A Boston Baptism

September 14, 2010, my dear friends Kelly and Micheal welcomed their second bundle of happiness (their first American baby) and in October they baptized Noah in Boston.  I am of no religious persuasion, but I’m always happy to see and celebrate with these people, so I got in a car with Leslie (a friend of Kelly’s and after 12 hours of driving, a friend of mine) and road tripped to Boston.

Friday night, we got into Newton just in time to give Eva, their daughter, hugs and kisses goodnight, then we ordered Dominoes. They do not have gluten free crust, but I was very happy to find a breakdown of all the ingredients online.  Turns out I can eat their chicken wings.  Great!  Kelly had also prepared a delicious assortment of hummus and crudités.  Yum.

On Saturday morning Leslie and I woke up and headed out on our shopping mission.  But what do you need on a shopping mission?  Sustenance!

Hears a taste:

Joe’s.
(Newbury location)

Leslie knew where we wanted to go shopping, so we thought we would park and find food from there.  We parked, paid and Ta da!  There was Joe’s American Bar & Grill right beside the car.  We stepped in the door and asked about gluten, before we knew it, we were ushered to our table.  The restaurant does not have a gf menu, but as soon as I mentioned the word ‘celiac’ our waitress started listing off all the things I could eat.  Our super friendly waitress told me she preferred the gluten free crust to the wheat filled one, so my pick was easy.  Pizza for breakfast.  Luckily Leslie is an early riser because this place got busy, fast!  During our meal a manager came to make sure everything was to our liking, she asked specifically what I thought of the crust!  Great service can make a restaurant into a very memorable place, especially when the food is delicious to boot.

What I ate:
GF Brunch Pizza – eggs, Italian sausage, onions, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella and provolone.  What!?  So tasty.

What Leslie ate:
I don’t remember, I was too focused on my own meal.

At the bottom of the menu:
From host to service staff, we make every effort to accommodate any special requests, including any food or gluten allergies.

Website:
click me!

Saturday afternoon, the Baptismal pack of family and friends all met up in Boston Common for one of K&M’s favorite Boston discoveries (Cannoli) and although I could not eat it, I sure enjoyed watching Eva smear this treat all over her face.

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Devon in Bremen

The first day.

Arrive in Frankfurt at 6.30 in the morning, follow crowd through the airport like a zombie until someone asks for my passport.  Find chair next to gate, space out, climb on plane, sleep.  Awake in Bremen.

Took a taxi to the hotel, crossed my fingers…room ready!  My first order of business is a nap, I keep getting this spinning feeling in my head like I’ve just gotten off a cruise ship, that means tired.

I woke up around 2pm (my new time) and started doing some research.  I did not plan well for this trip.  I can’t explain why, but I was really nervous about this month and rather than plan for it, I just pretended it wasn’t going to happen, then…I got on a plane.

I found a few places on-line.  One restaurant even allowed me to enter my allergy into a search engine and out popped all the menu items I could eat.  It’s called Maredo.  This place also happened to be right next to my hotel.  Dinner plan for Day 1, check!

My plan while I adjusted to the time change and the language was to stay closer to hotel restaurants.  It’s easier to find people who will speak English and I feel like it is okay that I come across as a tourist.

The scariest thing for me in a new place is finding safe food.  I am affected, I used to be able to try anything, but now there are limits.  As much as I love feeling good and healthy, I admittedly still occasionally feel like I’m missing out.

Hears a taste:

Maredo.

My brain is a little fuzzy today and I totally chickened out on saying any of the phrases I had memorized in German.  I’m such a loser.  I walked into Maredo and said: “Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut, sprechen Sie Englisch?”  I am that girl.
The restaurant had an English menu and the waitress pulled out a list that detailed all the allergens in each dish and sauce.  It was all in German, but it was fun to go back and forth from one language to the other.  The waitress, who was Spanish, assured me she would speak to her manager and have that translated as soon as possible.  She was too nice to me.

What I ate:
Salad Bar (the waitress walked me through it and pointed out the very few items I could not eat)
Steak on a hot plate with a bib.

A side note:
I’m glad I wore the bib, after I ate, I could see all the little spatters that would have been on my yellow shirt.

Website:
click me!
The website is in German, but they have an English menu and the waitstaff will help you navigate.

Brot!

Brot is the word for bread in German and bread is ever-present in Germany!  The bread is taunting me!  Everywhere I look there is bread, buns, tarts, cakes and they all look so good.  I actually found myself calculating a good time to be sick.  I wouldn’t want to be sick on the plane home, or during the last days of class (test days), I get back from München on the  24th so that leaves…  Must not give in!  I can wait to get home to my bread machine.  Waiting good, gluten bad.

New York, ah.

This trip was for a singing competition.  I stayed in the Sheraton NY Hotel & Towers for 3 days.  I didn’t bring much food with me because of my proximity to Whole Foods and my plan to purchase a couple boxes of KIND bars while I was in town.  Should we talk about my love of Whole Foods?  I’ll save that for it’s own post.  The singing competition was good, I didn’t advance as far as I would have liked, but I heard some of the sopranos and the level was high.  After the second round you had to wait for an evening phone call to see if you made it to the next day of competition.  Alas, my call never came, so I ate.

Hears a taste:

Nizza.

How did I find this wonderful place? GF in the city.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yum. Right off the bat, this place has a gluten free menu.  Great!  I was flying solo, so I was seated at the bar.  I order myself a drink, then I start to peruse the menu.  This is a process I take full advantage of when I have the chance; since being diagnosed, this little step of ‘eating out’ is something I didn’t know I would miss.  Looking over the menu and getting to pick whatever I want, no questions for the waiter, no backup order, no salad (the last resort)!  A gf menu means: “we want you here, we know we can cook for you”.  The bartender was very attentive and suggested the most amazing finale to my superb dinning experience.  I also ran home to look up “Socca”, I can not wait to try and make this!

What I ate:
Breadsticks with olive oil and ricotta (picture)
Eggplant Involtini (picture)
Classic Socca
And the most amazing dessert that I don’t know the name of, but I will!  I must…TORTONI, it was on the receipt.  This is a frozen custard with a strawberry compote.  So good.  I loved that bartender.

Website:
click me!

Lili’s 57.

How could I have neglected to write about this place?  I found it while I was in NY in November.  It fed me Chinese, which I have longed for since I became gluten free.  I am capable of making Chinese food for myself with the fantastic variety of gf soya sauce and hoisin, but the whole fun of it is eating a variety of dishes (that someone else has made for you) with a big group of people.  I miss my family style dinning.  In November, I ordered 3 dishes and rice because I had room in my tiny little fridge for leftovers.  This trip I had a hotel fridge (ice in the sink), so I had to go there twice to get my fix.  The restaurant deals in all types of Asian cuisine, the food is fast and fulfilling.  I’ve been there 4 times (take out once in November), I like this place.

What I ate:
Trip 1 – Dumplings (picture) and rice
Trip 2 – Rock Shrimp Tempura with spicy citrus mayonnaise
Tuna lover sushi roll and a few pieces of nigiri (hamachi, magura, sake), of course they have gf soya sauce

Website:
click me!
They have a great gluten free menu and gluten free soy!

Another Bite of the apple

While my Ottavio (AKA David) was in New York, we met up with a dancer friend of his at Columbus Circle, we ended up in the Time Warner Center at Bouchon Bakery for lunch.  There were not many options for me there, but the soup was gluten free and they gave me a few pieces of cheese on the side (instead of the grilled cheese sandwich that came with it).  This place also has macaroons!  Giant, colourful, delicious, Parisian macaroons–which are traditionally made without gluten.  Here’s a picture of my raspberry macaroon (a little dark because I took it with my cell and I was in a hurry to get back to eating it):
The second day David was in town (he lives in Montreal too), we met up with France (we all met at McGill) for coffee before her class.  We went to a great little café in SOHO or maybe NOHO, then wandered around the NYU campus.  After Francesca left us, David and I continued to walk around for a while heading in the direction of the apartment and working up an appetite.  We wandered into a restaurant–which I will not bother naming–because they had tacos made with corn tortillas on the menu.  The host assured me I could eat safely, the waitress was not so sure, so she asked the chef, the chef was adamant that nothing in the restaurant was edible.  Not even the hot chocolate.  This was a first for me and my heart broke a little.  If I had been by myself there could have been two scenarios: 1) I start crying and make a scene or 2) I get angry and make a scene.  Luckily I had Mr. Menzies to commiserate with.  We gathered our belongings and left.  We walked into the next restaurant we saw and praise the GF gods: A gf menu!  J’adore.

Hears a taste:

Republic.

We walked in and found a cute waiter (good start), I asked about gluten and he says: “Oh, I’m so cute in my tight black t-shirt and we have a gf menu, shouldn’t everyone?”  So I’ve embellished a little.  The tables are big with long benches and these really cool cubbies for your purse.  David perused his menu and I smiled at mine.  The servings were huge and we were both very satisfied with our choices.  Noodles!

What I ate:
Pad Thai with shrimp

What David ate:
Something with coconut milk, broth and noodles; it was delicious

Website:
click me!
The gf menu is not on the website, but they have one and it’s full of goodies

The disclaimer

I should say that I do understand that every time I eat out, I am taking a risk.  There is always a risk of cross-contamination, people can make mistakes; that being said, I trust.  I have to trust people with my stomach, I have to believe that no one wants to make me sick.  I’m careful and I’m comfortable asking questions and dropping some knowledge, that is the best I can do if I want to eat other peoples food.  And I do.

The Big Gluten Free Apple

In November I traveled to New York City for a one month audition, lesson and coaching extravaganza.  Now (5 months later) I can tell you that it was a great trip, but when I got home in December I felt like I had been kicked, a lot.  Auditions are hard.  Being heard by the right people is even harder.

As a Canadian soprano, I find it quite difficult to get an audition with American young artist programs (YAP).
First: I am a soprano, there are thousands of us and only hundreds of spaces.
Second: There is this fun little immigration loop hole; occasionally YAP’s would like you to provide documentation that you can work in the USA, but in the US, you need a job offer to apply for a work visa.  Sneaky.
Third: Timing.
Fourth: My resume could sure use some beefing up and I need to work on looking older (maybe some gray highlights).  Then people won’t get snarky about the repertoire I’m singing.

The ups:  I met with some amazing coaches, whom I’m excited to work with again and I got a great sense of how close knit the music business is in New York.  Everybody knows everybody.  I also got to eat some delicious food!  I have a few friends in the city and my kitchen was way too small to cook for company.  My friend David, another singer, came to town for an audition and we ate.  It was great!

Hears a taste:

Risotteria.

Look up “gf restaurant NY”, I guarantee this place will pop up.  They have a great gluten free selection; such a success, that they want everyone to know gf is good!  From what I’ve put together, they started to play with gf bread and they put together a recipe for breadsticks that was SO good they serve them to everybody.  Their pizza is delicious and they have cupcakes! (one of my B.C. favorite)  Yes “B.C.” does mean Before Celiac.  Next time I swear I’ll try the risotto (they named the place after it, so I imagine it’s yummy).  I met up with my lovely friend France (currently at NYU) for this goodness. I had a feeling I would want to enjoy this place with someone.  I was right.

What I ate:
Pizza: Pesto, Roasted Shrimp, Fontina, Red Onion
To Go: Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing

What Francesa ate:
Pizza: Sausage, Mozzarella, Peppers, Olive

This is written on their menu:
Everything is made here within these walls.
By skilled hands and thoughtful minds.

Website:
click me!

abc kitchen.

I hadn’t seen Dan (another singer) in a few years, so we decided to meet up for brunch and see where the day went from there.  Dan works in the restaurant industry so he picked the place.  He called to make a reservation and ask about the options for celiacs and they said I was good to go.  What I like about restaurants with organic food mantras is that it usually means less gluten.  The waiter was lovely and helped me pick through the menu to make up a delicious meal and because Dan works in a pretty shmancy restaurant we were also treated to some delicious extras by the chef!  The food was delectable and fresh, it tasted like spring (which is impressive in November).

What I ate:
roasted beets with homemade yogurt
there was something else here, I wrote it down, but I can’t find it right now
roasted carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus (compliments of the chef)

What Dan ate:
raw maine diver scallops, apple, mint and lime (I tried this, so so good)
crab toast with lemon aioli (compliments of the chef, with a momentary lapse in memory about the celiac, but we kept it, can’t waste food)
roasted carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus (compliments of the chef)

This is their mantra:
passionately committed to offering the freshest organic & local ingredients possible

Bonus:
After brunch you can go shopping in their beautiful 10 floor home store! $$$

Website:
click me!

Bar Boulud.

Dan (same Dan) works in another restaurant owned by Daniel Boulud, but we went to Bar Boulud where his fiancée Melody works.  This was our first time meeting as well as a bit of a pre-birthday celebration for her.  Lucky me!  The food was incredible and the company was fantastic.  Having an insider at the table to navigate the menu was amazing!  Melody and her co-workers are very knowledgeable in the gluten avoidance department.  There were plenty of items to choose from and they were very willing to switch things up a little so I could eat.

What we ate:
oysters
chefs tasting of charcuterie, hors doeuvre, condiments and mustards
seasoned vegetables: carrots with coriander, beets with horseradish, mushrooms a la grecque, celery-apple rémoulade

I have to come back to this post too.  I wrote down more details, but I’m in Germany and don’t have access to my notebook.   😉

Bonus:
This restaurant is right across the street from the Met.  Location, location, location!  They have a pre-theatre menu.

Website:
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