Gluten Free News: Hello Pasta opens in NYC

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Hello Pasta, a brand-new gourmet fast food chain, is opening four New York City locations, Lexington Avenue and 55th being their first.  Hello Pasta is serving organic pasta with veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options! 

I don’t eat “on-the-go” often (or ever, really), but this is a great lunch option for many gluten-free NYC professionals. 

Read more about it here and visit their website here.

Vegan Ice Cream/Gluten-Free Cone

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See this?  That is vegan ice cream in a cone.  My first cone since going gluten-free.  It certaily wasn’t as tasty as a sugar cone, but it tastes just like a glutenous wafer cone.  The ice cream was incredible.  Since they used cashew milk to make it, the chocolate had a nutty taste.  I didn’t miss the dairy at all.

Get your own vegan ice cream and gluten-free cone at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary on 6th between A and B.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse Pie

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse Pie

I finally made this interesting recipe from Lillian’s Test Kitchen.  It uses avocados instead of dairy for the chocolate mousse.  Weird, right?  Well, Lillian said this was one of her favorite recipes, so I trusted her judgement and went for it and made it for my friend’s birthday dessert.  Oh, so this recipe is vegan, so I have officially baked my first vegan dessert and guess what, I didn’t miss any of the dairy or eggs.

This is an incredible easy recipe- the food processor does most of the work.  I must mention that I used half almond meal (ground almonds in my coffee bean grinder) and half coconut flour for the crust.  Don’t know why, just wanted to experiment.  It was tasty, but the crust ended up like a graham cracker crumbly crust instead of a crisp, flaky crust.  Maybe all almond flour would have been different. The strawberries were key.  They added the perfect burst of juiciness to a somewhat sticky mouthful.  Lastly, I used half Hershey’s dark cocoa powder and half Equal Exchange regular cocoa powder.  It was a delicious combo. 

The full recipe is here.

Cafe Blossom

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Cafe Blossom

466 Columbus btwn 82nd & 83rd

212-875-2600

Last week, I had a dinner date with with one of my favorite people and fellow glutard, Erin.  Having dinner with Erin is great, because there is no excuse not to try a new gluten-free friendly restaurant.  After deciding that the Upper West Side would be our dining locale, Cafe Blossom was an easy choice because of its fabulous GF labeled menu and reasonable prices.  Other GF friendly options considered were Sambuca and Hampton Chutney.  Sambuca was ruled out because it is family style, and doesn’t make sense for two people price-wise, and Hampton Chutney was more of a take-out place.  However, they are still on my list of GF places to try.

Cafe Blossom is a vegan restaurant with two sister restaurants: Blossom Bistro on the Upper East Side, and Blossom, the original more upscale version of the two in Chelsea.  All three have a reputation for affordable, delicious, and innovative vegan food. 

I arrived at Cafe Blossom at 7:30 pm, to a relatively empty restaurant.  I was seated immediately.  I noticed, however, between 7:30-7:45 the place filled up with many couples, families, and groups.  It was clear that Cafe Blossom was a neighborhood favorite and destination.  The interior is warm and inviting, with low-lighting and earth tones.  The ambiance and leather menus made it feel more luxurious than the prices indicated.  It was lovely. 

Erin works for a wine importer and distributor, so I trust her judgement when it comes to wines.  We went for a glass of the South African Pinotage, which was the least expensive red on the menu at $9, slightly pricey, but it was a large glass and much needed after our (Erin’s especially) long days at work.  Erin didn’t spit it out, so I took that as a sign of its (good) quality despite being the cheapest on the menu. 

Revving up for a weekend in Atlantic City, I was feeling more frugal than usual, so I ordered two appetizers instead of an entree: the Cream of Turnip Soup (ramp butter, toasted fennel seed) and the Pan-Seared Polenta (shaved baby artichoke salad, parsley sauce).  Erin ordered the Moroccan Glazed Tempeh (eggplant-chickpea stew, red bell peppers, sweet potato, creamy fennel-black olive relish). 

Tempeh

The polenta looked like sea scallops, which was cute, and was yummy,though not outstanding.  The shaved artichokes didn’t really add much in terms of flavor or texture, and the parsley sauce could have been stronger.  After this polenta experience, I’ve decided I prefer the texture of creamy polenta better.  The turnip soup was much better.  The ramp butter really stood out and gave the soup a contrasting slippery smooth texture against the turnip puree.  I swear I could taste cinnamon in the dish, but it could have been the toasted fennel.  Either way, it was a fantastic flavor combination.  Erin’s tempeh stew was really, really good. It was homey and comforting, but not too rich.  It would be my entree of choice if I were to return.  We were offered dessert, but neither of us felt that dairy-free ice cream sounded appetizing enough.  Once day I’ll try it though. 

polenta

Cafe Blossom is a really great gluten-free friendly restaurant.  It is innovative and fresh, with dishes that don’t scream vegan.  For the price, I don’t think you’ll find a better GF option with more interesting dishes if you’re willing to forgo dairy, eggs, and meat.  If I can convince my boyfriend that he doesn’t need these above mentioned items, I think I’ll take him to Blossom for a date night.

Gluten-free, vegan, pizza from Viva Herbal Pizzeria

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Viva Herbal Pizzeria

179 2nd Avenue, NY, NY

(212) 420-8801

I am recommending this place with some caveats.  It is fabulous to take all of your restricted-diet-diner friends (think vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free) and their pizzas, as evidenced by this photo, were topped with beautiful looking fresh veggies and other ingredients.  BUT they failed to provide the basic necessity of a good pizza.  The crust.  It was flavorless and mushy.  AND you had to order a whole pie to get the cornmeal crust, and it was not cheap. 

Toppings=delicious. 

Crust, convenience, cost=not so much.

At least it makes for a pretty picture.