Tuesday, September 15, 2009

S'MAC me, I must be dreaming!

I really need to stop with the puns. I think in the long run, it just makes me look a tad ridiculous.

Well all, I'm back from NY, and though I didn't have much time to gallivant around the city (you gotta work when you gotta work) I was able to try a couple of restaurants that were new to me and GF friendly.

The first place I tried was Lili's 57, an Asian restaurant with an entirely separate GF menu. Well how exciting is that! You have read my many desires to recreate the flavors of certain Asian foods, Chinese take-out especially, and here is my very own menu guide to the bliss I have been searching for. Here's the good news: the manager and waiter that were answering all my questions at the register really understood my concerns and answered all of my questions without one iota of irritation. Here's the bad news: the menu was GF, but they used GF soy sauce. Now, I'm still allergic to soy, so soy sauce is a no go for me. They said they could make a few items without it though.

I ordered Saigon Rolls as an appetizer: avocado, mango, cucumber, rice noodles, and mint wrapped in a rice wonton skin. That could have been my meal alone. It was a good thing I hadn't eaten lunch that day and I was starving because the roll, cut into 5 nice sized chunks, was a lot to handle. All the ingredients tasted very fresh and delicious, and I wasn't sad to forgo the soy-laced sauce.

Next, I had Chicken Fried Rice which they said they could whip up without soy sauce for me. Sometimes without the soy sauce, you'll notice Chicken Fried Rice doesn't always taste like itself. In this case however, it tasted just like how I remembered it, only better! I don't know what it was (maybe the fact I wasn't making it low-fat at home) but it was just heavenly for me.

Also, there are a few Asian restaurants like this sprinkled around the city with oddly enough the same GF menu, so if you're not in the neighborhood, you're not out of luck! Now if only they'd had a GF fortune cookie. Sigh, you can't have everything...

The second place I was able to try is not a new or unknown joint to New Yorkers: S'MAC, the glory of an all mac n' cheese establishment. Now I know what you're thinking. It's not hard to make mac n' cheese at home. Hell, there's GF pasta, GF cheese, GF breadcrumbs. Yes, that's all true. But I'm not an expert in mac n' cheese. And I don't own an iron skillet. These two things make a big, big difference when craving the proper mac n' cheese experience. Plus, I had my awesome friend with me, who I do not normally have at home!

I ordered the Napoletana, which is fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fresh basil all with brown rice macaroni. After one bite I knew that this is what dreams were made of folks. My mac n' cheese was sensational!! Each burst of creamy goodness mixed with just the right spicing never once gave away I was eating brown rice pasta (I prefer quinoa usually.) I only wish (daily) that I could take the good folks of S'MAC and convince them to open a store in Southern California. If only...

If you are out there S'MAC, we need you!! And we're sunnier ;)

So that's what I got to try on my very, very brief trip to NYC. I hope to be back within the year for some heavy tasting, but for now this will have to do.

I only wish that restaurants here regularly recognized allergies as well as they seem to now be doing in places like NYC and Chicago. I know we'll get there one day...

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