my main course, I started with 4 tacos.  It’s often a hard choice, but I decided to select 4 different tacos, sampling as much as I could.  I went with the Sesame Ribeye (angus ribeye w/ kimchi) , Glazed Pork Belly (spicy arbol chili sauce), Chicken Pastor (achiote-marinated seared chicken, grilled pineapple, tajin), and Portabello with queso fresco (roasted w/ poblano peppers & garlic) (pictured left to right).  I also ordered a side of fresh pineapple with lime, which was super sweet, and a great compliment to my tacos.  I devoured my meal.  The food is so good, I’m surprised I was able to hold off long enough to take a picture.  

bartaco Large Guac

bartaco Sesame Ribeye, Glazed Pork Belly, Chicken Pastor, Portobello with Queso Fresca

While dining, my friends shared a “rumor” they had heard.  Apparently, an unnamed source had shared that bartaco has a secret taco.  Could it be true, is this real?  We asked our super friendly waitress, and she informed us that yes, there is a secret taco, which regularly changes.  On this particular occasion, the secret taco was a lobster salad over guacamole in a hard taco shell.  As she shared this information with us, all of the eyes at my table lit up, and everyone in my group ordered a secret taco.  It was incredible!  

bartaco Secret Taco

To finish my meal, I ordered the Spiced Chocolate Pudding.  The pudding is served in a jar with a crunchy hazelnut topping.  It was light enough to not make me feel over-full, but still rich in flavor.  The pudding proved to be the perfect ending to a perfect meal.   

bartaco Spcied Chocolate Pudding

bartaco has currently has 18 restaurants across 10 different states.  Check out their website below to find your local establishment: https://bartaco.com

 

Bareburger

I was first introduced to Bareburger a few years ago.  I was meeting some friends in the city for lunch, and knowing I was gluten-free, they suggested the restaurant.  My friends had eaten there before, and knew there were gluten-free options on the menu.  I expected to find a typical burger place menu, with maybe one or two options for me, and a half decent gluten-free roll available.  Instead, I found a huge menu full of healthy, delicious, and gluten-free options! 

While there are a lot of burgers offered, my favorite thing to do is make a custom burger, which is listed on the menu as “Be My Burger”.  Bareburger allows you to select from a large list of options, with several gluten free options in each of the categories (Patty, Bun, Bacon & Egg, Cheese, Veggies, and Sauces).  In addition to having a gluten-free bun, those avoiding gluten can also get their burger wrapped in collard greens.  While the Rye, NY location is my local Bareburger and the one I visit most often, I have eaten at several of their other locations, and have always had the same high quality, delicious, and gluten free experience.  On my most recent trip, I ordered the turkey burger with turkey bacon, aged cheddar, guacamole, and dill pickles, served on a gluten-free bun, of course!  Bareburger also has amazing gluten-free fries available, which are a staple side with every burger I order.  

I always love finding a restaurant that keeps the gluten-free and the gluten-full eaters equally happy and full, and Bareburger is one of those places.  If you have not done so already, I highly suggest you check out your local Bareburger!

Bareburger‘s Website: https://www.bareburger.com

 

Galli

One of the biggest struggles for me once I became gluten free was giving up pasta.  I have always loved pasta, and in the early days, I cheated many times on my gluten free diet by ordering a pasta dish when I went out to dinner.  When I first became gluten free, almost 8 years ago, it was hard to find a good gluten free pasta.  It was difficult to find a restaurant that served gluten free options, and even more difficult to find one that had gluten free pasta available.  While this may no longer be the case, I still get really excited to see gluten free pasta available on a restaurant’s menu. 

My most recent run in with my favorite printed words, “gluten free available” was at Galli located at 45 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013.  Galli describes itself as an Italian comfort food restaurant, and their menu lives up to this description.  While they have an extensive menu with many gluten free options, my eyes were immediately drawn to their large selection of pastas, with the words “gluten free available” prominently displayed at the top of the section.  I selected one of my favorites, Carbonara (spaghetti, pancetta, egg, pecorino, cream, peas).  While the dish is listed as being made with spaghetti, my server informed me that they only had gluten free penne available, which was a substitution I was completely fine with.  My meal was amazing!  The gluten free pasta had the texture of a gluten-full pasta and was cooked perfectly al dente. The carbonara was delicious, and I finished the entire large portion.  I highly recommend checking out Galli if you’re in the city and looking for a great gluten free (or gluten full) meal.  

Galli’s website: https://www.gallirestaurant.com

Galli- 45 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013  (212) 966-9288